No, Legendary Pokemon Have Not Sprung Up in Pokemon Go

A new controversy sprung up overnight in Pokemon Go, this time involving the alleged appearance of [...]


A new controversy sprung up overnight in Pokemon Go, this time involving the alleged appearance of Legendary Pokemon. Last night, several players shared screenshots of an Articuno occupying a gym in Franklin, OH, a small town about an hour away from Columbus, OH. Articuno's owner, Kaitlyn Covey, claimed on Facebook and Reddit she was recently given the Pokemon by Niantic in response to an email she sent on the game's first day of release. Covey speculated that Niantic gave her Articuno to build "hype" for the game.

While Pokemon Go players were still debating whether Covey claims were true, two other Legendary Pokemon also appeared with little explanation. A player named John Cheng shared a picture of his alleged Moltres, which he allegedly received from Niantic in response to anothe delayed email. Another Articuno also appeared, although the player who posted the picture claimed it was a hack. Finally, a player named a player named "Cash Kelley" posted several videos showing him hatching an egg containing a Ditto and placing it in a gym, causing even more confusion.

So, are these Legendary Pokemon legitimate or a scam? We can't say with 100% certainty, but the most likely explanation is that it's a hack of some kind. The most likely culprit is an app that allows players to change the skin of their Pokemon, which can make a Pidgey look like an Articuno. Although the hacked Pokemon wouldn't appear on other player's games, it's not that hard to fake a screenshot to help spread the lie. Another explanation could be a newly discovered bug that causes recently caught Pokemon to change into a totally different Pokemon.

This isn't the first time that a player has tried to falsely claim they've gotten a rare or Legendary Pokemon, but it might be the most convincing. Multiple players have claimed to have seen or fought the Legendary Pokemon (or Ditto), meaning either that there are a lot of liars on the internet, or something weird is going on.

The Ditto claim is particularly perplexing, as several Redditors claimed to have independently confirmed the Ditto's existence at a gym outside of Los Angeles. Still, screenshots can be faked, so take any of these alleged appearances with a major grain of salt.

Niantic previously stated a few weeks ago that they planned to release Legendary Pokemon at special live events, so it seems unlikely that the company would selectively release a few Legendary Pokemon. While I suppose Niantic could be looking for a way to get players hyped for the game again (especially after their bad PR weekend), sending out a few Legendary Pokemon just seems fishy. reached out to both Niantic and Covey for comment for this article, but has not received a reply.