3. THE  PHOENIX  LIGHTS          To the serious UFO researcher, nothing is quite as compelling as photographic or video evidence of a sighting. Except for one thing: multiple photos and videos by various people of the the same object taken from different locations.          Such a rare event took place beginning on March 13, 1997 in the skies over Phoenix, Arizona. Although this particular sighting is commonly known as "The Phoenix Lights", it is important to note that the phenomena was witnessed in five different cities that we are aware of, with Phoenix being the first city in Arizona to actually report the sighting.          The lights were first seen over the Superstition Mountains which are located east of the city at about 7:30 pm. Initially it was reported that six points of light had been seen floating above the mountains, which growing to eight lights and then nine when another joined it. The lights were reportedly grouped in a very distinct  "V-formation", while other witnesses described it as "crescent-shaped". These reports seemed to vary based solely on the viewing angle of the witnesses. One intriguing item of note is that some photographs and videos seem to show a circular object whose lights were shaped in the configurations that people reported.          Just before 10:00 pm that night, the lights were seen again over the Gila River. It was shortly after this sighting that the lights moved over the city of Phoenix. By now literally thousands of people were witnessing the scene with many snapping still photographs and others capturing the event on video cameras. The lights continued on to Rainbow Valley where the final sightings were reported at around 2:00 am the following morning.                    The size and speed of the object is another subject of great interest. The lights reportedly sped over the Henderson/Las Vegas, Nevada area at an estimated speed of Mach 2 and slowed to a mere 10-15 mph upon entering Arizona. Over Sky Harbor, the object seemed to hover for several minutes. The reported shape and formation of the lights did not vary from state to state, but over Arizona, some reports claimed the object changed speeds, shape and colors. Because it flew rather low to the ground, and mountains were visible in photos and videos taken, it was easy for experts to judge to scale the altitude, distance from the camera and relative size of the object. As a result, the object was determined to be one mile in length.          Witness reports (from an article in the Arizona Republic):             Bradley Evans, 47, is a clinical psychiatrist from Tucson. He and his wife, Kris, were driving north on Interstate 10 to a swimming meet in Tempe. They watched the lights for 20 minutes or so move slowly south in a diamond formation and pass over them at an estimated 1,500 feet. Even then, with the car's moon roof open, they heard not a sound from the sky. He was "awed" by the experience and has no idea what he saw. Kris said she couldn't explain it either and guesses it was "something military."          Trig Johnston, 50, is a retired commercial airline pilot who lives in north Scottsdale. His 22- year-old son was looking for Comet Hale-Bopp that night when he noticed the lights and told his dad. "I looked up and remember saying out loud, "I'm going to chalk this up to an illusion.' It was the size of 25 airliners, moving at about 100 knots at maybe 5,000 feet, and it didn't make a sound. I've flown 747s across oceans and not seen anything like I saw that night," Johnston said. "I don't expect anybody to take my word for it," he added. "This was something you had to see for yourself to believe."          Max Saracen, 34, is a real estate consultant who lives in north Phoenix. He and his wife, Shahla, were driving west on Deer Valley Road when they saw a huge triangular craft. They pulled off the road, got out and watched it pass overhead. "It was very spooky -- this gigantic ship blocking out the stars and silently creeping across the sky. I don't know of any aircraft with silent engines."          Dr. Lynn Kitei is a physician who lives near Squaw Peak in Phoenix. Her home has an elevated, panoramic view of the Valley, and she has some of the best known videotape and photographs of the lights. Though she had no prior interest in UFOs, the episode prompted her to begin her own investigation. "I think what happened is mind-boggling," she said. "I'm trying to be as scientific as I can, and a number of things just don't compute."          However, the most credible report would come from two former pilots, one retired from an airline (Mr. Johnson) and the other a Vietnam veteran and now a U.S. Marshall. The men witnessed the object at different times and from different places, but both reported it to be enormous, a mile in length. The U.S. Marshall noted the lights of Phoenix reflected off the bottom of the craft and it "blocked out the stars." One of the pilots reported he took video of the event, but had it confiscated by some mysterious government operatives (MIBs?) It was also reported that an America West airline pilot flying overhead radioed the control tower at Sky Harbor Airport to ask what those nine lights were below him.       Another report of note took place two weeks prior to the event when witnesses said a disc- shaped object of enormous size which was "larger than Sun Devil Stadium at Arizona State University" hovered above the tree tops at Sky Harbor runway between 2 and 3 am.      