On those rare occasions when I have some free time, I kill it in ways that I’m sure very few people do. One of those ways is searching the Mutual UFO Network’s (MUFON) database. If interested, you can reach the database through the following link: Believe me when I tell you—you never know what you may come across!

While searching the MUFON database, looking for recent cases in West Virginia for a project that I’m working on, I found a very unusual—and unexpected—report.

An anonymous West Virginia resident was watching History’s Appalachian Outlaws when he noticed something strange: a weird light caught his attention. Curious about what he just witnessed, the man put the show in slow motion and watched. He saw a clear image of a Rod moving quickly across the sky.1 The Rod was reminiscent of the infamous Rods that have been spotted in a cave Mexico and those popularized by another History show MonsterQuest.

Intrigued by the report, having never spotted a Rod myself, I looked at a screen shot that the informant had taken which accompanied his report. It was indeed a Rod like those that I have seen on the internet and on the MonsterQuest program.


What are Rods?

“There is a phenomenon that exists among us,” said Jose Escamilla who first discovered Rods on March 19, 1994. Escamilla was filming the sky in in hopes of capturing UFO footage. Two weeks earlier, he obtained about 15 minutes of video of UFO sightings in Midway, New Mexico.2 When reviewing the media from March 19, Escamilla discovered an image that could not have been caused by a bird or an insect.

Rods tend to show up on photographs and video; they are seldom seen by the human eye. Rods, also referred to as “skyfish,” are anomalous flying objects (or creatures) that typically have a rod-like appearance. In many instances, Rods look like flying sticks with small branches coming off the body. Other times, they appear to have spiral-shaped bodies and look almost like elongated corkscrews. Rods vary in size but usually, measure between 1–6 feet in length. However, Rods up to an estimated 100 feet in length have been reported. Escamilla believes that Rods represent some sort of living entity—entities that are very evasive and extremely fast.3

Though the Rods phenomenon is a recent discovery, Rods may have been darting across the skies of our planet for many millennia. According to Escamilla, Rods appear to be depicted in ancient rock art on the walls of caves.4

How Do We Explain Rods?

Rods have largely been written off as nothing more than a by-product photography. Mark Zimmerman, an assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Central Oklahoma, says that cameras are capable of producing artifacts—things that show up in pictures that actually weren’t there when the picture was taken.5

Zimmerman has actually spent time in class discussing the Rods phenomenon. Though a bit skeptical of Rods and believing that there are scientific explanations for their appearance, Zimmerman says, “I think it’s interesting and makes for a good topic of discussion.”6

Skeptics often attribute Rods to insects flying too close to the camera, lighting, shutter speeds, and any number of factors that can produce strange and distorted imagery.

In many cases, insects and birds probably are the culprit behind Rod sightings. However, Escamilla has detected Rods in video and photographs from places where birds and insects do not exist—places such as space and the ocean.7

If Rods are some sort of living entity what could they be? If they buzz through space the same way they zip across the sky, what are they? Equally intriguing this the fact that they seem to be able to swim through both the sky and water!

The website is dedicated to documenting the Rods phenomenon. On the site, an important piece of evidence which contradicts the claims of skeptics is posted. The following excerpt can be found on the site:

MILITARY FOOTAGE of a ROD flying by as slow as a bird that can be seen in real time. Because most RODS clips require frame by frame and slow-motion play-back in order to be able to see them, this footage is perhaps the most significant in RODS research, as this dispels the “blurred insect close to the lens” theories being used by debunkers. The ROD is actually seen with the naked eye!

Personally, I’m not sure what to think of the Rods issue. I’m sure that most Rods are probably some sort of distorted image or a by-product of the camera. However, I’m not sure this explains everything. I definitely think that more study is needed to reach any sort of firm conclusion; until that time, the theory of Rods as living entities should not be altogether dismissed.


  4. Ibid
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.




Denver Michaels

I am an author and researcher with a passion for cryptozoology, lost civilizations, the paranormal, and all things unexplained.