'UFO' photos spur out-of-this-world theories

Some Columbian readers allege they were caltered

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter

Published:

 

No aliens have come forward to claim responsibility for a picture showing strange lights over Battle Ground on Monday night.

But Columbian readers do have some theories about where the image came from.

Nicole Keller, who got the photo from her husband, insists the picture is real and that her husband didn't doctor it to fool her.

"It was an actual picture that he took," she said in an email to The Columbian on Wednesday. "He didn't use (any) phone apps to mess with me."

She said she has no idea what the lights are and passed the image along to the newspaper because she's curious about it.

Her husband didn't hear any noise when he saw the lights, which he photographed at around midnight at the couple's home near the Best Western at 1419 W. Main St., she said.

Some readers have suggested the image, which shows two sets of three evenly spaced red lights, was altered with Photoshop or a cellphone application.

The set of lights closer to the viewer are blurrier than the set further away, which could indicate Photoshop was used, but it could also just be a byproduct of focusing an iPhone picture on a specific area.

"I am pretty certain that the set of lights on the left was copied, pasted, then made to appear smaller so that it looked further away," said one reader who works with Photoshop professionally. He asked that his name not be used in the paper.

Others have suggested the Camera Hoax iPhone app could be the culprit. It has an image that can add a similar set of lights to a photo, although the app's lights are white and not red.

The Columbian called and Tweeted the creator of that app asking for confirmation, but so far there has been no response.

After looking at the Camera Hoax app, Jim Todd, planetarium manager at OMSI, said "this explains it." He also said the picture "looks like a fake."

The Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration didn't receive any calls about strange lights on Monday night, officials from both groups said.

Readers also noted that the lights could be from a personal unmanned aerial vehicle, experimental airplane or something called a TR-3B, a secret government aircraft, if you believe Internet rumors.

The sarcastic set — at least The Columbian assumes these were made with tongue firmly planted in cheek — had their own theories. They said that the lights:

Match the patterns of weapons used by aliens in the Predator movies and an invasion may be imminent.

That they are somehow related to alien curiosity about the Columbia River Crossing project.

Or that they are a byproduct from Columbian Editor Lou Brancaccio's ancient Honda Prelude somehow becoming airborne.