Worldwide Rash of UFO Sightings

Still from "Battle: Los Angeles" from / Trailers Without Pity.

…And I, for one, welcome our new bug-eyed overlords. Late 2010 and early 2011 have seen an escalating rash of UFO sightings — and you don’t need a UFO detector to find them; a few choice keywords on YouTube will do just fine.

In the wake of January-February sightings in Utah and Chicago, reports are surfacing of UFOs in Göteborg, Sweden (February 12), Johannesburg, South Africa (February 14), Boston, Massachusetts (February 21),  Dallas, Texas and Chicago again (both on February 28). Sadly, none of it features space pirates with peg-legs and ray guns.

Some of these are almost certainly hoaxes. The big news in late 2010 was the Jerusalem sighting, which Discovery News says was “almost certainly” a hoax; there’s a series of good arguments for that, but it’s not exactly conclusive. Sculptor Andrew Smith claimed to be the hoaxster behind the January UFO sightings near Lehi, Utah, but a few haters said his claiming responsibility might be a hoax to promote his sculpture — especially since Smith refused to provide any details about how the hoax was achieved, other than “helium and LED lights.” ParaNikki at Paranormal Utopia calls bullshit on people who claim to “I hoaxed something but I won’t tell you how” — and so do I. Tracy Parece at the Examiner thinks the Dallas footage looks sort of like a set of Chinese lanterns, which is what some people said about the UtahFO’s.

Others are surely just misidentifications or overreactions; it’s pretty damn hard to get a sense of space and context from an online video. The truly bizarre New Year’s Eve footage from Boston is some of the most unconvincing UFO evidence I’ve ever seen — I can’t tell WTF I’m seeing, though I guess that does qualify it as “unidentified.” However, whatever it is, it seems entirely different to me than the Chicago, Utah and Johannesbug UFOs. The February 21 Boston footage is even weirder — it looks, to me, like nothing at all. So do the February 19 and March 1 sightings over Portland.

All of these look, to me, like either optical artifacts (effects created by reflections or refractions in the camera) or misidentified airplanes or satellites. None of it — including the Utah footage — really looks like it would have to be hoaxed to explain it.

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