Remaking Blow-Up, or Was Everybody Out When the Crowne Went Down?

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Watch this video very closely. Do you see someone entering the building before the demolition begins? Maybe on the left side of the screen?

No? Well, keep looking. How about enlarging the video — or breaking it down frame by frame — so you can examine it more carefully?

Apparently someone who shot a video of the same event from the same angle saw something in it so disturbing that he brought the footage to the attention of the Houston Police Department. And officers found the evidence credible enough that they spent the greater part of Wednesday searching through rubble to see if maybe someone got into the Crowne Plaza Hotel in the Texas Medical Center shortly before it was imploded Sunday morning.

KHOU-TV reports that police are focusing their search on the Fannin side of the building, which would be the street on the left. The station also says that the video used as evidence was in fact taken from the St. Luke’s Medical Towerthe same vantage point as the YouTube video above.

So is the video above the same one the police are studying?


There’s good reason to think so: A video with a still-frame that looks almost identical, entitled “Crowne Plaza Implosion – Houston – 11/11/07 – BEST SHOT” was posted on YouTube yesterday and then later mysteriously removed by the user, ayserk56, whose account is now . . . closed. The video above appears to be a copy of that original video, copied to LiveLeak and then reposted by someone else back to YouTube. Yeah: Feel free to grab your own copies for safekeeping.

Oh, and by the way: Swamplot has just a few more videos of the implosion you can look at. And there are plenty more out there. Which Swamplot reader will be the remote sleuth who finds the second important clue? After all, HPD detectives can’t spend all day watching YouTube videos. That’s, uh . . . where we all come in?

Obviously, everyone hopes nobody was hurt. But we all love a mystery, and this one may take a while to figure out. Cherry Demolition had said removing all the rubble would take about two months — and that’s without sifting for a body.

Perhaps it’s Houston’s chance to relive Antonioni’s film — this time though, David Hemmings’s model-boffing fashion photographer can be replaced by a demolition-obsessed amateur videographer, cheered on by a virtual army of Googling YouTube fans armed with video software, Photoshop, and a love of magnification. We can call it Blow-Up 2.0. At the end of our remake, all the YouTube videos of the implosion will mysteriously disappear from the internets, and no one (except our hero) will remember the Crowne Plaza.

Kind of fits this city, doesn’t it?

And here’s the best part: instead of David Hemmings just “blowing up” his images in a darkroom, there’s a whole building that’s “blown up.” Get it?

Is that Hollywood calling? Oh, right. The writers are still on strike.

Update: 11 News comes up with the same video, and adds:

It would appear that a door closes just as the initial explosions for the implosion get underway.

A door? This is about a door? Couldn’t a few sticks of dynamite close a door?

Later Update: Clues!