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 Morristown Hoax Aftermath

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tclaeys
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PostSubject: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:57 pm

I am new to this forum but couldn't find any relative post concerning this, so please pardon me and direct me if there is a link pertaining to this. Here are my comments:

In light of the Morristown hoax, what kind of comments has Bill offered in way of recognizing and commenting on the hoax?? I wonder if the UFO Hunters show(Morristown episode) has been retracted or if there is any statement by Bill acknowledging his apparent error in this alleged sighting. Either way, it is important to fess up into being fooled.

It seems to me the only way that progress will be made is to recognize error, learn from it, and move on. The fact that 2 pranksters floated off balloons and fooled many people is certainly important when considering witness testimony, but it doesn't close the UFO question in it's entirety. It just adds another element whereby ufology can benefit. That is, if it acknowledges its own poor judgement and misguided analysis. This would hopefully help eliminate future potential error.

Thanks.
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kration
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:12 am

here is a thought. are we sure there was no ufo's seen at all. maybe the night befor.?
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:03 am

Good points. Bill is going to write a blog post on this as soon as he can. He was going to write it tonight but went to sleep instead.

In the meantime, I've been directing folks to this post at the Paratopia forum where Jeremy Vaeni definitely separates the threads and points out some errors in the general rush to condemn:

http://paratopia.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=243

In brief, there was no episode on this, but rather a teaser that was filmed before the third season started. In the teaser, the network's voice-over guy talked about the Tinley park episode from Season Two. This was maybe the second show of that season.

More to come from Bill, in a day or so ... or as soon as a bit of free time opens up.

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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:05 pm

From Bill this a.m.:

Haven't seen the whole thing, but, as bad as it may look, we did exactly what we always do: never contradict the witness so as to make him uncomfortable on camera, always take it back to the lab and suspend judgment until then, and always present the other side in any commentary. What you're seeing is that the hoax is in the retelling of the story, not in the lack of rational thinking. This will be the essence of the blog, when I get a chance to write it.

Here's the link to the vid:

video

Check out the belt on the reporter in the stand-up part and the nipples on the guy on the right. Moobies!

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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:29 pm

The truth is most people actually described what they were seeing as balloons with flares.

Kevin Randle had a good blog about the sighting and hoax:

http://kevinrandle.blogspot.com/2009/04/morristown-ufo-hoax.html

Most of the people were not fooled, and the hoaxters themselves placed themselves as "witnesses" to the event. There lies helped destroy any credibility their little "test" did.

Bill is correct to treat everyone with respect and not doubt what they saw to get as much information as possible. If one was called a liar, they would not offer any more information on what they saw or experienced.


Last edited by kidflash2008 on Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:32 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added)
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Bill
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PostSubject: The Morristown Lights   Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:06 am

At long last, here's a short reply. I'm writing a much more in-depth comment on the UFO Magazine Editor's Blog.

The Morristown Lights hoax wasn't really a hoax at all. If it was a hoax, it was a hoax on the media. It was only called a hoax in that the Rudy and Russo were the ones calling it a hoax.

Most of the media said the lights were unidentified and that local residents, who did not identify the lights as flares, were confused and called the police. Do we make fun of these people? No, they simply said there were unidentified lights flying in the sky, which is exactly what they were to those who could not identify them.

Witness Paul Hurley's little daughter was scared by the lights, so Paul, a pilot himself, called the airport tower, which was unable to identify them.

All we did on the UFO Hunters promo (not an episode) was to call them unidentified. That's the extent of the event.

It was Rudy and Russo who told the media they had hoaxed us, and the media bought it hook, line, and sinker. In other words, this was a media event not a UFO event.

But all you have to do is tell the media that you fooled folks researching the UFO phenomena and the media jumps all over it even after they were the ones who created the ruckus in the first place by reporting on the lights.

Good times. And we will have a lot more to say about this on the UFO Magazine blog.

And thanks to everyone for responding to the petition. Rudy and Russo notwithstanding, we are getting closer to a truth.
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:02 am

It also doesn't help that a lot, in fact most people use the terms UFO and anything alien interchangeably. While you're saying something is Unidentified, flying, and is by default an object- they're hearing you call it alien. I gave up on using UFO as a term and just started using the aviation term bogey, which is essentially the same thing.

Good to see you on the boards, Bill- keep us advised on the status of the show when you can. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:40 pm

Thanks for all the comments.

