|Occurred : 1/18/2006 19:43 (Entered as : 011806 19:43)
Reported: 4/12/2006 5:35:32 PM 17:35
Location: Goodland, KS
|Brief Orange Stationary Lights and Misc. Unusual White Lights
Incident Report: Unexplained Lights
Location of Incident: Southwest of Sherman County Roads 55 and 16
Date of Incident: January 18, 2006 Witness:
Patrol Deputy; Sherman County Sheriff’s Office
At 1943 hours on the above date, I was on routine patrol in the area of (southwestern) Sherman County Road 55, westbound, and approaching the intersection of County Road 16. There are no street lights or other light sources in that area, as it is quite remote, with only a very few residents living in the area.
As I proceeded west on Road 55, my attention was drawn to my left, to approximately a ten to eleven o’clock position, by unusual lights, which appeared almost instantaneously, which I caught out of the corner of my eye. The lights appeared to be five orange fire-like balls, which appeared to be on the same horizontal plane. As I perceived movement out of the corner of my eye, but the lights were not moving when I looked at them directly, my impression was that the lights had traveled in a left to right, or east to west fashion. The lights hung in the sky, approximately 10 degrees off of the horizon, clearly stationary, for approximately five seconds, before each of them blacked out simultaneously. I immediately pulled my patrol car over to the side of the road.
Within approximately twenty seconds, I observed one light, starting just above the level of the first row of lights, illuminate, followed by a series of four additional lights that illuminated over the course of perhaps two seconds, and in equal intervals. I estimate these lights to have been approximately 15 to 20 degrees off of the horizon. I could observe no smoke trail, as one would expect with high intensity military type flares, and noted the lights were equally spaced, which would be quite difficult to do with precision, with ground launched military flares. These lights remained illuminated for perhaps five seconds, and again, as with the previous lights, shut off in unison. This synchronicity in the illumination patterns seemed, to my thinking, to eliminate flares as the source, as flares would burn out at different times.
I waited in that location for several minutes, but observed no additional lights in the area. Additionally, I was monitoring the Renner Field CTAF/Unicom Frequency, as well as the Aircraft Emergency frequency, and overheard no unusual traffic on those channels. My impression was that the lights were quite far away, possibly in the area of Cheyenne Wells, Colorado, but could not make any determination as to distance whatsoever.
After seeing this anomaly twice, I telephoned Goodland Police Officer [WITHHELD], whom I knew to have an interest in such oddities. Officer [WITHHELD], who was off duty, listened incredulously to the observations I had just made, and stated that he would be en route to my location from his residence in Goodland. That call was placed to Officer [WITHHELD] at 1946 hours, and lasted between one and two minutes.
While I awaited the arrival of Officer [WITHHELD], at 1955 hours I telephoned the National Weather Service Field Office in Goodland, and spoke to the meteorologist on duty. I did not catch his name, but I explained to the meteorologist who I was, and that I had just observed some very unusual lights, which I estimated to be south of the Town of Kanorado, but that I could not estimate a range at which I observed the anomalies. I asked if the weather radar had picked up any unusual activity in the area from Kanorado south in the vicinity of the state line, and probably into Colorado. The NWS employee checked the previous twenty minutes of radar data, and stated only that "There is one anomalous return south of Kanorado on one pass, but that’s not unusual." I asked if the NWS radar was calibrated to pick up aircraft, or if it eliminated aircraft from the data collected, and he said that routine air traffic was not detected by the radar.
At 1958 hours, I received a call from Officer [WITHHELD], asking to confirm my location, and I then moved to the intersection of County Roads 17 and 55 to make his finding me somewhat easier. From that location, I could still observe the area of the sky in which I had observed the unusual lights. Officer [WITHHELD], arrived at my location at 2003 hours.
At the time of the arrival of Officer [WITHHELD], we observed what we regarded as unusual lights, although they were quite small. The lights appeared to be consistent with those of small aircraft as far as size, but the FAA required colors and flashing lights were not present. These unusual lights consisted of steady-on white lights, and we noted an unusual lack of known air traffic in the area. These lights seemed to begin directly south of our location, and continued to the area directly above us, and west for some distance. As it was a clear night, numerous light and commercial aircraft could be observed in the area, but none were in the vicinity of the white lights we were observing. I began checking all aircraft frequencies at that time, and found nothing unusual in any aircraft radio traffic. However, it was clear that none of the "known" aircraft were in the area of the unusual white lights.
These white lights appeared to be moving, largely in a southwesterly direction, but I did observe a small group of three, just above the horizon, which appeared to be spinning in a counterclockwise circle, as if it were three separate aircraft circling at an air show. However, these three lights did not contain any of the FAA mandated lighting, and the pattern flown was quite tight, leading me to believe that not even the best of pilots would attempt such maneuvers, particularly at night.
At approximately 2025 hours, the sequential orange lights again appeared in the same vicinity as I had initially observed them, following the same pattern of lighting up sequentially, creating the illusion of movement, remaining illuminated for a few seconds, and blacking out in unison. This occurred twice, and Officer [WITHELD] was able to see for himself, the lights which I had described.
After this sighting, we remained in the area perhaps another twenty minutes, but nothing occurred, so we left the area altogether.
Deputy [WITHHELD] Sherman County Sheriff’s Office
((NUFORC Note: We express our gratitude to the source of this excellent report. PD))