Read an Excerpt
THE PHOENIX LIGHTS
A Skeptic's Discovery That We Are Not Alone
By Lynne D. Kitei
Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.Copyright © 2010 Lynne D. Kitei, M.D.
All rights reserved.
Showtime ... The Phoenix Lights
On the evening of March 13, 1997, a collection of unidentified flying objects crossed the state of Arizona from north to south and back again. It was an incident that has become known worldwide as the Phoenix Lights.
Phenomena were being witnessed from as early as 5:30 P.M. However, the first official call came from a police officer from his ho me in the no rthern mountains at about 8 P.M. to report a group of "bright red-orange lights formed in the shape of a boomerang" that was headed south. No engines could be heard, he said, which was surprising since the lights were "large and in formation."
Next to witness the mysterious lights were travelers on Interstate 17, the freeway connecting Northern Arizona with the capital city of Phoenix. Some drivers nearly left the road watching the massive array of lights. No sound accompanied the lights and they moved in unison, "as though they were connected," said one witness.
When the display came over the mountains of North Phoenix and moved over the city, thousands of people saw it. The route the mysterious lights took that night can be followed by tracking the 911 calls that came into the Phoenix police department. In the north valley, people talked frantically to emergency operators about a "strange soundless craft" moving over their heads. One man directly under the lights said that looking at the shimmering area between them was like "looking through water at the sky." Others reported a one- to two-mile wide "V" or boomerang-shaped craft with huge, round canister lights. An 11-year-old boy, Tim MacDonald, came out of his Cub Scout meeting and watched the triangle shape of lights for nearly three minutes. "I thought it was a UFO," he told a newspaper reporter. Golfers at driving ranges froze as they caught sight of the glimmering collection. Commercial air line pilots radioed the tower to find out what those strange lights were. A cement driver, Bill Greiner, watched the lights from a spot near Luke Air Force Base, where he reported seeing fighter planes take off and head for the strange objects, their afterburners roaring at liftoff.
For several minutes, the city stood still as these lights and craft swept overhead on their way toward Tucson, where truck drivers called one another on their CB radios, and families on the dark freeway stopped and stared in awe at the passing giant formation.
But unlike others who had been taken by surprise that night and didn't have time to grab a camera, I was ready. For the past two years my husband and I had been taking both still photographs and video footage of the heavenly lights. At times they had been so close that we could have thrown a rock from our bedroom balcony and hit them. At other times they were so distant and high that I knew others must have seen them too. I tracked down a few people who had seen them, including some air traffic controllers at the airport. We were all grateful to know that we were not alone in witnessing these bizarre orbs of light, yet we were surprised that so few of us had seen them.
But this time it would be different. There is no way the entire city couldn't be seeing this, I told myself as I videotaped three huge amber orbs that seemed to be the end points of a massive "V" or triangular-shaped object that appeared to hover over the city of Phoenix. I filmed the lights from the porch of my home in the mountains overlooking the city.
As my husband, Frank, and I watched the lights, I could only imagine their effect on people. All the while I thought about the first time I saw these lights, and what seeing them had done to me....CHAPTER 2
Seeing the Light
The mystery of the Phoenix Lights began for me at 8 P.M. on my birthday eve, February 6, 1995. I had just settled into a bath. The hot water and vanilla-scented bubbles filled my senses with a delicious calm.
Suddenly the mellow moment was shattered by my husband's frantic call, "Come in he re quick and look at this. What is it?" He sounded alarmed, so I didn't waste any time. Alarm is out of character for Frank, a family physician who has seen it all. I grabbed a towel and, dripping wet, rushed to his side. He was standing transfixed by the bedroom window, looking at something close to the house. From this window I usually scan the twinkling city skyline in the distance, but this time something else caught my attention. Less than a hundred yards away from our property, three objects hung in midair, about 50 to 75 feet above the ground. I immediately looked underneath and around them to see if something or someone was creating the spectacle, but I saw nothing. No laser beam, no hologram. Except for the soft light within each object, there was only darkness. I stood there intently taking it all in. It seemed important not to move.
I took a mental note of every nuance—size, shape, color, distance. Each sphere was an oval, between three and six feet across. They seemed to be hovering motionlessly in perfect symmetry, one on top and the other two aligned underneath, like a pyramid. The soothing amber light contained within each orb looked different from any light I had ever seen. It didn't glare at all and was uniform throughout, reminding me of a holiday luminary that shines from within, without the light extending beyond its edge. Frank and I were in a we, mesmerized by the extraordinary scene.
