5. Jerusalem Dome of the Rock UFO Incident
On Jan. 28, 2011, a mysterious glowing orb supposedly appeared in the night sky above Jerusalem, Israel. Even more intriguing, the light dropped and hovered above the Dome of the Rock, an ancient Islamic shrine. The video footage, recorded from different parts of the city by several different people, went viral on YouTube in a matter of hours. However, upon further investigation, several oddities in the videos became apparent. First, the glowing object did not reflect any light off the top of the gold-plated dome, which it hovers directly above. Also, the background in one of the videos appears detached from the bottom of the video, a sign it had been manipulated. Then there is the lack of further evidence — in a city with a population of almost 1 million, and countless thousands of tourists, one would expect a UFO hovering over a holy shrine would be captured on hundreds of videos, even at 1 a.m. The consensus is the videos were an elaborate hoax created by sophisticated video-editing software. In the age of social media, where such videos can quickly go viral, there is a great potential for such hoaxes in the future.
4. UFO Incident in Aurora, Texas
On April 17, 1897, residents in the town of Aurora, Texas supposedly witnessed a “mystery airship” that apparently sailed directly over the town square, collided with a windmill and then exploded, scattering debris over several acres. Two days later, an article in The Dallas Morning News stated, “The pilot of the ship is supposed to have been the only one on board, and while his remains are badly disfigured, enough has been picked up to show that he was not an inhabitant of this world.” Apparently, the “remains” were buried with “Christian rites” in the Aurora Cemetery and the “wreckage” was disposed of in a well with no questions asked. Sound like an airtight case for a “real” UFO incident, almost too good to be true? Yes. Claims that the incident had been an elaborate hoax eventually surfaced, and reporters and ufologists have investigated the story many times through the years. In the latest investigation, in 2008 the show UFO Hunters opened the well where the UFO wreckage was supposedly buried and they used ground-penetrating radar in the cemetery in an effort to locate the alien’s remains. In both cases, the show’s findings were inconclusive. But it does make a good story. The most commonly accepted explanation is that a town resident, eager to bring positive attention to the area after a series of natural disasters, concocted the whole story. Today, the Aurora Cemetery is marked with a Texas Historical Commission marker commemorating the incident.
3. Majestic 12
This entire operation reads much like a screenplay from an episode of the X-Files. The Majestic 12, also known as the MJ-12, was the supposed name of a top-secret group of scientists, high-ranking military officers, and government officials assigned to investigate the now-famous 1947 UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico. President Harry Truman himself allegedly backed the organization, which had no command hierarchy, no paper trail and was shrouded in total secrecy. There were certainly top-secret government efforts to investigate reports of “foo fighters” and UFOs in this era; MJ-12 was not one of them. This alleged top-secret group was brought to light in December 1984, when a package with no return address was sent to a television documentary producer in California. The package contained a roll of film detailing eight pages of briefing papers that mentioned the Roswell crash and the mysterious MJ-12. Upon further investigation by other researchers and even the FBI, the so-called MJ-12 document was deemed a forgery, albeit an elaborate hoax, as the anonymous source did have access to some obscure yet non-public information from that era. By the time the documents resurfaced in the public, all of the alleged original members of the group were (conveniently) deceased. The truth is out there.
2. Crop Circles
Crop circles, also known as crop formations, have a history that dates back to the 17th century, when British scientists concluded that the simple circles were created by airflows from the sky. Since the 1970s, approximately 10,000 crop circles have been reported throughout the world with many incorporating complex mathematical characteristics. Such advanced designs have prompted some to believe that their creation was due to an extraterrestrial source. However, in 1991, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley admitted that their “prank” was created with simple tools consisting of wood planks, ropes, and a loop of wire. They subsequently demonstrated their skills on ABC’s Good Morning America, which further influenced imitators to create more circles in increasing numbers, size, and overall complexity. While most scientists regard crop circles as hoaxes, some investigators point out that the complexity of some crop circles is beyond the skills of pranksters.
1. Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction?
The 17-minute, black-and-white film that surfaced in the 1990s showed a purported medical examination and dissection of an extraterrestrial recovered from the crash site near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. British entrepreneur Ray Santilli claimed that he had received the “authentic” film from an anonymous military cameraman. In 1995, the footage was broadcast by Fox television as Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction? and eventually transmitted to 32 other countries. The show caused a sensation even though some portions were edited out due to the “graphic nature” of the procedure. In addition, the details included everything from alien symbols to six-fingered control panels. However, in 2006, Santilli and fellow producer Gary Shoefield admitted that their film was a “reconstruction” containing only a few frames from the original film. The rest of the film was, in their words, a “reconstruction” with “artistic license.” After watching this film, it is hard to believe that someone would find this autopsy credible. But there are still those who gladly give their complete bank account information to a “long-lost relative” in Nigeria without question.
One More: Writer Duped By Conmen
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, author Frank Scully wrote two columns in Variety magazine and published a book regarding UFO crashes and cover-up operations in New Mexico and Arizona. With details that included how the spacecraft were based on magnetic principles and the impressive credentials of two supposedly renowned sources, the book sold more than 60,000 copies. However, the two sources apparently conned not only Scully, but also the U.S. Air Force and the FBI. Ironically, the ultra-skeptical character of Dana Scully portrayed by Gillian Anderson in the X-Files was named after this man.