Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show 'Portal' At Miami Mall New Year's Day 2024 -- Edited Video Dates To May 2023

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show 'Portal' At Miami Mall New Year's Day 2024 -- Edited Video Dates To May 2023 Old Video

Was a video filmed on New Year's Day 2024 at the Bayside Marketplace in Miami showing panicked bystanders running and falling as a mysterious glowing "portal" opened near them? No, that's not true: This video was first posted on TikTok by a Russian-language paranormal-themed channel on May 17, 2023, months before the police response to a New Year's Day 2024 melee at a Miami mall spawned social media rumors of an alien invasion. The original caption on the video said it was an unexplained portal that opened in China; analysis shows it is a blend of theatrics and video effects.

The video (archived here) surfaced on TikTok by @earthwatcher777 on January 5, 2024. The text caption on the video reads:

what happened at the mall in miami

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:


(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Jan 10 18:55:11 2024 UTC)

Lead Stories conducted a reverse-image search with Google Lens using a screenshot from the video, which only returned duplicate copies of the video associated with the Miami aliens rumor. Sometimes copied videos are flipped to make them harder to detect. Lead Stories took a screenshot from the video and flipped the image horizontally to search Yandex.com, a Russian search engine. This pointed to a November 5, 2023, video posted on ok.ru (archived here). The video has a watermark, "Neupokoennye." The Russian-language caption, translated by Google, reads:

In China, an unknown portal suddenly appeared at a metro station. No one has ever been able to find an explanation for it.

Regardless of how or where the video was made, it was finished long before the incident at the Bayside Marketplace on New Year's Day 2024 and does not depict something that happened there in 2024.

Lead Stories identified a TikTok account with a paranormal theme with the name @neupokoennye. The video in question was originally posted on May 17, 2023. The Russian-language text caption on the video is the same as above, referencing a metro station in China.


(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Jan 10 18:55:11 2024 UTC)

The @neupokoennye video has a wider view of the station platform than the version from @earthwatcher777. Neupokoennye's video also has a filter added to the mostly black-and-white footage, which gives it a unique aesthetic style. This style, which has several names, resembles how a 3D movie would appear if you looked at it without 3D glasses. This can be called an RGB Split/Glitch effect. Dark areas in the image have a red outline on the right side and a blue outline on the left side. This effect is present in most of the videos on the @neupokoennye channel, pointing to this channel being the source of the RGB Split filter addition.

The Lead Stories composite image below shows the RGB split style (below left) of the @neupokoennye video, and the way the original video was flipped horizontally and also cropped to make the @earthwatcher777 version (inset below right). This video of people reacting is depicted as if it was authentic black-and-white footage taken from a CCTV camera at the train station -- but the glowing "portal" has a yellow glow, a color that is not present elsewhere in either copy of the footage. This defies a practical technical explanation as a black-and-white CCTV camera does not randomly generate areas of color footage. The only conclusion remaining is that this video is an artistic creation that may have used a positioned camera and a combination of actors, props or special effects as well as post-production filters to create the final result.

Lead Stories was not able to locate any earlier versions of this video on Google, Yandex, TinEye, Bing or through the image search of the Chinese internet services company, Baidu.


(Lead Stories composite image with TikTok screenshots taken on Wed Jan 10 21:17:39 2024 UTC)

Lead Stories has debunked another claim suggesting the large police response on New Year's Day 2024 in Miami was due to aliens at the Bayside Mall.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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