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November 14, 2007 6:24 AM   Subscribe

Sometimes weird things happen. And sometimes there is snark.
posted by butterstick (103 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's just a weather balloon, clearly.
posted by hermitosis at 6:29 AM on November 14, 2007


Can't hit the SomehingAwful link from work, but I've seen the video on my local news stations. I call bullshit!
posted by Fferret at 6:29 AM on November 14, 2007


Looking at the screencap, I'd say it resembles nothing as closely as poor photoshop skills. But maybe seeing it moving will convince me.

Aha, here it is.

....

lolol...*wipes tears from eyes*....No. But good try.
posted by DU at 6:30 AM on November 14, 2007


The Spirit of Metafilter, She Does Wander.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:32 AM on November 14, 2007 [9 favorites]


Best comment from the SA forum:

Looks more like the Virgin Mary to me.

posted by TedW at 6:32 AM on November 14, 2007


Also, what exactly is the SA link adding to this post? The snark/noise ratio is very low.
posted by DU at 6:34 AM on November 14, 2007


Hmm...close to Cleveland. Supernatural experience. Unearthly presence. Flighty and strange. Yep. It's obviously Dennis Kucinich.
posted by billysumday at 6:34 AM on November 14, 2007


Huh, I was going to say it must be because of the Cleveland Hellmouth.
posted by bassjump at 6:39 AM on November 14, 2007 [7 favorites]


insect on camera lens + local news = ghost/virginmary/increase in slurpy sales!
posted by R. Mutt at 6:41 AM on November 14, 2007


The Spirit of Metafilter, She Does Wander.

It is rather #006699, yeah. Is this viral marketing?
posted by soundofsuburbia at 6:44 AM on November 14, 2007


I must say that the attitude of the anchordroids is pretty depressing. I mean, either this is a fake (intentional or not) OR it is paradigm shattering. Their reaction? "I dunno. Now sports." Neither critical thinking nor intellectual (or even merely spiritual) excitement or engagement.

A gullible believer who actually thinks this is an angel would actually be an improvement over these idiots. At least the nutjob recognizes the potential importance of such a discovery. Instead they throw up their hands. No wonder all journalism is now he-said/she-said.
posted by DU at 6:47 AM on November 14, 2007 [6 favorites]


Even better than the moth angel sighting over the SC State fair.
posted by sourwookie at 6:49 AM on November 14, 2007


From the YouTube comments:

"Don't want to burst people's bubbles if they want to think this is an "angel or ghost" but this is a bug, no doubt. Look at the shape it is a grasshopper (or similar). Especially look at the way it moves.
"

Yep, definitely a grasshopper (or similar).
posted by inconsequentialist at 6:51 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Based on the people getting gas like normal, it only showed up on the camera right? So there's a piece of plastic or a bug on a lens, and it makes TV. Thanks, local news.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:59 AM on November 14, 2007


I must say that the attitude of the anchordroids is pretty depressing. I mean, either this is a fake (intentional or not) OR it is paradigm shattering. Their reaction? "I dunno. Now sports."

It's a little odd to be dispassionate about a mystery, but "I don't know" is often the best intellectual response. Without further investigation, how could the "anchordroids" have any meaningful opinion about what it is? Given that, "I don't know" makes sense to me. Like them, I don't know what it is, either.

"I don't know" needn't be a Twilight-zone phrase. When I say it, I don't mean to imply that since I don't know, it must be something unexplainable, supernatural or exotic. It's probably something ordinary (like an insect on the lens). For me, "I don't know" just means "I don't know."
posted by grumblebee at 7:03 AM on November 14, 2007


"If you see a ghost, cut the motherfucker." - Dolemite
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:04 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Know what it looks like to me? Pardon me for getting all philosophical, but maybe our entire universe is just a Maxi Pad in another universe's TV commercial. We're super absorbent!
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 7:04 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


This would be a great viral marketing campaign for "The Mist," due out in theaters this month, if the witnesses weren't so screwy.

