Tag Archives: Montreal

The Baby-Snatching Eagle: Real or Fake?

By Hany Farid via Image Authentication and Forensics | Fourandsix Technologies

A video purportedly showing an eagle swooping down and snatching a baby has gone viral:

Given how unlikely the video seems, there is a vigorous debate about its authenticity. We performed a forensic lighting analysis on this video to determine if it is real or fake.

To perform this analysis, we connect points on an object with their corresponding cast shadow. Because of the geometry of cast shadows, all such constraints must intersect at a single point. (For an understanding of why this is so, read my previous blog post about shadows.)

Shown below are five such constraints from one frame of the video, just as the eagle is about to the grab the baby. The red lines are from the baby and eagle, and the blue lines are from the slide, adult, and stroller. You can clearly see that these shadows are not consistent with one another. The most likely scenario is that the baby and eagle are computer generated and were inserted into a real-world scene. Because this scene is outdoors and illuminated with a single light source (the sun), there is no physically plausible explanation for this inconsistency in shadows.

[click for a magnified view]

[UPDATE: Minutes after posting this blog entry, we discovered that the perpetrators of the hoax had come forward. They managed to fool much of the internet pretty successfully, but it appears that they can still use some practice in refining their 3D simulations.]

The 6 Most Famous Alien Abductions

By: Danny Gallagher via thefw.com

Hulton Archive, Getty

Some say alien abductions are nothing more than fevered, unexplained night visions that make their victims believe they were the guinea pig of an interstellar joyride.

Others believe the stories as cold hard fact, that aliens are using humans to unlock all of the mysteries of the universe, which may or may not have something to do with an ultrasound probe in an uncomfortable place.

Either way, it seems that this strange phenomenon is forever ingrained in our culture. Some of the most infamous cases of UFO abductions have spawned books, films and even serious historical recognition. So since today is “Alien Abduction Day,” we look back at some of those cases that made us scratch our heads as we looked up at the stars.

1. The Antonio Villas Boas Abduction


One of the earliest studied cases happened in Brazil when a farmer in the 1950s claimed a spacecraft emitting a very bright light landed on his family’s farm. He continued to see the strange object until one night, when it took him and left some disturbing evidence of alien experimentation. The farmer claimed the alien beings brought him on their ship to impregnate a rather fetching-looking female and described everything from the ship to his “suitor” in great detail.

When he returned, he claimed the incident produced symptoms such as nausea, loss of appetite, headaches and even bruising. Investigators have differed on their conclusions, but the differing outcomes only gave it more credibility and notoriety among believers and skeptics alike, especially the believers who are praying for an interstellar hook-up of their own.

2. The Barney and Betty Hill Abduction

There may have been cases of alien abductions since the dawn of time (or at least since psychiatric medications became more readily available and potent), but the most famous and first well-documented case goes to this couple of Portsmouth, NH. They claimed in September of 1961 that as they were driving home from Montreal, Canada, a bright light jutted out of the nighttime sky on a dark road. As the light approached them, they could see “bipedal humanoid creatures” looking out of the window of the spacecraft. The couple had no memory of the next two hours, but claim they were returned to their car where damages to their clothes and shoes left “evidence” of their spacey encounter.

The incident made the two famous overnight and turned Betty into the nation’s first “UFO Hunter.” The state of New Hampshire also recognized the legend with an official historical marker on the 50th anniversary of the “abduction.

3. The Betty Andreasson Luca Abduction

Betty Andreasson Luca

Alien abduction claims exploded after the Hills’ experience, but the vast majority were easily explained away. However, just a few years later, a woman in Ashburnham, MA, stepped forward to claim she had been taken up by interstellar beings as well. Her case was closely examined by Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) founder and investigator Ray Fowler who had Andreasson undergo hypnosis to verify her claims. She gave chilling details about how the beings were able to immobilize her entire family in order to take her and implant a foreign object in her skull. She said they could talk to her “but not with their mouths.”

The woman even described moments of serene peacefulness, and said the aliens told her the experiments they were conducting were to “prepare for some kind of planetary revelation.” Fowler spent almost a decade examining the case and concluded she was “either the most accomplished liar and actress the world had ever seen, or else she had really gone through this ordeal.”

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