It’s been a a few weeks since we’ve checked in on Adam Ellis and considered the evidence of whether Dear David is real, so let’s take a look at what’s been going on, shall we? Although there are fewer new pieces that have been added to the puzzle than last time, the story is far from over; indeed, despite the smaller number of phenomena to discuss, the plot is thickening in some interesting ways.
It’s worth noting that some of these updates initially read like more of the same — and, in terms of the individual events, that’s true: The cats are behaving oddly; things are moving of their own accord; and mysterious figures seem to be appearing in photographs. But what I think is interesting is that now, we’re working with enough events — a big enough data set, if you will — to start drawing some firmer conclusions about the whole thing.
Which conclusions you draw, however, will depend on whether you’re a skeptic or a believer. Both viewpoints are valid.
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
Here’s what’s been happening, and some possible explanations:
(EDIT 11/13: Part 4 is here!)
(EDIT 1/8/18: And Part 5 is here!)
(EDIT 3/19: Part 6 is here!)
(EDIT 6/6: A “Dear David” movie has been announced.)
Maxwell Strikes Again
On Sept. 5, Ellis began a new thread that just began, “It’s happening again.” In it, he describes what he’s seen in the pet cam footage recently; after the previous incidents, he’s been leaving the device on 24/7 so it can start recording whenever anything weird happens. And boy, did weird stuff start happening — on Saturday, Sept. 2, the camera recorded this:
At around the 10-second mark, one of Ellis’ cats, Maxwell, leaps as if he’s been startled by something; however, there’s nothing visible in the frame that looks like it could have been whatever spooked him. Ellis doesn’t think it was a bug, as “Maxwell doesn’t react like that with bugs. He just eats them.” (Same. One of my cats is a champion black fly eater.) Furthermore, he says his apartment doesn’t generally get bugs; he’s only seen about three inside in all the years he’s been living there.
Then, on Sunday night, the camera recorded Maxwell meerkat-ing for hours on end:
Writes Ellis, “He’d sit up on his hind legs and peer around the room, as if looking for something (or looking at something?)”
What’s more, the last video of the night shows this:
Here, we can see that Maxwell is clearly tracking something that’s moving and batting at it. He doesn’t look scared; however, he also doesn’t look exactly playful. To me, he looks more like he’s trying to figure out something that confuses him.
Whatever is going on here, I don’t think it’s the cat reacting to something that’s just naturally occurring in the apartment. Previously I’d wondered if the gathering-by-the-door behavior was prompted by a mouse or something else incidental; this, however, looks like the cat is responding to something very specific. Could it be a ghost? Maybe. Could it be a string or small toy that was edited out before the video was posted to Twitter, a la that Duck of Truth video I included in my last examination of this story? Also maybe. But both of those explanations involve provocation with purpose — and I think that’s important to note.
Especially when you consider this next item:
The Moving Jar
Let’s go back to that first video of Maxwell for a second — the one where he jumps after seemingly being spooked by something. That’s not the only weird thing that occurred in that video; Ellis apparently didn’t even notice this second, much more notable moment until other Twitter followers pointed it out to him. Watch the video again, but this time, pay attention to the green glass jar on the coffee table, especially at around the 16-second mark:
Understandably, there are a lot of replies like commenting on the jar’s movement. As of this writing, Ellis hasn’t commented on or acknowledged it, though.
Here is why this video is particularly interesting to me: Up ‘til now, although I’ve detailed a few ways that some of the events in this story could be purposefully manufactured, most of my explanations have revolved around the misinterpretation of data — that is, the vast majority of plot points are naturally-occurring phenomena that we’re just reading wrong. Nearly all of the “faces,” “demons,” etc. that have seemingly appeared in the photos Ellis has posting are examples of this type of explanation in action; while of course they could be Photoshopped, I’ve hitherto been almost positive that they’re just pareidolia.
This, though? Well, at this point, I feel like misinterpretation of data is no longer the most likely solution. I feel like we’re left with two options, and two options only: Either this whole tale is an extremely well-executed hoax… or it’s an actual ghost.
