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.