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The days of grainy 8 mm films of UFOs, Bigfoot and lake monsters are long gone. As video editing software has become and continues to become more advanced and user-friendly, high-quality hoax videos are ever-easier to make. Upload those videos to the Internet and they'll zip around the world, thanks in part to a public audience that is still willing to set aside logic when it comes to paranormal activity.
Here's our list of the best or worst videos that have gone viral recently, all of which claim to show paranormal phenomena ranging from UFOs to body magnetism to poltergeists. We'll also explain how to tell they're fakes.
Dead little green manSlide 2 of 21
Dead little green man
A UFO crash video titled "Dead Alien Found in UFO Hotspot in Russia" was posted to YouTube earlier this month. It shows two Russian men finding what appears to be a dead extraterrestrial alien near a tree stump in a snowy field in Irkutsk, Siberia.
Several elements in the video point to it being a hoax. First, the "little green man" looks a little too much like a Hollywood depiction of an alien. Furthermore, where's the creature's spacecraft? A spacecraft would be harder to fabricate than a dead alien body. Finally, the videographers can be heard laughing rather than seriously discussing a remarkable find. It was later revealed that two teenagers had made the body from old bread and chicken skin.Slide 3 of 21
Ghost in the closetSlide 4 of 21
Ghost in the closet
This viral video, shot by Lisa Manning in her house in Coventry, England, allegedly shows a closet door opening of its own accord and a chair sliding Ouija-board style across the floor. The footage appeared on Independent Television News (ITN), with a voiceover asking, "Is this family being visited by a poltergeist ? Very spooky!"
Spooky is one word that could be used to describe the video; hokey is another, depending on your perspective. For one thing, both of the objects that move are fairly lightweight and could easily have been pulled by someone off-camera with a fishing line. Also, the video does not depict any of several extraordinary claims the Mannings made to the media: The chair does not "fly across the room and crash into walls," but merely scoots a few feet. The door does not "bang open and shut before being ripped off [its] hinges," but instead opens slowly and gently.
What's more, the video has clearly been edited, and does not show one continuous mysterious event but instead two or more scenes that may or may not have occurred together. Without seeing the original, unedited videotape, it's impossible to know what the camera might have captured that was not presented.
The poltergeist video is very weak indeed though if its purpose was to give the Manning family some publicity, it succeeded. [Read Our In-Depth Analysis ]Slide 5 of 21
Magnetism vs. stickinessSlide 6 of 21
Magnetism vs. stickiness
Bogdan, a 7-year-old Serbian boy, made international news in March 2011 through his apparent ability to magnetically attract metal objects. He fooled an MSNBC reporter. He fooled the Daily Mail. But he could not fool us here at Life's Little Mysteries.
YouTube is chock full of similar demonstrations of bodily magnetism. But unfortunately for paranormal enthusiasts, they're all hoaxes. Bogdan, like the others, has to lean back slightly in order for objects to stick to him. If the force at play were magnetic, it would overcome the much weaker force of gravity.
Furthermore, glass plates and a plastic remote control, as well as metal objects, stick to Bogdan's chest. Glass and plastic aren't magnetic, but they are smooth. According to scientists, smooth objects stick to slightly greasy, flabby skin much like Bogdan's. [Read Our In-Depth Analysis ]Slide 7 of 21
Hoax in the Holy LandSlide 8 of 21