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An alleged alien body found on April 21st, 2011 in Russia. This is considered by many to be a hoax.

In the media surrounding reports of alleged encounters with extraterrestrial beings, a hoax is a staged event in which an individual, group of individuals, or organization claims to have had an encounter with an alien or UFO and supplies alleged photographic or videographic proof of the incident. With the increase in popularity of social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc., staged events depicting encounters with aliens have become more common on the internet.

Types of hoaxes

The first and most obvious form of a hoax is the use of computer-generated imagery to simulate alleged photographic or videographic proof of an encounter with an alien. Some will go to great lengths to perfect the look and feel of the CGI alien, while others will often leave one or more obvious signs that the alien itself was created via CGI and is not part of the original photo or video. These include but are not limited to notable flaws in the lighting and shadow surrounding the CGI alien, compared to the lighting and shadow of the original background. Other flaws can include common glitching in the CGI model and random pauses that no living, organic being would make in real time. However, these flaws can sometimes be seen as a strength for simulated photos or videos of alleged alien spacecraft.

An alleged grey alien caught on tape by men on snowmobiles (left) and a Halloween alien prop (right). Look closely and you can see notable similarities in the shape and pose of the alleged alien and the prop.

The second most common form of a hoax is the use of a Halloween mask or prop to simulate an alleged alien encounter. While there are a good number of different alien masks on the market, many of these are instantly recognizable in hoaxed videos or photos using a mask. Some will go to even greater lengths by using full-sized latex props depicting aliens. The use of full-sized props seems to have increased in the past decade, with many alleged videos of grey aliens uploaded to the internet on websites like YouTube and Facebook containing these props. However, like alien masks, most of these props are instantly recognizable. The most notable flaw in the use of a prop is that there will likely be no sign of movement in the photos and/or videos of the alleged alien encounter, thus making it easier to dismiss the media as a hoax.

On rare occasion, people who create hoaxed photos and videos of aliens will go even further by creating their own elaborate alien prop(s) and stories to go along with the media. In the infamous Reed Case of 1996, Dr. Johnathan Reed claimed to have been visited by an alien who killed his dog. In retaliation, Reed hit the alien with a tree branch and brought the creature inside to do a full autopsy, which he filmed with his video camera. The prop created by Reed even featured blinking eyes, which is part of why many believed the footage to be 100% authentic prior to when it was exposed as a hoax by the Fact or Faked team. Another example would be the famous alien autopsy video, which used an elaborate alien prop complete with removable skin and eye lids.