Published January 08, 2015
It's the footage that has true believers in a spin.
Several videos posted to YouTube last week appear to show a strange ball of light hovering above a Jerusalem shrine before disappearing into the night. At first the clips, shot from different angles, seemed convincing -- or at least like an elaborate hoax.
It's beginning to look just as likely that they're part of a viral marketing stunt for a Hollywood movie, however. Several skeptical YouTube users have pointed out how the UFO clips appear to have been digitally manipulated.
That hasn't stopped one of the videos clocking up more than a million views, just a few weeks before the release of Battle: Los Angeles.
Official teasers for the alien invasion flick use footage from documented UFO sightings to promote the film, and its marketing team has dabbled in online stunts before.
Last June posters at the Comic-Con expo directed people to reportthreats.org, a website apparently run by a group called Worldwide Assessment of Threats Concerning Humankind, or WATCH.
The website was, of course, part of the promotional campaign for the film.
The videos show a circular object descending slowly over the holy city's iconic Dome of the Rock before flickering and shooting skyward like a rocket. Similar clips have been seen before and debunked as hoaxes. But this latest sighting had been proving more difficult to dismiss -- as it was recorded from four different perspectives.
Adding to the mystery is the fact that flying over the Dome of the Rock landmark -- an ancient Islamic shrine -- is forbidden.
Last week, former Ministry of Defense UFO investigator Nick Pope said, "if these are real, they are some of the most incredible videos ever shot.
"If they are not, then this is a very well-planned and coordinated hoax designed to eliminate elements of doubt."