It has long been one of the chief arguments against the existence of creatures like Bigfoot: why, in spite of the prevalence of motion-activated trail cameras that cover much of America’s woodland landscape, has such a creature never been photographed?
I had a discussion about this with a forestry and natural resources major from Clemson, SC, only weeks ago, who asked me the question above. While we spoke, I admitted there have been some strange things captured by trail cameras, such as the infamous “Jacob’s Creature” photos. The official explanation for the creature in these images was said to be a mangy bear; though this doesn’t seem entirely likely based on what the photos and later analysis detail, it doesn’t rule out other possible explanations that may not warrant anything out of the ordinary. That’s why, of all things, the notion of strange aerial phenomenon being captured by a motion-sensitive camera seems even less likely than a flesh-and-blood critter wandering into view, just in time to say “cheese.” Still, stranger things have happened, as the video below shows us: what is the weird object hovering in the background of these Texas trail camera photos?
Writing for the LA Times‘ outdoor and adventure blog Outposts, writer Kelly Burgess included testimony from a Fort Worth, Texas resident named Lisa Brock-Piekarski, who noted that “There’s nothing back there but trees and sky. There’s no hills, no buildings, nothing back there. It’s all flat.” Nonetheless, the strange row of illuminations appeared in not just one, but several consecutive images taken throughout the evening, which appeared to show a large, airborne object in the distance.
What we do know about the camera is that it operates using infrared, rather than a flash, and is motion-activated, like the majority of cameras of this type used for hunting and wildlife observing. Brock-Piekarski told reporters they’ve captured falling stars, but nothing quite as uniform as the object in these photos. “Anytime there’s a meteor shower or anything, you can see it a lot better, but I’ve never seen anything like that.” Brock-Piekarski’s land is also in Archer City, which is just 20 miles south of Sheppard Air Force Base in nearby Wichita Falls. Local station KXAS-TV (who did the piece featured in the video above) contacted the base, but said officials “did not immediately return requests.”
When viewing the individual photographs (several were posted online here) one can see that the object in question moves slightly, drifting to the right over a period covering at least an hour just before dawn as the time stamp on the photos indicates. One of the earlier images bears a time stamp of 5:18 AM, whereas two later images took place consecutively at 6:06 AM and 6:07 AM. Photos taken as the camera was triggered by game in the area after sunrise, occurring several minutes before 7:00 AM, show a clear background; nothing but open sky is visible in the distance behind the location of the strange object from only an hour earlier.
So what was it? Some outdoor enthusiasts, posting anonymously on the site Texas Bowhunter Forums, have suggested everything from droplets of water gathered along a spider’s web, to a string of LED lights. Another item of speculation might involve the potential for mirages, perhaps due to city lights in the distance reflected off moisture pockets present in the atmosphere (this sounds very similar to the classic debunkings of the Project Bluebook era, but it can indeed occur). However, none of these suggestions would explain the peculiar way the object appears to “drift” over the course of the morning as the photos show. Until further information about the location and other contextual details emerge, the identity of this strange illumination over Texas will likely remain unidentified. However, if you have any information about this or other sightings of strange aerial phenomena in Archer City or other Texas locales, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org