–Many Strange Sightings Lately–
The aliens are coming! The aliens are coming!
Humboldt doesn’t have a lot of UFO sightings compared to Mojave, Arizona, Area 51, and the Bermuda Triangle.
A few reports do filter in from time to time– but not many in comparison. However, there were some sightings as recently as yesterday. Others occurred on Saturday night.
“Did Anyone Else See This?”
This is what one observer said Saturday on Facebook:
“UFO spotted travelling from East to West over Eureka. Large orange flickering object moving slowly overhead. NO sound was detected. Unlit portions of object were vaguely distinguishable in the night sky.
As the object approached the western horizon, small glowing pinpoints of light (three to four) appeared to shoot out in front of the object and it increased speed before plummeting out of view. It seemed to flicker out once, then come back before falling out of view.
Did anyone else see this? Can you identify what it was?”
And then a second report came in:
It was about the size of a very bright star from my perspective (our house is near the Muni), only it was the color of candlelight and every now and then it would drop a shower of bright sparks and grow dimmer for a moment.
It was floating generally southward and I have no idea what it was. It could have been hot air balloon or something. I don’t know. My wife saw it too.”
Several readers then responded in unison:
“We are going through the tail of a comet, possibly that is what was seen.”
“I saw something similar in 1978. when I was a teenager growing up in Eureka. Believe it or not.”
“It was swamp gas that was ignited.”
And still others:
“I didn’t see an object, just a bright orange flash to the north-northwest, so…???”
Having seen similar sightings ourselves a few months back, we had an inkling of what they were.
A few readers were also on the same track as us:
“I saw it but it looked more like a paper lantern from my view not a UFO.”
We can’t account for those mysterious flashes but we can explain the sightings, trusting the Men in Black won’t erase our collective memory once the cat’s been let out of the bag.
Sky lanterns are paper or plastic balloons filled with hot air, usually by a lightweight internal candle or a sterno-type fuel, and set aloft. They float and glow and bounce and dance in the night sky.
From a distance they look eerie and other-worldly, like alien craft from a galaxy far, far away.
Kids– and some juvenile adults– know all about sky lanterns. They’ve been around for ages. You can make or buy them. Not only are they fun, they’re dangerous, too.
We’ve seen more of these sky lanterns soaring around lately. They seem to be launched at Woodley Island, the vacant lots near Eureka’s boardwalk, and at the beach, drifting over the city limits and burning out before they reach the eastward mountains.
Sightings of a More Sinister Nature
But that wasn’t the end of our UFO sightings. These not-so-mysterious reports also came in, happening only yesterday:
“Anyone else notice the two military choppers over town at approximately 1:30 PM this afternoon? There’s something else…”
“I saw four, and a Coastie ‘bout in Fort Dick/Crescent City.”
“I also saw the two helicopters from Eureka during the early afternoon. They were flying in formation and appeared to be Blackhawks. Incredibly loud and very distinctive from the usual Coast Guard helicopters we see/hear flying by. Where is the nearest military airbase that even has any of these helicopters?”
“I saw two Blackhawks as they flew over my property in Freshwater area. It would be cool to see UFO’s.”
“Didn’t see the UFO. Saw two Blackhawks today near McKinleyville airport, seemed like they landed there. A few hours later I heard many explosion-type noises, like sonic booms, that rattled my shop. It sounded like they came from the North-East (same direction the helicopters came from). The sounds persisted intermittently for an hour or so, then ceased. I thought maybe CAMP was launching an aerial assault on some big pot growers in the hills.”
So what were these sightings? Simple to explain, really.
Blackhawks are hard to mistake for being anything else other than… Blackhawks.
What were they up to? We don’t know. The military never tells us about what they do or why. That’s why they’re the military. Just stay out of the way and head for deep cover.
They fly over Humboldt unexpectedly from time to time doing their mysterious military thing and going somewhere else. It doesn’t explain the explosions or sonic boom noises, though.
Birds of a Feather Flock Together
There have also been a number of other UFO sightings over the past year following a strikingly similar pattern:
A witness near Blue Lake, CA, is reporting a cigar-shaped UFO between 70 and 100 feet long flying within 50 feet of a roof top on March 27, 2010, at 9:30 p.m., according to testimony from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) database.
The object was described as having three lights – non-flashing white lights on its two ends – and “a gigantic red light in the middle of it about twice the size of the two white lights.”
The witness was drawn outside by a loud buzzing noise, “like a lawn mower engine.”
“It flew about 50 feet over the top of my house, banked and glided, and once it got over the Mad River, it followed the river East and then cut to the right as it followed the ridge line of Fickle Hill out of site in 2-3 minutes,” the witness stated.
And another observation:
“I was driving down California St in Eureka California, towards the south. I saw a very, very bright light in the sky, dime size, it was too large to be a star, and much to close, the size of a dime in the sky. All of a sudden, 2 sets of lights came out of it traveling down and east.
The bright object started dumping flaming objects like coals on a barbecue, they were falling to earth but would extinguish before impact. Some were very large, fire also appeared to fall. When this fire stopped, 2 more lights came
out again, this time flying upwards.”
And yet another:
“It moved fast at first and then moved slow almost to a stop. There were three lights; the main one was a white light and two smaller ones, a red light and a green light. It seemed to be descending as it moved in an odd ribbon like formation, then we heard a vibration sound and then it vanished.
It was roundish, kinda flat on the top sphere. There seemed to be strange energy in the air, very quiet and tense.”
We’ve read at least 10 other reports along these same lines. And we’ve seen these very same strange lights, too, from a small bluff overlooking Humboldt Bay.
The object in question is slow and bright in the sky; hovering and gliding, no sound to speak of when seen from a distance. Sometimes the lights are bright white; other times they appear as red and green orbs floating above the horizon on a dark night. The lights shine a long distance.
