Reader Patrick Lange left the following comment on my “Debunking Claims Made About The Child Victims Of Sandy Hook” entry:

Hey, I am no photoshop expert. Hoaxer claimed that the one with the family standing in front of the christmas tree is photoshopped. I gave him this link in an argument, but he gave me this picture. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DSwSaV4VQAIRvP6.jpg

He told me “Inconsistent error level. Some areas as bright and even brighter than the shopped on circle. Other areas abnormally dark. Shopped Photo” Can you please explain this?

I’m happy to explain, despite the fact that the clown making these claims couldn’t be bothered. But seeing as how they’re clearly talking out of their ass, I can’t say I really blame them for keeping it so short. They want you to believe that any bright color in an error level analysis means that a photo, as a whole, has been manipulated (beyond the simple addition of the circle), and is therefore fraudulent. That’s not only an overly simplistic of how ELA works, but it’s just not true.

First and foremost, I think it’s important to stress that error level analysis is not something that is taken very seriously by professionals. Actual image forensics expert Jens Kriese has previously described ELA as “subjective and not based entirely on science. This is why there is not a single scientific paper that addresses it” as well as “a method used by hobbyists” which “does not provide clear results”. And Professor Henry Farid has said that it “incorrectly labels altered images as original and incorrectly labels original images as altered with the same likelihood”. So even if this person had interpreted the results of the ELA correctly – and spoiler, they didn’t – well, so what? If people like Jens Kriese or Hany Farid don’t take it seriously, then why shoud we?

But still, what is ELA? How does it work? Or how is it purposted to work? Unfortunately we can’t answer any of these questions without first getting at least a little technical.

In case you’re unaware, JPEGs – which is what we’re working with here – make use of lossy compression to reduce overall file size by discarding (or losing) data. These images will continue to lose data and degrade as they are saved, re-saved, and then re-saved again. What error level analysis does is show the levels of degradation within these lossy images. And since pixels in unmodified images will degrade at the same rate, the end result is a consistent error level. However, in modified images, the altered (or modified) portion(s) will appear bright white, demonstrating a higher error level than the rest of the image. Now we’ve already run into our first problem with this guy’s claim here as there are no bright white areas anywhere in the Avielle Richman photo, which again is indicative of modification. The colors (different from bright white) that we do see are simply the result of high contrast edges. These are especially noticable in areas that face the sun, which is coming in from the right. This is all expected and normal behavior, and that is according to every piece of information regarding error levels and error level analysis that I could find on the Internet. I’ll post these sources at the end of my reply for anyone that is interested… or maybe doesn’t believe me.

Now in images that have been subjected to ELA, the sections that are black correspond to the areas that have not been changed. This indicates a good level of compression with minimal error levels. This exposes another problem with our anonymous friend’s analysis, and this one really demonstrates their ignorance on the matter: there is no such thing as “abnormally dark” when you’re talking about error levels. Again, black – which is about as dark as you can get, I think – indicates minimal error levels. This is exactly what you want to see when you’re looking at an unmodified image as it shows uniform degradation.

So that’s the technical explanation, but there are also a couple of ways in which this claim makes absolutely no sense whatsoever from a logical perspective as well:

  1. The only part of this photo that would have had to have been edited in order for it to stand as evidence that Avielle Richman was 5-6 years old in December of 2011 would be the cookbook, which shows up as black in the ELA. As we’ve already learned, that means that it is unmodified.
  2. Given how error levels work, in order for something to be “brighter” than the circle, it would have to have been added after it. And seeing as how this photo is still available on Jeremy Richman’s Facebook page – without the circle that I personally added – this is absurd, if not impossible. If anything was added after the circle, then it wouldn’t exist in the version available on Mr. Richman’s Facebook page. So I’d invite anyone that is still skeptical to compare the two.

Let me further demonstrate with some photos. Feel free to follow along at home.

Here is the original Avielle Richman Christmas photo, as it appears on Jeremy Richman’s publicly available Facebook page:Notice that the cookbook is there and that there is no circle surrounding it. If we download that photo and then run an error level analysis on it using this site, we see the following results:
Mostly black (indicating no modification) and some colors in areas of high contrast. Knowing what we now know about error levels and error level analysis, nothing here stands out as suspicious in the slightest.

