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Ever since billionaire inventor Tony Stark declared, I am Iron Man, in the movies, kids and adults have long to take to the skies just like him. But recently, actual sightings of a strange figure flying over Los Angeles have people wondering, is there a real-life mad scientist out there and up there? December 2020, it's another beautiful day on the Southern California coast. In the sky above the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles, a local flight instructor is giving a lesson when suddenly she and her student encounter something or someone in the airspace off their port side. As we zoom in in slow-mo, we see what looks like a man wearing a jetpack flying at an altitude of about 3,000 feet roughly 20 miles off the coast. Now, look close.

You can see what appears to be legs dangling below a torso. And look right over here, a reflection of something metallic, like a backpack. But the strangest thing of all, there's no sign of exhaust. The jet packs that are out there use kerosene. And they have literally multiple turbo engines attached to them. But even still, the sustained flight on those is 10 minutes max.

It doesn't seem like he's close to coming down anytime soon, which says to me he's maybe working with something special here. There are other people who have invented jetpacks that involved engines on their arms. This doesn't seem to be the case here. He doesn't seem to have any kind of complicated equipment or anything really bulky. NARRATOR: Rumors of a similar flying figure have been swirling around Los Angeles for months before this sighting. So this guy in a jetpack had been spotted before, a couple of times actually, by pilots who were coming in for landings at LAX.

But this was the first time he had been captured on video. NARRATOR: The latest sighting was in August, 2021. What's going on? There are a couple of theories around this that really interest me. One is that it could be some kind of secret military technology that's being tested. The other is the idea that this is the work of an amateur backyard inventor who's just not ready to reveal himself yet.

This is far from the first time a flying human has shocked spectators. In 2007, a gas station owner named Kit Couch famously floated across Oregon using a chair and 105 balloons. But are these new sightings really someone on a jetpack? Our experts are cleared for takeoff. First, could these sightings just be weather balloons which have become deflated and misshapen into a humanoid-looking profile and caught in strong crosswinds? The only way that they travel at that velocity sideways is if the winds are really, really, really high. NARRATOR: But when Dr. Hence checks the winds over Palos Verdes that day-- If you look at the winds in this lower part of the atmosphere, all of these winds all the way up to about 3,000 meters are about 10 knots or weaker.

So this was a very, very calm condition. NARRATOR: Could this instead be a powered drone tricked out to look like a person? Our aviation expert Tim McMillan thinks not. We can rule out a conventional drone pretty easily because we don't see the quadcopters, the commercial drones of that nature. Or even most of your military or industrial drones, you're going to see wings, or you're going to see rotors. We don't see any of that. NARRATOR: Despite the appearance of a human form, astrophysicist Hakeem Oluseyi isn't ready to confirm this is a genuine jetpack man or woman.

The physics of getting to this location just does not favor a jetpack because they're at a high altitude, and they're also very far away from shore. The jetpack has to carry the fuel on board. And it has to fight against Earth's gravity pulling on the human being and still have enough fuel to travel horizontally. NARRATOR: A New Zealand company called Martin Aircraft did unveil a prototype in 2016 that is reportedly capable of flying close to the same 3,000-feet altitude as this person.

Their model weighs over 440 pounds without fuel or a pilot but appears to use significantly more equipment than what has been spotted over LA. Despite that, Oluseyi can't rule out a jetpack. Pilots have reported seeing this. So maybe there is something there.

So this is a tough one. We were going to say drone. But McMillan has us doubting that. So for now we're going to say this is a human using a yet-unknown technology. But we still don't know for sure and neither does the FBI.

They're still investigating these sightings around Los Angeles. For decades, we've been looking for a signal from alien civilizations. But what if their first message didn't come as a radio transmission, but was instead delivered like a gift? November 2020, the Red Rock Desert of Southern Utah. A helicopter crew and state biologist are counting Bighorn sheep when something catches their eye.

They land and make this astounding discovery, a large, shiny silver object tucked into an almost inaccessible canyon. MAN: This is wild. NARRATOR: Look closer. From every angle, it's clear this thing does not belong here. Utah keeps its location secret.

But news leaks out on social media, and it's quickly labeled the Utah monolith. US Army vet David Surber takes all the secrecy as a challenge. I'm like, OK, I'm going to find this place, right? It was probably 11:00 PM. And I drove for six hours straight through the night to try to get there.

