In January of 2009, residents of Morristown and surrounding towns noticed red lights in the sky that weren't coming from any airplane. The strange lights were seen in Morristown, Whippany, and Hanover. Calls to the Morristown Airport yielded no clues as to the origin of the strange lights.

Videos were posted to YouTube, eyewitnesses were put on television, and newspaper articles were written about the phenomena, which were subsequently sighted on two other nights in Jan. and twice in Feb. It was even covered by MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network. "UFO Hunters", the show on the History Channel did a piece on the sightings, with their lead investigator saying there was no way that the lights were definitely not flares or Chinese lanterns.

The mystery was solved on April 1, 2009, when the UFOs were revealed to have been a hoax: the "UFOs" were flares tied to helium balloons attached to fishing line.

The two perpetrators were Joe Rudy and Chris Russo, who said they did it to show the unreliability of eye witness accounts and to call into question the validity of UFO hunters, saying (as quoted in Newsweek) "Are UFO investigators simply charlatans looking to make a quick buck off human gullibility? ... If a respected UFO investigator can be easily manipulated and dead wrong on one UFO case, is it possible he's wrong on most (or all)of them?"

They were charged with a disorderly persons offense; each was fined $250 and each had to perform 50 hours of community service.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle only.

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