The Pokémon Go subreddit page has descended into madness after users started posting videos and images of legendary Pokémon Articuno defending a Gym in Franklin, Ohio, on 1 August.
The game's source code has previously confirmed that the mythical ice-type Pokémon is obtainable within Niantic and The Pokémon Company's mobile smash-hit, but the creature does not appear in the wild.
Players have speculated that some kind of event will herald the arrival of Articuno and the other legendary Pokémon: Moltres, Zapdos, Mewtwo and Mew.
Nevertheless, several posters in a thread on Reddit have claimed that they have seen and even fought Articuno at at a Gym in Ohio.
By 'Gym' we mean a Pokémon Go Gym where trainers battle for supremacy of real-life landmarks within the GPS-powered app and not a real-life gym, of course.
While many are questioning the veracity of the images and footage, they do appear genuine and in keeping with the Android and iOS title's art design. The owner of the Articuno later surfaced in the thread, explaining that they received the ultra-rare Pocket Monster as a gift from Niantic:
With many users dismissing the user's claims, "kaitcovey" continued:
The links to the images have since been removed from the Reddit thread, however you can see them for yourself in these two Imgur posts. While the Facebook videos in particular appear genuine, it is still best to treat all of this as a rumour until Niantic verifies the owner's story.
Update: A second Articuno has allegedly been spotted, with this second avian rarity belonging to a Team Instinct player named Ocba.
Several posters in the Reddit thread have noted that an MITM Proxy found on GitHub is capable of changing the app's display to fake a Pokémon. The proxy works by intercepting the traffic between the app and the Pokémon Go servers, giving the user the option to alter in-game data. This however, would not account for other posters who claim to have visited the Gym and seen the Pokémon for themselves within their own game.