Web Xtra: UFO Part II

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UFO sightings tend to be reported and disseminated with the discrimination of a Hoover: Everything is vacuumed up and absorbed into the anarchy of the Internet. But sometimes perfectly rational explanations emerge, as these recent Florida UFO events confirm.

  • Eager South Florida UFO enthusiasts flooded the Internet around dawn on Sept. 1, 2015, with reports of fireballs, lasers, plasma force fields and “crazy-looking clouds.” What was poised to be one of the most significant mass sightings in state history turned out to have a perfectly explicable, if still pretty cool, cause: the launch of NASA’s Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral.
  • Another mass sighting, this time of orange spheres, around Apalachicola led to a series of reports to local news and MUFON. It turns out that sometimes a little terrestrial policework goes a long way. A Carrabelle Beach deputy decided to investigate the Feb. 9, 2013 sightings, only to discover that the lights were part of an oceanside memorial service. He added on Facebook, “They were people at the beach lighting Paper Hot Air things with candles! They lifted right into the sky and burned out after several minutes.”
  • Passengers on a Carnival Cruise ship reportedly received an entertaining diversion that wasn’t on their daily planners. While off the coast of Fort Lauderdale on Oct. 10, 2014, a woman snapped a short video of an unidentified craft moving slowly, ominously and silently above the ocean liner. While there hasn’t been a definitive, official explanation of this event, the organization Speedebunking makes a compelling argument that the entire video was faked, citing several factors including evidence of CGI manipulation and the lack of corroborating video from any other passengers.
  • Take extra care next time you scream “Fore!,” because you might just hit an alien craft. Or so it seemed to at least one viewer of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach this past May. The television viewer reported an unknown object over the links to MUFON, which assigned its chief video analyst to the case. His expert opinion? It was a bird in mid-flight. As the Huffington Post’s paranormal writer Lee Speigel quipped in his article on the sighting, “At the very least, we know for sure there was one birdie shot that day.”