Sunday, November 28, 2010

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a United States National Park in the Guadalupe Mountains in southeastern New Mexico. The primary attraction of the park for most visitors is the show cave, Carlsbad Caverns. Visitors to the cave can hike in on their own via the natural entrance, or take the elevator (the exit for everyone) directly to the Underground Lunchroom some 750 feet (230 m) below.

The park has two entries on the National Register of Historic Places: The Caverns Historic District and the Rattlesnake Springs Historic District.Approximately two thirds of the park has been set aside as a wilderness area, helping to ensure no future changes will be made to the habitat.

Peak visitation typically occurs on the weekends following Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. The park entrance is located on US Highway 62/180 approximately 18 miles (29 km) southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico. The park participates in the Junior Ranger Program.

Carlsbad Caverns includes a large cave chamber, the Big Room, a natural limestone chamber which is almost 4,000 feet (about 1,219 m) long, 625 feet (190.5 m) wide, and 350 feet (about 107 m) high at the highest point. It is the third largest chamber in North America and the seventh largest in the world. The largest in the world is the Sarawak Chamber in Malaysia.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Smiley

Many of us had used many of them in our text messages irrespect to E-mail,Mobile not to forget in our chat applications add an more expressive text message being sent to our loved Ones.Well I guess You might not have a clue where it had Its Origin.

A smiley or happy face (☺/☻), is a stylized representation of a smiling human face, commonly represented as a yellow (many other colors are also used) circle (or sphere) with two black dots representing eyes and a black half circle representing the mouth. “Smiley” is also sometimes used as a generic term for any emoticon.

The variant spelling "smilie" is not as common, but the plural form "smilies" (the plural of "smily", not "smiley") is commonly used.

The iconic smiley with the black ink smile and two oval dots for eyes inside of a black circle printed on a yellow background was created by freelance artist Harvey Ball in 1963 in an advertising campaign by The State Mutual Life Assurance Company of Worcester, Massachusetts, USA.
Harvey Ball designed the first Smiley face, while working at State Mutual Life Assurance Company as a freelance artist.However, the first smiley face recorded on film can be seen being drawn in Ingmar Bergman's film "Hamnstad", released in 1948. The film is a drama about a depressed and suicidal young woman named Berit and in one scene she draws an unhappy face on the bathroom mirror using her lipstick.A man at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear carrying a smiley with a Hitler mustache satirically drawn on it

The graphic was popularized in the early 1970s by Philadelphia brothers Bernard and Murray Spain, who seized upon it in September 1970 in a campaign to sell novelty items. The two produced buttons as well as coffee mugs, t-shirts, bumper stickers and many other items emblazoned with the symbol and the phrase "Have a happy day" which mutated into "have a nice day". Working with New York button manufacturer NG Slater, some 50 million smiley badges were produced by 1972.

In the 1970s, the Smiley face (and the accompanying 'have a nice day' mantra) is also said to have become a zombifying hollow sentiment, emblematic of Richard Nixon-era America and the passing from the optimism of the Summer of Love into the more cynical decade that followed. This motif is evidenced in the era of paranoid soul such as "Smiling Faces Sometimes" (released by The Temptations in April 1971, and by The Undisputed Truth in July 1971), "I'll Take You There" (The Staples Singers, 1972), "Don't Call Me Brother" (The O'Jays, 1973), "Back Stabbers" (The O'Jays), and "You Caught Me Smilin'" (Sly and the Family Stone, 1971).The origins of this was parodied in a famous scene from the movie Forrest Gump when Forrest is on his multiple jogs across America, and wipes his face on a T shirt given him by a struggling salesman, and on the shirt, as if transferred there by Forrest's face, reminiscent of the Shroud of Turin, is the image of the smiley face, whereupon the man gets his idea. The smiley face was also seen on a van in a scene from Mork and Mindy, the van driven by men who kidnap them.

