What are Flying Rods?



What are Flying Rods?

What are Flying Rods?

Flying Rods, what are they?… For some people, they are an undocumented insect living on earth but others believe that they are not of this world at all but alien creatures. Perhaps they are all wrong and it is just an optical illusions, so let’ have a look at the facts and find out the truth.

Flying Rods, the basics;

Flying Rods, also known as Skyfish, have sparked a huge amount of interest and debate from people in all walks of life from Paranormal Investigators to Cryptozoologists.
They are described as cylindrical shaped creatures ranging from just a few inches to over 1 metre in length which fly through the air at tremendous speeds. They have a membrane down each side of their body which vibrates rapidly as a method of propulsion, similar to that of a squid or Cuttlefish, yet despite many reported sightings no one has ever found a specimen, neither living nor dead.

My own interest in the subject began during my investigations in the Swadlincote Paranormal Investigation team. One night, whilst filming at Moira Furnace in Leicestershire, we spotted something a little bit unusual.

Flying Rod at Moira Furnace

A Flying Creature captured by Swadlincote Paranormal Investigations

The anomaly on the picture was only visible on this frame of the footage meaning that, whatever it was, it must of been moving incredibly fast. We have shown this image to many people who have given us a great variance of opinions ranging from a type of Orb to a speedy Moth.
Other people suggested that it could be a Flying Rod, which led me to research the subject and try to find out what they are.


The Discovery of Flying Rods

One of the first people to discover and highlight these Flying Rods was Jose Escamilla who captured footage in 1992 whilst filming near to Roswell1. His examples may be grainy, but do still resemble the described Rod shape.  Escamilla believed that they were a form of UFO, but could his search in the Roswell area have made his views biased?

Jose Escamilla Rod

A Rod captured in 1992 by Jose Escamilla


A quick search on YouTube.com will show many moving examples all claiming to be footage of Flying Rods, including this example that has been slowed down to show the Rod in more detail.
In the top right screen there is clearly something flying through the air. It’s trademark membrane-like wings would suggest that it could be a flying Rod.

Flying Rods

Examples of Flying Rods (Various Sources)

The Skeptic’s View

But not everyone is convinced. There are, of course, many sceptics who have their own views on these so called flying Rods, including The Straight Dope columnist Cecil Adams who described the Rods as a hoax, “where unscrupulous people are exploiting a gullible public for profit”2. one of the strongest arguments they have is that these Rods have never been captured nor have we ever seen a dead Rod. Being a sceptical person by nature myself I think these sceptics make a very good point.

The most logical explanation is that these Flying Rods are actually just an optical illusion caused by the shutter speed of the camera being used to capture it. If an insect moves in front of the lens very fast, then it may beat it’s wings several times during that frame. That combined with motion blur creates the rod illusion.

To try to explain this better I have made a series of diagrams.

Flying Rods 1 and 2

Figure 1 – An insect with wings in the up position

Figure 2 – An insect with wings in the down position.


Flying Rods 3



Figure 3 – The insect is travelling at speed, beating its wings up and down several times during a single frame of recording. This creates a stretching effect of the images.



Flying Rods 4Figure 4 – The same image but with the colours inverted and a slight amount of motion blur added.
After more research it turns out that there are a lot of independent groups who have come to agree with this explanation.


In 2005, a team of researchers from China claim to have debunked the theory of Flying Rods all together when they recorded footage of rods being captured in huge nets only to later find that the only things they had captured were regular insects.3


There is plenty of evidence to suggest that these mysterious Flying Rods are nothing more than speedy insects captured with a slow shutter speed. The evidence which explains them with logic and science outweighs the evidence that they exist (or more importantly, the lack of evidence as no specimen has been found) as either living creatures or a new type of Alien spacecraft.

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L. Harewood F.     Timeline  . Roswell Rods. http://www.roswellrods.com/. Published December 16, 2015. Accessed July 1, 2017.
Adams C. Rods (Optics). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_(optics). [Source]
UFO. sina.com.cn. http://tech.sina.com.cn/d/2006-01-23/2211827624.shtml. Published January 23, 2006. Accessed May 15, 2017.