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Weird News: Strange Black Cloud Baffles Onlooker

Some stories are downright strange. Here's our wrap-up from around Northern Suffolk and the East End.

As a local news organization, Patch covers stories of all kinds, from heartbreaking tragedies to inspiring tales of community brotherhood. But some stories are just plain weird. Here are some of the stranger headlines from the past seven days.

Unidentified Floating Cloud

A dense black cloud with no obvious source was seen over the Atlantic Ocean this week, and the birdwatcher who spotted it is seeking answers.

Southampton resident David Sagman said he saw the cloud in the distance during a routine birdwatching expedition Thursday, while standing at the end of Old Town Road in Southampton and overlooking the ocean.

"It seemed to be moving very slowly westward and northward with very subtle shape change," Sagman said. "No fishing boats were observed nearby."

The cloud was several miles offshore, he said, and he got the best photos he could, using an 800mm digiscope — a telescope for taking photos — on a tripod.

"I wondered if it could be composed of thousands of birds but other thoughts are welcome," Sagman said.

WATCH: Local Santa Photo May be Funniest for Kelly Ripa

In this clip is from "Live with Kelly and Michael," a photo submitted by a Kings Park local of a Santa whose pants appear to be falling down, had the hosts in stitches. 

WATCH: Identified Flying Object Watches Polar Plunge

If you were at the Polar Plunge on Saturday and got the feeling that you were being watched, you were right.

The Brookhaven Town Polar Plunge at Cedar Beach in Mt. Sinai was visited by characters from both science fiction and scientific fact on Saturday. There was Darth Vader, some Stormtroopers and an aerial surveillance droid watched from high overhead, recording the whole event.

EG January 06, 2013 at 05:19 PM
The cloud is obviously the Lumpy Space Princess.from Adventure Time
Buck January 06, 2013 at 10:24 PM
It's just a boat... Depending on sea conditions and the position of the sun objects offshore sometimes appear to float over the horizon... It's san illusion.
Cire M January 06, 2013 at 11:04 PM
obviously the smoke monster.
GreenTubes January 07, 2013 at 01:08 AM
Buck is right. looks like a high profile boat such as a car carrying ship.
Jimmy Chism January 07, 2013 at 01:49 AM
The Flying Dutchman!! Saw something about this optical illusion at sea on the science channel a few weeks ago.
mary ann January 07, 2013 at 01:31 PM
Perhaps it is a garbage barge with it's fumes rising in the air forming a dirt cloud! Okay, just a guess.
John D'Angelo January 07, 2013 at 01:52 PM
A few years ago, I saw a similar cloud effect and it was moving in different directions, it wasn't a cloud because it was moving against the wind at times. I got out my binoculars and discovered it was a navy helicopter that was towing a sonar listening device through the water. It was doing an antisubmarine search, perhaps as part of a naval maneuver. In any case, the chopper was so far out that you could not hear it, but the rising spray casued the cloud effect. Your sighting could have been the same thing.
Had Enuf! January 07, 2013 at 02:28 PM
The FAA has confirmed the cloud like formation was the vortex of 16 ounce and larger drink cups being sucked out of circulation by Nanny Bloomberg towards the Staten Island landfill.
Allen Seltzer January 07, 2013 at 03:53 PM
What I believe your images show is the smoke rising from the stacks of a distant ship. Owing to the Earth's curvature, a ship approaching the horizon appears to "sink" below the horizon. The distance of the sea horizon depends on you height. If you are six feet tall, your eyes are about five and one half feet above the beach and the horizon is about three miles away. If the ship is much farther, you will not be able to see it. However, because the smoke rises considerably higher than the ship is tall, the smoke appears to be coming from the horizon. In your images there apear to be three distinct dark clouds, perhaps smoke from each of the ship's three stacks. Hope it helps.
Capt. Mike January 08, 2013 at 03:23 AM
Simply a big ship partly over the horizon, probably a car carrier. Mirage effect makes it seem disconnected, or hovering. Not smoke, not a cloud, not the Mother Ship from Mars.
Earl January 08, 2013 at 04:29 AM
It's clearly one of the Montauk Monsters parents!
123 January 08, 2013 at 05:54 PM
A ship, high profile. Sometimes when the air is real dry boats seem real fluffy and magnified on horizon.
John K Massaro January 08, 2013 at 06:02 PM
Could also be that the ship is painted close to the same color as the sky & from that far out, the hull couldn't be seen...
Oliver Lacey January 09, 2013 at 01:55 AM
in a word refraction. like this http://images.huffingtonpost.com/gen/52444/original.jpg
SuperWittySmitty January 09, 2013 at 08:55 AM
Good joke. Let me guess, you are an adult who still drinks soda pop; you're plump and soft, and you weren't able to vote for the Mayor because you aren't a NYC resident. You feel most powerful when you are in your bedroom, typing on your computer and making fun of the authorities. Sad but probably true.
John K Massaro January 09, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Alright, your turn, Smitty. You're probably lonely, no friends, no family. As you were typing the above post, you had this smug little grin on your face, as if you were typing out a real zinger. Probably took you over an hour to come up with the correct words, spelling, grammar. When you were done, you smiled when you hit "reply", rest assured in yourself that you made the tragic story that is your miserable life just a little better for a few minutes by re-directing your pathetic misery onto someone else. Sad but most likely VERY true...
John K Massaro January 09, 2013 at 02:16 PM
That's a really cool photo...
Preliator January 09, 2013 at 02:17 PM
You can see why some warships were painted with disruptive/dazzle schemes during WW2.
John K Massaro January 09, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Exactly. The British were the first to try that out. Even on their planes. They took painstaking measures to match the "Color of the English Winter Sky" to paint their fighter planes during WWII. As for the Navy, I think the HMS Ark Royal was the first ship to be painted in "Ocean Camoflauge". Bismarck never saw her coming until it was too late... (I'm a huge WWII buff...)
Had Enuf! January 09, 2013 at 08:19 PM
That ship is carting all the X large drink cups confiscated from NYC youths and is headed to the ocean dumping ground off The Blight.
Preliator January 09, 2013 at 08:32 PM
You are right John, there was some amazing work done; the black and white photos do not do justice to the measures used. There is a legend that at some point the Alabama was painted pink but there are many theories about that; the details are foggy.

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