Some UFO hoaxes are better than others. Take the simple, homemade hot-air balloons using dry cleaner bags, balsa wood frames, and candles. They can look otherworldly at night, but uncool if they start a brushfire near your back yard.
By Billy Cox
By Billy Cox
From a distance, the simplest ones can be the most impressive, like black trashbags taped together to form solar-powered balloons (see this). Pranksters enjoy launching these suckers by day to see how many people report cylindrical UFOs. But in the long run, they wind up as just more shredded litter on someone else’s property.
And that’s what the Pasco County Sheriff’s Department says Luis Jimenez videotaped early Friday morning — some sort of homemade balloon. The footage exploded across the Internet after initially running on Tampa’s Fox 13-TV (seen here). But Pasco Sheriff’s spokesman Doug Tobin was unconcerned. “(A deputy) confirmed it was a balloon caught up in the trees,” he said.
Too bad that officer didn’t bother to photograph the debris or provide more information. Because Jimenez isn’t buying the balloon story without a little — what’s the legal term? — corpus delicti.
Wesley Chapel is located about 25 miles northeast of downtown Tampa. That’s where Jimenez, 34, lives, and that’s where he was hauling his trash to the curb between 6:15 and 6:30 that morning when the UFO caught his eye. He woke up his wife, ducked inside, grabbed his camcorder, and started shooting. By that time, he reckons half a dozen cars had pulled over, and calls were coming into the dispatcher’s office.
“It looked pretty high up, but I couldn’t tell how high,” says Jimenez, a service repairman. “I don’t know what it was, but they were really, really bright lights. There were three blue lights, at first, and they seemed to be going clockwise. Then there came the red flashing light, and at some point, the lights started going counter-clockwise.”
Jimenez, who also called the cops, says he logged some 15 minutes of footage as the triangular array hovered before moving off to the west at a high rate of speed. He got the sense that it contained “a darker shadow in the middle of it.” If someone was stopping traffic with a hoax, Jimenez says he’d like to see the proof.
“I want to find out if this is a legitimate sighting or if someone is just playing around,” he says.
It’d be great to see how hoaxsters pulled off this balloon stunt involving blue lights and a flashing red light. But the officer who solved it isn’t sharing those details because, as Pasco’s Tobin says, “his concern was about being on ‘Hard Copy’ or ‘Inside Edition.’”
Hmm. Hey, maybe this was the same balloon that freaked another Wesley Chapel resident one evening last October. That one also involved a triangle of lights so noteworthy that the witness reported it to http://www.ufoinfo.com/sightings/usa/071006.shtml.
Anyhow, it’s all over now, so don’t worry about it.