Thursday, January 24, 2008

UFOs or F-16s?

Responding to the massive and perplexing amount of publicity generated by the UFO sightings over Stephenville, Texas, the Air Force Reserve now says that ten F-16 fighter jets were on training missions in the area around the time of the sightings. Of course, this comes two weeks after a spokesperson had said that there was no fighter activity in the area. The discrepancy is blamed on email miscommunication (a distinct, yet dishearteningly bumbling possibility), though the local UFO nuts are taking it as evidence of their presuppositions. Kenneth Cherry of the Texas chapter of the Mutual UFO Network (NAMBLA) is quoted as saying that this backs up stories that fighters were seen chasing the UFOs. Of course, it's much more likely that the fighters were simply seen, and the UFO chasing was the made up part. Stories like this always make me think of the great Netherlands panda escape of the late '70s, when a panda broke free from a Dutch zoo and was spotted all over town despite the fact that it had been run over by a train well before any of the sightings could have occurred. Mass hysteria is a wonderful thing. More details here.

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