Replicating human perception of faces seen at a distance using a camera.

Giddierone

Active Member
A motif in some alien close encounter stories is that the figure/s seen have no face or facial features. This was reported in daylight sightings such as Ariel School, Zim, '94 and Port Elizabeth, SA '78 where witnesses drew the shape of figures but with blank faces.

Assuming good conditions, daylight with no obstruction, looking directly at a human-sized figure at what distance is it possible to make out facial features?

If the equivalent camera lens to average human sight is (roughly) a 50mm lens with a full size sensor, 22mm focal length and f/1.8 to f/2.8 aperture and 50 degree field of view, what results do we get at say 75m, 100m, 150m and 200m?

Is the distance where features become "unseeable" or where a witness might not even try to guess at their character shorter than we might think?
 
This was reported in daylight sightings such as Ariel School, Zim, '94 and Port Elizabeth, SA '78 where witnesses drew the shape of figures but with blank faces.
can you add some quotes (regarding lack of features and distance)?
 
A motif in some alien close encounter stories is that the figure/s seen have no face or facial features.
Is this correct? A quick survey of some of the Ariel School drawings (of the cases you cited, the one I am more familiar with) reveals some with faces,
8692cbce-2014-09-04-remembering-zimbabwes-great-alien-invasion-image.jpg mauritius images - 11922196 - Long-Haired Alien Drawn By Oriana Fenwick.Drawing From Series By...jpg african alien.JPG


and a couple drawn as dark silhouettes with no faces (or any other details) drawn,
african aliens 2.JPGafrica alien 3.JPG

and at least one shows the area of the face but with no facial features.
alienhg.jpg
(Source: Google Search for Ariel School UFO drawings. Results were not exhaustive! The same few pics seem to crop up everywhere. Added: This claims to be a comprehensive collection, some are very small screen grabs from video, however:
Source: https://imgur.com/gallery/ngUi4Vp)

I think that establishes that in THIS case, showing or not showing a face was a design choice -- in any event, not an indication that children by and large saw clearly (or thought they did) that the "aliens" had no faces, nor that the faces were necessarily too distant to see. To the contrary, large eyes were a common feature (admittedly possibly after guidance by "researchers" hoping to find aliens.) Whether or not faces are noted/recalled/described, in this case have, seems to be controlled more by factors other than visibility at a distance.

That said, I await with interest developments following your question! A related question might be "How prone are folks to fill in faces, based on expecting certain features, even where they are too distant to be seen or are not really observed?"
 
Facelessness is featured in many cases such as those seen in the Broad Haven triangle stories featrue in the new Netflix show Encounters. However, I wanted to limit the question to those that are from broad daylight sightings in optimal conditions and two that came to mind were broad daylight sightings in Africa.
The last photo in your post I'd include but not the others that show eyes. I'm only asking about those where the witness doesn't even attempt to draw features - presumably because they could not see any rather than the figure not having a face.
This is the illustration from the Port Elisabeth sighting.
Screenshot 2023-10-04 at 16.53.41.png
Others from Ariel
Ariel_drawing_2black.jpegzaDMGhv.png

For example this 50mm shot




Source: https://flic.kr/p/22LK9b1
 
Just from a perception point of view, humans are highly attuned to detecting both the existence of facial features, and what we might loosely call general mamalian facial make-up. (I've seen very recently that there exists a 'filter' for one of the video services where you can shift one eye up your face, and the other eye down, probably a reference to a monster/horror movieand the distortion of the face is highly effective and disconcerting.)

However, on the flipside, I think most humans are terrible at drawing faces, and they might just be self-censorring because they don't want to embarass themselves by drawing the unrealistic squiggles that most would create. Children don't have that filter so much, they'll draw anything and have fun drawing it, as drawing's fun.
 
Although the question is a little vague, I did a quick search on the sentence "at what distance is it possible to make out facial features?" and found an interesting page.

Can you recognize someone from hundreds of feet away?


