Like all epic stories, we found this one while talking to someone at a bar. In fact, it was Taco Tuesday at Miami's Wood Tavern. We were four tacos and two beers deep when I asked him if he'd seen anything particularly newsworthy recently.
"I saw a UFO the other day," this guy told me. "I have a video of it."
Now, before you think I'm talking to your run-of-the-mill Florida looney tune, let me defend this man's sanity. His name is Tom Wareham, and he's a 30-year-old insurance adjuster from Fort Lauderdale. He wasn't wearing a tinfoil hat, he knew all the U.S. presidents in order up to Coolidge, and he prefers the Rolling Stones to the Beatles.
He whipped out his iPhone 4 and showed me this shaky video of a hardly noticeable orange speck. It was pretty pathetic. I heard crickets in the background and saw the back door of his house. I was thinking something crazy would happen at any second like in a tacky mockumentary, but it was indeed an unidentified floating object.
Wareham claims there were multiple flashing orbs and for almost 20 minutes they would move around in weird directions. (But he didn't capture that part on video, he explains.)
Is it a glow-in-the-dark bird? A plane? Superman? He says no to all. An Amazon drone? He says definitely not. I asked him if it was a satellite. He said no. I asked him if he was sure it wasn't a satellite. He said he was really sure.
Since this isn't Russia and every car does not come equipped with a handy dandy dashboard cam, I went to the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) to see if other seemingly normal people saw any floating orbs too. And on Saturday, January 25, there were seven reported UFO sightings in South Florida. On most days, there are only two sightings called in. On Saturday, January 25, between 8:35 and 10:51 p.m., seven people from as far north as Lakeland and as far south as Sunrise and as west as Fort Myers all witnessed unidentified flying objects. At 8:35 p.m. in Cape Coral: an adult male called NURC "having witnessed an estimated 20-25 orange balls of light in the night sky."
At 8:45 p.m. in Palm Beach Gardens: an adult male witnessed "6 orange orbs traveling west to east across the northern sky."
At 9:30 p.m. from Fort Myers: There was a report of a "bright orange-ish reddish light illuminating from very bright to dim and repeats the process."
At 10 p.m. in Vero Beach: There was a report of "an orb shaped white object" first thought to be a satellite since it moved across the sky from west to east. It would then stop directly overhead, move very fast to the east, and then back a few times.
At 10:20 p.m. in Lakeland: There was a report of a "silent, strong pyramid form with goldfish orange-ish lights."
At 10:45 p.m. in Sunrise: A person and their mother "saw three orange fireball UFOs in the sky. Two of the fireballs dimmed and disappeared except for a small red light, while the third stayed lit."
At 10:51 p.m. in Jupiter: a "low altitude red glowing sphere" was spotted 500 feet overhead. It traveled from west to east at a rate of speed over 100 mph.
Brian Welch works at the Buehler Planetarium. He believes life exists outside our planet. However, he seriously doubts what Wareham and the seven people reported is actually proof of intelligent life. While he doesn't think the video we have was doctored (it would be a helluva lot more exciting if it were), he knows a lot of controversy about UFO sightings stem from people trying to cause controversy with doctored videos on YouTube.
"I cannot comment on the eyewitness statements posted on the NUFORC website," Welch tells New Times. " Without some kind of visual documentation of the event, I would only be guessing at what people may have seen. There are many objects that could qualify as an orange orb: Chinese candle lanterns, helium balloons, helicopter lights, airplane lights, and many other objects can test our perception and fool our eyes."
After watching the video, Welch is pretty certain it isn't a UFO. "I would guess the object in the video is actually the bright star, Sirius, or the planet Jupiter. The object is just above the building. That tells me the object isn't too high in the sky. Both Sirius and Jupiter fit that placement in the sky around 8 p.m.."
Of course, who knows what the other 24 items reported on the NUFORC website by seven people were...
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