'Phoenix lights' UFO case 13th anniversary is March 13

(This article originally appeared on the Transcendent TV & Media and Joint Recon Study Group sites.)The 13th anniversary of the so-called "Phoenix lights" UFO incident is next Saturday, March 13.

As usual at this time each year, the case is revisited by many researchers, writers and interested people.

In addition, the National Geographic Channel is airing an episode of its new show "Mysterious Science" about the Phoenix lights incident.

Also, respected researcher, journalist and editor Randall Fitzgerald recently wrote an extensive article (available online) with the headline "Were the 1997 Arizona Lights a psychological warfare experiment?" Fitzgerald covers some interesting new information and theories.

As part of this discussion, I thought it might be interesting to include a chapter on the Phoenix lights case from my first novel, "Mission Into Light" (published in 2001).

I would add that on March 13, 1997, I was living in an area of metro Phoenix's "Valley of the Sun" that was in the line of the flight path of this object or objects. However, I must not have been looking up at the evening sky at the right time and did not observe the anomalous sight reported by so many others in Phoenix and wester-central Arizona.


That evening, things were going as usual, pretty much. At Kaneohe Bay, Amy got back from work and had dinner with Mike while they watched TV.

In San Diego, the Joint Recon Study Group members had closed up the office for the night and headed to their homes, families, and friends.

Some went for an evening jog around their neighborhood. Some worked out at home or at a gym. Major Valdez was at her daughter's school play. Jim Etienne hit a few golf balls at a driving range near his apartment.

But in west central Arizona, something unusual was happening.

Driving south on a road near Prescott, retired police officer William "Buck" Baird saw something in the night sky. It was typical dry and clear night in Arizona's central mountains. The evening was dark and quiet. Plenty of stars out tonight.

Buck spotted a large object slowly drifting straight over his pickup truck.

The shape seemed like a triangle, or maybe a boomerang. Large, bright, yellowish lights were spaced underneath the front angles of the object and were clearly visible.

Buck pulled his pickup truck off to the side of the road and turned off the motor. He wanted to listen for an engine sound from the object. But the night was quiet. All he heard were crickets and a hoot owl as the object continued to move south in the general direction of the road at what seemed like a leisurely pace.

Fifteen minutes later, in the Prescott area, fourteen citizens spotted the object and called local police and the Yavapai County Sheriff's Department.

Twenty-one people at a backyard party in Wickenburg also spotted the object a half-hour later. Two of the people there had video cameras with them and started rolling videotape with nervous narratives of the object. It was still moving gently and silently south-southeast.

Half a dozen people in smaller towns in a general line from west central Arizona to just north of Phoenix were calling police, UFO hot lines, neighbors and relatives. They had just seen something. Something big, with lights. Not a regular airplane, no sir-ee. Maybe a top secret Air Force stealth plane though.

And then it did an unusual thing, for a UFO. In mid-evening, it sailed slowly, gently, right over a major U.S. city: Phoenix and the metropolitan sprawl of the "Valley of the Sun."

People sitting outdoors in the warm desert evening saw it. Both teams in a softball game saw it. Three little girls playing with a puppy in their backyard saw it and called for their mommy and daddy to look at it. A commercial pilot coming in for a landing saw it.

Phoenix police phone lines lit up, and five officers later admitted to their buddies that when they had responded to radio calls about the object, they had seen a huge boomerang or triangular object with large, evenly spaced lights underneath, or along its front edge.

A dozen people around Phoenix pulled out video cameras and started shooting. Several witnesses called local TV stations and Luke Air Force Base.

The object apparently continued its way slowly toward the southeast and drifted out of sight.

The next morning, the Phoenix newspaper had an article about the object. Local TV news carried the story. And before long, newspapers in other cities picked up the story. Even the TV networks covered it. "UFO over Phoenix."

People from other parts of the country noticed that Arizona was down there by New Mexico. Roswell. And not so far from the so-called "Area 51" in Nevada, either.

