Parapedia - Phoenix Mystery Lights

On the night of March 13, 1997, Phoenix resident Michael Krzyston shot amateur video of lights flying over his home in a "V" formation:

"Before I knew it, an entire display of lights comes on. I got a little excited at that time, and I called my wife... it was really quite unusual"


Michael Krzyston was not the only eyewitness that evening. Thousands of Arizona residents claimed to have seen the exact same formation of lights. Were the lights UFOs? Many of the eyewitnesses were immediately convinced.

Not surprisingly, an official explanation soon emerged from Capt. Drew Sullins of the Air National Guard:

"The 104th fighter squadron of the Maryland Air National Guard's 175th wing was conducting a night training exercise in the vicinity of the mysterious lights. What they were doing was dropping night illumination flares over the north tactical range at Luke Air Force and a lot of people seem to think that those flares could in fact have been the quote, unquote, mysterious lights."


It seemed plausible that flares would be the cause for the sightings. However, there was a problem with the military's explanation. The military said the flares were dropped between 9:00 and 10:00 PM. However, the most impressive sighting occurred between 8:00 and 9:00 PM. Taken together, these eyewitness accounts seem to indicate that there was something other than flares in the Phoenix sky that night.

At 8:10 PM, nearly an hour before the military began dropping flares, Ross Nickle and his family were driving on Highway 89 when they spotted the lights overhead:

"I saw some lights in a very small pattern. And what they really looked like at that point was just dim stars, several of them in a very tight pattern. They were white like stars when they were coming towards us. And at that point, they changed colors and went from white to red. They were just overhead at that point and they were, in my estimation, not very high off the ground. I'm guessing a thousand feet. And there was absolutely no sound. During the whole time, from the start to finish, there was absolutely no sound."


Twenty minutes later, a commercial airline pilot and his wife were driving home after dinner when they too spotted the lights. For professional reasons, the pilot agreed to tell his story only if his identity was concealed:

"I've been flying for 29 years now, and I'm not used to looking up in the sky and not being able to figure out what I'm seeing. I looked at it then and tried to make it into an airliner. I realized again, it's going too slow, and there's no noise at all. And then the next thing that struck me is that, man, why would his landing lights be pointed straight down?"


Given the locations of the sightings, the lights appeared to be heading south. At 8:30 PM, Ozma Linderman and her boyfriend were just settling down for the evening when they had their own encounter:

"It was very clear in my mind that it was one solid craft. The lights were traveling too perfectly spaced apart, and there was a void clearly between the lights that blacked out the stars when it came down. The whole thing just slowed, I don't know, maybe to a stop or it hovered for a second, and then, what looked like one solid red oval object, it just turned red and shot straight up and disappeared, gone, completely gone."


At 8:45 PM, 15 minutes before the military began dropping flares, trucker Gary Morris spotted the lights while driving:

"To me it didn't look like floodlights. They didn't really look like spotlights. There was something different about them that I had never seen before."


Between 8:00 and 9:00 PM the Phoenix lights had traveled over 300 miles and been seen by hundreds of witnesses. An hour passed. Then at 10 PM Michael Krzyston shot the video that would provide the basis for the military's official explanation:

"If you lived in Phoenix, these flares, some of them were dropped at 14,000 and 15,000 feet. They burn very bright. They burn for five to six minutes. They are suspended by a parachute, and it's a large flare. You would be able to see those flares, I would imagine, for 150, maybe even 200 miles."


The commercial pilot is convinced the lights he saw were not flares:

"I've seen them from the ground, I've seen them from the air, and these weren't flares. And probably the major reason that these were almost certainly not flares dropped by the military was they're dangerous. So they would never, ever be dropped over a population center."


Will the mystery of the Phoenix lights ever be solved? For the military, the case is closed. But for hundreds of eyewitnesses the question remains: did the Phoenix lights come from somewhere beyond the stars?