The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern) has launched an investigation into a video filmed at night on its Geneva campus depicting a ritual human sacrifice.
The video, which circulated online, shows several individuals in black cloaks gathering in a main square at Europe’s top physics lab, in what appears to be a re-enactment of an occult ceremony.
The video includes the staged “stabbing” of a woman. It is filmed from the perspective of a secret viewer watching from a window above who, as the ceremony reaches its climax, lets out a string of expletives and flees with the camera still running.
The ceremony appears to have been staged in front of a statue of the Hindu deity Shiva that is on permanent display at the complex, home of the Large Hadron Collider. “These scenes were filmed on our premises but without official permission or knowledge,” a Cern spokeswoman told Agence France-Presse in an email.
“Cern does not condone this type of spoof, which can give rise to misunderstandings about the scientific nature of our work.”
The “investigation” under way was an “internal matter”, she said.
The video has raised questions about security on Cern’s campus. Asked to detail the security procedures surrounding access to the campus, the Cern spokeswoman said: “Cern IDs are checked systematically at each entry to the Cern site whether it is night or day.”
She further indicated that those responsible for the prank had access badges.
“Cern welcomes every year thousands of scientific users from all over the world and sometimes some of them let their humour go too far. This is what happened on this occasion,” the email said.
The spokeswoman was not available to comment the possible identity of those responsible.
Geneva police told AFP they had been in contact with Cern about the video but were not involved in an official investigation.
Cern hosts machinery carrying out some of the world’s most elaborate particle research, including an enormously powerful proton smasher trying to find previously undiscovered particles.