The 13th Floor

Five Ghosts and Creepy Anomalies Found in Feature Films and TV Shows

There is a ton of home-shot footage on the Internet that purports to capture ghosts, monsters, or UFOs, but shaky cellphone footage is easily faked, and hoaxers are plentiful. For lasting paranormal gravitas, you have to capture inexplicable phenomena in a feature film or TV show.

Since no one wants a spirit to mess up their shot, if it’s in the background of a movie, it’s gotta be real, right?

With this in mind, please check out my list of the top five supernatural anomalies caught in feature films or TV shows.

[Note: I can’t vouch for the reality of any paranormal activity, but the images captured here are weird enough to at least take a look at, don’t you think? I mean, sure, it’s probably an errant boom operator… but what if it’s a ghost??]

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The “Ghost Child” of THREE MEN AND A BABY

1987’s THREE MEN AND A BABY is a terrible movie only redeemed by the possible appearance of a ghost. The thoughtful dead child devoted his eternal life to putting something interesting in this movie — and for that, we owe him a great deal of thanks.

Here is the scene in question:

Did you see the little boy in the window in the background? He’s totally a ghost! Spooky!

The “official” justification for the image is that it is a set decorator’s mistake. They say a life-size cardboard cutout of star Ted Danson was accidentally left visible in the background of this shot. But this just isn’t a very convincing explanation to me. First off, this was a big budget Hollywood film, and they expect us to believe that no one on the set noticed this very visible anomaly? People make mistakes, sure, but this seems unlikely at best.

Secondly, if you look at the pan across the set that starts the scene, the supposed cardboard cut-out seems to not be visible. Then it appears. Could be the camera angle, I guess, but either way, anything that distracts from actually watching THREE MEN AND A BABY is worth noting. It’s all explained in this helpful YouTube video.

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The “Hanging Munchkin” in THE WIZARD OF OZ

Legend has it that the little people who starred in classic kiddie flick THE WIZARD OF OZ were so mistreated by MGM that one of them hanged himself on the set in protest. No one, it seems, noticed the poor fellow’s death throes, and the film was released with his little body swaying back in forth in the background of a dance number.

It wasn’t until the film was released on VHS that fans noted the tiny figure among the trees.

Here’s the footage:

The official explanation: It’s actually a bird in the background of the shot. Specifically, a crane. Supposedly, the producers of OZ used real birds from the local zoo on the set, and one of them spread its wings just as Dorothy and company were dancing down the yellow brick road.

I don’t know about that. It’s hard to tell exactly what is moving around in the back of the shot, but it doesn’t look any more like a bird than a suicidal little person. Plus, according to always-reliable internet weirdos, the scene in question in the original VHS release of OZ is very different from later releases.

Who changed it… and why?? The Illuminati? YES! The most compelling evidence of all, though: a depressed munchkin hanging himself as Judy Garland dances below is a much better story than some dumb zoo bird… so I’m just going to believe that’s what it is. Because I want to live in that world, instead of this boring one.

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The UFOs in POISON

Back in 2000, Rosanna Arquette starred in POISON, a paint-by-numbers thriller that was also called TEASE. No matter the title, it was utterly forgotten the moment after it aired on TV… until someone noticed the UFOs! At around an hour into the film, two white objects can clearly be seen streaking across the sky in the background.

Look! There they are!

As you can plainly see, these are Annunaki flying saucers bound for Alpha Centauri. I stake my reputation and my last 17 dollars on it. Seriously, though, there is something flying across the sky in this shot… and since I’m terrible at identifying objects, it’s a UFO to me. Shut up about “it’s some airplanes!”

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The Dead Outlaw in THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN

This one isn’t really a mystery; it’s just a really cool and gruesome story. On December 8, 1976, the crew of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN was shooting an episode on location in a fun house in Long Beach, CA. A prop man moved what he thought was a mannequin hanging from a rope. He damaged it, revealing a human bone and dried up human flesh. The dummy turned out to be an actual mummified corpse!

Old West outlaw Elmer “The Bandit Who Wouldn’t Give Up” McCurdy was shot to death after a botched train robbery in 1911. He was a minor criminal, but his post-death career was his real contribution to Humanity.

First, McCurdy was displayed in a local funeral home where your great grandparents paid a nickel to gawp at him. Then it was exhibited in a number of traveling carnivals. Then he became a bona fide star! McCurdy’s corpse was cast as a dead dope fiend to promote a 1928 drug-sploitation flick called NARCOTIC! It was used again in 1967’s SHE-FREAK. By 1976, McCurdy was so damaged and weird-looking, people apparently didn’t recognize that he was a person. They painted him with day-glo paint, and he was sold as a prop to the owner of Long Beach’s Laff In the Dark funhouse.

After being discoved by the Hollywood people, McCurdy’s fun stopped: Rather than continue showing off the decrepit mummy for morbid jerks, authorities actually buried McCurdy in Oklahoma. The indignity of it!

For a much more informative take on McCurdy’s uniquely weird post-life career, check out David Ian McKendry’s article right here on Blumhouse.com.

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John Ritter’s Testicles?

On December 20 1983, ABC television broadcast an episode of THREE’S COMPANY that would change history. In it, John “Jack Tripper” Ritter sits down on a bed and takes off his socks. He’s wearing a pair of 1970s peeny-shorts, and for one glorious moment, Ritter’s testicles escape the confines of his clothing and are broadcast to an audience of millions.

Like Orson Welles’ WAR OF THE WORLDS broadcast, a national panic ensued. ABC television’s home office was burned to ashes in protest, and congress outlawed balls on TV for all time.

Actually, none of that happened.

No one seems to have even noticed the errant nutsack — until THREE’S COMPANY was re-run on Nickelodeon in 2001. Once the offending scrotum was brought to their attention, Fremantle media edited out the offending moment, assuring the nation that we would be free of John Ritter’s balls forever.

Ritter himself had this to say: “I’ve requested that [Nickelodeon] air both versions, edited and unedited, because sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don’t.”

Here’s a link to the controversial, earth-shaking video. It’s NSFW (I guess).

Some may argue that John Ritter’s testicles are neither ghostly nor supernatural. Balls to them, I say.

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