March 8th, 1998
Editor: Joseph Trainor
Mysterious fireballs were sighted throughout Colorado last week, with an unprecedented number of sightings on February 26, 1998, the day of the solar eclipse.
On Saturday, February 14, 1998, at 6:15 p.m., a witness in Glenwood Springs (population 6,561), a town on Interstate Highway 70 approximately 157 miles (251 kilometers) west of Denver, sighted a triangle-shaped UFO.
"It was a large triangular object," he reported. "At each tip there were large lights. It was noiseless and it left no jet-trail (contrail). It was crossing the sky at incredible speed. It didn't move straight forward. It turned as it moved."
On Wednesday, February 25, 1998, a man traveling southeast of the city of Colorado Springs (population 281,144), located 67 miles (107 kilometers) south of Denver, spotted a mysterious fireball in the sky.
According to local researcher Chandra Chandler, the witness described the object as "traveling east and was green and (was) the size of a tennis ball at arm's length. The tail was one and one-half to two times the size of the object's length."
Thursday, February 26, 1998, saw fireball UFOs reported in several Colorado cities.
In Denver, a private pilot told radio station KHOW, 630 AM, that he had nearly suffered a mid-air collision with a black helicopter over the city at 6:45 a.m. that morning. He described the chopper as "a black Huey (UH-1D) that did not have communication ID (transponder) or (regulation FAA) running lights." The helicopter pilot "did not acknowledge radio transmissions." The pilot said he was startled when the black helicopter intruded into his flight path and kept the mysterious aircraft in view "for about three minutes."
At 8 p.m. on February 26, strollers on Colfax Avenue in Denver were startled when "two bright objects" suddenly appeared in the sky. "They saw one fireball suddenly plunge straight down, as if headed for Denver" while the other "headed due west."
In Leadville (population 2,629), a town on Colorado Highway 91 about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Denver, reporter Jeff Dick of the Leadville Herald-Democrat, spotted a fireball "in the east and saw it flash and blink out in a line of sight northwest of Leadville.at about 30 degrees (above the horizon)."
The Denver Museum of Natural History received 50 calls about the "fireball," which "traveled west over central Colorado."
The 8 p.m. fireball was also seen in Pagosa Springs and South Fork.
In Salida (population 4,737), a town on Highway 50 164 miles (262 kilometers) southwest of Denver, Jill Peacock, 18, and a friend were driving south of town at 8 p.m. when they spotted a fireball.
The girls "were looking north when they viewed an orange fireball with a purple tail. Object was described as a little smaller than the full moon and (was) moving southwest to northwest. Before reaching the horizon at about 60 degrees (elevation), the object broke apart into six distinct red objects" which they described as "very shiny, glittering and chrome-like...what appeared to be structured objects."
The sighting lasted about five seconds. Jill said, "It was totally spectacular."
The UFO was also seen by Aaron Simonson and "another woman named Jill." The couple "thought it was fireworks at first."
Three hours later, at 11 p.m., two witnesses driving north on Highway 17 in Saguache County, at the northern end of the San Luis Valley, saw "a large, an unusually large and slow 'shooting star' traveling from southwest to northeast. The duration of the sighting was four seconds."
The following evening, Friday, February 27, 1998, at 7:30 p.m., a couple driving on Highway 285 through Poncha Pass (elevation 9,010 feet), about 12 miles (18 kilometers) southwest of Salida, saw "a large pulsating white light" cross the sky. "The light pulsed twenty times and appeared to descend, then rise, descend, then rise, as it traveled slowly towards the west."
Ninety minutes later, at 9 p.m., a man traveling west on Highway 160 just east of Blanca Peak, about 18 miles (29 kilometers) east of Alamosa, spotted "a formation of three or four orange lights hovering over Blanca Peak. Lights seemed to fade out, then fade in like (as if) clouds were dimming them. The witness stopped his car, got out and realized that there were no clouds. The sky was perfectly clear. He stopped twice more to watch. As he reached his home at the base of Blanca Peak, the lights disappeared."
On Sunday night, March 1, 1998, at 9 p.m., Adam T. was astounded to see the second appearance of a V-shaped UFO with "five burnt orange lights" over his home in Longmont, Colorado (population 51,555), a city on Highways 119 and 287 located 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Denver.
"Every time I go in the backyard now, I watch the evening sky, hoping to see something," Adam reported, adding that he saw "only three orange lights this time, much higher in the sky (than his February 21 sighting) but more to the north. Watching this thing, the object moved like rocks skipping on a pond. That's the best description...I can come up with. They also, like last time, moved with incredible speed."
Also on March 1, "a mysterious fireball pierced the dawn sky" over Grand Junction (population 29,034), a city on Interstate Highway 70 located approximately 246 miles (394 kilometers) west of Denver.