NARRATOR: David works his way deep into a canyon. DAVID SURBER: I don't see anyone. NARRATOR: Just after daybreak, he rounds a corner. There she is.

And it's just there. And I was like, oh, god! And it was just a really cool experience to have a few minutes alone with it. There are few things more iconic than a monolith, whether we're talking about the monolith that started "2001-- A Space Odyssey" or the obelisks of ancient Egypt. So when this mysterious metal monument popped up, it really sparked people's imagination, the idea being that possibly one of the ways that aliens would contact us would be to leave an information-laden monolith for us to investigate and discover. NARRATOR: One focus on the internet was whether the monolith was constructed with alien building materials.

The belief was that they are comprised of something called a metamaterial, or a metametal. NARRATOR: Metamaterials are engineered to have properties not found naturally on Earth. Special composites of metal strands and ceramics are created to absorb radar for stealth technology.

And there are reports from reputed UFO crash sites that the craft contain alloys that give them antigravity and cloaking characteristics. Accounts of alien metamaterials went mainstream in 2017 with a "New York Times" article. According to "The New York Times" report, Bigelow Aerospace was contracted by the government to store possible materials from alien craft. NARRATOR: It's believed that the US government is studying these alien materials to create the next generation of weapons. Could the Utah monolith be made of the same sort of alien materials? David tests it.

I had a magnet with me mainly because we were trying to figure out what type of metal is it. Not sticking. And also was it a solid object or was it hollow? Not solid.

So what's it made of and by whom? Other mysterious monoliths have been discovered recently often in remote locations-- in Romania, the Isle of Wight, and Sweden. Are these objects some sort of alien calling card? Or could they be the product of a very creative and very human mind? TIM MCMILLAN: you first see this, you can't help but think of some type of extraterrestrial technology. However, there's nothing about what we're seeing in this video that leads me to believe it's manufactured from any kind of exotic materials. NARRATOR: Unlike reports of UFO metamaterials, the monolith doesn't defy gravity. And it's definitely not cloaked. In person, David noticed fingerprint smudges and ragged corners, as well as other signs of terrestrial construction.

The telltale signs of those rivets would make me believe this is manmade, no matter how kind of anomalous its appearance is. NARRATOR: For McMillan, that's the giveaway, the signs of ordinary earthbound metalwork. If it is human made, Kathy Strain has an idea why someone went through all the effort to put it in the middle of nowhere. I think it's a message of beauty, of artwork. It maybe makes you reflect more that I wanted to come here for the wilderness. NARRATOR: Some artists, like Donald Judd, believe that wilderness is the ultimate art gallery and use isolated locations for installation sites.

But who made this and what it's made from is almost impossible to determine from a video. Ultimately, you're not going to be able to determine exactly what this object is until you get it into a lab and under in-depth analysis. But just as it appeared out of nowhere, the Utah monolith vanished literally overnight. So until it's found, and we can get it into a lab, our verdict, this is not an alien artifact. It's either a human artwork or a hoax.

Either way, it's a compelling conversation piece. Face it, there have been times when you have just wanted to disappear. The desire to vanish is embedded deep in our culture, with references dating back at least as far as ancient Greece. But is this stealthy superpower actually possible right now with a little boost from modern technology? It's February 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.

Local vlogger Donald Washington heads outside on a windy winter's day to demonstrate something amazing for his followers. He sets his camera on a tripod and hits Record. Donald pulls something out of an oddly colored bag. He unfolds what looks to be flexible material of some kind. But it looks almost completely clear.

As the material unfurls, Donald's torso seems to disappear as well. Then he throws the blanket over his head and vanishes. OK. I know.

Seems like a Harry Potter fan with a talent for hoaxing, right? Well, this video has over 2 million views. So we felt compelled to investigate. The ability to disappear is hardwired into our genetics. From our earliest days as hunter gatherers, the ability to remain unseen was essential to our survival. Ancient humans would paint their skin in mud or other materials to camouflage themselves. NARRATOR: As technology has advanced, so have humans' attempts to render themselves invisible.

We have already seen the testing and development of some material that can be attached to the skin and renders it invisible using various light-bending technology or cameras. NARRATOR: In 1998, a lab at the University of Tokyo developed a system called optical camouflage using a camera placed behind the subject that projects what's behind them onto material, very real, very cool, but not very convenient. In 2015, the US Army put out a call to companies to develop an invisibility cloak for its soldiers, but little has leaked about any success. The Pentagon first acknowledged the existence of stealth technology to cloak from radar in 1980.