And please don't take the snark link out. It warms my heart to see comments like, "It looks more like the Virgin Mary to me."

Incidentally, I'm in Florida, and a lady here just sold some toasted thing in which the images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary magically appeared for a coupla thousand on ebay. We get stuff like this all the time.
posted by misha at 7:07 AM on November 14, 2007


Well it's the eyewitness accounts that are weak. The station owner saw it, and for well over 30 minutes.

So either he's in on the hoax, or it's not a bug/platic bag.
posted by butterstick at 7:07 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Those news stories all make it sound like it was seen directly by witnesses and caught on camera. For example: "'It gives me the chills,' a witness said" and "Several witnesses to the odd occurance believe that the image was either a ghost or an angel." But in fact this last sentence has the witnesses talking about an "image". I have a strong suspicion that these "witnesses" are just people who saw the video just like we all did. If my suspicion is true, then 1) this is not the correct use of the word "witness", and 2) it's obviously something really close to the lens, like an insect.

Or is there a real witness who can actually attest to having seen it? If "an eerie blue cloud was spotted floating and darting around customers" then who are these customers it was floating around?
posted by creasy boy at 7:11 AM on November 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


The station owner saw it, and for well over 30 minutes

Yeah, but it doesn't say whether he was watching it on the monitor or not, which was my thought as to the likelihood of a bug/plastic bag.

Is there such a thing as a bright blue grasshopper? Even when it is blurred? Most insects I know of look a bit shitty/brown when close up. Or do extremely close images reflect the blue spectrum in these surveillance cameras?

Also: I think the news anchors "I don't know" response is spot on. People that leap to a conclusion based on watching an ambiguous video and present it as fact are the kind of people that create religions and/or hysterical followings in the easily led...

Someone wrote a big book that 'explained' conveniently a lot of natural phenomena (quite a while ago now) and loads of people now believe it as fact purely do to it being portrayed as such in the book, despite the only supporting evidence being the book text itself. Best to be honest and say "I don't know". Especially when you are presenting news and merely employed as a 'face'. Newscasters are rarely in a position of sufficient knowledge to draw conclusions from the evidence given to them to present.
posted by Brockles at 7:15 AM on November 14, 2007


...but "I don't know" is often the best intellectual response.

Agreed. But the homunculi mouthing these words weren't offering it as an intellectual response. Like, they didn't spend even a couple seconds asking questions and receiving baffling replies. They looked at something they didn't understand and then, without even blinking, moved on to the next item on the agenda. They are dead inside.
posted by DU at 7:16 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


It is rather #006699

Looks a lot redder- somewhere about #6CB0CA. Definitely not MetaFilter
posted by MtDewd at 7:20 AM on November 14, 2007


I love the possibility that, if in fact this was an angel, the story makes a pit stop in the laugh bin at your local news station well on its way to Youtube mème-ry. Based on what? The very confident statement that, "Dude, that's not what angels look like. Dumbass." The fuck do you know?
posted by phaedon at 7:21 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, that apparition is my favorite color. :) I for one, welcome our new aqua vapor overlords.

A quick google of today's news with ufo in the search:

Former pilots, officials call for UFO probe

UFOs are not just a case of science fiction, say pilots

Journalist Sues NASA to Get Them to Locate UFO Case Records

Residents of a small Pennsylvania town in 1965 who witnessed blue lights and a crashing fireball want to know what armed soldiers - who came to their doors to tell them not to say anything about it - removed from the woods that night on a flatbed.


Former Arizona Governor Fife Symington: (CNN) -- In 1997, during my second term as governor of Arizona, I saw something that defied logic and challenged my reality.
posted by nickyskye at 7:22 AM on November 14, 2007


I think the news anchors "I don't know" response is spot on. People that leap to a conclusion based on watching an ambiguous video and present it as fact are the kind of people that create religions and/or hysterical followings in the easily led...