Maj. Mike Birmingham of the U.S. Space Command said the "fireball" was "a missile test." The missile was fired from the old Fort Wingate Army depot and "left behind a squiggly, colorful contrail on its seven-minute, 200-mile flight" to the White Sands missile range in New Mexico.
According to Don Montoya, chief of command information at White Sands, the missile "landed successfully in the middle of the range."
On Monday night, March 2, 1998, a UFO was sighted at the Baca Grande development near Alamosa. The "bright ball appeared traveling in a slight arc from west to east and left a smoke trail behind it. Then the light jigged south and appeared to ascend higher, then started to curve eastward and slowed. As it slowed, the ball of light and the smoke trail slowly went out."
(Editor's Note: Let me thank a multitude of sources for this story, including Christopher O'Brien, author of THE MYSTERIOUS VALLEY, Tim Edwards, Chandra Chandler, Bob Hetsko and Steve Wilson Sr. See also the Denver Post for March 3, 1998, "Meteors Over Colorado.")
A new witness claims to have seen the UFO involved in the "missing time" case in Toms River, New Jersey (population 7,524) on February 19, 1998.
John B., who lives in South Toms River, N.J. (population 3,869), wrote, "I believe I saw the UFO mentioned in the (UFO ROUNDUP) report on February 19 at about 10 p.m. I looked out the back window to see the stars. But instead I saw what looked like a large meteor fly over my house. The speed was too fast to be a plane. I thought nothing more of it until I read the report about the two men from New Jersey who saw the UFO near Route 37. It (the UFO) looked like it took off near Route 37 and the Garden State Parkway (Route 9)--the exit is 82." (Email Interview)
On Friday, February 27, 1998, at 1:35 p.m., architect Allen Wahl was walking his dog along an Atlantic Ocean beach in Ocean Grove, N.J., 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of New York City. Wahl "decided to rest and look at the ocean since it was a crystal clear and deep blue sky. A strange-looking, ball-shaped UFO with fins flew over him heading from east to west and close by the Great Auditorium" in Ocean Grove.
"I never saw a UFO before, but this made me a believer," Wahl reported. "It looked like a diving bell or a bathysphere about 10 feet (3 meters) in diameter. It reminded me of a Jules Verne science fiction antique with lines of rust running down the side."
Thirty minutes later, Wahl spied "an Army helicopter that appeared to have guns sticking out the front... flying over the beach at a very low level, probably searching for the craft."
Six hours later, at 7:30 p.m., Mike Niemcyk, 17, "spotted a large triangular craft moving over his house" in Neptune, N.J. (population 28,326), located 22 miles (35 kilometers) north of Toms River and 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of New York City.
"Mike called his mother to observe the craft in the night sky. They both said the UFO looked like a Stealth bomber. However, it had too many lights and was too large for a standard aircraft. They could hear a slight humming sound as the craft headed southwest."
George A. Filer, MUFON's Eastern Director, interviewed the Niemcyk family by telephone and is investigating this case. (See Filer's Files #9 for 1998. Many thanks to George A. Filer for this report.)
On Tuesday, February 3, 1998, at 7:45 a.m., Gina Fontanelli was driving south on Route 8, near Tallmadge Avenue, in Akron, Ohio (population 223,019), a large city 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Cleveland, when she spotted a UFO.
"As she was approaching the Tallmadge Avenue exit, she sighted a very bright light to the south about 30 degrees up (from the horizon). It was 'completely light at the time,' she reported, describing the UFO as 'being bigger and brighter than any star or planet."
"She watched the light for 90 seconds while she was crossing the high level bridge (over the Cuyahoga River, one mile northeast of Quaker Square--J.T.). While she was rumbling across the bridge, she saw that the light, which had remained constant, suddenly streaked west and vanished. She tried to follow it, but it was gone in an instant. She said the light had the same brightness as it headed towards the west..."
On Monday, February 23, 1998, at 5:55 p.m., Larry W. spotted a UFO crossing the sky in Beverly, Ohio (population 1,444), a small town on Highway 266 approximately 186 miles (297 kilometers) south of Cleveland.
Larry described the UFO as being "approximately 45 degrees azimuth on a heading of 180 to 200 degrees true" and "a large bright ball of light," which he "initially presumed to be a star...which did not move. It appeared to be a ball of plasma which grew to one-eighth the size of the full moon...slowly dimmed in intensity and disappeared." The case is being investigated by Clint Stone of Kentucky MUFON.
On Saturday, February 28, 1998, a former security guard at the Kenwood Towers apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio (population 364,040) spotted a strange light in the sky.
