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UFO Sightings: Who Not to Trust

Last night after the kids went to bed, Susan and I (while flipping channels) caught a television special called “The World’s Most Convincing UFO Footage.” As you might imagine, the special featured several (six, I think) video clips of alleged UFOs, followed by interviews with the witnesses who filmed them. One by one while watching these witnesses tell their stories, I began creating a mental list of red flags when it comes to people who claim to have filmed UFO footage. These include:

PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THE FILM AND/OR SPECIAL EFFECTS INDUSTRY. If you are involved in the film industry or more specifically the special effects industry, then I am not going to take your footage at face value. Take for example the somewhat infamous Oliver’s Castle footage, in which four orbs of light appear to instantly form a crop circle in England:

Here’s a blurb I found in regards to this incident: “In August 1996 John Weyleigh, a student, recorded a short video film, while camping in south England at Oliver’s Castle, that shows the creation of a crop circle shaped like a snowflake. Four swiftly moving light balls are clearly visible, circling above the formating crop circle. Most professional videolaboratories, where the tape was examined, certify that the film is “clean” and that it is unlikely that the video was edited with computer.”

If you search Google you will find that this footage was (supposedly) analyzed by dozens of technical experts who could find no evidence of digital fakery. Huh.

About a year after this footage was released, investigators determined John Weyleigh was really John Wabe, co-owner of a video special effects sutdio. (THIS is a great read about the investigation. I highly recommend reading it — it’s both interesting and entertaining!) Peter Sørensen, who met both Weyleigh and Wabe, say that the two of them are the same person. He even has pictures of them driving the same car, one year apart. Some “believers” claim that Weyleigh “disappeared” and that Wabe is an imposter pretending to be him. That’s the problem with conspiracy theories; there’s always another one waiting around the corner to explain the previous one. Despite the fact that this footage was debunked roughly a year after it was released, it is still being passed around as being real, both on television and the web.

IF YOUR UFO LOOKS TOO GOOD, IT’S PROBABLY FAKE. Check out this footage which was supposedly “shot” in Haiti in 2007:

Little balls of light and other, well, “unidentifiable” objects are one thing. When you share footage like this you either have the most amazing discovery in the history of the modern world, or you have faked footage.

The guy that originally uploaded the video to Youtube runs a site called HoaxArt, a site whose slogan is “Hoax is Art” and encourages readers to upload their own hoax videos. The guy has also uploaded several other (very impressive) works of CGI animation to Youtube.

An LA Times reporter tracked down the creator of the video who turned out to be a 35-year-old professional animator (see rule number one — never trust special effect guys). The entire scene was computer generated. The scary part is not the UFO footage; it’s that this guy made the footage in less than a day using off-the-shelf hardware and software.

OWNING A MODEL OF THE UFO YOU TOOK PICTURES OF. This one should really be a no-brainer. In the late 80s/early 90s, a fellow named Ed Walters took many (many) UFO pictures in Gulf Breeze, Florida. Here’s one of them:

Shortly after taking those photographs, Walters moved out of his home. The new tenants discovered this hiding in the attic, covered in Walters’ handwriting:

Like every other debunking, the debunkers that debunk the debunkers claim that the CIA broke into Walters’ house and planted the model there to discredit him. Hmm.

Walters also said that he has communicated with aliens several times. That brings me to my next group of people.

PEOPLE WHO HAVE COMMUNICATED WITH ALIENS SEVERAL TIMES. OR EVEN ONCE. Look, there’s no doubt that there are “things” flying around in the air that people can’t recognize. The fact that unidentified aircraft have been spotted near Area 51 (a military base with the longest runway in the country) should not surprise anyone. Additionally, human beings are really terrible eye witnesses. Throughout the years, tens of thousands of people have called 911 to report the planet Venus as a UFO (many people have reported that it is “following them”.) It happens. There are lots of things in the night sky that people can’t identify. Makes sense. People sometimes film these things and say, “I can’t identify this object.” Also, believable.

“An alien being communicated with me telepathically and told me to bring a camera and film this spot at this exact moment.” RED FLAG, RED FLAG!

An offshoot of this group would be …

PEOPLE WHO HAVE FILMED UFOS ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS. If you live next door to Area 51 then I will let this slide, but if you live in the woods and somehow manage to film a UFO every other weekend … hmm, something’s up.

And finally …

ANY UFO FOOTAGE THAT COMES OUT OF MEXICO CITY. Sorry, my south of the border friends. Mexico, and Mexico City in particular, are rife with UFO fakery. They just are; it’s part of the culture. Most of them do it for money or the notoriety. But they’re all fake. Check out this one:

Complete with a couple of special effect gurus (“TEH GUYZ THAT MADE DAT TITANIC!”) who say that we are looking at real footage. I guess they didn’t throw it into a computer and analyze it. Later analysis provided the following results (from AboveTopSecret):

he Mexico City video of Aug. 6, 1997 has been studied frame by frame. Initial reports were favorable. However, “fingerprints of a hoax” were discovered when the motion smear or edge blur or “diffuseness” of the UFO image was compared with the smear/blur/diffuseness of the images of the buildings. Jeffrey Sainio published his overall analysis of the differential image smear in the October 1998 issue of the MUFON Journal. This showed that on the average the motion smear of the building was greater than any measurable motion smear of the UFO image. Also discovered were two frames in which the building motion smear was great enough as to make the horizontal top edge of the building image very diffuse. At the same time in these frames the images of the wind sock on top of the building were so blurred as to be difficult to see against the sky background.

Also beware of any analyst that says “just because it looks like a model hanging from a string doesn’t mean that’s what it is.”

That’s probably what it is.

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3 comments to UFO Sightings: Who Not to Trust

  • lethargic

    The UFO phenomenon is yet another thing ruined by modern day technology. Back in the day when nobody really had video cameras you could think, wow, look what this guy saw. Today EVERYBODY has cameras on them at all times. If UFOs existed there should be a kajillion videos of them by now. And there should be multiple camera angles from several different people anytime one of these things happen. Bah.

  • Rob has clearly been replaced with a CIA disinfo agent.

  • Rivas

    My favorite discussion on the subject…