In a bizarre twist, a truck driver reported as he was driving down I-17 from Camp Verde, he witnessed two amber-colored UFOs moving south ahead of him for two straight hours. He was making a pick up at a materials plant located near Luke Air Force Base. While being loaded there, he could clearly see the UFOs hovering near the runway at Luke. Suddenly two F-16 jets took off from Luke and soon were joined by a third and all flew directly toward the location of the UFO.       As the first two jets flew toward the object, the driver reported it shot directly up into the sky and disappear in an instant. The jets then actually flew directly through the same spot where the UFO had previous been. A ground crew member would later confirm to the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) what the driver had witnessed and went so far as to say that one pilot was helped from his aircraft and was visibly shaken by the event.       NUFORC also would go on to report the following which should be taken at face value. They say a young airman at Luke called them them at 3:20 am after the event and reported that two F-15c fighters had been scrambled from Luke AFB and intercepted the object. According to NUFORC, the details provided by the airman were accurate based on their investigation of the events of March 13. Two days after that call, the airman phoned NUFORC again to report he had been transferred to Greenland.       Some controversy surrounds the Phoenix Light phenomena, much of it based around what is called "The Flare Theory".  In May, 1997, officials at Luke AFB said that after an investigation of the event they had determined what happened that night. They claim that flares dropped from an A-10 Warthog were the cause of the sighting and it was not a UFO at all. This seems dubious at best as flares cannot move up and down and certainly not hold a position over a period of miles. This coupled with reports of sightings before the time given that the flares were dropped brings up many questions about that explanation.         "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." —Fife Symington, Governor of Arizona 2. THE  PINEY  WOODS  INCIDENT           Near the town of Huffman, Texas is a place called The Piney Woods of Texas. It is a rather desolate stretch of wooded area and quite secluded. On the night of December 29, 1980 two women, 51- year-old Betty Cash and 57-year-old  Vickie Landrum along with Landrum's 7-year-old grandson, Colby were driving through Piney Woods looking for a Bingo hall. Unfortunately, they could find none because most had closed for the holiday season.          After stopping for a bite to eat, they continued their journey home through the thick pine forest's roads. On the way they noticed a glowing object above the tree line. Initially they thought it might be an airplane or helicopter from one of the nearby airfields. Then suddenly, they saw a diamond-shaped object hovering in the middle of the road directly in front of their vehicle. The object gave off a beeping sound and appeared to be shooting out flames in bursts from the bottom toward the road. Betty's first thought as a devout Christian was that they were witnessing some divine, perhaps even apocalyptic event.               As Betty stopped the car, she noticed that the inside of the vehicle was becoming unbearably hot, so hot that she, Vickie and Colby had to get out of the car. The object in the road now gave off a loud roaring sound. This truly frightened Colby and Vickie had to take him back into the car to calm him down. Betty, now becoming more in awe by what she was watching, stayed outside and continued to stare at the object.          It was then that Betty heard the sounds. Looking up to find the source of the sounds, she saw the sky literally fill with helicopters "They seemed to rush in from all directions...it seemed like they were trying to encircle the thing." As the choppers circled, the vehicle rose straight up and proceeded to head in a southwesterly direction, followed closely the helicopters, which seemed to Betty as if they were not in escort, but in pursuit.          Betty, returning to the car, grabbed the handle to open the door, but quickly pulled her hand away as it was too hot to touch. Finally getting in, she turned on the air conditioner to cool the car off, even though the night air had been very chilly earlier and started again to drive them all home. As they got on the freeway, they again noticed the object in the sky, but this time it was so bright it was actually illuminating the helicopters that, to their amazement, were still chasing it. By their count, they could see 23 helicopters in the air, from the larger Chinook type to smaller single-engine types.          Soon after arriving home, all three became ill after a matter of a few hours. Betty especially displayed the worse of the symptoms. Her head and neck were blistered and her eyes were swollen to the point of shut. She because extremely nauseous and became close to comatose by the next day. Vickie and Colby experienced similar but milder symptoms.          A couple of days later, Betty checked into a hospital and was placed in the burn section for treatment. There she remained for 15 days. In short time she began to lose her hair and could not see because of the swelling in her eyes and they remained that way for about a week. Colby was having eye problems and Vickie also began to lose her hair. All three were now being treated for radiation poisoning.          Eventually it got worse. Sores developed, they began to lose weight and finally, skin cancer developed.          