The man, who describes himself as "a skeptic," was "looking to the south from Kenwood Towers, overlooking the Lunken Municipal Airport" when he "saw a pulsing red light, initially thinking it was the water tower on Mount Washington." Then he "spotted a string of four objects, in a line, heading east. Seemed to be the exact same color as the lights on top of cell (cellular telephone) towers... The four separate objects seemed to make a course change and turned to the north."
He estimated that the UFOs were "one quarter mile (0.6 kilometers) east" of his location "at an elevation of less than 1,000 feet (300 meters) and moving at the speed of a slow-moving airplane or helicopter." The condition of the sky was clear, and temperatures were in the mid-40s on the Fahrenheit scale. (Many thanks for Kenneth Young, public information director of Tri-States Advocates of Scientific Knowledge, T.A.S.K., for these reports.)
A UFO was seen hovering above the University campus in Charlotte, North Carolina (population 395,934), a large city 168 miles (269 kilometers) southwest of Raleigh, on Saturday, February 28, 1998.
Mark F. was in the Mint Hills section of the city, near Harris Boulevard and Independence Boulevard, when he saw "three, maybe four, lights" blinking off and on along my drive home...I would estimate them to be at 25 degrees above the horizon. I never saw them depart, just disappear."
Mark estimated the lights to be "around two radio towers that were 15 minutes away in the UNCC area, northeast of the city, or University area, as it's called." (Email Interview)
Local ufologist Aaron L. said the UFO "appeared to be either landing or coming at me." He saw if for a few seconds while driving with his father.
"Oh, I'd say it was about 65 degrees (above the horizon)...The strobe light was white. I didn't see any structure. This wasn't a vague and off-in-the-distance thing. It was pretty close and the lights appeared larger than most planes I have seen. It was larger than Venus appears." (Email Interview)
On Friday, February 27, 1998, at 9:40 a.m., Hal B., a U.S. Air Force veteran, spotted a spherical silver UFO in the sky over Clearwater, Florida (population 98,789), a city on Gulf of Mexico 293 miles (469 kilometers) northwest of Miami and 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Tampa.
Hal, a former USAF radar technician and trained weather observer, "observed what appeared to be a silver sphere darting in and out of the base of a thunderstorm cloud. He described the UFO as 'stopping, brightening and then resuming the 'darting' motion for approximately 15 to 20 seconds."
"Judging from the cloud cover, he estimated the object to be about 4,000 to 5,000 feet (1,212 to 1,515 meters) above the ground in the Clearwater area near Old Tampa Bay. When the sphere stopped suddenly, Hal was able to see that the structure seemed to 'shimmer.'"
"I was observing the approaching thunderstorm when I watched the object appear," Hal reported. "The motion was unlike anything I have ever seen. It could not have been a conventional aircraft." (Many thanks to Tim Hagemeister of NACOMM for this report.)
On Saturday, February 21, 1998, at 11:40 p.m., two witnesses saw a UFO from their front porch in Semmes, Alabama (population 2,250), a town on Highway 98 about 11 miles (17 kilometers) west of Mobile.
The pair "simultaneously noticed a red glow in the west...The UFO's shape was generally rectangular. The ends of the rectangle seemed to bend inward. One witness described the sighting as 'eerie,' adding 'it must have been some kind of flare.'"
"The light drifted downward from 20 degrees to disappear in the west. It dropped behind the tree- line west of the witnesses at 10 degrees. Witnesses described the movement as 'drifting' downward, diagonally. The UFO was an estimated one-quarter mile (0.6 kilometers) away." (See Filer's Files #9 for 1998. Many thanks to George A. Filer and John Thompson of MUFON for this report.)
On Friday, February 20, 1998, at 7 p.m., rancher Cody Stauffenberger spotted a strange light in the sky over Kerrville, Texas (population 17,384), a city on Interstate Highway 10 approximately 90 miles (144 kilometers) west of Austin.
"I first saw a long white glowing streak," he reported. "At first I took it for an aircraft. Then it turned bright orange and streaked across the sky like a comet. Then it stopped again and just stayed stationary and glowed orange for about five minutes...Then it slowly floated further away."
(Many thanks to Jim Styck for this report.)
Two UFO incidents were reported in Canada recently.
On Thursday, February 19, 1998, at 2:14 a.m., Dennis R. "was driving on Highway 31, near Highway 40" in Joliette, Quebec (population 17,396) 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Montreal, "when I saw a bright white light in the sky."
"The light was blinding me. I cannot describe exactly what I saw but I am sure that the thing in the sky was not normal. All I know is that the light was very bright, and I had to stop my car." (Many thanks to Jim Styck for this report.)
On Sunday, March 1, 1998, at 8:15 p.m., a 28-year-old man and his parents were watching TV at their home in Richmond, British Columbia (population 126,624), a suburb south of Vancouver "when something came into view in the living room window."
