2017, March 1: The Figure in the Sky

On March 1, 2017, the first reports appeared of a strange figure seen in the sky over Kitwa, Zambia, Africa.

The Figure in the Sky
The figure in the sky. [Larger view here]

        According to the report that appeared in several websites, the figure appeared in the sky over the Mukuba Mall in Kitwe, and was visible in the sky for over 30 minutes. It appeared to be looking down at the mall, and caused some shoppers to panic and run in all directions, and others to start praying. As the second photo shows, the figure was visible for some distance from the mall.

The Figure in the Sky
Another view of the figure. [Larger version here]

        By the 4th of March, the story was picked up by the Daily Mail, a well-known British news website; they added new details. The figure was estimated to measure about 100 metres/330 feet in length, and it was noted that the figure appeared to be made of different material than the surrounding clouds.

        And, because they just had to, the Daily Mail reporter not only pointed out that the figure resembled the 'Dementors' from the popular book/movie series Harry Potter, they also included a shot from one of the movies showing Dementors for comparison... which could have pissed off a lot of people in Kitwe, if any of this had actually happened.

Yellow Journalism is Alive and Well

        The term "yellow journalism" was first used in the mid-1890's to label newspapers that had a tendency to print sensational stories that were something less than true. As such, the term is still in use for those 'news' services that rely on false stories, overhyped headlines, and other forms of trickery to make themselves more entertaining than news-worthy. Have you guessed why I've brought this topic up yet?

        As pointed out by user 'Trailblazer' at the Metabunk website within two days of the Daily Mail's publication of the story, the two pictures above bear a copyright notice of dubious value... "©CEN," or the Central European News, who have a distinct reputation for making stories up. They are also likely the creators of not just the story but the images as well, since these stem from a picture that's been on the internet since at least February 3, 2017...

Human Kite
A kite. [Picture source here]

...which shows a kite designed by an Englishman named Martin Lester, called a "Spirit Man" (available in many colors), that have been available for sale since at least 2010. This particular image saw something of an explosion of posts in February, generally with pithy quotes attached... and it's likely one of these postings that provided the fodder for the Kitwe figure in the sky. Oy.

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