Friday, December 10, 2010

Mystery Alien/Zombie Louisiana Hunting Pic Debunked: It's A Fake

I was checking Facebook tonight when I noticed a friend posted this:


It's the Internet's latest viral sensation, which has now made it's way onto news programs, gaining nation-wide attention.

So, I set to work to try to get to the bottom of it, posting the photo on a popular discussion board.

I was quickly linked to the following spooky video, which, remarkably, seems to capture the same creature:


Not one to be easily swayed, however, I ignored this and continued on my quest for the truth.

The first real explanation I came upon, was that it was a viral marketing campaign by Insomniac Games, to promote their new PS3 game, Resistance 3. Feeling that the game developer's tongue-in-cheek Twitter posting was proof enough:



However, this did not satisfy me as adequate proof of responsibility, and the creature in the pic didn't look much like a Grim, so I kept digging.

Similarly, others believed that it was instead a viral marketing campaign for the upcoming movie Super 8, but their proof was extremely weak, claiming that "inside sources close to the production" had confirmed it, and linking a video of a young girl describing her scene in which she was "blocked by a wall, and there was a zombie coming towards us":

http://www.movieweb.com/movie/super-8/super-8-extra-casting

Checking comments on various news sites, I was finally led to what appears to be the source of the picture, a thread on a hunting forum, ArcheryTalk.com:

(Click to enlarge)

You have to register to see the pictures, but I've uploaded all the relevant photos here, so you don't have to!

First of all, notice that the thread was started on December 2nd, and the timestamp on the posted photograph is 11/30/2010, whereas the photo being spread like wildfire in the media reads 12/04/2010.

This forum user, Hillbilly Willi, claims to be the camera owner, and therefore the source of this viral image. I'm inclined to believe him, as several days later he produces three additional pictures from the same camera:

  
  
Hillbilly Willi adamantly claims the images are real, and that he is telling the truth, but goes on to say:

"I'm not a very superstitious guy, so I have a hard time believing its real...... But until one of the two buddies fesses up on the prank, I'm gonna be pretty uneasy walking out to the stand in the dark...."

The thread has over 700 replies, spanning 18 pages. Continue on to pages 16 and 17, and it appears that some of the more savvy forum members have already gotten to the bottom of this little conundrum...

First, we have this astute observation:

"LOL...you guys are funny! look at the little tree (Bush) to the left...the image with the deer is supposed to be 9 days diff than that of the boogyman...yes in both images all the leaves are exactly the same...wind has not moved them at all or even ruffled them. case close...you can all put away your security blankets."

 

Further, if you use a file decoding program, such as JPEGsnoop, you can view the hidden EXIF data that is contained in almost every image, revealing such detailed information as the type of camera used, the time, and even location that the image was taken from. Do so for the images at hand, and you get the following results:


Need more proof? Another user goes on to state the following.

"Download both pictures, although EXIF data is missing from both pictures you can clearly tell the mystery photo was manipulated as it's pixel size is different.

The deer photo is 1797 x 1348 px.
The mystery photo is 1705 x 1279 px.

Digital cameras at a given resolution always capture the same size image. The file size may vary given JPEG compression but the image size should be a constant in pixels.

Next up, pull the photos into an editor, use the curves tool to blow up exposure. Notice around the head of the 'boogey man' has a black blur around it? That's a blending job at work in photoshop. See how the deer doesn't have that going on."


While it was certainly fun to believe that such a horrendous monster could exist out there in the deep dark woods, I think it's safe to say this little mystery is debunked. :)

Thanks for reading!

34 comments:

  1. Excellent detective work! My hat is off to you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice job. Thanks for doing the leg work!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Excellent work!

    In addition, the "beast" is in a position that suggests it's in motion, and yet there is zero indication of movement via blurring in the picture. Rather it is unfittingly sharp, even for something that is standing still for the most part. There's also no distortion from the camera's perspective. Yet in the image with the deer, there is plenty of indication of that movement blurring and perspective distortion.

