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National UFO Reporting Center Sighting Report
Occurred : 7/9/1996 00:30 (Entered as : 07/09/1996 12:30 AM)
Reported: 8/9/2022 4:44:01 PM 16:44
Posted: 9/9/2022
Location: Traverse City, MI
Shape: Sphere
Duration: Five minutes
Characteristics: There was an aura or haze around the object
Three orange balls in triangle formation. Fourth orange ball North at a distance. It joined the other three. Then departed.

My wife, two teenage kids, and myself sitting on the beach at 12:30 AM. Campfire was almost out. Looking across East Grand Traverse Bay, we saw an orange "basketball" slowly rise above the tree line North of Elk Rapids, MI. We thought it was a Chinese Lantern, someone set afloat. Then in unison, two more floated up above the tree line to form a triangle. (Again, more lanterns?) My son pointed out that there was another orange ball far to the North. As we watched that one, it suddenly shot South in less than a second and joined the other three balls. At this point, we were startled and frightened at the same time. My son was shouting to go get a camera, and my wife and daughter were going into the house. I knew I didn't have a good camera ready with film, so I just stood and watched with my son. The four orange balls formed a diamond. The bottom ball shot back North and disappeared. The two side balls slowly floated down and out of sight. The top ball shot straight up and disappeared. No clouds that night. Being five days after the 4th of July, we tried to imagine it was something to do with that. The next morning I got out my fishing chart of the Bay and standing where we were the night before I determined that the ball to the North was 16 miles away from the others. It covered that distance in only a second! We listened to the news and checked the local paper, but there was no mention of it. We told a few people, but they just looked at us. Today, we still discuss it when we are together.