At some point or another, everyone fantasizes about being able to fly, soaring through the air like a bird high above the ground, over buildings and wherever your fancy takes you. A man named Jarno Smeets took that dream and seemingly made it a reality by concocting a sort of winged apparatus that allowed him to flap his arms and soar like an eagle. He uploaded a short YouTube video that quickly went viral, and just like that, over a million viewers were able to live out their fantasy of flight vicariously through some guy on the Internet. The only problem is Jarno Smeets doesn't appear to exist and it now appears that the video is a fake. Hello bug, meet windshield.
There's still a slim chance the video is legit, but if that's the case, why does nothing about Jarno Sheets check out? Wired.com put its detective cap on and tried to verify the bird-man's impressive resume, and at each step along the way, people he supposedly worked with or went to school with shrugged their shoulders and said, "Who?"
Smeets claims on his LinkedIn page that he used to work at Pailton Steering Systems from 2008 to 2010. John Nollett, the group managing director for Pailton Engineering Limited, told Wired he checked with each of his divisions and nobody has heard of Smeets.
"He's never worked for us in any of our locations," Nollet said.
There's no record of Smeets ever attending Coventry University in the U.K. where he supposedly went to school from 2001 to 2005, and not surprisingly, Smeets declined Wired's request for a phone interview, claiming he's "overwhelmed" at the moment.
But Wired did speak with a computer scientist at Stanford University who performed CGI effects for movies like Terminator 3 and Star Wars: Episode III, and in his opinion, there's plenty of reason to be suspicious, such as cutting the camera, which is an "obvious trick."