Now we’ll take my version of this photo – which has the circle around the cookbook – and run an error level analysis on it using the same site:

Finally, let’s compare the results of these two photos:

Outside of the circle and additional compression artifacts – the result of further image degradation, wholly expected with subsequent saves – there is no difference. There are no bright white areas indicative of tampering. Outside of the circle in the second/right photo, which I obviously and admittedly added myself, there is no evidence of “Photoshopping” here. The claim is total nonsense.

One last demonstration, and I think this one may be the most useful:

Using a stock photo, I “Photoshopped” (or added) a cat onto the dog bed in the Richman Christmas photo, as seen here:

Not too bad, right? Then I ran an error level analysis on it, using the same online tool I used earlier. Here are the results:

The cat very clearly stands out and is the bright white color we should expect now that we actually know how error levels and error level analysis works. Compare these results to the original photo as well as the photo in which the circle has been added and the differences are crystal clear. The Christmas photo has not been “Photoshopped” in the sense that any information was added to it.

28 Thoughts on “Debunking The Claim That I’m Using “Photoshopped” Photos

  1. A. Overstreet on February 2, 2018 at 7:15 am said:

    Proof that even when there’s pictures of dead bodies…”that doesn’t prove anybody died!”. Las Vegas was a hoax, too, doncha know?

    http://freedom-articles.toolsforfreedom.com/las-vegas-false-flag-mass-shooting/

  2. Patrick Lange on February 19, 2018 at 9:50 pm said:

    His name is LJ (@Rebelready) on Twitter. I sent him the link and I will tell you when he respond to it.

    • Shill Murray on February 20, 2018 at 12:33 am said:

      His claim was demonstrably wrong, so unless his response is an admission of ignorance and an apology, I can’t imagine he has anything of any substance to add.

  3. Honestly this entire site is stupid. You post something and a bunch of people who nobody has any way to verify chime in about how right you are. Fact is it would be easy for you to fake the comments or for this entire site to be complete BS. Disinformation is everywhere and the fact is until we see some dead bodies, have our questions answered not online but in the open/public, etc this is not going away. One of the most important aspects to carrying out a successful false flag is doing exactly what this site and others both pro and con are doing.

    • Shill Murray on February 21, 2018 at 12:06 am said:

      Funny enough, this is the only comment I’ve ever faked! I’m Donald!

    • Anonymous on February 24, 2018 at 2:49 am said:

      What a stupid comment by Donald. You could say the exact same thing about Hoaxer sites. This site has systematically gone through every single claim the hoaxers have put up and has shown them to be without substance. He has shown Fetzer and his sock-puppets like Allan Powell literally are making stuff up in Fetzer’s book.

      • They just can’t accept that they are wrong! They are in deep denial. The hoax theory has been debunked countless of times and fools continue to believe it. This is beyond pathetic! Get over it, the shooting was REAL! It happened 5 years ago and the conspiracy nutcases hasn’t produced anything new. It’s the same old debunked garbage after all these years.

    • Hey Donnie,
      I just came upon this site today and found it very well written, informative, and useful. And, no, I’m not the original poster. You can look me up. My name is Dr. Clarissa Cole (forensic psychologist).

      • Shill Murray on April 17, 2018 at 3:22 pm said:

        Thanks, Clarissa. I’m enjoying your site, and I have to admit that I’m a bit jealous of your job, which sounds incredible.

  4. Cheeseball on March 6, 2018 at 9:17 pm said:

    Why did the state of Connecticut pass a bill to seal all of the evidence? What is the state hiding? Why would they not even release footage of Adam Lanza entering the school? It make me think that they are hiding something.

    • Shill Murray on March 6, 2018 at 9:29 pm said:

      What do any of these questions have to do with the article that you’re commenting on? Did you just choose the most recent entry, shrug, and figure “this’ll do”?

      Why did the state of Connecticut pass a bill to seal all of the evidence?

      Which bill are you referring to? Obviously all of the evidence is not sealed as plenty of it was shared with the final report. Give me a specific bill name or number.

      What is the state hiding?

