If you walk this world long enough, you're bound to come across a conspiracy theorist and their whacky notions about how the world really works. Usually, their stories fall apart after a few minutes of poking holes in them. Sometimes they can just be dismissed outright as pure lunacy.
However, some conspiracy theories are so outrageous that you actually have to take a minute to hear them out. Take for example, the theory of flying rods (or "sky fish" as they're sometimes called).
In the late 1990s, conspiracy theorists began clamoring over something called rods.
According to expert websites at the time, these so-called rods were suddenly appearing in photographs and videos. No one knew what they were. Some claimed they were aliens or creatures from another dimension.
They were quickly named "sky fish," as the rods' movements seemed similar to the movements of fish in the ocean.
By the early 2000s though, researchers (specifically photographers) figured out exactly what these rods were.
They were far from an invasive alien menace. These rods were actually an optical illusion caused by filming long exposure shots of flying insects. Because of motion blur, the flapping wings of a passing insect create a distinctly "rod-like" shape when reviewed later. You can see this in the photo above of moths being attracted to a flood light.
Take, for example, this photograph of a stream. For this picture, the photographer set a long exposure time and managed to capture some "rods" on film.
This photo was taken at the exact same place. As you can see, there are no rods to be found (thanks to the different camera settings).
(via: Paranormal Phenomena)
This terrifying extraterrestrial invasion was transformed into a simple trick of the light in one fell swoop. (But, seriously, "sky fish" still sounds pretty cool. New band name?)