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New Phoenix Lights Hoaxer Might Be Lying About Hoaxing

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posted on May, 5 2008 @ 12:56 PM
reply to post by samureyed

That's a good point. I was going off of the Reporter's analysis of products available.

I just checked Party City (the largest helium balloon suppler in Phoenix) and they don't sell a latex balloon larger than 12inches in diameter, according to their product inventory on their website:

Here are the other Phoenix retailers:,&near=Phoenix,+AZ&fb=1&ll=33.33856,-111.839447&spn=0.837524,1.279907&z=10

1) Buy Right Party Goods
They have a 24inch latex balloon (by my quick Math this still shouldn't lift it, we'd need a diameter of 2.5ft at least, but I could be wrong, just quick math):

2) Bonanza Balloons
They do large ad balloons only:

3) Arizona Air Boutique
These guys have 24inch and 26 inch available:

4) All About Balloons
These guys don't have their inventory online

... So it looks like it's possible to get the right size balloon if a 2 or 3 ft diameter balloon will lift the flare, however we're looking at only 1 retailer (that I could find online) that sells the 3ft diameter kind.

To this end, I'll be altering my experiment. Instead of buying all of these balloon types, I'm going to buy the flare and fishing line, and make the 'payload' package, and then take that package to a balloon store here in LA. There I'll be able to (if the salespeople are nice) attach the payload to several different balloons and test exactly how much lift is required.

I have to say though from looking at the pricing, that the larger balloon you use the more expensive your materials. This is looking like a pricey hoax, especially for a guy who doesn't seem to have any expertise in lighter than air materials.

I'm figuring that without the initial knowledge required to know that a standard size balloon won't lift your payload this guy would have had to have bought all of his balloon equipment at least twice to make a successful attempt. (a 12inch diameter balloon IS the standard size for helium balloons, and they are usually latex unless you're buying a custom mylar one for a party/event, these are MUCH more expensive, and they reflect light)

For the sake of argument though, I'll try the flare against the larger sized latex balloons.

At this point though I feel the need to mention another important detail if this guy's story is to be believed. The claim was that he released each balloon about a minute apart. Now balloon size aside, even if we can get the flare to lift on a larger sized balloon, releasing them 1 minute apart is sure to put each balloon into a different spot in the sky, the wind would have to be just right to get them all together once launched at spaced intervals.

So there are really 3 things that need testing:
1) Can a flare be lifted by a helium balloon at all (1ft diameter, 2ft diameter, or 3ft diameter, latex)?
2) Can a lit flare be suspended from that balloon using fishing line, and not burn through the line?
3) Can several balloons launched at one minute apart from the same location coagulate in position in the sky?

I'll test part 1 tonight, or as soon as is possible. I have to say though, that if this were a project that someone were approaching me for looking for funding, I would have to dismiss the project from a project manager's perspective. There are too many questions, and too many potential problems with this proposed mechanism to consider it viable without proof of concept.

I'm going to try to proove the concept because I want to know if it will work, but from the outset this is looking like your typical episode of mythbusters. By that I mean that we'll probably have to do some serious tweaking (as in increasing the balloon diameter) in order to make the concept even viable. I'm not sure it's even possible to solve for item #3. But we have to make items #1 and #2 work first, and we can test both of those without launching anything, and without creating the potential fire hazard.

If anyone can do these experiments also (or quicker than me) I'd like to see independent verification. However I will have my results from my first round of testing for everyone by tomorrow most likely.


posted on May, 5 2008 @ 01:13 PM
I'm interested in testing this as well. I might even consider testing the balloons being tied together on a smaller scale to show the inconsistency of their formation. however, this test would be in a controlled environment to show the complexity of it.

posted on May, 5 2008 @ 03:21 PM
reply to post by snookhums

True, however we must keep in mind that as you described earlier Snookhums, the alleged hoaxer did not tie the balloons together.

So even if we are able to recreate a similar flocking flight pattern, we're still just 'mythbusters' style taking the myth farther than the original data can go, in order to re-create the results.

But if you want to jump ahead to testing this aspect, I'd be interested in taking a look at your results.

