Scientists are flabbergasted by the video showing a 'human sacrifice' near a Chola period statue gifted to CERN by India. Pallava Bagla reports.
Human sacrifice, Lord Shiva's statue, a nuclear institute, the God Particle, a European laboratory in a cavern, and mini black holes all make for a heady mysterious mix.
When a creepy, grainy video emerges from inside a haloed scientific institution showing a so-called 'human sacrifice' being committed at that global temple of learning where more than 100 nations are co-operating in Geneva called the European Organisation for Nuclear Research or CERN, it spooked many.
CERN has launched an internal investigation to get to the truth of the matter while confirming the veracity of the video as having been shot within its highly secure premises, but called it a 'fictional' depiction.
This act has riled many scientists, especially in India since the 'human sacrifice' is shown being conducted with the backdrop of a giant statue of Lord Shiva in his Nataraj pose performing the tandava, or cosmic dance.
The over 5 metre tall statue was gifted by the Indian government to the Geneva-based atomic research centre about a decade ago.
CERN is not alone to these acts of irrational behaviour by scientists; it is quite common place in many countries.
In the United States, engineers at National Aeronautics and Space Administration's planetary missions control room invariably eat peanuts when a satellite is being manoeuvred into the Martian orbit since they believe it brings a good omen.
Top brass at the Indian Space Research Organisation visit the temple of Lord Balaji in Tirupati to seek his blessings before a rocket launch and place mini models of the rocket and satellite to the gods.
What happened at CERN is most bizarre.
Against the backdrop of a statue showing the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva, a video -- possibly shot on a mobile phone -- shows about 6, 7 people, wearing black satanic cloaks, gather in the dead of the night, then another person, possibly a woman, is seen lying down on a sacrificial bench in front of the Shiva statue, one of the cloaked figures draws a glistening dagger and is shown stabbing the woman.
The video is shot as if the eavesdropper was taken by surprise by the happenings they chanced upon and the clip ends with expletives. Whether the video is fictional or real is still a matter of investigation, but undoubtedly it was meticulously planned and possibly rehearsed.
Clarifying the position, a spokesperson for CERN said, "This video is a work of fiction showing a contrived scene. CERN and its on site accommodation fill 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 its professional guidelines, and is currently carrying out an internal investigation," the spokesperson said.
Jokes apart, work at CERN conjures up many horrifying images. In 2008, when the world's largest atom-smasher was being started up, there was an uncalled for global scare that the Large Hadron Collider would generate black holes that could gobble up the earth.
It was a global scare. But in India it peaked when a 16-year-old girl from Madhya Pradesh got so scarred that she allegedly committed sucide seeing the news reports.
Obviously, the world did not die, but reason did since CERN, at that time, failed to communicate effectively that its experimentation would not end in a doomsday scenario.
Later, CERN did make an attempt to bust such myths, but today, social media is ablaze with hyped accounts of non-scientific happenings inside the 27-km circular tunnel embedded deep inside the earth and straddling both Switzerland and France which houses the world's largest experiment.
It was here that the so-called 'God Particle' or the Higgs Boson was discovered in 2013. The mere nicknaming of the particle as 'God Particle' makes people believe that CERN is trying to prove that god exists even though CERN asserts 'that it exists to understand the mystery of nature for the benefit of humankind.'
Indian atomic scientists involved with the gifting of the giant Chola period bronze statue were flabbergasted that such indiscretion and insensitivity could have happened within the highly secure premises, where entry and exit is both highly controlled.
It seems irrationality knows no national boundaries.
IMAGE: A screengrab of the video purporting to show a woman being 'sacrificed' at CERN. Photograph: YouTube