An Apparition of Eris

A pimple in the sky

A pimple in the sky

In 2004, Eris manifested in the air before my camera and allowed me to take a single snapshot. If you’ve ever wondered what She really looks like, have a gander. Of course, due to the poor psycho-temporal-spatial resolution of my imaging device, you’ll have to stare unblinking at it for at least an hour to see Her true image.

That event triggered an investigation of epic dimensions, resulting in the discovery of secrets that will lead man into a golden age of plenty and harmony. I can’t talk about that yet, though, so instead I’ll tell about the photo. I had originally documented all this in a series of posts at the now-defunct website Chapel Perilous, but have consolidated it here for your convenience.

I was spending the late afternoon of July 19, 2004 cruising around Newport, Oregon taking pictures. I’d just got a digital camera and was indulging myself with my new toy. That evening when I was reviewing the pictures at home, I noticed this one:


I didn’t see that thing in the sky when I took the picture and when I took a picture of the same scene six seconds later, it wasn’t there anymore. It also didn’t appear in any other photos I took. For size reference, the boat in the picture is a standard commercial fishing boat, around 40 feet long.

That’s when things got weird. My camera assigned this picture the filename p7190023, a nice little 23 flourish. The metainformation the camera added to the image files says that the UFO pic was taken at 5:14:08 PM, and that the one without the UFO was taken at 5:14:02 PM — before the other. That’s just a lie, though, at odds with the serial number of the pics (the “earlier” one is p7190024) and with the images: by looking at the moving things (the boat and the car on the far side of the inlet), it’s clear that the timestamps are reversed. Not only that, but beginning the following morning, my camera turned into a battery-killer, able to drain a pair of batteries in a matter of hours, whether the camera was turned on or not. Aside from that, it behaved perfectly normally.

Did I take a photo of a UFO? Since I never saw it, and I have to think it would have been unmistakeable, I had my doubts. I tried to reproduce the effect in various ways. I returned to that spot a number of times when the sun was at the same angle in the sky, experimented, and failed. It isn’t a drop of water on the lens, it isn’t an insect close to the lens, it isn’t a bird, and if it’s a camera defect of some sort, I’ve been unable to provoke it.

The time the photo was taken coincides with a lot of unusual geological activity. The prior week, there had been three unusual offshore earthquakes, one of which was powerful enough that it shook my house about the same as gale-force winds do. Offshore earthquakes themselves aren’t that unusual because the Juan de Fuca plate is subducting just a hundred miles out, but these were strangely close to shore. At the same time, the seafloor began to suck in water for the first time since they’ve been watching. A dead zone appeared off the coast, and continues to grow larger.

A police officer I spoke with also told me that people had been getting noticeably nuttier over the prior few weeks, and they’ve had an increased number of calls about various incidences of minor mischief as well as an uptick in domestic violence. This kind of thing is rumored to be connected to earthquakes.

Ball lightningCould I have photographed Earth lights like in Brown Mountain, NC? (Did you know that anomalous lights such as those might be examples of natural cold fusion?) There have been a few scientific papers discussing the strong connections between earthquakes, anomalous water movements, and ball lightning. Interestingly, ball lightning itself is only slightly more accepted in scientific circles than UFOs, even though you can make it yourself. A local geologist I talked to mentioned that the geology of this area is consistent with that of areas like Brown Mountain, and that in parts of southern Washington such balls are not unknown.

This has become my favorite explanation. Not only is the geology right, but it matches other aspects of plasma balls. Most balls are very brief — usually under 5 seconds, sometimes on the order of milliseconds — which could explain why I didn’t see it. When seen in the day, such balls are often described as being mirror-like or black. If we assume that the object I photographed was a bit on the other side of the jetty, then it could be a mirrored ball (the horizontal-ish black stripe could be a reflection of the jetty before it.)

In the course of my investigation, I started showing the photo around and asking if anyone else had seen or photographed anything like it. As it turns out, they had. Balls such as this had been sighted over at least a hundred miles of coastline. I spoke with three eyewitnesses myself. I even heard that someone made a videotape of one, but was never able to track it down. One of those reports said that the glowing sphere was stationary in his bedroom, lasted for about a second, and emitted enough light to cast shadows. He also said that most of his electronics have developed glitches, some major and some minor, after that. This reminded me of my camera developing a little “personality” after I took the photo.

I wasn’t the only one investigating this. A month after I took the photo, a couple of guys from NOAA knocked on my door and asked me all kinds of questions about it. They even wanted to know the names of the people I’d spoken with. I told them the whole story (minus names) and gave them copies of the original photos. They were very friendly, but I wonder why they were so interested.

Could they have been agents of Greyface trying to get some nudie pics of Eris? Yes, I think so. Who can blame them? She’s so hot she’s on fire.

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