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rashore

How to do a hoax?

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Posted (edited)

Plenty of hoaxes have been presented on UM.. Quite often by folks that don't know it's a hoax when they share it.

I thought it might be nice to do a thread on how hoaxes are done. There are some obvious ones, like kitchens set up for poltergeists, or nature scenes with CG critters edited in. Or wearing a yeti suit to see who notices...

But how are hoaxes set up? What would you do if you wanted to make a spooky hoax?

I don't mean this thread to point out personal stories being hoaxes, so please folks don't go there.

Edit: I'm not advocating doing anything illegal, so please do no go there either. No trespassing or harming folks or other illegal activities- I will report you if you go there.

Edited by rashore
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For starters I would suggest a spooky hoax requires a tragic background story to get any audiences imaginations and fears flowing. After dark filming/happenings are de rigueur for spooky as well.

The "right" narrator and tone and filming techniques can make the hoax as well, for something filmed.

Location location location. It goes hand in hand with the background story that some locations are more conducive for "spooky" than others.

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We live on a county road.. It is a main connection between two other county roads so it gets used a lot, and a lot of people drive quickly along the road. Closest neighbors are two houses immediately to the south, one to the north, and one across the road. With plenty of room to spare for dodging out of sight. We also have an old and tiny cemetery very close by.

I would dress up like a BEK or ghost and wander the side of the road. Ghost legend in the making.

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Sounds to me that you want to stir up trouble,dressing up as a spook by the side of a busy road,could cause a driver to lose concentration if he sees you,and either crash or cause an accident for which you will be fully responsible,or will you run away ??

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Sounds to me that you want to stir up trouble,dressing up as a spook by the side of a busy road,could cause a driver to lose concentration if he sees you,and either crash or cause an accident for which you will be fully responsible,or will you run away ??

Holy crap I hope not... I was just using that as an example as to how hoaxes could be done. I'm no good with CG or other video stuff otherwise I would have used that as example. Best I can come up with is wearing a ghost costume on my local section of road- that's why I said that's what I would do, because it's probably the best of my hoaxing capabilities. And because I've known of several accounts of real folks that mess with legends like that. Though you are right, I suppose I could have used being in a cemetery where folks don't actually drive through. I got a soft spot for cemeteries, and roadsides are usually more legal than cemeteries after dark. I can't even do a decent pull furniture with a string hoax- always looks too hoaxish to me. I've tried that, and it just makes my hubby look stupid at me and my cats think I'm playing. I would have used orbs as an example, except bugs and dust are too often disclaimed. I suppose I could have used a cursed object hoax too in retrospect.

That's why I'm asking others how they would do it, and quite specifically stated please no truly illegal stuff. There are a lot of hoaxes out there, ghost costume an otherwise.. I'm kind of hoping skeptics and debunkers hop on the thread to provide evidence of what would make a hoax.

I'm really hoping that some folks on UM can cite examples of good hoaxes in the hopes of showing folks just how good ghost hoaxes can be. My personal capability of hoaxing happens to suck big time.

Hoaxes seem to convince a lot of folks.. and I wonder why. Wonder how people come up with hoaxes that seem to convince a lot of people.

Please Spud, I meant no stirring of trouble with this. If this thread gets to be trouble, I will ask mods to lock it. If folks suggest seriously trouble with their responses, I will ask the mods to attend to it. I seriously didn't think my example of what I would would be construed as such.

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Posted (edited)

We had these threads before but Saru had closed three threads because each time turned into a massive argument.

Edited by Brian Topp

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I saw what could have been a hoax last winter, but it wasn't meant to be.

I had just turned into our housing development (this was after dark) and I was driving past a "park" type setting near the entrance. Anyway, as I drove past slowly, because of kids, I came to the end of the park where there is a solid fence, a path, lots of trees and it is very dark. I noticed "lights" dancing off the ground, like fireflies. But the "lights" were too large for any insects and they were also in somewhat of a loose/sparse torso and limb pattern. I drove on home but could not figure out what I was seeing and it bothered me. So I turned around and went back. Under the lights in the park parking area I saw a family getting into their car and caught a glimpse of one glowing orange shape on one of the kid's coats.

So, mystery solved. It was a family in dark clothing with coats on that had reflectors all over them. But driving by and in the darkness of the path I couldn't make out anything but the reflectors dancing in the dark.

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There are many hoaxes mostly found on youtube.

There are tricks people use to alter the viewers perception to make something nothing to brag about to something that seems fantastic.

