I grew up in rural NWPA, surrounded in forest. I took an early interest in cryprozoology and sharks and have read many books on various crypto subjects such as Bigfoot and Megalodon over the years. I am not a professional writer or a journalist, but I do the best I can. I have a quirky, obscurely dry and sometimes sarcastic sense of humor than can get me in trouble. Some love me and some hate me, but I am who I am.

Seems film maker Todd Bieber has stumbled upon a mystery. Yes, I realize this is not paranormal news but it is as I said, a mystery. Or is it?

According to Mr. Bieber, he happened upon a roll of B&W film whilst skiing in Prospect Park. He quickly slalomed home to develop his newly found treasure. Mr. Bieber then decided he was going to find the rightful owners of the now developed photos. After all, the men in the pictures looked as though they were on an adventure vacation in NYC and surely would love to have these cherished memories back. So he decided to make a video highlighting said photos. Of course he is doing this all in the hope of finding the mystery vacationers. Hmmm? Viral film maker does video of….OK we’ll get back to that later. Here’s the story by Yahoo’s Liz Goodwin:

New Yorker searches for owner of remarkable blizzard photos

A New Yorker who writes and directs comedy videos is on a quest to find the people who shot a roll of striking black-and-white photos of the city that he found in a park.Todd Bieber stumbled upon the roll of film while cross-country skiing in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park after the Christmas blizzard that dumped 12 to 18 inches of snow in the area. Bieber developed the film and was captivated by the photos, which show what he surmises to be some out-of-towners taking a snowy and beautiful journey from Central Park, across the Brooklyn Bridge to an empty Coney Island amusement park, and then to Prospect Park, where they must have accidentally dropped the film canister.

Bieber made a video that he hopes will help him track down the people who took the photos. He notes that the men look “European” in their photos (giveaway: fancy scarves) and imagines that they are visiting New York on a vacation. In one photo, they’re shown having a snowball fight.

Bieber tells the Lookout he’s still going through the hundreds of YouTube comments and emails from people who are trying to help him identify the men. Dozens of people have said one of the men (below) may be Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi, though we at the Lookout have our doubts. “Everybody’s so excited to be a part of the process that they’re looking for clues,” he says.

Everyone excited? Wondering how you can help our hero solve this dilemma? Well read on then:

Numerous online outlets have picked up the images to aid Bieber in his quest; as Time magazine noted in its post, the photographers’ loss is now “the world’s gain: the beautiful photos are now going viral, being shared and forwarded by thousands (and soon, perhaps, millions). And with any luck, the original photographers will again be reunited with their impressive portfolio.”

Bieber’s asking anyone who recognizes the people in the photos to email him at [email protected]

Here is Mr. Bieber’s YouTube video which strangely enough has extra bonus content of him acting out this dramatic tale.

Now I’ve always been on board for a heartwarming story but the skeptic in me says something doesn’t seem quite right here.  While Mr. Bieber has had some success in film, it seems that he has yet to hit the big time. Could it be that he hatched a plan to get his talent known to bigger fish? Is this an actual showcase for a guy trying to find the lost vacationers or is it a showcase for a guy that craves the spotlight, feature films, Hollywood?

What confuses me is that we see so much of Todd in a video that’s supposed to be for the specific purpose of finding the owners of the lost roll of film. Did this young gentlemen film maker go out to a bar one night with a few friends, down a couple of beers and then in silly conversation come up with this scenario?

I will say this to Todd Bieber: If you planned this as a Viral stunt to further your career or just for the sheer amusement of it…..Well Sir, you are a genius! If not and it’s on the up and up, at least you’ll get more exposure here on GT which could lead to the discovery of those lost vacationers. Either way, I think you’ll benefit. I certainly hope you understand my playing Devils Advocate here. After all, someone had to do it!

No offense intended Mr. Bieber and I certainly welcome your input here.

  • Well Nigel, that’s a quick change of mind. What is prompting you to believe him?

  • I think it’s a hoax. There are a series of reasons.

    First, it is illegal to reproduce someone’s images without their permission. This includes printing, scanning, posting in videos, and using on your website. If it’s real, countless millions have been generated by every media outlet which exploited these images for page visits. Illegally.

    Second, the commenter on youtube who ‘knows 100%’ the people in the images, who are from Belarus and go to NYU, is likely a confederate of Bieber. The account was created in Nov and has only been used to comment on the Bieber video. Belarus is just the sort of place where non-instant identifiability of the people would be plausible. If this viral video is being seen by people at NYU, and the owners haven’t been found, I am skeptical. It’s plausible that Belarus is perfect for this reason… so the hype can go on with an explainer for the unresolved mystery.

    Third, the website which ‘proves’ it’s not a hoax does nothing of the sort and it happens to be the site which broke the (now) viral video very early on, the 18th. It went onto youtube the 17th. URLesque could be another confederate or quasi-confederate.

    Fourth, there are likely lots of quasi-confederates. People who know it’s likely fake and use it to have popular content. The motives for the relevant outlets to vet it are non-existent.

    Fifth, the dude works for the Onion and is merely some comedian trying to get ‘visibility’. It just seems too produced, smacks of reality TV, and is likely the brainchild of some jerk marketing and communications students preying on the same tendencies that Madoff did. People like to believe nice stuff which looks nice. They’d rather not kick the tires, just take in the edifice.