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23 Years Later, the Phoenix Lights Are Still Unexplained

 

Article by MJ Banias                         March 13, 2020                                (vice.com)

• On March 13th, 1997, hundreds of Arizonans called their local law enforcement to report a series of strange lights moving over their cities and towns. Today, ‘The Phoenix Lights’ case remains one of the largest UFO sightings in history, and a fixture of contemporary UFO discourse. (see video of the Phoenix Lights below) Filmmaker Seth Breedlove takes an in depth look into the “Phoenix Lights” event in a new documentary series: On the Trail of UFOs.

• At about 7:00 pm, people in northwestern Arizona began reporting a large craft passing overhead. At 8:16 pm, a retired police officer in Paulden, Arizona, two hours north of Phoenix, called the National UFO Reporting Center to report seeing a series of reddish lights arranged in a V-formation in the night sky. Calls continued to pour in over the next couple of days to report the pair of sightings – both a boomerang-shaped object in the sky and odd moving lights with tails and “fireballs.”

• Ron Regehr is a veteran UFO researcher with the Mutual UFO Network and a former engineer with Boeing and Northrop Grumman. He was part of the team that helped develop the Defense Support Program Satellites (DSP), a series of infrared sensing tactical satellites that detect the launch of missiles, space launches, and nuclear detonations. On this evening, Regehr received a phone call from a colleague at the DSP that they had picked up an object over Las Vegas, Nevada traveling southeast toward Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.

• Regehr said that the Phoenix Lights event was significant not only because so many people witnessed it, but because of the great extent that government and military authorities went to denounce the incident. People became so polarized that it took on a ‘cult like’ life of its own.

• Arizona’s governor (Fife Symington) held a press conference where he brought in his chief of staff dressed in an alien costume, poking fun and telling the press that they were “too serious” about the UFO stuff. Ultimately, the military took responsibility, claiming that the two events were: 1) jets flying in close formation, and 2) some military flares.

• In the documentary series, Breedlove doesn’t try to prove or disprove whether the lights were alien UFOs or military exercises. Instead, Breedlove follows podcaster and author Shannon LeGro who explores the UFO community itself and the cultural ramifications for the people who claim to have anomalous encounters. On the Trail of UFOs also explores several other cases where Breedlove focuses on the individuals caught up in the event, and how it altered their lives.

• “As an event, the Phoenix Lights is important simply because it gained so much media attention, was witnessed by so many people,” says Breedlove. “Every year, more witnesses come forward; from airline pilots to military personnel to ordinary people living from places as far removed as downtown Phoenix to Las Vegas.”

• “I’m not sure today that the response to the Phoenix Lights would be as over-the-top as it was in 1997,” says Breedlove. “Things have changed drastically in 23 years, and the Phoenix Lights helps illustrate that fact.” “[I]t’s a culturally important event because it illustrates how at-risk witnesses were of being ridiculed if they came forward.”

 

23 years ago today, the people of Arizona witnessed one of the most infamous UFO incidents in history.

A new documentary series by filmmaker Seth Breedlove takes an in depth look into the so-called “Phoenix Lights.” On the Trail of UFOs doesn’t try to prove that the incident was aliens or flares, but instead expertly explores the cultural ramifications of the event on the UFO community.

   Symington’s press conference

“As an event, the Phoenix Lights is important simply because it gained so much media attention, was witnessed by so many people, and today, can still not be precisely explained away,” Breedlove told Motherboard. “Every year more witnesses come forward; from airline pilots to military personnel to ordinary people living from places as far removed as downtown Phoenix to Las Vegas.”

On March 13th, 1997, hundreds of Arizonans called their local law enforcement and a popular UFO reporting hotline to report a series of strange lights moving over their cities and towns. The Phoenix Lights case remains one of the largest UFO sightings in history, and continues to be an established fixture of contemporary UFO discourse.

At roughly 7:00 pm, people in northwestern Arizona began reporting a large craft passing overhead. According to the National UFO Reporting Center, the first call they received came in at 8:16pm from a retired police officer in Paulden, Arizona, a town about two hours north of Phoenix. He reported seeing a series of reddish lights arranged in a V-formation.

Over the next couple days, calls continued to pour in regarding the sighting of multiple lights in the sky, some arranged in the shape of a boomerang, and others as odd moving lights with tails and “fireballs.” Ron Regehr, a veteran UFO researcher with the Mutual UFO Network and a former engineer with Boeing and Northrop Grumman, told Motherboard in an interview that he was part of the team that helped in developing the Defense Support Program Satellites (DSP), a series of infrared sensing tactical satellites that detect the launch of missiles, space launches, and nuclear detonations.

4:02 minute video of Phoenix lights footage (YouTube)

 

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Former Governor of Arizona Tells the Truth About “The Phoenix Lights” (Could Have Been Extraterrestrial)

by Arjun Walia       November 26, 2017       (collective-evolution.com)

• On March 13, 1997, one of the most famous UFO events ever to take place occurred. Witnessed by thousands of people and caught on camera, the event has come to be known as “The Phoenix Lights”. Millions have since viewed the video footage.

• Before dusk on that day, the police in Nevada began receiving numerous reports of a very large craft, or a boomerang formation of lights, hovering in the sky. The object (or objects) began moving south towards Arizona where even more people were reporting a craft of some sort, spanning the size of two football fields. It had multiple lights – white, orange, red, and yellow – all in an organized formation. People claimed that it passed directly over their heads and hovered there for extended periods of time.

• There was no media coverage of the event. There was also a great deal of pressure put upon the Phoenix City Council not to investigate the event.

• When, over half a year later, the public affairs office at Luke Air Force Base announced that the lights were flares launched from an aircraft, the story attracted massive media attention.

• Fife Symington was the Governor of Arizona at the time. He held a press conference that featured a large, costumed alien mocking the UFO enthusiasts.

• Years after leaving the Governor’s office, Symington revealed to CNN that he had himself witnessed the event. He stated: “If you had been here ten years ago, standing out here and looking out there at the lights, you would have been astounded, you would have been amazed. I suspect that unless the Department of Defense can prove otherwise, then it was probably some form of alien spacecraft. It was enormous and it just felt otherworldly. In your gut you could just tell it was otherworldly.”

 

On March 13th, 1997 something extraordinary happened, an event that sparked an onslaught of books, documentaries, and more attempting to explain what exactly occurred on that day. The anomaly has been dubbed “The Phoenix Lights,” and it is one of the most famous UFO events of the 1990’s, and possibly one of the most famous UFO events to ever take place, given the fact that it was witnessed by thousands of people and caught on camera, where it was then made available to millions of people around the globe. This is quite an interesting topic, and one that has a tremendous amount of evidence to back it up.

What Happened
One thing is for certain, something very important and inexplicable happened on this day, and such occurrences are not uncommon. These types of sightings have been recorded throughout human history. Below is a broadsheet picture by Samuel Coccius that illustrates many flaming and “large black globes” that were reported to have appeared in the skies over Basel, Switzerland in 1586. This one is from the Wickiana Collection, Zurich Central Library, Switzerland. It’s one of many examples of art that depicts objects hovering in the sky and people pointing at them.

Illustration depicting the skies above  Basel, Switzerland in 1586

 

Today we have video cameras, witnesses, filed documents , and more. If the “Phoenix Lights” event had occurred hundreds of years ago, this illustration is the format in which it would have been captured.
So what happened in Phoenix on that day? It began with Luke Air Force Base, the media, the National UFO Reporting Center, the Governor’s office, and the police receiving a number of reports from people in Nevada of a very large craft hovering in the sky. Some people were  reporting it as a boomerang formation of lights.

The object (or objects) began moving south towards Arizona where even more people would see it. Again, people were not reporting just lights hovering in the sky, they were reporting an actual solid object, a craft of some sort, spanning the size of one or two football fields. The witness reports detail lights, sometimes multiple lights, in a pattern that ranged from a few all the way up to a dozen, all in some sort of organized formation. Witnesses reported them as white and in some cases they were orange, red, or yellow. Reports indicate that at some point, the lights moved at very rapid speeds, while at others, they moved slowly and were also reported to hover. Some people described it as a huge, wedge-shaped craft with five lights on it. Some people claim that it passed directly over their heads and even hovered there for extended periods of time. People reported seeing, again, a large solid object, even going into detail about certain features they could spot on the craft.

“It was a giant V, and the right side of the V went over us, the left side was a couple blocks over.” – One (out of thousands) of the witnesses. Again, this object has been described as massive, the size of one to two football fields. There were a number of these types of descriptions from people who witnessed the object.

These types of reports came in at a time where it was much easier to make out the object or objects that were in the sky, as there was still some daylight. It was not until later that evening at approximately 10 pm when people in Arizona witnessed something truly spectacular. As UFO researcher Richard Dolan describes it: “People in Phoenix were treated to an amazing display of hovering lights over the city. These lights appeared to be motionless and in perfect formation. They were truly an astounding sight to behold: an enormous semi-circular string of lights in the night sky.”

Mass Media Attention
Despite the fact that the event had been photographed and recorded by multiple residents in Phoenix, there was no media coverage of the event until over half a year later. When the public affairs office at Luke Air Force Base announced that the lights were flares launched from an aircraft, the story became quite large and attracted a boatload of media attention, from mainstream news all the way to alternative media.

Consider for yourself – this craft (or crafts) was reported multiple times and at different time periods, and appears to have been in the sky for a prolonged period of time, starting (as mentioned above) in Nevada and then working its way over to Arizona. Again, it was seen and reported by thousands of people, and when mainstream news got ahold of it, millions of people were able to view the video footage.

How can flares stay up hovering in the sky in perfect formation for hours? What about all the reports of a very large craft? The explanation coming from the air force just doesn’t seem to make sense, does it?

“Behind the scenes, high ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense.” Former head of CIA, Roscoe Hillenkoetter, 1960 (source as quoted by the New York Times)
Fife Symington, the Governor of Arizona at the time, even held a press conference that featured a large and costumed alien mocking all of the UFO enthusiasts, but it seemed goodhearted in nature and, according to him, was done to lighten the mood.

What is interesting to note, however, is that Fife was keeping something to himself – he actually witnessed the event, and the former Air Force veteran spoke out years after the event (when his stint as governor ended) saying in a CNN interview: “If you had been here 10 years ago, standing out here and looking out there at the lights, you would have been astounded, you would have been amazed. I suspect that unless the Department of Defense can prove otherwise, then it was probably some form of alien spacecraft. It was enormous and it just felt otherworldly, in your gut you could just tell it was otherworldly.”

The footage, as well as the pictures, has been analyzed by a number of experts and many have come to the conclusion that there is no possible way that what people were seeing in Arizona that day were just flares, and this seems to be pretty obvious given the witness testimony coming from thousands of people. That being said, there are a few experts who have publicly stated that the explanation coming from the Air Force is probably true.

Something definitely extraordinary and inexplicable happened here. Perhaps there was a reasonable explanation but it was concealed, but there is no way to know. It’s also important to note that there was a great deal of pressure put upon the Phoenix City Council not to investigate this event. “It even led to the ouster City Council member Francis Barwood, the one member who called for a genuine investigation.” – Richard Dolan.

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