Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Photograph shows clouds forming a strikingly realistic image of a teddy bear.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2006]
A couple of factors should cast doubts on this image's being a genuine photograph of a natural phenomenon: the unusual aspect (width to height) ratio of the image, and the fact that it's not merely a picture of unusual clouds, but a picture of someone else taking a photograph of unusual clouds. In fact, the image is a still frame taken from the 2001 French film Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (distributed in the U.S. as Amélie), synopsized as follows:
Amelie is a young Paris waitress who discovers an old box of childhood treasures hidden beneath her apartment floorboards, anonymously returns it to its rightful owner and watches from a distance as his life is transformed by the discovery. Thus begins her odyssey: a series of inventive plans to straighten out other people's lives. Almost as if by magic, Amelie begins to transform the lives of her ordinaryIn the opening minutes of the film, young Amélie's pet goldfish, Blubber, causes Amélie's mother great consternation by continually jumping out of his bowl. After one last recurrence lands Blubber under the refrigerator, requiring Amélie's father to jack the appliance up off the floor to rescue him, Amélie's mother decides enough is enough and sets Blubber free in a nearby stream. To comfort little Amélie over the loss of her goldfish, Amélie's mother gives her a used Instamatic camera:
Right away (at the 7:20 mark on the DVD version of the film), Amélie snaps photographs of two remarkable cloud patterns: one forming an image of a rabbit, and then (in the opposite direction) another forming an image of a teddy bear:
No miracles in the sky here, just the magic of movie-making.
Last updated: 3 September 2006
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