Many UFOlogists say that a case "has" to be due to an unknown presence, because the probability of a coincidence is extremely low. I beg to differ:

  1. One case involved a power failure, allegedly caused by a UFO. In a sense, this was true, because that bright UFO was actually a wet tree branch shorting out the power line.
  2. In another case, house lights dimmed and brightened in time with the pulsations of a flickering UFO. This was another case of a shorted power line, but in this one, an insulator failed on a high-tension tower.
  3. Another case was a report that a UFO caused streetlights to go out, and simultaneously caused a car radio to quit playing. The investigation revealed that a power failure occurred first. When the power went off, the streetlights went out, and the local radio station lost power too. That caused the car radio to "fail." When the lights went out and the radio quit, the witness looked around for "the cause." The UFO turned out to have been an airplane with a (then new) strobe light on it.
  4. The 1965 Northeast Blackout was another seemingly inexplicable case (until I took a good look at it). The power failure is explained by the fact that the lines were being operated very close to the trip point of reactive power (follow the link above for an explanation of this). When the lines tripped out, the resulting surge in voltage caused an arc to jump from a line to a nearby tree. This was the brilliant red ball the pilot near Syracuse saw. Some other UFOs seen during the blackout were planets and stars noticed by people with not much else to look at.
  5. This one WAS a coincidence, because I saw it myself. A friend (who wants to remain anonymous) saw a large white bird-shaped object following a car down a nearby street. It made a loud roar. She described this to me as we went to the site. It happened again while I was there. The UFO was really a seagull, much closer than the car was. The roar came from a power crane that was hidden behind a hill. This was a low probability coincidence, but it did happen.
  6. Another report I saw firsthand complained that a UFO was making the lights of a nearby subdivision flicker. I went to the scene the next night, and saw the same thing. Mars was very bright on the eastern horizon, scintillating right above the subdivision. There is a large shopping center parking lot between the subdivision and the location of the witnesses. Heat rising from it caused the lights to flicker, also through scintillation.
  7. There is a very large set of cases where the following happens: The engine or lights (or both) of a vehicle fail at night in an isolated area. The occupants get out, in rather a bewildered state. Then they see a light moving in the night sky (It would actually be an unusual occurrence for a light to NOT be there in this age of aviation). The same type of occurrence has happened to me (minus the UFO) several times. In one instance where both the lights and the engine failed, an intermittent short in the hot battery cable was responsible. In another, a bad motor mount had broken the engine ground strap. In a third, a low battery caused the starter solenoid contacts to stick, continuously cranking the engine until the battery ran down. No UFOs were present in any of these cases.
  8. A UFO was once accused of making strange things happen to a truck. Actually, the driver was operating the truck wrong. The truck had dual gearshifts. The driver did not know that one shift lever was an axle ratio selector, intended to be changed only when the truck was stopped. He was shifting with the axle lever instead of the transmission one, which quickly chewed up the gears (since there were no synchronizers on them). Meanwhile, the driver observed a UFO. When the truck started acting up, the driver pulled off the road and put the (axle) shift in neutral. He then climbed down and was astonished to see the drive shaft spinning (the main transmission was still in gear). The driver called his boss and claimed that the UFO damaged the truck.
  9. One car refused to accelerate when a UFO was nearby. It was later fixed by replacement of a $2 spring after it did the same thing again when no UFO was present.
  10. A car engine refused to turn off when the key was turned off, while UFOs were visible. It was fixed by a mechanic, who discovered that a service-station attendant checking the generator bulb shorted its leads when reinstalling it. The UFOs were scintillating planets.
  11. There is an inordinate number of cases where the following happens: A radio or TV picks up interference, loses signal, flutters, flips, or goes blank. The owner of the set rushes outside, expecting to "see" what caused the trouble. An object is seen flying overhead. This is a normal, everyday event. TV and FM radio waves bounce nicely off aircraft, causing multipath reception of the signal. When the reflected signal (delayed by the longer path) is out of phase with the direct signal, cancellation occurs.
  12. On the other hand, if the TV turns all black, either something is wrong with the TV set, or an unusually strong or unmodulated signal is present. One case was reported that TVs all over town blacked out while an orange object hovered over the town. It turns out that a prankster with a Tesla coil made a glowing UFO from a tethered helium balloon. The Tesla coil happened to be tuned right in the middle of the TV band, and the long tether made a dandy transmitting antenna. He didn't realize that a Tesla coil is also a radio transmitter.
  13. Radio interference caused by fireball meteors streaking overhead is a proven fact. The energy dissipated by entry into Earth's atmosphere creates a plasma, producing some radio waves and reflecting others. This is a rare, but known event.
  14. Here is a case where the events might or might not be related. A TV set blurred. A witness half a mile away saw a glowing UFO. The next morning, the owner of the TV found his car covered with little dents. A severe storm (with hail) or a tornado could cause all three effects. But it's also just as probable that the three events had nothing to do with each other.
  15. Many cases of cattle mutilation were actually cases where the owners of dead cattle turned uninsured losses into insured ones by lying about a UFO. Others were caused by a satanic cult performing ritual sacrifices with other people's cattle. They had a helicopter rigged to look like a UFO at night. They were finally caught and jailed, but the sentence was short.
  16. There are also many cases of this kind: The sky lit up with a bright glow for several seconds as the power went out and a loud boom was heard. A little research usually shows that a large power transformer shorted internally and blew up.
  17. Many car engines stopped at the instant of each above-ground nuclear bomb test. Some underground tests also stopped engines. Electromagnetic pulse is the culprit here (in fact, these engine stoppages were instrumental in the discovery of electromagnetic pulse). All US bomb tests were moved underground after the electromagnetic pulse from one bomb test fried the electronics of a brand new military satellite (and you thought the protesters made them go underground). Note that the semiconductor ignition systems of newer cars would have been destroyed by this.
  18. A report of TV sets "dimming, finally losing picture and sound" as a UFO chased a car into town seems dubious unless an increasingly strong interfering signal had been present. If the line voltage had dropped, the pictures would have shrunk as they dimmed (voltage regulated power supplies in TV sets were rare then). The cause was really a tube failure (remember tubes?) at the TV station that cut off power to the modulators in the transmitter. The TV station was the only one on the air in the area at that time. The UFO was Venus glowing at its maximum brightness on the western horizon.
  19. Some "fantastic" events never happened. A report of people burned by radiation from a UFO at Ft. Itaipu, in Brazil, is a fabrication. There were no burn admissions at any area hospitals then, and no military records or newspapers reported the event. The first reports of this "event" actually surfaced in the US.
  20. An airliner engine sputtered, and cabin lights dimmed, during a UFO sighting. If the engine of an airplane is running rough, the cabins lights will dim, either because the generator is putting out less power, or because the pilot switched the lights over to an auxiliary battery to put less load on the engine. The UFO (whatever it was) was nowhere near the plane, and the flight crew did not see it.
  21. November 2, 1957 - Levelland Texas: Many motorists saw lights in the night sky, some of them on roads ahead of their vehicles. As they approached these lights, their engines quit. What was not generally reported in these cases was the fact that the air was full of dust and was charged with electricity. This phenomenon is known in association with dust storms, and is also seen frequently at the tops of mountains (Pike's Peak is a documented example).


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