The Phoenix Lights: Twenty Years Later
For more information on mass UFO sightings like the article below, read The Alien Enigma by JP Robinson.
Twenty years ago this month (March 2017) one of the largest and spectacular mass UFO sightings in modern UFO history took place. Many have debunked the incident claiming that the lights seen in the sky by so many locals back in 1997, were simply flares sent out by the National Guard, but closer investigation would suggest that what occurred that night could be much more bizarre.
As people stood outside their homes in Phoenix, Arizona and looked skywards towards the Hale-Bopp comet which was passing by, many local residents witnessed a sky borne anomalous object which would later be referred to as ‘the Phoenix Lights’.
This particular mass UFO sighting was seen by thousands of local residents on March 13, 1997 as it moved slowly and silently across the Phoenix skyline. Described as a vast, gun-metal black triangle with huge round lights, the object which was first spotted at 8:15 p.m. continued to travel through the night sky for 106 minutes in total before finally disappearing from view.
One eyewitness Sue Watson said, “It had five big lights in front and it was the shape of a boomerang.” Mike Watson, another local who watched the lights in triangle formation heading straight towards him insisted that, “it was a solid craft, silent, very low to the ground.” Continuing, he added, “And the thing that took me was the size. Profoundly enormous, profoundly massive, we don’t even have a shopping centre this big.”
Seen from different vantage points across the city, the sighting caught many people’s attention and public interest in the unknown craft was bordering on hysteria over the days and weeks that followed. Excessive media coverage only served to fuel the fire, as residents were beginning to demand answers which would sufficiently explain what the mysterious lights could have been.
The previous evening, retired Lieutenant and Navajo Ranger John Dover watched the mysterious and silent lights flying over a Navajo reservation in Leupp, Northern Arizona. Dover, who paid regular visits to the Indian reservations during his time as a ranger, claimed that seeing UFOs was a regular occurrence for the residents there.
As part of an agency called the Navajo Nation Rangers, Dover had the freedom to investigate paranormal cases which were constantly being reported to the Police. Policing the Navajo reservations with his partner, Stan Milford, Dover took paranormal reports from the Navajo very seriously and together they investigated some very interesting cases and even found physical evidence in some cases which helped reinforce witness testimonies. “We finally started doing UFO cases; we had some major cases where landings and occupants were seen. Very unusual cases, very large craft”, Dover stated.
Dr. Lynne Kitei has written books and made a documentary about the lights, which she also saw that night in Arizona. “Most things can be explained, only a small percentage cannot and just because we don't have the technology to definitively define what these things are doesn't mean they aren't real”, she explained. According to Dr. Kitei, “The ‘Phoenix Lights’ is being considered around the world as the most important and most documented mass sighting in modern history.”
Over the weeks that followed, more than 700 witnesses called in reports to local officials and the National UFO Reporting Center, a private organisation based in Seattle. Governor of Arizona, Fyfe Symington III was coming under increasing pressure to supply some answers to the public regarding the lights. Shortly after, he gave a press conference in which he openly denied any knowledge of the incident and even mocked those residents claiming they saw something by dressing up a colleague in an alien costume and declaring that they had caught the culprit. It wasn’t until fifteen years after the sighting that Symington admitted, “I knew more about the lights over Phoenix than I let on.”
The evening of March 13, the Governor was eating his evening meal at home with his family when he saw the reports on the news. Deciding to personally investigate the matter further, Symington drove out to Sumida Park to see for himself what all the fuss was about. Within a few minutes of his arrival in the park, he looked up and saw what so many others had been describing; “This great big massive craft, probably 3 or 4,000 feet, took out a whole chunk of the sky,” he said. Adding, “And you could see other aircraft in the distance but the airplanes looked like little toothpicks compared to the size of this craft”.
The official explanation given at the time was that the Arizona National Guard had sent out flying A-10s to drop high-intensity magnesium flares between 9:30 and 10 p.m.
Although it is accepted that the flares were actually launched that night, the video footage, photographic evidence and multiple sightings across a wide expanse of the city confirmed that the lights from the flares were a completely separate event and were not the cause of all the reports.
When the Air Force was questioned over the appearance of the lights they avidly denied reports suggesting that they had sent out fighter planes to investigate the phenomenon. However, an anonymous phone call from an airman at Luke Air Force Base to the National UFO Reporting Center was recorded on the morning of March 14, in which he claimed that shortly after 8:30 p.m., Luke AFB did indeed send up two F-15 fighter jets.
“Apparently, we got a call from Prescott Valley Airport, a small airport north of us, reporting an object that had a near miss with a small Cessna” said the airman. “The call came approximately 8:32, that they encountered something over Phoenix, Arizona, over the area of 7th Avenue and Indian School Road. They don’t know what it was.”
One of the F-15 pilots wrote a statement which stated that they had followed the aircraft as it travelled on a straight-line course heading towards Sky Harbor Airport, at around 18,000 ft. before descending to 10,500 ft. He also described seeing five distinct lights in a triangular pattern and when he landed back at the base, the facility was immediately closed – a total lockdown, as “all hell broke loose”, according to the insider. Whilst reporting the incident the airman declared, “The command pilot of this particular flight...I’ve never seen this man scared, and he was scared to death. He’s not sure what it was.”
The debate over the origins of the Phoenix lights continues to this day, even as the event occurred twenty years ago this year, but the memory of that colossal UFO remains firmly etched in the minds of all those who were looking on in awe.
For more information on mass UFO sightings like the article above, read The Alien Enigma by JP Robinson.