December 22, 1996
Editor: Joseph Trainor
On Tuesday, December 17, 1996, at 6:15 a.m., people living in the Pacific Northwest were startled to see "a glowing green fireball" approaching from the western horizon.
An early morning commuter in Maple Valley, Washington, east of Seattle, reported that the unusual fireball "came to within 500 feet" of his car before shooting off in an easterly direction towards Wenatchee.
People living in King and Snohomish counties reported seeing the fireball "go down near Richmond Beach" on Puget Sound.
The King County Sheriff's Department told the Seattle Times that they'd received many calls about the fireball from residents of Issaquah (population 5,536) and Bellevue (population 74,000). Bellevue is located across Lake Washington from Seattle, on the eastern shore. Issaquah is 15 miles (24 kilometers) to the southeast of Bellevue, just south of Lake Sammamish.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also received calls from Skagit County, Washington and as far south as Tigard, Oregon and Salem, Oregon. (See the Seattle Times for December 17, 1996, page 1)
North of Seattle, in Anacortes, Washington, radio station KLKI received 40 phone calls about the fireball.
Radio stations in Spokane, Washington, which is 280 miles (448 kilometers) east of Seattle, also received phone calls from eyewitnesses, who claimed the fireball was heading for Idaho.
North of the border, in Courtenay, British Columbia (population 7,800), a man named O'Carrol was scraping the snow from his car windshield when, suddenly, the neighboring houses began to glow with a feeble green light. Looking skyward, he saw "a huge, flaming, sparking, greenish-blue light ball" that appeared to be "throwing off white sparks." The fireball hurtled toward the eastern horizon. "Several seconds later," O'Carrol said, "there was quite a boom, and I thought, 'Wow! I wonder what that was.'"
The National UFO Reporting Center in Seattle reportedly said "two meteors" were responsible for the sighting.
Gary Mayer, the FAA duty officer in Renton, Washington, said
the light was not caused by any aircraft and he "assumed it was a
meteorite." Perhaps one of the Geminids.
(Thanks to Brian D. Zeiler for the Seattle Times article, and thanks to Laurie Elmore for the Courtenay, B.C. information.)
(Editor's Comment: It's highly unlikely that it was one of the Geminid meteors. That shower ended at 7 p.m. December 14. The next meteor shower, the Ursids, was scheduled to begin at 1 a.m. today, December 22. It'll be interesting to see if we have any more "green fireball" reports this coming week.)
On Thursday, December 12, Marta Ramirez was walking down the street in Simi Valley, California when she spied a UFO. Here is her eyewitness report: "I witnessed a sighting at approximately 3:30 p.m. The object was traveling at an unimaginable speed. It was heading somewhat in the direction of Malibu. Two people other than myself witnessed it. The object streaked across the sky, then rapidly slowed to a stop. After maintaining a stationary position for a few seconds, it then went straight up and began doing zigzag maneuvers for quite a while before shooting off in a northeasterly direction. I was not able to estimate the elevation (altitude) of the UFO, but it did not appear to be extremely high up, nor was it extremely big. Sunlight glinted off the top and bottom of the craft, which appeared to be a slightly flattened egg shape. There was no sound coming from the object that I could hear. The object left no contrail, while all the other planes in the sky had been leaving contrails." (Unsolicited Email)
On Thursday, November 28, 1996, Dr. Sergio Lott Silveira, 36, a physician from Sao Paulo, Brazil took off from that city's airport in his Orion airplane. Dr. Lott Silveira was headed west to Curitiba for a conference. Several minutes into the flight, he noticed that his plane was being paced by "a luminous object." The UFO kept pace with his plane for several minutes before zipping away to the north.
This was the latest incident in the long-running UFO flap in the state of Sao Paulo, a flap which began with the UFO crash near Varginha, M.G. last January.
On October 5, 1996, a large cigar-shaped UFO appeared over the city of Sorocaba (population 378,000), 110 kilometers (66 miles) west of Sao Paulo. The sighting took place at 10:25 p.m. People on the Avenida General Carneiro and the Rua 15 de Novembre saw the object passing beneath the clouds at an estimated altitude of 800 meters (2,500 feet). A single- engine Tupy airplane passed beneath the UFO at an altitude of 500 meters (1,500 feet) but apparently did not notice the UFO. No electromagnetic effects were reported in conjunction with the UFO's appearance.
The following night, October 6, was rainy with low clouds.
At 11 p.m., people on the ground saw a huge triangular UFO
cross the Castelo Branco Highway and pass over downtown
Sorocaba. The triangular UFO had "a flourescent-type white
light that turned on and off in sequence." The blinking light
appeared at each corner of the triangle in quick succession.
The object formed one triangle of bright light. Then it formed
a second light triangle. Seconds later, it disappeared.
(Many thanks to Brazilian ufologist Sergio Graciotti for the Sao Paulo update.)
On October 19, 1996, a solitary "luminous ball of an unusual size" appeared over the village of Val de Reuil in northern France.
On October 23, the same luminous UFO turned up over Vire. The following day, October 24, it appeared over Gasny.
On October 22, at 12 noon, there was a mysterious sky explosion over Guichainville. Three hours later, a second boom resounded over Eure.
