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::Viral Ufology Revisited::
Back on July 4th, I wrote a K-Files titled Viral Ufology. In it, I detailed the possible link between those alien 'drone' images circulating around the 'net and a viral marketing campaign for Microsoft's upcoming shooter, Halo 3. I ended that report without any definitive answers, as it was still a very developing story at the time.

Now that a couple months have passed and the release of Halo 3 rapidly approaches, it seems there might be new development to this story. You may have already seen what I'm talking about. They are known as the Haiti and Dominican Republic UFO videos. Posted on YouTube on August 6th and the 9th, the videos show several different UFO variants streaking across the sky with an almost unreal clarity. In the same way those drone pictures seemed too good to be true, the same can be said about these video clips.

But are these videos just another attempt by a skilled CGI artist to gain notoriety? Or could they be part of the mysterious Iris alternate reality game? Or, quite possibly, could these be the real deal? Let's dig deeper...

To begin, I think you should probably check the video out if you haven't done so already. The original YouTube posting of the Haitian UFO can be seen Here. At first glance, it appears to be legit. The coloring is good, there are no immediately noticeable editing artifacts, and the craft don't have that heavy CGI look to them. Also, the shaky camera, the way it pans, and how the craft pass in front of the setting sun all make for a believable video. But unfortunately a debunking follow-up video has also been posted on YouTube Here. I wont go into all of the details, but that second video pretty much puts and end to any thought that this might be actual footage of alien spaceships.

Still, to the creator's credit, that's some fine work right there. Granted the clip is short and the craft are never focused on for any great length of time, but the final product rivals that of most straight to DVD and Sci Fi Original budget flicks. Which brings up an interesting point, however. Either the creator(s) is/are wasting their talents hoaxing UFO sightings, or the video is the work of a professional effects team...perhaps for the purpose of an Internet-based viral marketing campaign.

You just can't be sure, anymore. With the Internet developing into the ultimate medium for advertising, one must always be weary of popular viral content. After such successes as the cyber-grassroots campaign to hype Samuel L. Jackson's Snake's on a Plane, advertising firms have been savvy in their methods. Everything from the painfully obvious banner ads and pop-ups to the more hidden message board plants and viral videos, nothing is sacred when it comes to advertising on the 'net. Most recently, a new form of advertisement as developed--the ARG (alternate reality game). I went into detail about this new craze in my original Viral UFO piece, but put simply, ARG's task players with searching the Internet for hidden clues to further the story and work towards some final goal. Clandestine as they are, I still think that they're a great idea when done tastefully. Though that is not always the case.

Take for instance 'Iris', the ARG for Microsoft's upcoming Xbox 360 title, Halo 3. Here's a brief summary of it taken from my previous article:
It started innocently enough with a cryptic posting on the game's official web forum by a mysterious user called AdjutantReflex. Soon afterwards, a web-based comic appeared on the Halo 3 site. Within the frames, a series of hidden numbers formed the Microsoft-owned IP address As it turns out, it was the address for a countdown site to expire at midnight on June 21st. Then things got even weirder.

According to the Wikipedia article regarding the Iris ARG, players discovered a similar IP address to the first one which linked to a page titled Society of the Ancients. I tried my best to hunt down the player(s) that made the discovery of this particular linkage and give them proper credit, but was unfortunately unable to do so. In any case, the Society of the Ancients website may look familiar to anyone who has studied Ufology on the Internet. It is the epitome of the kooky UFO page, complete with scrolling banner text and a corny animated star-field background. In the 'Evidence' section of the site, numerous glyph and crop circle pictures can be seen, hinting that the Earth was visited by a race of super-intelligent beings in our ancient past. But what's most interesting is a link at the bottom of the page to the countdown site, undeniably linking this Society of the Ancients to Microsoft and Iris.


My main gripe with Iris was that the Society of the Ancients website and real-life street protests gave honest Ufology a bad name. With serious science in the field having a hard enough time gaining credibility as it is, the last thing we need is secret advertisers handing out fliers for a stereotypically bad website that trivializes what is--in my mind--one of the most important mysteries of human history.

So then, how does this latest UFO hoax video fit in--if at all--to this Iris game? I did some cyber-sleuthing, but was unable to find a strong link.

As far as I can tell, the theory was first introduced by a YouTube comment. User pyrolimeade posted, "halo 3 lol," to which several other users agreed. Sounds to me like the original comment was a joke, but the theory of a possible link began to snowball. Before long, sites such as Digg.com had users posting links regarding the connection. Still, from the research I've gathered, it appears that the video has nothing to do with Halo 3.

For one thing, now that Iris has been confirmed closed as of August 17th (link), there was no mentioning of the video in the official Microsoft press release. Secondly, if the video was in fact related to Halo 3 in some way, it would be a pretty useless advertisement--as to date, there have been no hidden clues found in either the video itself or the profile of its creator.

Still, even if this has nothing to do with Halo 3 viral marketing, it begs the question as to just what it is about. The possibility does still remain that the video is just another hoax perpetrated by someone craving attention--and with nearly a month having passed since the original posting, this theory appears to be the most logical. Time will tell, I guess. Now I'm off to watch some fake Loch Ness Monster YouTube vids...


:: Dead End ::

Well, that's all for this week. I trust you enjoyed your trip into this shadowy nether-realm known only as the K-Files.

For the latest updates on the world of Khyron, bookmark http://www.khyron.net/. With content updated regularly, you're sure to find your fix for all things entertaining and paranormal. As always, feel free to send any questions/comments/suggestions to KFiles@khyron.net.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next  K-Files, arriving sometime next week. Later.

~Khyron, 2007.


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