The FauX-Files: Egypt's horseman debunked

Just as Agent Mulder believed, the truth is out there, but one often has to see through falsehoods to get to that truth. In that spirit, The FauX-Files is a collection of intentionally faked (or debunked but convincing) paranormal "evidence." The purpose of The FauX-Files is to serve as a tutorial of how to spot doctored images, videos, etc. so everyone is less likely to get suckered by them. If you'd like to be submit your own FauX-File, email with a description of the "evidence" and under what circumstances it was captured/created. Please be as specific as possible (camera models, software, lighting conditions, location).

Guest Blogger, and director/writer of The Night Shift - and hubby to TNS blogger Erin Lilley - Thomas Smith pitches in with writing duties for this FauX-File

Doomsayers have been parading about in sandwich boards announcing the end of time since, well, pretty much the beginning of time – all with less than accurate predictions, I might add. 

With 2012 fast approaching, conjecture in tow, and the global turmoil that seems to worsen by the day, what if the end truly is near? Are there signs we should be looking for? If so, what if one of those signs has already been spotted? One bit of iconography that goes hand-in-hand with Armageddon is the horsemen – War, Death, Famine and Conquest. A video from what appears to be an MSNBC broadcast from the recent events in Egypt is said to feature the ghostly, green apparition of what some claim is one of the horsemen. No doubt you’ve probably seen or at least heard of the video by now, which is quickly circulating around the web. If not, take a look for yourself:

Scared? Worried? You may not have to be. Having said that, you may now be thinking that this video is a fake and the “apparition” is merely the result of a bored, amateur visual effects artist. Upon first glance I could definitely agree that there was something real in the video that wasn’t man made. The fact that the video originated from a news broadcast played in its favor. However, towards the end of the clip the “horseman” seemed to fly up into the air in a rather unconvincing manner. After letting the clip sink in for a moment I realized what it reminded me of – Disney World. 

The Haunted Mansion attraction, specifically.

You see, the Disney Imagineers utilized an ingenious method of making the attraction’s ghostly residents appear transparent – mirrors. The transparent figures you see in the ride are essentially reflections of physical animatronics. 

This “horseman” had a similar presence, as if something physical was being reflected, creating a transparent ghostly image. As for the movement of the reflection, notice how it doesn’t really move until the camera begins to pan right. But if the horseman truly is the result of a reflection and camera movement, what is it a reflection of? Take another look at the video, this time focus on the background action. There’s a huge fire in the distance. Look closely at the shape of the fire and the shape of the "horseman." 

The flicker and the shape seem to match perfectly. It just so happens that those flames, when turned upside down and reflected, may have the unfortunate shape of a figure riding an animal, in this case a horse. Take another look at the video, the fire and the figure with this in mind. 

Is this one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse? I don't think anyone can really say for sure. Even so, for some people no amount of evidence will sway them from their belief or convince them. It's my humble opinion that the content of this video is very much real and not the product of some visual effects program. However, the gritty reality of the video may also be responsible for a creepy case of pareidolia.