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Fact check: Stone astronaut was not carved into cathedral wall in 1600s

Social media users have been sharing a post which claims that experts have been unable to explain why there is a stone statue of an apparent astronaut carved into a church built in the 1600s. However, it is explained on the cathedral website, Spanish national media and other culture and tourism websites that the astronaut was added in 1992 as part of restoration works.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The post (here) shows a picture of an astronaut carved out of a stone wall, with the caption “Experts have been unable to explain this statue, which was found in a church that was built in the 1600’s, the statue appears to be showing a man wearing a modern astronaut suit, including air tubes and a helmet.”

The post may be linked to a theory from the book “Chariots of the God? Unsolved Mysteries of the Past” by Erich von Daniken which says that ancient civilisations were given their technology and religions by ancient astronauts who were welcomed as Gods. (here , here)

The astronaut pictured in the social media post is sculpted into the façade of the New Cathedral of Salamanca, which was built from 1513 to 1733 (here), as seen in images from Getty Images and Alamy here , here , here and in Spanish national news reports from RTVE and El Mundo here , here .

The website for the New Cathedral (here) and the RTVE and El Mundo news reports explain in Spanish that the astronaut was incorporated into the “Puerta de Ramos” (Ramos Gate) during restoration works on the cathedral in 1992, ahead of an exhibition for the religious foundation “Edades de Hombre” in 1993. The astronaut was added by stonemason Miguel Romero to continue the tradition of incorporating a contemporary element with every restoration.

An explanation of the astronaut can also be found on various cultural and tourist websites (here , here , here).

Social media users who realised that the astronaut was added in 1992 posted comments on the post, such as, “Stop misleading people with such kind of nonsense”; “Leaving the page”; “Bullshit!”; “This Is One Of The Fakest News Page #Worstpage #Missinformation”.

VERDICT

False. The cathedral website, national Spanish news outlets and various cultural and tourism websites explain that the astronaut was added in a restoration in 1992.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

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