"Prankster" may not be the first word that comes to mind when describing a scientist, but a group of them at Switzerland's European Organization for Nuclear Research (aka CERN) may have just elevated the term in an odd and creepy way. The Guardian reports the research organization is looking into a video that popped up online last week showing what appears to be a mock human sacrifice, filmed in the dead of night at CERN's Geneva headquarters (where the Large Hadron Collider is housed). The Blair Witch-style tape, shot from the POV of a person watching from a window above one of the lab's main squares, shows a woman in white being pretend-stabbed amid a group of black-cloaked mysteriosos (the Independent notes one appears to be wearing hiking boots) in front of a statue of the Hindu deity Shiva.
"These scenes were filmed on our premises but without official permission or knowledge," a CERN rep informed AFP via email, adding the organization frowns upon such a "spoof" as it can "give rise to misunderstandings about the scientific nature of our work." Snopes notes CERN and the Large Hadron Collider have become "conspiracy magnets" because of the complicated research there, with some even insisting that scientists are plotting to take over the Earth or open a portal to hell. Although the video raises concern about campus security, the lab's rep stresses that entry to the campus is secure and that the disguised occult wannabes must have had access badges. "CERN welcomes every year thousands of scientific users from all over the world, and sometimes some of them let their humor go too far," she says. (CERN has been trying to keep Satan at arm's length.)