      The state has released hundreds and hundreds of pages of reports, thousands of crime scene photos, etc. More so than any other shooting in history. What are you talking about?

      Why would they not even release footage of Adam Lanza entering the school?

      Because no such footage exists. There were never any video recording devices ever set up at Sandy Hook School. The camera located at the front entrance was used in tandem with the buzzer system, in order to grant visitors access to the school, and never had video recording capability. They can’t release something they don’t have. Even if they had it and released it, what would stop people like you from saying that it was a “crisis actor”, CGI, or some other outrageous nonsense?

    • Shill Murray on March 7, 2018 at 9:36 pm said:

      You said that Connecticut passed a bill to seal all evidence, but this bill – which is the one I assumed you were referring to, though I wanted to be sure – clearly does not reflect that. If it had, again, we never would have seen the final report, which was released later and includes approximately 850 documents, 911 calls, emergency communications, and literally thousands of photos. Thousands. That’s more than any other shooting in history, by a long shot. It’s truly an overwhelming amount of information, released by the state of Connecticut, and now freely available to anyone with an Internet connection. Of course the release of the report did nothing to satiate conspiracy theorists, and their demands have only gotten more vile, but that’s another issue altogether.

      So what this bill actually does is exempt certain information from Freedom of Information requests (though I would assume most of these items are already exempt based on exemption #6). That information includes:

      – Records of law enforcement agencies not otherwise available to the public which records were compiled in connection with the detection or investigation of crime, if the disclosure of said records would not be in the public interest because it would result in the disclosure of (A) the identity of informants not otherwise known or the identity of witnesses not otherwise known whose safety would be endangered or who would be subject to threat or intimidation if their identity was made known, (B) the identity of minor witnesses, (C) signed statements of witnesses, (D) information to be used in a prospective law enforcement action if prejudicial to such action, (E) investigatory techniques not otherwise known to the general
      public, (F) arrest records of a juvenile, which shall also include any investigatory files, concerning the arrest of such juvenile, compiled for law enforcement purposes, (G) the name and address of the
      victim of a sexual assault or (H) uncorroborated allegations subject to destruction.
      – Any record created by a law enforcement agency or other federal, state, or municipal governmental agency consisting of a photograph, film, video or digital or other visual image depicting the victim of a homicide, to the extent that such record could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of the victim or the victim’s surviving family members.
      – Audio tape or other recording where the individual speaking on the recording describes the condition of a victim of homicide, except for a recording that consists of an emergency 9-1-1 call or other call for assistance made by a member of the public to a law enforcement agency.

      Source: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2013/ACT/pa/pdf/2013PA-00311-R00SB-01149-PA.pdf

      And that’s it. It absolutely does not “seal all evidence”. That is 100% objectively wrong.

      Americans have a right to privacy, not necessarily guaranteed by the United States Constitution, but most often through a common-law cause of action. This right is frequently bolstered by state law, and it is not invalidated by your death, no matter how much of a monster you are. That’s why, as controversial as it may be, we’ve never seen Adam Lanza’s autopsy photos or many of the personal belongings mentioned in the final report. Interestingly, on that last note, it’s the Hartford Courtant – part of the terrible mainstream media alleged to be complicit in this imaginary hoax by conspiracy theorists – that is leading the charge in securing the release the latter. They’ve been fighting for it for years, and they’re taking their case all the way to the state Supreme Court.

      So Connecticut, obviously motivated by what took place at Sandy Hook and the intense interest in the case that immediately followed, joined a number of other states in further protecting the rights of its citizens, specifically victims of violent crimes and their families. The result of that is this bill: Substitute Senate Bill No. 1149. What about that do you find so unreasonable?

      Now let me ask you this, and answer honestly: if your six year-old son had their jaw blown off at school, would you want their autopsy photos spread all over the Internet, where people would undoubtedly desecrate their memory by talking about how fake they looked (or worse)? Or if your six year-old daughter had witnessed such a crime, would you want her personal information in the hands of conspiracy theorists who have proudly and ruthlessly stalked children for five years? Bear in mind that illustrious group includes some real winners, like convicted pedophile Marc Watson. Switching gears, do you also believe that the government would be unable to fake these materials? If the narrative requires that “they” shut down a school, elaborately stage it, produce a mountain of phony documentation, hire a number of child actors to play murder victims, register them in the Social Security Death Index, etc, what’s to stop them from fabricating autopsy photos and then “accidentally” leaking them to the public?

