Recently this video appeared online.
The video has been reported in the mainstream media, including The Guardian. The various articles unanimously dismiss the video as a prank or a spoof. None of the dismissals provide an explanation for why the video should not to be taken seriously. It is considered self-evidential, as if the video is proof of its own fakeness. Many people received it exactly this way.
For the record (these things have to be stated plainly otherwise people invariably jump to the wrong conclusions), I don’t believe the video shows a real murder. Yet nor does it strike me as obviously and indisputably fake. And apparently some people have taken the video seriously (even if they don’t admit it in public), because CERN has an official non-denial denial at its site, in the FAQ area. The question cited is “I have seen a video of a strange ritual at CERN, is it real?” CERN’s formula response:
No, this video is a work of fiction showing a contrived scene. CERN and its on-site accommodation fills up with scientists from across the world coming to CERN as part of their work. Work at CERN can take place 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with shift work and data analysis. Persons that are authorised to access the CERN site sometimes let their sense of humour go too far, and that is what has happened on this occasion. The video was filmed from an office building; strict safety systems are in place to prevent any unauthorised access to technical and experimental facilities. CERN does not condone this kind of spoof, which breaches CERN’s professional guidelines, and is currently carrying out an internal investigation.
CERN doesn’t consider it necessary to give its reasons for categorically stating that the video is a work of fiction. Apparently CERN officials have access to information that allows them to determine the fictionality of the video with 100% certainty, information which they have chosen not to share with the public. If they have found the guilty parties and proven to their satisfaction that no one was killed, why aren’t they saying so? The statement “strict safety systems are in place to prevent any unauthorized access” implies that the individuals who participated in the event had authorized access and therefore could not have committed a real murder. Apparently not only are convicted murderers prevented from joining CERN staff but potential murderers are screened out too. Maybe there is a CERN PreCrime department?
Probably the sweeping disbelief around this video–the absolute certainty that it is fake–has to do with the conviction that, if something like this really happened, it would not wind up as an amateur video on YouTube. Then there’s the fact that no one wants to be seen as a sucker and to even suggest this video might be real is to risk a barrage of mocking voices insisting that only a complete moron would believe that, and who wants to be that person?
And yet, it’s hard not to see a correlation between this latest . . . whatever . . . and the continued effort to keep all “rumors” of organized (and sometimes ritual) abuse by the elite (or by anyone) strictly in the realms of delusion, fantasy, fiction, and now, the latest “nothing to see here” category, PRANK! That so many people have assumed, without investigation or analysis–and apparently without much thought either–that something of this sort must be a prank of one sort or another, signals to anyone who might investigate, analyze, or think about it too much, not to do so. This is mimesis, and applying the principal of mimesis for crowd control, since humans are imitative creatures, comes down to a subtle form of thought control.
What is not being considered is how the “ha-ha-ritual-sacrifice-that’s-so-wacky” narrative might be serving the interests of groups and folk whoaren’t pranking, at all, and never have been.
If we decide that the murder was most probably faked (and even if it wasn’t), and that the aim of the enactment was to create a video that would go viral and cause a scandal around CERN and lots of futile debate and unsubstantiated claims in the “conspiracy” community (like this one), then we are still left with the question, cui bono? The notion of a prank conveniently sidesteps this question, because pranks aren’t about bono, they are about lultz. Yet even if this was just a prank that was done for lultz, we can still look at the outcome and how it dovetails with the possible goals of those who are not pranking.
So how might a “psyop” of this sort have a cumulative effect on us? One way is to normalize bizarre and sinister behaviors and make them easier to get away with without the need for concealment. Next time you pass a ritual sacrifice after midnight, Hey, never mind, it’s just another of those wacky student pranks! The less these activities have to be concealed, the less we are going to want to investigate them, because an attempt to conceal signals a mystery, even a crime, and hence attracts our attention. On the other hand, if we see people committing dodgy acts as if nothing is happening, we tend to assume it’s not what we think it is and look away. Every good shoplifter knows this.
This raises the even more interesting question of how our perceptual faculties seem to be designed to filter out serious anomalies, to the extent we may have no conscious awareness of seeing them, such as in the man in the gorilla suit on the playing court example:
I recently spoke to a ritual abuse survivor who claimed that, when she was young, she was part of child abuse “parties” that occurred in broad daylight in public places (generally parks). I expressed disbelief and asked for an explanation. She didn’t really have one and only stressed that this was her recollection. I don’t personally feel like I can completely rule out the possibility that things might be occurring on this scale right under our eyes, things we simply don’t cognize. If so, a staged event of this sort might be playing into human perceptual mechanics in some hard-to-understand way, tweaking our assumptions this way or that way, to make us more amenable to consenting to whatever programs, goals, and desires are being pursued.
