Plant Photo Convinces People Aliens Are Here And Have Landed

An image of upside-down Aloe plants convinced some people that they were crash-landed aliens.

By TeeJay Small | Published


There was something incredibly sus among us this week, and it came from our Twitter feed. No, we’re not talking about one of the many Elon Musk controversies, I’m talking about these seemingly alien creatures washed ashore in South Africa, which turned out to be simple Aloe vera plants wilted and turned upside down. Not much is known about why the original poster took this photo, other than to stir up confusion and entertainment a la Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast, but the post did just that, going viral all over the world with captions decrying the arrival of alien species.

Twitter user @HexPLSaveNature posted this photo that appears to show an extraterrestrial species of aliens trudging out of the ocean toward the shore, potentially having crash-landed in a space ship, and arriving with foreign diseases or alien weapons, much like the plot of the 2005 Tom Cruise remake of the previously mentioned War of the Worlds film. In reality, the plants, which were photographed by a 62-year-old farmer named Jan Vorster, were simply withered Aloe vera, a succulent plant species used to treat sunburns and other skin ailments.

Vorster took the original photos in his hometown of Still Bay, Western Cape, South Africa, where the plants grow naturally. Under normal circumstances, the Aloe plants are evergreen succulents that don’t wilt so much, but some people speculate that the increasing effects of global climate change may have had a damaging impact.

Not an Aloe Vera plant

The responses to the viral post were hilarious and shocking, from so-called alien experts weighing in and analyzing the photo megapixel by megapixel, to pop culture references likening the images to something out of a Star Wars or Guardians of the Galaxy film. In fact, at one point the online vitriol had gotten so out of hand, that the original poster took to the web to dispel the alien rumors, only to become accused of being part of a coverup by conspiracy theorists across the Twittersphere.

Twitter has of course been a hotbed for misinformation even more than usual during the last few months as Elon Musk has taken the reigns and caused a significant shakeup amongst the staff. Environmental scientists eventually took to Vorster’s side to verify his claims, seemingly putting an end to the discussion, like a scene straight out of some kind of Roland Emmerich film.

This is not the first time a washed up item on the shore resembled a monster or alien creature, and it surely won’t be the last. But were people truly believing they’d seen life from another planet in these images or were they simply reeling from the lifelike visuals of Avatar 2? One way or another, the internet will find any excuse to turn a mundane image into a fiasco, let us not be forced to recall the infamous multicolored dress incident of 2015. With AI art being the biggest craze right now, it’s a bit surprising the consensus of these images leaned more toward them depicting real aliens and not artificially generated imaging, but that’s the nature of the net.