    Hillbilly Willi, despite making claims that the monster was real, unwittingly and immediately proved that the beast was fake just by putting those two images beside one another...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great blog post/investigative work

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have studied these pictures and it's my opinion that what ever this is was actually in the pic. is it a real creature, I don't know. but "it" was not added later. you can sometimes get a hase when the cam is have a hard time stepping from bright to dark. you get some of that at the bottom of the deers chin. what is a better judge is the digital "squares", play with your midtones and contrast till they are clear and you see that the digital read lines flow from forest into the "it". Only way to do that would be to take a picture of a picture but then it wouldn't match at all with the other pictures from the cam. Also the cam was moved slightly from 11/23 to 11/26 and remains the same later in the day. then is moved slightly more from 11/26 to 11/30. helps credit the timeline. working and living in th outdoors all my lifeI know that a tree and it's leaves can remain unchained sometimes for weeks. I believe this is a real pic, not saying that the creature is real but the pic is

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Mike

    If you open the pics from 11/21 and 11/30 into an image viewer, then flip back and forth between them while looking at the tree, you will see that it is the exact same image. I'd humor your notion that the leaves could remain in the same position for nine days, except look at the pic from 11/27; the leaves are different. It's a photoshop, nothing more.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @jov
    Totally not the same picture!! look closer! I did an overlay and it is close but not a match! upper left branch is lower in deer pic. leaves have moved on left side of tree. leaves on ground moved. I am not saying it wasn't taken minutes after the first one or earlier or whatever but totally not the same picture. I see what you mean with the other marked 11/27 it is missing a few leaves and then they are back on 11/30. Fact is not the same picture. Fact "it" was taken in the picture not photo shopped. Do I think this thing is real...I doubt it. someone probably staged this. spend the amount of time to photoshop this, it would be easier to stage this...way easier!! plus if you have the knowledge and skill to make this as good as it is...you would be smart enough to not use the same picture over again. See the way the shoulders are ball shaped...looks like an amateur trying to hide the a poor joint attachment. he couldn't keep the joints skinny to match the body. just my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mike: I agree with you that the image is real. But I also have to say that despite everyone trying their hardest to prove this creature not real that it is. People are scared so they try to prove it false.

    This video isn't related and was taken years ago but let me tell you, it's alot harder to prove false in video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6N2yEjcmnSs

    believe it if you may. But you shouldn't doubt these creatures are real.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm still waiting for you guys claiming that this wasn't photoshopped to explain to me why the resolution is different in the second picture.

    @xdrk4gottenonexx: I'd recommend watching Lost Tapes to give you an example of how easy it is to make a video just like the one on YouTube you linked to, but I'd have to offer the disclaimer that Lost Tapes does NOT use real footage before I made that recommendation.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm confused... Are you saying someone used the deer photo and 'shopped the deer out to add the "creature" in? I hardly believe anyone would go to that much trouble. Why not just trip the camera on an empty area?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Aaron: True, but honestly as Colpittsdragon says. Why would someone go through so much trouble just to do something so stupid. But honestly what amazes me more is how hard someone will work and create explanations so they can sleep soundly at night. I mean no offense, but why would you take so much time to prove its photoshopped or not? I won't say that it is real or not, but there are other creatures out there. That one could happen to be one of the fake ones but the supernatural does exist.I'm not asking for you to believe in it but keep it in your mind. There are things out there that are more powerful then Humans. That creature in the photo, there are more like him/her out there, whether that one is real or not. I can't make you believe nor will I try to, I'm just telling you what I know. I've seen demons. Not all are like people say, not all are good nor bad. But they are out there and they take many shapes. Our friend in the picture is just one of them.

    ReplyDelete
  12. If you look closer you can see some evidences but I had the doubt if photoshopped or not til now, cool blog btw

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh thank god, I was so freaked out

    ReplyDelete
  14. I like the design of the monster though.. using the deer's own back two legs as the 'arms' was a nice idea!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Good post. I'm thinking the head was a model, readily available. See here: http://idoubtit.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/louisiana-swamp-monster-hoax/
    Perhaps the body is a real person in a one piece white outfit? However it was done, it should not have been news. These monster photos and videos are SO common anymore. They just send everyone into a freaked out twitter frenzy and turn out to be someone's idea of a marketing scheme or 15 minutes of fame/attention.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I don't want to perpetuate any hoax but I also don't want to discount prematurely. I see aspects pointed out in this blog that can be countered, which I am raising over at GhostTheory.com.