      Anyway, it seems a bit crazy to me that I would have to justify this bill to anyone who has actually read it, yet here we are. For the record, the two Senators that opposed the bill? Both Democrats. Again, these are the folks that conspiracy theorists have told us are complicit, following Obama’s orders to confiscate everyone’s guns (which, as we all know, never happened).

  5. Anonymous12 on March 17, 2018 at 9:20 pm said:

    I love that when you dispatch the crazy conspiracy theorists with facts they either don’t come back or they call you a shill or “Lenny”.

    • Shill Murray on March 17, 2018 at 10:28 pm said:

      They’re certainly a predictable bunch. I’ve even offered money to anyone that can prove I’m a “shill”, but so far no one has taken the bait. Can’t say I’m surprised.

  6. Anonymous on March 22, 2018 at 7:46 pm said:

    Would you be willing to debate the beached whale named Jim Fetzer? I know his debate tactics are questionable but it would be nice to see his face when every one of his laughable claims is debunked.

    • Shill Murray on March 29, 2018 at 1:58 am said:

      I would, if I thought for even a second that it would resemble an actual debate. But, like you said, his debate tactics are “questionable”, and I think that’s putting it kindly. Ultimately, attempting to participate in an honest, legitimate debate with people like Fetzer is a fool’s errand.

  7. Anonymous on March 22, 2018 at 7:50 pm said:

    I have directed probably a dozen “true believers” of the Fetzer crowd to this site. They generally dismiss everything here — generally they call anybody critical of Fetzer on his blog an “op” or “shill”. Why do you think that is? I can’t think of any rational person who reads Fetzer’s book and then reads your review of his book who would side with Fetzer.

    • Shill Murray on March 29, 2018 at 2:05 am said:

      Why? Because it’s much easier to attack me with nonsense allegations than it is to refute my work.

      I do know that a few people have ended up here after hearing Fetzer’s claims and thankfully these folks weren’t indoctrinated yet, so they were able to view everything critically. Those are the people that I’m trying to reach. The other kind of people – the ones who are going to ignore the site completely and call me names – they’re basically cult members at this point and there’s no talking sense into them. So this site isn’t for them anyway.

      As for anyone who actually believes I’m a paid shill, I’ve been offering up $400 to anyone who can prove it. This offer has been on the table for years, and so far, no takers. I know my money’s safe, so I could offer $1,000.

  8. Anonymous555 on March 24, 2018 at 9:37 pm said:

    Witnesses said they wouldn’t let any EMTs in the building. There would have been ambulances EVERYWHERE if there were 26 dead bodies!!!! They would have packed the parking lot full of emt on standby because they didn’t have any idea how many were shot how many were bleeding out. Where are all the ambulances? I do not see evidence that any bodies were ever transported from the school. It would have taken a lot of paramedics in a lot of vehicles to transport 26 bodies. EXPLAIN!

    • Shill Murray on April 4, 2018 at 8:30 pm said:

      Witnesses said they wouldn’t let any EMTs in the building.

      They didn’t allow EMTs in the building while it was still a hot zone. This is standard procedure for what I would assume are obvious reasons.

      In case it’s not so obvious, here’s a snippet from the “Procedures” section of New Hampshire’s “Bureau of Emergency Medical Services EMS in the Warm Zone Active Shooter Best Practice Guide”, presented as an example:

      Hot Zone – (also known as the area of direct threat) area where there is known hazard or life threat that is direct and immediate. An example of this would be any uncontrolled area where the active shooter could directly engage an RTF (Rescue Task Force) team. RTF teams will not be deployed into a Hot Zone.

      Once the threat was neutralized and the scene was secured, they allowed EMTs into Sandy Hook and you can read their statements throughout the final report. Here’s a snippet of paramedic Matthew Cassevechia’s experience (detailed in Book 6, Report #1200704559-00002113):

      SGT Cario escorted Cassavechia, paramedic John Reed, a tactically trained paramedic, and paramedic Bernie Meehan into the building to begin patient assessment and treatment.

