Donnerstag, 24. Juli 2014 - 23:30 Uhr
After sixteen years, who can you trust?
On March 13th, the annual reposting of the same old UFO stories regarding “The Phoenix Lights” appeared on the web. For some reason, Mitch Stanley is never mentioned in any of these writings. My web site on the subject and an article that appeared in SUNlite 2-3 also seems to have been missed. I am simply amazed that people simply regurgitate these stories without even looking at the facts behind many of them.
These are the FACTS (things that are not in dispute) regarding the case:
Between 8:00 and 8:45 PM local time, witnesses reported an unidentified formation of lights or lighted object traversing the 1. state of Arizona, starting in the northwest and disappearing near Tuscon.
Witness’ descriptions varied between a massive dark shape behind the lights to a formation of individual lights that was not 2. attached to any craft.
Mitch Stanley and Rich Contry reported seeing these lights through a telescope (Stanley) and binoculars (Contry). Both identi3.
fied the lights as being aircraft in formation.
The only video of the event, taken by Terry Proctor, shows a formation of lights that shifted position significantly in forty-three 4. seconds.
The NUFORC database reveals that only about a third of the witnesses, who made reports in 1997, reported seeing a dark object 5. behind the lights. The rest report a formation of lights.
The flight path of the lights followed a standard air route taken by aircraft flying from Las Vegas to Tuscon.6.
The 10 PM videos were unrelated to the 8-8:45PM event. 7.
The analyses of the 10 PM videos have shown that the lights were, more than likely, flares dropped by the Maryland Air National 8. Guard, which was flying in the area at the time the videos were recorded. Their pilots stated they had ejected flares at a high altitude.
These are the facts. Most of the stories (including the reports by Stanley and Contry) are just reports that are open to interpretation. Filing a UFO report is a fact. However, the details in these reports are not facts but what the witness perceived as facts. We are left trying to determine which reports accurately reported what happened and which reports were inaccurate.
While I discussed the entire case in SUNlite 2-3, there are two stories that have been promoted for some time that I chose to ignore simply because I found them unreliable. Since they continue to be promoted by various UFO web sites, I felt a need to address them.
What a tangled web.....
Years after the events of March 13, 1997, Governor Fife Symington revealed that he knew a lot more about the event than he led everyone to believe. In this new version of UFO history, he stated that his office tried to get to the bottom of the events shortly after this occurred. However, there seems to be no evidence to support this claim. Such an investigation would be documented with letters to various agencies and requests for information. The only document appears to be senator McCain requesting the USAF investigate. But this was in May at the request of Emma Barwood, who did go public in 1997 requesting information about the event. Why didn’t Symington’s investigation contact the powerful senator? Not happy with trying to rewrite this part of history, Symington added another twist.
In this revision of history, Symington plays an active role in seeing the UFO. He recounted the exact details of the sighting on at least two occasions. The first was on Larry King:
Well, I acknowledge that I saw a craft. I was up in the sunny slope area around 8:00 at night. And I went out to look to the west where the -- all the news channels were filming the Phoenix Lights. And to my astonishment this large sort of delta-shaped, wedge-shaped, craft moved silently over the valley, over Squall Peak, dramatically large, very distinctive leading edge with some enormous lights. And it just went on down to the Southeast Valley. And I was absolutely stunned because I was turning to the west looking for the distant Phoenix Lights and all of a sudden this apparition appears.... I think it was from another world. I’ve never seen anything like it, Larry. It was enormous.
It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. And, you know, it was all over the news. Hundreds, if not thousands of people saw it.1
This seems to be a confusing account. It is a fact that no news channels were filming “The Phoenix Lights” at 8 PM or 10 PM. These videos came from amateurs all over the region at 10 PM and the media was not out filming anything. As I stated above, there is only one known video of the 8PM event and it was not shot near Squaw Peak.
Symington elaborated on his story in the program “UFOs on the record”:
On March 13th, I was having dinner with my family and we had the TV on and I was well aware of the news about the UFO. So, I said, I am going to jump in my car and I am going to go down Lincoln drive past squaw peak and see if I can see what is going on. When I got here there were people milling around just enjoying the park. I was here for probably five or ten minute and somebody said “look at that...look at that... Out to the northwest was this great big massive craft.....”2
What he seems to be stating is that, while he was eating his dinner, the local news broke into the regular broadcast alerting everyone that a UFO was headed towards or visible over Phoenix. This is a false story. There were no news reports/alerts on television or radio that night. All the witnesses who told their stories over the years never mentioned any such alerts or newscasts. They were surprised by the appearance of the lights. Other than a few television reports that night, the media seemed to demonstrate indifference
to the event. From what I have been able to determine, there really was no mention of the event in the Arizona Republic until the 18th of March and, even then, it only appeared in the “B” section of the paper (see below)!
It was not until June, when USA today ran the story on its front page, that the event became important news outside of the UFO community. After this, the story took on national importance and Fife Symington decided to stage his press conference complete with a fake alien. The same UFOlogists, who cheer Symington today were not amused about this stunt in 1997.
