December 28, 1997
Editor: Joseph Trainor
On Monday, December 8, 1997, a Boeing 737, owned by British Midland Airways, took off from London's Heathrow Airport for a flight to Belfast, Northern Ireland.
At 2:15 p.m., the jetliner was flying over Liverpool on a northwesterly heading. Then one of the passengers spotted a very large UFO off the right wingtip at an estimated distance of 150 miles (240 kilometers).
According to Miles Johnston of the British UFO Research Association (BUFORA), "It was a very big, black, thin vehicle, with a very bright white tip. It moved at all times very slowly but was of considerable size. Relative width-to-length ratio of 20:1."
The UFO was described as "a cigar-shaped object" 2,000 feet (667 meters) long.
The UFO "was seen almost on the horizon (at) approximately the same height as the Boeing 737, 33,000 feet...This would position the UFO approximately over Yorkshire," Johnston reported, "The UFO was observed by a passenger on the plane for 15 minutes."
Below the UFO was "heavy thick cloud" cover that made it impossible for the object to be seen from the ground. "After 15 minutes, the object flew slowly flew into very high clouds over the region." Prior to that, "the object was visible at all times in bright, clear sunlight." (See Filer's Files #51 for December 24, 1997. Many thanks to George A. Filer of MUFON for this report.)
(Editor's Note: A UFO was seen over Rotherham, S. Yorks three weeks ago.)
On Tuesday, December 9, 1997, security guard Michel Collot d'Ouvrard was making his rounds at the CARB nuclear waste storage facility in Penthe- les-Brienne, with his K-9 guard dog on a leash.
The plant is located near Brienne-le-Chateau, L'Aube department, in eastern France, about 180 kilometers (108 miles) east of Paris.
At 4:15 p.m., Michel reported, "My dog and I were at the center of the perimeter, when he suddenly began barking at an unusual presence some distance in front of us. I had difficulty seeing it because of the powerful searchlights on the nearby pylons. Then I noticed a yellow light apparently moving toward our position. It came from the southwest, from the general direction of the Foret d'Orient, between Piney and Vandeuvre. It had the appearance of a car's headlight beacon at a distance of 1.5 to 2 kilometers. But in reality it was much closer to us, perhaps at a distance of 300 to 400 meters (990 to 1,320 feet)."
"The luminous object seemed to halt for a fraction of a second, shot out a series of light beams, and then it followed the same flight path back to the southwest," he added. "Up in the sky, the luminous object was not moving but seemed to be larger. I had it in view for about 20 seconds."
On Saturday, December 13, 1997, at 6:30 p.m., two women working at the CARB plant "discovered in the sky the presence of two luminous objects at great height (a high altitude--J.T.)." They estimated the size of the UFOs as "four centimeters if at arm's length."
The women said the UFOs "had a dome on the top and four lights on the underside. The two objects left behind a luminous rectilinear trail, cut short, that looked like a giant neon tube."
"The first object suddenly departed to the southeast, towards 'La CARB,' while the other object remained in the area, flying around at heights varying from 30 meters to 300 meters."
Both sightings are being investigated by French ufologist Picot Sylvain. (Merci beaucoup aux Franck Marie et Banque OVNI pour ces nouvelles.)
On Friday, December 19, 1997, at 6:30 a.m., a UFO was seen flying over the hydroelectric dam in the Black Mountains by two rangers of the Welsh Forestry Commission.
The men were five miles apart at the time, but were in radio contact with each other. The incident took place in the mountains overlooking Llandoverry, approximately 66 miles (106 kilometers) northwest of Cardiff.
"The UFO was going in a north-northeasterly direction," one ranger reported. "It was a very bright ball of light with four sparkly tails and about two miles or so high, about three times the size of a large star. It was over the dam for about 35 seconds, climbing in an upward direction."
The sightings reports were received by the Welsh Forestry Commission office at Tirabads. (Many thanks to Todd Andrews and the Riskers for this report.)
(Editor's Note: Earlier this year, a large dark triangular UFO was sighted above Highway A40 near Trecastle.)
