Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

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Earthquake lights or Electrical transformers?

From Luis Ruiz Noguez’s MarcianitosVerdes:

“I have been reading many Peruvian discussion forums on which many witnesses report their experiences with the quake in August 15.

I’m more and more convinced that most of them describe lights produced by the explosion of power transmission transformers. The majority of the lights are seen over the horizon, behind houses, buildings or trees. No explosion is heard at first, but that can be understood if we place ourselves amid the chaos at the time. As the ground moves below our feet, buildings crumble and people scream in despair, we will hardly notice the sound of a transformer exploding. Or associate the light over the horizon with the explosion.

The transformer explodes. We see the flash of light. But seconds later, depending on the distance of the transformer, we hear an explosion. Light travels faster than sound. Even if an explosion is not heard, the flash could have been caused by the contact of high voltage power transmission wires. Such explosion wouldn’t be as loud  as those of transformers.

The lights, as I worte, were seen over the horizon. I haven’t found descriptions of lights seen directly in the sky.

There are, on the other hand, reports of lights seen over in the sea. One of the visitors of MarcianitosVerdes, Michael, wrote:

“I was there and when I was walking I saw a flash of light to the south, that could be in the sea, but this all happened in Lima. Soon the power was cut in Villa el Salvador and SJM. This could have been electrical energy, but some experts say they are produced in the [tectonic] plates. This phenomenon left the neighbors terrorized and made them think the worse was coming. It was a scary experience, as people screamed, prayed and despaired”.

LMP wrote the same:

“I live in Villa, next to the sea, the lights came from the sea, it wasn’t a spark nor an explosion nor the luminescence that some refer to. Tonight the engineer Ronald Woodman of the Geophysical Institute pointed that there was no explanation for what many of us saw. The curious thing is that immediately after the two glowing lights, one white and the other blue, the earthquake stopped. An explanation must be sought, but the ones attempted so far does not explain what happened.

And also Carolyn:

“Well, I live in Callao close to the sea and it’s true that during the earthquake there were two flashes of light in the sky and that they were in the direction of the sea, around the San Lorenzo island. We all were impressed because it’s something so strange that it was just in the sea. I also ask you to pray for everyone who is not with us anymore, ok, bye”.

I ask myself if the San Lorenzo island is an inhabited place with telephone service? The lights seen in direction of the sea could have come from electrical transformers that exploded in San Lorenzo island? Is the island sufficiently close for the flashes of light to be seen at the continent?

On the other hand Juan Carlos tell us that the blackouts support the transformers explosions hypothesis:

“Hello, I live in Santa Anita and here the erthquake was very strong and the lights of some areas went off and didn’t return until 10:30PM. Well, I don’t know if someone can explain this light pheonomenon very well…”

Only an in situ investigation with the reports from the electrical company — to determine the place where the transformers and transmission lines explosions happened — could clarify many doubts.

More attention should be placed to the reports from witnesses who claim the lights came from the sea or directly above in the sky.

Another question: Did any light seen have another color from white or blue?

As usual, Noguez does a great work. Some people are not as cautious when evaluating the episode. The video below is an example:

The TV program first shows an UFO footage from last year, an incident which reportedly was followed 15 minutes later by an earthquake. Seems interesting, I would like to know more about that, but instead of more detail they then featured the “Flotilla” episode in Peru a few months ago, where hundreds of points in the sky were seen.

It’s very probable the Peruvian Flotilla incident involved common balloons, as this confusion is being made on many Latin American countries where balloon sightings are being promoted as “Flotillas”, or “fleets” of UFOs. It’s similar to the UK Balloo-FOs.

Why they featured the Flotillas episode? To then present people who claim these were warnings by aliens of the coming tragedy. I will not even begin to criticize that, I hope the sheer absurdity speaks for itself.

By the way, this seems to be the very same local program (“ATV notícias”) which originally promoted the Peruvian “Flotilla”, so it’s not much of a surprise they make the link. And it’s also telling of the level of seriousness of such program.

UPDATE: Check these two videos of eletrical short circuits, arcing and explosions, pointed by Ivan.

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Yet another Haiti UFO video

The same Vue6 palm trees. Seemingly the same scenario (which may mean it’s from the same author, or just that they used the same library for objects). Lame, perfect lens flares. Nicer UFO, though, I think.