In the UK, the smiley is associated with psychedelic culture since Ubi Dwyer and the Windsor Free Festival in the 1970s and the acid house dance music culture that emerged during the second summer of love in the late 1980s. The face was used as an engraved logo on ecstasy tablets at the time. The association was cemented when the band Bomb The Bass used an extracted smiley from Watchmen on the centre of its Beat Dis hit single.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Piha Beach,Auckland,NZ

Piha is one of the most popular beaches or favourite  'get away places' for Aucklanders, New Zealanders and international travellers alike.   Of course!  It's so close to Auckland and Auckland Airport.Piha Beach New Zealand is a small coastal village located on the wild West Coast of Auckland in the Waitakere Range.  There are no hotels and no motel in Piha but heaps of beautiful warm black sand!  Approximately 45 minutes drive from Auckland & 50 minutes from Auckland International or Domestic Airports Piha is on the Twin Coast Discovery Route.

View Piha Beach in a larger map

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Secret Societies You Never Knew They Existed,but they are

No matter what their supposed purpose, there’s something inherently sinister about a secret society. Though most are formed with relatively realistic political and religious goals in mind, their focus on mystery and secrecy has made them the target of countless criticisms and conspiracy theories involving everything from aliens and the occult to world domination. Of course, the reality is usually much more innocuous, but that doesn’t mean that the groups don’t have some fascinatingly weird practices, or that they haven’t had an impact on world events.
With this in mind, the following are ten of the most famous and influential secret societies in history.

10. Ordo Templi Orientis

Famous Members
Aleister Crowley
Ordo Templi Orientis is a mystic organization that was started in the early twentieth century. The group was established along the same lines as the less secretive Freemasons, and supposedly relies on ritual and occult practices as a means for members to move from one level of prestige to another within the organization. The general philosophy of the group was a belief in new age esoteric principles and practices as a method of realizing one’s true identity. Famed occultist and all-around eccentric Aleister Crowley composed much of the group’s lore, including a manifesto called the Mysteria Mystica Maxima, and he later became its head. After his death, the influence and popularity of Ordo Templi Orientis began to wane, but it still exists today and has various chapters scattered across the world, chiefly in the United States, the U.K., and other parts of Europe.
Secret Practices
As Aleister Crowley’s popularity as a new age figure has continued to grow, more and more of the teachings of the Ordo Templi Orientis have come to light. As such, the group makes much less of an attempt to be secretive today than it did in the past. This doesn’t mean that they don’t still have some bizarre practices. Chief among these is the group’s fixation on the sexual, especially their teachings on the “adoration of the phallus” and the magic of masturbation.

9. The Bilderberg Group

Famous Members
No members, but attendees have included Ben Bernanke, the royal families of Spain and the Netherlands, World Bank officials, and representatives from major corporations
The Bilderberg Group is not a secret society per se, but it does operate under a similar veil of mystery, which has made it the subject of countless conspiracy theories and criticisms. The group was started in 1954, and since then it has convened every year as an exclusive, invitation-only conference of various world leaders, captains of industry, and media moguls. The group was originally started as a means of addressing a streak of anti-Americanism that was spreading through Europe following WWII, but over the years it appears to have morphed into a more broad discussion on reaching mutual understanding between cultures.
Secret Practices
The Bilderberg Group has become controversial for one key reason: no press is allowed in the conference and no significant details concerning the topics discussed are ever officially released to the public. That kind of secrecy, along with the intense security of the meeting sites, which often feature armed guards, police, and even fighter jets patrolling the skies overhead, has produced a number of conspiracy theories centered on the conference. The most popular is that the group tries to steer the direction of public policy, financial markets, and media in certain prescribed directions of their choosing, perhaps even with the goal of forming a so-called “one world government.” These claims have been brushed aside by the group, which claims global understanding and the end of nuclear proliferation as its main goals.