The study consisted of experiments designed to test the hypothesis that the visual system is unable to “perceive and encode progressively coarser-grained facial details as the face moves further away.” The study used a mathematical model to ensure that the same special proportions in a close image were replicated at distances. The study found that after 25 feet, face perception diminishes. At about 150 feet, accurate face identification for people with normal vision drops to zero.

The study used well-known celebrities in experiments, which helped determine whether knowing the subject aides visual identification at these distances. The study concluded that being familiar with a subject does not impact people’s ability to make an identification from such distances.
Content from External Source
Of course, the study is about recognizing a person at distances, but I think it is interesting to read.
 
Really interesting. My guess based on my own vision was about 60m (197ft) which I thought was terrible, so its reassuring to read that result!
 
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Really interesting. My guess based on my own vision was about 60m (197ft) which I thought was terrible, so its reassuring to read that result!
I guess trying to compare this to photography is hard. Because when you make a picture, you have to image it to look at it, and thus the observing distance becomes a factor too. But an image will be so much better than an observers account/story (obviously).
 
I worked in a building where my lab opened onto a long corridor, and could recognize most individuals at a hundred or more feet even when they were turned away, or backlit so they just presented a silhouette. Granted, these were almost all people I knew, and the usual pool of individuals in that hallway was perhaps sixty people, but facial features are just one of the ways to recognize a person; size, shape, hair, and gait are other clues. So there's a difference between "can you recognize a person" and "can you recognize a face".

if you look at drawings of "aliens", whether or not they have faces, they very seldom show much skill in drawing a body shape or stance, so I see nothing odd about them having no facial features. And you can't really ask children if they had a face without "leading the witness".

I'm with @JMartJr on this one, and think the first question you should ask is "Is this correct?"
 
Is this correct?
Yes, the sentence "A motif in some alien close encounter stories is that the figure/s seen have no face or facial features." is correct.
Not only is it a repeated motif found in CE3 reports (I gave examples) but it's a well worn motif in Science Fiction / horror / folklore, and occasional tabloid woo.
More examples:
4 September 1964 Sacramento California case of three bow-hunters see a dome shaped object and three humanoids running around, they observe "no facial features were visible at any time". (Flying Saucer Occupants, Coral & Jim Lorenzen, 1967).
Screenshot 2023-10-04 at 23.16.56.png
Source: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/50795/Are-faceless-aliens-taking-over-the-UK
Screenshot 2023-10-04 at 23.17.39.png
Source: https://areyouafraidofthedark.fandom.com/wiki/Blank_Faced_Aliens

Ryoi_Nopperabo.jpg

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noppera-bō

What I'm trying to establish is how naturally occuring this perception of facelessness is. My hunch was "very", that most people can't see faces only a surprisingly short distance away, which seemed to be supported by the study in #6, and I was wondering how best to replicate / demonstrate that with a camera (for practical debunking purposes).
(And yes I think it's not surprising that some Ariel kids gave up on drawing faces, because they simply couldn't see them, rather than the figures they saw having no face to draw. But I'm not limiting this to children's drawings, adults the report the same thing).
 
More examples:
4 September 1964 Sacramento California case of three bow-hunters see a dome shaped object and three humanoids running around, they observe "no facial features were visible at any time". (Flying Saucer Occupants, Coral & Jim Lorenzen, 1967).

that is one example. can you quote others?

Article:
FLYING SAUCER OCCUPANTS by Coral and Jim Lorenzen (1967)
...
Numbers one and two were about 5 feet 5 inches, S.’s best estimate. They were clothed in a silvery-grey material with a covering that went up over the head straight from the shoulders. No facial features were visible at any time. The third “entity” was grey, dark grey, or black. It, too, had no discernible neck, but two reddish-orange “eyes” glowed and flickered where the “head” would be. It had a “mouth” which, when it opened, seemed to “drop” open, making a rectangular hole in the “face.” The mouth extended completely across the “face” area. S. saw figures number one and two more clearly than the other, for they came in from an area bathed in moonlight. Figure number three came in on the shadowed side of the canyon. Its eyes appeared to be about 3 inches in diameter.
 

