Won’t get fooled again?

Footage posted on YouTube that appears to show a glowing orb of light hovering over the Jerusalem’s iconic Dome of the Rock led the more excitable tabloids to proclaim the “final proof that aliens exist” had arrived.

'UFO' over Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock

But seasoned UFO footage watchers smelled a rat. In his caption the photographer claimed he and another man “witnessed an amazing ufo aircraft over Jerusalem old city” from a panoramic viewpoint near Mount Zion in the early hours of 28 January.

The dramatic footage shows the ‘UFO’ descending slowly to ground level where it hovers for a short time. In one clip a group of American tourists can be heard saying: ‘We’ve seen them in Mississippi like this’, while others gasp in astonishment as the UFO zooms upwards into the sky.Two more mobile phone clips were added later, uploaded (it was claimed), by groups of independent witnesses who saw the same spectacular event from different parts of the city.

The rock is the site where Muslims believe Muhammed ascended to heaven with the angel Gabriel and the foundation stone is the holiest site in Judaism. Within hours the images went viral and the net was buzzing with possibilities: was this proof that aliens are visiting our holy sites? Was it a visit from an angel, a signal from the Hebrew god or “a great deception sent by Satan”? Or was it all just the latest hoax created by the UFO footage cottage industry to fool a credulous media and public?

We thought it odd that despite at least three separate clips no named person was quoted in the reports. Israel is a densely populated country and Jerusalem has a population numbering in the hundreds of thousands. If a UFO really had hovered above the Dome of the Rock, even at 1 a.m., there should have been thousands of witnesses, not just a handful. The story and footage was simply too good to be true. And it didn’t fool YouTube user Hoaxkiller whose research revealed the ‘UFO’ was a computer generated image. He even created alternative versions to show how it was done. According to him, the hoaxers used a real video of the rock as their canvas, then added the fake UFO, followed by CGI-generated camera-shake and fake zoom “so it would be more believable.”

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