4chan Alien Contact: UFO Disclosure Or New Creepypasta Legend?

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A new alien photo posted to 4chan portrays a visitor far more yellow than this 'X-Files' gray. And it definitely wasn't wearing a baseball cap. 20th Century Fox

Here’s a good story: Sometime early Thursday morning, a photo of a reptilian alien taken in the Arizona desert outside of Luke Air Force Base was posted to 4chan, the infamous imageboard forums. Within a minute the entire site was down and the thread with the alien photo was wiped.

Piecing together the truth (or even an accurate timeline of events) is nearly impossible in this situation, due both to the anonymized and forbidding-to-outsiders 4chan community and the toxic combination of gullibility and dishonesty infecting the conspiracy theory communities currently working to piece this alien mystery together. So while it would be irresponsible to try and authoritatively debunk or expose liars in this unfolding UFO disclosure drama, it’s important to note in advance that this post is more about documenting a new creepypasta legend than it is a forensic examination of fact. Your bullshit detector should be pegged in the red.

The original thread, titled “24489 Taken Aprox 24 miles north west of Luke Airforce Base Phoenix Az. Lab H4C” (sic) allegedly went online “anywhere between 12am and 2am” on 4chan’s /pol/ board (it’s short for “Politically Incorrect,” an understatement since their main societal contribution has been the spread of antisemitic memes), says an anonymous Pastebin post purportedly describing the early timeline of events. According to multiple anonymous reports, the thread only stayed online for between 30 and 90 seconds.

Ascertaining whether this thread was actually pulled from the site has proven tricky even for other 4chan users. “I know /b/ and /pol/ both shut down routinely for maintenance around 2-3 am central time. It happens and everything 404s for about 10 mins,” one user posted, essentially denying one of the core claims behind the story: that the photo was scrubbed intentionally from the site moments after being posted.

A /pol/ discussion thread shortly after the thread was removed seemed to mostly conclude the alien photo was phony, particularly since no one seemed to have saved it. One user even posted a plausible photo matching some of the descriptions of the aliens. That photo, taken by UFO hoaxer Jonathan Reed, has been circulating since at least 2012 and were taken after Reed supposedly clubbed the alien to death with a tree branch.

But after a few hours, the legend of the alien photo had grown substantially, spawning additional discussion threads (be warned, links contain nsfw memes). Early descriptions (sourced, again, from the Pastebin summation), seem to be describing radically different photos:

  • “The aliens head was seen from the left side and it was looking to the left in the picture and slightly at the camera.”

  • “I did see the alien, yellow scales black eyes with small pursed lips.”

  • “It had scales all over and was dark in colour. Its eyes looked like dried up prunes and had human like features but much smaller in comparison to its head.”

Or you can look at this soon-to-be legendary “artist’s rendering.”

Things kicked into overdrive when other conspiracy communities, particularly reddit’s r/conspiracy, got a hold of the story. Several theories have since been advanced. For some, the attempted UFO disclosure could have been a government insider’s attempt to distract the world from Pizzagate (if you don’t know, don’t ask). Another claim holds that this was a test of new NSA software that can suck photo data back out of people’s hard drives and computer caches, explaining how no one seems to have saved the photo. Or maybe the aliens decided to initiate disclosure protocols on 4chan, rather than making first contact with a world government.

But the fun wrinkles were all added to the original incident, including this remarkable observation made in a 4chan thread summary of the original posting:

“People who claim they saw it say they felt sick, vomited, shook/vibrated, severe psychological effects, no one admitted to shitting themselves though”

Soon a new photo circulated, claiming to be from the corrupted original image data:

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An alleged partial recovery of the alien photo posted to 4chan. Photo: Secret U.S. Gov. Documents?

No one really believed this one.

Since it’s hard to find the truth of the actual event — there may never have been an original photo, even an obviously dubious one — we’ll likely never know exactly what happened on 4chan in the early morning hours when the aliens first made contact with the human race. But at least we got a fantastic piece of new creepypasta out of it.

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