Sunday, July 11, 2010


Great Balls of Fire (or not)

Late Friday night, July 9, 2010, I received a call from a man who excitedly told me about the white fireballs he and three others had just seen over Winnipeg.

At about 11:55 pm, he and some friends were outside enjoying the warm summer night when they all saw a bright object in the southern sky, in the direction of the airport. He said they saw it zip westward quickly, leaving a bright trail and perhaps even some sparks. This sounded like quite a nice bolide. But then, he said a second identical object appeared a few minutes later, following the same path. This would be very unusual for bolides, but not unheard of.

I made an appeal on radio for additional witnesses and I contacted some news reporters to see if anyone else had reported something similar, to no avail.

Peter Davenport of the National UFO Reporting Center was interviewed in the media as saying:

Over the last 48 hours, NUFORC has received almost 100 similar reports of very peculiar events, which have been witnessed across the U. S. and Canada on July 4th, and perhaps on July 3rd, as well. The sightings are a phenomenon for which we have no ready explanation. Many of the reports from both days have been submitted by seemingly serious-minded individuals, many of whom apparently witnessed the events with multiple other witnesses present.

Read more:

In addition, Davenport explained that the reports:

are similar, in that the witnesses have described seeing strange red, orange, or yellow ‘fireballs,’ which have been seen either to hover in the night sky or to streak overhead, sometimes individually, and on some occasions in clusters. In some instances, the objects were observed against a clear, cloudless sky, and in other cases they were observed below solid cloud cover or in broken overcast conditions.

I've been puzzling over these BOLs (balls of light) for years. In most instances, they are obviously bolides, satellites or high-flying aircraft. However, I'm getting more and more reports of BOLs which seem to make right-angle turns, travel one way and then make U-turns, and are motionless than accererate out of sight.

Those are UFOs.

Most of the UFO reports received are simply too incomplete to assess.

A typical case from is:

Joliet, Illinois, July 9, 2010, Approx. 11:00 p.m.
My wife, her daughter and her friend were at Chicagoland speedway last night about 11:00 o'clock pm, we started seeing orange lights in the sky coming from the south. First there was 1 then 2 then 3. They would disappear and reappear in a different location. Sometimes closer or higher. The 4 of us watched this for about an hour. When we were leaving, I saw a formation of 5 white lights in an arrow formation with something behind them. It wasn't a plane that I know of or a helicopter or stars or planets.

And similarly:

Harrietsfield, Nova Scotia, July 9, 2010, 10:40 - 10:45 p.m.
I was looking out my window and looked up and saw an orb of light floating just above the trees. It was coming from the west, headed east and I kept my eyes on it until it appeared to just fade away into the horizon over the Atlantic Ocean. It was truly amazing.

I don't find the latter one particularly amazing, but that's just me. Notice how the UFO is called an "orb," which automatically means it is mysterious and otherworldly. It was a distant light, "just above the trees," which to experienced investigators simply means that it was low to the horizon and likely was dozens of miles away.

A quick check of several flight trackers showed that the light could have been any one of at least half a dozen commercial aircraft flying in or out of Halifax, or several airliners overflying the area on the way to Europe. Or not.

As for the Chicago area case, how many more aircraft are in that area at that time of night?

And the formation? How close of a formation was it? A few degrees of sky or 20 or 30 degrees? I sure hope that the investigator remembered to get such details, otherwise the report is of little use to ufologists.

As for those BOLs which seem to make right angle turns or reverse direction, one possibility is that the witness is watching a satellite that enters the Earth's shadow and thus disappears, coincidentally at the same time another emerges, or a high-flying aircraft becomes illuminated.

Of course, not all BOL reports are as easy to come up with possible explanations for. I'm simply urging caution when labeling all BOLs and lights and orbs as "mysterious."

UFOs, yes, certainly. Alien spacecraft, probably not.

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