New Eyewitness Account of the Phoenix Lights Surfaces Online

New Eyewitness Account of the Phoenix Lights Surfaces Online

A new eyewitness account of the infamous 1997 Phoenix Lights incident in Arizona and Nevada has just surfaced online, describing the “massive lights” from a vantage point of almost directly underneath.

The Phoenix Lights were seen by thousands of people in the Southwest on March 17, 1997. From the hours of 7:30 PM to 10:30 PM eyewitnesses reported seeing a giant “carpenters square” shaped craft hovering in the air in a space of some 300 miles. The incident was phoned in by everyone from civilians, to police offers, to even the Arizona governor and has since been the subject of numerous books and movie.

The official government explanation for the strange sight was that the public had seen “illumination flares” from a training exercise. This might have been a satisfying explanation for some, but there are plenty, particularly those that witnessed the sight for themselves, who hold steadfast to the believe that these lights were no flares, but something far stranger.

Now, nearly two decades after the event, a user from the Above Top Secret forums has shared a portion of correspondance with someone who claims to have witnessed the Phoenix Lights in 1997 from almost directly underneath. The email, shared by “esteay812“, is as follows:


My family and I recall that night often. I had only lived in phoenix for about a year, year and a half at most. We were living on williams airforce base when we saw it. We actually saw it from two vantage points though. Williams was the second. 

We were at my aunts house when we first noticed it. That was about 10 miles to the north north west (roughly) near Mesa Dr. and I forget what other road. There was a middle school nearby my cousin went to. Anyway, it was just after sunset, or so it seemed, I was still young. My cousin John Doe spotted it and called me outside. Then i saw it and called out my dad and broth (sic).

It was very large to my memory. Not as high as a jumbo jet or anything, but it was at least 5,000 feet up and massive, in the shape of a V made out of lights. They weren’t regular sized lights, they were relatively larger than stadium lights while standing at the bottom of the pole they are mounted on, but thousands of feet in the air and not extremely bright either. They were more like a yellow, old school street lamp as it looks through a rainy fog, maybe even distorted, but you could dismiss that as being mesmerized at the time.

After seeing it and watching it move towards the south (ish) direction, we went back into my aunt’s house for five minutes and then left. My dad, my brother, and myself all drove home and we stared out the window at it, as we went. We were headed back south along the freeway, from Mesa Drive towards Williams AFB. (Sorry, I don’t know the cross streets, all i know is that it was within about 10 – 15 mins from our house at most)

There was a point where we kind of ended up not under it directly, but we could see less lights off to the side more. (im writing the story on here as it recalls in my head, trying to be honest as possible without deleting things)

We were talking a lot at this point and I don’t remember as many visual details. We got home a few minutes later. My dad got inside and made his bed and crap, while John Doe and I were watching.

At this point we were farther away and the vantage point changed. We saw the same V shape, but it wasn’t as large. Also, you could see the thickness of the lights now, very thin in comparison to it’s size. They looked like those weird battery powered, ‘as-seen-on-tv’ lights ~ the round ones that you slap or press to turn on. The lights still appeared as if they were under that same fog, the same thickness, but from a further distance.

We watched this thing move all across the city for about 20 – 25 minutes in total, just like we did when they were too far away to judge, but still visible.

I think it was a show, like going to a nocturnal fish or zoo exhibit and just shinning a flashlight down thinking “hey, they are probably too dumb to know whats going on”… maybe they are right, but who knows.

You can archive this, or do whatever you want to do with it. This is the same thing I have said, every time, to the best of my memory.

Granted, there’s no way to verify is this person is who they say they are, but the account seems to match up just the same. The unique description of the lights themselves is the most interesting part of the report, leading some forum posters to question whether or not the glowing objects were some sort of “propulsion exhaust”. You can read the entire thread (there’s a rumor the eyewitness may show up to discuss the event in person) here.

Four years ago another report came out from a man who claimed to have inside knowledge of the response to lights from the 56 Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base, saying that the US Air Force was in a “state of anxiety” due to the event, and the flares dropped were merely a distraction.

So, could this be another piece to the Phoenix Lights puzzle? Or is it just another wild goose chase put on by a forum user with too much time to kill? Do you believe the official government story of flares, or do you think the lights were something else entirely? Let’s talk about it in the comments.


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Greg Newkirk

Greg Newkirk

Editor-In-Chief at Week In Weird
Writer, adventurer, and professional monster chaser, Greg Newkirk is the founder and Editor-In-Chief of Week In Weird, Director of The Traveling Museum of the Paranormal & Occult and one-half of the prolific investigative duo Planet Weird. Learn more about Greg.
Greg Newkirk
Greg Newkirk

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Some people would not believe in Et’s even if a mile wide spaceship hovered
over a major city.