One of the things I have recently examined about ritual abuse is how, from a secular, late modern perspective, it is impossible for us, not only to believe in the supernatural but in supposedly “atavistic” beliefs and behaviors that we associate with the supernatural, such as ritual sacrifice. Ifthe only way we can think about these things is in terms of fictional narratives, when we encounter them, our brains automatically file them in the fiction category; either that or blot them out entirely.
We associate knife murders with black ghetto kids dealing drugs or white trash smoking crystal meth on housing estates, not with the ruling class or the intellectual elite. But most of us are at a major disadvantage when it comes to interpreting the motions of the ruling class. Since we don’t belong to it, we have to take their word regarding what goes on there. Is it rash to suppose that many of the scientists who get to work at CERN come from aristocratic stock, or that they go through some sort of initiation ritual, a laSkull & Bones, to work there? We don’t routinely associate the intelligentsia with crime. Even those of us who are parapolitically savvy may not automatically make the link between high status and criminal behavior in the way we do between low status and crime. Nor do we generally associate the intelligentsia with occult rituals; we assume they are secular-minded folk who routinely scoff at all things “woo-woo.” Maybe they do, but on the other hand, you would think that scientists exploring the hidden dimensions of quantum phenomena would be more, not less, open to “irrational,” even metaphysical, interpretations of reality.
And then there’s the amount of time, effort, and personal risk that went into the alleged “prank.” At the very least, those involved risked losing their positions at CERN. Considering how hard such positions must be to achieve, isn’t it reasonable to deduce a corresponding payoff? The video, while it’s being dismissed as a spoof, is at the very least a piece of well-orchestrated theater under adverse conditions (a high-security area late at night). Taken in its proper context, it’s a piece of Agitprop worthy of Anonymous, and Anonymous have generally been pretty serious about their play. So where’s the payoff for these CERN-authorized pranksters? Is it all meant as a joke on those daft “conspiratards” taking it seriously as evidence of Satanism at CERN? But how exactly is that a commensurate payoff?
If the aim was to draw negative public attention to CERN, then the enactment was effective. There’s no reason to presume it was meant to suggest that CERN is actually involved in ritual sacrifice (there is no reason to rule it out, either); a stunt of this sort could have been intended simply to embarrass and discredit the organization by showing up the inadequacy of its security, or by making its staff look like a bunch of bored frat boys. At the very least, we can suppose that CERN administrators got a serious dressing down from their superodinates for this “scandal.”
Governments (and taxpayers) have invested billions of dollars into CERN research. The eyes of the world are on the mysterious Hadron collider, expecting great and terrible things. A prank of this sort is not supposed to happen. Is it logical for periodicals such as The Guardian to dismiss it so glibly? Isn’t it fair to expect something of this sort to have some serious repercussions, both internally to CERN and externally? Never mind the highly charged content of the enactment (ritual murder has been legitimately connected to government organizations, and occultism is historically linked to high-level government figures such as Michael Aquino and Jack Parsons). CERN and its scientists are entrusted with some of the most groundbreaking and sensitive research in the history of science. Suppose this sort of “prank” happened at a nuclear weapons facility?
I’m not alone in wondering this, but it sometimes feels like it. The only journalist I’ve found who is asking similar questions is Tom Siebert at CityBeat:
The video was quickly removed from YouTube, but people mirrored the video and the British tabloids started writing about it (though the American press has been dutifully silent, even though it would surely drive page views), so YouTube began permitting people to post it again. The video caused such a stir that a spokesperson (never named in any account I’ve been able to find) has been forced to confirm the event actually did take place and was filmed on the CERN campus, but was done as a joke by scientists and researchers at the facility without official knowledge or permission. It was just a group of super-intelligent people “taking their sense of humour too far,” CERN stated. So taking the “joke” at face value and accepting CERN’s story, I still think it’s fair to ask…What the fuck? Why are scientists replicating a human sacrifice on the grounds of one of science’s most controversial and mysterious ongoing projects, in front of the Hindu god of destruction to boot? Who filmed this? Who are the participants? Who was the “victim?” What does this say about security at such a revolutionary scientific site? Even if the most benign explanation of what happened at CERN is accepted, it still raises a slew of unsettling questions that deserve answering. Let’s see who, if anybody, chases them down.
