If you have your faced aimed at a TV, tablet or smartphone instead of skyward or out the window, you’re missing some strange phenomena that have many people puzzled and others taking great selfies. An airline passenger saw what appeared to be a giant humanoid standing on a cloud, a woman in Michigan photographed the sun’s rays forming a cross and another in Hawaii got a shot of giant wings. What were they seeing?

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Iron Giant, Michelin Man or something else?

Nick O’Donoghue, a software support team manager from Ireland, was on an EasyJet plane at an altitude of 30,000 feet somewhere between Austria and London when he looked out the window at the clouds and saw what appeared to be a giant humanoid casting a giant shadow as it stood on the clouds. Unlike other witnesses of such strange things, Nick took photographs with his phone AND asked the passengers next to him to verify what he saw.

I asked the ladies beside me to look at it too in case I was seeing things. They too were amazed! I then took some pictures and then the aircraft slowly passed it. It was in view for about two minutes as it was a good bit away in the distance. To me it looked like the Michelin man but to be honest I have no idea what it was.

After being posted on an Irish news site, the pictures and story went viral and the possible explanations ran the gamut. Getting past the arguments over whether it looked more like the Iron Giant, speculations centered on a cloud protuberance (scientifically known as a “funky cloud formation”), smokestacks from a power plant (at 30,000 feet?), a Fata Morgana illusion (did he run away from the floating cities seen in China?), Project Blue Beam or an alien. Steam rising from two smokestacks pushing through the clouds seems most plausible but that 30,000-foot altitude still made some say “Iron Giant!”

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Huge bright cross photographed in Michigan

Meanwhile, Facebook users went wild when Mechaele Loraff of Buchanan, Michigan, posted a photograph she took on January 13th of the rays of the rising sun seemingly forming the shape of a cross. While initial speculations had religious tones, most later explanations point to it being a sun pillar, which is a vertical column of light caused by dawn or dusk sunlight reflection off of ice crystals, with the unusual vertical arm that makes it look like a cross being low clouds bouncing some of the rays.

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Wings Over Hawaii

On that same day, Amy Langley took a photo of a sunrise in on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, that many who viewed it said looks like an angel or a dove (not Mothman or Mickey Mouse's head?). Amy is a former photojournalist and gave her own expert analysis of the shape, which only appeared in the photo. She says it was a normal sunrise combined with “an incredibly bright” flare in the camera lens and volcanic haze.

Whether they’re normal or paranormal, you’ll never see these things if you don’t keep looking.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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