Oh for crying out loud. Look, I'm not saying a local news anchor has to be able to instantly debunk any claim that comes across his desk. "I don't know" is perfectly acceptable. In fact, as someone said, the most exciting phrase in science isn't "eureka" but "huh....that's funny".

My point is that the anchors have no engagement. The phenomenon, as presented, would seem to run counter to many basic scientific theories. It could have world-changing repurcussions for religion and culture. And their reaction was....to just move on.

You might say that they didn't have time to ask any questions. They sure had time to make some lame X-Files and Ghostbusters "jokes". Replace a single one of the hackneyed phrases with just a question like "did any one see it off-camera" and you'd have the glimmerings of real journalism.
posted by DU at 7:24 AM on November 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


The very confident statement that, "Dude, that's not what angels look like. Dumbass." The fuck do you know?

I have seen It's a Wonderful Life; angels look like this. Now if you'll excuse me, there's a bell I've got to ring.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:29 AM on November 14, 2007


?
posted by jinjo at 7:30 AM on November 14, 2007


askjfhsfgfg fail.
posted by jinjo at 7:31 AM on November 14, 2007


...Why does it keep doing that?

I am determined to make this joke
posted by jinjo at 7:32 AM on November 14, 2007 [7 favorites]


Don't be silly, people. It was just another horny reptilian lookin' for love. I swear, they're just everywhere.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:33 AM on November 14, 2007


I'd also be interested to know if there were actual eyewitnesses as opposed to people watching a cctv feed. Angels and ufos aside, the fact that something anomalous is immediately pelted with ridicule just because some local says "angel" would be discouraging if, for example, this was some kind of ultra rare ground level atmospheric phenomena that was finally captured on tape.
posted by well_balanced at 7:45 AM on November 14, 2007


How can we distinguish between ghostly activity and terrorism? Why aren't there already FBI and Boston police officers on site to ensure our safety?
posted by ardgedee at 7:46 AM on November 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


Replace a single one of the hackneyed phrases with just a question like "did any one see it off-camera" and you'd have the glimmerings of real journalism.

You think that news anchor people are actually (or even supposed to be) journalists? Really?

How odd.
posted by Brockles at 7:46 AM on November 14, 2007


LOL Beauty
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:53 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


The phenomenon, as presented, would seem to run counter to many basic scientific theories. It could have world-changing repurcussions for religion and culture. And their reaction was....to just move on.

Uhhh, yeah, because this sort of mysterious thing has happened eighteen billion times before and, without exception, it never turns out to have world-changing repercussions for religion and culture. So most people set the bar a little higher before dropping everything and preparing themselves for an earth-shaking paradigm shift. That way, you can get through a stack of pancakes at the IHOP without having to check every one for the Savior first.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:56 AM on November 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


MtDewd writes "It is rather #006699

"Looks a lot redder- somewhere about #6CB0CA. Definitely not MetaFilter"


Perhaps MetaFilter put on some rouge before going out?
posted by never used baby shoes at 7:57 AM on November 14, 2007


...because this sort of mysterious thing has happened eighteen billion times before and, without exception, it never turns out to have world-changing repercussions for religion and culture.

Excellent point! But it still leads to my same conclusion that newsbeasts are dead inside. Because if they pass on it because they know it's just nonsense, why is it on the news, presented as fact?
posted by DU at 8:10 AM on November 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


creasy boy: "Those news stories all make it sound like it was seen directly by witnesses and caught on camera. For example: "'It gives me the chills,' a witness said" and "Several witnesses to the odd occurance believe that the image was either a ghost or an angel." But in fact this last sentence has the witnesses talking about an "image". I have a strong suspicion that these "witnesses" are just people who saw the video just like we all did. If my suspicion is true, then 1) this is not the correct use of the word "witness", and 2) it's obviously something really close to the lens, like an insect."

The fact that the "eyewitnesses" were actually looking at the image is the first point. This indicates pretty strongly that it's just a camera fluke, like an insect.

