Many UFO sceptics, when confronted with a new UFO report, are quick to dismiss
it as an unexplained terrestrial phenomena. Either a cloud formation, military aircraft, ball lighting or Venus.
One sceptic, Donald H Mensal, went so far as to make a list of "selected
examples" of everyday objects which could be mistaken for flying saucers. So if you believe you have seen a UFO it is always
a good idea to check off the following before filing a report.
Between the 17th of November 1896 and May 6th 1897, the skies over the United
States were filled with unusual flying objects. They were described as hot air balloons, but in hindsight they were more likely
to be forerunners of the more traditional airships.
There were reports of people landing there airships to stock up on supplies
of food and water, so it seems unlikely that the occupants were extra-terrestrial beings.
A source of controversy for scientists who cannot categorically confirm
or deny its existence, ball lightning is relatively rare. It consists of a reddish, luminous ball, one foot in diameter, which
either moves rapidly along solid objects or floats in mid-air. Ball Lightning has been known to enter and move around a room,
as if investigating its surroundings. This almost sentient behaviour leads some witnesses to attribute an extraterrestrial
intelligence to its manifestation.
Weather and hot-air balloons have been mistaken for flying saucers on many
occasions. Perhaps the most famous alleged weather balloon incident is the Roswell UFO crash in 1947. Following the initial
flap, Major Jesse Marcel had to retract his previous statement that the US Army had recovered a crashed flying saucer, and
that in fact the object was nothing more than a weather balloon.
Certain atmospheric conditions have been known to distort clouds into unusual
formations. There have been many photographs over the years of lozenge or saucer shaped clouds, which have been easily mistaken
for flying saucers.
Comets & Meteors
The planet Earth is an easy target for all sorts of space debris in what
amounts to be a galactic shooting gallery. Comets, meteors and even errant satellites have been known to light up the night
sky, and consequently be mistaken for flying saucers, as they crash into the Earth.
Proven UFO hoaxes have caused a large amount of damage to the study of the phenomena, and tend to have a
knock on effect to the credibility of other UFO sightings. It is a sad fact that for just a few minutes of notoriety, people
are willing to fake UFO photographs and reports.