1. Music helps Alters the perception, it is part of our Culture. Music is to alter your emotional to draw you in. with paranormal youtube videos, 95% of videos that are paranormal have a creepy music.

2. Wall of text, This is where they tell you a story before present their "evidence". The back story is to suck the viewer by creating an eerie anticipation before even watching the video is even seen! The story varies from telling what happened prior to what they caught, To some historical past (which could be made up), others are pointless exposition with lots of explanation marks and sometimes 1's.

3.When they present their evidence I have seen them using the viewers lack of knowledge on uncommon things, such dust reflections, altering sound recordings, having people doing things off camera such as pressing the power on or off.

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Gullible people tend to rule out hoax right off the bat, for all sorts of silly reasons. (My favorite is that the crop circle could not have been made in a single night and be so geometrically perfect). The rest of us have trouble mentioning that possibility because of libel laws and politeness. Hoaxes can be carefully designed and almost impossible to penetrate, and when they make money for the perpetrator you can be assured he has lawyers sitting around.

We also need to remember the existence of the phenomenon of the "pious fraud," where the saving of souls, or convincing the world of a danger, or whatever, is seen as a greater good than the lie involved in the fraud.

I once had a pious fraud pulled on me by a pair of young Mormon missionaries ("elders"). They pointed out that the Book of Mormon predicted the beginning of the American Civil War in South Carolina. Of course there was no detail, and it was not mentioned to me that the thing was written after the fact.

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Just take a video in an old abandoned house at night, pull out you editing software, and start putting yellow circles around things.

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interesting post rashore

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Posted (edited)

The best hoaxes, i.e. the ones that sucker the most people, are the ones that sound like a real world story.

The silly creepypasta stories and dumb YouTube videos with creepy music aren't good hoaxes because no-one believes them. Yeah, a few people will fall for them, but they never take legs and go anywhere apart from gaining a few credulous believers on blogs, YouTube and sites like this.

A good hoax needs to be given the air of authenticity. Take, for example, Slenderman. It's not just a creepy boogeyman figure with a bad creepypasta story behind it. The original Something Awful post gave it a credible sounding backstory. A location in the real world. A plausible sounding tragic event. Quotes from people. Written in plain clear English and not the kind of rambling badly written style typical of creepypasta.

“We didn’t want to go, we didn’t want to kill them, but its persistent silence and outstretched arms horrified and comforted us at the same time…” – 1983, photographer unknown, presumed dead.

One of two recovered photographs from the Stirling City Library blaze. Notable for being taken the day which fourteen children vanished and for what is referred to as “The Slender Man”. Deformities cited as film defects by officials. Fire at library occurred one week later. Actual photograph confiscated as evidence. – 1986, photographer: Mary Thomas, missing since June 13th, 1986.

From the original Slender Man thread on Something Awful.

Doesn't have the air of a real event? It's got dates, a location, quotes from relevant people, the name of the photographer, one of the photos has an official looking watermark on it, etc. And the photoshopped slenderman in the background of the 2 photos sealed the deal of course. It all sounds like a news story and not some amateur YouTube video with a dumb soundtrack.

I believe that's why it took legs and gained such notoriety. People who believe and want to believe this kind of thing don't use Google to verify it. They see something plausible sounding and copy and paste it and it gets around despite being made up out of thin air. Why Google the story when the story has all the details already?

Edited by JesseCuster
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Holy crap I hope not... I was just using that as an example as to how hoaxes could be done. I'm no good with CG or other video stuff otherwise I would have used that as example. Best I can come up with is wearing a ghost costume on my local section of road- that's why I said that's what I would do, because it's probably the best of my hoaxing capabilities. And because I've known of several accounts of real folks that mess with legends like that. Though you are right, I suppose I could have used being in a cemetery where folks don't actually drive through. I got a soft spot for cemeteries, and roadsides are usually more legal than cemeteries after dark. I can't even do a decent pull furniture with a string hoax- always looks too hoaxish to me. I've tried that, and it just makes my hubby look stupid at me and my cats think I'm playing. I would have used orbs as an example, except bugs and dust are too often disclaimed. I suppose I could have used a cursed object hoax too in retrospect.

I wouldn't bother with any of that.

Get a ghost app on your iPhone or Android phone, take a photo of something boring like your backyard or street outside your house, use the ghost app to insert a ghost of someone in ye olde type clothing, call the Daily Mail and tell them you only noticed the ghost after you uploaded it to your computer and tell them you think it's your Great Great Uncle Cornelius or something. No video editing or photoshop knowledge needed whatsoever.

