The good-for-nothing DOG HEIRS website is proffering a video which alleges to show an elephant in Thailand gleefully and spontaneously participating in a session of the 12 Bar Blues on a piano. As with everything DOG HEIRS proffers, though, it's a scam; a lie, of the classic sleight-of-hand variety that any second-rate magician routinely uses.
People are sharing this video around social media today...
"Peter" the Elephant ALLEGEDLY playing 12 Bar Blues on the piano in Thailand. Don't buy it, though. It's not what it seems!
...mostly by linking to a story on the DOG HEIRS website which tells us:
"Peter the elephant loves the piano music so much he decided to join in. PaulBartonPiano, who posted the video, said that Peter played the blues 'entirely on his own accord'.
Peter lives at Elephantstay, a non-profit program at the Royal Elephant Kraal & Village in Thailand. He seems to crack a smile while playing the duet, and the elephant next to him is enjoying the tune too.
PaulBartonPiano writes, 'I've noticed elephants, such as Peter have moods at different times of day. Usually in the cooler early evening before nightfall (In Thailand) they are in a more relaxed and potentially playful mood.'"
Yeah, right. Sorry, but I don't buy it. And I have two reasons. First, the DOG HEIRS website has already shown itself to be a lying, biased, good-for-nothing, can't-be-believed, piece-o'-crap website...
...as it did last year, for example, when the story of the dog "Dutch" was going all over the Internet. Here's my story about it...
SEE | http://bit.ly/1bd9eRj (The NBC Newsvine website)
...which includes links to the lies DOG HEIRS wrote. So, right out of the gate, anything on DOG HEIRS is untrustworthy to me.
But, honestly, that admitted bias (against DOG HEIRS) of my own isn't even necessary for my second reason for not believing this video, to wit: Pay close attention to the camera work. Note how cleverly both elephants' handlers are kept out of the picture so that we don't really know what they're doing with their hands to quite probably make the elephants, at the very least, seem to bounce around with the music. The "piano-playing" elephant may very well have once slapped down with his trunk on the keys of the piano of his own volition; elephants are extraordinarily intelligent and curious, and if he was noticing that noises from the funny black thing seemed to coincide with the human's hands slapping down on them, then he may have reached-up and tried it... and noticed that his so doing seemed to delight the humans whom he obeys, who feed and care for him, and who house him. And so, thereafter, I'm quite certain that it was a no-brainer to get him to do it again with gentle urging...
...likely by the handler behind (at least 'til the end of the video) him.
But the dancing around? That suggests understanding and appreciation of the music -- and especially, beat-keeping -- which may or may not actually be possible with elephants; but my money is nevertheless on that the handler behind the "piano-playing" elephant is doing something with his left hand (and possibly also commanding him since the piano's loud enough that it would drown-out any commands so that we couldn't hear them in any case) to make that little additional thing happen. The handler of the elephant only whose butt we can see on the right is conveniently out of view, too.
Even when the camera circles around at the end of the video to its left (the "piano-playing" elephant's right), note the handler holding-up something as if reading it, and how the camera gets to a point where we can't really see his hands behind it touching/cueing the elephant (if that's what he's doing; we can't tell, and I say that's intentional) and he's just sufficiently off the left edge of the screen that we really can't tell exactly what he's doing, in any case. I do notice, though, that at one point he puts his hand too far forward of whatever it is he's holding that's no doubt supposed to be keeping us from seeing his hand touching the animal, but it's completely unclear if that's a command/cue touch, or a comforting/petting sort of touch; and then the video ends, in any case. And the other elephant completely blocks its handler even once the camera moves around, so we STILL can't see whatever it is that s/he may be doing to make said other elephant wiggle around.
All of this is EXACTLY the kind of thing that magicians and others of the sleight of hand world do. If the camera operator really wanted us to see that no one was doing anything to make the elephants do where they at least appear to be doing, then s/he would have made sure that we could. What's just out of view is too conveniently so...
...so I, for one, don't believe one single bit of it. There are videos of parrots seeming to appreciate music and being capable of beat-keeping, but it turns out that even the seeming beat keeping is nothing more than the very same mimicking that parrots naturally audibly do; they see s/he whom they're mimicking move their bodies to keep beat with the music (and usually sing, too), and so the parrot's mimicry of the singing ends-up including what at least appears to be dancing and beat-keeping. Elephants have no predisposition to mimicry; but they sure are trainable... just as any circus.
No, I'm sorry: I don't believe one single bit of it. Not one.
Gregg L. DesElms
Napa, California USA
gregg at greggdeselms dot com
Veritas nihil veretur nisi abscondi.
Veritas nimium altercando amittitur.b