But the ability to trick the human eye has proved more elusive. The number of views on Donald's video suggests some folks think he's actually cracked the code. But before you get any wild ideas about stealing the crown jewels, let's turn to physics professor Michio Kaku for some clarity. Professor Michio Kaku has a set of criteria to determine if a particular technology has achieved what he considers real-life invisibility cloaking. First it has to be all the colors of the spectrum. Second of all, it has to be to any direction not a sweet spot in one direction.

And third, it has to be seamless so you can't see where the thing ends and the background begins. NARRATOR: One company is already marketing a material called quantum stealth, which it says can provide invisibility to armed forces. Professor Kaku explains how they have achieved this. That's called lenticular technology. That piece of plastic has hundreds of vertical lines. Each vertical line bends the path of light.

Some of these vertical lines take your image and scatter it. So looking at it from a screen, you have disappeared. But it's not totally foolproof. You can see that the image is kind of fuzzy.

And you have to be right behind the screen at a certain place to get the full effect of invisibility. NARRATOR: As for Donald's invisibility cloak-- MICHIO KAKU: You see this every night on the evening news. When the newscasters give you the weather, they're actually in front of a green screen. The video camera can digitally subtract the color green from the image and then superimpose any image you want as part of the background. NARRATOR: We reached out to Donald. And he confirmed Professor Kaku's analysis.

This is the actual green screen that I'm using in the video. So as you see, it's just nothing but an actual green blanket. I recorded the background first. And in my editing software, I just edited out the green screen to the background that was previously recorded.

NARRATOR: If you were fooled by Donald's video, you're not alone. I got a lot of friends to this day saying, hey, I want to come over to see that invisibility cloak. Our verdict? Obviously Donald's invisibility cloak is a hoax.

But that Japanese optical camouflage and the shield from HyperStealth are first steps in the real-world deployment of actual cloaking technology. There's hope that nanotechnology, which would manipulate individual atoms, will provide the solution in the future. Mirrors have long been believed to hold mystical powers. Breaking one traditionally means seven years of bad luck. While some chalk this up to mere superstition, this next clip will make you wonder if there might be some strange secret just behind the glass.

It's May 2017. And we're in the lush forest outside Portland, Oregon, where a hiker records a most unusual walk in the woods. Watch that again. The hiker walks through the mirror as though it's an open door, then turns back to see where he came from, and eventually returns back through the mirror.

I get it. Pretty out there. But if it's an illusion, it's an impressive one. And that's not all. As he goes through the mirror, you can see that the ivy is on the right side of the tree.

But then when he goes back through and he turns around, the ivy's on the left. So it seems like everything has flipped. It's really disorienting. NARRATOR: Now, work with us here a minute because McCarthy points out that modern science is open to the notion of mirror worlds.

There are actually scientists out there who are studying the idea that a mirror universe might actually exist. And they're running experiments using subatomic particles to see if those particles will turn into mirror versions of themselves. The idea of mirror universes comes from a measurement of neutrons that makes no sense. Neutrons, when taken out of the nucleus of an atom, will decay away. NARRATOR: According to the law of conservation of mass, that can't just happen.

If neutrons are, say, disappearing, then maybe they're disappearing into an alternate parallel universe. Sounds crazy, but this is actual physics that people are testing. If a parallel universe does exist, has this individual found a portal to it? Before you go running headfirst into your reflection, let's ask our experts to explain. Our astrophysicist Hakeem Oluseyi says the existence of a mirror universe is theoretically possible but points out we wouldn't be able to just step into it.

When physicists speak about a mirror parallel universe, they're talking about something similar to what we have. But we don't feel it or interact with it. In this case, the person is still in our universe. NARRATOR: So we need a more prosaic explanation of this footage. And forensic video analyst Mick West thinks he's got one. So I think what happens here-- and you can kind of get a clue as he gets towards the mirror here.

He approaches the mirror at a 45-degree angle. So you can't see his reflection. So I think what happens-- and if this was the mirror, you'd come up to the mirror, 45 degrees. You rotates it, come back out again, and turn around. Then you can come back in, do the same thing, come out this way.

All you have to do is then cut that video and remove the bits where you turn the camera. It's very, very well done. It's camera trickery. But it's nicely done camera trickery.

