Both posts referenced a hearing in Mexico, and both included attached images of a purported “alien” mummy. In addition to photographs, apparent x-rays accompanied the second post.
As mentioned, information about the purportedly mummified alien bodies was not exclusive to Reddit. On September 13 2023, the New York Times published “Mummies From Outer Space? Mexico’s Congress Gets a Firsthand Look,” with a subheading that instantly put a damper on the rumors:
A self-proclaimed ufologist showed members of Congress what he claimed were two mummified specimens of extraterrestrial beings. Experts scoffed.
The New York Times contextualized the hearings, which sounded very similar to hearings in the United States in July 2023, and reported additionally that Jaime Maussan was “well known for making such claims”:
Mexico’s Congress is usually meant to be a venue for solemn presentations on budgets and other serious legislation. But [on September 12 2023], lawmakers heard testimony from a self-proclaimed U.F.O. researcher who brought with him some unusual objects: two mummified specimens that he claimed were the bodies of extraterrestrial beings.
The presentation of the mummies on [September 12 2023] by Jaime Maussan, a journalist who has speculated widely on aliens, caused jaws to drop and memes to multiply around the country. The two specimens, which Mr. Maussan said were found in Peru in 2017, were tiny in stature and chalky in color; each had three-fingered hands and what appeared to be shrunken or desiccated heads.
Former U.S. Navy pilot Ryan Graves spoke at hearings in the United States in July 2023; he also addressed Congress in Mexico in September 2023. While Graves took the earlier hearing seriously, he tweeted a markedly different opinion about what transpired during the September 2023 hearing in Mexico:
After the U.S. Congressional UFO hearing, I accepted an invitation to testify before the Mexican Congress hoping to keep up the momentum of government interest in pilot experiences with UAP. Unfortunately, yesterday’s demonstration was a huge step backwards for this issue. My testimony centered on sharing my experience and the UAP reports I hear from commercial and military aircrew through ASA’s witness program. I will continue to raise awareness of UAP as an urgent matter of aerospace safety, national security, and science, but I am deeply disappointed by this unsubstantiated stunt.
Finally, reporting from Smithsonian Magazine on the hearing included some crucial information about the source of the claims (Maussan):
In 2015, Maussan similarly revealed a body that he claimed belonged to an alien, but it was later shown to be the remains of a human child. And two years later, he participated in a video project claiming that specimens uncovered in Nazca, Peru, with elongated skulls and three fingers on each hand were evidence of aliens. Archaeologists said some of the bodies may have been Indigenous Peruvians, mutilated to look extraterrestrial, wrote Christopher Heaney for the Atlantic in 2017. And a report from Peru’s prosecutor’s office declared the specimens were “recently manufactured dolls, which have been covered with a mixture of paper and synthetic glue to simulate the presence of skin,” per Megan Janetsky of the Associated Press.
Maussan made similar claims 2017, during which time, as in 2023, sincere inquiry into the topic of Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAPs) was appearing in the news. Both periods of time were ripe for opportunists to attach possible hoaxes to renewed interest in non-human life.
On September 12 2023, a hearing before Mexico’s Congress included claims about mummified “alien bodies” purportedly unearthed in Peru in 2017. The claims made in the presentation spread virally across the globe — often without context about Maussan’s previous claims.