Mysterious winged “bird man” exposed as a hoax

Mar 21, 2012
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A man who captivated the blogosphere by claiming to have achieved bird-like flight by using a winged contraption has been proven to be nothing more than a guy with some skills in video special effects. The man, who used the name Jarno Smeets, seemed to have the qualifications necessary to create such a first-of-its-kind invention. His LinkedIn page has a lot of high-end experience and education.

A very thorough sting operation from Wired, however, showed that pretty much all of that information was fabricated. Smeets's LinkedIn profile showed that he worked at Pailton Steering Systems, an engineering firm. But Wired contacted the company and got a confused reply with no one there able to confirm the employment of anyone named Jarno Smeets. Other alleged employers were also contacted but did not respond.

Smeets also claimed to have attended school at Coventry University. Wired reached out to that institution as well, and could not find anyone matching the name given. In addition, repeated attempts to reach Smeets directly were unsuccessful. So in other words, the video is really nothing more than something like the movie Super 8 or District 9 or any other film designed to look like it was shot with a home video camera.

[via Wired]


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