For what it’s worth, one Twitter user did comment that the moving jar could very well be the result of physics:
The link this follower included explains why wet glasses can sometimes move across tables and counter tops seemingly of their own accord:
“When a wet glass is placed on a smooth, wet surface, a ring of water first makes a seal around the bottom edge of the glass. Then, as the glass continues toward the counter top, air that is under the glass bottom is compressed. Under ideal conditions, this small volume of pressurized air is able to support the weight of the glass. The water around the bottom edge of the glass functions as a seal to prevent the air from escaping. For a short time, the glass is floating on the surface water, and moves with almost no friction. A different, but related behavior is possible with a container that has a very smooth, flat bottom. Here, the water cannot escape quickly, and temporarily supports the glass on a squeeze film of water alone.”
And yes, this explanation makes sense. But the fact that the jar moves immediately after the weird cat behavior, and within the context of everything else that’s been going on to boot? There’s just too much happening at once here for it to feel like a coincidence to me.
Right now, though, I’m leaning towards “hoax,” rather than “ghost,” largely because of the sheer number of things that could have been orchestrated with hidden devices or strings. Besides the jar, we’ve also got the self-rocking chair and the falling turtle shell from previous installments — as well as the next incident Ellis tweeted about.
It’s not a real cactus; it’s a little knitted cactus made of yarn. The pot it’s in is real, though, which means it’s breakable.
Guess where this is going?
On Sept. 11, Ellis began a thread walking us through his usual nightly routine: He feeds the cats, brushes his teeth, and turns the locks on his door for security. The previous night, though, something broke the routine. While he was in the kitchen getting the cats’ food ready, he heard a smash from the living room. This is what the pet cam recorded:
What fell from the shelf is that cactus I mentioned earlier. Here’s what it looks like now:
And again, although Ellis theorizes that maybe it fell due to his apartment’s proximity to the subway, which rattles the building from time to time (for what it’s worth, I think this theory is unlikely — nothing else moved, and if the house were rattling that much, Ellis likely would have felt it), I’m left with two possibilities: Actual ghost, or well-executed hoax aided by devices controlled remotely. (Ellis could very easily have rigged the cactus, then triggered it with a button while he was offscreen.)
The Repair Depot: Redux
In Ellis’ most recent update, dated Sept. 16, he begins by describing a number of unsettling dreams he’s had. One of them, which he had during a nap (so, we’re talking daytime, not the dead of night) upset him so much that he decided to go for a walk to clear his head — not a long walk, but just a few blocks’ stroll to the bodega down the street to get a snack. Along the way, though, he passed the repair depot he’d found suddenly abandoned back in August — a location he actually passes by daily, as it’s “on the way to pretty much everything” from his apartment, including his route to and from the subway.
On his way back from the bodega, he says this happened:
And, like a character in a horror movie who runs upstairs instead of running out the door, Ellis did not hurry on home; instead, he investigated. After spotting a small, grated window high up near the door — above his head, “too high to see into” — he decided to approach, hold his phone up, take a picture, and then hightail it out of there.
This is the picture he says he took:
It appears to be an office. But if you look in the darkness on the right-hand side, immediately to the left of the door…
A number of other Twitter users downloaded the photo and played around with it; if you’re having trouble seeing what Ellis thinks he’s seeing, for example, here’s the “face” outlined:
For reference, this is the illustration Ellis drew of Dear David from the very first thread in this whole saga:
Folks also appear to be seeing eyes in the darkness above the filing cabinet, as indicated by the two red dots in @cprodriguez’s edit of the image:
Kind of makes you think of that “demon” in Ellis’ closet, right?
Nor is @cprodriguez the only one to have spotted a head and a spine in the way the insulation is arranged in the chair:
Which — and here’s the kicker — is what was in the dream that disturbed Ellis so much he went for that walk in the first place:
And for the curious, here’s what happens if you dial the brightness and contrast WAY up:
I don’t have any new theories to offer for this one; it’s either a ghost, pareidolia, or Photoshop. Again, I’m leaning towards the latter two, but that’s just me.
Where We’re At
Because I am a skeptic, I am now firmly convinced that this whole thing is a really, really well-executed hoax. At the same time, though, if you’re more of a believer than I am, I can also see how the argument for something actually supernatural might be stacking up.
In any event, Ellis left for Japan last Friday:
Any guesses on whether Dear David will follow him halfway across the world?
[Photo via markusspske/Pixabay]