The second point is:

butterstick: "The station owner saw it, and for well over 30 minutes.

Brockles: "Yeah, but it doesn't say whether he was watching it on the monitor or not, which was my thought as to the likelihood of a bug/plastic bag."

And this is why I'm pretty sure it's a hoax; or, rather, a camera flare or insect that the station owner knowingly blew out of proportion. Why? Because he "watched it for 30 minutes" and stayed inside. We don't see him on camera, wandering around it and looking. By all accounts, he seems to have manned his post diligently, staying inside and watching on security cam. It shows a great amount of loyalty to Marathon, his employers, that he continued selling candy bars and carbonated drinks inside while there was a floating blue apparition just outside the door that everybody was gaping at.

I'm not buying it.

Also, it's obviously not an insect -- 30 minutes? It's camera flare. Notice from news footage that the sign of the gas station is precisely the same shade of blue as the apparition, and backlit to boot. Somebody was parked in the right spot, opened the door, and drove away; the flare shifted, and then sped off.
posted by koeselitz at 8:11 AM on November 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


Devil spotted at California gas station
posted by phaedon at 8:12 AM on November 14, 2007


My point is that the anchors have no engagement. The phenomenon, as presented, would seem to run counter to many basic scientific theories. It could have world-changing repurcussions for religion and culture. And their reaction was....to just move on.

It's happened over and over again, though, and we know exactly what causes it- something very close to the camera lens, close enough to be out of focus. Moving on is precisely the proper reaction.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:19 AM on November 14, 2007


Parma? It's the Virgin Drew Carey!
posted by quonsar at 8:19 AM on November 14, 2007


I thought this would be interesting for like two seconds. You have to read between the lazy/deliberately obfuscatory writing, but it's obvious that nobody saw the thing in three dimensions - only on the camera.
posted by anazgnos at 8:22 AM on November 14, 2007


Because if they pass on it because they know it's just nonsense, why is it on the news, presented as fact?

Presumably for the same reason that local TV news choppers spend so much time following car chases; because it sells more soap than, say, in-depth investigations into local school board finances.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:22 AM on November 14, 2007




..because it sells more soap....

That's what I said: dead inside.
posted by DU at 8:24 AM on November 14, 2007


I mean, either this is a fake (intentional or not) OR it is paradigm shattering.

plus

My point is that the anchors have no engagement.

Look, it's the anchors' job—and professional inclination—to be genially detached in reporting this, because it's a ridiculous fucking slow-news-day segment.

That is not the majesty of the supernatural in evidence there. It's some goddam noise of unexplained but banal origin on a gas station CCT tape. What the anchors were doing, in their detachment, was trying to present a bit that they knew was bone-stupid as a legit if light-hearted news segment, becuase that's what the station was going with that night. Lack of detachment would have looked like this:

MALE ANCHOR: You're fucking kidding me.
FEMALE ANCHOR: Jesus. Jesus. I thought this was a news desk.
MALE ANCHOR: This story goes or I do.
FEMALE ANCHOR: [obscene hand gesture directed toward control booth]

An open-minded view of the universe is one thing. Drawing conclusions about the dead-eyedness of TV news hacks for not taking seriously something as ridiculous as that blue blob is another entirely. This is not what a shifting paradigm looks like; this is a freakin' blue blob.
posted by cortex at 8:24 AM on November 14, 2007 [8 favorites]


You know, I find as as I travel around Ohio that it's usually young people that ask me about the yurply cloud..
posted by phaedon at 8:25 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sometimes weird things happen. And sometimes there is snark.

What are you, the narrator from Magnolia?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:26 AM on November 14, 2007


It's happened over and over again, though, and we know exactly what causes it- something very close to the camera lens, close enough to be out of focus. Moving on is precisely the proper reaction.

