The strangest footage found on GoPros
Have you ever wondered what the world would look like to a red snapper on roller skates or a tuna on a tightrope? Probably not. Fish are seafood, not funambulists. Also, roller skates are shoes that want to be cars, and no self-respecting seafood would wear something so silly. Even so, thanks to GoPro you can view the world in tuna vision without taking a tour of someone’s digestive tract. Famous for their fisheye lenses and durability, GoPro cameras have become a go-to option for people who want to film themselves doing dangerous, dumb, or even just mildly interesting things. Like putting a fish in roller skates and expecting it not to die of embarrassment or dehydration. However, they also produce oddly ogle-worthy scenes like the ones below.
See the forest is the tree
An axis makes the world go round, but accessibility makes a worldview well-rounded. Specifically, the ability to see through another’s eyes opens new avenues of understanding. Understandably, GoPro owners value their devices as a means to view reality from someone else’s perspective. Granted, the fisheye lens distorts that view, but perspective is in the eye of the beholder. That means the greatest insights derive not from the fisheye, but the fisheye holder, which would ideally be a fish. In this clip it’s a squirrel.
Petapixel painted it as “a POV video worthy of Mirror’s Edge or Assassin’s Creed.” A GoPro rests on the ground among scurrying squirrels. One of them scampers to the camera, takes a whiff, and takes the camera. Quickly up the tree it goes, the pitter-patter of paws resounding. The paws pause as the squirrel seemingly scans its environment. Branches abound like natural fractals, tinier trees on a tree. Before long the squirrel says “so long” and lets the GoPro fall like autumn leaves. This extended shot of a squirrel shooting up a tree is downright jaw-dropping. But who was the original shooter and how did they trigger that unlikely sequence? The man behind the squirrel behind the camera was attorney and YouTube user David Freiheit, who uses the handle Viva Frei. He told National Geographic he achieved this and similar videos by taping a bit of baguette to his GoPro. The squirrel was only in it for the dough.
Where the flow goes, so go pros with GoPros
GoPros go where pros go. If amateurs give them a go, the cameras will go with the flow. If amateurs want to see the glow of a lava flow in Hawaii, Kilauea EcoGuides recommends (literally) that they “go see the flow with a pro.” If the pro they go with happens to be Kilauea EcoGuides owner and main eco guide Erik Storm, he might also tell them why the glowing flow goes per Polynesian lore. Per PetaPixel and National Geographic, in 2016 one of Storm’s story sessions ended with the end of a GoPro.
As the story goes, Storm was leading a group of California tourists through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park when he decided to park his GoPro in a ground fissure. He purportedly took that moment to regale the group with a tale of Pele, the Polynesian fire goddess. As if prompted by Pele herself, lava descended on the GoPro like acrid molasses. The dyspeptic mass of molten earth swallowed the machine. It was curtains for the camera, but since the show must go on, the GoPro put on a show. While the lava gradually cooled, the camera rapidly burned, its final flaming seconds caught on video.
Storm salvaged the savaged device. After removing the rock-encrusted casing, he discovered the camera’s mechanical innards withstood the staggering heat. Even the SD card still worked, which allowed Storm to share its footage with the internet. The GoPro’s gone, but its story goes on.
Missed adventures under the sea
Lava isn’t the only reason GoPros become GonePros. Sometimes they sink into the sea. That seems apropos, as GoPro is the brainchild of surfer Nick Woodman. According to the company’s website, it all “started with a 35mm camera and a wrist strap made from old wetsuits and plastic scraps.” The firm’s die-hard devices were partly birthed of a sea-seeker’s sea junk, so it’s only appropriate that one later let us see a sea creature associated with people’s junk. That creature, of course, is the crab.
The footage above comes from Dan Rose, who indirectly demonstrated that the adage “use it or lose it” doesn’t apply to GoPros. Per the Huffington Post and Rose’s post, the camera was lost for a year after its unknown owner used it to film themselves plunging off a pier. Rose’s sister discovered it during a fishing trip in England. In 2016 he uploaded a truncated version of its contents to YouTube.
At the one-minute mark you see a POV-leap into the water. The device swiftly descends through a murky green expanse and greets the water’s bottom with a clank. Torrents turn the camera over, unveiling an underwater world of lettuce-like growths and amorphous debris. Later the scene resembles wind-whipped terrain in a hurricane. Suddenly spindly legs appear, and crab creeps into view. Its moving mouthparts almost look like a friendly wave. The terrestrial world waved back. So many people viewed the video that the lost camera’s owner was speedily found.