But I am confused a bit. In the promo, the voiceover says, in relation to this specific sighting (Morristown), that UFO Hunters tested the hypothesis that they were flares and came to the conclusion that they were not(implausible). If this in fact was a test for another sighting (Illinois) then why is it not clear?? Because the promo pretty much clearly signifies that it is about Morristown. How would anyone watching the promo tell that it was from an entirely different event?? If all the UFO Hunters did was say something about unidentified lights, it sure didn't turn out this way in post production as far as I can tell.

In addition, the stunt did fool people into thiniking it was a genuine UFO. I'm not sure where to look for witness comments, but some I believe, said things like "other worldy" , "scary", "no way it was balloons (and flares)", "like they were communicating", and so on.

Now, the media is an obvious obstacle and hinderance when "reporting" anything concerning UFO's. That much is obvious. Everything is tongue and cheek. But if UFO Hunters is really some entity to find the truth, or what can be found, then they should have jumped on this opportunity to rebutt what in fact did happen. Why is it all of a sudden June 1st and some comments are now coming out saying "all we did was say some lights were unidentified"?? It seems more than that to me.

Now don't get the wrong impression. I think the UFO question is something that is a genuine mystery. I don't know that it is aliens from Zeta Riticuli, or cryptos from inside the earth, or alternate universe interactions. I don't know what it is. But some shows are rather sensationalized, of course I'm sure to get people to watch them. This doesn't bode well for truth though. I'd just like to see some responsibility among ufology because it doesn't seem like anyone wants to be responsible, or (gasp!) change their opinion, when new information comes through.

Sorry, rant off. Again I appreciate the comments. This event is a minor one, but I still think much can be learned from it.

BTW, what petition??
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:16 pm

I also have to comment on the media's treatment of the subject of UFOs. While there are some who treat the people with dignity such as Larry King, I did notice a FOX News spot in which the anchor people put on aluminum foil hats in order to be "cute". This may not have bothered me so much, but what about the people who were willing to risk their jobs and the possibility of ridicule the rest of their lives to tell what they saw? The tin foil hats were a slap in the face to the people who report their sightings, and may make it so they keep quiet from now on.

Maybe that was the intent, to keep future witnesses silent or they will be ridiculed. Either that, or I am getting paranoid in my old age.
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:15 pm

kidflash2008 wrote:
I also have to comment on the media's treatment of the subject of UFOs. While there are some who treat the people with dignity such as Larry King, I did notice a FOX News spot in which the anchor people put on aluminum foil hats in order to be "cute". This may not have bothered me so much, but what about the people who were willing to risk their jobs and the possibility of ridicule the rest of their lives to tell what they saw? The tin foil hats were a slap in the face to the people who report their sightings, and may make it so they keep quiet from now on.

Maybe that was the intent, to keep future witnesses silent or they will be ridiculed. Either that, or I am getting paranoid in my old age.



Well this leads to one of my pet peeves concerning ufo documentaries , shows, etc. , ....
I've noticed over the years that almost every show is constantly interrupted by the "politically correct" debunkers theory ... anyone else notice this too?
No ufo piece is ever able to get momentum without the debunkers interjection "oh it was probably an airplane" ... " oh that video doesn't mean anything, people fake videos all the time" ... yada yada yada

It just seems like a waste of a ufo show to keep breaking up the story with the same tired comments of the debunkers.. it undermines the presentation and poisons the minds of any impartial observers who are trying to follow the presentation with an open mind.
It would be like a lawyer in court trying to give his presentation to the jury , and the whole time the opposing attorney is making sarcastic comments and yelling out stuff like "don't believe him" .. but this is how most ufo documentaries seem to be made and its a no wonder that everyone feels a need to debunk anything ufo related as the story is being told because thats what they see as the normal behavior towards the subject , even in the ufo documentaries themselves.
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:34 pm

I believe what we need is for the ufology field to put together different categories of proofs ... seperate the different ufo sightings and stories and pictures and videos into different categories for the laymen ...

1) proven hoaxes

2) not proven to be a hoax, but not very credible or believable.

3) appears real and credible .. but no other witness or proof.

4) very credible with very good witnesses.

5) excellent proof (video, photo) excellent witnesses, other things corresponding like scrambled jets and helicoptors, etc.


Too many times for too many impartrial observers are these categories mixed and whipped together when discussing ufo's ... making it hard for the caual observer to be able to get a grasp on what the best evidence has been to date ... most people aren't really interested in the weak stuff or re-hashing the debunkers theories... most people want the real meat and potatos of where we are right now with any ufo evidence , the best of the best cases with the most credible videos, photos , witnesses, etc ...

