Close encounters of the fabricated kind
By JONAH MANDEL
Fake YouTube videos showing lights over Dome of the Rock spark Internet
debate ranging from theology, eschatology, one user’s genealogy.
The lack of higher intelligence seems more acute than ever, with at least three
fabricated YouTube videos recently posted showing the same spot of light
floating above the Temple Mount in Jerusalem with the unconvincing oohs and aahs
of those witnessing and filming the “UFO” in the background. The videos have
garnered over 2 million views by Sunday.
On January 29, a user calling
himself eligael posted a video showing a man with his back to the camera looking
toward the Dome of the Rock.
“This morning around 1:00 AM at the
promenade of Armon Hantziv in Jerusalm, i was witness (with another guy), an
amazing ufo aircraft over Jerusalem old city (mount Moriah) Dome of the
Rock,Temple Mount...What is the meaning of this sighting ???” eligael
wonders in the description of his video.
Judging by the amount of views
and many of the comments, when people want to believe something, they won’t let
facts get in the way. The unidentified man and the cameraman attempt to sound
amazed in their Hebrew exchange at the small spot of light that hovers above the
Temple Mount before shooting up into the sky, joining a group of smaller red
In an attempt to lend reliability to the first video, a second
appeared the same day, showing the same view from much closer, with the same
soundtrack. The next day, another video by 50nFit made its way to the Internet
depicting the same event, sans the Hebrew-speaking men. Here, a group of
English-speaking people, one of them apparently from Mississippi, express their
wonder over what they pretend to be witnessing.
HOAXkiller1 is leading
the pack of debunking videos, with some 350,000 views on Sunday evening for six
separate pieces, showing the original photo available on Wikipedia Commons that
was the backdrop for the rather primitive work done in an attempt to make it
look like part of a video shoot.
Besides close-ups that showed the
background image was actually a static image on a screen and pointing out the
faults in the attempt to show flashes of light, an effect called “motion tile”
was also used in eligael’s video to enable the deception of an authentic video
Motion tile mirrors a bit of the edges of a static image “to
hide the black edges created when they added fake camera shake to the video,”
HOAXkiller 1 explains. “The camera movements are fake. That is why the mirror
lines follow the movement of the camera.”
But such a fabrication could
also be done using a real video, and a user identified as xbatusai posted a
remake of one of the “original” UFO videos, in which not one but four pretty
colored lights accurately mimic the pattern of the single light spot in the
The depiction of an ethereal light above the spot holiest
to Judaism and holy to Islam engendered lively debate below the videos on topics
ranging from theology, eschatology, contemporary Mideast politics, the Egyptian
pyramids and HOAXkiller1’s mother, to name a few.
But as ryno2085 wisely
summed things up, “UFO existence is fact, there’s more than enough of it around
the world. Whether this video is real or not doesn’t change a thing.”