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Column: Who’ll admit to seeing those orange lights?
There’s a story I’d love to do for the Reporter but I can’t find a way to get a hold of it. I need a number of responsible, respectable people to interview who’ve seen the phenomenon I want to write about. I also need some authoritative official sources who will at least acknowledge there’s something curious and — as far as I know — unexplained going on in the night skies.
I haven’t had a lot of time to work on the story; maybe if I had more, I could put something together. I do have a shortcut option: this column. At the risk of branding myself a nut, I herewith lay out the facts as I know them just to see if anyone else out there knows of what I write.
With a big Labor Day weekend issue looming and the need to get all its many chores accomplished, including this column, I’m going to throw caution to the wind and let the ink (or pixels) flow.
Has anyone on Shelter Island, looking toward the north on a summer night from Crescent Beach or other verges or high points on the northern half of the Island, seen some strange patterns of small, blobby orange lights moving across the sky in a way that airplanes, helicopters, balloons, dirigibles and Chinese lanterns do not move?
You can see what I’m talking about by Googling “orange lights in the sky over Connecticut.” That will take you to videos posted on YouTube not only from Connecticut but all over the world from 2012 and back several years that capture exactly what I’ve seen on two occasions.
The first time I was at a dinner party one night last summer at a house on the bluff overlooking Long Beach, in Bay Haven, a couple of miles south of South Ferry. Standing on the back deck looking at the lovely moonless night, I noticed one of these orange lights moving from left to right quite low in the sky, far out beyond Jessups Neck.
I’m a pilot so I was interested. I guessed it was an Air National Guard C-130 on some kind of drill out over the Sound, with some sort of search and rescue lamp ablaze. I could see no flashing aviation lights; I could hear no engines. I figured it was too far away.
It got a little weird when the light began climbing steeply as it moved eastward at an angle no C-130 is capable of. At the high point of its dramatic climb, it slowed down, seemed to arc away, toward the north, and disappear.
“Huh,” I thought. “What was that?”
When the same light reappeared far off to the west again, low in the sky beyond Jessups Neck, I really got curious — especially when another light just like the first one appeared behind it, following the same remarkable upward path to the east and curving away before disappearing.
I called a neighbor who happened to be at the same party — a former Nassau County cop who is no pushover for UFO stories — and he watched with me as the number of orange lights increased to more than a dozen, flying the same circuit, in trail at first, but then with some bunched together into evolving formations.
This performance lasted about five or six minutes before, one by one, each light disappeared as usual at the top of the climb. We waited but none reappeared again out to the west beyond Jessups. The show was over.
That night I Googled “orange lights in the sky over Connecticut” and discovered that other people had seen very similar lights elsewhere. The second time I saw one of these lights — and this time there was only one — was this summer, in mid-July. My wife and I were having dinner with friends in North Sea, at a house near the shore of Wooley Pond. We were drawn out of the house by the sound of fireworks. It was a dark moonless night, lit up by rockets launched from a private party across the pond. After the last rocket went off and we watched its chrysanthemum glow fade away, we noticed that one glowing orange ember had failed to burn out. It seemed to be traveling toward us, its irregular shape changing as if it were a piece of paper in flames.
It was odd so our friends noticed it without coaching from me. “What the hell is that?” our friend Adam said.
By then we could see it hadn’t been an ember from the fireworks. It was one of those little blobs of orange light. It must have been moving from west to east, almost straight up, just as the last rocket was fired. As it tracked across the sky, emerging from the last flickers of the rocket at an elevation much higher than the lights I’d seen the summer before, it seemed to slow down, speed up and make a couple of 90-degree turns.
I couldn’t tell if it was just above the treetops or at high altitude. It made no sound, it had no strobes or red, white and green navigation lights. Just passing its zenith in the sky over our heads, it disappeared.
Two people in our little Reporter office have seen very similar phenomenon, both looking north toward Connecticut on dark summer nights.
Who else out there has seen these lights? Does someone know for a fact what they are? There’s an answer. I’d like to find it.
Let me know at email@example.com. Maybe with a little feedback, I can put a story together.