Like i'm a casual ufo follower ... but I couldn't tell you if the famous video of the flying saucer over mexico city is regarded as real or not , I really don't know how the experts have classified that video ... or the one next to the world trade centers taken from the helicoptor ...is that real or has it been exposed as a fraud? See? we need to organize and clean house a little as far as i'm concerned in order to make the field more user friendly for the casual enthusiast. If I were to google ufo pics , i would love to find a place where they were seperated into categories with the stoeies behind each case.
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:56 pm

I actually do not mind the use of debunkers or skeptics on programs dealing with UFOs. Debunkers and skeptics keep UFO researchers on their toes and honest. There are too many researchers who cut corners and have been known to even delete evidence if it does not go their way. (Travis Walton failing his test was covered up at first. When it was discovered that the UFO researchers had done that, they then proceeded to trash the person who administered the test.) The bias can go both ways.

I just object to the supposedly neutral interviewers and journalists who are just there to get the facts, yet they put on the tin foil hats and make fun of the people who are there to report their encounters.
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:04 pm

kidflash2008 wrote:
I actually do not mind the use of debunkers or skeptics on programs dealing with UFOs. Debunkers and skeptics keep UFO researchers on their toes and honest. There are too many researchers who cut corners and have been known to even delete evidence if it does not go their way. (Travis Walton failing his test was covered up at first. When it was discovered that the UFO researchers had done that, they then proceeded to trash the person who administered the test.) The bias can go both ways.

I just object to the supposedly neutral interviewers and journalists who are just there to get the facts, yet they put on the tin foil hats and make fun of the people who are there to report their encounters.


Good points , but sometimes I'd like to see a full presentation of the evidence and its stoty before being butchered up with the skeptics side ... maybe bring that in after the initial story is told , and then after both sides are given dedicate a little time for a debate , I think I'd enjoy that much more.
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Tue Jun 02, 2009 3:02 pm

That is a tough thing to differentiate the sightings. You really have to dig and do some research to get the low-down on these videos and other sightings. That is what makes the UFO field so damn convoluted. It's really a mess with a lot of disinformation by numerous parties. There are some good websites with good analysis, but it takes some time to begin to understand who is who in this field. At least that is a start.

Anyway, the Mexico city thing(wobbling spinning disc that goes behind a bulding) : Hoax
The WTC thing from helicopter: also a hoax (I think viral market plan, would have to rehash some old information)
And BTW Haiti (if you're wondering) - Hoax
Compeche Mexico (infrared video seen on TV a lot) - misidentification

As far as debunkers, there is a difference between being skeptical and being a debunker. A debunker KNOWS the sighting is not true so finds any means of "explaining" it as something mundane. A skeptic looks for real explanations but does not limit eveything in a nice neat box. The word "skeptic" is often misused. I am a skeptic, but don't close my mind to possibilities that I don't understand. However I need to have better information and corroboration than some photoshopped images or a story from a single person. It's just not enough evidence to be convincing. Unbelievable things require some unbelievable evidence. It's the only way the public will take this topic seriously.
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Mon Jun 15, 2009 2:25 pm

Hello everyone,

My name is Chris Russo. I was one of the two people involved in the Morristown Hoax. I know I'm a little late to the subject, but after reading some of the posts today, I wanted to respond. My friend and I conducted this hoax not to poke fun at the public, or people who believe in UFOs, but to show it's important not to jump to conclusions when trying to figure out what something is.

Bill has gone out of his way to criticize what we did, but never once mentions that he stated on his promo for the Morristown lights that he knew what was witnessed in NJ "could not have been flares". These words came from him while standing in Morristown, NJ. Unfortunately the video was pulled of the History Channel website after about 3 weeks. It can't even be found on Youtube now. I'm sure many of you remember this.

When interviewed by our local paper, he stated that the five lights he was talking about was something very different than what we did. Coincidentally the five lights he was talking about occurred on the same night at exactly the same time we released the flares, looked exactly the same, and were seen in the same town.

The point of our hoax was to show that there is no such thing as experts when it comes to UFOs.
We weren't out to prove or disprove the existence of flying saucers. We were only out to help people think a little more rationally.

Anyone interested in learning more about the reasoning behind our hoax, we have been asked to speak in Manhattan on July 18th about how and why we conducted the Morristown hoax. We would love to see you there....even you Bill Wink

Thanks and take care.

Chris
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:05 pm

You, Sir, are a sneering popinjay who lied on camera to law enforcement in the commission of an irresponsible ruse of the most egregious malfeasance, and then try to pass it off as public service!