    Here is one very significant find I made:

    I did one little step of simple filtering in photoshop that revealed something very interesting. I focused on the eyes and used a High Pass filter to bring out the hidden detail in them, basically removing the white out effect. Look closely. There appears to be different levels of definition between the Iris and what may be the Sclera (whites). I highly doubt anyone would have EVER thought of this very peripheral step when completely whiting out the eyes in a photoshopped hoax to simply show flash reflection. Hopefully the pic will show up OK.

    http://www.mediafire.com/imgbnc.php/f670c1db01c965da4a946b68c6ad3d6e539b7be34f73bc15998eb9d51fd240d26g.jpg

    I believe this actually reveals that there is actual physiological variation & structure of the eyeballs. Its important! Does it mean creature or person? If person, then other issues may pose contradictions in the photo. ..."

    Now here's a tidbit that should give everyone something to think about. To get the white reflection you see in this subject's eyes, requires a 'tapetum ludicum', which is what animals have so they can see in the dark. We (humans) don't have this, and thus when we look into a flash, ours look red (ie: redeye) because light bounces around in our eyes and picks up the red from blood vessels. Given the physiological variation and structure of the mystery subject as I've demonstrated with the above filtering, and the fact that the eye glare is white and not red like ours, it can't be a stand-in human posing. Each corroborates the other once you analyze these elements. This subject has a tapetum ludicum and physiological variation of the eye structure too.

    Dave R.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow, Dave R! Now that is some scary stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  18. So they Photoshoped an animal is all you just proved with the eyeball stuff

    ReplyDelete
  19. Then find some eyeballs with the same structure looking at a camera flash.

    So how come nobody can find the same blending halo where its hand is in the leaves or near its knee where its brighter?

    ReplyDelete
  20. And how in the world would a hoaxer know that someone would come along and filter it the one totally unexpected yet specific way I would? The only way that would bring out the eye detail.

    I don't think so.

    ReplyDelete
  21. To my above about finding some similar eyeballs. Yeah that is something that is probably possible if you could manipulate the shape, but wouldn't that mean one more digital fingerprint as well?

    Bottom line is, the guy should provide some additional clarification on issues like camera model, what editing steps he took, offering up the original uncompressed image for better analysis, to denounce any connection to these films if there is none, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  22. The resolution thing is weird but not proof of photoshopping: none of the 5 images he posted have the same resolution. So if we are to assume that the other images are real, then the fact that the "alien" picture has a weird resolution proves nothing. This needs further explanation, but he might have been using some special analysis software that zooms in and crops to some area of interest?

    Likewise the JPEG compression thing is not conclusive because the picture has obviously been manipulated after the sensor to add the watermark and the date.

    Really the only true proof that it's a fake is the leaves that go back to the same position they were in 9 days before.


    osprey: The border you see is just an artefact of your filtering (halo due to convolution with a kernel that's not non-negative). If you want to enhance the detail in the eye without artefacts just tweak the brightness curve and you'll see there is nothing out of the ordinary.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Definitely there is possibility of artifact. I'm no photoshop expert. I had tried doing the same process to someone's intentionally WHITED out eyes, and didn't get the same degree of effect. When I did simply use the brightness/darkness on the mystery photo, no question the same detail wasn't visible, but some slight complexity is there, however the pixelation seems higher too. I also wondered if just using the brightness curve is adding some overall influence from the surrounding darkness? Whereas using the other filter levels that out?

    Wish we had more info on the photos. lol

    ReplyDelete
  24. Finally, a rational mind for this damn picture! As an avid researcher of all things cryptic and mysterious I did a major facepalm when I saw a clip of this thing aired on live tv. Honestly, how people could put this up without actually doing all the legwork you did amazes me and I bow to you, good sir!

    Cryptozoology and the paranormal is not a joke as many think nor is it cut and dry science, but too many people think it's a good way to get their "spooky" stuff out into the greater awareness of the net...which is unfortunately the case as the sops in the net drink this stuff up and think it's real without ever actually researching it.