By the way, VisionQuest, I've decided to run some of these tests before attempting to launch a workable system (if one can even be created). But I'll get back to you if/when a full scale working test can be run. And I'll do the driving and meet you in San Diego if/when that happens. I still think that over the ocean would be the best place to test it. And we could use one of us on the beach and one of us up on Mt. Soledad to get two different perspectives.

I've found the places I'm getting the equipment from for this first test, I'll update tomorrow


posted on May, 5 2008 @ 09:06 PM
Hi all...

Just an update for you. I just sent an e-mail to the Phoenix Fire Marshall/Fire Chief, to the Mayor of Phoenix, and all the councilman/women that had an e-mail address listed, and to the Phoenix local news networks. As far as the local news networks, I sent the e-mail to the news desks, any investigative reporters that were listed on all 3 networks, as well as "news tips hotlines" etc.

I let the reporters and news desks know I had e-mailed the mayor, and the city council as well as the fire chief in the hopes that it would light a flare under their butts. Hey...I can dream right?

If you live in Phoenix and have any other ideas on who I can e-mail be sure to let me know.

Here's a sample of the e-mail I sent:

Subject: Fire Hazard Not Addressed

I am writing this concerning the "Phoenix Lights 2008" incident April 21st where a man anonymously confessed to tying roadside flares to helium balloons in order to "hoax" a UFO. On the local news stations, this man was filmed confessing, his neighbor Lino Mailo admitted to seeing the man launch the balloons with the flares, pointed out what house the man lived in, and the fire department and the police can't figure out what laws he's broken, and the FAA isn't going to investigate??

How about 2 that I found in your very own "Phoenix Fire Code", available on the web, and found by me in 5 minutes:

3013.3 of the Phoenix Fire code law states a separate permit is required for tents, outdoor fireworks, theatrical and special effects displays, the display of vehicles and use of open flames.

305.3 Open Flame Warning Devices. Open flame warning devices shall not be used along an excavation, road, or any place that dislodgement of such devices might permit the device to roll, fall or slide onto any land or area containing combustible material.

What if this man attaches explosives to these balloons next time to take out a passenger plane? What if these flares had burned through the "fishing line" he claims attached the flairs to the balloons, and fell into someone's backyard or house and caused a massive fire? Something is VERY fishy here, and I was hoping you could give me some answers on why there isn't going to be any investigation or charges brought here or even a TICKET written? I have sent a copy of this e-mail to the Fire Chief, the Mayor, and the councilpersons as well, and was hoping you'd investigate on why this is??


Source, me

I didn't want to say anything concerning UFOS, Conspiracies lol etc...that would only cause them to delete the e-mail I am sure

As it is, I doubt I'll get a response but you never know, at least I tried! Will keep you posted on any responses I get.

[edit on 5-5-2008 by LateApexer313]

posted on May, 5 2008 @ 09:10 PM
reply to post by WitnessFromAfar

Good show Witness you so ROCK! I can't wait to see the results, even though, as you said, the math you did already disproves it, but would be nice to have the proof, in case I have to send out more e-mails to half of Phoenix again with our proof
You get a star for sure!!

posted on May, 6 2008 @ 12:23 PM
reply to post by LateApexer313

Thanks LateApexer, and great letter! Very well written and well thought out.

I'm sorry to report a bit of failure in my project yesterday. I got to the fishing store to discover that it was no longer open, and the storefront was for lease

I have some success to report as well though, I did manage to pick up a road flare from Kragen Auto Parts. It cost $3.99, and it claims a 15 minute burn time. This was the lightest flare I could find (I compared them by hand, no portable scale with me). I'll take a weight measurement of the flare at some point today, so that everyone who wants to do the math will have a solid number to work with.

Without the fishing store, I drove around for about an hour to different spots I thought might sell fishing line, but didn't find any. I thought it would be easy to find, but I guess not a lot of folks fish in LA. I don't fish myself, so I didn't have any fishing line handy.

At any rate, I'm looking online today for other places to get it, and as soon as I've got it I'll tie up the flare and head over to Party City to test the rig against some balloons (after work of course).