You can cross this one off the list-
it was a viral marketing campaign by the car maker Lotus, according to this blog about media and marketing
"Nick Burcher Personal thoughts on the evolution of media and advertising", July 04 2008
https://www.nickburcher.com/2008/07/faceless-people-lotus-viral-marketing.html,

same site July 22 2008 reveals the product being promoted is the Lotus Evora
https://www.nickburcher.com/2008/07/lotus-evora-revealed-end-of-faceless.html
(Unfortunately the linked-to facelesspeople.com site is no longer running).

Faceless people (2).jpg

Either the Daily Express journalist Emily Garnham was "in on it", or she's not so good at finding facts. Security is taken reasonably seriously during the Wimbledon Championships; it's unlikely the police would allow people with full-face coverings into the premises unless the masked person(s) had prior approval (with the possible exception of women wearing niqabs etc).
 
Cross it off what list? It doesn't matter that it's a fake marketing stunt. The point is that facelessness is deemed spooky, terrifying otherworldly etc, and is a cultural motif.
Or perhaps it is merely the undisputed fact that figures can be seen at a much greater distance than facial features.
 
Cross it off what list? It doesn't matter that it's a fake marketing stunt. The point is that facelessness is deemed spooky, terrifying otherworldly etc, and is a cultural motif.
Fair point, poor phrasing on my part.
(Hope it was OK to point out it that it wasn't a report of a paranormal phenomenon/ ETs though, even if the Daily Express chose to frame it as such. No-one at Wimbledon, Harrods' sale or Elton John's party thought they were mixing with aliens).

It's perhaps not surprising that facelessness is considered spooky. Facial recognition and interpretation of facial expression are very important to (sighted) humans, and we have a specific face recognition area of the brain, the fusiform face area.
Only discovered in the early 90s, it's "hard-wired"; we're born with it (even if blind).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusiform_face_area

We wouldn't expect to encounter a living human with a featureless face, so I suppose such a being would be inherently alarming.

I think the one single thing in Star Trek which disturbed me as a kid (when it was repeated on TV) was from the 1966 episode "Charlie X". An impulsive teenager with telekinetic powers metes out terrible punishments to those who've offended him;
an Enterprise crewwoman has her face "stolen":

R.jpg
 
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It's perhaps not surprising that facelessness is considered spooky. Facial recognition and interpretation of facial expression are very important to (sighted) humans,
well you cant breath or eat if someone steals your face. so yea, its a bit unsettling.
 
We wouldn't expect to encounter a living human with a featureless face, so I suppose such a being would be inherently alarming.
Not just humans, most creatures. We expect a lot of commonality from most things that are only a few hundred million years old or younger. (My wild stab in the dark would be that the evolution of a jointed jaw was the final piece of the jigsaw for a concept of the generic recognasable "face". Busking it: things that we don't consider facelike tend to be mandibular or jawless.)

Absense of any such features, is certainly uncanny, for want of a better word. For example this odd amphibian is missing almost everything we'd consider a facial feature:

via: https://news.mongabay.com/2012/08/p...azil-is-actually-a-rare-species-of-amphibian/

Absent visible nostrils, we might expect gills for breathing, but these guys don't even have those - or even lungs!
A. eiselti is the largest tetrapod to lack lungs, double the size of the next largest.[4] Caecilians such as Atretochoana are limbless amphibians with snake-like bodies, marked with rings like those of earthworms.[5] It has significant morphological differences from other caecilians, even the genera most closely related to it, even though those genera are aquatic.[3] The skull is very different from those of other caecilians, giving the animal a broad, flat head.[4] Its nostrils are sealed,[3] and it has an enlarged mouth with a mobile cheek.[6] Its body has a fleshy dorsal fin.[4]