Having discussed this over the past few days at a forum, what I found is that, while many people are arguing that the video is obviously fake, there are others (including myself) insisting: a) that it’s not so obvious as all that; and b) that even if it is fake that doesn’t automatically make it a trivial matter. So far, the arguments I’ve heard for and against the video being real have been reminiscent of people discussing a movie: i.e., entirely subjective. Yet aesthetic criteria are largely learned; we are trained to apply them, and the same is true of our criteria for discerning actual from fake. We may have something built in us for telling the difference (animals seem to), but if so, we don’t rely on it–or even have access to it–when it comes to responding to media (if we did, movies would be a bust). When we argue that a movie is good, we trust our ability to discern art from trash, and anyone who disagrees with us is simply wrong. But deep down, we know we are just going with our preferences. In the case of a movie, it’s a lot more obviously subjective, so there’s at least some room for two points of view to co-exist. In the case of the video, either it is a real murder or it’s not, but who actually knows for sure? This perceptual rift is central to the artifact’s interest.
In fact, there is an area of nuance here too, because if we’re honest about what know and don’t know, it could have been a real murder surrounded by fake or anomalous elements, even including an overacting cameraman, say (which many “critics” have complained about). Part of the challenge presented by this sort of media event is recognizing the many moving parts in the interface between our perception and the media that is “presenting” to us. Learning to separate the parts and examine them as parts, not taking them as the whole because the whole has been constructed to trick us, via a subtle manipulation of our perception. Hitchcock knew all about this, most famously demonstrated by the shower scene in Psycho in which no actual physical violence occurs. From this understanding, the very thing we are trusting to tell us what’s happening is preventing us from seeing what happened.
Personally, I think this video is not a fake, but (paradoxically) only in the sense that it is a fake–just not the kind of fake people are taking it for. I don’t think it’s a prank or an amateur bang-up job. The whole thing seems quite artfully done to me and I think part of that art, maybe the main part, was to disguise itself so we would be unaware of being manipulated by what we were seeing. We then end up talking about it as if we are discussing either found footage or an amateur hoax, rather than a professional hoax done for as yet unknown purposes. If so, it is a hoax which only really got started once the mainstream media got a hold of the video.
Some people have suggested that what’s being shown in the video is a hazing ritual, one that, for unknown reasons, wound up transposed from the traditional secrecy, into the public arena. This seems valid, though not so much as an explanation for what’s in the video but as context for it. Let’s not forget that this same context includes a British prime minster having sex with a severed pig’s head, and countless other examples of high level debaucheries. We know that the elite get up to some extreme behaviors, but where the limits lie to these behaviors (assuming there are any) is something we can only guess. In this context, it doesn’t seem entirely logical to dismiss the CERN ritual as merely a prank. After all, if you are going to work your way up to human sacrifice, why not start with a bit of playacting?
Fraternity hazing/initiation rituals have to do with breaking social taboos in a group environment in which the taboo is no longer taboo but de rigueur. The pressure is on the novice to perform the forbidden actions and go against his or her social conditioning in order to bind with the group. It’s easy to imagine how this could create a kind of heightened consciousness in all involved (starting with the sheer adrenalin rush of it), and how it might be intoxicating enough to be mistaken for liberation. Even a theatrical enactment (which apparently many secret society rituals are) might have this temporary effect. But then what? Once you have performed a fake sacrifice or two and it no longer gets you high, or binds you any more deeply to the group, then what comes next? Presumably it’s time to move to the next stage and find a higher kind of kick. The path of ritualistic taboo breaking, once embarked on, has to lead to more and more extreme acts of transgression because, what other direction can it go in? The only alternative I can think of is personal meltdown and/or horrified withdrawal from the whole thing. But after a certain point, withdrawal may not even be possible, at least not without risking one’s own life.
For whatever it’s worth, my best guess so far, pending further evidence, is that the participants in the video were trying to draw attention to something real by faking it. Whether this might have been done to blow the whistle on something, to break the spell for themselves, or as a kind of power play within the CERN hierarchy, I wouldn’t even try to guess. This is just a hypothesis, and a purely speculative one. But at least it has the potential to dissolve the false dichotomy of prank vs. murder, by introducing a third option.