If that is the case would not the cctv tapes be filled with this kind of stuff? Unless you can be certain that this was not observed directly, as opposed to only from cctv, then it's just a guess. It doesn't seem to me that there is even remotely enough accurate information in these little paragraph stories to draw anything but speculation.
posted by well_balanced at 8:27 AM on November 14, 2007


FEMALE ANCHOR: Jesus. Jesus. I thought this was a news desk.
MALE ANCHOR: This story goes or I do.


I'm not seeing the downside of this reaction.
posted by DU at 8:28 AM on November 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


Lack of detachment.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:34 AM on November 14, 2007 [8 favorites]


Blue cheese farts!
It swings and it darts.
Floating in the air, winning our hearts.
Oh my darling has blue cheese farts
which flies thru the air
with the greatness of cheese.
She's the lady at the gas tank
that farted blue cheese.
posted by doctorschlock at 8:35 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sometimes crappy posts happen. Always there is snark. Keep up!
posted by prostyle at 8:36 AM on November 14, 2007


I'm with DU on this one. This is hardly the decisive evidence that news anchors are intellectually removed from the news they report, but is rather another example of a nasty trend.

Oh, and, ooh shiny and blue!
posted by slimepuppy at 8:39 AM on November 14, 2007


Pope Guilty: "It's happened over and over again, though, and we know exactly what causes it- something very close to the camera lens, close enough to be out of focus. Moving on is precisely the proper reaction."

well_balanced: "If that is the case would not the cctv tapes be filled with this kind of stuff? Unless you can be certain that this was not observed directly, as opposed to only from cctv, then it's just a guess. It doesn't seem to me that there is even remotely enough accurate information in these little paragraph stories to draw anything but speculation."


As I said above, I think it's a camera flare, not an insect. In which case, it's perfectly reasonable for there not to be lots and lots of CCTV images of it. Why? Because there are an infinite number of places in a gas-station parking lot for a vehicle to be placed.

In fact, it seems to me that, given the regular and frequent motion of the shape, it was caused by light from the sign bouncing off of the door of the gas station and then a car. It makes a regular circuit around the camera's view; it does this somewhat frequently, as often as one can expect the door to open. However, the angle is wrong for it to be coming directly off of the door.

Then, somebody got in the car and drove off. It's unlikely that anybody come back and park in the same place at the same angle. Maybe he'd parked in an uncommon parking place, or parked the wrong way. Either way, it's perfectly reasonable that it never be seen again.

And even if it was seen again, the station owner, who I'm convinced knows this is fake, wouldn't say a thing about it.
posted by koeselitz at 8:41 AM on November 14, 2007


I'm not seeing the downside of this reaction.

I guess that's understandable when it's not your job on the line. But if you're arguing that them not being detached and thus getting canned is a good thing, you're arguing for more willfully pliant, less potentially thoughtful anchors to replace them when the desk decides to play it safe after The Meltdown.

TV news sucks, but that's not the work of the talking heads.
posted by cortex at 8:46 AM on November 14, 2007


I was previously under the impression that the owner and customers had actually witnessed it, i.e. with their eyes. If that is incorrect, then there could be any number of explanations, most of which are camera related. I concede that makes this a lot less interesting.

It's simply not a lens flare. I'm a photographer. I know flare. Insect I could buy, since it does seem to be almost ON the lens at times, but they way it moves is all wrong.

Obviously we need the unedited footage.
posted by butterstick at 9:00 AM on November 14, 2007


All that needs to happen is somebody goes down to the station with a long ladder and a reasonably accomodating live grasshopper.
posted by anazgnos at 9:10 AM on November 14, 2007


Did people actually see this thing in real life or just on video? After about 2 minutes of watching it I would have went outside for a closer look. Probably just a bag/bug/water vapor/something easily explained by a smart dude in a lab coat.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 9:12 AM on November 14, 2007


(And yes, of course it's only on the tape. Great big blue fucking cloud floating at the gas station for a half an hour = something you take a picture of. The whole promulgation of the story depends on carefully hedging the wording of the story to not quite explicitly state that nobody fucking saw the thing except on tape.)
posted by cortex at 9:15 AM on November 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


Boo Berry unavailable for comment.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:21 AM on November 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's a kicker. You do the story and move to sports - or say goodnight (depends on where you put your kicker in your show). In live TV, producers have to hit stories or segments at certain times.