Most caecilians have a well-developed right lung and a vestigial left lung. Some, such as Atretochoana's relatives, have two well-developed lungs. Atretochoana, however, entirely lacks lungs, and has a number of other features associated with lunglessness, including sealed choanae, and an absence of pulmonary arteries.[7] Its skin is filled with capillaries that penetrate the epidermis, allowing gas exchange.
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-- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atretochoana
 
well you cant breath or eat if someone steals your face. so yea, its a bit unsettling.
To find details of the relevant Star Trek episode (I liked the original series but I'm no Trekkie) I used the search phrase
"star trek episode faceless woman". Literally the first return was
"Some questions about Charlie X" on The Trek BBS, https://www.trekbbs.com/threads/some-questions-about-charlie-x.284540/,
where deirdre's observation is discussed (not very fruitfully TBO); BBS member UnknownSample, post #9:

How did the faceless woman breathe? She couldn't, obviously. How do you breathe without a face? You know that. That was the point. She staggered a few feet, then after the camera was off her, she asphyxiated and died.
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Horrible!

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A motif in some alien close encounter stories is that the figure/s seen have no face or facial features.
Is the distance where features become "unseeable" or where a witness might not even try to guess at their character shorter than we might think?
At about 150 feet, accurate face identification for people with normal vision drops to zero.

It's an interesting question, and Ravi's information is useful.
I think we're probably capable of identifying a face as a face at longer ranges, even if we can't distinguish individual facial features or the identity of the owner.

A featureless face of uniform colour wouldn't have the distribution or relative proportions of shading/ highlights of a "normal" face seen at the same distance (if we assume the featureless face were a flat plane, or an approximately convex shaping of the front of the head).

I don't think that we perceive faces at great distance as being featureless (can't comment about photography).

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I vaguely remember the Ariel Primary School events of 16 September 1994 being reported.
A couple of retrospective newspaper articles about it courtesy of the Internet Archive WaybackMachine:

"Remembering Zimbabwe's great alien invasion", Mail & Guardian (South Africa) 04 September 2014, Sean Christie
https://web.archive.org/web/2021091...4-remembering-zimbabwes-great-alien-invasion/. Christie talks with Sarah (a pseudonym), who claims to have been one of the child witnesses; she says

"When the kids returned to class they were completely freaked and couldn’t stop nattering about little men who looked a bit like Michael Jackson."
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Another pupil (it's not clear when he gave this account):
Guy G said: “I could see the little man (about a metre tall) was dressed in a black, shiny suit; that he had long black hair and his eyes, which seemed lower on the cheek than our eyes, were large and elongated. The mouth was just a slit and the ears were hardly discernible.”
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Another:
One of the white students, for example, “thought at first that the little man in black might have been Mrs Stevens’ gardener, but then he saw that the figure had long, straight black hair, ‘not really like [a] black [person’s] hair’, so he realised he had made a mistake!”
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-so he could tell the alien wasn't a local black man by the hair length and texture- but no comments on facial features or their absence.

"The Day the Aliens Landed", The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) 21 September 2014, Tendai Charra
https://web.archive.org/web/20210917151439/https://www.sundaymail.co.zw/the-day-the-aliens-landed

The witnesses, according to Hind's report, claimed that the creature was dressed in a shining tight-fitting body suit. It had a narrow face, thin legs and arms and long black hair.
The pupils also claimed that the creature had large eyes the size of a rugby ball...
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A rugby ball is very roughly the size of a gridiron football, up to 30cm, 1 foot, long. A very large head would be required to accommodate such huge eyes. Hind's earlier wording, page 22 of her UFO Afrinews (see below) is,
Barry said they [the eyes] were like rugby balls.
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The straight black hair, shiny black clothes and difficult-to-discern mouth all make me think of some of the (often contradictory, sometimes apparently absurd) descriptions given by Betty and Barney Hill
(touched on in my earlier post here https://www.metabunk.org/threads/origin-of-iconic-alien-face.13165/#post-301927).

The children were "interviewed" by local journalist and UFO researcher Cynthia Hind four days after their reported sighting (and later, in groups, by John Mack).
I've attached PDFs of the relevant 2 issues of Hind's newsletter/ magazine, UFO Afrinews, below.