This is the man, who would later state that he saw the alien spaceship. Is he really that trustworthy? Are UFOlogists really this gullible?
Returning to March 13th, we discover that the governor was “a man of action”. At the moment of hearing these stories on the television, Symington decided to jump into his car (without a still/video camera or anybody in the family!), leave his home in Paradise
Valley, and drive five to ten minutes west to a little park in Phoenix to do some UFO gazing. He did not call the local police or any of the news outlets to join him personally. It was like taking a quick trip to the corner store. After driving the distance to this isolated park, he waited an additional five to ten minutes for the UFO to appear. According to Robert Sheaffer, who discussed this with James Fox, this sighting occurred at 8:20 PM. If we work backwards to Symington being alerted, he would have to have heard the news between 8 and 8:10 PM. I wonder if they broke into and interrupted the NCAA basketball game that night? That certainly would have been headlines in sports history. One wonders why the Governor was not interested in watching the Arizona state team play in the first round regional game (which was slated for prime time in Arizona). According to Peter Davenport, he did not even receive the first reports at the National UFO Reporting Center until 8:16 PM. It seems likely that this may have been about the time that other agencies (FAA, radio, news stations, police, etc) were called. Is the ex-governor lying or simply mistaken about the timing in his story?
Finally, I am not even sure the governor could just take off and drive about town on his own without some sort of security or notification
of his security. Does anybody have any proof that the Governor was even home that evening or went out? If the governor of any state was present at a UFO sighting, with a large number of people, the others would remember it and make sure the media knew about it. Yet, in 1997, all these people in Sumida park, did not even recognize the fact that the governor was present and saw what they saw. More interestingly, I am unaware of a single UFO report being filed from this location with MUFON or NUFORC. It is possible that no reports were filed or those reports were never published. All we have is the word of one person, who has been known to be less than honest with the public, that this event happened as he described. What a convenient way to get back into the public eye by stating “me too” to UFO aficionados, who are more than willing to accept these kinds of stories. To them, Symington
can sound awful convincing. Don’t politicians learn to act convincing, sincere, and honest in order to get votes from uncritical voters?
Pilots are highly reliable...aren’t they?
The other story repeated this last March, was the story of Trig Johnston, an airline pilot with over 12,000 hours of flight time. As a result, he is considered an unimpeachable witness by UFO proponents. His story is not really new. I was aware of his name being mentioned back in 1997. To the best of my knowledge, his story first appeared in 2006:
Airline pilots are accustomed to noting the time. Time off the block’s, time off the ground, the time over navigational fixes particularly over the ocean. Then there is the all important estimated time of arrival, the time on the ground and the time on the blocks where we turn off the seat belt sign. And the time the crew bus leaves in relation to those times. Son Logan was making a racket outside in our drive way. When I stepped outside to investigate, the time in Scottsdale Arizona on March 13th, 1997 was 22:20.3
I do not doubt that Johnston feels he is being accurate in telling his story but there is one big flaw with his tale. He states this all happened at 22:20 local time. This is two hours AFTER the actual event. Did Johnston make a mistake on the time even though he is sure of it? Did Johnston see a completely different event that others did not see? Is it possible he is confusing the events of the flares with his own observations?
Logan’s friends, Ryan and Jenny, were helping with the project that consisted of constructing massive, rustic gates for our acre horse property.
He was using a sledge hammer to force timbers onto steel rods. Ryan asked, “What the hell is that?” Ryan had to be the only person on earth who hadn’t known of the Hale Bop comet.4
Were Johnston’s son and his friends really out at 10:20 PM on a school night performing this task as he claims? Perhaps his time really is a bit off despite what he proclaims.
I turned, prepared to deliver a lecture on comet’s, but stopped short. “Uh, we’re in for an air show.” I said. My initial impression was that of a formation of C-130’s displaying some new type of tactical lighting. But you feel a C-130’s powerful Alison engines before you hear it or see it. We felt nothing. It was quiet. Real quiet, and it stayed that way.
The huge mass – at least a mile wide – approached from the North West. I could land on it with my 727. We began to eliminate possibilities.
What ever it was seemed to be following the Tonto One arrival, the standard jet arrival routing for instrument traffic into PHX on an approximate heading of 120°. I estimated its altitude to be 10,000 feet.5
His observation, if accurate, tends to confirm what I have stated all along regarding the Arizona event. That being the lights were at high altitude and flying along a standard air route.
No C-130’s, it wasn’t a formation of jets – too slow for either of them. Helicopters? Not that either – no “wop-wop,” no sound. None. Cessna’s wired with weird lights? Its happened, but that wasn’t the case on March 13th.6
It is amusing he dismissed the formation of aircraft or helicopters because they were too slow and there was no sound. Yet, he admits his own altitude estimates were 10,000 feet. Helicopters might not be heard at this distance and jets flying at a cruising speed of a few hundred miles per hour at 10,000 feet or more would move at a slow angular rate and also might not be heard.
After a few minutes of observation we concluded that this was one object. There was zero movement between its massive forward-facing amber lights. I should have counted the lights, should have run for a camera and called my friend Bob Mohan, a local talk radio guy. The craft had intercepted Scottsdale Road, and made a right turn to approximately 180º following it south. It was headed right for Mo’s house.
