Raw Footage of Detroit Lakes Anomaly

The raw footage of the mysterious figure in the Detroit Lakes skies is now available, but it doesn’t help solve the mystery. Instead, the anomaly becomes even more anomalous.

Todd Mitchell, the Detroit Lakes man who inadvertently captured video footage of a spooky-looking phantom figure swooping around the skies during a Sept 20 lightning storm, contacted UFOdays to clarify his part in the story and to provide us with the original video footage. Contrary to earlier reports, Mitchell was not attempting to record the thunderstorm. Instead, he had recently installed a Ubiquiti UniFi G3 Dome surveillance camera at the Country Campgrounds of which he is the owner and operator. Mitchell connected the surveillance camera to his UniFi wifi network.

After Thursday’s lightning storms, Mitchell wondered how well the camera might have caught the lightning display. Mitchell said, “I looked at the footage that same night to simply to see how the camera recorded lightning in the sky since there was so much. That is when I saw more than lightning in the playback video.”

The strange wraith like form which leaps into view seems to appear from behind the trees and, at one point, to maneuver through a low cloud. The abrupt movements and the whip of the trailing tail are reminiscent of the movements of microscopic organisms observed under a high-powered microscope or the way a traditional Chinese Dragon kite moves across the sky.

“I’ve never looked at lightning footage from that camera before,” Mitchell said. “I’m still freaked out as to what this is.”

Mitchell reviewed the rest of the surveillance footage and found a second instance of the anomaly a few seconds earlier. That’s when he submitted the footage to WDAY, asking the Fargo news station for help with the mystery. WDAY ran a short segment with a few enlarged clips of the footage, and that’s how UFOdays picked up the story.

I’m still freaked out as to what this is.

Mitchell uploaded the three clips below to his personal YouTube page which, when placed together, show a continuous sequence about twenty minutes after sunset last Thursday night. The day’s lighting storm has moved off to the horizon, and occasional flashes of lightning can be seen in the distance. Each of the three videos has a surveillance timestamp. The first video depicts just over a minute of the distant lightning storm underway at 7:48 PM on September 20. No anomaly appears in the first clip.



The second video picks up a few seconds later at 19:49:53. The smoky shadow-shape appears from behind the tree line at 19:49:56, snakes through the sky, and fades/disappears behind the tree line at 19:50:03.


The third video picks up where the second left off. The shape appears again at 19:50:39, this time launching from a flash of lightning on the horizon. It moves behind the obstructing branches of the trees as it rises and then maneuvers behind a cloud before disappearing off the top of the frame.


The evidence on the three videos rule out the possibility of an illusion created by a bug or other obstruction moving close to the camera lens. The clean image and lack of distortion also rules out software or processing glitches. In our previous post on the incident, UFOdays suggested the possibility of prank in connection with the Storm Area 51 event which took place the same day, but Mitchell objected, “I had no idea of the Area 51 event or when it was supposed to be. We like to joke about Country Campground being location 51 on the Chamber of Commerce map. Honestly, discovering this black streak around the same date as the real Area 51 event was a crazy coincidence.”

Something about the motion of the anomaly suggest the movements of a living organism.

One suggestion that’s come up in the comments of a few social media forums is that the video depicts some type of static discharge, black lightning, or plasma stream generated by the storm. We’ll have to wait for an atmospheric physicist to offer an opinion, but from our perspective, the movement of the shape seems too slow for a static discharge (which should be about the speed of light). Moreover, something about the motion of the anomaly suggest the movements of a living organism. So what is this thing?

On Tuesday, the news team from WDAY, the station that broke the story, interviewed Mitchell at the Country Campground and created a follow-up piece which you can view here.

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2 Comments on “Raw Footage of Detroit Lakes Anomaly

  1. Pingback: Strange Shape Darts Through Detroit Lakes, MN Skies – UFO Days and UFO News

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