At this point, answers were being sought. The military denied having any knowledge of the event that night and said no aircraft had been assigned to that area. Maj. Tony Geishauser a public affairs officer from Fort Hood told the Corpus Christi Caller that, "I don't know any other place around here that would have that number of helicopters," he said. "I don't know what it could be... unless there's a super secret thing going on and I wouldn't necessarily know about it."          The asphalt surface of the road, which had been damaged by the flames that emanated from the craft were quickly repaired and investigators said only that the three of them had encountered a craft "of unknown origin". Perhaps a government experimental craft. Or something else. . . . but what?          Eventually Betty, Vickie and Colby sued the government for damages, but that was rebuffed when, in a congressional hearing, the U.S. Army Inspector General denied any military involvement in the case. This despite the presence of other witnesses to the event that night. To wit:          An off-duty Dayton, Texas policeman who was driving home with his wife that night and saw a large number of C-47 Chinook helicopters.          A man from Crosby, Texas who reported seeing a large number of military helicopters flying directly overhead.          Mr. Jerry McDonald, who worked the oilfields and witnessed a UFO fly directly overhead while out tending his garden. He described it as being "kind of diamond shaped and had two twin torches that were shooting brilliant blue flames out the back".          They remain the only people ever to sue the U.S. government for injuries suffered by a UFO.                  In a touch of sad irony,  it was by accident that an actual verification of the object that appeared that night came to be. In April, 1981, a C-47 landed in Dayton for a public showing. Young Colby spotted the machine flying into town and became visibly upset. Vickie Landrum brought him to the vehicle to help him get over his fears and it was there that they and another friend waited in line with the locals waiting their turn to view the inside of the helicopter.          It was inside that Vickie began to talk about their experiences that night. The pilot, who was listening, told Vickie and her friend that he had been in the air that night, being sent out to check out a UFO that appeared to be in trouble over Huffman. When Vickie began to speak of her injuries, the pilot went silent and said no more about the event, hustling them out of the vehicle.          The UFO group VISIT eventually located the pilot and questioned him about his involvement. He admitted nothing of his presence in the area that night, but did admit he had heard of the Cash/Landrum case.          Betty Cash eventually contracted cancer and had to give up her business as she could not work anymore, enduring a long series of hospital stays. While she did recover from the disease, she eventually suffered a stroke in November of 1998 and died on December 29, 1998 at the age of 69, eighteen years to the day of her UFO encounter. 1. THE  RENDLESHAM  FOREST INCIDENT                          The joint US/RAF airbases at Bentwaters and Woodbridge which are located inside the enormous Rendlesham Forest play host to the most compelling UFO incident ever reported. It involves almost every aspect of the classic and valid UFO encounter. Physical evidence, credible, professional witnesses and tangible electronic records of the event.      Just after midnight on December 27, 1980, (just two days before the infamous Cash/Landrum sighting in the US), radar at RAF Watton in Norfolk showed an unidentified craft which then disappeared in the region of the Rendlesham Forest area. Bentwaters radar had also confirmed the sighting. Bentwaters is located north of the forest and Woodbridge to the south. Both bases were thought to house a large number of nuclear weapons.      Various air traffic agencies were contacted to determine if any of their aircraft were up that night. None confirmed craft in the air, so a fighter was dispatched to check out what was showing up on the screens. At about a quarter mile, the pilot reported seeing a very bright light up ahead. As he approached, the object suddenly moved off at an incredible rate of speed. Within five minutes time it had reached an altitude of 90,000 feet and eventually disappeared entirely off the top end of the radar. No known manned craft was remotely capable of that.      At that point, three security guards patrolling the twin bases, noticed a huge, glowing object in the forest and asked for and received permission to investigate. At first, fearing a crash landing by commercial or military aircraft, they were soon startled beyond words by what they came across instead.          They saw a saucer-shaped craft with a beam coming out of the underside. More astonishingly, they saw beings being suspended off the ground within that beam. At first glance, they appeared to be working on the craft, performing some type of maintenance or repair to it. The guards, keeping themselves hidden, radioed the base and reported what they were seeing, requesting immediate help.         (NOTE: It is here that fact from fiction must be separated. Time has spawned many stories about surrounding events that occurred that night and afterwards. Among those we must discount due to lack of real evidence are: the presence of an underground theater where soldiers were interrogated, debriefed and sworn to secrecy via threats and intimidation. The object was also said to have "time altering" effects when approached. None of these can be legitimately validated and therefore, right or wrong, be ruled insignificant.)          