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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 8/22/1998 23:15 (Entered as : 8/22/98 23:15)
Reported: 8/31/1998 19:57
Posted: 3/21/2003
Location: Sparta (12 mi.north of, countryside), NC
Shape: Unknown
Duration:5 minutes
A 69-yr-old male sighted small lights below the planet Jupiter. Looking through binoculars, another male 65 years old, sighted small lights below the planet. A female 64 yrs old sighted three lights in a horizontal configuration, moving from south to north with a brilliant halogen-type beam coming down from above the three lights. A fourth light came into view on the left, as if something were rotating. Another female, 65, saw the lights through binoculars. The lights seemed to be at approximately 20,000 ft. The observers had been playing bridge in a mountain cabin, drinking only coffee; first observer had stepped outside for a breath of cool air, then called the others to come and see "the bright light in the sky."

The four observers are retired from their professional fields: a teacher, a writer, a photographic processing lab owner, and a printing company owner. The first to notice the "bright light" was able to see it with the naked eye. The other three observers needed the binoculars to see the detail of three lights in a row. One of the observers noticed that as the lights approached, a bright halogen-type beam of light seemed to be aimed down at the earth below from a point just above the three lights. As the lights approached very high in the sky (approx. 20,000 ft) they seemed to move sideways several times as the binoculars though the lights and observer were somehow interacting. This "interaction" was very brief---perhaps 20 seconds---and then the lights were gone. Afterwards, all four observers talked about what they had seen. The teacher saw something but felt the binoculars were too unsteady to say what she saw. The retired owner of a printing company was the first to see the thrr horizontal lights, first with the naked eye, then with the binoculars. The writer saw the lights approach and then the halogen-type spotlight, and then a fourth light appearing on the left of the other three, as though rotating into view. The photo lab owner saw the horizontal lights but later decided they were just reflections on the lenses from two distant lights that illuminate the driveway in this otherwise pitch-black mountain setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains. All four of us tried to duplicate the lights in the binoculars to see if they were indeed reflections, to no avail---the phenomenon couldn't be duplicated.