A UFO Sighting in the Permian Basin

In a special report from west Texas, we learn about the amazing story of possible UFOs in over the Permian Basin! Learn the amazing story after the break!

I’ve always enjoyed UFO reports and stories. Of the items I run into as a result of skeptical work, UFOs (specifically extraterrestrials) are one of the few that are at least possible. It isn’t impossible for a technologically advanced species to travel to Earth and visit us. It’s pretty unlikely, but not impossible. As a result, I keep my ear to the ground for UFO reports.

A recent news article crossed my virtual desk today. The article, by Josh Navarro with a local west Texas TV news channel KWES, is typical of how the news media handles paranormal or UFO claims. The sighting itself is somewhat unremarkable. The article, however, is a good example of the “red flags” which raise our suspicion as to the reliability of the news item.

The first troubling item is that the article isn’t even about a specific sighting nor is the person being interviewed identified. The article is about an anonymous man who claims to have witnessed many UFOs in the skies over the Permian Basin region of west Texas. The news organization had to dig up footage of other UFO reports to pad out the story.

A man is making an extraordinary claim that he’s seen UFO’s fly over the Basin. The person NewsWest 9 interviewed wanted to remain anonymous and he’s associated with the Laredo Paranormal Research Society.

As we can see, the news source is an anonymous person associated with a paranormal research society. He doesn’t have any evidence other than his statements, not even the seemingly obligatory blurry photo.  The reporter then asks the man to answer critics and skeptics who might call him crazy:

“The facts are above our skies in the Permian Basin. We are seeing the lights, we are seeing stars, we are seeing crafts. My belief is that they’re transporting something or someone, and depending on how in depth you would like to open Pandora’s box, we’re thinking of course, they’re aliens,” the man said.

The man’s claim consists mostly of “I see lights therefore aliens”. I will avoid the history channel reference, with some effort.

The reporter cites another UFO report from the Laredo Paranormal Research Society, this one with video (please view the video report on the new site here). The images are clearly recorded via a low-light or night vision camera and show some lights near a house. The reporter notes:

There are possible UFO images that were captured by third generation night vision technology from the Laredo Paranormal Research Society. The organization claims the crafts resemble a triangle with spheres at each of its vortices and cruising at an altitude of 1,000 feet going 80 miles per hour.

This provides us with another red flag. It is very difficult to judge speed, direction, altitude, or size of items in the sky. Without knowing key information, such as its size, it is nearly impossible to accurately judge the range to the object or its air/ground speed. We see the object pass behind the house, thus allowing us to conclude that it is further from the camera than the house. Unfortunately, it is not seen to pass in front of a more distant object allowing a better estimate as to the distance to the object. Despite all of this, it is reported with confidence that the object is at an altitude of 1000 feet and moving at 80 MPH.

NewsWest 9 took a shot to see if we could see any crafts through his binoculars but we couldn’t see anything that night but stars.

The reporter attempts to provide some factual basis. He gamely took a look with the gentleman’s binoculars (which to appear to be military-style night vision goggles such as would be mounted to a helmet), seeing nothing unusual.

Of course, this is a softball fluff piece intended to fill some time, not hard-hitting investigative journalism. Despite this, I would like to see a bit more rigor in these reports. Did the reporter attempt to correlate any sightings with known phenomena, military activity, or other known, but unusual, events which may have occurred around the same time?  If he did, it is not shown by this piece.

Are these sightings UFOs? Yes, absolutely, they are unidentified flying objects. Are these sightings alien spacecraft? Probably not, it is highly unlikely that alien spacecraft are visiting west Texas right now. Will I continue to keep watch for first contact from aliens? Absolutely.

About Mike Weaver

Husband, father, skeptic, technologist, motorcyclist, hunter, outdoors-man, and evil genius. I am formally trained in computer science, physics, mathematics, and emergency medicine (paramedic, former).
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6 Responses to A UFO Sighting in the Permian Basin

  1. Steve says:

    I live in the UK and wasn’t sure where the Permian Basin was so I looked it up on Wikipedia. One thing I noticed from the entry was that one of the towns in the basin is called Marfa, this is the same place that light phenomena are reported from on a regular basis maybe there’s a connection and also a solution to these apparent UFO’s?

  2. freke1Freke1 says:

    Hi, rather than debunking/critizising one case ask the question: “what are all these people seeing?” Aren’t You curious? I am. Wasn’t there like 5000 people who saw the big black triangle at Phoenix a while back (see the docu “I know what I saw” on Youtube). I get the feeling You skeptic guys are totally out of touch with reality (fx. listen to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_q_CVK3yfo). I’m just want to know what’s going on and I can’t dismiss all these people as not sane.

    • Soulvei says:

      He didn’t dismiss the claims of the man, he pointed out that there was lack of any useful evidence. It is important to read articles all the way through before posting your opinion.

    • Mike Weaver says:

      I was criticizing the reporting of the UFO sighting, not the sighting itself. I don’t know what these people are seeing, at least not for every case. In the UFO sightings I’ve looked at, there is a real lack of data or evidence which can be used to rule out explanations for the sighting other than “aliens” and no good evidence to rule in “aliens” as an explanation. I’m certainly not dismissing anyone out of hand or trying to imply anything about their mental health.

  3. Freke1 says:

    My only point was that one man’s undocumented UFO sighting is of no interest (they come in hundreds a day I believe?). And yes it is frustrating watching/reading about such undocumented UFO’s. Sometimes it seems like everybody sees something different and they have 1000 of ideas of what it could be and loads of conspiracy theories to explain it. And of cause none of them have an HD camera nearby. And in the end we have to believe their word even though we don’t know their names or their personality. And none of us are any wiser afterwards.
    But watch the first 4 min of “I know what I saw”
    (link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIeGeE0uDJg)
    and start from there. Just start, results doesn’t really matter.
    You could also start here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_Z4SEI78Io
    (the host George Knapp has won 8 Emmy’s I believe and is interviewing a former policeman.
    Those are just start points. That’s were I would start if I had the time/money.
    How can we not start if we are really curious and want to know?

    • Mike Weaver says:

      We are not left with the only choice being “believe their word.” I accept that these folks have experienced something. I don’t accept their conclusions without better evidence. Eye witness testimony is not high quality evidence, alas. Before I accept that these sightings are of extraterrestrial visitors, I require higher quality evidence. Ideally I’d prefer physical evidence, a ship, some technology, an alien saying “hey”. Pictures are weak evidence as well given how good image processing technology is now.

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