Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Witnesses, Pyrotechnicians and Readers Weigh In On the 2008 Phoenix Lights

By Bill Knell

Lights seen over Phoenix, Arizona, on April 21, 2008, have ignited controversy and reminded us of the famous March 13, 1997 sightings of lights and a huge triangular craft over the city. As with the original Phoenix Lights sightings of 1997, we have statements from the military that conflict with what witnesses have reported and witnesses that say what they saw doesn't match what's been reported by the news media.

By Tuesday morning, April 22, 2008, the military weighed in on the situation by saying they had no idea what the lights were and that no aircraft from Luke Air Force Base were in the air on the night in question. That claim was immediately contested by witnesses living close to Luke that heard jets taking off and landing on Monday evening. Others say that the jets were circling the objects or keeping an eye on them.

Things got even stranger by Tuesday afternoon as Air Traffic Controllers at Sky Harbor Airport said they say the lights, but the FAA would allow them to comment on what they saw. The FAA also refused to investigate the lights, despite a policy stating that they would investigate anything strange seen in the skies that could not be immediately identified. Add to this the story from a local resident who said that he saw his neighbor sent up some helium balloons with flares attached from his backyard right around the same time that the lights began to appear.

The press loved the helium balloons and flares story almost as much as they did when the 'military flares' explanation was used to explain the original Phoenix Lights seen in 1997. However, the objects seen on April 21, 2008 were anything but military flares. Furthermore, the idea that one person could manage to set up and launch something bright enough to be the lights people saw and videotaped that night confounds the experts and witnesses.

After I wrote two previous articles about the reappearance of the Phoenix Lights, a number of people contacted me to weigh in on the situation. Most seemed satisfied with the balloons and flares explanation, but the actual witnesses were not and have problems with that theory. One witness said that the lights were far too consistently bright to be flares. Another said the lights hovered directly over his head, but didn't drift as if they were connected to balloons. Others saw the red lights from quite a distance and said they doubted the flares story because they had seen the military dropping flares and the lights looked nothing like that.

An expert in Pyrotechnics contacted me after reading about the flares connected to balloons story and watching the video taken of the red lights over Phoenix on April 21, 2008. Jim Blair has worked in the Pyrotechnics industry for many years. He's participated in hundreds of Fireworks displays and has helped design and set up shows for events ranging from private affairs to citywide shows throughout the USA.

Jim says that people have no idea how difficult it would be to create an effect like the one seen over Phoenix on Monday night, April 21, 2008 using helium balloons and flares. "We're not talking about candles and dry cleaning bags," he explained, "it would take a lot of effort to get a set up like that off the ground. You would need a special type of balloon that was designed to hold enough helium to stay aloft for a considerable amount of time and support the flares. It would be expensive and very difficult to launch from a small backyard. I can't believe that one person could do it by themselves."

Jim is not alone in his opinion that the balloons and flares theory isn't viable. A number of people working in the field of photographic analysis have problems with what the video shows and the flares explanation. They claim the lights are too stable and too bright to be flares. They point out that the movements are not like flares attached to balloons, but independent lights forming and reforming into different patterns. Former members of the military have pointed out that these could not be auto emergency flares and that flares used for military purposes are expensive, hard to work with and would be inappropriate to use with the kind of balloons available over the counter.

While people argue about the origin of the latest set of Phoenix Lights, they might have missed the fact that lights appeared in other places just before or right around the same time. In addition to the Kokomo lights in Indiana and the Oswego Lights seen in Illinois, unexplained lights appeared in the sky over Granville, Massachusetts on April 18, 2008. As with many of the others, these lights formed up into a triangular shape and didn't appear to drift through the sky, but hovered over the area.

It's easy to create simple explanations for almost anything strange that happens in the sky. It's harder for those explanations to stand up to serious scrutiny. For example, despite continuing events in Erath County, Texas, where the now famous Stephenville Lights began appearing last December and witnesses have been harassed by members of the military, the news media seems happy to trot along its merry way and ignore what's happening.

I guess that all it takes to keep reporters happy are a few erroneous government statements, false explanations from bogus witnesses and the idea that UFOs cannot possibly be anything out of the ordinary. That's enough for them and they want that to be enough for you. It's been that way for many years, but I believe that not all of us are the Kool Aid drinkers they believe us to be. Some of us realize that we are not the center of the Universe, but merely live in it along with many others.

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Author: Bill Knell
Author's Email: bek@flashmail.com
Author's Website: http://www.ufoguy.com
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