Skydivers have an on-again, off-again relationship with the ground. At first they embrace its gravitational hugs. Eventually they grow bored and have a fling with the air via plane. Then they fling themselves from the plane, rushing back to the nurturing earth they abandoned. Though the divers have clearly fallen for the ground, they don’t want to move too fast, so they slow things down with a parachute. It’s a scintillating soap opera full of heartache and potential bone breaks. And like any soap worth its salt, the skydiver drama comes with implausible plot twists.
The tale above twists like a pig’s tail. It begins with a group of skydivers who’ve presumably just jilted the land below. They seem eager to film themselves submitting to Earth’s irresistible pull. But the GoPro descends on its own. The world looks swirly through its mechanical eye as it spins endlessly. Soon, the spinning ends, and the GoPro smacks the ground. A pig emerges and attempts to either eat or French kiss the camera.
Eight months later Mia Munselle found the GoPro in her pigpen and posted the footage online in 2014. The story of a camera landing lens-up in a pig sty after a long, tumultuous fall sounds too random not to be planned. So CNET investigated its veracity. The company NorCal Skydiving confirmed that a group of real skydivers really lost the GoPro, proving the truth contains more twists than fiction.
Speaking of twisted nonfiction, some people are really crooked. Scammers scramble the truth like eggs, and hatch scummy schemes. Pickpockets pick on people with packed pockets, putting them in pickles. Then there are armed robbers, the scariest scoundrels of the bunch. Whether they wield cold steel or launch hot lead, they make their victims sweat bullets. However, their most valuable weapon is brutal boldness.
In 2017 a baddy’s boldness led to a harrowing encounter in Buenos Aires. As the New York Daily News described, Alexander Hennessy was touring Argentina as part of a televised attempt to visit 195 countries with a group of travelers. At some point a motorcyclist abruptly blocked Hennessy in a bike lane. Audibly frazzled, the tourist tried to pedal past the impediment. But the rolling roadblock stopped him again, this time grabbing a gun and demanding Hennessy’s backpack in Spanish. Hennessy was at a loss for words, especially Spanish words. So he mostly said “amigo” with increasing urgency.
The bandit didn’t want friendship, and the tourist didn’t want bullets. Because Hennessy couldn’t comprehend the commands, he had to guess what his assailant wanted. He figured it was the bicycle, which seems like a step down for a motorcyclist, but whatever. Hennessy ditched his bike and darted down the street. The mugger laid chase and again demanded the bag, apparently unaware that he could have bagged a working GoPro. The gunman gave up once Hennessy’s fellow cyclists circled back and ran him off.
See no evil, here's some evil
A would-be robber briefly ruined a trip to Buenos Aires, but don’t cry for Argentina. Eva Perónprobably wouldn’t want that. Besides, thieves come in all countries, colors, shapes, sizes, and species. They can be lowdown dirty dogs, fat cats, or politicians who parrot talking points. Some of them are monkeys like the ones seen above.
The crime in this scene occurred in Bali, Indonesia. YouTube user Mochilao.TV had what he described as “the brilliant idea” to film himself feeding fruit to monkeys at the Uluwatu Temple. Unbeknownst to him, one of the apes had a hankering for delinquency. In the video, the monkey makes off with the camera and then decides to inspect its conquest. Endearingly small paws grope the lens, and the simian bandit appears to taste the GoPro. (As the saying goes, monkey see, monkey chew.)
At the 56-second mark something remarkable happens. The primate aims the lens at its photogenic face. Cat-like curiosity prompts the monkey to pop the GoPro open and remove the battery as the owner practically begs it to stop. Much like Alexander Hennessy, this tourist had to contend with a language barrier. Luckily, he had a translator of sorts. In his words, “a sweet lady who works in the temple made a ‘deal’ with Mr. Monkey.” In exchange for the camera the monkey got fruit, which it presumably would have gotten from someone anyway. It appears Mr. Monkey made a monkey of a mister.
To boldly GoPro
Much like liars and lawbreakers, Star Trek enthusiasts differ in what they’re like and what they like. But whether one identifies as a Kirk man, a Picard fan, or prefers the Janeway of captaining, every Trekkie should agree space is the final frontier. So when a group of enterprising friends turned a GoPro into a space voyager in 2013, Trekkies everywhere probably swooned from excitement … or continued debating which captain is better. Regardless, there’s no debating that the camera took a trippy trip through space and time.