On rare occasions anchors have time to bs about a story.

Most of the time, it's the Johnny Carson routine: "That's weird, wild stuff" and move to the next story or toss to the weather guy or whatever.
posted by wfc123 at 9:21 AM on November 14, 2007


All that needs to happen is somebody goes down to the station with a long ladder and a reasonably accomodating live BLUE grasshopper.

Corrected that for you.

Lens flare/reflection is still not out of the question, though. Especially if there us a perspex cover over the camera. It may have been reflecting onto that.
posted by Brockles at 9:23 AM on November 14, 2007


WABC-7 (NYC) weatherman just called it "the ghost of 25 cent gas".
posted by wfc123 at 9:30 AM on November 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


It certainly doesn't look like a flare. It looks like something that's translucent and out of focus. I'm with the theory proposed in the SA thread that it's one of those little tabs that come off of the handles of plastic shopping bags. It floated around in the wind and then got stuck to the front of the camera housing.
posted by zsazsa at 9:31 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Angel, my hairy hole.
What kind of surveillance camera tracks moving objects?
posted by DZ-015 at 9:32 AM on November 14, 2007


...he "watched it for 30 minutes" and stayed inside. We don't see him on camera, wandering around it and looking.

Why go outside to look? If TV is telling me there's a blue ghost outside, then there's a blue ghost outside. It's on the CCTV monitor. It's on TV. It's real. Duh.

The whole promulgation of the story depends on carefully hedging the wording of the story to not quite explicitly state that nobody fucking saw the thing except on tape.

TV news would never suggest that you shouldn't believe what you see on TV.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:40 AM on November 14, 2007


It's obviously a superintelligent shade of the colour blue.
posted by Zero Gravitas at 9:41 AM on November 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


Bug.On.The.Camera.Lens. Or a camera side effect — see previously: Skyfish Revealed.

If it's actually moving around the outside of the gas station, why don't we see blue reflections on the cars and gas pumps? Pehaps it's a vampiric ghost?
posted by cenoxo at 9:42 AM on November 14, 2007


From the outline and the movement it like one of these to me. Niot sure why it would be showing up as blue (or out of focus and gigantic, if indeed it isn't just trapped int he camera enclosure).
posted by Artw at 9:48 AM on November 14, 2007


I've solved the mystery!

regard:

The Spirit of Metafilter, She Does Wander.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:32 AM on November 14


oh ho!

It is rather #006699, yeah. Is this viral marketing?
posted by soundofsuburbia at 9:44 AM on November 14


the plot thickens!

Looks a lot redder- somewhere about #6CB0CA. Definitely not MetaFilter
posted by MtDewd at 10:20 AM on November 14


*puffs on pipe dramatically.* MtDewd, your powers of observation are admirable, as are those of both robocopisbleeding and soundofsuburbia, but I'm afraid the truth of the matter lies not entirely in either camp. Rather, I think we'll find it *pause*... somewhere in between.

*paces thoughtfully, glaring at all parties in the room in turn.*

Consider! The blue is no doubt reminiscent of Metafilter's own cherished cerulean, but as MtDewd pointed out, it is... inexact, in precisely the way that ratiocination and the investigative process of the detective cannot afford to be. So no, we cannot assume that metafilter is directly responsible; the thought is quite literally incredible. But are we not somewhat near the cause? Can we not deduce the explanation, seek out its root among one of the people-

*pauses dramatically again, facing away from everyone else before whirling to face them all*

-IN THIS VERY ROOM?

*another pause to allow for shocked gasping and women feeling faint to be attended to.*

Indeed, I assert that very claim! As difficult as it may be for many of us to believe, it is not that difficult for this detective to believe. No, it is an unfortunate fact that we often plant the seeds of wrong doing in our own backyards only to see them bear fruit when we least expect it!

