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Astronaut Carving on Salamanca Cathedral Wall

Outline
Emailed PowerPoint presentation questions the mystery of a modern astronaut figure carved onto the wall of a centuries old cathedral in Salamanca, Spain.



Brief Analysis
There is no mystery. The astronaut was added in 1992 during restoration work on the cathedral.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.



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Last updated: 9th February 2011
First published: 1st August 2008
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example:(Submitted, July 2008)
Subject: Spaceman Salamanca, Spain cathedral

SALAMANCA, SPAIN

The Cathedral was built in 1102

Cathedral, Salamanca Spain

Cathedral, Salamanca Spain

BUT THERE IS ONE LITTLE "SURPRISE" DETAIL

Astronaut on Cathedral, Salamanca Spain 1

Astronaut on Cathedral, Salamanca Spain 2

Astronaut on Cathedral, Salamanca Spain 3

ANY EXPLANATION TO THAT?



Detailed Analysis
The above photographs and text are circulating via email in the form of an attached PowerPoint slide show. The photographs show a carving of an astronaut on the facade of a cathedral in Salamanca, Spain.

©iStockphoto.com/ photooiasson

New Salamanca Cathedral
A carving of an astronaut was added to the New Cathedral in Salamanca, Spain during restoration work in 1992
The same photographs have also been posted to a number of online forums and blogs on which they have generated a considerable amount of debate. While some commentators have suggested that the astronaut has been added using image manipulation software, other observers have come up with more outlandish explanations, including time travel, alien visitations in ancient times and amazingly precise predictions of the future by the artists who decorated the original buildings.

More down-to-earth observers have drawn the most obvious conclusion, which is that the astronaut carving was added to the building in much more recent times. And, in fact, this more sensible explanation for the "mystery" is entirely correct.

The astronaut, along with other contemporary symbols was added in 1992 during restoration work on the "new" cathedral. According to an article about the restoration (in Portuguese - Click here for Google translation to English), it is a tradition of cathedral builders and restorers to include a contemporary symbol on the building as a means of "signing" their work.

A Wikipedia article about the cathedral concurs:
Its main entrance consists of 3 arcs, each leading to the 3 naves (sections) of the church. All three are richly carved. Among the ornate carvings on the fašade is the incongruous likeness of an astronaut floating in space; it was added by an artist during restoration work in 1992 as a symbol of the 20th century.
Thus, there is actually no mystery about the Cathedral "spaceman" whatsoever.

The message is also inaccurate in another detail. It claims that the astronaut carving is on a cathedral that was built in the year 1102. However, the carving actually graces the wall of the "new" cathedral. Construction of the New Cathedral of Salamanca began in 1513. The Old Cathedral, located nearby, is the building that dates back to about 1100 AD.

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O Astronauta da Catedral de Salamanca
O Astronauta da Catedral de Salamanca: Translation
New Cathedral, Salamanca
Salamanca - Old Cathedral

Last updated: 9th February 2011
First published: 1st August 2008
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer