Wednesday, July 16, 2008

UFO: The Best Evidence Ever (Caught on Tape)

Fox Reality Channel - Original Air Date: 1997

This review will be long, due to the number of clips in the program.

This show purports to show genuine UFO films showing unknown craft, either military or alien.  It begins with the Phoenix lights, showing the footage that has been proved (in UFOs Over Phoenix) to be military flares.  Despite this, the show presents animations showing the "object" to be over a mile wide.  The show then moves on to a glowing ball of light reportedly over Area 51.  Then there's a very hokey looking tape supposedly showing a UFO changing shape and making "impossible" maneuvers, again from Area 51.  (It looks clearly fake to me -- and the "shape changing" takes place during cuts.)  Then we move onto Gulf Breeze, with photos and videos -- including one which is clearly a bug moving by the camera, and a ball turning into a silver streak that could be a bead of water (or mercury) on glass.  A cylinder-shaped object is more convincing, but is followed by another "Christmas tree" shaped craft Gulf Breeze photo taken by the same witness.  (For me, one filmed encounter could be chance; two seems more likely a hoax.  If it were that easy, how come scientists and news crews can't do it?)

A film from Ecuador (1995) seems to show a flying object with rotating lights, like a "glowing chandelier."  (One expert opines that it could be a miniature.)  In 1990, a Brazilian craft seems to flash strange patterns in the sky.  In 1990, formations of UFOs were photographed above an East German nuclear plant. Despite multiple angles, it's still impossible to figure out what the objects are (they look like flares).  But if they were there for hours, why isn't there better film?  A Mexican film seems to show a UFO following a formation of jets.  A similar helicopter sighting looks more like a bright star and video error to me.  The show then shows some NASA footage, including 1969 moon landing "orbs" -- which NASA (rightly) contends are reflections.  See the recent review of NASA on UFO Hunters, which also debunked the next clip in this show, for more info.

Next, we see the debunked crop circle formation video (Is It Real? Crop Circles), and a supposed landing in West Carlton, Canada reported by "Guardian."  As usual, the show's "expert" thinks the landing is not a hoax; an RCMP spokesman believes it is merely a helicopter.  At least the show's experts figure out the crop circle film to be a hoax.  Another Gulf Breeze film seems to me to show a reflection, though "experts" claim it is a disc that accelerated at amazing speed.  Following this, a Miami film shows a glowing UFO, but despite the expert's opinion that this is real, this film is clearly a fake done with reflections.  A Juarez Mexico film UFO seems saucer shaped, but displays similar lights to aircraft -- which, indeed is what they prove to be: blimps, as is a similar film from NY.

We move on to the mass sightings in 1991 Mexico.  These films, though intriguing, have been proven to be stars or other normal objects distorted by camera artifacts -- but not by this show, which declares them all real.  Another Mexican video hound specializes in photographing UFOs near airplanes, apparently generating fear in pilots -- but not enough interest for Mexican authorities to follow the photographer and find out how he has so many sightings.  Is a video of 24 lights in formation trying to send us a message?  (Is the message that the objects are birds?)  The show then goes on to trash the Air Force's "final report" on Roswell and all other government UFO cover-ups.  Amazingly, the show then ends with Jonathan Frakes (the narrator) pleading that people not make hoaxes for profit, to gain attention, or for kicks.  Yet, with shows like this egging them on, hoaxers are getting better all the time.

This show is an exemplar of what is wrong with the "science" of UFO investigation; too many people with no knowledge of optics or stagecraft who, in the words of the X-Files, "want to believe."  As a result, we get a lot of bogus tapes quickly declared genuine -- and then never refuted.  Until the UFO-hunting community is willing to declare a fake a fake, they have no chance of ever being taken seriously by science.  And it should be no surprise when science asks these so-called researchers, "Is this the best you've got?"  If you want to see pretty UFO pictures, this is the show for you.  But don't believe one second of it.

No comments: