Balloon Boy a Learning Experience

October 20, 2009 | By | 2 Comments


On October 15th when I first heard about a weather balloon becoming un-tethered and flying around the state of Colorado, I thought hmm, we’re going to get allot of  UFO sightings with this one.  When I heard a 6 year old boy might be inside the balloon, I thought, ” Holy Shi@#$%&”.  I along with others watching this on TV and monitoring the news on the Internet needed to see how it would all play out.

UFO investigators watch events like this one very closely and learn from them.  Doing so can help us with future dramatic investigations in learning how the media and the public deals with them.  I’m sorry to say that after I started reading the initial reports to get my self up-to-speed with the media, I quickly started thinking hoax.  Somehow deep down, I knew the little boy would not be in the balloon and still be at home.  Call it an investigative gut feeling, or just being cautious and not throwing the horse before the cart.  I know the media is good at exploiting any situation to extreme conditions to satisfy their own publicity needs.   They are no longer reporting the news to inform the public, but have become the very intrusive Paparazzi clones that instead of stalking celebrities, stalk the news.  And stalk they do, capturing every channel, interrupting favorite TV shows just to push information to the viewer they believe is relevant to what the viewer needs.  They’ve become so flaccid as so called news investigators, that they themselves miss the very red flags, which once again defines a comfort zone between common sense and intelligent common sense.  How sad they’ve become, and I have to laugh now when they’re only excuse is, “Oh even the mighty TV reporter can get ‘shammed’ from time to time, then they proceed to give us previous examples when this happened.  They refuse to admit that their investigative skills have gone the way of the Dodo and Woolie.  Maybe they should start taking lessons from UFO Investigators who handle the unusual stories regularly and think before they speak.

While reading initial reports my Spider senses started kicking in, I mean my UFO investigative skills I immediately started thinking hoax.  Not a day or 2 days later, but at the get go.  Something didn’t smell right with this story and too many red flags started showing up.  This event was turning into a (grade A) number one hoax, something seasoned UFO investigators have a tendency to spot from time to time.

Disclaimer:  Even though I originally thought this event was a hoax and still do, the Colorado judicial system will ultimately make that decision and we should consider the Heene family innocent until proven guilty.

Ok back to the hoax.. (he he)

Immediately, I started questioning some of the media facts. (ie: Media facts are not necessarily the real facts, but what they consider factual news and report on.)  The media has been known to “bend” the truth for ratings.  Ya think?  And, they are just as responsible for the “proposed” hoax as the individuals who initiated it.  Ratings, it’s all about ratings and mindless TV sponges suck it all up and bow to the demi-Gods of media expertise who shove it down their faces.  Yeah, I have issues with these guys, and yes I’ve dealt directly with them in the past so I do have the right to voice my opinion.

Well the first Original Red Flag for me was: Why was the Mylar weather balloon filled with helium?  Helium is a natural gas which is drilled for.  I believe Texas and Oklahoma have natural gas wells that contain around 5% more helium, and is extracted there.  Helium is actually rare!  The gas field has to be enclosed in radioactive rock for helium to be produced.  It takes millions of years for the radioactive rock to slowly decay to create this gas.  So, why was the balloon partially filled with helium?  This balloon was getting ready for flight!  If someone was going to check for leaks in an experimental balloon, then you would use just air, it’s a lot cheaper.

Second Original Red Flag: How was the balloon released?  Authorities claim the silver balloon was 20 feet long and 5 feet high. This sucker was big?  Only a complete idiot would partially fill a balloon of this size with helium, and then use only mediocre constraints to secure it.  This didn’t just escape, it was released.  Well, later reports confirmed my original assumption.  It was purposely released as seen by later video.

Third Original Red Flag: An older brother saw his younger sibling go inside the base of a helium filled balloon, to play? Where the Hell were their parents?  Geeesh!  Can you say, “Child Services?”

Fourth Red Flag: Could this type of balloon carry a pay-load weight of an average size boy of his age?  A Colorado State University physics professor, using dimensions given by Richard Heene, had told sheriff’s officials as they were tracking the balloon Thursday that it was plausible for it to lift off with 37-pound (17-kilogram) Falcon inside.  So, the fourth red flag was answered by a creditable authority.  But what about the other three?

