Kelly Murphy’s snowboarding video is unbelievable. The YouTube user — reportedly a 19-year-old student from Sydney, Australia — posted footage of a bear chasing her down a slope in at the Hakuba 47 ski resort in Japan.
Murphy claims she captured the shocking chase without even knowing.
“OMG! I was going through my snowboarding videos and I found a bear chasing me!!! I nearly got eaten!!!,” she said in the description of the video posted online Apr. 10. “Be careful people!!!”
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The video begins with Murphy on her own at the top of a hill, strapping on her snowboard. Her friends were taking a lesson, she told the Telegraph, so she hit the slope by herself.
“I’ve been snowboarding since I was a kid so I felt safe,” she said.
The footage, apparently recorded with a small camera attached to the end of a selfie stick, shows Murphy wearing headphones and mumbling the words to Rihanna’s song Work — which is presumably why she can’t hear the ferocious grunts of a large bear charging towards her.
The bear is seen chasing Murphy down the hill. As she weaves back-and-forth, her apparent hunter moves in-and-out of the camera’s frame. Fortunately, the beast never catches up with her and the 77-second video ends with Murphy blissfully unaware that she might have been attacked lunch.
Within hours of its posting, Murphy’s video was capturing international headlines and attention.
But it wasn’t long before social media sleuths started crying “fake.”
One 老域名怎么购买 user pointed out that, in one frame of the video, the bear’s back appears to split in half, as though part of the image is missing.
Here’s proof that bear chasing a snowboarder video is fake. Bear splits in half for one frame. Other reasons too. pic.twitter老域名购买/FoDk1LooAx
— Adam Sich (@adamsich) April 11, 2016
Others suggested that it looked more like a brown bear, which inhabit Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, some 800 kilometres north of Hakuba. Asiatic black bears, however, are known to frequent the village of Hakuba in in the summer and they can be aggressive.
In the absence of firm evidence, an online debate raged over the video’s authenticity.
Global News asked some experts to weigh-in.
David McKay spent six years with the RCMP and now runs a video forensic analysis firm in Vancouver. He said, without the original raw video, it’s impossible to know whether the video is authentic.
“[But] where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” he said. “Our eyes are pretty complex. And if we can visually look at something, and something just doesn’t feel right or just doesn’t seem right, that’s probably the case.”
He said the video’s resolution, contrast and even the audio are questionable.
“Where that animal was compared to the camera, I don’t think you could pick up that type of sound,” he said, referring to the bear’s audible grunts. “It seemed very crisp and clear, and you probably wouldn’t have that audio resolution on a video like that.”
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“It would be entirely possible to create this (video) in your bedroom, relatively easily,” says Vancouver-based visual effects artist Conrad Olson. “The low contrast, fast movements and snow surface make it easier to get the interaction with the ground correct.”
Olson explained there are websites where you can buy pre-made 3-D animal models. “So it’s pretty easy to create that, especially at that distance.”
McKay said the snowboarding video reminds him of another — a 2012 video of an eagle swooping down and snatching a toddler from a Montreal park. That viral video horrified millions, before being revealed as a hoax by three Canadian animation students.
Whether this latest video proves to be another prank, social media can’t bear to wait.
Prior to the bear chase video, Murphy had only posted two other videos on her YouTube page — both videos of her snowboarding, uploaded five days earlier.