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Camera Catches Glimpse of Strange Creature Lurking in the Sewer

It's Gollum!
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We live in an age of misinformation. Deep fakes, conspiracy theories, deceptively-edited videos, and just plain fake outs and scams all masquerade on the internet as real news and authentic footage. Viral videos can be strange creatures—stranger even, sometimes than the creatures advertised as appearing in the clips themselves.

This video purports to show a “routine” inspection of a sewer tunnel, but then they are shocked by the appearance of a large, webbed hand reaching up out of the muck to grab the lens.

The video is dark and dreary, w which is expected for a subterranean tunnel. A river of some liquid probably best left unknown flows through the tunnel, as the camera snakes along. Suddenly, a giant hand appears to crest the surface, nearly covering the lens!

What is this thing?

The simplest answer is that it’s the sucker-toed limb of a frog, which would not be too unusual to see in a drain. It only looks scary because we don’t have a sense of scale. We’re inclined to view scenes in camera lenses on a human scale when we first see them. Without understanding that this is a zoomed in picture, we have no way of knowing the size of this tunnel, nor of anything that might be lurking inside it.

When you watched, you were probably imagining a six foot high tunnel. But this is most likely a minuscule camera lens attached to a narrow drain-snaking device, which would mean the front hand is, you know, frog-sized.

Other viral videos similarly take advantage of our tendency to forget about scale to make—for instance— a bat climbing on a cave wall seem like an otherworldly beast. 

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