I'm sorry to report delay, but I'm a step farther than I was yesterday

I'm working 2 jobs right now so free time is not plenty. But my night job is in a lab, and I usually work by myself when I'm there late, so I have a good place to test Item #2 mentioned above (the flare burning/not burning through the tie line), after I've tested the weight/lift issue.

At any rate, I'll post again once I can get some fishing line and run the first test. Sorry for the delay.


posted on May, 6 2008 @ 12:44 PM
reply to post by WitnessFromAfar

if you have a wal mart out there you might find some fishing line. they always seem to carry fishing gear.

posted on May, 6 2008 @ 01:40 PM
reply to post by snookhums

I found some at Big 5 Sporting Goods (California Chain I think...)
But thanks for your help!

I should be able to get this testing done this evening


posted on May, 6 2008 @ 03:27 PM
Slight update...

I just weighed the flare on the postal scale, and it came out to exactly .8 pounds. This translates to about 12.8 ounces. Most importantly, in grams:
.8 pounds = 362.873896 grams

So when I stated earlier that I was estimating on the light side, I wasn't kidding. The road flare actually weighs approximately 363 grams.

This means using 12inch diameter balloons, with a lift capacity of 14 grams a piece, it would take 25.9285714285714285714285714 (285714 repeats forever...) or about 26 Balloons to lift one flare.

Using a single Latex Balloon, you would need a 3 ft diameter balloon or 36 inch diameter balloon. These are said to lift .9 lbs, while our flare only weighs .8 lbs.

This also means that our fishing line must weigh less than .1 lbs or 45 grams (approx).

It also means that our balloon would be at just about it's maximum lift capacity, meaning a slower ascent than an equal sized balloon with a lighter payload.

So doing the math now there is no conceivable way that a 12 inch balloon can lift 363 grams of weight. It's pointless for me to even try the 12 inch standard size balloon.

I'll see if I can locate a 36 inch (or 3ft) diameter balloon to test with this evening, and I'll update the thread later today when I can find one.


posted on May, 6 2008 @ 03:32 PM
reply to post by WitnessFromAfar

Very impressive! That would be a very slow ascention into air space, not mentioning what the wind would do to it at that point. And for the sake of others stating that he could've tied the balloons together would only mean even more inconsistencies.

posted on May, 6 2008 @ 05:28 PM
Further update - I cannot locate 36 inch diameter latex balloons in Los Angeles. I tried several different outlets, and no joy. Party City told me via telephone that they were not aware of any outlet selling 36 inch balloons, and that the standard size is 12 inches.

To this end, I've decided to contact the location in Phoenix where these 36 inch balloons are listed as being available. That outlet is:

Arizona Air Boutique, Inc.
10401 N. 32nd St., Suite E
Phoenix, AZ 85028
Phone: 602-867-4606
Fax: 602-926-2375

Here is the email I'm sending to them now:

To whom it may concern at Arizona Air Boutique, Inc.,

Hello, I represent a group of investigators interested in analyzing the most recent mysterious appearance of 'lights' in the skies over Phoenix this past month.

According to local news reports, these lights were caused by common road flares, tied with fishing line to latex balloons filled with Helium. This information came forth as a result of alleged eye-witness testimony.

Many in my research group doubt the ability of a standard size (12 inch) helium balloon to carry a road flare (weighs about 363 grams). Doing the math, it seems that a Helium Balloon with a 36 inch diameter should just barely be able to lift the payload.

Let me state flat out that I have no intention of sending a balloon with a lit flare attached into the sky, and I personally feel that the aspects of this story can be tested in a safe manner.

To test this theory, I'd like to order one of your 36 inch diameter latex balloons, and I will fill it with Helium on my end after delivery. I am located in Los Angeles.

Are you aware of any other retailer in the Los Angeles area where I could purchase a 36 inch diameter latex balloon in person?

Are you aware of any other retailers in the Phoenix area that sells this product?

Do you keep a record of who buys this product, and if so do you have a record of sale of 5 or more of these products to an individual residing in Phoenix during the last month?