You got off light. If it were up to me our parks and highways would be a lot cleaner for a much longer period of time. See, you're the reason people are so easy to keep scared and then unaware of what's really happening around them if a threat is present. You lie. You were convicted for it. What fruit is that tree supposed to bear?

No. Do not pretend to tell me what your "intentions" were; the expressions on your faces and your gleeful reportage are all the illustration required. Step off.


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>> AVG Blog -- http://alienviewgroup.blogspot.com/
>>> U F O M a g a z i n e -- www.ufomag.com


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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Mon Jun 15, 2009 4:53 pm

ChrisJoeRusso, I did see the spots with Bill stating the flares were unidentified. I also think it is wrong for you to create the hoax, and then come out as witnesses. That ruins your credibility as you are lying when you claim the lights are mysterious. If I was in the area I would be like Bill and treat the witnesses with respect and hear what they had to say. That is common courtesy if one wants people to come forward with their experience and avoid being made to look like tin foil hat people.

If it was an experiment, it failed miserably. Read Kevin Randle's blog on the matter and you will see you did not pull the wool over everyone's eyes. Many people stated it looked like flares on a balloon.

http://kevinrandle.blogspot.com/2009/04/morristown-ufo-hoax.html
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:45 am

chrisjoerusso wrote:
Anyone interested in learning more about the reasoning behind our hoax, we have been asked to speak in Manhattan on July 18th about how and why we conducted the Morristown hoax. We would love to see you there....

well, enjoy your 15 minutes. pig
if you had caused a panic and people got hurt--
you should've been arrested. clown


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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:53 pm

chrisjoerusso wrote:
Hello everyone,

My name is Chris Russo. I was one of the two people involved in the Morristown Hoax. I know I'm a little late to the subject, but after reading some of the posts today, I wanted to respond. My friend and I conducted this hoax not to poke fun at the public, or people who believe in UFOs, but to show it's important not to jump to conclusions when trying to figure out what something is.

Bill has gone out of his way to criticize what we did, but never once mentions that he stated on his promo for the Morristown lights that he knew what was witnessed in NJ "could not have been flares". These words came from him while standing in Morristown, NJ. Unfortunately the video was pulled of the History Channel website after about 3 weeks. It can't even be found on Youtube now. I'm sure many of you remember this.

When interviewed by our local paper, he stated that the five lights he was talking about was something very different than what we did. Coincidentally the five lights he was talking about occurred on the same night at exactly the same time we released the flares, looked exactly the same, and were seen in the same town.

The point of our hoax was to show that there is no such thing as experts when it comes to UFOs.
We weren't out to prove or disprove the existence of flying saucers. We were only out to help people think a little more rationally.

Anyone interested in learning more about the reasoning behind our hoax, we have been asked to speak in Manhattan on July 18th about how and why we conducted the Morristown hoax. We would love to see you there....even you Bill Wink

Thanks and take care.

Chris

As I wrote on my forum:

This is a promo that is splicing together a conclusion from an older case, the Morristown lights, and the Phoenix Lights in a mash-up that makes the viewer think they're talking about just the one thing: Morristown. So blame History Channel's crack team of trailer editors for that.

Then the goons who created the Morristown hoax cite Bill Birnes as shorthand for UFO Hunters. Probably he's the only character they remember and so their memory is of him saying this when it was really the voice-over dude inferring from a previous case.

Unless someone knows where Bill said it I'm going with fudged editing narrative meets collapsed memory.


So, Chris, if you can actually come up with the promo where Bill says it and it's not fudged in editing, let's see it. Otherwise, apologize and scurry away.

"Well we just wanted to prove to the world what they already knew. Or... you know... whatever after-the-fact reason that keeps us out of jail."

Job well done.
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:06 pm

Here is a promo for UFO Hunters with Bill on the Morristown Lights:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQgoO_XoOos

He does not say what they are, but he tries to rule out flares. Two witnesses claim they did not see flares.
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:43 pm

Hi, Chris,

I read your post here and thank you for publishing it.

Pursuant to what you wrote, however, I honestly never remember having said that the Morristown lights could NOT be flares. Maybe you're referring to the scene in which James Fox and I were sitting in front of a computer and commenting on a video we were watching. If that's what you're referring to, then that video was edited in from a season 2 episode in Phoenix, and James and I were probably referring to Dr. Lynne Kitei's video of one of the Phoenix Lights sightings. But that little piece was not from Morristown, nor did I know it was going to appear in the promo we shot in Morristown.

