There are a lot of crackpot theories about why extraterrestrials would come to our planet; some say to build pyramids, while others claim that aliens want to steal our precious water. But, maybe, it’s actually our oil that they’re after. UFO sightings have become a common occurrence near the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas this past year. And a series of mysterious imagescaptured by a motion-sensor camera at a deer blind near Nixon December 29 has reinvigorated the online discussion.

A little background: First, a black-and-white photo taken July 5 in Cotulla in La Salle county supposedly showed a flying saucer ringed in lights hovering above the ground. The image was captured by a security camera that was installed on an oil well, wrote Roy Bragg for San Antonio Express-News. Charles Stransburge, a veteran investigator for the Mutual UFO Network, orMUFON, said that the photo was unaltered. “If it’s a prank, someone spent a lot of money to stage it,” said Stransburge. “It’s not a doctored photo. It’s a 60-foot-diameter saucer that’s hovering.” 

MUFON is a non-profit, volunteer organization based in Ohio whose mission is “the scientific study of UFOs for the benefit of humanity.” An unnamed witness told MUFON that the company that owns the well installed the camera after noticing that crude oil was being siphoned out on a nightly basis. Fletcher Gray, deputy investigator with the very official-sounding “Strike Team Area Research” unit of MUFON, said that the trail of light appearing from the supposed saucer is an indicator that the vessel was moving very rapidly across the camera’s field of vision. Theories abound. Bragg wrote that “network experts” think the lights likely belong to a lowboy trailer, which is used to haul vehicles or large containers. Over at, R.T. Dukes wrote that perhaps the lights belong to a military drone.

Workers at a fracking well near Artesia Wells—again in La Salle county—also reported seeing mystery lights in the night sky on several October evenings. Witnesses claim that dozens of hovering red and orange lights appeared and disappeared. One worker said it was like nothing he had seen before. “We all know what the lights from a plane and helicopter look like,” said Rene Cantu. “This wasn’t a plane or a helicopter.” La Salle Country airport manager E.T. Page—seriously, that’s his name—said that he hadn’t heard any reports of UFO sightings.

One area rancher also described seeing the unusual illuminations. Jerry Farrell said that he and his wife watch airplanes fly by every night on their back porch, but these lights were something else. “This was 12, 13, 14 lights, that were all spread out, flying all over the sky,” said Farrell. “When they moved, it was at unbelievable speed, from horizon to horizon and back.”

Texas has seen it’s fair share of enigmatic emanations; the Marfa lights near Big Bend in West Texas have baffled bystanders for years. Even near the new oil boom in South Texas, such lights may not be a new phenomenon. “I grew up in the Eagle Ford region of Texas, and know first hand that reports of such strange lights in the night sky have been a regular part of life down there for decades,” wrote David Blackmon for Maybe no explanation is the best explanation.