THE NEW YEAR period brought sightings of strange red-orange lights reported to police, local authorities and UFO websites across the world. The following was recounted on paranormal website The Vike Factor taking place in Hedon on Sunday January 2nd at approximately 11pm:

“At first it was just one and I thought it must have been a very quiet plane or helicopter but then another 4 followed, same height and travelling in the same direction (easterly). Thankfully my husband was home so he saw them too! So glad someone else has seen what we saw! Have no idea what they could be, they were reddish/orange in colour and completely silent, quite eerie really.”

Now before you pick up the phone, put pen to paper or fingers to type, then we can assure readers that the aliens were not paying us a visit last Tuesday; nor on Friday 31st December 2010 just after midnight when dozens of the blighters were spotted heading East, some in a follow-my-leader single file formation. However, these were definitely identified flying objects. The culprits were Chinese Lanterns released to celebrate the New Year.

Chinese Lanterns are now used widely in celebrations at which fireworks would have previously been used. Whilst very pretty and meant to symbolise hope and good luck, the lanterns can also cause problems. The Coastguard registered 347 false alarms in 2009 probably caused by lanterns being mistaken for emergency distress flares. The wires inside them can fall to the ground and be eaten by cattle; the fire risk is more obvious – and also as we have seen they can be mistaken for alien spacecraft!

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