In the late 60's or early 70s, television ads would show a glass shattering at the sound of Ella Fitzgerald's voice. An ode to the validity of Memorex Cassette tapes and an even bigger ode to Ella (for anyone younger than 20 years of age, you will need to Google what a cassette tape is, and, most likely, Ella Fitzgerald). In this day and age now, with software that "photoshops," tablet animation that you can create while laying on your couch (next to a half-eaten pizza), videos with CGI at your little fingertips, digital everything, and recording capabilities that can put words in your mouth that you never even thought you could say ... how can we tell what is real?
I have heard it said more than once that the interesting research incidents from decades ago remain among our best evidence - photos, film and audio recordings. Free from the taint of modern technology. The technology that enables those who want to cloud humanity's curiousity at learning the truth about something which could turn the pages of our very existence into something terrifying or mesmerizing (like when Ella shatters the glass with her high notes). Just like the ongoing increase in fraud that seems to surround us from parents buying their children's way into a perceived cool school, to a crappy item made in China that you ordered online, it's "buyer beware." And so the same goes with what we see pertaining to the paranormal, Ufology, cryptids, etc.
With enough expertise, money, the right software and time, anyone can make anything "real." By the same virture, anyone with enough expertise, money, the right software and time can debunk a fake photo, video, audio, etc. So who wins in this cat and mouse game?
We have the world at our feet - no other generation before us has ever had access to the amount of knowledge that we have in the palm of our hand (when holding our third appendage ... the smart phone). But as with the good always comes the bad and those who would love to stir the pot with disinformation will create bait to entice and delight what we may all wish to see or believe. So how do we move forward when it comes to research - photos, videos, recordings ... is it buyer beware? Do we expect Snopes to do all of the work for us? What are your thoughts as its relates to how we embrace research and information today? How much does it hinder our learning? For researchers out there, what might be done to better establish a baseline of credibility in what is gathered, shared, found, photographed, or recorded?
I have included in this write-up a link to what is famously called a Fresno NightCrawler. To me, they actually look like toddlers with baggy overalls - walking - not crawling. So right there, the name already throws this whole thing for a curve. They WALK - they do not CRAWL! This link includes the video that was taken by a security camera at Yosemite National Park (supposedly) in which they are also walking (in quite a cute little fashion, i might add). I include this because 1) I am baffled at what this could be; 2) is this just another one of those fake videos? and 3) It blows my mind just like Ella's voice.