Levitating Rock? Not!
created 051108 - updated 060108 - visits:
copyright © 2005-2009, B. Vanderkolk except as credited to others

On November 8th, 2005, this picture was posted on the Coast To Coast website. From the description supplied by image submitter Michael Rippie,

"Andy Price said levitation was not possible and I said it was. For proof he demanded I levitate myself off the ground for 60 seconds. I said that was to easy as I am only 225 lb. I told him to keep an eye on the 7 thousand lb rock. I raised the rock up 4 feet off the ground and began to move it up the hill. Naturally he could not believe his eyes and while jabbering about needing proof or no one would believe him he raised his camera and took this picture."

"I said picture or not no one will believe you. Still, he insisted I send this to you. You can call it Rippie's believe it or not, floating Rock. Andy wonders if the picture can be used for proof of what he saw."

To see the page on C2C, go here.
There were some responses already posted with the image when I saw it. Two basically said it was an optical illusion. Another said the shadow was faked.

Well, I took a good look at this picture in some image editing software, doing gamma adjustments and the like and really could tell much. The image is too small and is highly compressed (almost 20:1). Very little is any detail can be seen in the shadow. The artifacts from jpeg compression making zooming in almost useless. But all is not lost.

Just look at the shadows. If this rock is indeed floating in the air, then why is it's shadow to the right of the rock when all the shadows of the plants, and indeed on the rock itself, are to the left?

This is a gamma lightened image. I also removed the pixelation artifacts caused by the excessive jpeg compression. As you can see, the shadow doesn't look like a simple black blob that was "photoshop'ed" into the image.

If this is indeed the shadow of the rock, it's larger than the rock itself. Tracing lines form the shadow to and past the rock reveals the location of the light source. But obviously there is no light source at that location.

Zooming into a few select location you can see the shadows are actually on the left sides of the objects in the scene. In fact, the REAL shadow of the rock can also be picked out.

Yellow outlines the object.
Green outlines the shadow.
Blue follows the shadow back to the light source.

As you can see in all three cases the shadow lines point to a light source (the Sun) as being to the right. This is inconsistent with the lower dark area being the shadow of a levitating rock.

The conclusion is pretty clear. This is not a levitating rock, unless the levitator can also affect light and shadows at the same time. The most likely explanation is that this is merely a coincidental optical illusion. At first glance it was difficult to not see a floating rock and shadow. The photographer was probably unaware of the illusion until reviewing the images later.