People from all over had their theories. A formation of small planes, maybe. Could've been a secret stealth bomber on a night flight. Obviously an extraterrestrial craft. No, definitely flares from the nearby Air Force range used for practice bombing runs.

At first, Luke Air Force Base reported that they got no calls about it. But local news reporters found sources from the base who said the phone lines at Luke were lit up like a Christmas tree. And maybe some fighter jets had been scrambled to intercept something that night.

The next morning, back in San Diego, JRSG folks had their own opinions.

Ed Thompson and Bill MacNeil were supposed to be researching UFO reports, among other things.

Colonel O'Brien thought this was a highly unusual case. He even called a special afternoon meeting. All of them were there except Amy and Mike. Dan Wells and Jim Etienne walked up the hill from the dolphin facilities. Gene Voss, Karen Valdez, and Jennifer Thorsen canceled a drive to Camp Pendleton.

O'Brien opened the meeting and passed around copies of newspaper articles on the incident. A few of them had heard about it on TV or the radio.

"I've called the meeting to discuss the situation in Phoenix. I've asked Team Two to give us a briefing on it. This seems like an odd UFO sighting to me. I'd like us to kick it around a little. Colonel Thompson, enlighten us please."

"Well, sir, MacNeil and I called some TV stations over in Phoenix and read the newspaper articles. I called Luke Air Force Base and they can't give us any more than is in the press. That's about the extent of our inquiry at this time. MacNeil called some relatives who live over there and they just know what they saw on TV and in the papers. MacNeil has prepared a brief report. Mac, go ahead."

Bill glanced at his legal pad and skimmed over the notes he had jotted down on the UFO.

"Well, basically about fifty or more people in central Arizona and Phoenix reported the thing. It started in small towns up in the mountain area north and northwest of Phoenix. The thing apparently stayed fairly steady on a course of southeast or south southeast right through the center of metro Phoenix."

"Reliable witnesses. Pilots. Cops. Average citizens. Video and still shots clearly show a boomerang, or some say a triangular shape with bright, oversized lights. Air traffic controllers reportedly saw it visually but there was no signature on radar. Or so they say. Witnesses reported no engine sound and the thing was reportedly cruising at a relatively slow speed. Most of the reports and calls to the cops and TV stopped as the thing apparently cruised out of town on its course to the southeast."

"It's probably a safe bet that a few folks who saw it or took video didn't necessarily call it in," MacNeil said.

"Like Ed said, Luke Air Force Base isn't saying anything. The Air Force just finished trying to handle to fiftieth anniversary of the Roswell incident not too long ago."
Dan Wells was looking at and listening to MacNeil. Dan needed to tie up some loose ends in his mind about this. As Bill paused for questions or comments, Wells posed his question. Not really a question. A funny feeling.

"Bill, this somehow makes me think of your crop circles. An obvious, open thing that a lot of people see. An action with a purpose. What do you think?"

He directed the question to MacNeil, but really, Wells put it on the table for the group to discuss.

Bill was well aware of the possible connection here. So were Ed and Jim Etienne. Team Three had some knowledge of this but had not talked about it with Teams One and Two. They had been busy with their physical fitness and Camp Pendleton.

Several of them glanced at O'Brien. Over the months they had worked with him, he seemed to know a lot more than he was saying. Since they were all on a need-to-know basis, that was an accepted way of doing things. But maybe they did have a need to know at this point. O'Brien waited and listened.

MacNeil didn't say anything.

Wells wanted to pursue the point of the public nature of the crop circles and this apparent public fly-over by something over Phoenix.

"You all know that one of my paths of research has been geological and other Earth changes," Wells said. "I've passed on the intel on the pole shift theories and melting glaciers. But I have to admit I've held back a little."

"There's a line of thought that integrates some of the astronomy, archeology, and geology with the metaphysical ... and maybe with the UFOs."

