Friday, May 13, 2011

UFO Sighting Viewed by Multiple Witnesses, UFO Cover up, The Phoenix Lights

The Phoenix Lights March 13, 1997

The Phoenix Lights were a series of widely sighted  unidentified flying objects that occurred in the skies over the U.S. states of Arizona and Nevada and the Mexican state of Sonora on March 13, 1997.
Lights of varying descriptions were seen by thousands of people between 7:30 PM and 10:30 PM MST (Mountain Standard Time), in a space of about 300 miles, from the Nevada line, through the city of Phoenix, to the edge of Tucson. There were two distinct events involved in the incident: a triangular formation of lights seen to pass over the state, and a series of stationary lights seen in the Phoenix area. The United States Air Force identified the second group of lights as flares dropped by A-10 Warthog aircraft that were on training exercises at the Goldwater Range in southwest Arizona. Witnesses claim to have observed a huge triangular -shaped UFO, containing lights or possibly light-emitting engines. Fife Symington the governor at the time, was one witness to this incident; he later called the object "otherworldly."


The lights were reported to have reappeared in 2007 and 2008, but these events were quickly attributed to military flares dropped by fighter aircraft at Luke Air Force Base and flares attached to helium balloons released by a civilian.


Timeline

Initial reports

At about 6:65 PM PST , a man reported seeing a V-shaped object above Henderson, Nevada. He said it was about the "size of a 747", sounded like "rushing wind", and had six lights on its leading edge. The lights reportedly traversed northwest to the southeast.
An unidentified former police officer from Paulden, AZ is claimed to have been the next person to report a sighting after leaving his house at about 8:15 PM. As he was driving north, he allegedly saw a cluster of reddish or orange lights in the sky, comprising four lights together and a fifth light trailing them. Each of the individual lights in the formation appeared to the witness to consist of two separate point sources of orange light. He returned home and through binoculars watched the lights until they disappeared south over the horizon.

Prescott and Prescott Valley

Lights were also reportedly seen in the areas of Prescott and Prescott Valley. At approximately 8:17 PM, callers began reporting the object was definitely solid because it blocked out much of the starry sky as it passed over.
John Kaiser was standing outside with his wife and sons in Prescott Valley, when they noticed a cluster of lights to the west-northwest of their position. The lights formed a triangular pattern, but all of them appeared to be red, except the light at the nose of the object, which was distinctly white. The object, or objects, which had been observed for approximately 2–3 minutes with binoculars, then passed directly overhead the observers, they were seen to "bank to the right", and they then disappeared in the night sky to the southeast of Prescott Valley. The altitude could not be determined, however it was fairly low and made no sound whatsoever.
The NUFORC (National UFO Reporting Center) received the following report from the Prescott area:
While doing astrophotography I observed five yellow-white lights in a "V" formation moving slowly from the northwest, across the sky to the northeast, then turn almost due south and continue until out of sight. The point of the "V" was in the direction of movement. The first three lights were in a fairly tight "V" while two of the lights were further back along the lines of the "V"'s legs. During the NW-NE transit one of the trailing lights moved up and joined the three and then dropped back to the trailing position. I estimated the three light "V" to cover about 0.5 degrees of sky and the whole group of five lights to cover about 1 degree of sky.


Dewey

At the town of Dewey, 10 miles east of Prescott, AZ, six people saw a large cluster of lights while driving northbound on Highway 69.


First sighting from Phoenix
Tim Ley and his wife Bobbi, his son Hal and his grandson Damien Turnidge first saw the lights when they were above Prescott Valley about 65 miles away from them. At first they appeared to them as five separate and distinct lights in an arc shape like they were on top of a balloon, but they soon realized the lights appeared to be moving towards them. Over the next ten or so minutes they appeared to be coming closer and the distance between the lights increased and they took on the shape of an upside down V. Eventually when the lights appeared to be a couple of miles away the witnesses could make out a shape that looked like a "V"  with the five lights set into it, with one at the front and two on each side. Soon the lights appeared to be coming right down the street where they lived about 100 to 150 feet above them, traveling so slowly it appeared to hover and was silent. The lights then seemed to pass over their heads and went through a V opening in the peaks of the mountain range towards Squaw Peak Mountain and toward the direction of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX). Witnesses in Glendale, a suburb northwest of Phoenix, saw the object pass overhead at an altitude high enough to become obscured by the thin clouds; this was at approximately between 8:30 and 8:45 pm.



Arriving in Phoenix

When the triangular formation entered the Phoenix area, Bill Greiner, a cement driver hauling a load down a mountain north of Phoenix, described the second group of lights: "I'll never be the same. Before this, if anybody had told me they saw a UFO, I would've said, 'Yeah, and I believe in the tooth fairy'. Now I've got a whole new view. I may be just a dumb truck driver, but I've seen something that don't belong here". Greiner stated that the lights hovered over the area for in excess of 2 hours.

After Phoenix

A report came from a young man in the Kingman area who stopped his car at a payphone to report the incident. "The young man, en route to Los Angeles, called from a phone booth to report having seen a large and bizarre cluster of stars moving slowly in the northern sky"


Reappearance in 2007

A repeat of the lights occurred February 6, 2007, and was recorded by the local Fox News TV station. According to military officials and the FAA, these were flares dropped by F-16 aircraft training at Luke Air Force Base.

Reappearance in 2008

On April 21, 2008, lights were again reported over Phoenix by local residents. These lights appeared to change from square to triangular formation over time. A valley resident reported that shortly after the lights appeared, three jets were seen heading west in the direction of the lights. An official from Luke Air Force Base denied any United States Air Force activity in the area. On April 22, 2008, a resident of Phoenix told a newspaper that the lights were nothing more than his neighbor releasing helium balloons with flares attached. This was confirmed by a police helicopter. The following day a Phoenix resident who declined to be identified in news reports stated he had attached flares to helium balloons and released them from his back yard.

Photographic documentation

Imagery of the Phoenix Lights falls into two categories: images of the triangular formation seen prior to 10 pm in Prescott and Dewey, and images of the 10 pm Phoenix event. Almost all known images are of the second event. All known images were produced using a variety of commercially available camcorders and cameras. There are no known images taken by equipment designed for scientific analysis, nor are there any known images taken using high powered optics or night vision equipment.
There are few known images of the Prescott/Dewey lights. Television station KSAZ reported that an individual named Richard Curtis took a detailed video that purportedly showed the outline of a space craft, but that the video had been lost. The only other known video is of poor quality and shows a group of lights with no craft visible.

During the Phoenix event, numerous still photographs and videotapes were made, distinctly showing a series of lights appearing at a regular interval, remaining illuminated for several moments and then going out. These images have been repeatedly aired by documentary TV channels such as the Discovery Channel and the History Channel as part of their UFO documentary programming.

The most frequently seen sequence shows what appears to be an arc of lights appearing one by one, then going out one by one. UFO advocates claim that these images show that the lights were some form of "running light" or other aircraft illumination along the leading edge of a large craft (estimated to be as large as a mile in diameter) hovering over the city of Phoenix. Other similar sequences reportedly taken over a half hour period show differing numbers of lights in a V or arrowhead array. Thousands of witnesses throughout Arizona also reported a silent, mile wide V or boomerang shaped craft with varying numbers of huge orbs. A significant number of witnesses reported that the craft was silently gliding directly overhead at low altitude. The first-hand witnesses consistently reported that the lights appeared as "canisters of swimming light", while the underbelly of the craft was undulating "like looking through water".However, skeptics claim that the video is evidence that mountains not visible at night partially obstructed views from certain angles, thereby bolstering the claim that the lights were more distant than UFO advocates claim.

Explanations

There is some controversy as to how best to classify the reports on the night in question. Some are of the opinion that the differing nature of the eyewitness reports indicates that several unidentified objects were in the area, each of which was its own separate "event". This is largely dismissed by skeptics as an over-extrapolation from the kind of deviation common in necessarily subjective eyewitness accounts. The media and most skeptical investigators have largely preferred to split the sightings into two distinct classes, a first and second event, for which two separate explanations are offered:

First event

The first event—the "V", which appeared over northern Arizona and gradually traveled south over nearly the entire length of the state, eventually passing south of Tucson—was the apparently "wedge-shaped" object reported by then-Governor Symington and many others. This event started at about 8:15 over the Prescott area, and was seen south of Tucson by about 8:45.
Proponents of two separate events propose that the first event still has no provable explanation, but that some evidence exists that the lights were in fact airplanes. According to an article by reporter Janet Gonzales that appeared in the Phoenix New Times, videotape of the v shape shows the lights moving as separate entities, not as a single object; a phenomenon known as illusory contours can cause the human eye to see unconnected lines or dots as forming a single shape.
Mitch Stanley, an amateur astronomer, observed the lights using a telescope outfitted with a TELEVUE 32mm eyepiece, which produces 43x magnification. After observing the lights, he told his mother, who was present at the time, that the lights were aircraft. According to Stanley, the lights were quite clearly individual airplanes; a companion who was with him recalled asking Stanley at the time what the lights were, and he said, "Planes". His account is contradicted by several thousand Phoenix residents, however, and no military or civilian aircraft formations were known to have been flying in the area at that time.

