Mysterious Nat Bailey Stadium UFO explained
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre punked the media into speculating a remote-controlled helicopter was an Unidentified Flying Object.
By Tuesday morning, both local and international news outlets had written stories about a mysterious craft seemingly hovering above a Vancouver Canadians baseball game on Sept. 3.
The subsequent videos posted online went “viral,” according to space centre executive director Rob Appleton. One YouTube clip of the Nat Bailey Stadium UFO has attracted more than 200,000 views.
CBC led into a newscast Monday by playing the X-Files soundtrack and interviewing team players.
The Province newspaper ran a “Nothing like a UFO to help out” headline with the Canadians’ 5-1 win over the Everett AquaSox.
And even the Daily Mail in the U.K. had a story suggesting Canadian baseball draws “fans from far, far away …”
Publicist Hagan Ainsworth with MacLaren McCann put together a team of 12 to work on creating the fake space saucer. He said on Tuesday the project took several weeks of effort to get a remote quad-copter looking like the roof of the space centre — which is shaped like a disc itself.
“It’s a very challenging thing to do to build a casing around (the craft) — it disrupts the airflow of the blades — so we actually had a guy that specializes in Hollywood props, it took him close to a month to get it right,” Ainsworth said.
Ainsworth planted cell phone videographers at more than a dozen sites, including Deep Cove in North Vancouver, and began filtering the tapes online “at random,” until others found and reposted the links.
The hoax was kept a secret until Tuesday, though Appleton did let space centre staff notify their families the UFO was not, in fact, the herald of an invasion from Mars.