On Wednesday, December 3, 1997, at 9 p.m., the witness was in downtown Rennes when he "noticed the presence of two shining 'stars' at 40 degrees above the western horizon. The two stars 'gleamed' with red and green firebursts, as if they were two luminous objects some distance from each other--one red, the other green."
"The objects remained stationary," he added, "with the same relative space between them. I watched until 9:45 p.m." when the lights vanished.
"In the days following, the same phenomenon appeared again, at the very same time" and the UFOs behaved "in an identical manner, which really astonished me, for I had never observed stars (acting) in this fashion."
Rennes is a city in the department Ile-et-Vilaine, about 280 kilometers (175 miles) west of Paris.
On Sunday, December 7, 1997, at 11:10 a.m., two hospital workers were driving on the highway between Troyes and Lusigny near the village of Montreuil-sur-Barce. Suddenly, "their attention was caught by a very bright white flash of light, what seemed to be a reflection of the sun. They took note of this development in the sky, believing at first that it was an aircraft in difficulty."
The men observed the mysterious light moving around inside the overcast cloud cover. "It duplicated its own motions, moving in a curved flight in an east- west trajectory but drifting towards the southeast. Its altitude was less than 1,000 meters (3,300 feet). It seemed to be engaging in 'low-level flying.'"
They estimated the UFO "to be 10 to 15 kilometers (6 to 9 miles) away, towards the Foret d'Orient. The (UFO's) appearance was circular, elliptical and presented itself in profile." (See the French newspaper L'Est Republicain for December 8, 1997. Merci aux Franck Marie et Picot Sylvain pour ces nouvelles.)
On Saturday, December 20, 1997, at 2 a.m., Roberto Cardoso "was driving home with a friend" about 10 kilometers (6 miles) west of Leiria, Portugal when his companion spotted something very strange in the sky.
On "a straight and downhill section of the road, where we could perfectly see the sky in front of us... Suddenly, a white-blue round object appeared from behind a cloud and made a perfect vertical descent" of 500 meters from the rainy overcast sky.
"The light made the descent in no more than a second," Roberto reported, adding that it touched down about 10 kilometers (6 miles) east of the Atlantic Ocean shoreline. "The object itself could have had a diameter between one and five meters. The light was strong and it brightly illuminated the clouds around it as soon as it became visible. The light appeared at (the) 11 o'clock (position) just about in front of us. We were heading west towards the Portuguese coast."
"'Hey! Did you see that?' my friend said."
"'Yes. But it's too far away for us to find it, damn!'"
Roberto told his other friends about the sighting. A few days later, one of them, Manuel Oliveira, reported an equally strange incident near Martinha Grande, southwest of Leiria.
Oliveira "told of seeing some strange helicopters of a type he had never seen before. He told me that they were NOT black and had some nation's insignia on them. He only knows the Portuguese and USA insignias and it was not one of theirs," Roberto wrote, adding that they might be "of the Westland type."
Both encounters, he added, took place about 15 kilometers from the Fuerza Aerea Portuguesa (FAP) air base at Monte Real. (Email Interview)
Leiria is 184 kilometers (115 miles) north of Lisboa (Lisbon), the nation's capital.
(Editor's Note: The Westland Lynx Mk3 and Mk4 are used by both the UK and France. For more black helicopter news, see the Pennsylvania story in this issue.)
On Sunday, December 14, 1997, at 6:15 p.m., pedestrians in Terni, a city in the Monti Sabini mountain range approximately 100 kilometers north of Rome, spotted a strange luminous object flying across the evening sky.
The UFO was described as "a luminous white object in the form of a pointed arch." Witnesses said the UFO "made a swift passage" through the sky over Terni "along a horizontal trajectory."
The case is being investigated by ufologist Massimo Valloscuro of the Centro Italiano di Studi Ufologici (CISU). (Grazie a Edoardo Russo di CISU per questo rapporto.)
On Saturday, December 20, 1997, at 5:40 p.m., Chuck Olmstead and his son "were in the front yard of our home in Greenville, North Carolina (N.C.) (population 44,972), looking into the sky. We had just launched a helium balloon with a return tag as an experiment and were watching it travel to the north."
