The European Organisation for Nuclear Research, better known as Cern, is said to have initiated investigations into a video that emerged of what was believed to have been a human sacrifice on its premises earlier this month. Although there was quite some uproar when the video first emerged, with many thinking it was an actual human sacrifice, it has since been debunked as a hoax.
The video is shot from the point of view of someone standing near a window as the entire drama plays out in the courtyard in front of a statue of Nataraj, the dancing form of Lord Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and part of the Holy Trinity — the other two being Brahma the creator and Vishnu the preserver.
The shaky, unclear video, shot at night and under low-light conditions, shows the courtyard being lit dimly, with illumination coming from a few lamps. The "ritual" progresses as men clad in what looks like black cloaks move around. Then a woman dressed all in white is brought in, and just as she is about to be "sacrificed," the person filming the video moves away and lets out a string of unprintable words.
After the video was circulated online for quite some time, with people deeply divided over whether what they were seeing was real or fake, a Cern spokesperson told Agence France-Presse: "These scenes were filmed on our premises but without official permission or knowledge. Cern does not condone this type of spoof, which can give rise to misunderstandings about the scientific nature of our work."
The spokesperson was also confirmed that an investigation into the case was under way, but also that it was an internal matter, meaning it would not be discussed in public, nor details of it disclosed.
However, by the time the video was confirmed to be a hoax, it had fuelled the imagination of many a conspiracy theorist and ultra-religious fundamentalists, who had dubbed the ritual "satanic". Cern has already been on the crosshairs of many Christian religious communities because of the long-standing religion-versus-science tussle.
This had been exacerbated when the Large Hadron Collider at Cern had managed to detect the presence of the Higgs boson, otherwise known as the "god particle."
Watch the video here: