By Roger MarshA Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) report concerning the now-famous Morris County, NJ, UFO scam describes the sighting as something manmade.
Joe Rudy, 28, and Chris Russo, 29, have been charged with disorderly conduct, after prosecutors there learned of the hoax on YouTube, where they actually showed us how they did it - red flares, helium balloons and fishing line. The first attempt at a hoax appears to be a report filed with MUFON on Jan. 5, 2009. Other hoax dates are Feb. 7 and Feb. 17, 2009.
But MUFON called this one correctly on Jan. 7, 2009.
Photo Analyst Marc D'Antonio, with FX Models, LLC, was brought in on the case after the January 5, 2009, report by MUFON's Richard Lang, a STAR team coordinator. The STAR team is MUFON's recent push to get investigations rolling quickly, especially in cases where there may be ground evidence. Lang provided D'Antonio with a video tape of the event.
The following is D'Antonio's statement on the case from Jan. 7.
"I noted that the lights seemed to operate independently, and were brightening and dimming independently, as in a flickering effect, indicative of a typical flame-based light source that I have seen countless times. By flame-based I mean a flying light created by a Chinese Lantern or a flare.
"A Chinese Lantern, as you already must know, is a paper balloon envelope with a heat source suspended underneath in the opening that heats the envelope making a crude hot air balloon until the flame goes out.
"Further, in the report, the indication was that the lights went out one by one.
"This is very telling. When lights go out one-by-one, that usually means that they were LIT one after another.
"A flare that lasts 20 minutes has burned for 4-5, say by the time the LAST one in the chain is lit, and they are all released if performed by a person or two. So this staggered fadeout pattern is expected in such situations and is what happened in this case.
"Whether this event was due to Chinese Lanterns, as I thought they could be, or flares, didn't matter actually.
"It was clear to me after viewing the video that this is not a UFO, but was a man-made hoax event.
"I informed the STAR team, that in my opinion, this was a man-made event, and not a true UFO of any kind. I suggested obtaining prevailing wind data for that evening and guessing how long the lights were visible, figure out a probable drift pattern and search for debris.
"The MUFON STAR team, using good science, did a search, and in fact they found debris from the "apparatus" along the path that the object took. So this was a good team effort, with the expected result for a hoax event."