8. Hashshashin– The Order of Assassins

Famous Members
None of note
The Hashshashin, or Nizari, were a mysterious band of Muslim assassins that operated in the Middle East during the 13th century. The group was made up of Shia Muslims who broke off from a bigger sect and banded together in order to establish a utopian Shi’ite state. Because their number was small, the group used guerilla tactics in their battle against their enemies, including espionage, sabotage, and, most famously, political assassination. The Hashshashin would plant highly trained moles inside enemy strongholds, with instructions to only attack when the time was right. They were known for their extreme discretion in minimizing civilian casualties, as well as their penchant for using stealth to intimidate their targets. As the story goes, enemy leaders would often wake in the morning to find a Hashshashin dagger lying on their pillow, along with a note saying “you are in our grip.” Their legend soon grew, and before the Mongols finally destroyed the group, they became well known contract killers, supposedly performing jobs for the likes of King Richard the Lionheart.
Secret Practices
Around the time of their downfall, the library that contained all Nizari records was destroyed, so much of what is known about them today has taken on the status of myth. The most controversial legend centers of the group’s use of drugs and other intoxicants– “Hashshashin” translates roughly as “Hashish user”–which some have said were employed by the members in battle. This has been widely discredited, but the term “Hashshashin” as it refers to the Nizari is believed to be the origin of the modern word “assassin.”

7. The Black Hand

Famous Members
Gavrilo Princip (rumored)
The Black Hand was a secret society of anti-imperialist political revolutionaries that was started in Serbia in 1912. It formed as an offshoot from Narodna Adbrona, a group that sought to unite all of the Slavic people of Europe under one country. This required the separation of Serbia from the monarchy of Austria-Hungary, which had annexed the country some years before. With this in mind, the group began disseminating anti-Austrian propaganda and training saboteurs and assassins to disrupt political rule within the province. Their plan was to incite a war between Serbia and Austria, which would give them a chance to free their country and unite the different Slavic nations as one.
Secret Practices
Black Hand would be all but forgotten today if not for their unlikely involvement in one of the biggest events of the twentieth century. In 1914, the group engineered the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The job was badly botched, and was only completed when a low-level hood named Gavrilo Princip stumbled upon the Archduke’s car and shot him to death at close range (see photo). Still, the results of the assassination were catastrophic. Within days, Austria-Hungary had declared war on Serbia, and after the allies of both countries joined the fray, the small dispute managed to escalate into WWI.  The aftermath of WWI eventually led to WWII, and this led to the Cold War, which makes the Black Hand one of the most strangely influential forces of the twentieth century.

6. The Knights of the Golden Circle

Famous Members
John Wilkes Booth, Jesse James (above), Franklin Pierce (all rumored)
The Knights of the Golden Circle was a secret society that flourished in the U.S. during the American Civil War. In the beginning, the group sought to encourage the annexation of Mexico and the West Indies, which they believed would help the waning slave trade to once again flourish. But once the Civil War started, the group switched its focus from colonialism to fervent support of the newly established Confederate government. The Knights soon had thousands of followers, many of whom formed guerilla armies and began raiding Union strongholds in the West. In the Northern states, the mysterious order had an even bigger impact. Many newspapers and public figures engaged in witch-hunts where they accused supposed Southern sympathizers, including President Franklin Pierce, of being members of the Knights of the Golden Circle.
Secret Practices
Unlike most secret societies, the Golden Circle didn’t just concern itself with clandestine meetings and mysterious plans. Instead, the group often formed renegade armies and bands of bushwhackers in order to forward their agenda by force. In 1860, a group of the Knights made a failed attempt to invade Mexico. During the war, they robbed stagecoaches and attempted a blockade of the harbor in San Francisco, and a group of them even managed to briefly take control of southern New Mexico.

5. The Thule Society

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Famous Members
Rudolf Hess, Arthur Rosenberg, Adolf Hitler (rumored)
Lots of secret organizations are suspected of having malevolent ulterior motives, but the Thule Society is one of the few where such suspicions have been proven. The group was unofficially started in Germany just after the end of WWI. It began as a kind of German heritage group that dabbled in the occult, but it quickly transformed into an organization that sought to forward the ideology of the Aryan race, and it took an outwardly racist approach toward Jews and other minorities. The group soon boasted over a thousand members, and even had its own propaganda newspaper. In 1919, members of the Thule Society formed a political organization called the German Workers’ Party. A young Adolf Hitler became a member, and eventually took over the party, which would later become known as the National Socialist German Workers’, or Nazi, party.
Secret Practices
Even before the Thule Society became a vehicle for Nazism, the members were involved in some pretty bizarre activities. The strangest was the group’s fascination with the Aryan race, whose origins they tried to trace back to the mythical land of Thule, which the Greeks had claimed was found north of Europe near Iceland and Greenland.