The sightings are always seen on a calm, windless evening, usually near the coastal area. Sometimes heat thermals—warm pockets of air rising upwards—cause the lights to dance and flicker when viewed by the ground observer.
We had suspicions of what these were about.
So did other readers, answering:
“Someone’s been playing with a remote control helicopter toy, and a week ago or so someone had a remote control plane out by Giuntoli. I had no idea where it was, or how big it was, until we were right under it. I honestly thought a plane was flying into the airport WAY too low, but couldn’t hear anything.”
“It’s a remote control plane they fly it at night by my house. It has LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights and a string of blinking LED bomb lights that look like it sprinkles lights to the ground. Pretty cool—it’s a 4 to 6 foot plane, so I can see the confusion. It’s powered by electric LiPo (Lithium Polymer) batteries so it is very silent.”
The Old Remote Controlled Airplane Trick. How ingenious.
So these are the three types of UFOs we’ve seen in Humboldt: sky lanterns, Blackhawks, and someone’s remote control plane(s) flown at night, leading us to believe our extraterrestrial friends finally reached planet Earth after their long journey to welcome the fine folks and true believers of the Humboldt Nation.
We’ve seen some of the dozen YouTube videos featuring UFOs flying in the Humboldt skies. Many are clearly hoaxes.
There were the flashlights filmed against the night sky, the traditionally illuminated pie tin, helium balloon-like things, and a moth captured out of focus flickering around a blurry light source.
Of course, we’ve had our own scary encounters. Once while enjoying the twilight evening and a peaceful walk under a setting sun we were rocked by two very large unidentified Screaming Mimi objects racing over our heads at Big Lagoon, flying a hundred feet above at several hundred miles per hour.
After flashing by at the speed of light, we were able to regain our senses. We were miraculously alive; we had survived. Then we realized what had happened.
We were buzzed by two F-14 Tomcats at breakneck speed coming in low off the ocean. They streaked up the Little River and over the Crannell treetops with complete abandon, no doubt making the Trinity County line in 10 seconds flat. They scared the holy bejeezus out of us. Our ears are still ringing. There’s no feeling like that special feeling of just being bombed.
While camping in the Santa Cruz mountains we witnessed a very odd shooting star. It blazed across the sky, a small white fiery tail trailing behind it. Coming to a complete stop, it took a 90 degree trajectory turn and raced back from whence it came. It obviously wasn’t a shooting star. OK, we might have been a little high, but we weren’t that high.
We spoke to a person knowledgeable about it afterwards.
“It was one of our test projects,” he said. You were only a few miles away from our Lockheed Skunk Works. We work on flights and missiles there. They’re secret. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll keep it to yourself …and you didn’t hear it from me.”
The fellow was a Lockheed engineer, and later, we learned, he and Lockheed and President Reagan were keeping us safe with a Star Wars satellite and missile ‘defense’ system in the not-so-friendly Cold War skies of the time. He was also a relative, but you didn’t hear that from us.
Still, there are a few UFO sightings that haven’t been fully explained. For example, there was this one a few years ago:
Anything’s possible, of course, but it’s far more likely that a brilliant flash of light at about 7:30 p.m. had origins on Earth.
Whatever it was, the light was seen at least as far south as Shelter Cove, and was especially bright in the Orick area. Witnesses described the light as lasting for 2 to 3 seconds, and motorists pulled off roads in some areas to get another look.
”All of a sudden it just lit up like it was daylight outside or something,” said Arcata resident Candis Danielson.
Danielson said a trailing light came down in front of her following the flash that she saw while driving north near Stone Lagoon outside of Orick. She said it was definitely not a shooting star, which is a meteor.
Mel Nordquist, operations officer with the National Weather Service in Eureka, said at least one meteorologist saw the light.
But he said there was no meteorological event that would explain it; for example, there was no reason to suspect lightning. He suggested it could have been a blown transformer or a meteor, but doubted it was a showing of aurora borealis, or northern lights.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. spokesman Lloyd Coker said no electrical problems were reported in the area that night. “Whatever it was, I can’t imagine it was our equipment,” he said, especially since it was seen both in Orick and in Garberville.
So what was it? Humboldt County has experienced a few of these sightings, all similar.
The most convincing theory on the light’s origin came from College of the Redwoods astronomy professor Jon Pedicino. He said students in McKinleyville, Willow Creek and Garberville reported the sighting.
He guessed the light came from a chunk of space junk pulled from its orbit into Earth’s atmosphere. The reasoning rings true.
Space debris includes stuff like rocket bodies and pieces of satellites. An incredible amount of the debris hurtles around Earth, slowly losing speed before succumbing to gravity. According to a NASA website, some 9,000 piece of space debris orbit the earth.
Man-made space stuff is generally made of exotic alloys, Pedicino said, which exhibit colors when burned in the atmosphere. Since the stuff is in orbit until just before reentry, it slips into Earth’s atmosphere in a shallow trajectory, Pedicino said, which prolongs and brightens the burning and almost always burns up the debris before it strikes the ground.
That’s unlike most meteors, which enter at a sharper trajectory, generating a quick, white streak across the sky.
“It happens all the time,” Pedicino said.
A BBC report chronicled one of the more impressive sightings. Bright streaks that lit up British skies that December were believed to be from pieces of a Russian rocket.
”It happened to be our night last night,” Pedicino said.
The Old Man-Made Space Junk Trick. How deceptively simple.
There are other observations, ones that we can’t exactly explain, examples that seem to defy explanation or any earthly connection.
Perhaps readers can offer their own observations of what they’ve seen in the dark and murky skies over Humboldt.