Unicorn Video a Promotional Stunt, Science Center Says

Brenda-Starr, flickr

Footage posted on YouTube of a unicorn running through a forest has been declared as an elaborate hoax set up by a science center to promote an upcoming exhibition.

The hoax started on October 5th when a Bigfoot-esque amateur video was posted on the Internet. Thousands watched the video of a white, horned horse prancing through the bushes in a forest and debated its authenticity.

The Ontario Science Center in Toronto, Canada then announced that the local birdwatcher who purportedly took the video, Peter Hickey-Jones, had given the video to them to be analyzed by experts. The Science Center said they would be enlisting a team of myth busters to closely examine the video and determine its authenticity.

A statement released by the Ontario Science Center read: "The Science Centre is reviewing the footage frame-by-frame to determine whether the claim is legitimate."

"With closer examination, we hope to establish whether or not a genuine unicorn sighting has occurred," the statement continued.

The Ontario Science Center then went on to warn the public to use caution if they spotted a unicorn, and to "not make any sudden movements or attempt to use flash photography".

"Although legends of unicorns state they are peaceful creatures, scientists worry they may harm themselves or others if they end up on a road or highway," the statement also said.

A unicorn sighting hotline was also set up to report any sightings of unicorns or to give further information on the video footage.

"We've received calls from all kinds of people, predominantly women, and some confused news reporters, in response to the video," The Science Centre spokesman Christine Crosbie said to the Daily Mail.

"Although some keen-eyed spectators have reported knowing the video was fake by the way the unicorn's tail moves and the fact it is not pure white.

"It's still alive in our culture even though we don't have any proof scientifically."

The hoax was set up to promote the Science Center's new exhibit, "Mythic Creatures," which focuses on the science behind dragons, unicorns and mermaids. One section of the exhibit is solely dedicated to "Strange Encounters." This sections asks visitors to explore whether or not photo and video evidence of mythical creatures such as Bigfoot, unicorns, and the Loch Ness Monster are either "the final piece of evidence needed to prove their existence" or "just part of the great opportunity mythic creatures provide in building false stories."

To learn more about the Mythic Creatures exhibit, visit the exhibition website.

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