Reaction has been varied regarding a video seemingly depicting a human sacrifice on the grounds of CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, the location of the Large Hadron Collider and cutting edge particle physics research. Some people are chuckling at the spoof while others see it confirming their dark suspicions and sinister worldview. As a science advocate who knows that people all too readily subscribe to truly outrageous ideas about how the world works, I’m angry at these participants who were clearly CLUELESS about the damage they could do to the beleaguered reputation of big science.
Take a look at the video.
The earliest source I found is from an Aug 10 Facebook post in Arabic. It is said to be a leaked video. On Aug 11, it ended up on the Facebook page Stranger Than Fiction News and RichieFromBoston’s YouTube page shown above. RichieFromBoston (RFB), the host of this video, is hung up on CERN and the Illuminati, either a believer in conspiratorial claims or he’s playing the role. It’s impossible to tell when people are sincerly delusional or pretending – it looks the same. He talks in all CAPS.
CERN officials confirm the video was taken on the grounds and concluded it is a stunt done for a laugh.
A CERN spokesperson tells the AFP that the prank video was shot without permission on its Geneva campus, and that the people who orchestrated it had badge access to the site. The spokesperson did not identify the people responsible for it, describing the investigation as an “internal matter.”
“CERN does not condone this type of spoof, which can give rise to misunderstandings about the scientific nature of our work,” the spokesperson said in an email to the AFP.
“CERN welcomes every year thousands of scientific users from all over the world and sometimes some of them let their humor go too far,” the spokesperson added. “This is what happened on this occasion.”
As the location of expensive equipment, serious security exists on site and badges are issued to all employees and visitors. Therefore, no one can sneak into the grounds. The people who are in the video have been authorized to be there. With that confirmed, viewers must decide if it’s a staged hoax, or a real sacrifice, or a pretend but serious ritual. (There are creative spins on these option proposed as well.) A faked video is the most plausible explanation to rational people who don’t assume the worst. It’s imperative to understand that so many people do NOT fit that description. They have a totally different worldview. They are vocal about it, too, and all over the place. Herein lies the very serious problem – to many, perception IS reality.
Folks at CERN have a great sense of humor – when appropriate and in suitable context. In this case, the context is ambigious and meaning can be construed in a dozen different ways. I’m at a loss to see how a perceived “leaked” video of a murder to appease a god and/or science could not be misconstrued in multiple ways. What positives could possibly be gained from it? I’m not finding this funny. At all. Instead, it’s annoying the heck out of me on a few levels.
I fully understand that some people have a dark sense of humor and brush off this scene as the players having a good time, maybe a bit tipsy, escaping the stress of a serious career. Regarding this particular circumstance which is a few steps too far, I take issue with simply considering this a harmless joke. In the Internet age, fringe ideas flow in the mainstream. Conspiratorial and occult ideas are rampant. Familiarity leads to less of a reaction to extremely bizarre claims. After a while, loopy nonsense is just another view out there, but it has become ingrained in the culture. There is not insignificant portion of the population that seriously subscribes to the idea that industries, companies, and projects are affiliated with shady dealings, secret cabals and worship of dark lords. People REALLY DO BELIEVE THIS STUFF – have you not been following Doubtful News these past many years? Don’t forget that NASA has to regularly debunk end of the world claims, NOAA had to issue statements explaining that mermaids aren’t real, and the Governor of Texas thought the US military was conducting an exercise in martial law in his state. It’s folly to assume that this kind of absurdity isn’t accepted as true for a not small minority. It clearly is. And these people get attention. They also support a candidate running for President.
Had this been a sketch on a comedy channel, clearly played up for a joke, I’d not be writing this piece, the skit maybe could have been actually humorous. But context is everything. With ambigious context in a confirmed credible location with authorized people in the roles, this prank may result in deleterious fallout. I sure hope it doesn’t but lesser crap has fueled preposterous rumors that grow into accepted belief. Conspiracy mongers and religious fundamentalists (anti-science, both) will latch onto this and use it to feed the fear.
You look at it and see an obvious hoax. Not everyone thinks like you. Remember that people thought (and still think) all kinds of bizarre stuff is going to happen thanks to the LHC: creation of a black hole, antimatter, destruction of the world, opening of UFO portals, earthquakes… this list is only limited by one’s fantastic imagination. See this Snopes piece that provides links to the extreme claims.
To gauge the views of people who do not think like you and who may or may not be playing a role, let’s visit the comments section of RT.com for this story (a source from which I would NOT recommend you get your news or any information).
Commenters note that this looks awfully elaborate for a prank – the black robes, the staging, etc. A few note it must have been authorized by CERN since security is tight and they knew they would be seen. One idea is that the person recording is a whistleblower (who has been killed) and now CERN has put out the “prank” story to cover it up. There are those that think such rituals happen at other places around the world. In a less extreme opinion, some viewers are doubtful they are doing any valuable work here, just goofing off, and their funding should be cut. If we go to a further fringe location, the bastion of conspiratorial woo, Veterans Today, we find an opinion piece by a columnist who thinks this is “psyops” – a deliberate attempt at misinformation for the public.
This whole thing stinks of psyop to me, I think that the video was made in order to be released to the public, this is no leak.
Quite what is going on in the video I can’t say, it does look like an occult ritual but that leaves a whole boatload of unanswered questions, primarily – why did they put this video out?
It’s not a prank, it’s not a “leak”, he says, it’s a purposeful deception. For what reason, I can’t fathom. I can’t relate to any of these ideas because there is no half-decent evidence that the Illuminati exists and is a world power, that people are worshiping Satan or other pagan gods to allow them to conduct science hocus-pocus, and that blood sacrifices are being made on a regular basis, or that CERN is anything but a science institution. Let’s be clear on one thing – there is no one dead as a result of this incident – no blood, no one missing – but that has little bearing on the impact as this crazy story hits every tabloid, fringe forum and End Times website. Evidence is in the eye of beholder.
With the loads of negative publicity that the LHC received in the past, this adds to the pile. Are those responsible that clueless that they think a joke in such bad taste would be laughed off? It’s more fodder for more negative attitudes toward the project.
To the people who tell me to “lighten up” or say that I don’t have a sense of humor, save your opinion, I don’t heed it. I’m no humorless prude. There are plenty of opportunities for goofing off and having a laugh about serious stuff but when it negatively affects real people and progress, stirs up distrust and fear, and can incite backlash on an international scale, it’s so NOT funny.
Governments fund most science. People elect the government. Public appreciation for science is low. The public doesn’t see the value in the money spent on a giant machine that smashes atomic particles together. The last thing needed is to project the idea that this is more of a waste or a joke or an evil conspiracy. If the public opinion of scientific work tanks, for whatever reason – real or imaginary – the money dries up. We desperately need efforts to nuture appreciation and respect for scientific work. This bullshit gag does the exact opposite. Nice going, assholes.