Fact or Faked Paranormal FilesEpisodes

Raining UFOs/Ectoplasmic Pic
Season 2 - Episode 203
Raining UFOs/Ectoplasmic Pic
Watch Full Episodes in Syfy Rewind

One of the videos chosen this week is intriguing because of the agencies that have already worked on it: It comes from a police department, and made it all the way to the FBI - Ben's old realm.

Ben, Jael and Austin head to Long Beach, CA, where the video of an unidentified object flying over the harbor, seeming to drop glowing seeds into the water, was recorded. They learn that the video was taken with a Forward Looking Infrared, or FLIR, camera, from a helicopter. A big mystery calls for big toys, so Ben brings in a whole surveillance van - no, a surveillance truck - full of FLIR equipment so they can be sure they're getting the most accurate image possible.

Given the video's proximity to a military base, the they guess that this unknown object was a military parachute flare. But when they shoot such a flare into the atmosphere, the seeding effect doesn't last long enough, and they can clearly see the chute. Next, they try a homemade balloon - basically a garbage bag full of lit helium. The candles they place in the frame melt and drip off, giving them an image much closer to the original. But, they're still not satisfied. They get hold of a remote controlled plane and strap some ferocious sparklers to the tail. The sparklers are lit, the plane takes off, and bingo! They've got themselves a UFO. The dripping sparks look exactly like the ones in the video.

Chi-Lan, Bill and Devin, meanwhile, have been digging into a decades-old mystery of a Winnipeg man who claimed to have captured ectoplasm - a ghostly substance said to be produced by a medium during a séance - on camera at the turn of the last century. They set up shop in the former house of the photographer, one T.G. Hamilton. Chi-Lan builds an entire lab to develop the film and print the photos, just to make sure there's no outside contamination.

Their first thought, for a photo where the ectoplasm seems to be wrapping around the medium's face, is to have Devin fill his mouth with smoke from a cigar, then see if he can carefully exhale it. Chi-Lan snaps the photo, and it's a near-perfect match. Encouraged, they move on to an image where the ectoplasm appears to be emanating from the medium's mouth into her blouse. Devin and Bill rig a gauze tube full of cotton balls into the shape seen in the original photo, and once again, the team hits paydirt.

It's on to the photo where the ectoplasm seems to be resting on a woman's prone chest. Devin hands Bill a pellet of dry ice wrapped in rice paper to drop into a cup of warm water, placed carefully under Bill's arm. The density of the dry ice haze builds a cloud just like the one in the photo. They move on to the final image, one of a man's face enshrouded in a puff of ectoplasm coming from a woman's mouth. Devin mashes up as many sodium bicarbonate tablets in his mouth as possible, inserts a picture, secured to a cotton swab stick, of Bill, and takes a quick drink of water. Chi-Lan takes the picture, and just like that, it's case closed.

Tell us what you think about your favorite NBCU programs by becoming a TV panel member.