Haiti UFO Hoaxer Comes Clean

'Tis the year of the UFO - both real and hoaxed. Readers no doubt have seen mentioned here (and elsewhere) the 'Haiti UFO video' on YouTube, viewed by more than 2 million people (and considered one of the top viral videos). David Sarno of the L.A. Times did some investigating, and managed to track down the creator of the clips:

Barzolff [a pseudonym], 35, is a professional animator who has a decade of experience with computer graphics and commercial animation. The videos, he said, were intended as research for a feature-film project he's been working on with Partizan, the company responsible for, among others, Michel Gondry's 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'.

When contacted to verify the story, Eternal Sunshine producer Georges Bermann said it was all true, and that Barzolff was "an absolute genius" who could "make anything look entirely real."

The movie Barzolff is working on for the big screen is about two guys who create a UFO hoax so realistic that it spirals out of their control. Barzolff stressed the videos were not intended as a viral marketing ploy. His movie is still in the idea phase, and he created the hoax strictly as a "sociological experiment" - in other words, just to see what would happen.

Following in the footsteps of the 'Chad drones', and last year's 'Australian UFO Wave', it appears we've reached a watershed moment where UFO images/video are worth pretty much zero evidential value. Not that we've given any credence to them here on TDG, but there's plenty of others out there who embarrass the rest of us with their credulity.

Sarno asked 'Barzolff' if he could provide some sort of confirmation that he was indeed responsible for the video clips, and before too long he posted the 'Naughty Grannies' clip on YouTube with the comment "Back from Haiti with a big, new toy". Nevertheless, it's instructive to note that 'Barzolff' described the results of his experiment "a little scary," because in spite of the evidence, "many people refuse to believe it's a hoax."

News Briefs 24-08-2007

A shout-out to my big sis for her very big birthday yesterday...

Quote of the Day:

I think the very rigidity of science has made it an incredibly powerful investigative tool into nature - we reap the benefits of that daily. But that same exclusivity has made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to do major investigations of some very important questions.

Deborah Blum

Fortean Times #227

The latest issue of Fortean Times (#227) is about to hit newstands. In the latest issue you'll find articles on Thailand's supernatural and occult cultures, a look at the increase in crimes that were committed under the influence of aliens, visions and visionaries, and UFOs and Hollywood. Full details at the FT website, and plenty else of interest besides.

Radio 24-08-2007

Here's the rundown on the radio schedules for the second half of the week:

Whitley Strieber's Dreamland: This week Jim Marrs talks to Stanton Friedman about the Betty and Barney Hill abduction case, and Friedman's new book on the subject, Captured.

Coast to Coast AM: Friday is open lines with Ian Punnett. Early show Saturday is 'Art Bell Somewhere in Time', returning to 2/3/97 for a discussion on crime scene investigations with Alexander Jason. Afterwards, writer Christine Wicker will discuss her research into the lives of people who have faith in otherworldly powers such as magic, witchcraft and vampirism. On Sunday, guest host George Knapp welcomes UFO researcher Richard Dolan for a discussion on the black budget world and how it may control technology not made by human hands.

More details including relevant websites are available at the linked pages above. Remember also that while Coast to Coast is subscription, Dreamland is free. Dreamland also now offers a podcast of the most recent show.

News Briefs 23-08-2007

Crayola's 'magenta' has been my favorite color since grade school. According to new research, it's a predictable preference.

Quote of the Day:

I champion the weak, the poor, the oppressed, the simple and the persecuted. I maintain that whosoever benefits or hurts a man benefits or hurts the whole species. I sought my liberty in the liberty of all, my happiness in the happiness of all. I wanted a roof for every family, bread for every mouth, education for every heart, light for every intellect. I am convinced that human history has not yet begun, that we find ourselves in the last period of the prehistoric. I see with the eyes of my soul how the sky is diffused with the rays of the new millennium.

Anarchist Bartolomeo Vanzetti

News Briefs 22-08-2007

It's hard to type when you have a cat insisting she sits in front of the monitor.

