Yet...no one seems to have met him, "Leonid Elenin" is a totally original name (in both Russian and English) and reads more like a code name than a birth name, and the man himself seems half public relations/half obscure amateur astronomer.
He might very well be real. Phew.
Leonid Elenin has been generous enough with his time to not only accept me as a Facebook friend, but to reply to all the messages I've sent him. He even commented on a Facebook note featuring the comet's "doom dates," clarifying one of the dates. He says he is not a public man and does not enjoy interviews or photos, but he will be posting an interview on his site soon that we can all watch.
I also chatted with one of his Facebook friends and Google Buzz contacts, who said that while he had no doubts about Leonid Elenin's identity, he hadn't ever seen him in person - daily phone and email has been it. They've known each other since January 2010. I asked him if he could provide any evidence to help us grasp Elenin's identity, but he didn't reply.
Elenin made it a point to message me and confirm that he knew my contact, so my contact must have told him about our convo...so Elenin is understandably concerned about these rumors.
I am relieved that Elenin is not avoiding questions, and that he seems to be a real person with traces on the Internet showing up as early as 2008 (evidence).
But check out these issues that remain. Case is still open.
- Why does Elenin barely show up on the Internet before 2010, and why does his blog and the few articles he's quoted in seem staged pre comet discovery?
- How was this amateur astronomer able to discover a comet like this, when NASA still doesn't even know its size and no one can even spot it in the skies right now?
- Why can no one confirm that they've met Elenin?
- If Elenin has such a private personality, and his identity wasn't concocted or stolen by NASA, why does he accept all Facebook requests, and have so much time to talk to people like me?
- Why hasn't he done a high-profile interview or provided new photos or videos to clear up his identity? This controversy is very old, and replying to every curious person on Facebook seems like an inefficient way to go about things. It's not as if he's ignorant about the controversy! He even went out of his way to say Comet Elenin would not impact earth, when I never asked him about that.