That other paranormal investigation show

Syfy has this show called “Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files.”

Right off the bat, let me say I know it’s pure entertainment. I don’t expect anything of the intensity of a Mythbusters or other committed to science show… I know it’s going to be fluff anytime I watch it. But watch it, I do… because its accessible.

My son and I have watched a couple of episodes now, and let me tell you… the “investigations” they do are beyond casual. There is no real effort to test hypotheses there… the goal is entirely to produce 11-17 minutes of video that can be spun to look like a serious effort was made and a definitive stance can be taken. We watch and critique their methods in each show.

Last night we watched the episode “Predator/Red Sky at Night”. It may well be our last. It’s not that we “want to believe” or anything like that, it’s how flawed their tests are and how much of a leap they make when they conclude it MUST be this or COULD NOT POSSIBLY be that. A helicopter makes the perfect “ufo” look in the sky, but is too loud… so you try having the helicopter move farther away. Right… that makes sense, but you have to move away until the helicopter cannot be heard anymore and then see if it still looks like the UFO did. And, if it doesn’t… is it possible the lights/apparatus being towed might be made bigger so that it DOES again look like the supposed UFO?

You’re going to investigate a forest for a supposed Hell Hound? Great… camp out, use motion sensors, infrared, really canvas the area… nahhhh, let’s just spend a few hours, one night walking around one part of the forest. And when we hear growling but can’t identify the source, let’s just pack up and go home instead of staying a second night. BUT… we’ll create a cgi of a wild boar/black lion hybrid and then show how our cgi model behaves exactly like the creature in the source footage. Hmmm, so you created a computer model, a cartoon really, where your imaginary creature behaves and looks just like the shadowy thing in the film? Well, yes, by all means that suggests that the imaginary creature MUST exist and be what’s on film. There’s no other possible explanation. Sure we never actually looked at a wild boar, but the boar/lion hybrid is a great fit so a boar by itself is ridiculous to check.

Ugh… I don’t mind how cheesy it is. And I enjoy and value the discussions I have with my son about how their investigations are a joke. But I do wish there was a serious look into some of this stuff. I don’t want to see his cryptozoological faith crushed, but it’s that much more fun to believe and wonder when credible studies are being made (like the old canvassing of Loch Ness by 70 boats with sonar and such).

Anyway… I think I’m done with Fact or Faked, and I suspect the lack of concern about that on my part is mutually felt by their producers.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman


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