I often spend a lot of time on line in various forums encouraging the use of critical thinking and rationality, but I have to admit, even I was taken in momentarily by a video purporting to show a naked man climbing and then falling out of a window from one of the upper floors at Buckingham Palace.
Pretty strange stuff admittedly! According to floor plans of the Palace – that are freely available on line – the man appears to be fleeing from Prince Edward’s Suite.
The video has been quickly grabbed by conspiracy theorists who are holding it up as evidence of corrupt goings on at the Palace, some even linking it to the more outlandish theories of sexual depravity and even Satanism within the British Establishment. But closer inspection proves that the somewhat insane ramblings against “the system” online suffer from an inherent degree of confirmation bias. That is, they reach a conclusion that is skewed by their existing perceptions instead of thinking logically and rationally.
Let’s look at a screen grab from the video. I downloaded the video from YouTube directly using Internet Download Manager. Setting the playback to 1080p in Youtube allowed me to get a good copy.
I then played the video back through Windows Media Player Home Cinema, which allowed me to pause it an take a screenshot. Here it is:
The screen grab has been taken from 19 seconds into the video and you can see the man beginning to emerge from the fifth window along.
Next I went to StreetView on Google and took a screen grab from (more or less) the same spot.
This is the image I took: Already it’s obvious that there are some differences between the video and the actual Palace. The colour of the stone is markedly different. Aha! you may think – maybe that’s down to colour correction, lighting, weather conditions, etc. Fair point. Let’s look for other differences. Zoom in – same image, just cropped and enlarged:
Pretty obvious differences now between the video and the actual Palace building.
EDIT 01/03/2015 (21.24): Someone posting on Chris Spivey’s malicious attack on me on his website has posted a link to this his res picture on flickr, which confirm this IS the side of the Palace. You can zoom in the flickr picture too, so you can see the video is definitely faked.
Note in the video there are Corinthian decorations between the windows every two windows yet these do not appear on the Palace. EDIT 01/03/2015: There *ARE* Corinthian decorations on the Mall-facing east front of the Palace, which was built in the 1840s. These are *NOT* present on the wings of the Palace, which were built around 1703.
Note also that there is a much smaller gap between the floors in the video and the photo of the Palace from Constitution Hill; and that the top floor windows themselves are much smaller.
Finally, the windows of the building in the video only have two columns of glass in them. The Palace windows have three.
I have some issue with the lion and Crown decoration that sits on top of the arcading too. You can see it in the video screen grab on the very right of the image.To me it “looks” fake – the colour balance looks off, but I’m discounting that as it’s subjective.
The video was posted by Anders Dahlberg and is the only video (currently) on his YouTube Channel. I’ve not done any digging but it wouldn’t surprise me if he worked in the film industry or was studying to. What he appears to have done is matte some footage from another clip of another building over the top of the Palace. It’s not impossible but it has been done quite intricately as you can see the guy falling between the balustrades along the top of the colonnade. EDIT (02/03/2015, 19.47) See my post from today for confirmation of the actual building that the man appears to be fleeing.
Either way, he deserves some credit – I thought this was quite convincingly done and there are plenty of people out there still who believe it’s real!!
Nice work Anders!
P.S: Just noticed that the fence post around the edge of the Palace ground is different too. EDIT (01/03/2015, 18.28): Thanks to poster Brian (see comments below) – the fence post cap *IS* the one at the Palace, it’s further along the road, towards the front of the Palace. Good spot and I’m happy to correct it – doesn’t change anything else though.
Here’s a summary graphic of the differences.EDIT(01/03/2015, 18.28): I’ll update this to reflect the change mentioned in the edit above shortly. Picture now updated. You can click it to get it full sized: