NUFORC Sighting 181248

Occurred: 1979-03-17 18:30 Local - Approximate
Reported: 2024-04-24 05:36 Pacific
Duration: 1 hour
No of observers: 2

Location: Maumee, IN, USA
Location details: In the Hoosier National forest near Houston, in a backcountry campsite in an opening in the forest.

Shape: Unknown
Color: white
Estimated Size: Under 50 feet
Viewed From: Land
Direction from Viewer: Approximately North to Northeast
Closest Distance: 600 feet
Estimated Speed: Stationary
Characteristics: Lights on object, Animals reacted

Stationary object with 5 sweeping search lights at treetop level

In March of 1979, my wife and I along with our Siberian Husky, went home on spring break, for a weekend backpacking trip into the nearby National Forest. It was an area that we visited often. I was going to a junior college and my wife was a clerk for a county auditor at that time.

The weather was typical for that time of year: cool, misty, and overcast. We were in a remote part of the forest that had scattered roads and residences but was hardwood forest overall. Our camp was about a mile or two from the trailhead, in a spot we had been before. After arriving at our site, I started setting up our tent; it was about an hour before sunset. The sky was gray, and the daylight was beginning to fade; the ground was soft from recent precipitation. Our campsite was in an opening along the side of a gently sloping ridge and the tent faced a northerly direction. As I finished with the tent and unpacked our meal, I noticed lights in the forest canopy on the next ridgeline. We sat down in front of our tent to eat our meal and watched the lights in the trees. The dog even sat with us and watched attentively.

There were five lights in the forest canopy; four of them were lower and in a horizontal row, close together. They made a mechanical motion, sweeping back and forth like a slow pendulum on a tall grandfather clock. They moved independent of one another without overlapping the one on either side; they aimed out and downward at about a forty-five-degree angle as if they were on the side of an object. All the lights had the same color of a harsh, white appearance of a mercury vapor light in daylight, and they aimed towards the forest floor below them.

The fifth light was above the other four and it also swept back and forth, pointing below as well. Occasionally though, it would stop and rise briefly above the canopy, pointed in a random direction, and got bright for a moment that seemed very intense. Then it would dim and bend down to resume its random sweeping motion again. The pattern of movement for all five lights repeated continuously. I did not hear any sound or noticed any physical interaction with the surrounding forest.

When it was beginning to get dark, my wife was tired from the long trip home and the hike to our campsite; she decided to get in the tent to sleep after watching this for a half an hour. I stayed up for another half an hour and turned in when darkness fell. The dog sat quietly watching the lights, she would not come to the tent when I called her but continued watching the activity. She never made a sound.

My general impression of the lights was that their motion made them appear to be on appendages of an object in the treetops. This grouping never moved from the position we first observed it in. If the lights were on the top and bottom of solid object, we could not see anything distinct due to the small twigs and branches we viewed them through; the spring buds had not yet emerged. The higher light extended just to the edge of the canopy, while the four lower ones were slightly less visible. It is difficult to estimate the possible size of what may have been there without more information. As best as I recall, the lights were no farther apart than the width of two fingers held up at arm’s length. I have never heard of a similar event. Overall, I saw the lights for more than an hour.

We slept well and, in the morning, I got up and went outside for a look around; there was no sight of the lights. I hiked to the location the lights appeared to come from; I had taken a compass bearing before nightfall. I walked the bearing and counted my paces until arriving at the estimated position. I judged the distance from our camp to the location to be about two hundred yards. It was on the adjacent ridge that was flat and open, with widely spaced mature trees; there were no tracks, no cuttings from the trees, nor any debris. There was no way to silently get into this site with a truck or leave without getting stuck in the soft ground. After returning to camp, we packed up and walked back to our car and drove home.

I have told others about our experience on four occasions. We told our parents first, four of my work associates next, and finally a professional person that I trusted. I thought I would be able to discuss it sensibly, but they laughed or doubted the story each time. Considering recent events and the ease of filing a report on this website, I have decided to put it on the record.

Posted 2024-04-27

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