I knew no one else would believe this unless we had photographic proof, so I turned to grab our 35-mm camera from the bedroom closet. "Get back here. Look what's happening now. One of them is disappearing," said Frank. I clutched the camera and hurried to the window. The top oval orb was slowly fading. It was meticulously and uniformly disappearing in place, as though it were being controlled by a dimmer switch.
I wanted to get a shot of this impressive phenomenon, whatever it was. I quickly opened the sliding glass door, stepped out onto the balcony and snapped a picture of the two remaining orbs.
How is this astonishing sight even possible? I wondered, noticing the eerie silence, as if time had stopped. The next thing I remember, the left bottom oval started to dissipate, just like the first, slowly and silently fading from view without moving. I took another photo.
In the days that followed, Frank didn't really want to discuss it. To me, the whole experience was exciting and wondrous. Even so, it didn't make sense, especially when I star ed at the place where the three mysterious objects had appeared and then dissolved. For weeks afterward, it felt as though they were still there—watching.
It took me more than two weeks to build up the courage to seek out a film shop. When I finally arrived at the photo lab on February 24, 1995, I timidly admitted to the developer that my husband and I had seen something quite unusual outside our window a couple of weeks before. I asked her to please take special care in trying to find some lights among the photos on the two rolls I handed her.
One of the other developers overheard our conversation. He didn't live far from us, he said, and had seen air force jets scouting our area the day after this sighting. Why would the military be zooming at low altitudes around a private residential area? I added this to a growing list of questions about the mysterious lights.
When the photos came back I discovered that only one picture of the lights had turned out, but what a picture it was. I had caught the lower left oval as it was disappearing while the right oval was still in place. One of the unique features of this book is that I have photographs of the Phoenix Lights that I can share with you. Some of these amazing 35-mm shots, including this one, are presented on pages 102–109. A colored version is posted on www.thephoenixlights.net.
This single print proved to me that what we had seen was not an optical illusion. But what to do with it? Neither my husband nor I was ever into the topic of Unidentified Flying Objects. We didn't know anyone else who was, either, so I ended up mounting the unique photo on our fireplace mantel, just for fun. It seemed so out of place next to our family pictures that I eventually tucked it neatly behind a favorite portrait for safekeeping. Even though the picture was out of sight, the event wasn't out of my mind.
Over the next 23 months there wasn't a glimmer of anything unusual in the Phoenix skies. From time to time I wondered what we had seen. If we had been anywhere else in the house, we would probably have missed it. I was relieved that I had captured a photo of the strange incident; otherwise no one, including ourselves, would have believed it ha d occurred. After something inexplicable happens to you, with no outside confirmation, you begin to doubt the experience and your perception of it, especially over time. As much as I tried to deny it, the feeling that we were supposed to witness and film the mysterious sight lingered. Maybe one day I would find out why.
Then it happened again, but on a grander scale.
It was about 8 P.M. on the evening of January 22, 1997. I had just slipped into bed and was staring out of our picture window at the beautiful skyline. The view was full of lights: stoplights blinking their green, yellow, and red arrays; car lights whizzing down the main thoroughfares; commercial airplanes crisscrossing the skies as they arrived at and departed from Sky Harbor International Airport.
Then something on the western horizon caught my attention. Three huge amber orbs hung there in a stationary row, strangely similar to the three orbs outside our window in 1995.
"Frank. Come here! There are three amber lights information out there behind the buildings down Central Avenue. Hurry!"
After several seconds of silence he replied, "I don't want to hear about it. You enjoy."
"But you don't understand. They look like the three lights we saw two years ago, except this time they're at a distance and in a line!"
"Do I still have to go to work tomorrow?" he jokingly replied.
I watched them alone. After hovering rock-solid for about three or four minutes they each took a turn in fading out. It looked as if each orb was dissipating from the outside in, from right to left, until all three were gone from view.
The next evening, while Frank was at the medical board's monthly meeting, something huge and golden-orange glaring motionlessly in the sky once again caught my attention. Realizing that this sight had to be documented, I grabbed my video camera, scurried out to the pool area, and pressed the record button. After filming 17 seconds of footage, the camera clicked off. The battery had gone dead. A few minutes later, the lights faded to black.
"Honey, you won't believe this," I said to Frank when he came ho me. "Remember I told you about the three lights in a row last night? Well, about a half an hour ago the same lights appeared in front of South Mountain."
As I pointed to the spot where they had appeared, they suddenly reappeared. "That's them! That's them!" I shouted, running into the house and up the long stairway to grab my camera from the closet. Just as I aimed my camera at this puzzling display, six amber spheres blinked on, in an equidistant line, directly above the three that were already there. The distance across was probably more than a mile. There was nothing I could relate it to, except maybe Star Trek.
