Restricted Access analyzes “Rootsquatch,” the anthropomorphic anomaly at the base of a tree and determines it is a real image slightly altered in order for the shapes to stand out. Annnd it’s really cool to look at.
03/17/2018 Jesse Durdel, NCS
One of the most vicious, disparaging remarks someone can say about another’s photo of an alleged Bigfoot is “welp, there’s another STUMPSQUATCH.” In essence it is a rude way to tell someone that they believe that the image resembles a shape of a Sasquatch because of light, shadow and the remnants of a tree that has long since past are making the viewer “see things.” In other words, the critic of the image believes that there is a case of pareidoliahappening here and nothing else.
The following series of photographs were shared on social media and appear to show what looks like tree roots and burls forming the shape of a humanoid figure.
Original post: “I thought some might appreciate this.. I came across it in a hiking group I’m part of.. it’s 100% real and isn’t photoshopped.. it’s all natural. I talked the the guy who took the photo and he said he didn’t notice it till he got home to review the photos. Wildest thing ever.. Credit: Norm Christopherson”.
Now the post said nothing of where or when the photo was taken and or our purposes, it doesn’t really matter anyway because I would not want to be held responsible for throngs of people going to dig up said root structure to release the Bigfoot body that must be trapped inside. Moreover, the pictures look interesting enough by themselves and there’s really nothing controversial about them. It’s tree roots. But the question still lingered among a few, are the images real?
Credit: Norm Christopherson
Credit: Norm Christopherson
Credit: Norm Christopherson
If you have been on social media for more than a day, you most likely have been exposed to images manipulated to show something that isn’t there. Fakery, doctored or “Photoshopped” images are the norm when looking at pictures on the internet, especially those of unusual subject matters. It all seems legitimate. Trees growing in any variety of shapes is nothing new. And as far as the burls, the image shows these knotty structures protruding from the rest of the tree as well, and it’s only logical to infer that the root deformations could be caused by them as well.
In this instance, the photo may have been altered slightly as we’ll see below.
Enter Sam Thomas, a team member of the paranormal investigations YouTube channel RESTRICTED ACCESS who specializes in forensic photographic analysis (or seeing if a picture is or has a high likelihood of being faked). Within, well, minutes of me posting this on our social media platforms, Sam contacted me and stated he would like to do an analysis on the photo to determine if it was more likely to be legitimate or not.
The Sam performed a variety of tests on the photo, one of which is an ELA (Error Level Analysis) which detects anomalies found in digital tampering.
Keep in mind he performed more testing on the photo than the ELA, but since this photo isn’t a life or death situation, we’ll cut to the chase. Sam summarizes his analysis of the photograph:
“My opinion is that it is a real image that was altered. An image of a root formation that was then pulled into editing software where they darkened and lightened areas to make the roots appear even more anthropomorphic. Due to the analysis showing congruency in the background, I do not believe that the image was overall edited for light, color, or otherwise altered.”
“Essentially, it’s assisted/forced pareidolia.”
They darkened it a little.. So What? To be honest, I was skeptical of the photo being real when I first saw it, no matter how much I enjoyed looking at it. After Sam’s analysis I’m happy to say this is a real image of a unique natural formation, and perhaps someone darkened areas of the photo in Photoshop to “help” people see what they perceived (or in this case what they didn’t see) in the forest. Is there anything wrong with doing so? In my opinion no, because there were no fantastic claims made by the poster or the individual who took the photo in the first place.
It’s Unique! A Google Image search of the image returned no results, and a Tineye reverse image search returned the same . So this image seems to be new and / or limited to social media sharing.
It’s Neat! As photos go, there is no real amazing or supernatural discovery claimed in this example. There’s no scientific discovery presented, the photo is just neat to look at.
It’s not Bigfoot!It’s not Bigfoot. However, what attracted me was the thought of myths and legends of creatures “becoming one” with the forest in a literal sense. I could just imagine a stone-age human coming across something like this and thinking that there is a person (or other creature) under that bark.
Restricted Access is pretty good at what they do. That’s my opinion and you can agree or disagree with it. I did like seeing is how fast Sam Thomas could dissect the photograph into various layers and components to decipher if the image had been manipulated or not. That is one of his responsibilities for RESTRICTED ACCESS.
Just One More Thing…
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