Koi UFO Video 095 : Morristown UFOs 2009 (flare hoax) 

[DEBUNKED] Koi UFO Video 095 appears to show a number of unidentified red lights in a night sky. They do not look very spectacular and resemble the (many) UFO videos of Chinese Lanterns that can be found online.

The video is only notable because it shows a deliberate UFO hoax (unlike most Chinese Lantern sightings, which commonly are launched as part of celebrations rather than deliberate hoaxes), which resulted in the hoaxers being fined and sentenced to community service.   Some UFO hoaxed are arguably works of art, achieving millions of views on Youtube and continue to circulate for years.   Other articles in this series highlight some beautiful pieces of work. This hoax isn't in the same league. Frankly, it was rather dull.  

As detailed below, the hoaxers (Joe Rudy and Chris Russo) launched flare lights attached to helium balloons near Morristown and other towns in Morris County (New Jersey) during January and February 2009 (on 5 January 2009, 26 January 2009, 7 February 2009 and 17 February 2009). On 1 April 2009, Joe Rudy and Chris Russo came forward with video evidence proving they were the perpetrators of this hoax, claiming to demonstrate how easy it is to fool the so-called UFO "experts".  While it is indeed easy to fool some ufo researchers, in fact few experts had been fooled by this particular hoax. Almost any researcher looking at the video would think about balloons or Chinese Lanterns. The claims made by the hoaxers as to the success of their hoax were, to put it politely, somewhat overstated.    

Incidentally, the hoaxers could have achieved similar results with a LOT less cost and effort if they had simply used Chinese Lanterns...  These are commercially available for just a dollar or two each. Chinese Lanterns commonly result in UFO reports and UFO videos when they are launched at weddings and other parties. The use of Chinese Lanterns at such parties (and resulting "UFO" reports") have been more common in the United Kingdom than the USA, but their popularity appears to have been increasing globally in the last decade.  Videos of Chinese Lanterns appear online almost every week. Those videos are almost indistinguishable from those resulted from the hoax which Joe Rudy and Chris Russo put so much time and effort into.

 

 

Sections below:

1. The relevant video

2. Stories and claims relating to this video

3. The real background to this video

4. Relevant online discussions

 

 

1. The relevant video

This video appears to show a number of unidentified red lights in a night sky. They do not look very spectacular and resemble the (many) UFO videos of Chinese Lanterns that can be found online.

A screen shot from this video is included below for ease of identification.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

2. Stories and claims relating to this video

This objects in this video did not make much of a splash in the UFO community.  They did feature in a trailer for a TV series called "UFO Hunters" but did not generally stimulate much excitement or discussion.

 

 

3. The real background to this video

In fact, this video shows the results of a hoax by Joe Rudy and Chris Russo. They launched flare lights attached to helium balloons near Morristown and other towns in Morris County (New Jersey) during January and February 2009 (on 5 January 2009, 26 January 2009, 7 February 2009 and 17 February 2009).

On April 1, 2009, Joe Rudy and Chris Russo came forward with video evidence proving they were the perpetrators of this hoax, claiming to demonstrate how easy it is to fool the so-called UFO "experts".  

While it is indeed easy to fool some ufo researchers, in fact few experts had been fooled by this particular hoax. Almost any researcher looking at the video would think about balloons or Chinese Lanterns. The claims made by the hoaxers as to the success of their hoax were, to put it politely, somewhat overstated.    

Joe Rudy and Chris Russo's created two videos showing the background to their hoax:

 

Joe Rudy and Chris Russo claim that their hoax was meant as a social experiment. However, their conduct rather implies they were just seeking to have fun at the expense of (allegedly) gullible UFO researchers.

On April 7, 2009, Russo and Rudy pleaded guilty to municipal charges of disorderly conduct and were sentenced to fines of $250 and 50 hours of community service.

More details are given on a Wikipedia page. I suspect that page was written by the hoaxers themselves (particularly since few people in the UFO community paid the hoax and resulting videos much attention).

An article by Brian Donohue on the NJ.com website reports that Robert Powell (Director of Research at the Mutual UFO Network, "MUFON") stated that that two hoaxers went too far, not only releasing balloons, but then filing their own eyewitness accounts. Robert Powell stated that 

"MUFON investigated the January 5, 2009, flare release by Joe Rudy and identified it as a hoax by January 8th. (MUFON is the primary investigating organization for UFOs in the U.S. with investigators in all 50 states.) Joe Rudy filed a report with MUFON on January 5th using the pseudonym, "Steve Salermo". That name did not match his email address of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., so he later admitted to the MUFON investigator that his real name was Joe Rudy...These are examples of how not only did Joe Rudy initiate a hoax, but he reported the hoax himself as a real event and lied in order to try and support his hoax. This is not the work of someone who is trying to teach the public about logical thinking but is instead the work of someone who is willing to become a scam artist in order try and prove a point. "

The video is only notable because it shows a deliberate UFO hoax (unlike most Chinese Lantern sightings, which commonly are launched as part of celebrations rather than deliberate hoaxes), which resulted in the hoaxers being fined and sentenced to community service.   Some UFO hoaxed are arguably works of art, achieving millions of views on Youtube and continue to circulate for years.   Other articles in this series highlight some beautiful pieces of work. This hoax isn't in the same league. Frankly, it was rather dull.  

Incidentally, the hoaxers could have achieved similar results with a LOT less cost and effort if they had simply used Chinese Lanterns...  These are commercially available for just a dollar or two each. Chinese Lanterns commonly result in UFO reports and UFO videos when they are launched at weddings and other parties. The use of Chinese Lanterns at such parties (and resulting "UFO" reports") have been more common in the United Kingdom than the USA, but their popularity appears to have been increasing globally in the last decade.  Videos of Chinese Lanterns appear online almost every week. Those videos are almost indistinguishable from those resulted from the hoax which Joe Rudy and Chris Russo put so much time and effort into.

 

 

 

 

4. Relevant online discussions

Relevant discussions on the AboveTopSecret.com forum include the following:

2009 (April) discussion entitled "As suspected Morristown, New Jersey UFO was a deliberate UFO Hoax !!"

2009 (January) discussion entitled "UFO of Morristown, New Jersey!!"

**2009 (January) discussion entitled "Police Puzzled By Strange Lights Over NJ Towns"

2009 (January) second discussion entitled "Police Puzzled By Strange Lights Over NJ Towns"

2009 (January) discussion entitled "VIDEO: UFO over NJ"

2009 (April) discussion entitled "Criminal charges filled against Morristown, New Jersey UFO hoaxers !!"

2009 (April) discussion entitled "The Great UFO Hoax of 2009"

2009 (February) discussion entitled "The Heck Is Going On in North New Jersey???"

2009 (July) discussion entitled "Morris County's UFO hoaxers are back, with a $1 million challenge"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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