"The sky was dark blue, a few of the early evening stars were visible" and they also saw two aircraft, one at 45 degrees or so from the horizon with red and white lights visible and one in the northeast, also at 45 degrees from the horizon."
"Looking up at zenith, I watched a group of about 6 or 7 stars of varying intensity suddenly line up in a straight line," Olmstead reported. "My son saw it also and yelled out, 'Daddy!'"
"I told him, 'Run inside and get your mommy.'"
He estimated the formation's size as "the height of my index finger (held) at arm's length. Some of the stars were large and bright--larger than Venus--and others were dim. I then noticed that the entire line was moving slowly to the west in sync."
"At the same time, I then noticed another star to the west that seemed to be the 'leading' star, also moving in sync with the rest of the stars. What I visualized was an equilateral triangle with only one leg of the three visible... Suddenly, all of the stars seemed to converge at the center of the triangle, and all faded out just prior to meeting in the center. The entire event was probably only eight to ten seconds long. This is the strangest thing I have ever seen in the sky..." (Email Interview)
On Sunday, December 21, 1997, at 5:15 a.m., Ellen Mycroft spied a UFO from her home in Harrisonburg, in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.
"I saw what appeared to be 3 to 5 bright lights in a row in the eastern sky. After a while, they just gradually faded away," Ms. Mycroft reported, adding that she had them in view for "a period of five to twenty seconds. I don't know how long they had been up there before that, but I watched for a while, maybe 30 seconds to a minute."
She estimated that the UFO was flying over nearby Waynesboro, Va. (population 18,549), on Highway 340 approximately 96 miles (154 kilometers) northwest of Richmond.
She also contacted another eyewitness in Crimora, Va., 25 miles from Harrisonburg.
"We both thought we saw a series of five lights nearly as bright as Venus around 5:15 or 5:20 p.m. on Sunday, December 21. He thought the lights were 20 to 25 degrees above the horizon, and the lights appeared to be over the Waynesboro/ Fishersville area which is consistent with my observation."
She added that Waynesboro was the site of the 1964 UFO encounter reported by Horace Burns. (Email Interview)
On December 3, 1997, a couple spotted a "very bright light" in the evening sky south of Hooksett, New Hampshire (population 2,573).
One of the witnesses said, "You could bundle five airplanes together and it wouldn't even come close to this much light."
The UFO approached from the south. When one witness called attention to it, "the light halted and suddenly took off."
Mysterious bright lights along Route 3 south of Hooksett were also reported by two other witnesses.
Hooksett is 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Concord, the state capital.
(See the Manchester, N.H. Union-Leader for December 5, 1997. Many thanks to George A. Filer of MUFON for this report.)
The night of December 16, 1997, Brett B. was at his family's home on Hawk Mountain near Tamaqua, Pennsylvania (population 7,843), a small city at the intersection of Highways 209 and 309, approximately 98 miles (158 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia.
All at once, Brett heard the sound of a helicopter. "It sounded as if it was really close," he reported. "I'm guessing that it was at about mountain level. It sounded as if it was right outside the house. When I went outside, I didn't see anything" because of the low overcast. "I went back in the house because I didn't have my shoes on or a coat, and it was getting cold."
Listening to the helicopter noise, Brett wondered if there might have been a breakout at a state prison nearby. But, he added, "my aunt works at the prison, and she usually calls us" if a breakout occurs. After a while, the mysterious helicopter flew away. (Email Interview)
On Saturday, December 20, 1997, Corey S. saw two black UH-1D helicopters fly over his farm near Jasper, Florida (population 2,099). The choppers were "flying close to the ground, heading east."
According to Corey, some neighbors called a local radio talk show and reported seeing "six to eight black helicopters, most of them Hueys (UH-1D) but one was a Hughes 500 with airborne radar" on the ground at a nearby rural airstrip."
Jasper is on Florida Highway 41, approximately 85 miles (136 kilometers) east of Tallahassee, the state capital.
