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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 10/17/2006 22:12 (Entered as : 10/17/06 22:12)
Reported: 10/18/2006 12:09:55 AM 00:09
Posted: 10/30/2006
Location: San Francisco, CA
Shape: Other
Duration:5 seconds
At roughly 10:10pm, on Tuesday, October 17, 2006, I went outside to have a cigarette. The observations that follow took place while I was standing approximately 30 feet above the ground, on the back staircase of my apartment in San Francisco, California.

Almost immediately after walking onto the staircase, I noticed what quickly revealed itself to be a large bird, probably a bird of prey, flying from the Northwest to the Southeast, perhaps 100 feet above me. It was an unusual sight; as far as I know, birds are diurnal creatures. I could see the bird clearly and made a mental note that this was probably a result of the city lights reflecting. I watched it pass above my head.

Just as the bird had passed directly above me when I was distracted by something in the sky traveling in almost precisely the opposite trajectory as the bird. My most immediate thought was that I was looking at an airplane. The object passed directly over the bird I’d been watching, traveling in what looked to be exactly the opposite path.

It’s difficult to reconstruct the order of my impressions of the object. I will do my best.

My first unusual impression was that I couldn’t identify the sound. At the time I thought little of it, but in the way that one tries to identify the sound of an aircraft ("Is it a plane?" vs. "Is it a helicopter?") I came up empty. The sound was a mechanical, aeronautical sound that (I am trying not to characterize this retrospectively) that was close to that one would expect from a jet airplace than that of a helicopter, but was not the sound of an airplance nevertheless. It was an industrial, aeronautical sound that I could not decisively identify.

I had what I must in fairness describe as a mild sense of confusion driven by the fact that in addition to my inability to precisely identify the sound I was hearing, there was something not familiar about the color and intensity of the lights themselves. Given the volume of the sound (Again, I am describing as best I can thoughts and impressions that occurred in fractions of a second in real time) I had the impression that the aircraft was higher than the bird I’d been watching but low enough to make a strong sound--less than 3000 feet for sure. The lights seemed duller (less bright?) than they should have given the other variables. They were a dark red, or a blurry red--it was like a dulled orangeish red.

I have made dozens of attempts since the event to draw the distribution of the lights I saw on the object. The best description I can come up with: The representation of 5 on a standard die, with an additional light in between the two rightmost dots.

((NUFORC Note: The formation did not survive the transfer from e-mail to our database. PD))

•• • • ••

This pattern of lights moved from Southeast to Northwest for roughly 4 seconds.

The part of the experience that was truly extraordinary came after the 4 seconds. As I watched with mild interest, the following happened; what I would call the lead light (the light farthest to the side of the direction in which the object was moving) reversed its postion. It took less than 1 second to do so; in that time, the lead light traveled clockwise until it occupied exactly the oppose position it had before. The object now looked like this: •• •• ••

Then, in a fraction of a second and from my point of view, the object seemed to tilt in such a way that the western or leading edge went upward and the eastern or trailing edge downward. I say this not because it was directly visible as such, but because that was impression in the moment: the leading two lights disappeared from view, but I could still see the rear 4.

Almost immediately thereafter (much less than 1 second), the entire object vanishedfrom view. Watching, I did not have the impression of something speeding away. It seemed simply to vanish.

That is what I saw tonight. I have never seen anything remotely like it, and I have never before had a disposition one way or another vis a vis UFOs.

Please let me know if you can explain this event.

((name deleted)) San Francisco, Calif.

(808) 232-((number deleted))