I grew up in rural NWPA, surrounded in forest. I took an early interest in cryprozoology and sharks and have read many books on various crypto subjects such as Bigfoot and Megalodon over the years. I am not a professional writer or a journalist, but I do the best I can. I have a quirky, obscurely dry and sometimes sarcastic sense of humor than can get me in trouble. Some love me and some hate me, but I am who I am.

As much as I check the daily MUFON reports, I also take them with a grain of salt. If you get into a habit of perusing them on a regular basis, you will see that at minimum, 70% are hoaxes or just people misidentifying objects or effects.

In the case of my original article it is the latter, as the witness contends that what we are seeing is a train of UFOs. Quite frankly, I’m giving him the BOTD here and therefore will not call him out as a hoaxer.

The fact remains that in all my infinite wisdom, I was unable to see a logical explanation. That is until GT reader Bayowolf calmly pointed out that these objects were in reality markers to help aircraft avoid electrical wires.

As soon as I read his comment, I knew he was probably right, however, I did take it upon myself to confirm his claim and put this one to bed.


Bayowolf: There is a rational explanation: They are hollow balls of plastic (or other lightweight material) on telephone or electrical wires; their purpose is to alert helicopter (or low-flying airplane) pilots of the wires’ presence. They are common out here in AZ.

Of course I felt somewhat foolish and I am just thankful I didn’t go out on any alien limbs with it.

Below, you can read all about these “wire markers” and what they mean to air traffic:

This from Tana Wire Marker

(snip)With the seven different models and seven different sizes of Warning Markers that we offer, plus custom manufacturing on an ongoing basis, no other manufacturer in the world has the experience marking overhead wires that TANA Mfg. Co. has. Our specialty, our focus, and our expertise is the manufacture of the worlds best Aviation and Overhead Obstruction Warning Markers.
TANA Aircraft Warning Markers have stood up under some of the Earth’s most extreme climates. From the North Slope of Alaska to the desert heat and sandstorms the Middle East, hundreds of thousands of TANA Wire Markers have proven themselves again and again to be the world’s most reliable. Our products are warranted for a period of five years; however, we have been in business for over 30 years and even in these extreme conditions, we do not know of a single failure of a TANA Wire Marker due to normal ware and tear. Several thousand of our Markers are still in service after 30 years.

Read more here


Also, because of what is called the “corona effect“, these markers sometimes pulse due to atmospheric discharge of power being attracted to them.

That said, it could explain a number of cases/sightings over the years. Imagine seeing a glowing, pulsing orb above the mountain in the distance; what comes to mind? Certainly not a wire marker, am I right? Who thinks, “hey, look at that wire marker, it’s developed the corona effect!” No wonder we have so many misidentification’s.

You may also be interested in how they are placed, or maybe not. But just in case the Powerline Systems Page is for all the geeks that want to get their marker freak on.

If we’ve learned nothing else, we can at least have this under our belts for similar incidents in the future. Needless to say, I’ve taken my lumps and I don’t forget lessons like this as the “most amazing UFO of the year” (below in associated content) shows how quickly something can change from a great find to a mundane occurrence in a matter of minutes.

Thanks to Tana Wire Marker, Powerline Systems and of course GT UFO expert, Bayowolf for helping us out with this one.

Associated Content:

GT: Strange UFO Train Over Arizona
GT: Texas UFO Crashes Near Okinawa
GT: Video: Most Amazing UFO Seen This Year

  • It is always nice to resolve a story rationally. 

  • Valkyrie13

    I have a hard time believing the person who took the picture didn’t see the poles connected to the wires (meaning the person is really negligent in noticing their surroundings or it is a hoax), but maybe the poles were obscured by the hills at just the right angles. 

    No doubt that wire markers could account for a lot of reports like this one, but there’s definitely weird sphere-like objects seen moving thru the skies that wire markers can’t account for, like these:
    and maybe these:

  • LOOMfreek

    Nice work Scott! I’ve seen those here in the SF Bay Area. Mostly in the East Bay. Makes complete sense.

  • julianpenrod

    This may not be printed or may be removed, criticisms of the approach “skeptics” take to the unconventional and described as “scientific” has been patently disallowed on a number of other “skeptic” sites before on the basis of “not abiding by the rules”, which, for a number of such sites, seems to be, “Agree with us on everything!” But, the fact of the matter is, I didn’t even need to see the header about this being a “Skeptical approach to the unexplained” to know standard and illegitimate “skeptic” techniques are being employed here. Especially the old standby, “If my ‘explanation’ is consistent with part of the claim, but only part of it, it’s still the only answer permissible!” Note the triumphant declaration that the UFO’s are “identified”. But, in fact, it is nothing of the sort. All that happened was that a possible explanation was offered. But it wasn’t double checked. No one actually went out to the spot to see if the objects are still there and are, in fact, the warning markers. No one took a picture of known markers from a distance to see if the poles and wires supporting them were rendered invisible under certain circumstances. This is in no way “scientific” or, as Henry proclaims a “rational” solution!

