From Charisma News:
Bizarre ‘Portal-Shaped Clouds’ Form Over CERN During the ‘Awake Experiment’
…Just last month, the researchers working at the facility began a new experiment called “Awake” that uses “plasma wakefields driven by a proton beam” to accelerate charged particles. On June 24, pictures of some extremely bizarre “portal-shaped cloud formations” were taken in the area just above the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Could it be possible that there is some sort of a connection between this new “Awake” experiment and these strange cloud formations? And precisely what do the researchers hope to “awaken” anyway?
…Some people just see normal thunderstorms when they look at these clouds, but others are convinced they are looking at strange balls of energy and inter-dimensional portals
The author, Michael Snyder (var Michael T. Snyder), does not completely identify with the claims (“others are convinced”), but he’s happy enough to spread the story uncritically, adding the observations that “‘CERN’ is the first four letters of the name of the horned pagan god named Cernunnos” and that “the people running CERN decided to choose a logo that seems to contain ‘666.’”
Snyder’s source is a video uploaded to YouTube by Freedom Fighter Times, a self-described “Research organization that exposes the end times, and the powers that be who seek our demise”. The video caught the imagination of some British tabloids, with the Daily Express reporting as follows (sic for missing quote mark):
What is CERN doing? Bizarre clouds over Large Hadron Collider ‘prove portals are opening
NEW images of bizarre cloud formations above the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) could be shock proof the world’s biggest experiment is about to tear open a portal to another dimension.
And from there it reached Snyder, an American End-Times conspiracy theorist who often features on Charisma.
It seems to me that, despite his hedging, Snyder’s article was obviously written to spread fear of science and hatred of scientists. The CERN logo in fact shows “interlaced rings, which are a simplified representation of the accelerator chain and the particle tracks”. Two rings and five tracks (of differing lengths) are represented, and there is no sensible way that these can be untangled to form “666”.
And as for the “cloud” story, an article in Le Matin (a Swiss newspaper) has followed up:
Et souligne que le nuage n’est pas au-dessus du collisionneur mais plutôt au-dessus du centre de Genève.
Mais la boule d’énergie, alors? «Le CERN n’a pas créé ce nuage et il n’est pas isolé», sourit le météorologue Frédéric Glassey, de MeteoNews. «Dans la nuit concernée, il y avait tout un front nuageux sur Genève vers 1 heure du matin. Il remontait jusqu’à Besançon puis s’est déplacé vers Morges. Quant à ce cumulonimbus, sa forme n’a rien d’atypique. On en voit des similaires presque lors de chaque orage.»
Pour en avoir le cœur net, nous avons demandé au CERN s’il a créé une porte vers les ténèbres. «Pas à ma connaissance…» répond Arnaud Marsollier, responsable de la communication. Il explique que le projet Awake existe bien. «Il vise à étudier de nouvelles technologies d’accélérations de particules.» Mais il ne sera lancé qu’à la fin de l’année. «Nous avons mené un test préliminaire, mais c’était la semaine avant l’orage», note-t-il.
Pas d’activités démoniaques, alors? «Ce lundi, le collisionneur fonctionne. Et il n’y a pas un nuage à l’horizon, il fait beau. Etrange, non?» ironise Arnaud Marsollier.
In other words, the cloud was over the centre of Geneva, not CERN; meterologists see nothing exceptional in the cloud formation on the night of 24 June, when there was a storm; and it did not coincide with any experiment.
Freedom Fighter Times is obscure, and most readers of British tabloids know that these kinds of stories are not to be taken seriously. Marsollier, speaking for CERN, seems to be relaxed about the nonsense.
However, it is worth remembering that Charisma Media – formerly Strang Communications – is an influential player in US evangelicalism, particularly at the Neo-Pentecostal end. The site carries accounts of supposed miracle healings and such that we may regard as credulous, but it aspires to being a serious source for news stories about evangelical churches and personalities in the USA. The site’s editors, one would expect, must take seriously Biblical injunctions that emphasise the importance of truthfulness.
Why, then, does Charisma News promote crackpot science-fiction conspiracy theories that have little to do with orthodox Christian beliefs and that make the site – and Christians – look ridiculous? In recent months, Snyder has suggested that the Gotthard Base Tunnel opening ceremony was “an Illuminati Ritual Intended to Honor Satan”, and that plans by archaeologists to reconstruct an ancient archway destroyed by ISIS might create a “portal” through which the Anti-Christ would arrive in London and New York.
We can giggle at the silliness – but the bottom line is that these lies play on people’s fears and encourage hatred against blameless people who are contributing to society through engineering projects and research. In a “post-fact world” of conspiracy theories, demagogues, and baseless allegations, laughter should be tempered with concern.
Snyder is also promoted by Jim Bakker; his main theme is “economic collapse”, which he links to Biblical prophecies and current events; his Economic Collapse Blog encourages the purchase of “Gold Coins”, “Silver Coins”, and “Emergency Food” (emergency food is also heavily promoted by Bakker). He has also written a book called The Rapture Verdict, in which he warns Christians that they will not be Raptured until after the End-Times Tribulation (and thus, presumably, they should stock up in the meantime). Rational Wiki has a suitably contemptuous profile of the man.