Hind remarks on the variety of "spacecraft" drawn by the children (one of whom uses the word "spacecraft"), and states
...the white children were mostly -although not all- aware of UFOs. So where they drew pictures, it was often identified as a "UFO" and the little men in black were labelled "aliens".
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On page 11 of UFO Afrinews 12, child Daniel M. says the alien(s)
...looked like a real person but it was quite plump.
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Hind notes this was the only description of plump aliens- others describe them as thin. On page 12 there is the drawing of two "aliens", one quite plump-ish, maybe Daniel M.'s drawing? (Annoyingly UFO Afrinews doesn't connect children's statements with their drawings). It happens to be the picture of aliens without faces:
illus. from pg 13 of UFO Afrinews 12.JPG

Hind doesn't recount any of the children saying that the aliens lacked facial features- Giddierone rightly points out
facelessness is deemed spooky, terrifying otherworldly etc, and is a cultural motif
so I think it's likely that this would feature strongly in the children's "witness accounts" if it was what they had seen (or claimed to have seen).
I think that establishes that in THIS case, showing or not showing a face was a design choice -- in any event, not an indication that children by and large saw clearly (or thought they did) that the "aliens" had no faces, nor that the faces were necessarily too distant to see.
Definitely agree.

Hind didn't appear to question the children's veracity, and remarked that it was a sad indictment of society that child Guy G.'s parents didn't believe him.
Of the supposed 60 or 62 witnesses, Hind quotes or refers to just 15 (IIRC the same applies to Mack- though I can't source that claim). It's rarely mentioned that while the "incident" was occurring, over a period of 10 to 15 minutes, a similar or larger number of children in the same yard/ playground as the claimed 60+ witnesses carried on as per usual, and saw nothing unusual.

To her credit, Hind documented some "witness" statements that might cast some doubt on the literal truth of what some of the other children reported:
Tertia N. said she and some friends had watched the object land and then it just vanished.
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Luke N.: "I saw the little man. He had long black hair and was all in black. He looked like a shadow of something."
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(Maybe it was a shadow of something).

Trevor: "I was walking towards the school as the bell had rung, and I saw flashes of light from the corner of my eye."
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Fiona, aged 9,...could see this strange object, very bright over in the bush and something dark on the object. But she could not identify it as a "little man"; she says: "It could have been a branch or something like that".
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Lisa P.: "I saw this silver thing lying on its side. A man dressed in black came out. He had big eyes. I thought it was an alien and then I thought it was the gardener."
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(My emphasis).

Attached, PDFs of UFO Afrinews, issues 11 (February 1995) and 12 (July 1995). These issues contain Cynthia Hind's initial write-up of the incident.
 

Attachments

  • UFO_AFRINEWS no.11 Feb 1995.pdf
    4.4 MB · Views: 36
  • UFO_AFRINEWS no.12 July 1995.pdf
    4.6 MB · Views: 42
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To find details of the relevant Star Trek episode (I liked the original series but I'm no Trekkie) I used the search phrase
"star trek episode faceless woman".
Dr. Who had done that like the year before the marketing thing too. Their faces got sucked off by the new television sets everyone was buying to watch Queen Elizabeth get crowned. :)
 
A motif in some alien close encounter stories is that the figure/s seen have no face or facial features. This was reported in daylight sightings such as Ariel School, Zim, '94 and Port Elizabeth, SA '78 where witnesses drew the shape of figures but with blank faces.

Assuming good conditions, daylight with no obstruction, looking directly at a human-sized figure at what distance is it possible to make out facial features?

If the equivalent camera lens to average human sight is (roughly) a 50mm lens with a full size sensor, 22mm focal length and f/1.8 to f/2.8 aperture and 50 degree field of view, what results do we get at say 75m, 100m, 150m and 200m?

Is the distance where features become "unseeable" or where a witness might not even try to guess at their character shorter than we might think?

I'm pretty sure many of the Ariel kids did claim to see facial features. There's John Mack videos of the kids describing large eyes.

