About two years ago, a young man — name unknown — took on the moniker of The Faking Hoaxer (TFH), and began uploading a series of astonishing short films to YouTube. These aren’t your standard videos of dolled-up teens singing along to Lady GaGa. Rather, TFH’s specialty is producing disturbingly realistic footage of fictional disasters, alien encounters, and hauntings. None of this is carried out with the intent to deceive — he’s clear in both his nickname and in the videos themselves that they are entirely of his creation. In fact, when one of his “UFO sighting” films was stolen by another site and presented as real, he not only exposed the theft, but produced a video explaining exactly how he created the original footage.
But while his alien encounter material is interesting, his disaster footage is particularly affecting. Even though I know what I’m seeing isn’t real, I nevertheless experience that drop-in-the-stomach feeling when I watch. Humans are visual beings, of course, and images impact us more than we realize (witness the science of advertisement design).
Even knowing that, I found some of this difficult to watch. There’s no violence or gore — nothing overly salacious — just the haunting images themselves.
For example, here’s a piece entitled, “Shuttle Scenarios,” offering twelve frighteningly realistic visions of the craft’s destruction.
Here’s another — “The Sydney Incident.” Something terrible has happened in Sydney, Australia… but what?