Duo used fake names

Patience, calm, luck and astuteness allowed two Sun Media reporters to collect photos and information over nine months without revealing their true identities. To cover their tracks and infiltrate the Raelians, the reporters chose false names and rented a post office box to receive all Raelian correspondence.

They then invented occupations in areas they could talk about easily without attracting attention. Reporter Brigitte McCann opted for a job in a plant north of Montreal, which she visited before the investigation to get the feel of the place. Photographer Chantal Poirier chose one of her old jobs in the restaurant business.

To register as members, the duo provided anonymous cellphone numbers.

Finally, the two women constructed family histories for themselves, inventing as little as possible to avoid any blanks.

McCann launched the investigation alone in January. After a few meetings, she was invited to recruit new members in New York City in March.

Introduced as a recruit, Chantal joined Brigitte to assist in the investigation and take exclusive photos. Constantly faced with the movement’s rules and bans, she used a variety of means to take photos, often using her colleague as a screen. The result was more than 500 revealing, clandestine photos.

During their two weeks camping out among the Raelians in Maricourt, Que., they hid a laptop under their inflatable mattress. Every day, they burned photos and text on a CD.

In order to avoid leaving anything on their computer, they would claim they needed a trip to the grocery store in a nearby town and would leave the CD with a shopkeeper who was in on the investigation.

Vacation? Short break? Day trip? Get Skip-the-line tickets at GetYourGuide.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
The London Free Press, Canada
Oct. 11, 2003

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday October 13, 2003.
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