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Hoax in the Holy Land: Jerusalem UFO a Proven Fake

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Jerusalem's dubious UFO.

Several videos have surfaced online that supposedly show a UFO hovering over an Islamic shrine known as the Dome of the Rock on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount some time after midnight on Jan. 28. The videos have sparked a furious debate about whether we finally have evidence of UFOs.

As a veteran investigator of many UFO photos and videos, these images strike me as highly dubious, and all signs point to a hoax.

Why are the Jerusalem UFO videos suspicious? SPACE.com’s sister site, Life’s Little Mysteries, counts the ways:

First, no one knows who took the videos. In UFO reports, as in police investigations, anonymous reports are usually a red flag that something’s bogus. There are very few legitimate reasons why a genuine witness would not want to be identified. (For example, fear of reprisals from gang members or the mafia; though it seems unlikely that the aliens threatened anyone to keep quiet.)

If you were one of the first people in the world to capture some of the most amazing video footage of a UFO taken in the past decade, why would you post it anonymously on YouTube instead of either submitting it to professional analysis, or making money by selling it to CNN or MSNBC? (In fact, there’s some speculation that most or all of the videos were actually posted by a single person, which would guarantee a hoax.) Surely at least one of the videographers — or someone working with them — would have come forward in the past 10 days to sell their story to a newspaper or tabloid. Suspicious.

Second, not only do we not know who took the footage, but no one other than the videographers reported having seen the lights. The Dome of the Rock is one of the most famous and important religious sites in the world, and there are well over a million people in Jerusalem at any given time—many of them religious tourists near the Temple Mount. It’s probable that there were thousands of people in the area at the time, yet no one else reported seeing or videotaping the bright light? Very suspicious.

Third, though one woman can be heard in a videotape saying that the mysterious light was so bright that “you can almost hardly look at it,” the object does not seem to reflect any light from the gold-plated dome below it. This is very mysterious indeed, and strongly suggests that the “UFO” light was digitally inserted into the scene. (Note also that a generic light would be among the easiest “UFOs” to fake; you don’t need to worry about drawing or animating spaceship windows or wings or shadows on the craft itself.) Super suspicious.

Then there’s the strangely small size of the supposed alien aircraft, which can be roughly determined by comparing it to the size of the Dome over which it hovers. The UFO appears to be no more than about fifteen feet long, which seems awfully small for a spacecraft that presumably made it across the universe for its camera cameo.

For anyone who still sees a UFO through the sea of red flags, there’s the video analysis that shows evidence of fakery. Robert Sheaffer, a longtime skeptical UFO investigator and author of the Bad UFOs blog told Life’s Little Mysteries that, “the original Jerusalem UFO has now been definitely shown to be a hoax. Effects of the video processing software are clearly seen. The hoaxer used Motion Tile effects with edge mirroring to introduce camera shake into the video. You can see the mirroring effects along the edge of the video. This proves that the video did not go directly from the camera to YouTube, that it made a stop in between inside a sophisticated video editing software suite. Once you start editing it like that, a skilled hoaxer can put practically anything in it.”

The Jerusalem UFO videos have created much controversy since they first appeared, with many believers vigorously defending the videos as real. They dismiss skeptical explanations such as these, but do not offer any better analysis. In science, of course, it’s not enough to simply criticize a theory or explanation — critics are expected to put forth a better solution that fits the facts.

The appearance of the UFO over Jerusalem is ironic; for many, belief in UFOs is based on faith, not evidence.

Benjamin Radford is managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and author of Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries. His web site is: www.RadfordBooks.com.

Life’s Little Mysteries is a sister site of SPACE.com.


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12 Responses to " Hoax in the Holy Land: Jerusalem UFO a Proven Fake "

  1. Damien says:

    I’m still not convinced it’s a hoax. I’d understand why wouldn’t any of the video takers wouldn’t come forward. OK, suspicious, but not impossible. I’d understand why noone else didn’t see it, because it was late weekday night and it only took couple of seconds. Third video shows that it’s actually quite bit away from the dome and that would explain why there were no reflections. If the tourist video was a hoax, they must be very good actors becuase I really felt they were geniunely surprised when it took off the way it did. I can’t comment about video effects, but if it’s a hoax, why the hell would go in that much trouble to make this? Also friend of mine said he saw exact same thing over Australia the next day. I believe.