And on the subject of the Ariel incident, I'm really not sure what to make of the claim ( in the recent Netflix series ) of one guy that he hoaxed the entire thing by shouting out ' an alien ship has landed' and somehow all the kids saw one via 'suggestion'. It seems to me more far fetched than aliens that mere suggestion could generate 60 almost identical accounts.

It's hard to ascertain whether the hoax claim is itself a hoax, and as I have never heard of this alleged hoax before it seems odd this guy has only now come forward after 30 years.
 
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Weren't these kids literally hundreds of meter away from the "UFO"? I always found it very likely the kids filled in the unknown details like faces..
 
Weren't these kids literally hundreds of meter away from the "UFO"? I always found it very likely the kids filled in the unknown details like faces..
point is, no kids reported the aliens had no face. so far we have no alien reports of the aliens having no facial features (well one, but my full quote says there was a silver cloth pulled up over their heads..so kind hard to see facial features through a covering.
 
Remember, you're talking about kids that all talked with each other.

I don't buy that line of reasoning....especially not when extended to 60 people. To me, the fact that all the kids report pretty much the same thing suggests they all saw pretty much the same thing....whatever it was. A confabulated story would tend to have a 'Chinese whispers' element to it, and I'd expect greater variance, not less.

There's confabulation even when we know the witnesses all saw the same thing and know what the thing was....as with the infamous Klondike 'Fox Lake' UFO ( one of Stanton Friedman's 'best ever' cases ). The UFO was almost certainly the re-entry of a Russian satellite, and was witnessed by some 30 people. Whilst some of the reports are similar, there are wild exaggerations, such as the couple who claimed the UFO was 1000 feet wide and hovered right over their car.
 
the fact that all the kids report pretty much the same thing
But they don't report the same thing; even the 15 reports (out of supposedly, 62) selected by Cynthia Hind and, later, John Mack, are massively divergent. Most of the children in the same playground saw nothing unusual at all.

A fellow Metabunker has made a table, elsewhere, of the numbers of children who reported specific things in the Ariel Primary School event; I won't cite it without permission but suffice to say very few children gave even broad descriptions in common with each other.

Local UFO investigator Cynthia Hind documented some of the children's reports,
I've attached PDFs of the relevant 2 issues of Hind's newsletter/ magazine, UFO Afrinews, below.
A fascinating array of drawings appeared and there were many differences in the craft.
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-Cynthia Hind, UFO Afrinews 11, Feb. 1995

Of those who claimed to see something land, some reported one UFO, some say there were 2 or 3 others. It was golden in colour, or silver, or it was striped black and green, or black, green and silver. It landed- then vanished. Or an occupant, or several occupants, got out; later the craft ascended a short way before vanishing- or else it flew down into a valley beyond the school grounds.

One girl said there were 3 visitors, one dressed in red, one in white, one in black. Most of the (few) children who described UFO occupants said they (or it) wore black, shiny clothes. Several refer to large, sometimes ovoid eyes. One said the eyes were low on the face.
The occupant was "...thin and skinny", "...it was quite plump". It wore a headband, some children said it had long black hair,
"...almost like a hippy's hair".

A child thought it was the gardener- before seeing the long straight hair, not like a local African man's hair.
Note, whatever the figure he saw was wearing, or its facial features/ stature, or the immediate presence of a landed craft,
the boy realised the visitor wasn't the gardener because of its long straight hair!
Another child thought the figure was an alien, then thought it was the gardener.

(Quotes/ descriptions from Cynthia Hind's UFO Afrinews issues 11 and 12, link to PDFs as above).
The children's drawings do not seem to corelate with their descriptions.



"When the kids returned to class they were completely freaked and couldn’t stop nattering about little men who looked a bit like Michael Jackson."
-Sarah (pseudonym), who as a child had been one of the witnesses, talking to Sean Christie,
"Remembering Zimbabwe's great alien invasion", Mail & Guardian (South Africa) 04 September 2014
https://web.archive.org/web/2021091...4-remembering-zimbabwes-great-alien-invasion/.
(I think I read witness Guy N. also compared the occupant to Michael Jackson, but I could be mistaken).