4. The Sons of Liberty

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Famous Members
Paul Revere, John and Samuel Adams, John Hancock
The Sons of Liberty is the name for a loosely organized group of dissidents that existed in America prior to the Revolutionary War. The group did not exist as a secret society in the traditional sense; rather, it was made up of smaller factions of patriots from across the colonies that united in support of a common goal. When they did meet, it was usually in Boston around an elm tree that has since become known as the Liberty Tree. It was here that the group would formulate their resistance, which included the dissemination of pamphlets and even some sabotage and terrorist activity. This behavior led to the British branding the Sons of Liberty as seditious, and they were often referred to pejoratively as “The Sons of Violence.” The group is most notable today for sowing the seeds of revolution among the colonists with their protest of the Stamp Act, and for coining the now famous phrase “no taxation without representation.”
Secret Practices
The Sons of Liberty in Boston were the most famous arm of the group, but there were factions spread out all across the 13 colonies. One group in Rhode Island looted and burned the British trade ship Gaspee in protest of unfair trade practices, while others were known to tar and feather British loyalists. Still, the most famous event engineered by the Sons remains the Boston Tea Party in 1773, when members of the group dressed as Indians and dumped shiploads of overtaxed tea into Boston Harbor.

3. Skull and Bones

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Famous Members
George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, John Kerry
Ivy League Colleges are known for their many secret societies and student organizations, and of these Yale’s Skull and Bones is probably the most famous. The society taps new students for membership every spring, and the only real prerequisite for membership is that the initiate be a campus leader. As such, athletes, members of the student council, and fraternity presidents are often considered. Skull and Bones counts among its membership U.S. Presidents, Senators, and Supreme Court Justices, which has lead many to argue that the group works as some kind of underground organization for the high-powered political elite. There is no denying that the club is well funded: an alumni organization called the Russell Trust Association bankrolls its activities, and the group supposedly owns an island in upstate New York.
Secret Practices
Skull and Bones’ membership is no longer kept secret, but their practices still are. The order meets twice a week, but just what goes on at their meetings has never been revealed. To the disappointment of conspiracy theorists, what rumors have come out are relatively innocuous. The group has supposedly taken part in a number of pranks, and was once even sued by chairman of the Apache tribe, who claimed the Bonesmen were in possession of the skeleton of Geronimo. Beyond this, the group is known for allegedly forcing new members to relate their sexual history to the rest of the society, and for giving out nicknames to each initiate. In a widely reported rumor, President George H.W. Bush was supposedly known as “Magog,” a name given to the Bonesman with the most sexual experience.

2. The Illuminati

Famous Members
Goethe, Ferdinand of Brunswick, many others rumored
In popular culture and the realm of wild and weird conspiracy theories, no secret organization has become as well known as the Illuminati, who have made frequent appearances in books, movies, and television. The group as it is popularly understood is more or less a myth, but the legend of it dates back to a real organization that existed in Germany in the late 1700s. At the time, the members of the group presented themselves as an order of enlightened free thinkers. The press soon turned against them, and they came to be regarded by many as an underground force of dissidents intent on overthrowing the government, and they were even blamed for inciting the French Revolution. The group disbanded shortly thereafter, but their influence remained strong, and for years after their dissolution they were rumored to still be operating somewhere in the shadows.
Secret Practices
Thanks to its constant presence in popular culture, the Illuminati have continued to be feared to this day. Modern conspiracy theorists have asserted that the group survived and now operates as a sinister shadow government, directing world industry and politics as it sees fit. The Bush family, Winston Churchill, and Barack Obama have all been named as prominent members, but no legitimate evidence of such a group has ever been uncovered. Still, the rumor lives on as one of the most popular, albeit bizarre, of all conspiracy theories.