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The hardest part is you need believable people and they may have to lie for you. A college student with computer skills is a red flag. A nice elderly couple with "nothing to gain" is great.

Now trick them into seeing "something". It doesn't have to be impressive or convincing. Once you have them swearing that they saw a ghost/UFO/alien/whatever, then you're free to "investigate" and report even more incredible sightings. Of course you won't bring the elderly couple because they would drop dead at what you report and claim to have captured on video.

It helps to do your hoax in a fairly small town and it helps to have connections at the local newspaper or television station. Get lots of people believing you as quickly as possible. Remember that you need a story with a person behind it, not just some anonymous video or photos. Don't rush to the Internet and start posting under a fake name. That's what killed the California Drones hoax and a lot of labor was wasted. People don't even care who was behind it now!

The Gulf Breeze hoax is one of the best examples of a well-planned and elaborate scam. With crummy doctored Polaroids and some ridiculous abduction stories (and a robot from outer space!), Ed Walters was able to get dozens and dozens of people in the area claiming to have seen the very thing he was hoaxing. Many of these people were those elderly couples who had nothing to gain. Naturally many people thought all those nice folks wouldn't lie about things so for a while Ed Walters was the most important man in the history of UFOlogy... until it all fell apart.

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Posted (edited)

Like this...

Edited by Saru
Fixed video - use "http" instead of "https"
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I'm sure others would go a different route, but this is how I'd personally go about it.

As far as online content goes, unless I was actually skilled with photoshop and video editing, I wouldn't bother with them. People will rip it apart in no time. It's hard to explain why shadows are off, coloring isn't consistant, or the EXIF data says "Adobe Photoshop."

I'd just set up something weird in real life and snap a photo or video of it. It's easy to set up angles and effects with a stationary camera, and you can always claim it's a security or trap camera. Things like Pepper's Ghost and rear-projections would probably be great for this. If it's done correctly, I'd imagine it'd be difficult to actually prove as a hoax, even if people are pretty sure it's fake.

Also, be subtle. It's better to have a slightly "weird" photo than the holy grail of ghost/UFO/whatever proof. I wouldn't pretend to know exactly what it is; let people fill in their own blanks. Leave it vague like, "heard noises, set up camera, got this weird photo, don't know what it is."

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Well, anything I see/read about "evidence" in media regarding paranormal stuff is not taken very seriously. I have my own personal experiences with the unexplained and spirits... so I personally know the phonomena to be true but anything can be faked to the public.

Take my photoshopped avatar for example. Someone could have done similiar, except increased the female "ghost" opacity so it's barely visible and create a story. I have been doing 3D and 2D graphic arts for about 12 years and could easily produce a reasonable video hoax using Adobe After Effects within 15 minutes. After effects is the "photoshop" program for video.

So when I see something very convincing on youtube or on other media my attitude is always "Cool if it's real". Nothing more. I wish hoaxes didn't happen, but people will be people.

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It's very easy for a simple photo. There's countless apps where you can take a photo and paste a little ghost in the background. Or you can use a program on the computer. You don't even need Photoshop. Something simple where you blur, smudge, or change the opacity of something will work.

A lot people don't believe most photos of paranormal things because there's so many ways to fake them with little effort.

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Things like Pepper's Ghost and rear-projections would probably be great for this. If it's done correctly, I'd imagine it'd be difficult to actually prove as a hoax, even if people are pretty sure it's fake.

The old classic tricks are getting lost in these days of cheap Photoshop hoaxes. These days illusions like that are usually accidental!

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Posted (edited)

Hoaxes are great,... tells us more about ourselves than anything else.

Edited by Hazzard
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I wish we had made fake UFOs in art class. It looks like lots of fun!

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Hoaxes are great,... tells us more about ourselves than anything else.

[media=]

[/media]

THIS VIDEO IS FAKE! I CAN PROOVE IT, NO KID CAN GET THAT MUCH AWESOME STUFF TO MAKE A UFO!

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I remember a little elf peeking around the croquet mallet taken half a century ago before photoshop. I never doubted that it was a hoax -- just too cute -- but what was the point since no one ever took credit?

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I remember a little elf peeking around the croquet mallet taken half a century ago before photoshop. I never doubted that it was a hoax -- just too cute -- but what was the point since no one ever took credit?

Frank, wasn't that one of Santa's diminutive indentured servants making a plea for better working conditions at the North Pole? Or is that what I saw in my neighbor's garden during my walk yesterday?

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