Location: Panama City, FL, USA
Duration: 1 Hour(?)
No of observers: 3
Reported: 1998-11-23 00:00:00 Pacific
Posted: 1999-01-28 00:00:00
Characteristics: Lights on object, Aura or haze around object, Changed Color, Aircraft nearby
During a road trip to Panama City a friend and I witnessed a pair of luminous light formations appear and dissappear over the Gulf.
This was years ago, so my memory of exact times and dates may be assumed to be a "best guess" but all details of the objects, and their behavior are still completely clear in my mind. A close friend and I had been working our tails off all year without a break, as we were both enrolled in the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and he(my friend) was also employed as the assistant to the broadcasting(mass comm) department(in which I was taking classes at the time), and in addition we produced a public access cable show in our spare time, which there was little of. In short, we needed a break, and thought it would make an interesting show if we documented ourselves winning the florida state lottery, so we used the show as an excuse for a road trip, and took one of the department's cameras with us (no, we didn't expect to win, but if we had it would've made great television). So after a long drive from Birmingham, and a long afternoon of filling out lottery tickets, neither of us wanted to drive back, so we found a cheap motel, and put away our stuff to stay the night. It was about 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon when we both went out to the beach behind our hotel, and plopped down into a pair of those wooden beach chairs, and admired the calm sea, making small talk as the sun sank to the horizon. I don't recall which of us saw it first, because at first we didn't think anything of it, as there had been planes in the sky all day, and this seemed at the outset to be just an oddly-colored set of airplane lights. Although after about 15 or 20 minutes the lights hadn't moved, and we both took notice then. There were two rows of lights, the top row was an arc of four (reddish-violet in color)and were larger (not brighter) than the bottom row of three (bright yellow) they were arranged like this: O O <----Violet arc of lights O ... O ^------Yellow row of lights My initial thought was of a jetliner with four violet lights on the front of it's wings, and three bright yellow tail lights, seen in perspective flying towards the land. However since it was somewhat within a cloud, no structure was apparent. Also, nothing that size(jumbo-jet size) that I know of can hover, noiselessly (or if it did make noise, it was drowned out by the incoming surf). We watched the object, for a few moments, and it dawned on me that we had a camera in the trunk of the car, and there might be some way to profit from having a (near)professional quality UFO video (students are often broke, y'know), so I told my friend to go get the camera-he had the keys (we had driven in his car). He refused to be moved from staring at the thing, and I quite frankly, didn't want to miss a moment either, so we stood there arguing about who should get the camera, while waching the object, when it dissappeared, like somone flipping off a light switch. We both stood there for a moment, then I sat back down on the chair, as did he, and we started talking about what we had just saw, and UFO's in general. By this time the sun had completely set, and we could see stars in the (mostly) clear sky. As we sat there looking around for any other strange things, we both noticed a number of planes in the air(or should I say red tail lights of planes)passing overhead at extremely high altitude, always in pairs, from right horizon to left (west to east) then back again. There must have been more than a dozen planes in the air in the next hour, before they finally stopped flying over our position. When the sky was clear again, as if on cue the object reappeared just as suddenly as it had vanished, and seemingly hadn't moved an inch. This time I was yelling "GET THE CAMERA!"(while elbowing my poor pal), and as we watched, another set of lights appeared, to the right, and above the first set(this time it was too dark to see if there was a connecting structure), and the first set of lights slowly faded away. After the dissapearance of the first object, my friend (FINALLY) trundled off back to the car, to get the camera. as he went away, so did the second object, lightswitch-style. Then I looked around the beach, and noticed that there wasn't a soul in sight. I must admit it-I got the creeps at that point, with the mist and surf slowly creeping up to the chairs, it was all I could do to sit still, and not run ! off to help my friend with the camera. As I sat there looking at the sky, I saw one final display. It was as if one of the objects was turned upside-down, right next to the other, with all lights on both glowing an intense yellow. Like this: O O O ... O O ... O O O This flashed brightly for a moment,low near the horizon, then was gone. After many long minutes my friend returned with the camera, tripod, and batteries, plopped it all down, and we both set it up. We searched the sky for an indeterminate amout of time to no avail, there was to be no more light show that night. But as we packed up to go back to our room, there was one other person on the beach who walked up to us and asked if we had seen the lights, too. "Yes,"we replied "what the hell were they?" "Don't know, but that's been going on all week" he replied. I later determined(by looking at our handy road map)that to our west was Eglin AFB, the likely source of the planes, and nearby was Gulf Breeze, which I later suspected may have been the source of the other things. Additionally, the lights of each set of lights never never changed position relative to each other which is what leads me to believe that there were two seperate objects whose surfaces were adorned with these lights. Also, the lights gave off an aura (almost like neon, but as bright as incandescent) which readily differentiated them from regular lights (though during the daylight sighting I attributed this aura to the lights being inside the boundary of a cloud, diffracting through the water vapor, but at night- it was a whole different story). Also , when we got home, my friend and I drew sketches of what we saw seperately (to make sure we both had the same experience) and they matched exactly.
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