OK. Our verdict, this video was an impressively made hoax. While a mirror universe may still exist, we don't yet have an easy way to visit it, not through a mirror and sadly not through a TV screen either.

Some of our most interesting and mysterious stories have come from China, where secrecy is a national pastime. This next video is intriguing in two ways. And it presents a pair of riddles that may or may not be connected. August 2020, it's rush hour on a stormy day in Shenyang City in Northeast China. A motorist has his camera focused on a large residential building that is under construction.

Suddenly, we see something flying into the frame towards and then behind the building. Suddenly, the building is engulfed in a massive fireball. Let's see that again. The object appears to be a huge flying creature of some sort.

As the flash recedes, we see the flying object continue its path away from the building, which amazingly remains intact. Once the video goes viral, it sparks wild internet speculation about fire-breathing dragons. When we're faced with a video that suggests that something like a dragon flew over China and breathed fire, so many people are willing to jump on that bandwagon. That says a lot about human beings, both good and bad. NARRATOR: Modern-day encounters with what some feel are flying dinosaurs like the pterosaur, which boasted a 30-foot wingspan, are not uncommon in some parts of the world.

I've interviewed dozens of eyewitnesses who swear that they've seen these living pterosaur creatures flying around in modern times. In Papua New Guinea, they're known as the ropen. NARRATOR: The ropen, also known as the demon flyer, is said to be a monstrous creature that's terrified the natives of Papua New Guinea, which is further south on the Pacific Rim than China. In 1986, a man was even said to have been killed by a ropen eaten in front of his fellow villagers. While it seems highly improbable that these animals could still be around, there are many sightings and accounts. And I think we can't totally rule out the possibility.

NARRATOR: But even if we entertain the notion that this could be a relic pterosaur, that wouldn't explain the massive explosion. Some internet sleuths put forward another theory involving secret Chinese laser weapons. As recently as July of 2021, a research team in Shanghai announced they had achieved a technological breakthrough that will allow them to build the most powerful laser on the planet. Remember, we have two questions to answer here, not only what caused that big flash, but what was that thing we see in the air? And just so you know, we tried tracking down whoever shot the video with no luck, which is always reason to ask if the footage is even real. So our experts have plenty to sort out. Let's get to it.

Our wildlife biologist Dr. Stephanie Schuttler considers whether or not the flying dino theory has wings. It doesn't seem to be actively flying. It seems to be gliding.

We don't really see any movement of the wings at all. NARRATOR: Dr. Schuttler also notices another key detail when she zooms in on the image.

And it doesn't seem to have like a centered body shape at all. So I don't think it's an animal of any sort. It could be, like, a piece of tarp or a very big piece of plastic or something like that floating in the wind.

NARRATOR: So the flying object is confounding us so far. But what about the flash? Maybe it's separate from the object. Our military expert Tim McMillan addresses the theory that it's from a space-based laser, maybe a test.

Some of the challenges that any type of laser is going to face is atmospheric refraction. In this video, we see rain. We see haze, fog. All of that is going to greatly reduce any energy any type of laser is going to have. And so you're not going to get an explosion from a laser.

So I can say we're not looking at a laser weapon here. NARRATOR: Interesting fact, it was just announced that the US is developing a laser weapon to shoot down the new Chinese hypersonic missiles we mentioned earlier. But that would be used in space, where atmospheric refraction isn't a factor. So it all comes down to video forensic expert Michael Primo. He notices that the flying object seems to have passed the building before the fireball.

MICHAEL PRIMO: Based on this flight path alone, it does not appear that this object created or caused this explosion. Primo also finds a telltale sign that the video may have been doctored. MICHAEL PRIMO: At frame 8,740, there is a white flash that occurs across the whole screen right before the alleged explosion. So this appears to be a spot where whoever created this recording intentionally avoided the opportunity to see an edit, to deceive the viewer. NARRATOR: After further analysis, we also uncovered a report released by Chinese state media that cites the cause of the massive fireball as a random bolt of lightning striking a high-voltage power line near an unfinished residential compound.

So we know what caused the flash. It was lightning striking nearby power lines. That doesn't explain what was flying around before the lightning strike. But thanks to our ace forensic video expert, we're confident declaring that part of the video [chinese].. That's Chinese for hoax.

2022-06-26 15:04

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