One rainy evening I saw a UFO…this my story

I was at the end of my first undergraduate degree. We were sitting in my living room watching TV. I looked up, and out the window I saw this: (click the images for a larger view)


So I kept an eye on it, for hours, and it just sat there. Watching us. What a UFO was doing in such a rural part of Canada, I do not know… I would think it would want to go somewhere more important. Maybe it was doing waterfowl research. Either way, it was there. So we waited for it to make a move. But it just sat there and the night got darker.

WARNING: These pictures are terrifying and disturbing.

Here’s a close up of the UFO. Note the lighted dome over the dimly lit saucer section.


Except…

It wasn’t an alien UFO at all. It was a lamp. A boring ceiling lamp that was reflected in the window. Because the stem of the lamp wasn’t illuminated, it wasn’t reflected in the window, making the lamp look like a floating saucer. Here is a picture of the lamp in the same shot as another lamp. Or was it a spherical UFO? No, it wasn’t. They were both ceiling lamps that were behind me as I took the pictures.


It can be fun to think aliens are visiting us. I mean, holy shit that would be the coolest thing ever. Unless they destroy us. And unlike American movies, I think we wouldn’t have a choice in the matter. So for some, UFOs are terrifying.

People believe they have seen alien UFOs and are inspired to seek out more stories of alien UFO encounters and to share their encounter. Some believe they have been abducted by aliens and are traumatized by the alleged event. So far, however, there has been no concrete evidence corroborating these stories. Usually the stories involve government cover ups (conspiracy theories), hazy out-of-context pictures (see above), hypnotic regression (i.e., memory implantation), and eye-witness accounts (notoriously inaccurate, especially while under duress or at night during sleep).

I took these pictures with a cheap digital camera from my living room with no prior set-up. The lamp just happened to reflect that way. All I had to do was wait for the night to get darker. It is not hard to fake pictures like this. So the next time someone tells a fantastic UFO story and produces such a picture, think critically about it. They may not be a “liar”. They may truly believe it’s real, because they may not have realized that they were taking a picture of, say, a lamp. But that doesn’t mean we have to accept that explanation with no evidence.

Occam’s razor (yes, I know it’s trite, but it’s trite for a reason): This is often paraphrased as “All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best.” In other words, when multiple competing theories are equal in other respects, the principle recommends selecting the theory that introduces the fewest assumptions and postulates the fewest entities. (Taken from Wikipedia, which has more information on the history and applications of this concept).

So in this case, either aliens traveled through space to Earth and decided to visit a rural town in Atlantic Canada with a population of 5000 people and sat outside my window for several hours, or it was something else. A lamp reflection, a reflection of something else, something hanging outside, etc. The former explanation requires many assumptions, the latter (that something ordinary and boring was going on) provides a simpler, although less exciting, explanation and is probably the correct one. In this case we know it is the correct explanation, because I am not out to fool anyone. Other people aren’t that nice.

[Edited for grammar and clarity.]

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