Officials at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) have launched an internal investigation after someone filmed a fake human sacrifice ritual at its Geneva headquarters, home to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). In the video, posted online this week, a group of people wearing dark robes stand in front of a Hindu statue before "stabbing" a woman, purportedly as some sort of ritual. It was filmed from afar, and the person who shot it pretended to freak out and ran away after the stabbing.
A CERN spokesperson tells the AFP that the prank video was shot without permission on its Geneva campus, and that the people who orchestrated it had badge access to the site. The spokesperson did not identify the people responsible for it, describing the investigation as an "internal matter."
"CERN does not condone this type of spoof."
"CERN does not condone this type of spoof, which can give rise to misunderstandings about the scientific nature of our work," the spokesperson said in an email to the AFP.
"CERN welcomes every year thousands of scientific users from all over the world and sometimes some of them let their humor go too far," the spokesperson added. "This is what happened on this occasion."
The incident follows CERN's announcement earlier this month that scientists had not discovered a new particle, as previously hoped. Measurements from the LHC last year suggested the presence of a new particle that could have changed our understanding of physics, but more recent data suggests that it was just a fluke.