Video of what appears to be an alien body recently found in Russia following reports of UFOs last month has set off a furor among UFO communities and in the blogosphere.
The Daily Mail reported that "In the frozen wastes of Siberia two walkers claim to have found the body of an alien. On its side with its mouth slightly agape, the slender, badly-damage body lies half-buried in snow close to Irkutsk, Russia. Video of the alien's corpse has become a massive worldwide hit with hundreds of thousands of followers after being posted on the internet. The corpse of the badly-damaged creature which resembles ET is two feet high. Part of the right leg is missing and there are deep holes for eyes and a mouth in a skull-like head."
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One of the men who allegedly found the alien was quoted as saying, "We couldn't believe it when we saw it. And what was spooky is that there was no sign of the spaceship. Perhaps that was taken away and the body overlooked."
Having previously investigated (and solved) many videos of unexplained phenomena including UFOs and aliens, I was asked by ABC News to provide an expert analysis of the new video. I highlighted several reasons why the video was suspicious, including the fact that the two men can be heard laughing at one point, and listed telltale signs that the video was staged. I also explained why the alien was unconvincing and described how it could have been fabricated, concluding that "there's probably a butcher shop somewhere missing some pieces."
There's also a plausible reason why no spacecraft is seen: it would have required much more effort to fake. It's one thing to create a two-foot alien body figure, but fashioning a plausible spaceship that carried the poor little alien from his extraterrestrial home to his snowy Siberian tomb would have been far more difficult.
My early analysis of a hoax proved correct. The Siberian alien was created by two Russian teens, Timur Hilall and Kirill Vlasov, who confessed to the hoax after police in Irkutsk, Siberia, investigated. The police also found the “alien” figure hidden in one of the teen’s bedrooms; it was made of several materials, including butcher shop scraps.
This is only the latest of several UFO and alien-related misidentifications and hoaxes over the past six months. In November of last year, a UFO or supposed "mystery missile" was sighted off the coast of Los Angeles. Rumors and myths circulated for weeks about the strange contrail in the sky; it was later determined to have been an ordinary airplane contrail, from United Parcel Service Flight 902.
In January of this year a series of videos showing what appeared to be a UFO hovering over Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock caused a sensation among UFO buffs. Those videos were determined by both skeptics and analysts from the Mutual UFO Network to have been faked.
Then, earlier this month a 1950 FBI memo was claimed to be proof that aliens and saucers were recovered from a 1947 crash in Roswell, New Mexico. Once again, skeptical analysis showed that the "smoking gun" evidence was related to a hoax; the FBI memo was real, but it did not refer to Roswell but instead to a UFO hoax in Aztec, New Mexico.
Of course for many people no amount of evidence—whether presented by skeptics or believers—will change their minds about UFOs. For some, it's easier to believe that aliens are among us than it is to believe that they could be fooled.