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With an exponentially increasing advancement in technology, we can now capture supernatural and paranormal phenomena in high definition using an array of voice and video recording equipment. This should prove indefinitely the existence of said phenomena, right? Unfortunately, not so. With such advancements in recording technology comes the inevitable advancement in editing software.

Enter the fakes. The hoaxes. The deceivers. Call them what you will, but I’ll go with fakes. There are so many fake videos out there that it would be almost impossible to discern the genuine. We may have already seen the evidence that we need to verify the existence of the supernatural and paranormal, but we may never know. But why are fakes created?

An apparent common reason is personal gain. The supernatural and paranormal are popular subjects among many, and we are unfortunately very susceptible to a good piece of evidence. A good fake video can generate fame and sometimes even fortune, if it’s well done. A large stage has been created for such videos, YouTube.

A well-known example of this is the tunnel creature footage, posted by a water utilities company on YouTube, and has also been used for popular creepypasta, “The Rake”. The video shows CCTV footage of a “reptilian creature peering out with luminous eyes and large forearms before fleeing, revealing a long tail” which was supposedly captured by sewer engineers on a routine survey. I won’t go much into the details of what I think after studying this video, I’ll save that for a later blog. The video was later revealed as fake, an Aprils fool’s joke, but most importantly, a marketing scheme. Using the power of our genuine interest to generate views.

Another example that comes to mind is a famous picture of the Loch Ness Monster, well, just its hump actually. It was taken by a boat tour guide in August 2010, and was swiftly dubbed “the most convincing Loch Ness Monster photo ever”. The cameraman later came forward and admitted that it was a hoax, created using a simple inanimate fibre glass hump, and was created “just for a laugh”. Although no known fortune was gained from this, the picture is known amongst the best Nessie fakes.

Whatever the reason to create fake material is, it’s going to make our jobs a lot harder in discovering the truth. There are so many ways to create this fake material using a combination of modern day technology and other methods that have been around for an age. A person adorning a convincing costume has been used successfully many a time, and Photoshop adds a powerful tool to be used to manipulate and alter. Some are not even created intentionally, but are equally deceiving when used wrongly. A lens flare or an object captured in the wrong lighting can be surprisingly convincing. There is even an App to superimpose ghostly and demonic figures into your everyday photos and selfies. There really is an App for everything! Do not despair however, study each piece of evidence with an open mind and decide for yourself.

In conclusion to this, there are many ways to create a fake piece of the paranormal or supernatural, to play with our beliefs and our search for the truth, or just for personal gain. One golden rule when it comes to analysing evidence is if it’s too good to be true, it normally is. When applying this rule, we can quickly separate the fake from the potential, then all that is left is your personal belief. I do believe that the one real piece of evidence that we all need is out there, all that we need to do is find it.

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