1. The Freemasons

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Famous Members 
Winston Churchill, Mark Twain, James Buchanan, Bob Dole, Henry Ford, Ben Franklin
Although they are less influential and secretive today than they once were, the Freemasons remain one of the most famous fraternal organizations in the world, with a membership somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 million. The group was officially founded in 1717, but documents relating to its existence date back to the 1300s.  It was originally created to be a brotherhood whose members share certain key philosophical ideas, among them a belief in a supreme being. The group stresses moral uprightness, and as such many of the chapters have become known for their charitable work and community service. Despite these seemingly harmless practices, the Freemasons are not without their critics. Conspiracy theorists have long targeted them for supposedly being involved in nefarious occult practices, and there have even been whole political groups based around opposition to the group. Churches of all denominations have also criticized the organization, as its moral teachings and esoteric spiritual beliefs have been said to be in competition with more traditional religion.
The Stonecutters, a secret society featured on the Simpsons is based on the Freemasons.
Secret Practices
With its huge membership and different lodges scattered across the globe, modern Freemasonry no longer has the same universal principles as it did in the old days. One practice that has remained constant is the method for induction. Initiates must be recommended to the group by someone who is already a Mason, and once a member they must pass through three different degrees of standing before reaching the level of “Master Mason.” Members also have certain prescribed modes of greeting one another, including handshakes, gestures, and passwords, and non-masons are always banned from attending meetings.

Only In New Zealand: Eat This If You Dare

Normally a small pleasant town with a population in the low thousands, Hokitika is being transformed every March by it’s annual Wilde Food Festival. This year festival was celebrating its 21st anniversary. This is a real gastronomic festival, or maybe it is better to say that this type of food is only for those with strong stomach. The Hokitika Wildfoods Festival is a celebration of the weird and wonderful in the world of food – with many interesting snacks that are unique to New Zealand’s West Coast region. To be honest, the idea of eating huh grubs and mountain oysters is something what I would very gladly pass. But as I got to learn, there on the food festival I learned that these people are willingly trying all of these delicatessen. I would be the only one not interested in giving a chance to these dishes . Everyone here are so happily chewing grasshoppers, huh grubs, and worm sushi, followed by shots of moonshine and Gorse Flower wine. I am not sure if this is exactly my cup of tea, but this is a respect given to the gastronomical gods.

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Top 10 Most Common Explanations for UFOs

It is a fact that literally millions of people around the world claim to have seen a UFO at one time or another, and many thousands of reports have been officially filed going all the way back to World War Two. However, investigation into just what these objects may have been have pretty conclusively demonstrated the vast majority of these reports have prosaic explanations such as hoaxes, hysteria, or misidentified natural or man-made objects, much to the chagrin of the UFO community. While many dismiss such explanations as simplistic attempts to skirt the issue or, worse, a carefully contrived and orchestrated effort at debunking the entire phenomena, the fact is that many, if not most, UFOs can usually be explained away. As such, it’s important we examine each of the many explanations offered, if only in an effort to better appreciate the difficulties investigators frequently face when looking at the phenomena from a scientific perspective, compelling me to create my list—in no particular order—of the top ten alternative explanations usually given to explain UFOs.

10. The Planet Venus

It’s no coincidence that UFO reports go up sharply whenever Venus makes an especially bright appearance in the night sky, so this explanation is not as far-fetched as it seems. Under the proper conditions, Venus can be among the brightest objects in the sky—particularly on a moonless night—and has even been known to be visible in the daytime under the proper conditions, making it a frequent explanation for many a mysterious “bright light in the sky.” For those already predisposed towards accepting any unusual light in the sky as a potential close encounter, Venus makes an excellent candidate for being a UFO—especially when it is seen low on the horizon from a moving automobile (when it can appear to be “chasing them”), or on a partly cloudy night when it will seem to abruptly appear and disappear as fast-moving clouds obscure it from view. Additionally, it can be extremely difficult to convince people that the bright light in the sky they saw was merely sunlight reflecting off a nearby planet, largely because of the natural human reluctance to admit error as well as the trauma such an experience can sometimes induce.

