I keep a bookmarks folder on my browser for Mysterious Universe Story Ideas, and a few weeks back I saved one with the headline, “Russian Archaeologists Dig Up Mythical Satyr Skeleton?” I finally got around to doing some research on the story and found some interesting information regarding the archaeological find.
Russian archaeologists uncovered some weird looking bones that resemble the mythical satyr, while excavating an ancient mound in Nevinnomyssk. The discovery also included the unearthing of what appears to be a giant horse, which for some reason received a special burial unlike what was customary for animals of the period.
Sounds intriguing, right?
I read the story several times looking for leads to more information and then followed it back to the source it cited, Before It’s News. From there I started digging into the matter on my own to see what else I could find about this mysterious new find from a small area with roughly 2.5 million people, which lies between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, known as Nevinnomyssk, Stavropol Krai, Russia.
I found several other sites that published the same basic story, all of which, essentially just rewrote one of the other stories available on the subject. None of the sources I found were what I would call “reliable,” but that’s just my opinion, and is not necessarily fact.
I decided to search for the only name given in the story, Sergey Savenko, allegedly one of the researchers on the expedition, to see what research he had done before, and whether he had published more information about the find, or perhaps granted more interviews, over the past few weeks.
Bingo! I got a few hits on the name. Among the hits, was a story posted on a forum in 2011, with nearly identical details, only the creature discovered was a chelovekobarana, whatever that is, and if you know, please let me in on the secret; my trusty Google let me down in finding a definition for it. My best guess is some type of fallen angel, or chimera, as those seem to have been the popular terms used in the English headlines accompanying the video that year.
In the chelovekobarana story, Sergey Savenko is credited as being with the Pyatigorsk museum, there, thanks to the brilliance of Google Chrome’s translate feature, I searched for Savenko and found no listing with his name in it. I did, however, using Google, find court documents outlining a lawsuit filed by a Ukrainian prisoner named Sergey Savenko who claimed he was tortured in prison in 2009. Ukraine isn’t incredibly far from where the discovery of the satyr bones is alleged to have been made.
Another source mentions someone named Anna Shvyreva, of the Department of Nature in the Stavropol Museum, and it’s much the same story with my search for other mentions of her work, just without the discovery of a prisoner of the same name.
The research did reveal the video that accompanies the recent satyr story, has been online since 2011. Even the recent stories featuring the satyr headlines link to a video with a posted date of 2011, though there are several versions of it online, some of which are captioned and translatable in YouTube.
This version of the video is of the captioned variety. You just have to push the “CC” button to turn on captions, and then select the “Translate to” option. The English translations make little sense though.
I have yet to figure out what is really going on in the video, though it does appear to be about archaeology and museums. If you’re a Russian speaker, presuming that is what language is being spoken here, I can’t tell for certain because I studied German and Spanish in school, please elaborate on what is really being talked about in the comments below. I’d love to know.
Ultimately, it appears this is yet another lazy attempt by hucksters at creating buzz online with fake/recycled news. I call it lazy because even a sap like me was able to find holes in it, and see the similar stories of nearly identical text from several years ago. Of course, there is always the possibility the research I did is wrong. I doubt it, but I’m not so arrogant to think I can’t make mistakes — despite what the popular opinion might indicate if you were to ask my friends.
I felt it was important to include this story just to remind everyone that finding valid sources for information is always a good idea. It’s also a good idea to do a little bit of research to see what others are saying before accepting it as dogma.
While I’m sure other contributors to Mysterious Universe try to find good source material just as I do, but every now and then, even the best of us might fall for well-done trickery.
Sometimes we might even fall victim to trickery on occasion that isn’t even done particularly well.
It almost happened to me with this story.
Thankfully I caught it THIS TIME.