UFOs Invade Denver
In November, an unusual video of mysterious dark objects moving very quickly and erratically over the skies of Denver, Colo., caused a national stir. An anonymous UFO buff showed KDVR Fox News reporter Heidi Hemmat home videos he had taken from an open field during the past summer of "strange objects ... nobody can explain."
The UFOs, it was claimed, seemed to be taking off and flying over the Mile High City at around Noon on many different occasions. The TV report featured an aviation expert named Steve Cowell who stated categorically that in his opinion the objects he saw in the video were not airplanes, helicopters, nor birds. Many people favored the flying saucer theory, though none were able to explain why no one in Denver had noticed the extraterrestrial spacecraft that repeatedly flew over their city at midday. Skeptics noted that the objects caught on film moved a lot like insects flying in the air, and that the cameraman probably simply recorded bugs. With no further evidence of aliens, the buzz about the Denver UFO finally faded away. [UFO Quiz: What's Really Out There]
Denver wasn't the only city to have its skies lit up with alleged UFOs. A single week in December saw strange illuminated objects hovering in the sky above San Francisco and Brooklyn, N.Y. The dancing lights, it seems, were likely the usual UFO fare: some sort of floating object with a light. "It looks to me like it could have been balloons, carrying lights," Bing Quock, assistant director of the Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences, told CBS San Francisco, of the San Francisco lights. Another idea: Chinese floating lanterns, which have spurred at least one other, now-debunked, UFO sighting.
A foursome of lights above Lebanon, Mo., in May, shown in a shaky night-vision video, also sparked a UFO report. While the videographer Jim Barnhill was sure the sight was of extraterrestrial origin, it seemed to have all the makings of an Earthly aircraft: blinking strobe lights characteristic of known aircraft; and a flight altitude, pattern and speed characteristic of known aircraft.
It would have been nice if Bigfoot had been proven or aliens had made their presence known (and not nice if an eagle had snatched a baby or the world ended). But there's always next year...
Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of "Skeptical Inquirer" science magazine and author of six books including Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries. His Web site is www.BenjaminRadford.com.
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