Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Viral Invasion Confirmed: Spanish UFOs came from Terra

Just as we told ya, the series of “too-good-to-be-true” videos, which tellingly were all anonymous, now have a source. It was Terra Spain itself that was behind it all, with the excuse of “rendering a homage to Orson Welles’ ‘War of the Worlds’ in its 71st anniversary”. In the video above which is the punch line, a little green Martian curses the heat inside his capsule, mentions Welles and say that those who don’t know what he did should simply search the Internet.

Terra” means “Earth”, reason for the ad people to make many campaigns involving aliens, including in Brazil where their mascot was also a little green man. Their excuse for a homage to Welles doesn’t quite make much sense, as they are almost exactly a month too early – they should have made it on the Halloween – but we already told you these viral campaigns are often senseless. Some visitors have also noted that one of the videos of the campaign was directing people to a page where Terra was celebrating its 10th anniversary, which would seem more reasonable, but curiously is not mentioned anywhere now.

Many people didn’t like the viral campaign, which was promoted even on the main news page of the website, which could explain this supposed change of mind. Or perhaps not, as we emphasize, viral campaigns often don’t make much sense.

Fact is, love it or hate it, the videos attracted a lot of attention. And the best one of the series is, of course, the making of :

makingof_ovnigallego

There we have confirmation that they actually used a real helicopter and that the UFOs, including the water splash, were completely digital.

A few visitors still believe the videos were real and Terra is part of “The Conspiracy”. We may laugh at their gullibility, but I ask the reader to ponder how the case would be judged if Terra didn’t confess and reveal the making of. I guess not that few people would be wondering about yet another “unsolved” case. Exactly as in the California Drones case.

By investigating extraordinary claims, perhaps the most important lesson I learned is the “asymmetry of the mystery”. That is, it can be so easy to create a mystery, and yet it can be so hard to solve it. As some sort of fundamental physical law, this entropy of mystery investigation must put in perspective just how we should be impressed by an “unsolved mystery”.

If we were reasonable people, we would be more inclined to be impressed by the simple solution to what looked like a complex, unsolvable problem. But we are not reasonable, we are human. We are often far more interested in the mystery than what can look like their boring, prosaic debunking.

That’s not bad in itself, it’s a manifestation of our desire for the unknown, which is the only way to expand what is actually known. To find a real, puzzling mystery is the first step towards a real, innovative solution. The bad thing is how this natural and fundamentally positive need for mystery can be so easily exploited.

And the easiest way is not to create false mysteries, as in these viral campaigns. The easiest way to exploit and make a living of this is by making even the solved cases look like they weren’t solved, and that trying to solve them is not only impossible and arrogant, but not desirable.

At that moment, the fascination for the unknown is no longer a mean to expand our knowledge, but mere veneration of our own ignorance.

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Posted in Skepticism,UFOs | 10 comments

10 Comments so far

  1. […] Viral Invasion Confirmed: Spanish UFOs came from Terra. Share and Enjoy: […]

  2. nogos.noqt October 6th, 2009 1:30 am

    I find it very interesting that a city would invest so much into a marketing campaign like this. The thing is, it actually sort of worked: I now want to visit this place so, if for no other reason, I can see what this was all about.

  3. nogos.noqt October 6th, 2009 1:34 am

    Oh wait… I’m not sure why I assumed Terra Spain was a city. Going back and reading, it makes little sense.
    In any case, I’m still interested.

  4. urbanlegendshu (Urban Legends) October 6th, 2009 7:56 am

    Viral Invasion Confirmed: Spanish UFOs came from Terra http://bit.ly/2ZwOz8

  5. Ian October 9th, 2009 9:23 pm

    this video is a big fake to cover up the truth

  6. mactonnies (Mac Tonnies) October 10th, 2009 10:38 pm

    “Water splash” UFO video debunked: http://tinyurl.com/yehnc3a

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  9. Yvan Defoy April 23rd, 2011 6:23 pm

    Not so fast. The helicopter in the video of the incident has white/silver landing skids.
    The one in the so-called making-of has red landing skids.
    We have two separate events.

  10. […] Viral Invasion Confirmed: Spanish UFOs came from Terra Spain […]

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