Fortean Photography: Photos from the Chicago Flying Humanoid Flap

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With all of the stories coming in from Chicago regarding flying humanoids (up to at least 39 reports now), it is only fitting to look at a couple of images from these reports using the analysis techniques discussed last month.

The first case involved a woman and her husband who spotted a “giant bat” coming out of a Best Buy in Melrose Park. They managed to capture the following image on their cellular phone.

Whatever this thing is, it was in the sky when they took this photograph.

Whatever this thing is, it was in the sky when they took this photograph.

I can immediately tell this photo has been uploaded to social media, and it has been compressed to a lower resolution in order to load quickly on social feeds. If you zoom into the image as I did, you can see a lot of compression artifacts surrounding the area where the light poles and trees meet the sky. In instances where objects have been photoshopped into an image, such imperfections can occur where an object has been cut out and manipulated into a preexisting image. The artifacts are more precise surrounding the light poles, and less so surrounding the treetops. The inconsistent nature of these pixels are more characteristic of image compression than an object being collaged into a photograph. There are also no imperfections surrounding the object in the sky, which makes me believe that, whatever it is, the flying thing was actually present at the time the picture was taken. I don’t know what they saw, but as far as I can tell this image is authentic.

The precise lines around this light pole indicate that the image has been compressed.

The precise lines around this light pole indicate that the image has been compressed.

The second image was sent anonymously to an investigator, and has clearly been manipulated. I checked the metadata prior to examining this photograph, but like most images, it had been uploaded to social media, and therefore the metadata was stripped from the raw file information.

The object chosen to be inserted into this image was likely purposely small to try and mask its manipulation.

The object chosen to be inserted into this image was likely purposely small to try and mask its manipulation.

I zoomed in on the object, and knew right away that this image was hoaxed. You can see perfect square pixelation surrounding the object, which to me says that this was cut out with a rectangular marquee tool, and pasted onto the scene. The object and the image it is placed into are also completely different resolutions--the background being high resolution and containing more detail, whereas the object was taken from a very poor quality, pixelated, low-resolution photograph.

The pixelation around this object is indicative of it having been copied and pasted onto an existing image.

The pixelation around this object is indicative of it having been copied and pasted onto an existing image.

Unfortunately, the flying humanoid being reported in Chicago has so far managed to avoid conclusive photographic proof, but at least utilizing these skills won't have us wasting our time chasing hoaxes.

Unusually Yours,

~Emily

Tobias Wayland3 Comments