Tag: unexplained phenomena

Attractions & Other Oddities

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Residents of Russia's capital city were astonished last Wednesday when they witnessed a startlingly strange formation hovering high in the sky. Looking something like an enormous interstellar portal, the bright-white circle reminded many of Moscow's citizens of a scene from the movie Independence Day.

Video of the phenomenon has since hit the Internet and has millions bandying explanations, which naturally cover such topics as aliens, UFOs and the impending 2012 apocalypse.

In reality, the abnormality is probably just a rare meteorological curiosity known as a "hole punch cloud" or "fallstreak hole." Nevertheless, the enormous object is eerily reminiscent of Arizona's unexplained Ring of Mystery, which appeared above Flagstaff in 1963.

2008 marks the centennial of one of the most mysterious and startling events to occur on planet Earth. OK, to be more accurate, it was June 30, but give me a break. I've had a cold.

It occurred in a remote region of Russia near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Siberia. Just after 7 a.m., an unidentified object screamed through the atmosphere and created an explosion that leveled 800 square miles of forest and broke windows several hundred miles away.

The first successful scientific expedition to the impact site didn't occur for 19 years, but what researchers found was startling. Some 80 million trees were stripped bare, scorched and flattened in a radial pattern, emanating from what was determined to be ground zero. Yet, no impact crater was found, and oddly, the trees at the epicenter remained standing. ... Continued

For those lacking the patience necessary to snap legitimate UFO photos, The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry shows just how easy it is to skip all that boring vigilance and simply fake the damn things.

Astronomer Tom Callen offers advice on how to set up a proper green screen, how to match the lighting to your background shots and how to take atmospheric conditions into account when compositing your pictures in Photoshop.

And if you're too lazy to make your own UFO models, Callen also recommends a place called Lunar Models where you can just buy some.

In my own research, I've also come across a terrific site called Uforth that catalogs and classifies the most common UFO shapes and configurations, with plenty of photographs you can use as examples in creating your own images.

So, sit down, mash up some pics and show us what you can do. Share your hoax shots in comments below.

(At the time of this post, I'm having trouble accessing Lunar Models' Web site, so don't be surprised if you can't connect.)

"Join the Air Force's new project for studying saucers," invites popular science magazine Popular Science. Rig your camera with just the right equipment and "you, too, can join the hunt."

In an article published in January 1953, readers are shown, Instructables-style, how to add a special filter to their cameras to help determine the nature of any strange lights spotted hovering in the sky.

The article offers other tips for capturing UFOs, as well, like using a stereoscopic camera, including a landmark in your shot to determine a UFO's size and position, and most important, keeping your camera on hand for that rare moment the aliens choose to make contact.

The Air Force project the article refers to is presumably the famous Project Blue Book, which was launched the year just preceding the article and which was headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where readers were instructed to mail their film.

Well, look at all the ghosts and ghoulies we've got here! Aren't you adorable! And what are you supposed to be? A chupacabra! How clever! And it looks like we've even got La Llorona here, too! What a little sweetheart you are. Did your mommy help you with your costume?

Well, kids, let's fill those bags up with some holiday goodies ...

Halloween in the Time of Cholera

Steven Martin's passion is collecting antique opium-smoking paraphernalia. (No, go back and read that again; it's not Steve Martin.) He's even published a book on the subject. But for about the past 5 years, he's also been working on a collection of vintage Halloween photographs.

He's decided to share them with us this year and has been posting a new one to his Flickr set every day this month.

Halloween in the Time of Cholera

Ghosts in the Library

Last year, the official blog for the Encyclopaedia Brittanica (did you know there was one?) featured a list of haunted libraries across the U.S. and around the world. ... Continued

Perhaps you remember the reports of amazing UFO sightings coming out of Stephenville, Texas? Well the Los Angeles Times has decided to cover the event ... 6 months late.

Back in January, the Roadside Resort reported on the incident in which dozens of Stephenville locals spotted strange lights hovering over town. The story made international headlines, turning the dairy town into a UFO sensation. T-shirts proclaimed Erath County the new Roswell.

Apparently, the Times is just now getting wind of the event. However, I do have to thank them for letting us all know that UFO witness Steve Allen and former education reporter Angelia Joiner have since launched a Web site keeping track of the phenomenon. You can find it at stephenvillelights.com.

Two weeks after dozens of Stephenville, Texas, residents reported seeing strange objects hovering in the night sky, the Navy has announced "our bad!"

Maj. Karl Lewis, spokesman for the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth, issued a press release today saying he was mistaken in his original report in which he insisted there were no military exercises in the area on Jan. 8, the night locals reportedly saw the unusual lights.

Lewis, who had originally said he was "90 percent sure" the lights people saw were caused by the setting sun reflecting off a commercial jet, now admits that "10 F-16s from the 457th Fighter Squadron were performing training operations from 6 to 8 p.m. ... in the Brownwood Military Operating Area (MOA), which includes the airspace above Erath County." An "internal communications oversight" was supposedly the cause of the original misinformation. ... Continued

Stephenville, Texas, a town of about 15,000 residents — including, irrelevantly, singer-songwriter Jewel — has recently made international headlines for its extraordinary UFO sighting.

Dozens of witnesses have come forward, claiming to have seen intensely bright lights hovering over town the evening of Tuesday the 8th. The general consensus among locals is that the lights remained for about 5 minutes before tearing off at a phenomenal speed.

Several witnesses claim the lights were followed by two fighter jets, although, predictably, the region's military bases report that none of their planes were in the area at the time.

Witnesses describe the object as having multiple lights and flying very low to the ground. Some have compared the descriptions to that of the infamous Phoenix Lights (Weird Arizona, p.66) that made headlines in 1997.

Veteran pilot Steve Allen spotted it over the nearby town of Selden and described it as "bigger than a Wal-Mart," although we're left to wonder if he was referring to a regular or a Super. ... Continued