Fact Check: Samuyil Hyde Is NOT The Mythical 'Ghost of Kyiv' Pilot in Ukraine

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fact Check: Samuyil Hyde Is NOT The Mythical 'Ghost of Kyiv' Pilot in Ukraine Running Gag

Is a man named Samuyil Hyde the mysterious pilot known as the "Ghost of Kyiv"? No, that's not true: at this point in time it is still uncertain if the rumored pilot said to have downed six or more Russian planes over Ukraine even exists. But even if he was real his name wouldn't be Samuyil Hyde because the post making the claim was using a photoshopped image to continue the long-running internet gag of putting comedian Sam Hyde at the center of various violent events.

The claim appeared in a facebook post published on February 25, 2022 with a caption that read:

Ukrainian fighter-ace known as the 'Ghost of Kyiv's real name is Samuyil Hyde, a 36 year old who was identified as the Mig-29 Pilot accredited with downing 6 Russian Jets. #Ukraine #UkraineInvasion #ghostofkyiv

This is what the post looked like at the time of writing:

(Screenshot taken by Lead Stories on February 26, 2022)

At the time of writing it is not clear if the rumored "Ghost of Kyiv" actually exists. Analysis from military journalism website Task & Purpose found the stories told about the pilot likely were fiction:

As Russian missiles burned across the horizon and military aircraft prowled the skies above Kyiv, digital whispers of a lone airborne hero among the Ukrainian resistance began to emerge online. His name and his history are shrouded in mystery, but his exploits are already the stuff of modern military lore: that, with six air-to-air kills, the heroic pilot of a Ukrainian MiG-29 became the first air combat ace over European soil since World War II.

'Russian warship, go f-k yourself' -- Ukrainian troops make heroic last stand on Black Sea island
They call him 'the Ghost of Kyiv' -- and despite thousands of digital prayers to the contrary, he is in all likelihood a work of fiction.

The manipulated photo accompanying the claim actually shows American pilot Seth Nehring in an F-16 Fighting Falcon but with his face edited out and replaced with Hyde's. The image appeared in an Air Force Times story reporting about Nehring's tragic death in 2018 while flying an Ukrainian Su-27 aircraft:


(Screenshot taken by Lead Stories on February 26, 2022)

Blaming right-wing comedian Sam Hyde of being the suspect after a mass shooting is a strange Internet in-joke that has been going on for years.

Whenever there's a mass shooting, trolls blame comedian Sam Hyde

Sam Hyde is not the perpetrator of a mass shooting. But whenever a shooter strikes and the news reports casualties, trolls race to name Hyde as the culprit. In the worst cases, authorities have been tricked into giving Hyde's name to the press.

Here is more information about Sam Hyde and the infamous "Sam Hyde Is The Shooter" meme originally propagated by 4chan trolls:

Sam Hyde

Sam Hyde is an Internet comedian who co-founded the sketch comedy group Million Dollar Extreme and rose to viral video fame after staging a satirical TEDx talk about wonders of the future at Drexel University in October 2013.

So even if we don't know if the "Ghost of Kyiv" is real or not, we can be nonetheless confident his name is not Samuyil Hyde.

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  Maarten Schenk

Maarten Schenk is the co-founder and COO/CTO of Lead Stories and an expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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