Meanwhile the original “Haiti UFO video” has already surpassed 2 million viewers in just over a week, and is already the most viewed UFO video in Youtube ever.

Popularity: 1% [?]

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Best "UFO" photo ever


Well, at least the best “UFO” photo I have ever received. “JP” sent me the image above with the following report:

“These photos were taken on May 25, 2006, on route BR324 near Pe de Serra, Bahia. I was going around a hill when I saw the image of the first photo (flying saucer). I stopped the car and took the picture from inside the vehicle, sticking my head outside. Soon afterwards I tried to take another photo, but I couldn’t and the object was gone. … And these are the images I’m sending for you to analyze. They were taken with a Siemens Cf75 cellphone. Please report your findings to me as soon as possible, as that object had me scratching my head.”

Besides what looks like a metallic disc on a cloudy sky, there are also what appears to be some letters in the image… I asked JP about it. He replied:

“I have no idea, and I had already noticed those letters … When I took the picture I was squatted near my car to hide from the sun! I tried to relate [the letters] to the stickers on may car’s windows! But I really don’t know! And I’m as puzzled as you! I have no interest on this UFO story. But what I saw was really strange. I still have the third image of the horizon, and if you want I can send it.”

Well, I finally realized that the letters were for “KAISER a cerveja nota 10” [“Kaiser the first grade beer”]. I wrote JP about it, but never got any further reply from him.

From the beggining the suspicion was that the image was taken from a magazine, since besides the letters, there’s a soft X going around the image. I thought at first that maybe things printed on the other side of the magazine page were appearing. But like alleged reflections of window stickers (!), they should have appeared inverted. The letters were not inverted.

tableufo325hjk Then it clicked. It’s just a white plastic table. From Kaiser beer, the promotional table is probably from a bar, and the alleged UFO is just the hole in the middle of the table. The X runnind around and the letters are actually part of the table’s surface. 

A very funny joke. I never imagined that a hole could be a “UFO”.

Popularity: 2% [?]


That Italian Air Force UFO video


Shortly before those amazing Haitian/Dominican videos, one of the biggest Youtube UFO sensations of 2007 was this one, allegedly from a source within the Italian Air Force. That was quickly dismissed by the actual publicizer, Paola Harris, on UfoUpdates:

This old Film Footage I have been showing for 3 years and It was given to Us Italian Researchers… not By the Air force. It is our Technology.

I had a cassette examined in Hollywood by my friends Rob and Rebecca Gordon who had the connections and money to do it. It was a 7th generation – copied 7 times – cassette. It was given to us with no explanation. It is a real object in the film. It has been shown in my MUFON and Laughlin Presentations and someone put it on U-TUBE [sic] and Google!

This all takes place in the Veneto region of Italy at a place called Ponte di Giulio. Near Aviano NATO Base. It is a dry river bed where the military does maneuvers and the photographer was on a tripod waiting for the object to come out of the woods. I doubt aliens appeared there!

Though the claims about it being real and “our technology” couldn’t be verified to this day, the ones about its origin could. Italians Antonio Pischiutti and Stefano Saccavino visited the location, near Ponte de Giulio, in Pordenone, and took this photo from roughly the same spot:


Many Italian ufologists received the video from the anonymous source some years ago (more on this below), but apparently only Harris started to promote and sell it abroad on a DVD. Somehow, that resulted in two versions of the video (one converted directly from the DVD, at the beggining of the post, and the other filmed from a projection/screening of it) being recently uploaded to Youtube, and the rest is history. That we will tell here.

Given the anonymous source and the poor quality of the Youtube versions, it was expected that no definite proof of “authenticity” or of the probable hoax would be found, but people worked on it anyway and endless debate ensued. One of the most interesting evidence of hoaxing was pointed out by “onthefence” on the OpenMindsForum:


The alleged UFO has a very different blur from the background. Though it has been reasonably suggested that that was the result of poor rendering of the 3D model on a computer, I think it has more to do with the simple difference in contrast between the flying saucer and the background in the original footage. Because the video versions initially on Youtube have such poor quality, I don’t think this “pulsed” blur artifact from a quick rendering of the 3D model would show up. One can barely discern details in the craft. Either way, it’s clear evidence that the flying saucer and the background are two very different things. One is real, the other is not.

