We now can identify the glowing, alien-like sea creature that was spotted swimming on the surface of Bristol harbor in the U.K. on Tuesday night. It was a Publicitii stuntus.
Or in plain English: a publicity stunt.
The elaborate hoax that fooled many in the British city—including a member of Parliament, Kerry McCarthy, and the BBC Bristol, which called in an expert from the Bristol Aquarium to help explain the bizarre sighting on a breakfast show—was concocted to promote “The Happenings,” a new television show in the U.K.
“In ‘The Happenings’ magicians Barry and Stuart use techniques of illusion to bring incredible movie-like experiences to British and American towns,” Steve Hornsey, general manager of UKTV channel Watch, told The Telegraph.
“This new series on Watch is all about unforgettable and extraordinary events that capture the imagination. The Bristol Harbour Alien was designed to replicate this sense of magical excitement in a real world setting.”
The glowing jellyfish, or Bristol Harbour Alien, as they’re calling it, certainly captured the imagination. The Telegraph reported that the subject on Twitter exceeded 3.5 million tweets in the last 24 hours with guesses ranging from “freaky glowing squid” to “giant jellyfish.”
A marine biologist had told the London Evening Standard that the sea creature could be a marine salp, which had drifted off course because of the weather. Another suggestion was bioluminescent hydrozoan jellyfish.
Dr. Steve Simpson of the School of Biological Sciences at Bristol University told MailOnline that it was “very unusual” and that he hadn’t “seen anything like it before,” and concluded, “This is either a very interesting animal or someone’s very cool interpretation of a marine creature.”
As it turned out, it was someone’s very cool interpretation of a marine creature.
And a pretty good one at that.
Here’s video showing the glowing sea creature and the people taking photos and video of it on their iPhones:
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