*cocks eyebrow, making sure everyone followed his metaphor.*

So what is the cause? What is this blue that is not our blue but yet it is? Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you...

the culprit!

Officer, detain that man. I think you will find his clothing to be rather... linty.
posted by shmegegge at 9:53 AM on November 14, 2007 [13 favorites]


butterstick: "It's simply not a lens flare. I'm a photographer. I know flare. Insect I could buy, since it does seem to be almost ON the lens at times, but they way it moves is all wrong."

Okay, I guess I mean a reflection on the glass covering the lens. Isn't it odd that the glowing sign and the apparition are the same color?
posted by koeselitz at 10:00 AM on November 14, 2007


Good lord, Prof. Gegge. Spot on as always; it's frightfully obvious when you lay it all out like that, wot.
posted by cortex at 10:04 AM on November 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


If it's a security camera, it likely has an additional plexiglas covering an inch or so beyond the lens, for weather- and tamperproofing. That may explain why it does not look like the usual lens flare that a photographer may recognize.
posted by rokusan at 10:05 AM on November 14, 2007


"Why go outside to look? If TV is telling me there's a blue ghost outside, then there's a blue ghost outside. It's on the CCTV monitor. It's on TV. It's real. Duh."

Actually this is kind of a good point. Had this incident simply been eye witnessed by thirty of the most respected scientists on earth, but not captured on tape, it never would have made the news.

Nothing is real until you can repeatedly demonstrate it at will to anyone who wants to see it, like on TV.
posted by 517 at 10:19 AM on November 14, 2007


All that needs to happen is somebody goes down to the station with a long ladder and a reasonably accomodating live grasshopper.
- anazgnos

Not a good idea. It would probably trigger either WWIII or a grasshopper cult.
"Excuse me, have you ever heard the gospel of his chitinousness?"
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:19 AM on November 14, 2007


I like the people who think it's an angel. In the event of an invsion of giant extradimensional out-of-focus blue insects they will no doubt be eaten first, giving me a greater chance for escape.
posted by Artw at 10:22 AM on November 14, 2007


Nothing is real worth believing until you can repeatedly demonstrate it at will to anyone who wants to see it, like on TV.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:27 AM on November 14, 2007


Come on, it's obviously just Bun E. Carlos having a lark.
posted by breezeway at 10:27 AM on November 14, 2007


It's obviously a member of the Blue Man Group having an out of body experience. Nobody is reacting because he's not bothering to blow confetti out of his nose.
posted by maryh at 10:32 AM on November 14, 2007


I love the possibility that, if in fact this was an angel, the story makes a pit stop in the laugh bin at your local news station well on its way to Youtube mème-ry. Based on what? The very confident statement that, "Dude, that's not what angels look like. Dumbass." The fuck do you know?

Because God made angels in His image. And that's not what God looks like.
posted by mathis23 at 10:34 AM on November 14, 2007


yeah.. when i figure out how to come back to earth as a blue ghost, i'm totally gonna hang out at a gas station in bumf*ck ohio. i'm sooo doin that.
posted by buzby36 at 10:36 AM on November 14, 2007


He's green and has more tentacles.
posted by Artw at 10:37 AM on November 14, 2007


The planet Venus is mightly low in it’s orbit today.

Actually, it looks to me more like hyperbole on a slow news day.

Given no one is seeing this in real time, I wouldn’t attribute some magical ghost/angel seeing power to the CCtvs.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:44 AM on November 14, 2007


Just call me angel of the Parma, angel
just buy a Slurpie 'fore you leave me, baby.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:53 AM on November 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


That "ghost of 25-cent gas" crack is a pretty good line, for a local weatherman. I wonder if he's a moonlighting WGA member?
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:55 AM on November 14, 2007


Metafilter: This is not what a shifting paradigm looks like; this is a freakin' blue blob.
posted by ooga_booga at 10:59 AM on November 14, 2007


Jesus, you people are predictable: It was a garbage bag, it was a lens flare, it was an insect, blah blah blah...