Cynthia Hind, in UFO Afrinews 11:

Where the drawings were most consistent were in the descriptions of the small entity the children had seen emerge from the craft.
He was approximately one metre tall, dressed in a shiny one-piece black suit similar to a wet suit. He had long black hair and a large head. One girl interviewed by the SATV, said he had arms and legs like a human being, but his head was larger than a normal head. Also he had these big, black, slanting eyes.
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But Hind's description is like a portmanteau or montage; it combines elements from different accounts.
None of the drawings by Ariel schoolchildren show a figure with the features that Hind describes. Some of the drawings show apparently bald or short-haired aliens, some show very long hair. Some have large, ovoid eyes, some don't, one drawing (as we've seen) has no facial features. Same with the descriptions; long dark hair is described by some, so why did others draw (but not describe) bald aliens?

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Just a couple of examples of Giddierone's trope used on-screen,

the 1949 film Follow Me Quietly had a detective make a faceless figure for police line-ups/ identity parades because witnesses hadn't been able to see the villain's face- not paranormal or alien, but definitely odd
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Follow_Me_Quietly

Follow Me Quietly 1949 RKO.png
I've not seen the film, but the Wiki article makes me wonder if the film's villain, and maybe the faceless mannequin, served as an inspiration for the character Rorschach in the 1986 comic book/ graphic novel/ 2009 film Watchmen.

The 1980's UK ITV series Sapphire and Steel,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapphire_&_Steel, starring David McCallum (recently passed away) and Joanna Lumley had this spectral figure in the second series, 1981 (second series but 4th multi-episode storyline):

S_S4_1__400x400.jpg

-I thought Sapphire and Steel was genuinely spooky, but the show's opening credits, where a voiceover implied that the "operators" (e.g. Sapphire and Steel) were named after elements, undermined the suspension of disbelief for me; I was old enough to realise sapphire, and steel, aren't elements.

A letter in Fortean Times was printed in response to an earlier article or letter in that magazine about encounters with "faceless" individuals (in the last 2 or 3 years I think; I tried a search which returned other "FT" items about faceless entities but not the relevant letter).
The writer stated that men who had sustained disfiguring facial injuries in wartime (WW1/ WW2) sometimes wore veils or masks of fine muslin to hide their appearance, which could give them a disconcertingly "faceless" aspect in some viewing conditions. I couldn't find any supporting evidence for this, but it seems plausible to me.
It was common for British men to routinely wear hats until at least the early 60s, some older men persisted for much longer; combined with a veil a disfigured man's face might have been hard to see.

In Britain the New Zealand surgeon Archibald McIndoe revolutionised plastic surgery for servicemen with facial injuries in World War Two, and stressed the importance of accepting these men in wider society:
Local families were encouraged to welcome them as guests, and other residents to treat them without distinction: East Grinstead became "the town that didn't stare".
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guinea_Pig_Club
(Several hundred of McIndoe's patients formed the "Guinea Pig Club", darkly named after those animals used in experiments).

Not all men with such injuries would have had the luck to be treated by McIndoe, and many would have been left with significant disfigurement regardless. In Facing fire: burns and visibility in the two World Wars, 2016, Gemma Bowsher comments on how men who sustained face injuries in the First World War were treated very differently to the injured of World War Two, their injuries seen as stigmatising, the men cutting ties to family/ loved ones
https://hekint.org/2017/01/22/facing-fire-burns-and-visibility-in-the-two-world-wars/, Hektoen International, "A Journal of Medical Humanities".

There must have been many such unfortunates, some surviving several decades, leading perhaps a literal twilight existence- going out when there were less people about, maybe shopping at a small number of local shops where they were known.
Some (this is speculation) may have worked for Remploy, an organisation that up until c. 2012 ran businesses employing disabled people and some others with "barriers to employment". It's broadly accepted that this provided useful opportunities to many disabled people, but with the unintended side-effect of keeping some of them "out of sight" of wider society.