Oh wait…..


“or do you think the lights were something else entirely?” Considering the amount of witnesses and their testimony, sure I do! When one of the best explanations that the opposition can offer is “a bunch of rich guys in monoplanes” it really makes them sound desperate.

That said, it could always have been a mass hallucination. Like meteors before the Royal Society would admit they existed.

Then again, I also really believe my best friend saw Orson Welles in an Ohio diner a few years ago so I might not have the best credentials…

R Emmet Lee
It might have been Orson Welles. He’s long been rumored to frequent Cincinnati. As to the lights, is it really believable that thousands of witnesses saw commonplace things and all reacted to them as though they were otherworldly? Furthermore, the fact that the primary and significant sighting accounts are of a giant, dimly lit V-shape but the “wag-the-dog” story somehow focuses on what is transparently a line of flares dropping below a ridge almost constitutes all the proof that is needed. Something weird happened, and it was weird enough that the disinformation agencies had to go to work undermining the… Read more »

I used to work with a guy that saw it too it flew over him and blocked out the stars he told me. He is one of those people that wouldn’t make up the story.

The Phoenix lights are among the most enigmatic of UFO sightings, but so long after the fact when so much has been written and speculated about them? A “new witness” can hardly be given any credibility as an unbiased and uninflueced account.

Exactly. Witness contamination is a big problem in UFO cases. Anyone can claim that they saw the Phoenix Lights years later. Here is something interesting. I was an investigator for MUFON in Phoenix at the time of the Phoenix Lights incident and for many years later. About 5 years ago I was approached by a witness who said she saw the giant triangle along with another pilot witness at around 8:30 PM between Phoenix and tucson. Their small plane just cleared a mountain range when they sighted the huge triangle hovering in mid air not moving. The witness then stated… Read more »

Are you the James Kelly that worked at American Express? I saw a UFO during the day time a couple of months ago. Was silver in color and had red or orange and yellow flashing lights. Was hovering pretty low.Was around 49Ave/Tbird

Ah yes “witness contamination” or maybe it was just plain ‘ol mass hysteria. Well James if you’re looking for a witness to interview why not ask Frances Barwood to put you in touch with any one of the 700 witnesses she interviewed? You know, the 700 witnesses the government wasn’t interested in either. Gosh there are witnesses everywhere, why not get busy and show us some of those MUFON investigating skills?

The witness, still a child or young teen at the time of the sighting, estimates the thing was 5,000 feet overhead. What expertise could this boy have had to make that estimate and for it to be even close to accurate? I find that detail casts doubt on the story, as it does in all sightings accounts containing altitude statements. The average person doesn’t have the expertise to make an accurate estimate unless the object is in very close proximity to a structure of known height.

oh well thats it then, it was an hallucination brought on by a night of binging on cocaine & acid! Good call!!!

Has anybody dropped flares in the same area to see if they looked the same as the Phoenix lights?

Yes, UFO Hunters did a program on it. It was totally different.

The problem with the flares excuse is , where were the planes that dropped them ? Plenty of video footage that certainly did not show any form of ‘wordly’ aircraft in the area … Must not have liked them very much either since they haven’t been used since …….. That being said , even if the e mail is true , in a moment like that adrenaline is pumping and you almost may have a false sense of what is truly happening , memory is not reliable , it can change the size of a room or color of a… Read more »
I saw this exact set of lights on July 4th, 1998 SE of Farmington New Mexico, minutes before a Fourth of July fireworks celebration commenced. Many sitting in an empty lot waiting for the fireworks started staring towards those lights beyond the bluffs which they were to launch off, totally immobile and were pointed downward. My father was the first to speak up, and said “is that a constellation?” About that time, the lights slowly started turning off, from the point at the bottom to the ones on top.It became quiet for a couple minutes, with onlookers not knowing what… Read more »
Given that there were far more eyewitnesses to the Phoenix Lights than there were to Columbine, Aurora, and Sandy Hook, combined, it is mind boggling just how boggled some minds are about what all is actually encompassed in our reality. The deep psychological denial that most people seem to experience when dealing with the reality of the Extraterrestrial presence is more frightening – as a portent for our species – than the fact that ‘they’re here’ in the first place. Watching the National Geographic’s “Critter Cam” capture and monitoring initiative for large fauna in the wild truly raises questions about… Read more »
Vicar Lee
Agreed. It seems likely that we are regularly buzzed by alien craft and related phenomena, but it should also be considered that we are collectively the most mentally ill of the primate species known to us on this planet. Given that this fundamentally means we have difficulty in coping with reality, we should hope that the alien visitors are trying to “cure” us of our various delusions – like rabid skepticism – before something really bad happens to us. It might be high time for the naysayers to open their eyes, take their fingers out of their ears, and stop… Read more »

The triangle with three orange orbs isn’t a ufo its a TR-3B owned by the US government. Its a partially, antigravity craft.

