A video showing a series of flashes and explosions and shot from The Tower in downtown Fort Worth will be featured Tuesday on the SyFy networks Fact or Faked Paranormal Files television show.
Brian Luenser shot four videos on May 10, 2011, shortly after a thunderstorm passed through Fort Worth, and posted one of them on YouTube, where it quickly went viral. As of early Monday afternoon, it had received 1,336,312 views.
Luenser, a CPA by day who is also a serious amateur photographer and videographer, said he regularly shoots during thunderstorms and on that evening, he was standing on his 34th-floor balcony of The Tower apartment complex.
"That's when I noticed a glow," Luenser said. "I couldn't imagine what it was."
Looking toward the east, he started shooting video "and it just kind of spread from there."
The video shows quick-hitting blue and yellow flashes that went on for at least 20 minutes, he said.
The initial glow Luenser saw had been caused by a lightning strike at a substation in east Fort Worth and it "started sending lightning bolts through lines and melting transformers," he said. "Telephone poles were all ablaze between downtown and Beach Street."
He posted the initial video on YouTube the next day and it "just went everywhere," he said.
Television networks began calling and soon the video was being seen across the world.
Luenser said he had the audio turned on but that you couldn't hear the explosions, which led some skeptics to suggest that the video was fake.
Others, he said, took a step into the extraterrestrial world, which got the attention of the SyFy network.
"It's got kind of a UFO following," Luenser said. "They think all of this was caused by UFOs. I don't believe that personally, but that's beside the point."
Oncor spokeswoman Jeamy Molina said the utility company has received many calls about the explosions since last May.
And she confirmed that "as boring as it sounds, it was lightning hitting transformers."
Luenser said the video that will be shown on the TV show is not the one that was put up on YouTube.
"It's actually better because it's high definition," Luenser said, explaining that the one he posted on YouTube was low definition so it would upload quickly.
Two other videos have not been released to the public, he said.
He said one of the strangest things about the video is the audio that accompanies it.
"You could hear birds chirping," he said, apparently because they thought the sun was coming up.