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Denver UFOs (Or Flying Insects) Still Have The Mile-High City Abuzz

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First Posted: 12/02/12 EST Updated: 12/03/12 EST

For some reason, recent UFO reports over Denver still have legs, or antennae, depending on your point of view, belief or personal bias.

In early November, FOX TV affiliate, KDVR presented a series of videos, taken by an anonymous source, which purported to show UFOs buzzing around, maneuvering up and down, right and left at dazzling speeds -- all allegedly not visible to the naked eye, only by video after it was slowed down.

Theories, including alien ships, military drones and insects have buzzed around the Internet in the past few weeks, and oddly, there still seems to be a mystery surrounding the identification of these objects -- despite the fact that, upon first glance, the videos appear to show flying bugs.

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"I watched their video and slowed it down, and it took me a good three hours to get through it at the speed I was playing it," said Bryan Bonner, co-founder of the 15-year-old Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society. "It seems to be a combination. Yes, there are bugs, but there are some obvious birds in there, too. You can see wings flapping."

Bonner and his team approach their investigations of things like UFOs, Bigfoot, ghosts, psychics and urban legends with a totally skeptical focus.

"We've branded ourselves as paranormal claims investigators. A lot of people go in and look for UFOs. Well, not much research can be done when you've already decided what's there," Bonner told The Huffington Post.

"This Denver case is a great example. If I went in knowing that those were UFOs in the video, I shouldn't have even bothered going down there. But if I go in there with a completely open mind, a little critical thought goes a long way. We just want the truth," Bonner said.

When the story first broke, KDVR news reporter Heidi Hemmat presented videos reportedly shot from a hillside looking toward downtown Denver. Even though she said the alleged UFOs were "flying too fast to see with the naked eye," nobody seems to have asked the basic question: If that's true, what, in fact, was the anonymous videographer doing there in the first place? What was his original motivation for bringing his video equipment to that location? Did he have a premonition that told him he'd be able to videotape UFOs if he showed up every day?

Watch the KDVR-TV news report update about the Denver UFOs

KDVR also presented an aviation expert, Steve Cowell, who said he couldn't identify the strange objects on the videos, and Hemmat suggested that Cowell didn't think they were bugs.

Then, KDVR did a follow-up report: "Insect Expert: UFOs Over Denver Not Bugs; Images On Video Remain A Mystery."

Entomologist Mary Ann Hamilton was brought in to look at the videos and told KDVR, "This is a toughie. I've never seen anything like this. After watching the various shots, I would have to say no, I do not believe it's an insect."

Hemmat told her audience that people had suggested she go back out to the field where the UFOs were originally videotaped, take two cameras and triangulate the shot in order to finally determine if the objects are insects or something else. But it's not known if the news staff has attempted that technique.

In his Bad Astronomy blog on the daily Slate web magazine, astronomer and skeptic Phil Plait said flat out, "Those aren't UFOs. Those are bugs. Insects flying around in front of the camera. Insects that can hover, change direction, zip away. Insects that look like blobs because they're close to the camera ... Insects which were lit by the sun so they flash a bit when they change direction."

But how does Plait really feel about all of this?

"I know: UFO means Unidentified Flying Object, and since no one could identify them, these are by definition UFOs. Except they aren't. They're insects."

Bonner's Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society was one of the first groups that actually went to the field early on where the UFO videos were shot.

"The 'UFO' people were very offended because we showed up with a bunch of HD cameras, still cameras, insect and bird identification books and a bug net," Bonner said. "People were like, 'Seriously, you're bringing a bug net?' And we said, 'Yes, because we think that's probably what it is, so we're gonna look.'"

Watch this Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society video of a possible insect UFO

The group's website clearly shows the types of insects it found out there, and how it visually experimented with a fly to determine if it could be mistaken for a UFO under the right photographic conditions.

When he contacted KDVR to offer his opinion on the bug theory, Bonner said he wasn't received with enthusiasm.

"We called them and apparently they were offended because we told them it was bugs. I think they want somebody that will come in and confirm that it's not bugs. Because it would make them look really silly if we come in and tell them we've pretty much proven what this is."

Bonner also has some advice to others interested in exploring the Denver UFO-bug mania.

"Anytime there's a report of any bizarre happening, don't just take it at face value. Use some critical thinking, go in and investigate it and find out what the facts are."

Whether the Denver UFOs are insects or truly unidentified, check out these other odd ones

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  • Melbourne, Australia, Feb. 2013

    This is a composite image of how three alleged UFOs maneuvered about in the sky over Melbourne, Australia, in early February, 2013. The final verdict isn't in yet on whether they're birds, aircraft, balloons, bugs or something truly unidentified.

  • Lanterns

    These candle-lit Chinese lanterns can rise high into the sky and are often mistaken for UFOs.

  • Exploding Weather Balloons, Not UFOs

    On Dec. 20, 2012, a bright, circular object (pictured at the top of this composite image) was videotaped exploding in the skies above Sacramento, Calif. It wasn't immediately identified, resulting in speculation that it was either an alien spacecraft, military top secret weapon, runaway planet, North Korean satellite, among others. Within a short period of time, it became apparent that this was a weather balloon. The bottom part of this image shows such a balloon as it ascended over Tampa Bay, Fla., on July 2, 2012, and exploded in an identical manner as the Sacramento object, probably much to the dismay of all true ET believers out there.