Thank you very much for your assistance, I look forward to hearing from you soon.



I'll wait to hear back from them before proceeding. If I need to order the right sized balloon from this or another retailer, I will do so.


posted on May, 6 2008 @ 08:11 PM
Hiyah Witness,

Great e-mail, very well written, wow you have been very busy for a guy with 2 jobs, kudos to you and your hard work!!

The flare's way lighter then I thought it would line is very light I wish I lived close by I have like 26 rods, reels, tackle boxes and reels and reels of the stuff...anyway I can't wait to hear the results and if you get back any response from the balloon place!

Speaking of responses, I got the first one back from mine today while I was at work....from a councilwoman, here it is in it's entirety:


I spoke with my contact over in the Police Dept. regarding the "Phoenix Lights" incident and Sgt. Dwyer said that yes the gentleman would be charged with something but at this point it is out of the Phoenix Police Dept.'s hands. The feds and the FAA are looking at what charges to bring against him. He did not have any further details. Please let me know if you have any further questions, thank you.


Jessica Amend
District 3 Office Manager
Councilwoman Maria Baier
phone: (602) 495-0594
fax: (602) 534-4190

Well first of all a round of applause to councilwoman Amend for a very timely response! I sent those e-mails yesterday evening at probably 7pm Phoenix time and her e-mail came in at 1:35pm EST today.

So her police contact says the Feds and the FAA are investigating, interesting isn't it gang? The FAA tells the media they have no intentions of investigating the incident now all of a sudden the "Feds" and FAA are involved. The plot sickens
I am not sure if this is just lip service to an outraged citizen intended to soothe them into silence or if it's true. Can't wait to see if anyone else I e-mailed responds...she's the first so far!

So what do you all think about her response??? What's your opinion...I can't wait to hear what you all have to say.

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 11:05 AM
So its lookin like they're scrambling for a response by being vague and passing it off to a branch of authority who won't even waste their time answering an email you send them. Thats real convenient for them.

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 11:37 AM
reply to post by LateApexer313

Great work LateApexer! That's an official statement you just obtained

This is critical to have when approaching the media in Phoenix regarding this case.

Now that we've got information claiming an ongoing investigation by the FAA (and by Feds I'm assuming the FBI or the ATF), we have a legitimate reason to demand a follow up from the news outlets.

Contained in that follow up should also be a 'correction' where the earlier statement regarding 'these supplies are available at any Party Supply Store' should be amended.

The supplies required have now been proven (through research in this thread) NOT to be available at any Party Supply store, in fact, 36 inch diameter balloons are only available through one retail outlet in Phoenix, and are not available at all in Los Angeles (that's a big deal, no offense to those who dwell in smaller cities, but if you can't find something in LA that IMHO means it isn't readily available).

Further on that point, fishing line is not available at Party Stores at all, nor are Road Flares. Now that we've established that balloons large enough to lift the road flares are not widely available at Party Stores, the statement should read: 'None of these materials are available at most Party Supply Stores.' and the original statement by the press has been shown to be completely false, and not researched in the first place.

At any rate, I'm not sure what the media's response to these investigations will be, but if they're holding to standards of journalistic integrity, that's the outline they're supposed to follow in a follow up report where more information has become available.

LateApexer, you've done the majority of the letter writing here thus far, would you be willing to write the Phoenix papers, including the Official Statement you received from the nice Council Member, requesting a follow up regarding the discrepancies in the FAA's response to the media and their response to the Phoenix Police?

If needed (if nobody in the Phoenix Media has the balls to take this story seriously) I will write an Op-Ed piece on the lack of media interest, and detail within the article our current investigations, and I will send this article to the Editor of every newspaper in Arizona for free distribution.

Let me know how you intend to proceed LateApexer, and I will help to the best of my ability.

I've yet to hear anything back from the Balloon Co. in AZ, and I'm waiting to order a 36inch balloon until I can get a response. If they don't answer by the end of today, I'll begin again looking for other outlets where I can find the right size balloon.

If anyone finds a 36 inch diameter latex balloon for sale in California, please post the link here.