I did ask George Van Orden, the township health officer, when we were standing outside in Morristown, whether he believed the lights he saw were flares, and he said categorically that they weren't flares. I also asked Paul Hurley when we were in his house about whether the lights he saw and videotaped were flares, and he said that in his experience as a pilot he'd never seen lights like these before, but that he had seen flares before and these lights were different.

I certainly remember saying that we had to take the Hurley back to the lab to have it analyzed, which was the plan when the promo was shot. But because of camera issues and the fact that the Hurley disk never got to us when we were first in California and then Boston, we could never get it to Terrence Masson for him to analyze.

When looking at the Hurley video, I did say that the lights seemed to move together as if they were affixed to a structure. And I certainly was not about to challenge any of the witnesses, who, truly, were troubled by the lights. We treat people with respect on UFO Hunters because we know that the vast majority of witnesses actually believe they're seeing something unusual. Subsequent analysis, which you can see on our UFOs over Long Island episode from a month or so ago, our Giant Triangles episode from earlier this year, and even our Stephenville episode from season 1, shows that what looks unusual to the naked eye or through the lens of a consumer-grade camera often turns out to be very conventional.

I did criticize you guys both here on this forum and on my blog because your experiment in rational thinking was itself a hoax insofar as you contacted MUFON to report a UFO sighting, which you knew it wasn't, and then falsified your identities. Where is the rational, skeptical thought in that? You lied. Maybe the lie was part of your experiment, but it was a falsehood nonetheless, and it destroyed the veracity of your experimental method by attempting to tinker with the results. You did manage to hoax the media and the media hoaxed itself and members of the UFO community, all of whom tripped over each other to criticize me, the magazine, and the show on the basis, not of your video, but on the reports of your video from bloggers. Accordingly, the results of your experiment in rational thinking was that the UFO community was so anxious to criticize one of their own that they irrationally avoided the evidence itself and only looked at the commentary about your commentary. And that was a better result than you could have hoped for.

Also, while we're on the subject of rational thinking and rational reporting, think about the implication you made when reporting your enterprise. You said that you wanted people not to jump to the false conclusion that the lights they see in the sky are alien space craft. The media picked up on that even though no one in Morristown was calling these lights alien space craft, certainly not the UFO Hunters.

If you would like to invite me to be a part of what you're doing in Manhattan later this month and are prepared for a fair, civilized, logical, and honest discussion, then I would be happy to attend to talk about the show, the magazine, and the entire event.

Keep 'em flying, but do it safely.
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:26 pm

Thank you for your response, Bill. I think what you state speaks volumes on how potential witnesses are treated. No one wants to be called crazy or a liar, and they really did not know what they saw. Again, it does not help their case when the hoaxers actually play a part in stating they saw the object doing strange maneuvers. There method was deeply flawed, and they showed themselves to be very arrogant toward UFO witnesses. No wonder the vast majority of cases are not reported. And when they are, the witnesses just stop telling what they saw and go into seclusion.
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:01 am

Ethical. Open. Positive. Thoughtful. Considerate. Social. Altruistic. Helpful. Willing.

B2 has the spirit no matter what "math" one chooses. Very Happy

Fixer

Oh, better add: BNL Upton is "flaring" on the datascape the past 24 - 48, AUTEC is having a "whale of a time" too for those with an interest in that sort of "turf". Wink. Very Happy Ping.

P.S. And what Alf said.
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Sun Jul 12, 2009 10:17 am

Hi Bill,

Thanks for your response. Joe and I would both enjoy the opportunity to have a friendly discussion with you on the Morristown incident, as well as other cases. It would be great if we could set something up in front of a neutral audience.

With regards to the statement you made saying, "we know these couldn't be flares...", this was said in the first promo you guys did on the Morristown Lights. There were three promo videos total. Two of them can still be found on YouTube. The first one (which is the longest...almost 4 minutes) was on your UFO Hunters website as your featured story for about 3 weeks. It was eventually taken down and can't be found anywhere. You made the statement while standing in Morristown. In that statement you also asked where the debris would be if it was flares attached to pvc pipe. You asked which which field, which house would it fall on. Immediately following that you said, "we know this couldn't be flares...". It wasn't a voice over from a previous episode. It would be great if you could pull that clip out of the archives. Any way you could?

Either way, I appreciate your return response, and look forward to being able to discuss this further with you. Hope all is well. Take care.

Chris
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PostSubject: Re: Morristown Hoax Aftermath   Sun Jul 12, 2009 11:07 am

New dossier: Ruse-O. New dossier: Rudely.

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Morristown Hoax Aftermath
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