rendering of the object that appeared in USA Today.
On Thursday, March 13, 1997. a UFO sighting known as The Phoenix Lights that occurred in Phoenix, Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. It is one of the most witnessed UFO sightings on record with descriptions from the U.S. Air Force, the Governor of Arizona, and many other people. There was minimal news coverage at the time of the incident. In Phoenix a small number of local news outlets noted the event, but it received little attention beyond that. But on June 18, 1997, USA Today ran a front-page story(1)
that brought national attention to the case. This was followed by news coverage on the ABC and NBC television networks. The case quickly caught the popular imagination and has since become a staple of UFO-related documentary television(2)(3)
, including specials produced by the History Channel(4)
and the Discovery Channel.
Tim Ley first reported seeing the the lights over Phoenix when he was in Prescott Valley. The UFO appeared as five separate and distinct lights in an arc-shape and Ley soon realized the lights appeared to be moving towards him. When the lights seemed to be a couple of miles away he could make out a shape that looked like a carpenter's square.
Other reports soon came from the area, such as, Mike Fortson in Chandler,AZ who telephoned MUFON AZ(5)
the following night. Looking over the video footage he captured and asked if anyone else had called about a UFO sighting.(6)
A cement driver hauling a load down a mountain north of Phoenix also reported(7)(8)
stated that the lights hovered over the area for more than two hours. There was also a similar reporting near the same area in Phoenix coming from a young man en route to Los Angeles who stopped his car at a public phone to report the incident.(8)
There are many differences as how to best classify the occurrence on the night of the event. Some opinions say that the nature of the eyewitness reports indicates that several unidentified objects were in the area, each of which was its own separate "event". Witnesses claim to have seen a huge V-shaped moving but producing no sound, and containing five lights. Fife Symington,(9)
the governor at the time, was one witness to this incident. As governor he struggled with the idea of the craft being of alien origin, but several years later he called the lights he saw "otherworldly" after admitting he saw a similar UFO.(10)(11)
Shortly after the lights the governor held a press conference saying "they found who was responsible". He went on to make light of the situation by bringing his aide on stage dressed in an alien costume. But, during March of 2007, the governor said that he had witnessed one of the "crafts of unknown origin" during the 1997 event, although he did not go public with the information.(12)(13)