Let’s look at the original report:

The father had told reporters the family was in the early stages of working on a “3D low-altitude vehicle” (aka balloon) when the contraption and the boy went missing.  His brother had said he watched Falcon get into the balloon before (the father) had un-tied the tethers, setting it free.  Heene later said Falcon was videotaped getting into the vessel by his brother, but “obviously he got out.” Once it was untethered, the saucer-like craft flew eastward from the Heenes’ neighborhood and across Colorado’s countryside.

Now a week later we have a better idea how this event went down and of course now the media is screaming “Hoax!” Well maybe if they thought more like a UFO investigator they wouldn’t have egg on their face. With every UFO investigation assigned to me or one I go after, I always start as a skeptic first.  Yep, you have to look for all the red flags then proceed with caution.  This story is a great example of jumping into an investigation too quickly and not being careful then leaning towards “stupid”.  Yep, we can all learn something valuable from this story when it comes to investigations.

First, look at the source of information.  If your witness has a history of suspicious behavior, then suspect him, or her and perform the appropriate tasks to cover all the bases, and this does include chasing a balloon which may have the slightest chance a child is on board.

Second, what happened to completing an on-site initial investigation?  In the case of the missing boy, a proper canine unit would have found him pretty quickly.

Third, suspect and expect the unexpected.  Challenge everything!  Look for anything unusual, watch for red flags and go after them.

Fourth, keep an eye on what’s going on around you and watch your eyewitness’s actions and reactions.  If the media is present, watch what they’re doing which may make your investigation more difficult to pursue.

Fifth, try to run your own initial investigation and don’t let your initial opinion or thoughts be curved by outside sources.  Go with your gut feeling even though it may be completely different from the majority rule.  Use your previous experience through investigations to help you decide what your next plan of action is.

Sixth, compare notes with other investigators after your initial thought process. This will help you excel in the direction you want to go.  You may or may not agree with the other opinions, but give yourself the opportunity to make that decision.

So after reading this blog please leave a comment, because my blog and your comments will help me and other investigators excel in this crazy business.  What are your thoughts about the “Balloon Boy Incident”?

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Category: In the News, Miscellaneous, The Z-Files

About the Author ()

For the past 28 years Chuck has been researching and investigating the UFO/Paranormal phenomenon. Chuck approaches his investigations with an analytical understanding, making sure to address all human known possibilities before venturing into the non-human or paranormal aspects of the sightings. (TV Shows in which Chuck's investigations have been featured on:) *2002, The Roswell Crash, Startling New Evidence: Documentary Sci-Fi Channel *2006, Sci Fi Investigates: Episode 5, The Roswell episode, Sci-Fi Channel *2009, Primetime: Outsiders, with Juju Chang, Alien Abductions, NBC *2010, SyFy Fact or Faked: Episode 6, San Luis Cattle Mutilation, SyFy Channel *2011, Chasing UFO’s, Episode 3, Alien Cowboys, San Luis Cattle Mutilation, Nat Geo *2013, Finding Bigfoot, Bailey Colorado episode, Animal Planet

Comments (2)

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  1. Karen Lyster says:

    At first I thought “maybe” this is real (after the boy was found safe)…. but after all the questions from reporters started to come in and he had that “box” to put them in, that really did it for me as who would “need” to know the questions before hand – only someone who wanted to “control” the answers. It was a horrendous thing to do as we were all feeling so sorry for the famliy and waited with baited breath to see if the little boy was ok. NOT a nice thing to do – pretty bad stunt!


  2. B ryan says:

    We all know how the Roswell story went. One of the most blatant UFO cover ups ever. WHAT IF, this, was a decoy. What if – the boy was a victim of alien abduction. And this hoax, was done, with full intention of being discovered to be a hoax? Maybe there were real sightings or contact in the area, so real that – in order to divert attention from them, a hoax, with built in holes intended to be found, was created to divert attention from a real abduction. A hoax for a hoax. This tactic has been used before. This is all speculation – but the groups that govern us are dead bent on keeping as much info from us as possible on alien presence. I would not put this passed them

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