  • Boomerang UFO composite images -- 10-5-12

    This is a composite of images shot by two eyewitnesses of a boomerang-shaped UFO they reported seeing over their Burbank, Calif., home on Oct. 5, 2012. Mutual UFO Network photo/video analyst Marc Dantonio concluded the object was likely "a balloon, floating on the wind that has collapsed in half."

  • Changing UFO Pattern -- Warren, Mich. 1-10-13

    This four-image series of lights in the sky was recorded over Warren, Mich., on Jan. 10, 2013. The lights were seen changing into several patterns. The most logical explanation for these types of UFOs is a series of balloons or lanterns.

  • UFOs Over Earth

    This composite image shows four different times that alleged UFO were photographed above Earth by either space shuttles or the International Space Station. The big question is whether or not they are truly unidentified objects or if they are more likely reflections from spacecraft windows, meteors or fast-moving spacecraft-generated debris.

  • Pink UFOs Or Lens Flares?

    What appear to be pink-red UFOs are actually lens flares from the Google Earth street view camera as it snapped images in Texas (left) and New Mexico (right).

  • Lens flares Arizona

    These two flying saucer-shaped, pink-colored lens flares were created by the Google Maps camera as it drove through locations in Sedona, Ariz. (left) and Flagstaff, Ariz. (right). The images were snapped in April 2009. Submitted to HuffPost by trenna.

  • Lens flare Whiteriver, Ariz.

    This skybound lens flare was created by a Google Maps camera in June 2008 over Whiteriver, Ariz. Submitted to Huffington Post by Cheryl Weeks.

  • Lens flare Gulfport, Miss.

    This very Earthbound lens flare was created by a Google Maps camera in November 2007 at Gulfport, Miss. Submitted to Huffington Post by Jenni Parker.

  • Lens flare Eureka Springs, Ark.

    This seemingly grounded lens flare was created by a Google Maps camera in January 2008 at Eureka Springs, Ark. Submitted to Huffington Post by SE.

  • Lens flare Escanaba, Mich.

    This lens flare appears to be following a car. The Google Maps image was created in October 2008 at Escanaba, Mich. Submitted to Huffington Post by Mary Robinson.

  • Cincinnati Skydivers NOT UFOs Sept. 28, 2012

    On the night of Sept. 28, 2012, a group of strange-looking lights appeared in the sky near Cincinnati, Ohio. First there was one, then, two, then three lights, slowly descending. It turns out, however, that these lights were originating from a group of skydivers performing a pyrotechnics jump at the La Salle High School homecoming event.

  • Weather Phenomenon

    Some UFO sightings may be due to a natural phenomenon known as sprites, like this one shown from 2006. "Lightning from [a] thunderstorm excites the electric field above, producing a flash of light called a sprite," said geophysicist Colin Price.

  • Clouds

    Clouds: Saucer-shaped or "lenticular" clouds that form at high altitudes have been confused with UFOs.

  • Blimps or Advertising Balloons

    Blimps or advertising balloons: These can look like flying saucers from some angles, especially at night.

  • Sunken Ship in the Baltic Sea

    On June 19th the Swedish-based diving company Ocean Explorer discovered something they've never quite seen before. They were exploring in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland looking for sunken treasures when a very unusual image suddenly appeared on the sonar. A 197 feet diameter cylinder shaped object was discovered at the depth of approximately 275 feet which resembles the Millennium Falcon from the movie Star Wars.

  • Baltic Sea UFO 1

    An image released on June 15, 2012, shows a close-up view of the unidentified object sitting on the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

  • Baltic Sea UFO 2

    Close-up of rock bed that forms the Baltic Sea UFO, which still mystifies researchers.

  • Baltic Sea UFO 3

    One of several odd stone circle formations, sitting on top of the unidentified object at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

  • Antarctic UFO -- Aug. 10, 2012

    A circular UFO hovers above the Neumayer-Station III research facility in Antarctica on Aug. 10, 2012. Theories ranging from a simple weather balloon to a more elaborate ship from another planet have run the Internet gamut. The next slide shows a closeup of the object.

  • Antarctic UFO Closeup -- Aug. 10, 2012

    This is a closeup of the UFO from the previous slide. No official explanation has been offered about the object.

  • Manufactured UFO -- 2011

    Pictured is a quad copter -- a deliberately manufactured UFO created by special effects wizard Marc Dantonio for a National Geographic special, "The Truth Behind: UFOs," which aired in December 2011. On the left is what the small device looks like resting on the ground, measuring 4 feet in circumference. At right, is how it appeared behind a tree in the night sky.

  • Police Dashboard Camera In Texas

    In February of 2012, this fireball was captured by a Texas police chief's A dashboard camera. F.A.A. say this was probably a meteor, falling to Earth. .

  • Meteors

    Meteors: Space debris can create a spectacular light show when it burns through the Earth's atmosphere, and sometimes reported as UFOs.

  • Civilian or Military Aircraft

    Civilian or military aircraft: Planes can look mysterious at night or in certain light conditions, thus confusing an observer.