"What caught my eye was the nearness and positioning of the lights on the underbelly of the object," he reported. "The lights numbered between six to eight and some were of diamond shape. The lights were all very bright and were white.. Another oddity was the one very large strobing white light in the center of the object. This caught my eye, and I instinctively went to get up to see what it was."
Seeing the large UFO hovering outside, he yelled for his elderly parents to join him. His mother did so, viewed the huge object, and remarked, "It must be one of those special satellites."
"What my mother and I saw was an object unlike an airplane or anything we have seen before," he added, "the object overhead at approximately 80 degrees, and the shape of the object was rectangular. The object appeared to make no sound and was flying at around 150 knots , which puzzled me because how could an object of that size and shape with no wings stay in the air?" (Many thanks to Michael Strainic of MUFON Canada and Steve Wilson Sr. for this report.)
On Sunday, February 15, 1998, the Rede Globo television network in Brazil broadcast a startlingly clear UFO video on its Fantastico show.
The video was shot by Alan Oliveira, 10, from his high-rise apartment house in Capao Redondo, a cidade satelite (suburb) of Sao Paulo in late January.
According to Brazilian ufologist Vitorio Pacaccini, Alan "spotted it from his balcony" and described it as "a small weird light 30 to 50 centimeters (15 to 25 inches) in diameter and standing still in the air... some 150 to 200 meters away.
"Suddenly, the light turned and flew for four minutes over the rooftops of Capao Redondo...The light didn't touch anything. It was totally zigzagging through the sky very slowly. It seemed to be reviewing the area." (Muito obrigado a Vitorio Pacaccini por eso caso.)
A similar reconnaissance mission in Sao Paulo was reported to CNI News by Helga Reidler. She reported, "On Friday, February 7 (1998), at approximately 9:30 p.m., I saw one of those small lights fly over my house at low altitude. They are not much bigger than a tennis ball...The light flies slowly from one side of the street to the other, a lot of zigzagging, starting at one end and going up the street, flying over and around houses at the level of electric light cables." (See CNI News for March 1, 1998. Many thanks to Mike Lindemann for letting UFO ROUNDUP quote from his newspaper.)
On Monday, March 2, 1998, Rev. Pizzi, astronomy professor and director of the observatory at Colegio Cristo Rey, decided to put in some telescope time and got a real surprise.
At 6 a.m., Rev. Pizzi reported the condition of the sky as "clear." As he peered through the eyepiece, he "observed a strange object of a yellow color with an aura of the same magnitude as the planet Venus."
The OVNI (Spanish acronym for UFO) "hovered in the sky for a period of ten minutes" before zipping away to the west, toward the Andes. Rev. Pizzi reportedly declined to call the object "an OVNI" but added, "Evidentally there is an enigma in the skies of our planet."
Rosario is a large city in Santa Fe province, in central Argentina, approximately 260 kilometers (156 miles) west of Buenos Aires. (Muchas gracias a Luis Pacheco y Dr. Roque Mecoli del grupo UFO Argentina, y tambien Pedro Cunha, para esas noticias.)
On March 10, 1951, a propellor-engine B-29 bomber, tail number 5369, was flying at 17,000 feet about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southwest of Chinnampo in North Korea when one of the crewmen saw "a flash of brilliant light at his nine o'clock position."
According to the U.S. Air Force report, afterward included in Project Blue Book, "The phenomenon appeared as 'a reddish-yellow glow that dropped slightly to the same elevation as aircraft, then burst with a bluish-white brilliance. It was estimated to be as large as a basketball and did not deviate from (a) straight course toward aircraft or curve right or left. Tail gunner attracted by brilliant light and saw flash over (his) left shoulder off right wing. He did not observe any movement or any color other than silvery bright flash. Bombardier saw bluish-green flash from (his) side vision. Before he could turn his head, it was gone...Pilot saw object at three o'clock from corner of (his) eye as a flash or blue-white or blue-green. None able to describe red-orange tail. None saw any shape or shadows or anything resembling exhausts, trace (tracer bullets--J.T.) or another aircraft. None could estimate (the) distance on anything except sheer guess." (See Far Eastern Air Force, USAF, Staff Message Division Report No. A-5394 INT-IR, for March 26, 1951. Reproduced in ADVANCED AERIAL DEVICES REPORTED DURING THE KOREAN WAR by Richard F. Haines, LDA Press, Los Altos, California, 1990, pages 30-31.)
On this date, March 8, 1976, a shower of meteors fell in northeastern China. The largest meteorite tipped the scales at 3,900 pounds, just under two tons, making it the biggest meteor to strike the Earth in recorded history.
Join us next week for more saucer news from "the paper that goes home--UFO ROUNDUP." See you then.
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 1998 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post news items from UFO ROUNDUP on their websites and in newsgroups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of issue in which the item first appeared.