- September 4, 1995. "Load-type" UFO filmed by
newspaper reporter in Gyeonggi Province. February, 1998. Saucer-shaped
UFO filmed in Busan. April 9, 2001. Rod-shaped UFO captured on film by
another TV cameraman. May 5, 2001. TV cameraman catches unidentified flying
object on film in Cheong-ju, North Chungcheong Province.
- Whether you believe in aliens or not, mysterious objects
have been seen buzzing the skies of Korea. A simple Internet search will
reveal hundreds of Korean UFO home pages. So far, no crashes. No abductions.
But that doesn't mean you can shelve your camera.
- Seo Jong-han has dedicated 20 years to studying, tearing
apart, and occasionally verifying the twenty or so UFO photographs that
crop up every year. Apart from his day job as computer game developer,
Seo is a member of the Korea UFO Research Association (KUFORA), a small
group of analysts that subjects each reported sighting in Korea to close,
- "When I was in the fifth grade, I read a magazine
called 'Boys Central.' They had articles about UFOs every month, and I
just got curious about it," Seo said.
- Each photo is examined through a computer for traces
of forgery. Seo compares the reflection of sunrays in the photograph to
the alleged position of the photographer at the time it was taken. He checks
astronomical charts to see if planets, shooting stars or solar flares were
visible. He considers the testimony of the photographer and looks for inconsistencies
in the reports of other witnesses. He then sends the survivors to another
researcher in Japan for a second opinion.
- "Ninety-nine percent of the photos I get are fakes,"
- Korea has a long history of UFO sightings. During the
Korean War, both American and Korean pilots reported encounters with flying
saucers. In March 1979, two Korean Air Force pilots participating in the
Team Spirit joint military exercise reported seeing a "very bright,
lighted plane." Nothing appeared on their radar screens.
- The pilots alleged that the ship had flashing lights
on the sides and what looked like a "burning furnace" in the
middle. It then reportedly shot sideways, stopped, and then moved rapidly
upwards and out of sight.
- In 1982, people reported three separate sightings, making
it the "year of the UFO" in Korea.
- Having studied each case in minute detail, Seo shared
the lessons learned from his successful UFO observation with The Korea
Herald. It's not enough to just set up a camera, he explained. To ensure
that your photo survives scrutiny, it's important to use the proper techniques.
- The best method Seo recommends is using the eponymous
technique developed by an American named John Bro. The "Bro Method"
is designed to detect UFOs hiding in the sun's rays.
- Take a video camera or timed camera and put it on a tripod.
Place the tripod just under the eaves of a house or building, with the
lens at an 80-degree angle.
- The shadow of the eaves will fall over the camera, reducing
glare and highlighting flying objects that would otherwise be obscured
by the sun.
- "UFOs often hide by placing themselves directly
in front of the sun," Seo said. "With the Bro technique, you
can still catch them on film."
- As in real estate, location is key. Once a UFO is sighted,
there's a good chance it can be seen again in the same area.
- While UFOs have been seen all over South and North Korea,
the best place to pitch a tripod is Kapyeong, in Gyeonggi Province. With
two UFO sightings and a slew of military bases in the area, Kapyeong is
fertile ground for film.
- Yangdong, in North Chungcheong Province, is another popular
place for UFO hunters to stake out.
- Seo went to Kapyeong after a reporter from the Munwha
Ilbo photographed a UFO there, hovering in the sky. Seo shot his film at
the exact spot the reporter stood. He claims the video, still under examination,
caught a "moving cloud," which he believes is an alien spacecraft.
- Finally, patience is something no researcher can work
without. It might take years to get the shot, the reward for hundreds of
rolls of film, moments of elation and disappointment, and endless public
- "If you get a shot of a UFO, don't bother sending
it to us," Seo said. "Sooner or later, they all wind up on my
- Seo says a UFO can be distinguished from an airplane
or weather balloon by its rapid movement, its ability to turn on a dime
and accelerate almost instantly. This violation of the law of physics,
he says, is what leads most scientists to view UFOs as a phenomenon rather
than an object of study.
- Those who manage to get a rapidly moving object on film
should not be disappointed if it doesn't look like a flying saucer. There
are over ten identified classes of UFOs, some believed to be from different
- Among the most common UFO types reportedly seen across
the country is the cigar, "load," type, also referred to as the
"mother ship." There's also a "ball" type, triangular
type, "clover with a dome" type, "round with a dome"
type and "half a sphere" model. A Korean Web site, www.ufokorea.net,
lists even more.
- In competition with the multiple types of UFOs are multiple
types of non-UFOs. Pictures of planets, dragonflies, and the scourge of
lens glare may have interesting imagery, but proof of unidentified flying
objects they are not.
- Using a string to lift a model around in front of a video
camera may also get a few yuks, but won't fool a serious investigator.
Clever use of the "copy" and "paste" functions on a
computer may shock co-workers, but it's a shocking waste of time for KUFORA.
- Of course, UFO research in Korea isn't limited to setting
up a camera and biding one's time. A person can also set up a radar station
and bide one's time.
- The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) institute
(http://setiathome.ssl.berkeley.edu), based in the United States, connects
computers from all over the world, allowing a person to monitor radio transmissions
from space over the Internet.
- The Mutual UFO Network (www.mufon.com) is another alien
investigation organization operating internationally. MUFON members are
trained to properly investigate sightings and reports of UFOs, feeding
the information into a massive database. MUFON currently has no chapter
in Korea, but with the growing list of sightings and believers, that could
- With the Korean economy picking up, UFO sightings will
get more common. With more leisure time, people take more trips. They go
to beaches, mountains, resorts - and take lots of pictures. More people
in more places taking more photos means more UFO sightings.
- Seo says there have been no reported cases of alien abduction
in Korea. People interested in mysterious airborne objects shouldn't worry
about their safety when staking out famous sighting areas. The most important
things in UFO hunting are technique, knowledge, and persistence. And luck.
- World UFO Day, the anniversary of the Roswell Incident,
is July 2. On July 2, 1947, a farmer in Roswell, New Mexico reportedly
discovered the wreckage of a flying saucer, prompting widespread conspiracy
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