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:: Phoenix Hoax ::

It's just bad news after bad news...

I can't seem to catch a break lately. In March, my dream of seeing a UFO was crushed after only a week. Now, it seems my hope for a major new UFO event to sink my investigative teeth into has similarly been destroyed. As I stated in last week's column, I was totally prepared to follow this latest Phoenix Lights Redux story through whatever twists and turns of government disinformation and cover-up shenanigans might have developed. As it turns out, the one thing I wasn't prepared for was how quickly it would be revealed as a hoax.

No corny government explanations, no additional footage, and no linkage to hyperdimensional physics...heck, there wasn't even enough time for any of the go-to skeptics and believers to come out in support or against it. Shame on you, Mr. Hoaxer. You are a sick, lonely man-child that nobody could possibly love.

What drives someone to perpetrate a hoax such as this? And what kind of effect will it have on the field of Ufology? Let's dig in...

This whole mess began on the night of Monday, April 21. Phoenix, AZ resident Tony Toporek saw four lights in the night sky and recorded them on him video camera. Within hours, Drudge was featuring the story as a major headline. It took one day for someone to come forward with an explanation:

Phoenix man: Neighbor caused Monday's mysterious lights

Lino Mailo, 44, said he saw his neighbor launch several helium balloons with flares attached to them from the back porch of his north Phoenix home. Mailo said the balloons took off about 8 p.m., right before the mysterious lights were spotted.


Why, man, why? What kind of person wakes up in the morning and decides to hoax a massive UFO sighting?

Certainly an attention seeker would have come out himself and claimed responsibility for it. Were he a product of the YouTube revolution, it would have been his video linked up at the Drudge Report. Other than some demented personal satisfaction for causing a public uproar, I can see no logical explanation as to why this hoaxer would do what he did.

Sort of like an arsonist, I guess.

On that note, the hoaxer should feel fortunate that he didn't in fact start a fire. Releasing balloons is one thing, but when you start tying road flares to them, you're not only trivializing an entire field of scientific study, you're putting others at risk of physical harm for your own twisted pleasure. Wouldn't that make a wonderful headline? "UFO Hoaxer Starts Massive Fire." That'd do wonders for public opinion.

I say that our anonymous hoaxer should be forced to reveal himself and apologize for this mess. From the looks of it, however, the news media and local authorities are ready to let this story die. According to the local Phoenix NBC affiliate:

Officials with the Phoenix Fire department said they looked into whether any laws were broken, but so far have not found any. They said there are laws governing fire works, but none when it comes to flares tied to balloons that are released into the sky.

Meantime, authorities with the Phoenix Police Department said they are not investigating and would not comment on whether any laws were broken.

So it appears he's off the hook legally. Luckily this was a victimless crime, but what kind of effect will it have on Ufology and future debates?

It's a shame the hoaxer happened to live in the Phoenix area. I fear now that every time the 1997 sighting is mentioned, the taint of this debacle will forever be associated with it. You may recall that the much criticized official explanation of that case was that the lights were flares being used in a military training exercise. Skeptics and detractors now have one more weapon in their arsenal: If we could all be fooled by flares this time, why couldn't they have been flares the first time?

Finally, I certainly hope this doesn't inspire similar copycat hoaxes in the near future. At this point, I don't think I could handle any more UFO disappointment.

:: Dead End ::

Well, that's all for this week. I trust you enjoyed your trip into this shadowy nether-realm known only as the K-Files.

For the latest updates on the world of Khyron, bookmark http://www.khyron.net/. With content updated regularly, you're sure to find your fix for all things entertaining and paranormal. As always, feel free to send any questions/comments/suggestions to KFiles@khyron.net.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next  K-Files, arriving sometime next week. Later.

~Khyron, 2007.


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