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Flying Rods

The Theory

A previously unknown life form is active in our environment, flying through the air all around us. These life forms have the following characteristics:

  • Shaped like a rod, varying in size - anywhere from a few centimetres to dozens of metres.
  • They travel at high velocities, invisible (or barely visible) to the human eye, but able to be captured on film or video.
  • Some rods have appendages along their torsos which resemble fins.
  • They appear to be alive, not mechanical, and possibly intelligent.

Flying Rod
Flying Rod


Rods were brought to public attention by film maker Jose Escamilla in 1994, after filming some unexplained objects in Midway, New Mexico.

According to, Jose Escamilla captured 16 minutes of UFO footage on March 5th 1994. Fourteen days later, on March 19th, he filmed the first documented recording of the rods phenomena.

Since then numerous photographers and videographers have provided shots of what they believe to be flying rods.


The evidence centres around photographic and video images in which strange rods are seen flying through the air. Theory proponents claim that these cannot be known objects such as insects.

Some theorists also point to non-photographic evidence such as ancient cave wall paintings which could be interpreted as depicting flying rods. However no one seems to be actively making a case for this type of evidence and it does not get much attention.


The evidence is solely reliant on photographic and video images. No other evidence has been supplied which relates directly to this phenomena. If the photographic evidence is flawed then the theory has no support.

The images in question appear to be consistent with known phenomena; specifically, the motion blur effect of capturing small fast-moving objects on film or video. Insects are known to appear rod-like when photographed. The "fins" appear as expected from an insect beating its wings many times per second.

Analysis of the video footage shows that if these objects were as big as the proponents claim, they would easily be seen with the naked eye - it is not possible for video to capture something like this without it being visible.

For a detailed examination of Jose Escamilla's video images, see


There are a handful of websites devoted to flying rods but there does not seem to be a lot of activity or support. See references below.

A television documentary called Rods! was released in 2002. Produced and Directed by John Moffet, the style is similar to his earlier World's Scariest Ghosts: Caught on Tape (2000) and Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon? (2001). The documentary focuses on the Jose Escamilla video footage, interviews with Mr. Escamilla and other rod researchers, plus a few tenuously-related mentions of other UFO reports.

I have heard that there was a Fox documentary called "Conspiracy Theory; the Flying Rods" which first aired in September 2001. I haven't been able to learn anything about this documentary.

Observations and Summary

This is not a particularly popular theory. Its main problem is the fact that these rods really do look like insects or birds, and it is easy to demonstrate how insects recorded on video look exactly like "rods".

In short, the "flying rods" theory is not currently flying.

Page Info

Author: Dave Owen
Published: May 2004
© Copyright: Dave Owen 2004