CERN, one of the leading scientific organisations on the planet, is having to come to terms with the fact a fake human sacrifice was performed and videoed at its base in Switzerland.
While we’re now well used to hearing stories of the strange and wonderful emerging from within CERN and its Large Hadron Collider (LHC), this latest strange tale is unlike anything the organisation has had to deal with before.
In the past few days, footage has emerged that appears to show people in black cloaks and surrounded by lit torches making a fake human sacrifice in the main square of CERN’s HQ in Geneva.
This includes footage of a woman being ‘stabbed’ in front of CERN’s statue of a form of the Indian god Shiva, known as Nataraja, erected in 2004 to represent the cosmic dance of creation and destruction associated with it.
Near the end of the video, the person recording the ceremony in secret appears to let out a number of expletives before running away in fear, similar in style to scenes in classic found-footage films like The Blair Witch Project.
Warning: strong language in YouTube clip
Spoof gone awry
As to who may have been behind such a ceremony, CERN has said in an email to AFP that the likely culprits are prankster researchers who have gone a little too far with a joke.
Citing that only CERN-approved scientists can gain access to the complex, the organisation said: “CERN welcomes every year thousands of scientific users from all over the world and sometimes some of them let their humour go too far. This is what happened on this occasion.”
While CERN has been in contact with local police, the organisation has said it will remain an internal investigation.
With CERN regularly having to deny that its scientific work on the LHC will destroy the world or that it has any connection with the occult, such a prank has not gone down too well with its officials.
“CERN does not condone this type of spoof, which can give rise to misunderstandings about the scientific nature of our work,” it said.
CERN’s Shiva statue image via Øystein Alsaker/Flickr