Friday, April 14, 2006

Winner Beams Up $250 in UFO Contest

Saucer Crash Lands
By By Mark Hinson
The Tallahassee Democrat
4-14-06

     Wakulla High School student Jacob McCown was in his car at a stop light along Gaines Street when he noticed something strange zipping by in his rear-view mirror.

Luckily, McCown was quick enough to grab his digital camera and snap a quick shot of an unidentified flying object whizzing by the Turlington Building.

Finally, proof of intelligent life from . . . well, McCown's imagination.

McCown's subtle fakery of an alien invasion of the Department of Education took first place and won $250 in the Tallahassee Skeptic UFO Contest held by the Center for Inquiry - Tallahassee Chapter.

"I copied a picture from the Internet of the mirror and then transferred a UFO cut from another picture found on the Internet," McCown explained in his contest-entry letter. "I then flattened the two images and printed."

Bruce Thyer, who dreamed up the bogus-UFO competition for the Center of Inquiry, said the contest sought out fixed photos that were "believable-looking but not valid." The only rule was that the forgers had to include a recognizable landmark in Tallahassee or North Florida.

"I'm very pleased with the response we got and the work that was put into the photos," Thyer said.

The contest drew nearly 40 entries from 24 applicants. Second place and $75 went to Philip Tambasco, and Lisa Hug won $50 and the third-place slot.

The pictures included images of a spaceship whizzing over Lake Ella, a saucer visiting a packed Doak Campbell Stadium during a halftime show and an "Independence Day”-styled war ship blasting downtown Tallahassee with a death ray during the Winter Festival and Celebration of Lights.

"Some of them really got into it," Thyer said. "I was scared at first that we were just going to get pictures of hub caps on fishing poles, but that didn't happen."

More . . .

See Also: “UFO Photo Contest Wants You To Fake It”

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