Please. Spare me your wild suppositions.

Anyone can plainly see that it was just swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light from Venus.

I mean, come on. Just use your basic common sense.
posted by quin at 11:26 AM on November 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


just another ambient informatic on the urban landscape. they're ubiquitous, you know.
posted by quonsar at 1:02 PM on November 14, 2007


And people wonder why I've given up on TV....
posted by DreamerFi at 1:46 PM on November 14, 2007


Poe: the Sphinx
posted by jettloe at 2:24 PM on November 14, 2007


That's no ghost at the gas station. It's my husband's farts.
posted by dasheekeejones at 5:19 PM on November 14, 2007


i could believe a very out of focus moth that is shaded overly blue by the lighting, esp since they cut between different segments, when it might get too far from the camera for a second and be recognizable as a moth. But when it flies at certain points you can sort of make out wings - check out around 24 seconds in on the youtube clip, for instance.

Feel sorry for the anchors though - they're not dead inside; they're just trying to rationalize that this a cute little nothing story instead of utter dreck, so they make lotsa jokes. But when the male anchor talks over a couple parts where it flies, he almost sounds nervous that he's giving it away, and when she says "or a lightning bug" at the end, i feel like he has to laugh it off because it's too close to home... probably projecting a bit there, but still, they're not dead inside - they're just trying to maintain some kind of dignity by clearly not taking it seriously at all.
posted by mdn at 5:32 PM on November 14, 2007


I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned Ben Radford's investigation into a similar "ghost" claim that occurred fairly recently.

A short YouTube video of Radford's insect duplication.

The current JREF thread on the subject.

Because of the way the blue blob turns around I'm fairly convinced that it too is an insect.
posted by Tube at 5:46 PM on November 14, 2007


Doesn't look anything like a Blue Angel to me.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 7:22 PM on November 14, 2007


Seconding Zero Gravitas.

Hooloovoo.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 7:25 PM on November 14, 2007


Looks like a silverfish running around on the lens. The movement is the same and the blue glow can be accounted for by the light sensitivity of the camera - usually when I see spiders on the lens at work, they look white or grey, but interior light is different. The camera is focused on something much further away, so it wouldn't be a super-vivid image of a bug, just an amorphous, transluscent looking blur.

Plus, note the absence of freaking the fuck out and pants wetting by the patrons as it appears to get right into their cars.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:51 PM on November 14, 2007


The ability of average people to entertain the blatantly impossible and ridiculous on a daily basis is a very scary thing indeed. The ubiquitousness of ghost stories in regional news is testament to this.
posted by tehloki at 1:25 AM on November 15, 2007


The ability of average people to entertain the blatantly impossible and ridiculous on a daily basis is a very scary thing indeed. The ubiquitousness of ghost stories in regional news is testament to this.

Yeah, but how do you explain this? I mean, I don't believe in ghosts or anything like that but this video just makes me go "WTF????"
posted by C17H19NO3 at 1:57 AM on November 15, 2007


How the car got on the other side of the fence is unknown, but to throw out everything you know about the nature of reality to explain a low-quality police dashcam video is not rational thinking. We don't see a car drive through a fence as though it wasn't there, we see a car, lose sight of it for a second, and then see it on the other side of the fence. It looks bizarre, but there's no reason a rational explanation can't be found. Magicians can do wonderfully complicated acts of sleight of in half a second of distraction. It doesn't mean they're violating the laws of nature. Things can change very radically in a short amount of time.
posted by tehloki at 6:37 AM on November 15, 2007


Feel sorry for the anchors though

No, never, not for a second.
posted by Artw at 8:38 AM on November 15, 2007


Reminded me of this 'ghost' that was on the local news a few years back... slightly spookier location
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:51 PM on November 15, 2007


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