It wasn’t that long ago that UFOologists had to go to conventions or meet in person to squint at shaky home-movie footage of purported alien spacecraft. But now, thanks to inexpensive digital video cameras and smart phones with video, DVRs that can capture clips of local news programs, and free sites on the Web that make it possible to upload and share video in streaming form, it’s possible for everyone to share their favorite strange objects in the sky.
YouTube, the most popular video repository on the Web, alone contains a collection of strange clips that might make Charles Fort leap for joy. A recent search for the terms “ufo+sightings+2011″ yielded 35,600 hits, including this dandy compilation of TV news reports about recent UFO sightings in China, Norway, Russia, Australia and Israel. Other users upload their own DIY videos of UFOs, or at least what they claim to be UFOs, and invite comments from both believers and skeptics.
Here are five of our favorites:
This one elicited more than 850 comments, ranging from accusations that it was a crude hoax created by a video artist who superimposed an object against computer-generated clouds, to protestations that the image was genuine. “All I can say is I want to believe!!!” wrote one respondent.
2. “Johnnowhale” from Minneapolis posted this footage of a UFO that he claims to have spotted from his backyard in July, plus enhanced and slowed-down versions of the clip.
3. Here’s an object that purportedly appeared in the sky in northern Norway in July 2011. It might have been better to add a soundtrack of appropriately eerie theremin music, since the camera person’s breathing in the background is a bit hard on the ears.
4. This intriguing footage of a spiral UFO was shot in the night skies over western Mongolia in June. We wish what we could understand what they’re whispering in the background.
5. Here’s a video clip of peculiar lines in a cloud of smoke from a wildfire near the Los Alamos National Laboratory in June 2011, which the poster speculates might have been evidence of a UFO hovering over the conflagation.