Further evidence of hoax include the so convenient and extremely lucky cameraman (who according to Harris was using a tripod (!!!)). He had the saucer hovering near that chimney that turns out to be from the nearby power plant and which makes a nice detail. But do not make much sense because in the real geography of the place, the saucer at that point was actually hundreds of meters away from it. Only the cameraman at that point had the illusion that the saucer was near the power plant — and only if he had no depth perception.

But if things remained at this point, only skeptics would be satisfied to consider such soft evidence on such bad quality, anonymous video, a case closed for hoax. Fortunately, another Italian ufologist who received the original footage years ago decided to step up.


Antonio Chiumento, contrary to Paola Harris, allegedly chose not to publicize the video he received because of the anonymous, unknown origin. Wise decision. It remained archived for years, but after the international Youtube sensation and subsequent echoes in his very own country about it, he finally spoke about it. And we are glad that he did.

In the videoclip above you can watch the best version of the infamous video yet available on the internet. That’s probably because they are showing the original video that Chiumento received directly from the anonymous source. You can see clearly that the flying saucer is fake, as it clearly stands out against the background many times. As it was made three or four years ago, the CGI is not near as good as the Haitian/Dominican videos — in which, we must note, the UFOs blended well with the scenery because everything was computer generated.

Not only that, but the local TV station received a phone call from the alleged authors of the video, who confessed it was created with Adobe’s After Effects post production software. Though this confession cannot be confirmed (as the original source was anonymous), we don’t have so many reasons to doubt it since there’s such clear evidence already that allows us to conclude this one is indeed a hoax.

[This post is heavily based on the original dossier at ufofu]

UPDATE: I became aware that in the interview, Italian researcher Chiumiento actually tells much more than what I described above, at times incorrectly. He received the video from an anonymous source and after seeing it immediately considered it a hoax, given the evident difference in sharpness between the UFO and the background. He then received an email confession from the author, at the time, who made the video as part of a Computer Graphics class. He repeatedly emphasizes that no video, photographic evidence, no matter how good, is valid without a good supporting testimonial evidence. In this case it was also anonymous, so that’s another reason that he ignored the video.

This was all allegedly clarified long before the video became famous on Youtube recently, and Paola Harris claimed it was declared authentic by Hollywood experts.

Popularity: 3% [?]


The Brit Balloo-FOs invasion

French blog ufofu wrote about the recent mass “UFO” sightings in the UK, which turn out to be just small hot-air ballons, chinese lanterns. They made a nice compilation of the incidents to go along the nice image seen above:

Did you notice almost all sightings happened in or near the weekend? Ufofu did. That’s when those Earthlings are used to party, for whatever reason. And it just happens that recently, chinese lanterns are easily available in the UK.


They quote BUFORA’s Robert Rosamond, who confirmed they are aware of that.

“Our volume of incoming reports continues to expand of late with a particular surge in sightings that more or less exhibit the known behaviour patterns of our old friend the Chinese lantern. We have also recently received a series of requests for information on various sightings from numerous radio stations dotted around the country, most of which curiously enough contain brief descriptions of sightings that suspiciously exhibit the same known behaviour patterns of, take a guess,…. Chinese lanterns. Islington, Stratford-upon-Avon, Watford and Bangor Co. Down, to name but a few, are some of the culprits”, he writes on BUFORA’s homepage.

Of the many website selling chinese lanterns, one pointed by ufofu is particularly interesting: UFO balloons. Check their “Sightings” section.

While thse Balloo-Fos are being quickly solved and not being seriously considered by serious ufologists, ufnortunately the same cannot be said about the other invasion of Identified Flying Objects: the terrible “Flotillas” (Fleets, in Spanish) of Jaime Maussán.

Those obvious helium balloons, originally promoted in Mexico by the world-famous hoax promoter, were originally filmed by one of his collaborators notorious for photographing a cheap toy and claiming it was a flying saucer. Most English speaking ufologists do not take the Flotillas seriously, but unfortunately in Latin America, including Brazil, and also in Spain some UFO promoters claim these Balloo-FOs are mysterious.

Popularity: 2% [?]

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