Other nations must have had (and have) people with severe facial disfigurement, some perhaps feeling compelled to hide their faces to "spare the feelings" of others.
 
But they don't report the same thing; even the 15 reports (out of supposedly, 62) selected by Cynthia Hind and, later, John Mack, are massively divergent. Most of the children in the same playground saw nothing unusual at all.

Sure...but people can't have it both ways. I was responding to Anne K highlighting that the kids talked to each other....which would imply similarity of story, and them getting a coherent story together. That would conflict with the stories being widely divergent.

Another complication, which I cannot seem to get my hands on a clip of, is the recent Encounters episode on the sighting in which one of the kids claims he hoaxed the entire thing and was the instigator. Alas I cannot record direct from Netflix, so if anyone has a short clip of the relevant section that would be handy.
 
I was responding to Anne K highlighting that the kids talked to each other....which would imply similarity of story, and them getting a coherent story together. That would conflict with the stories being widely divergent.
They did speak with each other. The implications you ascribe are yours. The initial claim that there were "60 almost identical accounts" is yours.
 
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Sure...but people can't have it both ways. I was responding to Anne K highlighting that the kids talked to each other....which would imply similarity of story, and them getting a coherent story together. That would conflict with the stories being widely divergent.

There's a bucket with an unknown substance in it just too far away to examine closely.

Someone can smell it, and claims it's a bucket of shit and therefore isn't fine cognac.
Someone else claims that he saw cheap spirit doped with some flavourings and colourings poured into it, and therefore it isn't fine cognac.

Is the person who claims that it's a bucket of shit that's had cheap coloured flavoured spirit poured into it, and therefore it isn't fine cognac, "having it both ways"? I'm trying to understand your objection.

I see a bucket of incoherent fabrications, that's had some details intended to look like a reliable retelling of the event added to it, I don't think I'm having it both ways, I'm just seeing both flaws.
 
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A confabulated story would tend to have a 'Chinese whispers' element to it, and I'd expect greater variance, not less.
the kids talked to each other....which would imply similarity of story, and them getting a coherent story together.
people can't have it both ways
It'd be great if the expectations (of what happens when a group remembers an event) had some evidence to support them. Then we could decide which way is actually probable.
 
It'd be great if the expectations (of what happens when a group remembers an event) had some evidence to support them. Then we could decide which way is actually probable.

But you'd have to start with single witness stories such as Bob Lazar...and people can't even agree on whether he's been consistent over the years. And you'd have to add that ( as with multiple witness stories ) he's had decades in which to memorize his story.

A possible case that gives hints as to how multiple witness cases develop is the Rendlesham Forest case, where there is wide disagreement on what happened, and in some cases whether anything even happened at all. Even the two officers who claimed to witness the first UFO in the forest give widely different accounts of if....and both those accounts differ from the account of the third officer who was a short distance way by the east gate. Colonel Halt has also since changed his mind about the location of the original event....disputing those who were 'actually there'. All quite a mess. And to cap it all off, the overall base commander ( Conrad ) claims nothing happened at all.

Strangely enough....all these different accounts lead me to believe something happened. Inconsistent accounts is closer to what happens with witness accounts of real events. Even the 911 attacks, which many witnessed in real time, have divergent accounts from the actual time.....and its only with the piecing together of news footage and video that we establish the true events. But alas we cannot do that for most UFO stories.
 
I ran into this today. It's a painting by contemporary artist Walter Bartman, and it is an illustration of how little the facial features matter in identifying a figure as human. The body and limb proportions and attitudes tell the viewer "These are human beings".
I'd pay more attention if witnesses to an event described figures with something like more than the expected number of limbs, or the "head" in the center of the body.
IMG_0326.jpeg
 
Cynthia Hind in UFOs Over Africa (p.229) wrote:
It is interesting that the children could see the features of the little men so clearly, as they were approximately 200 metres away from where the children were standing.
Here's a photo of the sports field at Ariel School, the distant figure is at most 100m away from the camera.
Ariel_Sports_Field.jpg
 
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