WHY didn’t I call Mohan, run for a camera or any of those other questions people always ask? Because I expected it to disappear at any moment. None of us were frightened, excited or otherwise disturbed. But we couldn’t take our eyes off of it. What I saw bears little relation to the video of the “Phoenix Lights.” And yes, there are a couple of fruit loops associated with March 13th. Anyone who can tell you what the little green men wish for us can probably also tell you where God wants you to send your checks. But, that’s just my opinion.
I estimate it passed 90º to our position, roughly at the intersection of Scottsdale road and Shea Boulevard, a couple of miles away, at 22:30. We could no longer see the top of it – the lights we had been watching were blocked out by the structure. As it passed the 90º position, I thought I perceived a rounded, almost gondola shaped – what? – what DO you call a semi-transparent thing on the bottom of a craft whose top might have been 10,000 feet in height? What ever you call it, it was nearly dragging the ground. Keep in mind there was nothing available to compare with – and from our position it was quite dark. I’ve heard it said that it was like looking through water. Yeah. Like a thin curtain of water. Lights on the other side, some city, mostly stars lost some of their brilliance and appeared mildly wavy as the craft passed between us and them. To me, the machine seemed to be an array of amber lights suspended in floating ink surrounded by the dark of night.7
His observations of the “craft” appear to reflect observations of lights but nothing more than that. Notice how his observations indicate a “semi-transparent” effect. Several other witnesses from 1997 used this description. I would not be surprised if this affected his memory of the event. What this indicates is that he never really saw a craft attached to the lights and was fooled by the “airship effect” mentioned in SUNlite 2-3.
I was also disappointed in Johnston’s descriptions. His estimates of size and speed did not involve angular measurements of any kind. Despite the claim that he was a pilot, I found his abilities to accurately describe what happened lacking. How could a man claim he is very attentive to such details because of his profession omit the important facts regarding the sighting? I guess Mr. Johnston’s attitude is best expressed by this statement:
The SR-71 flew in 1958 before they had any real money to play with… When did the Stealth Bomber fly? Remember, they shot JFK in front of God and everyone and got away with it. Fried some folks at Waco, but deny it to this day. Do you believe that TWA 800 was brought down by a faulty boost pump? Do you really believe the “9-11” story?8
Just to set the record straight, the SR-71 did not flying in 1958. The initial design, the A-12, was actually first test flown on April 25, 1962. The rest of this conspiracy minded diatribe demonstrates that Johnston has allowed his personal beliefs to affect his interpretation of the event that he may or may not have witnessed. UFO witnesses have been using the line, “I know what I saw”, for over sixty years and, in many cases, they have been proven to be inaccurate in their reports/observations. The phrase should actually be “I know what I think (or believe) I saw”. This has happened to pilots, police officers, soldiers, sailors, airmen, politicians, lawyers, and a host of many other professions. Why is his report any different?
Since we are reporting pilot observations of the events that night, I would like to add this one from the NUFORC database that was written about the same event in 1999:
I am a pilot with one of the major carriers here in the valley and I live in the South Mountain area. On that night I was on my way to work and traveling north along interstate 10 at approximately 8:15 PM. The lights first appeared to me to be over the airport in a wide formation and traveling in a southerly direction, roughly over the interstate. There is no question that they were anomalous, they got my attention immediately, and I was concerned enough about distractedly weaving into other traffic while observing them, that I pulled off the interstate to watch them go overhead. Where my account seems to differ from the accounts of other witnesses is that I perceived the lights to be individual objects, five in all, traveling in a roughly triangular formation. As they passed overhead, I took note of a particularly bright star and noted that the star was never obscured by any solid object as the lights passed it. When the lights were directly overhead, they appeared to be comprised of two lights per object, the bright light in the direction of motion and a much fainter light immediately behind it. There was no variation in the color of the lights and no blinking or twinkling. It was very difficult to judge the altitude of the objects, as they were never more than pinpoints of light moving very slowly; if I had to guess, I would say they were at very high altitude. I know this is at odds with some of the more dramatic reports of a gigantic dark object, but I am certain that I am not mistaken. Being a pilot, I am a trained observer of lighted airborne objects and, while these lights were indeed strange, there is no doubt in my mind that they were individual objects and not the running lights on some single large object. (Reported July 13, 1999)9
Why is this report, which dismisses the idea of a huge UFO attached to the lights, any less accurate than Mr. Johnston’s? Why is it ignored?
Legends and Myths
What these two stories demonstrate is that the Arizona UFO event will never be explained to the full satisfaction of those who claim to have seen them or those promoting the case. Stories, like these, told years later are difficult to verify and are easily influenced by the testimonies told years before. They may be reasonably accurate, they may be innaccurate memories influenced by various UFO shows, or they may have been made up by the individual for their own personal agenda. Promoting such stories taints the actual observations by ALL the witnesses in 1997 and clouds the issue. It is less about establishing facts and more about creating myths and legends.
Quelle: SUNlite 3/2013