Tag Archives: Christmas

New Years Eve UFOs 2010/11 (Chinese Lanterns)

I personally witnessed multiple lantern releases over the Christmas period and on New Years Eve between approximately 12 & 1am my partner checked outside to see if it was snowing and instantly shouted me over to the window, upon looking outside there were approximately 30 to 40 lanterns afloat (in clusters).

I’ve explained to my partner what these lanterns were prior to this (I’ve wrote about it at a couple times because at first she didn’t know what she was looking at) and as a result of this she knew before I looked out what they actually were and was drawing my attention to the overall spectacle rather than the objects themselves, commenting that for all she knew what they were they still looked ‘weird’. I then went to the back door as it allows for a better view because it’s relatively unpolluted by artificial light and I watched the Lanterns released first as they faded out (extinguished) over the North sea.

Here’s a video I uploaded a while ago now that shows several different misidentified lantern events as well as a few related media reports.

One aspect of misidentifying (or not identifying at all) Chinese lanterns that I still don’t really understand is the fact that some witnesses claim they appear to “shoot off ” at the end of the sighting, every time I’ve seen a lantern expire it always seems obvious to me that the light is being extinguished, and so if I had to equate it to something it would be similar to a light being turned off rather than an object accelerating away at a fantastic speed. I’ve looked at a couple of cases personally where the witness describes this effect and one of these reports was almost certainly Chinese Lanterns (this conclusion was arrived at due to locating the persons who actually filmed themselves releasing them) and the other report was very likely lanterns.

The human perception is a strange filter I guess……

Anyway, the following report is from New Years eve and is only 4 or 5 miles from where I live, so while the witness definitely isn’t describing the exact same lanterns as I seen it certainly seems as if they are definitely describing (generic) lanterns. It was posted by Brian Vike to his *worldufos* Blog and to Vike’s credit he labelled the report appropriately:

Many Orange Lights Over Gateshead Tyne And Wear UK (Lanterns)

Date: January 1, 2011
Time: After Midnight

Hi, I’ve just been looking on the internet to see if anyone else saw the orange lights I saw on New Years eve, just gone, and found your site. I was at my mum’s house having a ciggie at the back door and watched at least five orange lights fly overhead. My mum lives in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. So they were visible in the Northeast of England too.

I eventually pointed one out to my mum, having gone back inside I didn’t tell anyone as they may think I was just exaggerating, but having seen in the New Year, going back outside to my dad’s car to be taken home, the lights were still going overhead, so there must have been a steady stream of them whilst I was otherwise occupied.

Being driven home they were still coming towards the same direction, making a total of 6 that I did see. I tried taking a photo on my phone, but all I got was the black sky. They were following one another at a steady speed, at the same height, going in the same direction. As some people have suggested Chinese lanterns, I don’t think lanterns would stay at the same height at the same time or all travel in the same direction. They were pretty bright lights too. Yours Sincerely.

If you have seen anything like this in the same area please be kind enough to contact Brian Vike at: sighting@telus.net with the details of your sighting. All personal information is kept confidential.

Sightings.com website

Posted by The Vike Report UFO Radio Show.

When I was reading the report I was surprised to see there were 32 reports logged for the first four days in January alone, this seemed to be a lot more than usual. All of these reports were listed on the right hand side of the page, however after a cursory glance at the report titles I was greatly disappointed to see the following:

(Reports from WorldUFOs Blogspot )

Note that EVERY single report title has one or more descriptive words that at least superficially suggests Chinese lanterns as the cause.

Are Chinese Lanterns really that deceptive?

Going back to when my partner first saw several of them in the sky she had no idea what they were but once I explained she said it became obvious and even noted that the flickering effect caused by the naked flame was now instantly recognisable for what it was. During the summer months of 2010 I saw many, many lanterns (several launches almost every week) with the majority of them being late on Friday & Saturday nights, and the amount I witnessed was a massive increase on previous years, in fact in 2010 I saw more in a couple of weeks than I had the whole of the previous year and I doubt that it was only my area that experienced this marked increase.

And yet for all there was a massive increase there were fewer (if any) UFO reports that displayed lantern-like characteristics published in the local media (news websites, newspapers, radio etc.) In fact it was quite the opposite as they featured heavily (especially by the BBC) in their own guise via the pleas of farmers who -as well as citing the obvious fire risk- were regularly having to locate and retrieve the spent lantern shells from their fields due to the fatal damage the thin wire frame causes to any cattle unlucky enough to eat/digest it when grazing, as can be seen in the following excerpt from an article posted back in September:

“Speaking in the House of Commons recently, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg recognised farmers’ concerns over the risks lanterns can pose to livestock and crops, but ruled out an outright ban at the present time.”

The same article wrote that: “ITV has also agreed it would no longer carry its Chinese lantern ident before its news programming during the summer months as a result of the NFU’s work.”

And also stated: “In August alone there were numerous reports of crop fires caused by lanterns, including the loss of six acres of barley at a farm in Oxfordshire which needed 25 firefighters to tackle the blaze.

A large number of cow fatalities have also been attributed to lanterns, with animals sometimes suffering slow and painful deaths after ingesting the wire used in their construction.”


Nationally there were a few UFO reports which appeared to be lanterns and did receive a little media attention, but it was very brief and I personally thought that this rapid decline was simply a direct result of fewer lanterns being mistakenly reported as UFOs than in previous years. And so I thought the sight of lanterns floating in our skies was no longer an ‘alien’ one (pun intended!!) and somewhat optimistically I also thought this meant that most people were aware of -at least- their existence if not their exact appearance.

