Paranormal

How AI Sees The Paranormal (And The Stories It Tells)

There’s been a lot of talk recently about AI recommending that we try to catch Bigfoot with a net, and it got me thinking about what else Large Language Models might have to say about the paranormal. So what did I do? I fired up my own AI assistant once again and asked it to craft me a few strange tales. They’re short stories, the kind you might read on a blog just like this one!

I also used SDXL 1.0 (Stable Diffusion) to conjure up some supernatural images for me. These are its stories, and every single one is completely false.

Two Bigfoot Walk Through The Woods, 1967

AI-generated image of two Bigfoot walking along a forest path

In the dense woods of northern California, a recently discovered photograph has been causing quite a stir among cryptozoologists and enthusiasts alike. The image, taken on a Polaroid in 1967, depicts two large, hairy creatures walking along a forest path. The figures match the description of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, which are rumored to inhabit remote regions around the world.

The photograph was reportedly taken by an unnamed individual who claimed to have encountered the creatures while hiking in the wilderness.

The size of the figures suggests that they are significantly larger than humans, with their gait indicating a bipedal movement similar to our own. While some skeptics argue that it could be a hoax or misidentification of known animals like bears, others believe this could be evidence of an undiscovered species living among us.

A 1983 Florida UFO Sighting

AI-generated image of a UFO over a Florida city

On an otherwise ordinary evening in the summer of 1983, residents of a small city in Florida were left astonished and bewildered by an extraordinary sight in the sky. A bright, disc-shaped object hovered over their homes, emitting a strange light that illuminated the surrounding area with an otherworldly glow. Witnesses reported hearing no sound from the UFO, only the eerie silence of the night broken by their own panicked reactions to this unexplainable event.

News outlets quickly picked up on the story, and soon reporters were swarming the city in search of answers. Eyewitness accounts varied widely, with some claiming that the UFO had landed briefly before taking off again, while others insisted it remained stationary throughout the entire sighting. Despite numerous attempts to investigate and debunk the phenomenon, no definitive explanation has ever been found for this bizarre encounter in Florida’s skies.

A Vintage Haunted Doll Fails To Sell

AI-generated image of a red-headed doll on a shelf surrounded by old computer parts

In the dimly lit confines of an antique store, nestled amidst rows upon rows of dusty knickknacks and forgotten relics, lies a peculiar sight: A single doll sits on a worn-out shelf, surrounded by an assortment of outdated electronics. But there’s something unsettling about this particular figure – an air of melancholy or perhaps even malevolence that sets it apart from its peers.

The antique store owner claims to have acquired the doll, along with a collection of vintage items, at an estate sale many years ago, unaware of its sinister reputation. That is, until strange occurrences began happening within his shop. Customers reported feeling uneasy in the presence of the doll, experiencing chills and hearing unexplained whispers when they approached it. Some even claimed to have seen it move or change position on its own accord.

Despite numerous attempts by skeptics and paranormal investigators to debunk these claims, the haunted (or perhaps cursed) doll in the antique store remains a subject of fascination for those who dare venture into its eerie orbit. Its story is one that seems plucked from folklore or horror fiction, adding another layer of intrigue to the already mysterious world of antiques and forgotten treasures.

A Corvette Time Machine

AI-generated image of a 1967 Corvette surrounded by a strange bubble of lightning

In an unexpected twist of events, a photograph taken in 1975 at an undisclosed facility reveals a startling sight: a classic 1967 Corvette seemingly preparing to travel through time. The vehicle appears normal under most circumstances, but the presence of strange lightning-like tendrils surrounding it from above, and a dark singularity forming in its center, suggest that something otherworldly is at play here.

The lack of any visible individuals nearby only adds to the mystery surrounding this event. It’s unclear whether anyone witnessed or participated in the alleged time travel experiment involving the Corvette, leaving us with only this eerie photograph as evidence of what may have transpired that day.

The Bubble

AI-generated image of a ghostly bubble bouncing against a closed window

In this chilling black-and-white photograph taken in 1951, a ghostly orb appears to interact with an unusual windowpane. The bubble-like shape seems to be caught mid-bounce against the glass, its translucent form creating an eerie effect that leaves viewers feeling uneasy. While it’s difficult to determine if this phenomenon has paranormal origins or can be explained by natural means, there’s something uncanny about this image that resonates with those who come across it.

The window itself adds to the mystique; its design appears unconventional and almost alien-like, further fueling speculation as to what lies beyond its confines.

AI: Changing The Conversation?

AI is fascinating to me, even though it’s quickly gained a reputation as nothing more than a big old automated plagiarism machine. Is that fair? I’m not sure. The same could be said about humans, in a way, as all we do is learn from others and take inspiration from the things we’ve seen. Computers are just a bit faster with it, though they’re certainly not quite at our level of creativity, yet. IEEE Spectrum also highlights several instances of what they call “plagiaristic outputs” – when an LLM or even something like Midjourney outputs nearly exact copies of original works.

Beyond that, when you look at some of these AI-generated videos (like, say, a 1950s television commercial for Pooky Park), it all just begins to feel strange. Once generative AI gets far enough along, and enough time passes, how easy will it be to determine what is real and what is AI?

Even now, when it’s still mostly obvious, the waters get muddied. According to Reuters, an alleged 1883 photo of Bigfoot apparently spread throughout social media last year, though it was quickly called out as AI. I’m not exactly sure if people truly believed it was real, or if they just wanted to share a dumb Bigfoot photo, but the “it’s an AI hoax!” response was fairly large. The photo even originally appeared on a Twitter (sorry, X) account named The AI Experiment, so simply labeling things as AI won’t stop people from claiming or even believing AI works are real.

Anyway, the stories above, generated by my own AI, are obviously inspired by “real” paranormal topics and artifacts: Bigfoot, UFOs, Annabelle the Doll, John Titor’s time traveling Corvette. The prompts were vague and meant to mimic what you’d typically see from paranormal websites. I’m not sure about the bubble, though!

Oh, and if you’re curious about the whole “catch Bigfoot with a net and also maybe dress up as one to earn his trust” thing, well, head over to The Daily Star to check out their recent explorations of that topic.

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Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.