He had their attention. His seven colleagues looked at him in the supportive manner they had all become accustomed to.

"It's sometimes called names like 'Planetary Ascension.' The idea is that our planet is evolving on many levels: Earth's position and trajectory in the solar system might be changing. Geological changes on a big scale could happen such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis."

"But there's something else going on at a more subtle level. The sub-atomic and quantum physics, and the spiritual factors in our environment on Earth may evolve in a noticeable way."

"I've looked at the crop circle photos and read all the different analyses and opinions. It seems to me that they are messages directly to the public about these kinds of Earth changes. Sort of a 'one picture is worth a thousand words' kind of thing. There clearly is mathematical and physics-oriented symbolism in them."

"A friend of mine who works with Navy crypto looked at the photos and the intel. He agrees that they say something interesting. He's preparing detailed interpretations of several of the crop formations for us."

Dan felt better now. Like he had gotten something off his chest.

Karen Thorsen responded first.

"What's a time frame on these alleged changes, Dan?"

"Unknown, Karen. My crypto buddy is looking at that."

"The reason I ask is that we're sitting here on the edge of the Pacific Plate and the Ring of Fire, aren't we?"

Karen Valdez also wanted to know about Wells' reference to spiritual factors.

"Dan, is this like the Bible prophesies about some kind of change, and breakthrough?"

"Could be, major. Unknown at this time. At least unknown to me."

Wells and several of the others turned to O'Brien, expecting him to comment.

O'Brien had been involved in this kind of research for a lot longer than these folks. He and Jack Allen, and others. He did know more.

"You're all on the right track," he told them. "There's a consensus by many groups in our special research area that we are evolving toward interesting changes that may be quite significant and visible."

"As far as the Phoenix situation, I think it's worth sending Team Two over there to nose around. See me after the meeting about arrangements. We'll use a different safehouse at the foot of the mountains north of the Phoenix metro area."

"I've also been in touch with our old friend Joe Bear. He's invited all of us up to the Four Corners area for a visit. I think he's got something of interest for us. Maybe one of his sweat lodge ceremonies and some sightseeing around the Four Corners. He's always telling me about the mystical things going on up there. I think we're ready to spread our wings a bit."

"With the exception of Mella and Green, we've all stayed here close to base since the Sedona incident and the temporary stand down. Ed and MacNeil will head to Phoenix, the rest of us will be going to the Four Corners. We'll all link up at some point afterwards."

"Colonel Allen is already in the Flagstaff, Arizona, area along with Doctor Carruthers. We'll connect with them too, I'm sure."

"Dan, you and Jim make arrangements to take a break from the Marine Mammal Program please. Gene, Karen and Jennifer, same for you and the Marine Pups youth program. We'll need to make air transport arrangements for both groups."

Thompson already had a contingency chopper transport plan for himself and MacNeil.

"Sir, Mac and I would like to use the local Special Forces reserve unit on this. We've been working with them on a few things including little unconventional scenarios like this."

"Sounds like a great idea, Ed," O'Brien said with a smile. "Dan, get a Navy chopper for the rest of us, will you?"

"Aye, aye, sir. And, if needed, Etienne is our liaison with Navy special ops support, colonel."

"Very well. Before I adjourn this meeting, are there any questions or comments?" O'Brien looked around the room at the JRSG team. Dedicated. Smart. Gutsy.

Despite the fact that Tom O'Brien had been passed over many times for promotion to general, he loved the Air Force and his job. Incidents in Vietnam, and after, had resulted in a marked lack of promotions.

Green Berets Ed Thompson and Jack Allen had also been stuck as colonels when they could have been generals by now. All three of them had been politically incorrect during and after Vietnam too many times.

But somehow it had all worked out. O'Brien didn't need stars on his uniform, and he suspected Ed and Jack didn't give a rat's ass about general's stars either.

"All right then. Group dismissed."

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