Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Reflections on the Terra.es Video Hoax

Reflections on the Terra.es Saucer Hoax

As it turns out, had it not been for the investigative efforts of UFO researcher and broadcaster Bruno Cardeñosa and his team at La Rosa de los Vientos (a program airing nightly on Spain’s Onda Cero network), the hoax perpetrated by Terra.es would have gone on until – one supposes – late October, when the anniversary of Orson Welles’ 1939 radio broadcast of “The War of the Worlds” would have been celebrated by disclosing the third and final video of the sequence, which Terra released reluctantly yesterday to the anger of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, including investigators and writers in the UFO field, saucer enthusiasts, and simply those who were angered at seeing another “viral marketing” campaign for yet another unknown product, but this time using ufology as a prop.

Ricardo Campos, the researcher who alerted the community to the existence of the second installment of the sorry saga, has observed that UFO videos have “a whiff of adolescence” about them. And he’s right.

When it comes to UFO videos -- and the ease with which they can be created thanks to the breakthroughs of home computing, software that was once the province of George Lucas’s ILM Team is now within the reach of the clever casual user – caveat emptor has been the byword since Mexico’s Polanco UFO of 1997. And that twelve year-old effort was magnificent, when compared to the ham-fisted “product” offered by Terra. Since then, video experts have rolled the proverbial apple of discord into the hallowed halls of UFO research with complex hoaxed videos, setting believers against those who decry the hoax. Some of us, however, envy the skill of these electronic wizards who can cause Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon to cavort over the cloudy skies of Mexico City.

Perhaps the most distressing angle in the situation can be found in the ranks of believers who insisted on the video being real, offering further proof that “aliens-from-space-are-engaged-in-a-war-against-the-world’s-military” and that the dark forces of Tau Ceti (or some other star system) are arrayed against our world. Contemporary science fiction, alas, isn’t nearly as good as ufology.

And so, the October 2009 Galician Trawler UFO Video joins the ranks of over hoaxes, sitting comfortably next to the Haitian UFO fraud, clinking glasses of virtual champagne and exchanging knowing winks...there’s an empty chair beside them, waiting for the next video hoax.