We live in a time of anonymous op-ed exposés and tell-all books with unnamed sources, so it’s not surprising that anonymity permeates the field of ufology as well. Yet it’s still refreshing that someone involved in a UFO sighting and subsequent “panic” some eight years ago has decided to come partially out of the closet and, while not revealing his name, discloses how he … get ready for it … faked the UFO that created many sightings, extensive news coverage and a ‘UFO Panic in New Jersey’. Will that be the title of a sci-fi thriller, a disclosure documentary or a how-to UFO video?
“I first noticed when all our mechanics started looking up at the sky. It looked like a big black strip fluttering in the air. Maybe a cylinder.”
On May 13, 2010, nj.com reported UFO sightings (clink link for photos) over Route 22 in Bridgewater and Somerville, New Jersey. Shortly before noon, radio station NJ 101.5 received numerous calls, as did the Somerville Police Department, reporting the mysterious object. Well, “mysterious” might be a stretch as the object looked like a giant stretched balloon, but this is New Jersey and people still remembered what happened on 9/11 and decided to follow the advice that “If you see something, say something.” The Air Traffic Control Tower in Morristown, Solberg Airport in Hunterdon, Somerset Airport in Bedminster and Blairstown Airport in Warren County were all contacted and reported seeing nothing unusual.
“8 years ago I caused a UFO panic.”
That’s the title of a Reddit post this week by thatsboots3010. While he doesn’t reveal his name, he gives all of the pertinent details about what happened on May 13, 2010.
“One college summer break 8 years ago my friends and I were bored. We remembered a demonstration from a high school science class of a “Solar Balloon“. This was just a really thin black plastic bag you’d fill with air, seal, and then set out in the sun. The sun would heat the air in the black bag and the bag would become buoyant and float.”
College students. Summer vacation. Were illegal substances and adult beverages involved? Quite possibly, but their main concern was finding cheap (they’re college students) black plastic bags and thin but strong tape to connect them into a huge balloon. Someone provided a leaf blower to fill the balloon, the sun provided the fuel to heat the air and a thirty-minute wait (Two beers? One joint?) was all that was needed to send the balloon aloft.
Being college students on summer break, this was enough fun to waste the rest of the day on it, so thatsboots3010 says they built a second balloon and launched it as well. Other than a few looks from passing cars, that was the end of it.
“I moved out of the area but when I get together with my friend we always bring this up and have a good laugh.”
Well, that was it until a few years ago when thatsboots3010 saw the article in nj.com about the UFO “panic” he and his friends caused and then recently when he entered the confessional of Reddit and admitted in the most 2018 of ways – anonymously – that he was the terrestrial behind the non-alien UFO of 2010.
Should there be an investigation to reveal his true identity? After all, police were called, radio shows were interrupted, airports were bothered and residents were panicked. Far smaller incidents have prompted far bigger searches. Then again, looking at the pictures, perhaps it’s better to use this as a learning experience and issue a corollary to the popular security warning:
“If you see something, say something. However, if it looks like a duct-taped garbage bag balloon and it floats like a duct-taped garbage bag balloon, it’s probably a duct-taped garbage bag balloon.”