    So I thank you for bringing a very well done and thought out disection of this horrid little mark on a reputible profession and hopefully we can all leave this one in the dust where it belongs.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Haha You guys amuse me. Humans will go to any length to prove something they fear is fake. Maybe this exact picture isn't real but these creatures are and don't think your little tricks and 'rational' explanations make it any less real. You guys are pathetic. It's your choice whether you believe it or not but to go to this extent to 'prove' it's photoshopped is ridiculous. Whether the photo is real or not. Who cares. I mean really? Your trying to prove to the world it's fake but it's really you who is so scared you had to go through all that trouble. I mean really? These creatures are real. I've seen them before and yes, I admit I have no proof but I have others that were with me who have seen them too. And also of course it's eyes don't reflect red like a humans because, although it has the same figure, it is not human. Human fears are really pathetic if it makes you post a pointless blog. Really, sir/ma'am, all you did was waste your time in posting this. I do my own research, yes, but doesn't mean I need to 'convince' and post about it. This isn't a hoax and these creatures and other dangerous ones are out there. So I wouldn't sleep so soundly if I were you. (:

    ReplyDelete
  26. I think its a hoax, but a real Photo (at least partially)

    This is a strange one for sure. I'm not sure I completely agree with your analysis of the photo in regards to the 'blending' as you refer to it. Yes, This could be due to someone blurring the edges, and this dark rim is coming from this edge blend. But I also see the same affect occurring on the tree to the left? Not all over but only in some areas, just like what is occurring around the so called 'creature'. The blending along the ground and left side of the body are done so well, that I can't imagine they'd let this artifact slide if they were that good at integration.

    Also to note, is the grain. This is basically impossible to determine/compare because of the image compression. But Photoshop's grain tool is horrible. It is in no way able to mimic a film camera's response and varying RGB intensities. But you cannot compare the creature to its surroundings with such a bad compression. Though, from what you can 'somewhat' see, the grain could be very close. Also, you usually lose a lot of grain in the white values, the eyes do look a bit strange? And this area appears doctored. But again, this image is so badly compressed it hard to really tell much about it.

    If this were to be a hoax. My expert advice will tell you this is no way a 3D model rendered and integrated into this photo. If that's what anyone figured? If it were, it would be very very well done. And I don't believe this person would have the skill set or time to manufacture something like this. This would not be a easy thing to do, and it would need a lot of skill to pull off. Black and White values sit very well into this photo, and all match correctly. But yes this can be faked.

    So is this a photo integrated into a photo? Maybe but not likely. I would figure this is a real photo possibly doctored in photoshop in certain areas. Eye's, extention of limbs(?), blurring face, etc. That would be the easiest way to make this hoax. But I'm only saying these things because my gut says this creature is fake. But my expert opinion says this photos is real. But without the RAW image, there is no way you can determine either way.

    ReplyDelete
  27. toocanjan...seek help for all that angst..

    ReplyDelete
  28. Ashokray: Why should I seek help? Just because I see the world how it truly is I need "help"? Maybe you should open your eyes, the world is alot darker then you think darling. (:

    ReplyDelete
  29. xd4rk or whatever your name is: That video is a viral video advertisement for Diesel.

    That's one of the main reasons people make images or videos like this: to get them linked across the 'net. This story, for example, has hit all the major news networks. Advertising like that is pretty much free, but has amazing results. Everybody wins.

    ReplyDelete
  30. As far as the video goes: if you go here ( http://www.ccbng.com/#/work/20 ) you can actually see the MAKING OF the creepy spanish men in the woods video. It also explains why it was made. And yes, like Agerath said, it is part of a Diesel ad!

    Btw, thanks to the blog owner for taking the time to "debunk." This image as well as the video have had my mother "freaked" to the point she just HAD to tell everyone about the creepy things in the woods. Nice to know I can finally prove to her its fake. Maybe now I can get some peace and quiet on the picture.

    ReplyDelete
  31. LOOKS LIKE YOUR ARROWS POINT TO HIS SHADOW. MAYBE ITS A MAN IN A SUIT.

    ReplyDelete
  32. One says 11/30/2010 and another says 12/04/2010. Think about that statement. Both have the same time and the same number in the bottom right. This picture has had it's date edited and anyone who was trying to cover their tracks wouldn't do that. Someone intentionally doctored this photograph to instill doubt in its legitimacy. They're hiding it from us. But why?

    ReplyDelete