In addition to Massachusetts and Rhode Island, UFOs were seen over Connecticut during the "airship flap" of December 1909. Here's the actual newspaper account of the most famous Connecticut sighting of the period.
"There was a bright light in the east last night and the wise ones sized it up for Tillinghast's mysterious airship. It was about 7:30 o'clock that the light was first noticed and it was then in the southeast, appearing to be above the thread plant as viewed from the foot of Railroad street but a long ways off--from twenty to thirty miles in the opinion of some of the people who saw it."
"Policemen and other matter-of-fact persons winked the other eye when the airship was mentioned but there were plenty of people who were quite willing to declare, and did so declare, that what they had seen in the eastern sky answered in all particulars the descriptions sent out of the mysterious aerial craft that has been creating such a sensation in Worcester and other Massachusetts cities and villages."
"There were several hundred in Willimantic who saw what they believed to have been an airship, and others said it was Hailey's (sic) comet. Whatever it was, it caused considerable excitement for a while and the curious ones spent several hours with their eyes riveted on the heavens."
"The light in the southeast looked like a powerful searchlight. Because of its size and the aura it threw, it attracted wide attention. It remained stationary for a few minutes, and then it seemed to shoot upwards, and then ambled around as if the person manipulating it was trying to get his bearings."
"As usual, Mayor (John F.) Dunn's store was crowded about that time, and Benjamin Murphy, timekeeper on the New Haven (rail)road, was...calling the men out to see the airship. Mayor Dunn was among them, and he stated last night (i.e. on December 23, 1909--J.T.) when seen by a Chronicle reporter that he would not swear it was an airship but it certainly did look like one. Others who saw it were of the same opinion."
"The light was miles away apparently and quite high in the air. It played in the east for about fifteen minutes and then vanished. Later there appeared a brilliant star in the firmament and those who had not seen the first light and saw this star were of the opinion that both lights were one and the same, but those who saw the first light said it was no star."
"People who had come down street to do their Christmas shopping forgot what they had come for and stood on the sidewalk and even in the middle of the street, looking in the east, hoping to see the return of the airship. Some of the skeptics who, just because they did not hear the hissing of the engine or got an introduction to the man running the ship, laughed at those who claimed it was an airship they saw. The skeptics could not account, though, for the strange light and its peculiar actions."
"It was too bad that the airship, if it was one, did not come nearer the city so that the people could inspect the machine. The scoffers would have then had no grounds for scoffing."
(See the Willimantic, Conn. Daily Chronicle for December 24, 1909, "'Come, Ride In My Airship' Invitation Awaited by Many!" page 1.)
This wraps up Volume 2 of UFO ROUNDUP. Your editor would like to extend his heartfelt thanks to all who submitted UFO news during 1997. Your contributed items are what makes it all possible.
To our new readers in Bermuda, Japan, Norway, Colombia and the Netherlands, thanks for being with us. We're repeating last year's ROUNDUP Pledge--to bring full coverage of the global UFO situation to readers everywhere via the Internet.
UFO ROUNDUP will continue to publish attribution wherever possible for every item that appears in the newsletter. At the same time, UFO ROUNDUP will diligently protect the confidentiality of eyewitnesses.
Hopefully, the day is coming when UFO witnesses can talk about their sightings and encounters without being harassed by government agents.
To those who criticize the stories published in this newsletter...tell me, friends, when was the last time you saw attribution footnotes in the New York Times and the Washington Post?
If 1997--with Heavens Gate, the mass sightings in Phoenix and Seattle, and the UFO crash in Nova Brasilandia--is any indication, we could be in for a rough saucer ride during 1998.
But UFO ROUNDUP will be there, bringing you complete coverage of the continuing drama of the unidentified flying object. Here's wishing all our readers a "Happy New Year!" from "the paper that goes home--UFO ROUNDUP."
UFO ROUNDUP: Copyright 1997 by Masinaigan Productions, all rights reserved. Readers may post items from UFO ROUNDUP on their websites or in newsgroups provided that they credit the newsletter and its editor by name and list the date of issue in which the item first appeared.