9. Meteors, Comets, and Fireballs

This is a less common explanation, since most people are familiar with meteors (or “shooting stars” as they are commonly called) and so are unlikely to mistake one for a UFO. Comets are even less likely to be mistaken for a UFO, especially since they remain fixed in the sky, can be seen for weeks at a time, and are usually not particularly bright in the first place. A fireball, however—basically a large, brightly lit meteor observed at close range—is a better candidate, as they can be very bright, last several seconds, appear to split into smaller pieces, and even abruptly disappear from sight as if “zooming away at great speed” as many UFO witnesses describe. When seen head-on, a fireball can be particularly impressive, as it would appear to be an extremely bright and slow-moving object that suddenly vanishes from view, much like a UFO frequently does. Such astronomical phenomena are not, however, adequate explanations for an object that makes abrupt course changes in mid-flight, changes color (or shows multiple colors) or that lasts more than a few seconds, and as such they probably constitute only a very tiny fraction of all UFO reports.

8. Lenticular Clouds

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Technically known as altocumulus standing lenticularis, lenticular clouds are stationary lens-shaped clouds that form at high altitudes, normally where stable moist air flows over a mountain or a range of mountains. Normally these air currents form long strings of clouds known as a wave cloud, but sometimes, under the right conditions of wind and thermal currents, they can take on a roundish or oval shape that can be extraordinarily unnatural and even “saucer-like” in appearance, which in turn can be confused for an extremely large disk by people unfamiliar with such meteorological phenomenon. Only those entirely unfamiliar with this phenomenon are likely to be fooled by a lenticular cloud, however, especially once they observe one for a while and realize it is not moving or that it doesn’t appear to be mechanical in nature. Still, for the unaware, it can be a strange sight and one that might be easily confused for something otherworldly.

7. Ball Lightning

Among the more unusual and lesser understood electrical curiosities known to science is something called “ball lighting”, a phenomenon that has only been identified within the last fifty years or so. Basically, ball lightning is a sphere of static electricity that has the ability to glow intensely for several minutes at a time and, when seen in broad daylight, can even take on a fluid silvery-like sheen that can be easily mistaken for metal, giving them a “disk-like” appearance. Additionally, though usually seen to move randomly, sometimes the discharge is described as being attracted to a certain object—normally an aircraft—giving these orbs the appearance of “following” a plane and even matching it in terms of speed and maneuvers, thereby giving it the impression of being under intelligent control. Commonly described as spherical, ovoid, teardrop, or rod-like in shape, and with colors that vary from red to yellow (though other colors have been observed) it’s not difficult to see how they could easily be mistaken for an unnatural object, especially after it disperses, is absorbed into something, or—though rarely—vanishes in an explosion. As such, ball lightning appears to be a perfectly adequate explanation for some of the more erratic lights seen in the sky—particularly those observed from aircraft.

6. Weather Balloons

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Though frequently lampooned as the most simplistic of explanations for UFOs, the fact is that helium filled weather balloons make excellent UFOs, especially when seen from below when their spherical shape can appear disk-like. Further, these balloons can be quite large, are often coated in a highly reflective material (giving them a polished or shiny appearance), and can fly at altitudes as high as 120,000 feet where winds aloft can sometimes push them along at hundreds of knots, giving them the illusion of moving at high speeds. Furthermore, when seen moving through a partly cloudy sky when winds can blow in different directions at different altitudes, sometimes pushing clouds in one direction and a balloon in the opposite, the illusion of high speed is enhanced.

5. Satellites

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As the demand for improved communications, weather forecasting and aerial surveillance grows, the orbital lanes around our planet are growing increasingly cluttered with a wide array of fast moving and highly reflective satellites of all sizes and configurations. To give you some idea of how cluttered our skies are getting, the United States Space Surveillance Network (SSN) currently tracks more than 8,000 man-made objects orbiting the planet, of which about seven percent (approximately 560) are operational satellites. Often trapped in their orbits for years at a time, these silent sentinels of the skies can usually be picked out by anyone with a pair of binoculars and some patience, so they are not an uncommon sight. However, as they can often appear to pulsate in intensity (a natural illusion created by atmospheric inversion layers) and even “wink out” when their angle to the sun changes, they doubtlessly account for at least some of the many thousands of UFO sightings made over the years.

