UFO Sightings 2016: Mt. Shasta ‘Sky Portal’ Is This Year’s Most Charming Phony

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A photo from the CIA's recently declassified archive of UFO documents. CIA

UFOs were there for everything sinister in the 90s. They flew above the pyramid and its eye — nudging world affairs toward their own secular interests or toward the demoniac, depending on your preference. William Cooper, author of a defining document of the decade’s militant, Christian, right-wing conspiracism, Behold a Pale Horse (“the manifesto of the militia movement,” The Guardian called it), had UFOs and their alien pilots atl the center of the “joint human/alien power structure which will result in a one-world government and the partial enslavement of the human race.”

But the shockwave of 21st century politics has seen the conspiracy market flooded with new and depraved theories. From Newtown deniers to Pizzagaters (I envy anyone who doesn’t know what I’m talking about), the UFOs are no longer necessary for concocting the dark material of tangled government plots. It’s not that UFOs have disappeared completely from the conspiratorial mindset, but they’ve certainly been sidelined.

Instead UFOs have taken on the warm patina of coin collecting. Organizations like MUFON dutifully collect and catalog, each sighting its own atomized encounter, systemic conclusions whispered or withheld entirely. The mainstream flow of debate has turned away from UFO involvement in world events; each UFO enthusiast’s beliefs subsumed in the ongoing management of sightings and calls for Disclosure. Like cryptozoology or ghost hunting, the UFO has been de-politicized.

What a relief.

That leaves the armchair UFO enthusiast free to enjoy a sighting like this one…

…without the endless political raging of the mainstream (a relative term here) conspiracist.

And this sighting is indeed a charmer. On first glance, it avoids UFO hunting’s biggest modern pitfall: the remote control drone. Whatever this is, it’s definitely not a drone. But is it, as the sensationalist British tabloid The Daily Express describes, a “sky portal”?

It seems to be a coffee cup reflected in a car window. Even the Express couldn’t keep up any other pretense for long.

Sure, it’s not the most convincing evidence for unexplained aerial phenomena, but it accomplishes what UFO hunters do best: presenting us with something strange and asking “can you explain this?”

I’ll take that over po-faced philistinism aimed at Marina Abramović any day.

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