Arizona’s Mysterious Phoenix Lights

Harmon Lanager, Staff Reporter

Welcome, Naruto-runners, to a Conspiracy Corner edition that is not of this earth. To some, the recent Area 51 Raid was a disappointing party in the desert that resulted in memes rather than an actual raid for government secrets. Although the “raid” lacked meaningful action, it sparked discussion about extraterrestrial activity. Specifically, it sparked discussion about a 1997 incident regarded as one of the largest UFO sightings in history. Coined “the mysterious Phoenix Lights,” the sighting baffled hundreds of witnesses.

On the evening of March 13, 1997, the first witness to report a sighting was an anonymous young man in Henderson, Nevada. The man claimed to have witnessed six bright lights traveling across the sky in a V-formation, creating the sound of “rushing wind” that traveled southeast toward Phoenix, Arizona.

After the first report, a retired police officer in Paulden, Arizona, claimed that five lights had been traveling the night sky. Interestingly, similar reports were made within two minutes of the retired officer’s Paulden report. Fifteen miles away, in the town of Preston, Arizona, other witnesses reported the five orbs of light, but of a different color. The orbs were white, according to the retired officer, but the Preston witnesses said one was red.

One witness, Tim Ley, described the orbs as producing no shine stating to USA Today, “They weren’t bulbs. They looked like gas. There was a distortion on the surface. Also, the light didn’t spill out or shine. I’ve never seen a light like that.”

Shortly after the reports in Preston, the lights hovered over Phoenix for hours and the police were flooded with hundreds of calls. The craft was caught on camera, traveling at up to 30 mph. Although the craft could not be entirely seen, footage of its silhouette led people to estimate that the length of the craft could be as close as a mile long. Before the orbs disappeared later that evening, radar towers attempted to track the them. Strangely, though, radar could not identify the lights just outside their window.

At first, city officials refused to investigate the matter. Eventually, public pressure pushed officials to further address the incident, and they said they were high-altitude flares.

Given the detailed reports, I believe this explanation falls short. Flares do not account for the distance the orbs traveled and the silhouette of the craft does not match that of earthly known air crafts. Even now, we lack a substantial explanation for the mysterious Phoenix Lights.

Without a substantial explanation, many have turned to the most obvious answer: extraterrestrials. However, what would motivate aliens to make such a public appearance? UFO sightings have increased over the course of the 20th century and spiked from the 1950s on. In the late 1940’s, the atomic bomb and the discovery of splitting atoms ushered us into an age of fear and technology. If technological milestones seized the attention of extraterrestrials, the Atomic Age was our moment in their spotlight.

Although speculation eases the unknown, the Phoenix Lights continue to baffle many. Perhaps future research will provide an answer to the question: “Are we alone?”