"Oh, my, Frank, what is that? It looks like a Mothership or a fleet of ships."
I got several shots off as the bottom three started to disappear, one by one from right to left. I kept clicking away.
During my frenzy to get the photos, I could hear Frank mutter, "It's probably a blimp. Isn't the Phoenix Open in town?"
I tried in earnest to visualize it being a blimp, but to no avail. The lights were shaped like large orange orbs, and they didn't move at all. The notion that these lights were part of a colossal blimp was implausible.
I called the newspaper to see if anyone else had reported what I was seeing.
"City desk," said the voice in the newsroom of the Arizona Republic.
"Could you tell me what the strange lights are that are hovering right now in front of South Mountain? You should get someone out there to capture the sight on film." As my sentence came to an end, so did the light show. They were gone. There was no where else to go with the conversation. Reluctantly, I hung up.
The next morning I felt I had to have an explanation. I wanted to believe that there was a rational explication for the incident. First I phoned the Arizona Republic asking if anyone had called the night before to report strange lights. Not a one, said the receptionist.
"Can you tell me who I could contact to find out what they might have been?" I asked.
"Maybe it was an experimental military mane uver," she replied quickly. "Sometimes Luke Air Force Base sends out test flights and they don't report them to the public."
The female lieutenant I spoke to next listened patiently and then responded curtly. "I can tell you that they did not come from Luke and they did not come into Luke. We had nothing to do with them."
Pressing further, I asked, "Could you tell me who I should contact to find out what they were?"
"I have no idea."
Frustrated, I asked, "Would you have a number for a UFO organization?"
She stated emphatically, "No. I certainly would not have that information."
"But there must be someone who knows what they were. My husband and I saw the same thing. We even captured some on videotape. I'm sure there must be a logical explanation. I'm only trying to find out what that might be."
"Well, since it was in front of South Mountain, maybe someone at the airport saw something."
"Good idea," I said. I hung up and looked for the Sky Harbor International Airport telephone number.
The strange phenomena had to have come from somewhere. I would just search until I found an answer. Finally, I got the Federal Aviation Administration on the line. I reiterated my account. The operator asked me to hold while she checked to see if the air traffic controllers had seen anything unusual the night before. It was at least five minutes before she returned.
"You're in luck. One of the controllers who is here this morning was working last night. He did see some strange lights. He's not sure what they were."
"Could I speak with him personally?" I requested. She asked me to wait.
Finally, there was a click on the line. A deep male voice asked, "Did you see those six orange lights hovering equidistant from each other in a formation last night about 8:30 P.M.?"
When I told him we had, he seemed almost relieved that someone else had seen them.
"When we saw the array of six lights appear at 8:30 P.M., out of nowhere, we immediately looked on radar, but nothing showed up," he said. "We then thought maybe they were lights carried by skydivers. But that would be unlikely because it was too late and they were in a perfect formation. They couldn't have been flares either. Flares drift downwards. These stayed right in place. Besides, they were a different color from anything I've ever seen. So we grabbed our binoculars to take a closer look. What startled us was that they were six distinct amber objects, hovering motionless for a time, in perfect synchrony."
I was more curious than ever. "So," I inquired again, "what were they?"
There was silence for several seconds, then a deep breath. "Beats me," he answered.
"Wait a minute. You're an air traffic controller. That's what you do, identify things flying around in air space. And you don't know what they were?"
He hesitated for a moment and then replied, "I'll ask around."
Since I had no clue as to what we were dealing with, I wanted to remain as anonymous as possible and gave him my son's telephone number. "Please call back if you hear of anything," I asked, "I'm just trying to find a logical explanation for what we saw."
I wasn't going to be caught off guard again. I brought the video equipment upstairs, plugged it into the electric socket and placed it next to the bedroom door leading out to our balcony—just in case.
That evening, shortly after dark, two giant amber orbs appeared on the horizon and hovered for several minutes in a side-by-side formation. Grabbing my camera, I rushed outside to capture the sight on tape, documenting the sighting verbally as well. "January 24th, 1997. Huge amber balls of light over Phoenix. Just hovering, not moving, not going anywhere." I tried to keep the hand-held camera steady. Frank joined me on the veranda. After the balls disappeared, we stood there in silence staring at the vacant sky for several seconds, then stepped back inside. I noticed the time was 8:27 P.M.
Excerpted from THE PHOENIX LIGHTS by Lynne D. Kitei. Copyright © 2010 Lynne D. Kitei, M.D.. Excerpted by permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.