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Man finds stump that kind of looks like E.T., hires publicist to alert the world

We get a lot of press releases at The A.V. Club and many of them are strange, dumb, shameless, or some combination of the above. With Stop The Presses!, we share them with you.

While we get hundreds of thousands of press releases every single year here at The A.V. Club, it really takes a good one to make us all stop, sit back, and slowly shake our heads. And, fortunately for our long-ignored Stop The Presses! feature, that very thing happened today courtesy of an email with the subject line, “Did ghost of ET ‘phone home’ to Spielberg and invite him to Scottish island?”


So far, so good. Those 14 words alone let you know the text within the body of the email is going to be total bullshit.

Let’s soldier on into the actual pitch.


Hotel owner amazed at second close encounter in a year

First off, who hired the publicist that’s sending this email? The Isle Of Skye? The guy who experienced the close encounters? The hotel? Publicists aren’t cheap, generally, so the existence of this release alone lends itself to a lot of questions.

Hotel owner Billy Harley recently found the image of ET in a log he was chopping to warm guests in the bar at the Uig Hotel on the Isle of Skye off the Scottish coast. He has nicknamed the log ‘E-Tree’ (see attached image).

Okay, yes, that all seems to check out, provided that you ignore pretty much everything you know about how trees grow and how this is probably just two trees that grew together or whatever. E-Tree isn’t the most witty name, but fair enough. Middle-aged men are entitled to a few bad jokes from time to time.

Now the ghost of ET has lured the man who adapted his story for the big screen to the Isle of Skye, with filming taking place right behind the hotel. Spielberg is currently bringing Roald Dahl’s the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) to the big screen.


There’s no “ghost of E.T.,” since—lest we all forget, like ol’ Billy Harley must have—E.T. never existed. He’s a puppet—nay, many puppets—from a children’s movie released back in 1982. He might have had a glowing chest in the movie, but that most certainly was not a heart. Also, ghosts? Come on.

We are excited for The BFG, though.

“The Isle of Skye is magnet for filmmakers all over the world,” said Billy Harley. “We had a crew filming Prometheus a few years back and now this. It’s weird that all these films about monsters and aliens are made here. We’re quite a friendly island really.”

The filming took place in the Fairy Glenn directly behind the Uig Hotel. “We heard a strange rustling and I phoned home. My wife did a quick Google and found the news that our forest is going to be in a Spielberg movie. I went up to have a look but by the time I got there they were gone, so I missed out on a close encounter. I hope I’ll be able to buy Mr Spielberg a pint next time he’s here. I’ll be right here.”


How did this guy on the Isle Of Skye (population 10,000) not know that Steven Spielberg was coming to make a major motion picture behind where he lived? You’d think that would have been front page news. And while we’re sure that offer to buy the incredibly famous director a pint is genuine, hiring a publicist to make sure he finds that out sure seems like an expensive way to go about it. Also, enough with the Spielberg puns. We get it. You’ve heard of his movies.

On the other hand, hey, that tree stump kind of looks like E.T.


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