And was able to slowly move throughout the sky for 3 hours without having to attain fuel ?

Just some wild (but intriguing, I hope) speculation: I wonder how this phenomenon of the Phoenix Lights would be described by ancient cultures of about 2000 years ago? “A host of angels” perhaps? And then, what if the meaning of the Phoenix Lights was similar to that earlier phenomenon described in the Bible and someone special was born that night in Phoenix? They’d be 18 on March 17, 2015. I wonder how many kids were were born in Phoenix that night?

Those thousands of people didn’t see what they saw. Just ask any skeptic.


[…] A new eyewitness account of the infamous 1997 Phoenix Lights incident in Arizona and Nevada has just… […]

I moved to Phoenix maybe a day or two days after the lights appeared. It was still all over the news. There was footage of the lights shown on the news a lot. The footage showed a large triangular shaped black craft with big lights centered along the angles of the triangle. The footage was strangely silent for such a big thing/craft in the sky. It seemed solid. You could see where it blocked stars and Phoenix city lights. It moved slowly,sort of hovered. It seemed like a special effect straight out of Hollywood. I had never given aliens a… Read more »
People are still confusing the 10:00 PM Flare event with the reported 8:30 PM sighting of a large triangular object floating over Phoenix. All video footage captured that night were either the flare lights or the V shaped object that were a group of aircraft moving across the sky. I was an investigator in training for MUFON in Phoenix and actually watched as the lead investigator proved to me that the V shaped object was nothing more than other planes in the formation. He did a frame by frame comparison to reach his conclusion. The only mystery is the 8:30… Read more »

I don’t know about the “triangle” shape lghts but, I have seen on multiple occasions the lights that resemble flairs. Moved to the metro Phoenix area what locals call the West Valley. I have seen and still see these lights over the desert about 20 miles West of Luke AFB most recently on or about March 1 2013. They do look very strange not normal flairs. I think they look more like the after-burners on a jet flying away from you. The AF activity in the area is constant and anoying. My 2 cents.

I was four at the time and nowhere near Phoenix or Arizona; but for what it’s worth, I agree with the French government that the extraterrestrial explanation is indeed the likeliest for at least a few limited UFO sightings, if not perhaps even a statistically significant minority of the cases. (Skeptics, read the COMETA report. No, actually read it, don’t just pretend that it’s some other half-wit hoax. If you can’t handle the original French, there are some unofficial English translations; in any case, this is an official document written primarily by French military officers and a few scientists and… Read more »

[…] personnel too] earlier than the big display…on the day of the famous Phoenix Lights event! New Eyewitness Account of the Phoenix Lights Surfaces Online – Who Forted? Magazine Cheers […]

Seen by so many it was obviously a real thing. I’m guessing military.

I’ve always been VERY curious as to why the news choppers were not up there and why we dont get THAT footage if it was there for three whole hours. Whats up with that mystery? If a thousand people or more saw it, where are all the rest of the documentations, hmmmm? But about the lack of air activity, you would think there had been all kinds of air activity going on, did the military just tell the news choppers, dont fly tonight? The biggest damn story and the biggest UFO right there to get the scoop? Something is awkward… Read more »
I’m a former USAF military pilot. I spent most of my career in the Air Force as an instructor pilot flying both the T-38 and T-37. I felt compelled to explain that nothing that happened that night was other worldly. The second incident on ‘Lights Over Phoenix’ was a formation of Canadian Air Force instructor pilots (IP’s) flying the Tutor training aircraft. They were on a weekend cross-country trip (flying away from home base) down in the States. This is very common for both them and us. They were flying from Nellis AFB, Las Vegas down to Davis Mathon AFB.… Read more »

Wake up they made no sound

I saw something in my room the last time the phoenix lights happened i havent told to many but it was screwed up! I was seeing an thing with 3 claws,long armed, alien headed thing coming at me with bright lights thats all i remember!

I was living in Phoenix on 3/13/97. I didn’t see anything, but I wasn’t outside looking. I was inside Sky Harbor waiting for a delayed flight to arrive for several hours. I heard, while I was in the airport that people were seeing strange things that night. My girlfriend, living in Scottsdale at the time, said her phone was ringing off the hook from people who claimed they saw the big V. I have done a fair amount of research on this incident – and it seems to me that it was a false flag operation. I think the US… Read more »