Story Spotlight

A new video (embedded above) from Gaia.com - showing a strangely deformed ancient mummy from Nazca, Peru - has gone viral over the past week, with over a million and a half views on YouTube, and over 20 mllion views on Facebook. The video is part of a 'Special Report' at Gaia.com titled "Unearthing Nazca", some of which is freely viewable, while other parts are restricted to members of the site.

While it's an exciting idea to speculate, as the video does, on whether this mummy is a 'non-human species', as always with cases like this, there's a lot to be skeptical about. The Black Vault has a detailed discussion on some of the causes for concern, but in short:

  • Key players in the 'expedition' have questionable reputations - most notably Mexican 'ufologist' Jaime Maussan - a 21st century P.T. Barnum involved in numerous 'weird corpse' PR stunts, from the Roswell Slides debacle from a couple of years ago to the Metepec creature hoax.
  • The strange elongated skull of the mummy is actually a reasonably common body modification practiced by the local ancient culture.
  • There are known 'fake mummies' already in circulation in South America.
  • There are numerous suggestions of this being an actual ancient mummy that has been recently modified, from the white plaster-like covering through to the long 3-fingered hands.

While the Gaia people are certainly circumspect in their approach to this investigation - not making any great claims, and confirming they will follow the evidence where it leads - there really is no excuse for having the likes of Maussan closely involved. Hopefully the scientific investigation is properly handled, by experts, rather than done through an in-house crew - and the results openly published, rather than announced to paid subscribers like a circus sideshow (roll up, roll up!).

And, remembering that this is likely a human body, we should be very careful to not turn it into a freak show for the sake of click-throughs and Fortean fascination.

Here's another skeptical take discussing problems with this 'alien mummy':

Related story:

 

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(Posted by Greg on Wednesday, June 28th)

TFW you feel like you've been hit by a bus *before* you walk into the pub...

Quote of the Day:

We humans of the present are certainly not the summit of Creation. Species more intelligent than us will inhabit the earth. They might even appear quite soon. These days evolution is no longer driven by slow natural development, as Darwin described it, but by human culture. So a post-human intelligence might be made by us ourselves. And I hope that our successors have a better understanding of the world.

Sir Martin Rees

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