I’ve always been fascinated by the possibility of exterrestrial life (sidenote: the Harvard News Office released a story this week about the potential for life on Mars), stimulated in part by a childhood prank to a UFO reporting agency. Are UFOs real? Perhaps. I don’t know. Fact is, if enough people corroborate the same story, are they lying?
A few hours ago, I uploaded a photo to Flickr showing a night shot of Boston’s Custom House, taken from Christopher Columbus Park. Due to a pair of light bulbs in the foreground, it appears the moon is shining above. That “moon” is really glare from the lights.
The glare got me thinking about UFOs, which led me to a January 2007 story in the Chicago Tribune about an unidentified flying object that allegedly hovered over O’Hare Airport, as witnessed by airport personnel, before shooting back into the clouds.
During a roadtrip to the Canadian Maritimes a few years ago, I visited the Chapel Hill Museum in Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia. Housed in a converted church, the museum provides general information on the town as well as press clippings and alleged photos of a UFO crash in the harbor in 1967. UFOlogists compare the incident to Roswell. Wikipedia provides more details.
I bring up O’Hare and Shag Harbour as examples of dozens of people independently sighting the same object. How can one be skeptical?
By contrast, when individuals report sightings, how can one not be skeptical?
According to the National UFO Reporting Center, UFO sightings in Massachusetts were reported in Wakefield, West Bridgewater, Springfield, Norton, Middleboro, Randolph, Worcester, Foxboro, Florence, Northampton, Brewster, and Lynn. And those reports are only from the beginning of April.
What bothers me is these UFO sightings are reported on an individual basis 95% of the time, usually anonymous. Unless the sighting is independently confirmed by other people in other locations and unknown to each other, where is the proof the sighting is not a prank, like my childhood episode?