A heavily-armed unit of soldiers quickly responded. Within that group were senior base officers.  Col. James Halt, who would eventually be promoted to base commander in 1984 and who among those present at the time, filed an official report of the events of that night. Below is a copy of his official report:            "Early in the morning of 27 Dec 80 (approximately 0300L), two USAF security police patrolmen saw unusual lights outside the back gate at RAF Woodbridge. Thinking an aircraft might have crashed or been forced down, they called for permission to go outside the gate to investigate. The on duty flight chief responded and allowed three patrolmen to proceed on foot. The individuals reported seeing a strange glowing object in the forest. The object was described as being metallic in appearance and triangular in shape, approximately two to three meters across the base and approximately two meters high. It illuminated the entire forest with a white light. The object itself had a pulsating red light on top and a bank(s) of blue lights underneath. The object was hovering or on three legs. As the patrolmen approached the object, it maneuvered through the trees and disappeared. At this time the animals on a nearby farm went into a frenzy. The object was briefly sighted approximately an hour later near the back gate."                  Col. Halt would  record the entire event on cassette tape. Walkie-talkie calls to other senior officers were monitored and you can hear panic-stricken voices describing  beams that were disrupting electrical devices. The tape also discloses that photographs and video were taken of the object.  He brought with him Lt. Bruce Englund, Sgt. Monroe Nevilles and Master Sgt. Bobby Ball. They would be joined later by Airman 1st Class John Burroughs. Shortly, other groups would join them as they chased the source of the lights through the woods.          Staff Sergeant Jim Pennison, who was among the group that night that came upon the object and described the prevailing feeling thusly: "The air was filled with electricity. You could feel it on your skin as we approached the object."          Pennison, after observing the object for some 20 minutes, finally approached it and actually touched it. He described it as a "smooth, black, glass-type fabric" and noticed some symbols on its side which he could not distinguish (below).        The craft then suddenly rose off the ground and started to move away, weaving in and out of the trees. At about 40 feet away it rose higher and then shot off in the blink of an eye.           "I got to within 10 feet of the craft and the clearing where it sat. I estimated it to be about three meters tall and about three meters wide at the base. No landing gear was apparent, but it seemed like she was on fixed legs. I moved a little closer. I had already taken all 36 pictures on my roll of film. I walked around the craft, and finally, I walked right up to the craft. I noticed the fabric of the shell was more like a smooth, opaque, black glass. The bluish lights went from black to gray to blue. I was pretty much confused at that point. I kept trying to put this in some kind of frame of reference, trying to find some logical explanation as to what this was and what was going on."         Halt and Penniston circa 2003               The following morning, a team was sent back out (right) to investigate the area and search for physical evidence. From Col. Halt's report: "The next day, three depressions 1 1/2" deep and 7" in diameter were found where the object had been sighted on the ground. The following night the area was checked for radiation. Beta/Gamma readings of 0.1 milliroentgens were recorded with peak readings in the three depressions and near the center of the triangle formed by the depressions. A nearby tree had moderate (.05 - .07) readings on the side of the tree toward the depressions."          The incident did not end there, because that night, the entire base bore witness to more remarkable events.          "Later in the night a red sun-like light was seen through the trees. It moved about and pulsed. At one point it appeared to throw off glowing particles and then broke into five separate white objects and then disappeared. Immediately thereafter, three star-like objects were noticed in the sky, two objects to the north and one to the south, all of which were about 10° off the horizon. The objects moved rapidly in sharp angular movements and displayed red, green and blue lights. The objects to the north appeared to be elliptical through an 8 - 12 power lens. They then turned to full circles. The objects to the north remained in the sky for an hour or more. The object to the south was visible for two or three hours and beamed down a stream of light from time to time. Numerous individuals, including the undersigned (Halt himself), witnessed the activities in paragraphs 2 and 3."       Debunkers came up with some alternate explanations for what these military men had seen. While a nearby lighthouse beam might be mistaken for a light, it does not explain how a witness was able to touch the object. While a star or planet's light can be mistaken for something else, they don't sit on the ground and then take off. Something unnatural happened that night in the Rendlesham Forest and it ranks amongst the greatest accounts of a UFO encounter ever recorded.   
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