Monday, May 9, 2011

Ben Hansen of Fact or Faked Looks at Life’s Curiosities Differently

  Photo by Isabella Vosmikova/Syfy 

Each week on the Syfy series Fact or Faked, Ben Hansen and his team set out to prove whether or not an unsolved mystery has any basis in reality or not. Among the topics they’ve covered are Sasquatch, the Lunar Landing and a whole slew of alien visitations. But in a recent conference call interview Ben revealed that as the series has evolved, he’s had to take a look at his own belief system along the way.

Being exposed to bogus scenarios on a regular basis has affected the way Hansen looks at the world at large. “I do have a little bit of sense of being jaded. I didn't know there were so many hoaxes out there until we actually got into making this TV program. I really would like to sit down and watch a video on YouTube and believe there's maybe a 90% possibility this is exactly what somebody filmed or to turn on the TV [to watch] the news and to believe this story is exactly how these witnesses are describing or the slant this news reporter is exactly the facts.”

Now he confessed he feels the need to do his own due diligence. “After seeing so many videos, talking to so many people, I may have slid more to the skeptical side of I need to do my homework before believing something that you see from the news or somebody's story… Initially lying is easy. Continuing a lie is not so easy. But most people don't do any investigation to see if there's an initial lie or a hoax or a motivation. And so it's made me more careful, a lot more careful in what I believe at face value.”

As a result Ben has looked at several commonly debated phenomena to determine whether or not his personal belief system has shifted on a couple of big issues. “Let me break that up because there're several different categories. And ghosts, no I don't think it's really made me any more skeptical. I don't think that there's very many really good videos of possible ghost activity that I've seen yet, but even less so with Big Foot cases.”

“Now Big Foot is easier to fake, if you get a guy in a monkey suit. But I can tell you this, in doing this show and in talking with people, I've heard some very credible stories of Big Foot type creatures shaking trailer homes and people… looking into the eyes of these things. And I really think that they experienced what they thought they saw. So whether I believe it's been caught on video or not, I'm not sure.”

One often questioned curiosity in particular seems to have proven itself to be a reality in Hansen’s mind, “The UFO cases, I think that the video evidence makes for outstanding and overwhelming evidence of this phenomenon. There are a lot of hoaxes out there but the more and more videos I see, I'm convinced that there's definitely something to this.”

So is physical evidence more persuasive than talking to people about their experiences? Ben harkened back to his experience as an FBI agent to analyze the question, “Let's just say in a normal crime situation, I talked to one witness and they have me thoroughly convinced that their story is true. And then I go and talk to another one that says it didn't happen that way. And they're thoroughly convincing as well. And this has always baffled me because they can't all be right.”

He continued, “It's the same with belief. If you believe everything, in reality you believe nothing because there can't be these conflicting statements that all's true. So, yes, witness testimony as humans, we tend to gravitate towards believing what people say because you're getting a full picture of their body language. You want to believe them or you don't, that type of thing. And as far as physical evidence goes, you'll see the same trend in court. It should be more heavily weighted on the physical, but more likely than not, most people go with the witness testimony. So it's a constant battle.”

Fact or Faked airs on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. Central on Syfy.

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