  • The drones are back, but this time it's for real: a battery-powered aerial device was used to monitor a Staffordshire festival on Sunday.
  • Does this Apollo 20 footage posted on YouTube show an alien spacecraft parked on the moon, or is it cleverly edited CGI? I remember the old days, when all you had was a hubcap and a piece of string.
  • Do you UFOs often seen by locals of Tampico, Mexico, protect the area from hurricanes? Red Pill Junkie might know.
  • A leaked report claims an ETV (extraterrestrial vehicle) and its occuptants were shot at by Russian special military forces in a confrontation on 12th January 1985. They came from another galaxy seeking glasnost.
  • Physicist Enrico Fermi, author of the famous paradox, apparently believed in extraterrestrial civilisations. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
  • The fangs on this fish are a very good reason not go swimming in the Congo River.
  • UFO Mystic Greg Bishop wonders if a secretive group is monopolising UFO secrets.
  • The Salem town council relaxed laws banning witchcraft and fortune-telling last June, and now witches can be witches.
  • The Amazing Randi and Teller (of Penn fame) entertained the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness annual meeting in Las Vegas. Is Randi referring to himself in the article's closing quote?
  • Television and the Hive Mind: are couch potatoes unwitting subjects in a global experiment?
  • A gathering of international scientists in Alaska have concluded that mysterious polar ice clouds above the Arctic are the result of climate change. They could have saved themselves a lot of trouble and just asked the local Inuit.
  • Brazil's government has promised to investigate allegations that its policy of settling landless communities in the Amazon is encouraging deforestation.
  • Michigan's Lake Superior is the coldest and deepest of the Great Lakes, but it's heating up.
  • Up to 60 people within the CIA read information about two of the 19 hijackers involved in 9/11 before the event, but did not share it with other departments able to do something about it.
  • Did a Microsoft Windows Vista update cause Skype to crash for two days accidentally on purpose?
  • A new report from the Bradford Nonlethal Weapons Research Project shows that the CIA's interest in psychoactive substances didn't end in the 1960s, but continues today. That's why MIB's wear dark sunglasses.
  • A single cannabis joint has the same effect on the lungs as smoking up to five cigarettes at once, new research claims.
  • A Japanese arm-wrestling game is being recalled from arcades across the country after several players had their arms broken.
  • Yesterday was the birthday of HP Lovecraft; he would be 117 if he had given in to the temptation of forbidden elder knowledge.

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

Sometimes I believe that this less material life is our truer life, and that our vain presence on the terraqueous globe is itself the secondary or merely virtual phenomenon.

HP Lovecraft, from "Beyond the Wall of Sleep" (Amazon US or UK)

Shermer: Make Peace, Not War

The invasion of the body snatchers has begun. Or at least, that's how it seems, reading through Michael Shermer's most recent 'Skeptic' column in Scientific American. Titled "Rational Atheism: An open letter to Messrs. Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Hitchens," Shermer's column urges that rational atheists, in the conflict between science and religion, need to "raise our consciousness one tier higher."

Shermer warns that "anti-something movements by themselves will fail," and advocates positive assertions about science rather than negativity about religion (I'm guessing Shermer's good pal Randi is not of like mind). I guess he's talking exclusively about religion with his suggestion that "it is irrational to take a hostile or condescending attitude", considering this is the guy who turns up to UFO debates and waves toy aliens about. However, perhaps this is the start of a new, more open approach from Shermer, so let's give him some kudos for this particular column. But he's now issued the measuring stick for his own future work, so don't be surprised to see me refer back...

News Briefs 21-08-07

Diversity without too many platitudes. Post your bs.

  • Is this the end of English literature?
  • Modern cosmology: science or folktale?
  • Rare dead star found near Earth.
  • Scientists hail frozen smoke as a material that will change the world.
  • The expanding Earth debate: part 1.
  • Modelling the Earth's climate mathematically is hard already. Now a new difficulty is emerging.
  • We’re not from here.
  • Where is the rest of the universe?
  • Social psychology, religious belief, censorship and the Holocaust.
  • Risky business: gene therapy.
  • Drug found to erase memory in rats.
  • Were ancient seafarers living on the Queen Charlottes islands 16000 years ago?
  • Is there a theory of everything?
  • How ads affect our memory.

Quote of the Day:

Platitude: an idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday Roundup 21-08-2007

A strange assortment to get you through the week...


Radio 21-08-2007

Here's the alternative radio schedule for the first half of the week.

Fate Radio: This week's encore presentation of The Hilly Rose Show features ufologist Bruce Maccabee on the CIA and FBI's involvement with the UFO mystery (Real Audio or mp3).

Coast to Coast AM: On Monday Kelly Snyder, founder of 'Find Me', will discuss how his group assists law enforcement using a pool of 32 psychics and experts. During the evening, he'll be joined by forensic astrologer Dave Campbell, spiritual teacher Sunny Dawn Johnston, and Search & Rescue facilitator Kristi Smith. Tuesday's guest is filmmaker and writer Kenny Ausubel who takes listeners on a mind-bending journey into the magic and mystery of environmental solutions drawn from nature. Wednesday remains TBA, while on Thursday Maj. Ed Dames will discuss how his agency (Matrix Intelligence Agency) is in the process of locating Osama bin Laden, and he'll disclose the location.

More details including relevant guest links are available at the C2C website.