  • Luckily for us here at GT, there is not a huge burden of proof placed upon skepticism. We know for a fact that power lines exist. We know for a fact that these marker balls exist. The Coronal effect mentioned is known to exist and scientifically explained. Since all of these these elements are fact, and the combination of those facts quite easily explains the photograph shown it is not unreasonable to assume them to be an explanation of the photograph.

    We have only the witness testimony that offers up any counter evidence and it is also a known fact that many terrestrial objects are mis-identified as UFOs. It is also a known fact that many people outright lie. Your arguments rely upon making the assumption, with out evidence of any kind, that an intelligent extraterrestrial race would send vehicles billions of miles to put on a lame display of aerobatics then leave without fanfare. This is in no way scientific or rational.

  • julianpenrod

    Henry says everything about “skeptics” when they claim, “there is not a huge burden of proof placed upon skepticism”. In fact, that is not true. Those who support the truth seek to determine the truth, and that places the same burden on them when they discount another’s statements as they place on them to prove their statements. Those who eschew the requirements of proof admit they are not there for truth, but only to be an inconvenience, a “nay-sayer”, what they used to call “contrary people”, what they later came to call “difficult people”. the purpose is not truth, but only to try to tarnish another’s finish, to try to take away from their claims, to sow doubt, but not prove that that doubt is justified! If that’s the kind of person “skeptics” want to be, let that fact be known.
    But, then, too, it is still patently unethical to declare the observed objects “identified” if all that was done, all that was intended to be done, was to present an alternative that those determinedly wanting to disbelieve or those with a shallow understanding of the world will accept!
    “It is not unreasonable to assume” the orbs to be markers is absolutely not the same as their being definitively “identifed” to be markers! Or are “skeptics” declaring themselves not bound by the meanings of the language, as well?
    Extending that, the claim that “it is a known fact that many terrestrial objects are mis-identified as UFOs”. No one ever went up to catch an object claimed tobe only a weather balloon to prove that it was a weather balloon! There are few, if any, cases where actual objects claimed by observers to be UFO’s were actually examined up close and proved not to be alien craft or such! Certainly nowhere near “many” such cases.
    And, as for it being “in no way scientific or rational” that “an extraterrestiral race would send vehicles billions of miles to put on a lame display of aerobatics then leave without fanfare”, “scientists”, “researchers” pride themselves on their ability to carry out expeditions examining wildlife or other cultures without having any significant effect! And if Henry is going to change tack and now say that the display wasn’t without fanfare because it was seen and caused at least this awareness, first of all, that would be Henry changing their own “argument”, which says a lor, and, too, maybe this was what they wanted! A New Guinea native in the 1700’s would not know whay a European would take a round, chiny object from their pocket, twist a little know on the rim, look at it, then put it back, but that doesn’t mean the action doesn’t have a meaning! For that matter, tourists today take trips that New Guinea aboriginals might also consider incredibly huge, ride around, look at the landscape, then leave! To place conventional interpretations necessarily on unconventional phenomena is not “scientific” or “rational”.

  • True, I say there is not a burden of proof on presenting an alternative composed of perfectly plausible facts, where there does exist a large burden of proof upon an alternative that consits of nothing more than conjecture, opinion, and blind belief. To place a convential interpretation on ANY phenomena is the first step in any investigation of the unexplained. A necessary step. To discard the possibility of conventional interpretation in favor of a pre determined conclusion which is supported by no factual evidence is an absolute contradiction to science.

    Any investigation of a new phenomenon must first eliminate any possibility of the mundane, the known or of simple mis-identification. Only after all of those possibilities are eliminated should any inquiry of the unknown be entered into. Again placing the burden of proof upon the answer that leaps to conclusions of the unexplained over conclusions of the proven and the easily explained

  • julianpenrod

    And any “response” which consists only of tossing words at a subject without really discussing it is consistent only with doggerel.
    Note the insistence on accepting as “valid” and “legitimate” cobbled together bits and pieces as “alternatives” to unconventional suggestions.
    When those willing to accept the unconventional offer their alternatives for conventional “explanations”, with far more “proof” than ever has been presetned here, “skeptics” tell them their ideas can never be accepted until there has been a complete and thorough examination. A process they studiously avoid demanding of themselves.
    And, note, too, Henry still has not explained or even “explained” how any ethic can validate using the word “identified” when such has not occurred!

  • Since no location is given nor identity of the original witness it is not possible to verify the likelihood that these objects are power line markers as has been stated.

    Since known facts are absolutely consistent with the information presented in this case and require no significant assumptions then there is no reason to make further assumptions such as alien vehicles or other unproven phenomena as explanation. But I can fairly say, there are a great many people who come to this site who are willing to hear alternative arguments so feel free to offer up your evidence that equally fits the demonstrated facts in this sighting.

    Be certain to include full verifications of your evidence, since that is the standard you hold others to. And be equally certain you are not relying solely upon doggerel in your arguments as it is all you have offered up to this point.