As the video depicts, the friends enclose the camera in a custom 3-D-printed mount and bring it to Tuba City, Arizona, west of the Grand Canyon. There, they hitch the device to a big old balloon. Unlike the balloonists of old, however, this GoPro isn’t going around the world 80 days; it’s rising past the entire planet in less than 80 minutes. The camera ascends beyond the heavens, and the world shrinks away. The GoPro drinks in vivid images of Earth and sways as if wearing beer goggles. The space balloon busts, and the drunken camera crashes to the ground.
Miraculously, the device avoided DUI charges. In fact, it avoided everything, disappearing for two years. Per Popular Science, attempts to track the device via AT&T cellphones failed on account of an inadequate signal. Fittingly, an AT&T employee stumbled upon the camera while hiking and returned it. Like Earth itself, the GoPro’s journey had come full circle.
A smother's love
Skiing is beloved by laymen and Olympians, dopes and blood dopers, and GoPro founder Nick Woodman and mid-1980s John Cusack. But as Queen once warned, “too much love will kill you.” It especially will if the thing you love smothers you. Skier Kristoffer Carlsson learned that the hard way during a group outing in Verbier, Switzlerand.
Per Carlsson’s YouTube description, in 2011 he sought to slide down a slope when an avalanche beat him to the punch. Sixty-five seconds into the video, the peril becomes apparent. As Carlsson makes his way down the mountain, the snow gives way. A white wave washes over him, pinning the skier in place. The camera catches Carlsson’s crunchy shuffling as he tries to create breathing room.
Stillness ensues. Time feels as frozen as the snow, as seconds seemingly take eons to pass. Carlsson’s breathing intensifies until he unleashes an anguished yell. Perhaps he’s crying for help. Maybe he’s crying from helplessness. Either way, he needs help. Luckily, relief is on the way. Rescuers eventually lift the frosty veil, preventing a grave situation from becoming an icy grave.
The buzzing blizzard
GoPro promotes its products as a way to “capture life as you live it,” which sounds inspiring but inspires questions. Just as physics and philosophy taught us that observing tiny particles changes their behavior, Facebook and photography have taught us that observing our tiny part in life changes how we behave. Can you truly “capture life as you live it” if that life is manufactured? Also, what if you record something that isn’t alive or would kill you if you tried to live in it?
Such questions are probably best answered by people like plasma physicist Andrew Seltzman, who filmed the life-threatening non-life featured above. But first he should tell us what in tarnation takes place in that film. It looks like a plodding amusement park ride through a flurry of flashing dandruff and multi-hued television static. It sounds like a bee at a barber shop. But as Seltzman explained to Vice, the footage actually shows plastic blocks passing through an electron beam irradiator and the flickering particulate fallout that follows.
Electron beam irradiators blast objects with lethally strong streams of negatively charged subatomic particles, i.e., electrons. People employ these machines to strengthen plastic, sterilize objects, and test nanotechnology. Seltzman wanted to see plastic get blasted but realized doing so firsthand would be the last thing he did. So he subbed in a GoPro, which captured nonliving particles non-living their non-lives as a buzzing dandruff blizzard in the dark.
Snake, rattle, and roll
If you watch this video and close your eyes, you’ll hear what sounds like a thousand bouncing babies shaking rattles in unison. Unfortunately, you also wouldn’t be able to read these words. For literacy’s sake, you’ll just have to keep your eyes open and behold what unfolds. You won’t see rattling babies, but you might cry like one.
As Time detailed, Montanan Mike Delaney shot the footage in 2015 and shared his experience on Facebook and YouTube. The video starts off benignly enough. You hear distant hissing and clattering but only see harmless vegetation. As Delaney nears the source of the noise, you fervently hope it’s a commune of angry cats with maracas. All hope abandons ye as ye enter a secret Circle of Dante’s Inferno: the rattlesnake pit.
Slithering reptiles glide hither and thither, shaking their tails to make you quiver. Using a stick, Delany inches his camera closer. One of the snakes recoils and springs at the lens, powerfully pounding it. A second follows suit. The third time proves charmless as a self-propelled snake knocks the GoPro into the pit. The camera gets coated in venom as it’s surrounded by living cowboy boots. Fortunately, Delany managed to retrieve it with a hockey stick. One can only wonder why the puck he got so close in the first place.