Second event

The second event was the set of nine lights appearing to "hover" over the city of Phoenix at around 10 pm. The second event has been more thoroughly covered by the media, due in part to the numerous video images taken of the lights. This was also observed by numerous people who may have thought they were seeing the same lights as those reported earlier.
The U.S. Air Force explained the second event as slow-falling, long-burning LUU-2B/B illumination flares dropped by a flight of four A-10 Warthog aircraft on a training exercise at the Barry Goldwater Range at Luke Air Force Base. According to this explanation, the flares would have been visible in Phoenix and appeared to hover due to rising heat from the burning flares creating a "balloon" effect on their parachutes, which slowed the descent. The lights then appeared to wink out as they fell behind the Sierra Estrella, a mountain range to the southwest of Phoenix.
A Maryland Air National Guard pilot, Lt. Col. Ed Jones, responding to a March 2007 media query, confirmed that he had flown one of the aircraft in the formation that dropped flares on the night in question. The squadron to which he belonged was in fact at Davis - Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona on a training exercise at the time and flew training sorties to the Barry Goldwater Range on the night in question, according to the Maryland Air National Guard. A history of the Maryland Air National Guard published in 2000 asserted that the squadron, the 104th Fight Squadron, was responsible for the incident. The first reports that members of the Maryland Air National Guard were responsible for the incident were published in The Arizona Republic newspaper in July 1997.
Military flares such as these can be seen from hundreds of miles given ideal environmental conditions. Later comparisons with known military flare drops were reported on local television stations, showing similarities between the known military flare drops and the Phoenix Lights. An analysis of the luminosity of LUU-2B/B illumination flares, the type which would have been in use by A-10 aircraft at the time, determined that the luminosity of such flares at a range of approximately 50–70 miles would fall well within the range of the lights viewed from Phoenix.

Public response

News media

There was minimal news coverage at the time of the incident. In Phoenix, a small number of local news outlets noted the event, but it received little attention beyond that. But on June 18, 1997, USA Today ran a front-page story that brought national attention to the case. This was followed by news coverage on the ABC and NBC television networks. The case quickly caught the popular imagination and has since become a staple of UFO-related documentary television, including specials produced by the History Channel and the Discovery Channel.

Governor

Shortly after the lights, Arizona Governor Fife Symington  held a press conference, stating that "they found who was responsible". He proceeded to make light of the situation by bringing his aide on stage dressed in an alien costume. (Dateline, NBC). But in March 2007, Symington said that he had witnessed one of the "crafts of unknown origin" during the 1997 event, although he did not go public with the information. In an interview with The Daily Courier in Prescott, AZ, Symington said, "I'm a pilot and I know just about every machine that flies. It was bigger than anything that I've ever seen. It remains a great mystery. Other people saw it, responsible people. I don't know why people would ridicule it".Symington had earlier said, "It was enormous and inexplicable. Who knows where it came from? A lot of people saw it, and I saw it too. It was dramatic. And it couldn't have been flares because it was too symmetrical. It had a geometric outline, a constant shape.
Symington also noted that he requested information from the commander of Luke Air Force Base, the general of the National Guard, and the head of the Dept. of Public Safety. But none of the officials he contacted had an answer for what had happened, and were also perplexed. Later, he responded to an Air Force explanation that the lights were flares: "As a pilot and a former Air Force Officer, I can definitively say that this craft did not resemble any man made object I'd ever seen. And it was certainly not high-altitude flares because flares don't fly in formation". In an episode of the TV show UFO Hunters called "The Arizona Lights", Symington said that he contacted the military asking what the lights were. The response was "no comment". He pointed out that he was the governor of Arizona at the time, not just some ordinary civilian.


Conclusion
Frances Barwood, the 1997 Phoenix city councilwoman who launched an investigation into the event, said that of the over 700 witnesses she interviewed, "The government never interviewed even one". I believe the reason the government never interviewed even one witness is blatantly clear, the governor knew what he saw and it was not of this world. He had no need to waste the government's time on other people's speculation! 

This information on the Phoenix Lights has not been too widely viewed, but it provides some superlative information from multiple sources. This UFO was sighted by thousands witnesses from multiple locations covering hundreds of miles.  


This UFO sighting is extremely hard to debunk, several have tried saying that these were military flares but that explanation simply does not hold up. The only plausible explanation is that this was an  extremely secret military craft. Even that explanation is rather hard to believe. 
To this day the Phoenix Lights remains one of the most credible UFO sightings on record. 


(Documentary 1 hr 30 min)
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