High Strangeness: Saucer Crash a/k/a Gas Grill Go BOOM

Monday, December 15, 2014

Saucer Crash a/k/a Gas Grill Go BOOM

I've been trying to decide if this UFO news item I came across today is real or a clever put-on, but either way it gave me a chuckle.

I was just browsing the UFO news, as I do from time to time, and I saw an article at OpenMinds.com that said something about the Air Force investigating a "crashed UFO" in the Arizona desert. I did a double-take, not because I thought it was an exciting story but because it created the cognitive dissonance that UFO stories like this so often arouse... At first glance it seems to be the kind of earth-shaking incident that should be making headlines all around the world, and yet it's not, so there's clearly something amiss... Then a closer look revealed that the story ran two months ago, so it is definitely bogus. Sadly, most UFO news stories seem to play out in this exact manner: exciting tease leads to enticing set-up leads to disappointing denouement and, quite often, an "oh, well, maybe next time" close.

But this time I started reading the story and the old familiar sense of cognitive dissonance appeared almost immediately...

Air Force investigates ‘crashed UFO’ in Arizona desert (exciting tease)

 ...a “crashed UFO” in the Arizona desert just outside of Phoenix October 23, 2014, caused two F16 fighter jets to scramble to that location for a closer look, according to Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) field investigators conducting a training boot camp (enticing set-up).

The UFO was actually a model created for the boot camp for use training the 25 field investigators who signed up (disappointing deouement).
But then, in the unexpected twist, the story seems to be a complete put-on. Look at the photo of the "crashed saucer," a/k/a the kitchen collander of completely indeterminate size...

To be fair, it's not supposed to look "real," however, I don't think it's supposed to look silly, either.
The article would have us believe that a private pilot saw this thing, which looks as thought it might be about a yard across (but we don't know, because the story doesn't say), in the desert, and that was followed up by two scrambling F16s and a sheriff's helicopter investigating. (You can read the whole piece here, but don't get all excited; this really isn't The Big One). Maybe all that really did happen; maybe the military and the local law enforcement in this remote corner of the Arizona desert really are that bored.

As MUFON head Jan Harzan says in the article, "If you think the federal government does not investigate UFOs – think twice. Imagine how the original report on our model would have been radioed in by that pilot. The Air Force did not hesitate. I don’t think having two F16s at our crash site was a coincidence. They were sent out to observe and report back on the situation.”

But here's what really puzzles me: when an attendee of the MUFON Boot Camp reported on the experience at the MUFON website, she reported pretty much every little thing that happened over the four days, including the host's gas grill exploding -- "Chuck Modlin suffered first and second-degree burns on his lower legs when the gas tank on his grill exploded (BOOM!) as he was firing it up to grill hamburgers for our dinner prior to Thursday night's SKY WATCH" -- but she never mentioned the fact that two Air Force F16s and a Sheriff's helicopter came to investigate the phony crashed saucer that had been created for the training exercise. That seems like a significant oversight to me.

So, in the end, the article disappoints, like so many others. Come to think of it, I bet the F16s and the chopper were sent out to investigate the gas grill going BOOM...

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