Snookhums, do you have the capability to physically go to the address listed for the Balloon Company? I'm not sure on your distance from the store... Perhaps an 'in person' visit would help to motivate a response. At the very least we could determine if this is a real company that is actually selling 36 inch diameter balloons to the public.


posted on May, 7 2008 @ 12:02 PM

Originally posted by WitnessFromAfar
Snookhums, do you have the capability to physically go to the address listed for the Balloon Company? I'm not sure on your distance from the store... Perhaps an 'in person' visit would help to motivate a response. At the very least we could determine if this is a real company that is actually selling 36 inch diameter balloons to the public.


Whoops! Sorry, I just realized that you are in New Mexico, sorry. I'm sure we had an ATS member from Phoenix participating in this thread...

One sec, I'll look through the thread...

Okay ATS Members:
Skipper 1975
The Loony

OR any other ATS Members who live in the Phoenix Area...

Are you willing/able to check this Balloon Company out?


posted on May, 7 2008 @ 12:05 PM
reply to post by WitnessFromAfar

Good work WFA and Apexer! The ball is rollin on this investigation. I think the idea of making a press on the media could stir it up a bit. The tests so far is showing to debunk the flare story.
WFA - I don't live in the Phoenix area but I do have cousins who live in the area. I'll see if I can get in contact with them but if I can't I'll see if I can find someone in the area that might want to help us out.

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 12:38 PM
Hey folks. I honestly thought that something was wrong with this story in the beginning but didn't realize it metastasized to this point until following up on the thread. I'm glad to see all the work you are all doing and will follow this thread closely.

While most of you seem to be focusing on the science part of this event, I felt drawn to the actual interview. Maybe some of you noticed but I didn't see it mentioned.

1. The neighbor appears to have a military style haircut! Could be nothing but that caught my attention. Is he military and if so, could it lend some creedense to the theory that this explanation was a hoax? (Coverup)

2. He said several times that he was "Urged" to call the news and tell them what he saw. I don't know about you but that isn't a word one would typically use to describe how they came to this discission. A more appropriate response I think would have been, "So we decided" or maybe "my wife or son thought it would be a good idea to....." .

I really think that these 2 points could have some real barring on this whole matter. I for one tend to anylize peoples behavior when it comes to trying to debunk a story. It really says a lot about a person when you watch how they react.

What do you think?

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 12:47 PM
Another thing I noticed about this individual was that he was VERY figidy! Always putting his hand up to his head.

Experts will tell you that when someone does this, plays with their hair, scratches their head or face, it tends to show that they are lieying. It is a natural reaction the body takes when it is uncompfortable. And I'm not convinced that he was just nervous during the interview because it was an interview. He was hiding something.

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 05:05 PM
That's an interesting point Cromagnum.

On the Science side
of the investigation, I've still not heard back from the Balloon Company in AZ, however, I did manage to find the 3ft diameter balloons available here in LA.

Balloon World‎ -
4017 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
(323) 933-2266‎

This isn't terribly far from my day job, so I can conceivably pick up one of these balloons, HOWEVER...

It's a really big however. I got pricing information, and the Balloon itself costs about $6.00 without Helium.

If you're going to buy one with the Helium, it costs $30.00
There is no bulk rate.

So now that I understand the pricing, it seems we're being asked to believe that not only did this guy break the law, but he spent a LOT of money in order to do it!

I don't see how a reasonably comparable hoax (comparable to the original phoenix lights event) could be pulled off without using at LEAST 5 Balloons.
5 Balloons of this size filled with Helium would cost you $150.00 USD, before tax. And that's using the bare minimum number of balloons!

At any rate, I'm not in a position right now to spend $30 on a side project. After payday on Friday I'll be in a better position to test this at full scale. I'll update when I've got more info, but I must comment that I find this guy's story more and more ridiculous upon every aspect we examine.


posted on May, 7 2008 @ 05:20 PM
reply to post by WitnessFromAfar

we haven't even really gotten to the test in full and so far the flare story is becoming more and more like a weak explanation for the lights.

WFA - This Friday I might be able to assist a little financially since I said I would help and I'm interested in getting this fully tested.

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