Following the experiments in September when physicists detected neutrinos travelling faster than light, a feat forbidden by Einstein's theory of special relativity researchers from SANTA (Science Analysis Neutrino Testing Academy) have have unveiled evidence last night that raises the possibility that Father Christmas might actually exist!
Antonio Ereditato, coordinator of the SANTA team, told the Guardian: "We are very much astonished by this result and when you get such a result you want to make sure you made no mistakes, that there are no nasty things going on you didn't think of."
The SANTA group was set up soon after the initial discovery of neutrino particles travelling faster than light to verify the experiments.
"We decided to repeat the experiments on a larger scale" explains Ereditato "and launch the Effective Light Facility (ELF) into the atmosphere to generate neutrinos and fire them at the Hadron Collider"
The scientists expected to repeat the successes they had in September, however something much more was in store for them and lead research Jack Frost explains "It was incredible! We started measuring the output from ELF late Saturday evening on the 24th of December and suddenly right on the stroke of midnight, the graphs went absolutely wild!
Instead of getting a tight beam of neutrinos, we saw them popping in and out all over the globe - and each time the trace would last approximately 0.003 of a second before popping up somewhere else again"
The researchers were baffled by this increased activity, which continued even when ELF was switched off and only came to their conclusions after visiting one of the sites where the traces were "popping in".
Explains Frost "It was the natural thing to do - there was a trace about 7 miles from the laboratory, which was spotted at 05.13am so we decided not to prance around and dash there straightaway and see what, if anything was special about the spot."
When the researchers got there, they found a small chalet in a village and knocked on the door, which was opened by a very surprised and shocked family "We didn't know what was going on" explains Erika, 45, the woman who answered the door "At first I thought there might have been an accident or something bad like that. We didn't know what was going on!"
The researchers assured Erika that nothing was wrong and just wanted to ask some questions. After a few hours of questioning about her, the chalet, her family or anything that might help understand the trace, the researchers almost gave up until and about to go back to the laboratory when Erika told Ereditato "We'll do anything to help, especially my son, Sebastian who's such a good little boy"
And that was when Ereditato put two and two together "Here we were with an unknown trace in a specific location and "good little boy", so of course I asked to speak to the boy - and sure enough he'd had a present that neither parent knew about"
Subir Sarkar, head of particle theory at Oxford University, said: "If this is proved to be true it would be a massive, massive event. It is something nobody was expecting."
"It's such a dramatic result it would be difficult to accept without others replicating it, but there will be enormous interest in this," he told the Guardian.
Teams from SANTA are now travelling across the world and collecting data. Ereditato explained excitedly "It's still early days, but so far we have 53 locations where the traces have been identified for a period of 24 hours only and in all instances, children have opened presents that parents, family and friends have not claimed to have bought!"
The first "good little boy", Sebastian told reporters that "my red bike is ok, but my friend Jorge got a playstation, so I'm not going to be as good as I used to be"