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  2. Dave says:

    I’m sure famed atheist Richard Dawkins believes the UFO is the real deal. He told Ben Stein in an interview that he believed Aliens planted biological life on Earth many, many moons ago. He could not account for the emergence of biological life in a scientific way so rather believe in UFO’s and Unicorns tnan that much despided ‘GOD’ critter.
    Time for your meds, Richard…

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  3. Damien says:

    Darwin was more racist than atheist, and it is more likely that life on earth is ET in origin. It’s much easier for primitive mind to find explanation in everything by saying God did it. I too believe that it is more likely for ET’s to seed life on earth than one intellignet being creating the whole universe, who will send me to eternal firely torment if I don’t behave.

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  4. True Believer says:

    The God that created the universe, and you, has given you the right to believe whatever you wish about how you got here. It doesn’t take away from the fact that without his forgiveness of sins you are unable to go to heaven (you send yourself there).
    As far as the orb goes. What makes a person think that it is an alien spacecraft? I assume angels would be pretty large. Are you aware there are human remains that are 36 feet tall? An angel should be at least this tall. Also, an angel does not live in our realm, but in the spiritual. However, the angel’s presence I would guess should manifest in some form… I’m seeing a ball of light. Let me check on how people who have seen angels described them….
    You cannot believe the things you see, because the world has you believing in only what they think you should believe. The fear of God is the begining of wisdom.

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  5. JABE says:

    Has anyone seen the “4th” video of this event taken by the teens (not sure what language they’re speaking). It CLEARLY shows the effect of the light on the Dome of the Rock! When the light leaves the Dome goes dark. You should look at all the evidence before forming an opinion.

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  6. Damien says:

    And now there’s the 5th video released. This is definately not a hoax. And for the True Believer, you say angels, I say aliens, it’s out of this world. And it wouldn’t be hard for me to believe that ET’s have sent all religions to earth and resopnsible of the God theory themselves. Imagine if you find a planet full of primitive beings. You might have done the same. So ET’s and Gods maybe the same.

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  7. JABE says:

    Sorry Damien, but I’m with True Believer on this. These things are Inter Dimensional & Super Natural. Of course there’s a God who made all things. We could argue all day long but just keep this in mind… If you’re right & they’re ET’s, we’re all OK, BUT if we’re right (and we are), you’re screwed!

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  8. Clifford says:

    Rather it’s True or not its interesting how fear drives our population movements…

    Today Technology can do almost anything, AHHH Yes even round up early warning systems to keep the public stupid…Could be a rich one playing games!

    Russia pres got Baptised all kinds of people being watched and monitored.

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  9. jeffrey says:

    I will just like to add that our father in heaven our living father that is apart of us and everything says to not fear but rejoice and live out life as we feel and see right by others in ourselves. maybe its time to start realizing that this is a message not a ship. and the message is felt by the true people of faith. and witnessed by the ones that have not faith. in other words stop believing and start living. god is infront of u if u cant see than u are blind. n must hear, if u cant see now hear touch, sense out the emotion and find the truth in which is more simple than most embark or forgoe.

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  10. David says:

    Ok here is your answer to this question of (There are very few legitimate reasons why a genuine witness would not want to be identified. (For example, fear of reprisals from gang members or the mafia; though it seems unlikely that the aliens threatened anyone to keep quiet.)

    Its not the Gang Members or the Mafia that would try and Shut you up or do worse, it’s the government. Don’t buy into what this report says, its crap. In the end the truth does come out, even from those that have the best ways of hiding it.

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  11. NWOisHERE says:

    This report is crap first off! Second if you anyone does some homework, its not an alien craft, its a military TR3b. Or a smaller model TR3. They have many sizes and have been flying them befor the 90’s.

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  12. rainbow sally says:

    We have one hoax (by someone unknown).

    We have two videos by people who ARE known, and a 5th video that appears to be from a similar angle to the one shot by the kids.

    #5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPgWr5hHSug

    The others: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0jfNK3arvM

    The Jaimie Mousen investigation (the link above) which includes three of the four other videos (one of which appears to have been a hoax, or was edited to appear to be a hoax) was uploaded on Mar 1, 2011.

    EU Times decision that this was a hoax is dated Feb 2011. Perhaps the article was written in haste?

    If even one video is NOT a hoax, this is significant. If even one of the millions of sightings is real, the entire phenomenon is validated. Perhaps not understood, but certainly not a hoax simply because people are too small minded to think they don’t already know everything.

    Why do galaxies rotate at rates that violate the inverse square law?

    We have much to learn, grasshoppers…

    Count the errors in this article. By the logic of the author, if there is only one error, the rest of the observations are false.

    That’s not true either. But the fact that nobody but the videographers posted youtube videos (or similar pseudo-logic) is not proof nobody else saw these things.

    Why post a mere sighting if someone got the footage?

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