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Does this viral video show supernatural car crashes?

A video has been viewed thousands of times in Facebook, Weibo, Twitter and YouTube posts that claim it shows ‘supernatural car crashes’ in China.

The claim is false: the video was created using digital effects from footage of traffic collisions.

The video has been viewed more than 8,000 times since it was posted on Facebook on March 19, 2021.

It shows various clips of cars that appear to crash without colliding with other vehicles.

“In the Gannan area of Gansu province, many armed police and staff members from the Chinese Academy of Sciences were dispatched. Five kilometres around the area were blocked,” the simplified Chinese caption reads.

“Because as the cars came here, they would collide with something unknown, which is quite strange and inexplicable.”

Reverse image and keyword searches found the video corresponds to a portion of this longer clip posted on Vimeo by digital animation artist Donato Sansone on May 29, 2018.

“[The Vimeo video] is the original and it’s mine. It’s a compositing and special effects work done by me 3 years ago,” he told AFP.

“Many have re-edited it by removing my name to make people believe it was a supernatural event but it isn’t. It’s a special effects work of art.”

Further reverse image searches on Yandex found the unaltered clips herehere and here which in fact show the cars crashed with other vehicles on the road.

Below are a set of screenshot comparisons showing the video in the misleading posts (L) and the unaltered videos (R):

Multiple keyword searches online did not find credible reports about police officers or science experts deployed in China to handle supernatural car crashes, as the misleading posts allege.

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