Mike Orrell, 54, said he snapped a photo of the sky off Highway 78 at the Inaja memorial park in California 21 years ago and later noticed three red dots in the corner of the picture, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Tuesday.
Orrell, whose picture was recently featured as part of the "Science of Aliens" exhibit at the Air & Space Museum in San Diego, said his research since taking the photo has led him to believe the dots were extraterrestrial spacecraft. He said he believes the aliens will return to Earth next year to rescue humans from a cataclysmic event.
"I've been given a great gift that I have been trying to share," he said. "I believe I was chosen to spread the UFO gospel and to my dying day that's what I'm going to do."
Keith Taylor, former president of San Diego Association of Rational Inquiry, said there is a simple explanation for the prevalent belief in UFOs.
"It's the manifestation of deliberate ignorance," he said. "Our culture has developed to the point where we choose to believe what we want to believe."