Just to clarify, I don’t for a second believe its mere coincidence that most of these reports display the exact characteristics of Chinese lanterns and were also reported over the Christmas & New Year period as this is exactly when we would expect lanterns to be released, and not just during the Christmas festivities (parties, celebrations etc.) but especially to signify the start of the new year.

However after looking around the net at recent UFO reports it seems that Vike isn’t alone in receiving an increase of these kinds of reports over the holiday period and so it seems undeniable that there’s still an inordinately large percentage of the population who either simply aren’t aware of the existence of Chinese lanterns or just can’t reconcile their understanding of lanterns with the physical appearance when confronted with them.

Also the sighting of these lanterns has evidently compelled many people to write down the relevant details and contact someone to report their experience, so I believe we can safely conclude that it wasn’t an experience that any of the witnesses took lightly or one that they thought could be easily explained and/or dismissed as nothing of importance…..

For more images, videos, research, brief history and detailed examples of Chinese lanterns being mistaken as UFOs then visit our IFOs/Lanterns webpage, it was reposted a couple of years ago and wrote a year earlier in 2007 when Chinese lanterns were a relatively recent phenomenon and were being increasingly reported as UFOs (it can be viewed here).

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite.

Bertrand Russell

Check out the original article here.
Author: Michael Naisbitt

Christmas a Pagan Celebration? What You Know May Not Be So

Hat tip to Stephen Huebscher for this one!

Here’s a link to an interesting short essay on this topic. The author argues (with some justification) that rather than Christians adapting a pagan holiday to their sacred calendar, pagans co-opted December 25 from Christians. Here’s a teaser paragraph:

It is true that the first evidence of Christians celebrating December 25th as the date of the Lord’s nativity comes from Rome some years after Aurelian, in A.D. 336, but there is evidence from both the Greek East and the Latin West that Christians attempted to figure out the date of Christ’s birth long before they began to celebrate it liturgically, even in the second and third centuries. The evidence indicates, in fact, that the attribution of the date of December 25th was a by-product of attempts to determine when to celebrate his death and resurrection.

I’m considering devoting an episode of the Naked Bible Podcast to this topic. I’m reading through the only two academic books on Christmas origins I know of. We’ll see if I get through the material in time.

UFO Over Jesus’ Head?

UFO Over Jesus’ Head

Lee Speigel By Lee Speigel
The Huffington Post

“We can now anchor the beginning of the UFO phenomenon into real, documented history.”

     The story of Christmas began when three wise men saw something strange in the sky and decided to investigate.

Anyone who’s seen a UFO can easily relate to what those wise men might have been thinking, and that’s what makes the images in these paintings so compelling.

Many unusual aerial objects depicted in paintings between the 14th to the early 18th century look, at first glance, like modern-day UFO sightings.

It’s easy to wonder why artists of those long-ago centuries seemed obsessed with including these curious objects in scenes surrounding the stories of the birth and death of Jesus Christ.

The first example (above) here is a wall mural, or fresco, from 1350, “The Crucifixion,” artist unknown, in the Visoki Decani Monestary in Kosovo, Yugoslavia. Two odd-looking objects with “pilots” can be seen in the sky on both sides of Jesus. […]

Read more »

More UK schools add aliens to their nativity plays

Last year we reported on a couple of UK elementary schools that had added aliens to their yearly Christmas nativity plays. The trend has apparently continued, and according to the UK news website Daily Mail Online, nearly half of UK schools have chosen to run an “updated nativity” that includes aliens, fairies, footballers, drunk spacemen and/or Elvis.

Children from the William Stukeley Primary School in Holbeach will be conducting “Christmas with the aliens” for the second year in a row. In the play, an alien spacecraft crashes to the earth during the holiday season. They are curious about what Christmas is and children explain it to them using song and dance.

Children at William Stukeley Primary School in Spalding take a break from nativity rehearsals. (Credit: Spalding Today)

Children at William Stukeley Primary School in Spalding take a break from nativity rehearsals. (Credit: Spalding Today)

This is the same play that other schools performed last year. Although the aliens look different from school to school, the general theme seems to be the same.

Students at Burrington Primary School performing "Christmas With the Aliens" in 2013. (Credit: Burrington Primary School)

Students at Burrington Primary School performing “Christmas With the Aliens” in 2013. (Credit: Burrington Primary School)

The recent story from Daily Mail Online sites a study on the changes nativity plays are undergoing. They say that only 32% of UK schools hold a traditional nativity play, while 47% opt for an “updated nativity.”

12% put on a play that avoids religious references altogether. 7% of schools don’t even use the words Christmas or nativity in their title. Instead, they use titles such as “Winter Celebration,” “Seasonal Play,” or “End of Year Concert.”

The survey was conducted by the parenting website Netmums. Parents in the survey were largely concerned with the changes, and most said they preferred a traditional nativity play.

Netmums co-founder Siobhan Freegard told Daily Mail Online:

While the UK is a diverse and multicultural society and it’s right children learn about all religions and cultures, many parents feel the traditional nativity is being pushed aside.

It seems wrong to bombard kids with commercial messages about presents and Santa without them realising the true meaning of the celebration.

Teachers have argued in the past that the addition of aliens into nativity plays is part of an effort to reengage the students, and to get them excited about education.


Students at Minster School in York performed a nativity in 2013 with aliens called the “light people.” (Credit: York Press)

Last year, Minister School pre-prep department head Jane Donaldson told the York Press: “There’s huge excitement in the department. The reception class – who play the [aliens] – even do an alien dance to Star Man by David Bowie.”

Holiday plays are not the only school events that aliens have invaded in the UK. There has also been a trend towards staging UFO crashes and having the students investigate and write about their findings. Often these UFO crashed are staged with local law enforcement.

The post More UK schools add aliens to their nativity plays appeared first on Openminds.tv.