      There would have been ambulances EVERYWHERE if there were 26 dead bodies!!!!

      Why? The bodies did not leave the school in ambulances. Still, here is a photo showing eight of them in the primary staging area. This is from the Channel 12 helicopter footage, so it was taken hours after the shooting:

      They would have packed the parking lot full of emt on standby because they didn’t have any idea how many were shot how many were bleeding out.

      How many EMTs responded? Do you actually know? And how many do you personally believe would have been enough? Is your opinion based on any medical training? Obviously you recognize that there were EMTs there, because you also complained that they were not allowed into the school until it was declared safe to do so.

      You say that “they didn’t have any idea how many were shot how many were bleeding out”, but they did, and fairly quickly. Surely you know that William Cario – one of the first officers to enter the school – was an EMT for thirty-two years, right?

      Anyway, once the injured were assessed and removed from the school, police and other first responders understood that no one else could be saved, and additional EMT were told not to enter the school in order to preserve the scene. Here’s a relevant quote from an article where they interviewed first responder Peter Houlahan:

      Houlahan’s was the third ambulance to arrive at Sandy Hook. Two ambulances before him had rushed victims to the hospital. He was poised to enter the school when he was told no one else could be saved.

      “We knew what was inside there and I was grateful I didn’t go in,” Houlahan said. “I saw others, from the most highly trained law enforcement we have, come out upset, resting on each other’s shoulders. I saw one guy who was in such shock I can still see his eyes. I will never forget it.”

      Where are all the ambulances?

      As mentioned earlier, they were at the primary staging area, which was the firehouse parking lot.

      I do not see evidence that any bodies were ever transported from the school.

      What evidence are you looking for? Is the official report not good enough for you? It documents the entire process.

      If you’re looking for visual evidence, the bodies were moved into the mortuary tent late Friday night, and police had blocked the press from photographing the school anyway. Again, nothing out of the ordinary here: the media is usually not allowed to just wander around crime scenes. Still, one photographer managed to sneak into the woods by the school and take the following photos of a body being moved:

      It would have taken a lot of paramedics in a lot of vehicles to transport 26 bodies.

      Paramedics didn’t move them; the Office of Chief Medical Examiner did. The bodies were transported to OCME in Farmington on Saturday, December 15th. And yes, it likely did take a number of vehicles to transport all of the bodies. I have no idea what point you’re trying to make here.

  9. Anonymous on March 30, 2018 at 5:34 pm said:

    I used to link this page all the time on Fetzer’s blog to refute is silly claims (like they ‘rearranged the children to get a better shot’). Now he deletes every comment that references this site! I thought he was so concerned about censorship?

    • Shill Murray on April 5, 2018 at 3:26 pm said:

      Fetzer’s a liar and a chickenshit. It was actually an interaction with him (you can revisit it here) that really inspired me to start this site, so if I’ve cut into any of his book sales with my work here, he has no one but himself to blame.

  10. Anonymous on April 23, 2018 at 1:44 am said:

    Did you see this recent blog post: https://jamesfetzer.blogspot.com/2018/04/sandy-hook-how-we-know-lawsuits-against.html

    I am convinced he is senile. No matter how many times his stupid conclusions have been proven wrong he still prints them, over and over. Is he being paid to be this dense or is he mad? I thought he was a philosopher of science? Shouldn’t he be an expert in refutation and scientific evidence?

    • Shill Murray on April 23, 2018 at 4:02 pm said:

      I haven’t. I try and avoid Fetzer’s site unless I need to cite it while debunking his claptrap. But I clicked and scrolled down to see he’s still using the same old debunked bullshit. I’m not sure how anyone can take him seriously knowing that he’s still leaning on the “conga line” nonsense, among other obvious lies.

  11. Nathan Stirling on April 23, 2018 at 3:56 pm said:

    Myles told me that you did the work that was behind his video on Sandy Hook. I just want to say thanks for all the work done to debunk this harmful conspiracy.

    • Shill Murray on April 23, 2018 at 3:57 pm said:

      Thank you. I’ve been a fan of Myles for a while, so when he reached out and asked for permission to use some of my work, I was more than happy to assist.

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