Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Spooklights - 2009

As many of you know, I was at the Illinois MUFON Symposium hosted by Sam and Julie Maranto (seen here) and held over the last weekend in May. One of the speakers there, Ted Phillips, was a man I had heard about for years but had never met. He was involved in investigating and documenting UFO landing trace cases. These would be cases in which the UFOs interacted with the environment and left some sort of physical evidence behind.

I was interested in what he had to say and was surprised when he didn’t begin telling us about some of the physical trace cases. Instead he talked of an ongoing investigation in which lights... nocturnal lights... are seen on a regular basis in a relatively confined geographic location.

My first thought was of the Joplin Spooklight. I’d spent time in Joplin investigating that. It was a phenomenon that appears nightly at a certain location outside of Joplin, Missouri. I’d photographed it, though people all told me you couldn’t take pictures of it. The solution for that case was as simple as atmospheric refraction and car headlights from a stretch of road several miles away. There is no doubt in my mind that the Joplin Spooklight has a mundane explanation. Many others have reached the same conclusion (See The Joplin Spooklight, September 2006).

So I sat there listening to Phillips talk of his months long investigation, sure that some sort of mundane explanation would be offered. Lights in the night sky just didn’t do a thing for me.
But this wasn’t a repeat of the Spooklight that hung in the air in one location for hours on end. These were periodic lights that were seen in various locations doing various things. He called some of them amber lights.

Phillips said one thing that resonated with me. He said that he expected to see nothing when he got there because frequently these things do not show up for the investigators. But he had been told that they appeared irregularly, but they always, eventually appeared, if you were patient. And one night they did. He saw five of them and almost didn’t get any pictures of them.

Let me make a point here, and it is something that the non-believers always say. You had a camera right there and you didn’t use it. Phillips is an experienced investigator and he was standing right there with the video camera in his hand and thought nothing of it until the end of that sighting. Had this been his only opportunity to photograph anything, we could make all sorts of snide comments.

But it wasn’t. He did take a short video at the end of the sighting. And during other the months he spent in the area, he, and his team including Adam Johnston, made several tapes and took many photographs. Phillips said that they had gathered 223 witnesses, and that the records and testimony suggest that the sightings go back into the 1930s.

There are several locations in which the lights are seen. There are the amber lights (seen here) that seem to be very large and very bright and they have seen as many as 35 at once. There are very bright white lights sitting on the ground that they have seen from various angles but have been unable to approach. They said that the lights have interfered with cars and other electrical devices, have knocked the branches out of trees and left circular patterns of debris on the ground. This suggests something more tangible than lights in the sky.

But, here’s the thing. They don’t know what they’re seeing and photographing. All they know is that one of the witnesses said he first saw the lights in 1937 and that there have been no displays in the last six months. They believe the lights will return because they always have, but Phillips and his team don’t know when.

I had hoped to talk to Phillips about this while at the conference but there never seemed to be a couple of moments when the two of us crossed paths with one short exception. I told him that it was my impression, from his presentation, that he wasn’t looking toward the extraterrestrial on this. He confirmed that he thought it was some kind of terrestrial manifestation but didn’t know what it might be.

So, unlike the Spooklight in Joplin, this one remains a mystery. Yes, I thought of the earthquake lights that some scientists have talked about, but those seem to be relatively short-lived lights, not like the displays that Phillips has witnessed and photographed. And, no, it doesn’t seem that swamp gas fits the bill because the luminescence from swamp gas is close to the ground and is usually faint. None of the mundane explanations work here.

Phillips said he is continuing his research. He said that they would be back at it soon. The story is fascinating, mysterious, and at the moment, unexplained.


Snoman said...
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Snoman said...

Here are 3 links to podcast interviews with Ted Phillips. The links are listed with the most current being first. Mr. Phillips talks quite a bit about this area he and his team have been investigating, and the methods they use. Very interesting.
(sorry-link tags won't parse-you'll need to copy these URLs into your browser if you want to listen to the shows)