4. Flares

Military aircraft often drop flares while conducting night training operations (or, in combat areas, as a means of diverting heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles). These flares, unlike the tiny ones used to mark highway obstacles or for emergency use, are quite large and will burn brightly for up to a half an hour at a time and, when suspended from parachutes, can remain airborne for some time. As such, if dropped in a cluster, they can take on a beaded necklace effect that gives them the impression of either aircraft hovering in formation or, if close enough together, can even appear to be a string of running lights or “portholes”. To a public generally unfamiliar with such ordnance and its characteristics, the effect can be spectacular and even frightening, making flares an especially good candidate to be mistaken for a UFO. This, in fact, may be the explanation behind the mysterious lights that were seen hanging over Phoenix, Arizona in 1997 (which does, in fact, lie near a military training ground where evening bombing exercises are frequently held.)

3. Birds, Lens Flare, Reflections, and Other Abnormalities

Few people can accept the possibility that something as seemingly commonplace as a bird could be mistaken for a UFO, but it must be realized that under certain circumstances—for example, when flying at very high altitudes (some birds have been spotted flying as high as 40,000 feet or more)—birds can be highly reflective and, when wet, even appear to glisten like metal, giving them an “artificial” or metallic appearance. Additionally, bits of tin foil or panels of corrugated metal driven skyward by high winds and strong updrafts, falling chunks of ice broken off from a high altitude airliner, and other bits of aerial flotsam can also take on a silvery sheen and appear quite luminescent, making them occasional candidates for flying disks. Even cockpit lights reflecting off a canopy have been misidentified as high-speed UFOs (especially in the early years of UFO pursuits).

2. Aircraft

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While it is difficult to imagine that anyone could mistake a modern airliner or military jet for an extraterrestrial vehicle, there are circumstances when an aircraft can appear quite unusual, particularly to a highly excitable observer. For example, anyone who has ever seen a jet’s landing lights diffused by thick fog (or suddenly turned off during a steep ascent, making the aircraft appear to abruptly vanish) could easily imagine they are witnessing something otherworldly. Additionally, an aircraft flying through thick clouds on a dark and windy night (when the sound of engines is often masked) could easily appear as a mysterious, bright object winking on and off and changing brightness as it moves silently through the darkness. It can be problematic to identify a mysterious object in the sky as an aircraft during the daytime as well. For example, the brushed aluminum fuselage and wings of an aircraft can give off an eerie sheen at high altitudes on a bright and sunny day. This characteristic, when combined with the fact that most aircraft’s navigation lights are invisible in daytime and engine noise is often indiscernible from that height, can make it appear to be a mysterious, silvery object moving swiftly across the sky. Also, if seen straight on, an aircraft can appear to be hanging motionless, at least until it makes a sudden turn, thereby mimicking the sudden stops and start movement often associated with UFOs and further enhancing its otherworldly effect.
While a fixed wing aircraft are less likely to be misinterpreted as a UFO by a growingly savvy flying public today, they were undoubtedly the cause of many early UFO reports when aircraft were less common and, as such, more “unusual”. Blimps, helicopters, and VTOL aircraft (fixed wing planes capable of hovering) are also frequently mistaken as UFOs due to their unconventional flight characteristics—in particular their ability to hover and then suddenly fly away. Normally, one has only to watch these vehicles for a few minutes to ascertain their true identity but the highly excitable witness may never take those few minutes before deciding they are seeing an alien spacecraft.

1. Experimental Military Aircraft

If regular aircraft can be a source for confusion, it makes sense that unusual looking experimental aircraft should be even more prone to being misidentified as a UFO, especially considering the vast array of often unusual or, at very least, unconventional designs being introduced. In fact, this hypothesis was very popular during the early years of ufology, when it was widely assumed—even by our own government—that the strange vehicles seen in the skies were either test-flights of captured Nazi aircraft or new and exotic Soviet vehicles capable of penetrating our airspace with impunity. In fact, the Air Force’s first official attempt to investigate UFOs—Project Sign—worked from the premise that UFOs were such weapons, thus necessitating both the urgency and the secrecy under which Sign operated.
However, considering how rare such craft are, the fact that they are usually flown only over restricted areas well away from public viewing, and that their flight characteristics are not usually all that far removed from traditional aircraft, it’s difficult to see how these would account for more than a tiny percentage of all reports. As such, it’s a near certainty that the unusual craft you see doing right angle turns, darting at incredible speeds across the sky, and changing color and intensity is not one of ours (or anyone else’s, for that matter).