Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Those darned Chinese lanterns... and a UFOROM database update

Geoff Dittman passed along another report for 2011, this one from a witness in Paudash, Ontario. I added it to the UFOROM database, making it the 41st UFO reported in Canada so far this year. If the numbers keep up, this will be a record month, if not year.

Anyway, the witness reported that on January 10, 2010, at 6:27 pm:

I was chopping a few pieces of wood ... I caught some movement above and to my left. I looked up, and was surprised to see the brilliant blue outline of a perfect square, with no glare whatsoever. There was a large red light in the exact center, again with no glare whatsoever. Whatever the body of the "craft" I saw was composed of, there were no reflections of any kind. It was pure black. I would estimate it's height at 500-700 feet, and it's size at around 25-30 feet to a side. What struck me was that something could move that slow and stay aloft, (15-25 km/h) as well as make no sound. It crossed ... on a North-easterly heading. 

Now, there's been a lot of discussion in ufology lately about Chinese lanterns giving rise to UFO reports. One grounded lantern was discovered in northern Manitoba following a series of UFO sightings around Christmas Eve. This is perfectly understandable.

The description of the object over Ontario on January 10th sounds remarkably like a Chinese lantern. My only question is who would release one in an isolated area on a non-holiday night? Why bother?

Oh, and further to the Canadian UFO Survey, with the numbers tallying for 2010, the total number of cases already in the database and awaiting data entry now total more than 10,000. That's ten thousand UFO reports recorded in Canada since 1989, a span of 22 years. That's an average of more than 450 each year, although since the number of cases each year has risen dramatically since 1989, during the past five years or so it's more like an average of 800 cases each year. That's at least two sightings of UFOs every day in Canada, a country with a population of around 31 million.

For those of you who like to play with numbers, we cam ask, "Are these values reasonable?"

We know from previous studies that only one in ten UFO witnesses reports their sighting. Furthermore, polls have shown that one in ten people believe they've seen UFOs. So, out of 31 million, we're down to only 310,000 people with UFO reports. We have about 10,000 reports on record since 1989. That means we're only a factor of ten or so from having all sightings on record. That's not bad, really, considering some of our assumptions could be off by that much at least. Also, we have no idea how many sightings there really were before our comprehensive annual survey began in 1989. Another 5,000 perhaps?

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." - Mark Twain

> who would release one in an isolated area on a non-holiday night?

A reasonable question, but my google alert keeps turning up small-town papers confirming UFO sightings were actually lanterns being released at engagement parties, birthdays, parties for people leaving the country, graduations, etc. They seem to happen just about any time and anywhere, though there does seem to be clustering around holidays, as you suggest.
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