I've done a little bit of hiring, and IMO it's no less confusing on the other side. You try to pick someone you think will fit with everyone else, and you want someone that will stay, and everyone needs to agree upon that person. TBH, experience is a big factor, but not necessarily as important as feeling the fit is good. We've passed on people that we all wanted to hire, just because there was someone else we all wanted to hire.
I wouldn't take the excuses/reasons given to heart. They probably are only partially true, probably not the deciding factor, and it's not unlikely that you were edged out for a trivial or arbitrary reason.