At Vernon, two booms were reported at 2:05 p.m. At the Lycee (high school) in Vernon, the teens reported a shaking in the student lounge.
Other French towns reporting a mysterious sky boom
at 3 p.m. that day included Houlbec Cocherel, St. Aubin
les Elbeuf, Garlon, Louviers, Evereux, Lyons La Foret,
La Madaleine de Nonencourt, Lery, Gasny, Val de Reuil
and Notre Dame de la Garenne.
(Many thanks to Thierry Garnier and the Cercle Ufologique de Haute-Normandie for this story.)
On November 13, 1996, at 6 p.m., ranchers living
20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Salida, Colorado
(population 4,900) sighted "a large, dazzling ball of light
moving from north to south." Witnesses had the UFO
in view for 4 to 5 seconds. "Some said it was huge, the
size of the full moon, and was either white or a rainbow
color." The UFO was seen by many people between
Salida and Chama, New Mexico, on the state line.
(Many thanks to Tim Edwards for this report.)
On November 19, 1996, at approximately 10:30 p.m., Robert Liggett was driving on the Garden State Parkway, near Exit 90 in Lakewood, New Jersey, when he suddenly spotted a bright flash in his windshield.
"The light itself was pure white," Robert recalled. "There was no visible shape, even though the sky was very clear." He estimated that the UFO was "as high as a commercial aircraft will fly."
"If you were to freeze-frame the brightest flash and look at its brightness (between) your thumb and pointing finger, and measure it that way, you would have a gap between those two fingers of at least five inches. By contrast, an actual jetliner with the thumb-and-finger method, the gap would be 1/2 of an inch."
As he watched the UFO, it dropped to "at least 45
degrees above the horizon. The trajectory was flat out,
perfectly straight across the sky." (Email Interview)
(Editor's Note: R.L.'s object was at least six times larger than a commercial jetliner. If a jetliner's wingspan is 155 feet, then the estimated diameter of the UFO would be a whopping 930 feet or 310 meters.)
Alice Springs, a city in central Australia, continues to draw UFOs and some unexpected human visitors, as well.
On Monday, November 25, 1996, at 11:15 p.m., people in Alice Springs reported seeing "four intense orange fireball lights" flying over the city "before heading in a westerly direction."
On Tuesday night, November 26, the Alice Springs police "were able to catch on video a number of lights flying in formation across the sky. These were sighted by hundreds of people" who bombarded the central police station with phone calls. According to Glennys M. Mackey of Queensland UFO Network (QUFON), "Every now and then, one or two lights would leave the formation and fly off in different directions at great speed before rejoining the group."
The same night, an orange-fireball UFO was spotted hovering near the Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap, a short distance from Alice Springs. The JDF is a top-secret installation operated by the United States and Australia.
The following evening, November 27, Alice Springs police received several calls of "bright objects bobbing up and down." Two police cruisers were dispatched. One cruiser "came across a plastic bag by the side of the road all ready and prepared to send off into the sky."
The second cruiser took a back road out of Alice Springs and, out in the bush, "came across a car acting suspiciously. Two (American) men were in the car. He (the constable) asked what they were doing. Searching the car, the cop found 'balloon-making equipment.' The cop asked them to accompany him back to the station...He also demanded to see (some) I.D. The two Americans reluctantly produced ID cards linking them to the Dept. of Joint Facilities at Pine Gap."
The morning of November 29, a local resident phoned the
JDF and asked about the "orange fireballs." He was told not
to worry and that these were "just weather balloons."
(Thanks to Glennys M. Mackey of QUFON and Errol Bruce-Knapp of UFO Updates for this story.)
(Editor's Comment: Isn't that a clever way to "explain" three weeks of UFO sightings in Alice Springs? Just fill the car with balloon-making equipment, drive around in the desert with your lights off, and wait for the Australian police to pull you over. Voila, it was all just a JDF weather experiment. Your editor finds it interesting, though, that they didn't pull this scam until RIGHT AFTER an "orange fireball" visited the Pine Gap station.)
MORE INTERESTING WEBSITES
Speaking of mystery-shrouded science laboratories, have you ever heard of the Bearspaw Genetics Lab just west of Calgary, Alberta? Your editor hadn't either--until he visited this site. Built in 1954, Bearspaw has had plenty of weird UFO and Bigfoot experiences over the years. Alan Merrett has the whole story at his site, which you'll find at http://www.linex.com/ufo. Or you can email Alan at email@example.com.
Ken Green has a new site up and running that deals with UFOs, Roswell, the Philadelphia Experiment, crop circles and more. Check it out at http://www.mother.com/~green3/ ufo.htm.
Jorgen Westman has 63 UFO articles on file at his page. Choose by frames or non-frames. You can log in at this address: http://www.wufoc.com.
The group Tri-States Advocates for Scientific Knowledge (T.A.S.K.) now has their own Website. If you want the in-depth story on this year's UFO flap in Ohio, check them out at http://home.fuse.net/task/
Don't miss our parent site, UFOINFO, for complete and detailed coverage of recent sightings and encounters all over the world. You can reach them at this address-- http://ufoinfo.com/index.html
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Here's wishing our readers worldwide a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from "the paper that goes home... UFO ROUNDUP."