“Lights in the sky” sightings easily comprise the majority of UFO sightings, and have just as easily been dismissed by skeptics as bright stars and planets, conventional aircraft, and—dare I say it?—swamp gas. Now, there is a new bane of a ufologist’s existence—drones. Every kid with an LED-covered quadcopter can spark a viral “UFO” video, even further muddying the already murky waters of “lights in the sky” cases.
Depiction of triangle UFO at night. (Credit: OpenMinds.tv)
So perhaps researchers need to take a step back and look into the darkness—into the far more rare cases of nighttime sightings of craft flying completely dark, without any lights. It’s impossible for skeptics to consign such cases to the “Venus Files” if they are solid, unlit objects. These cases also present a more enticing element, which may or may not be warranted—a somewhat sinister aspect as these craft obviously don’t want to be seen as they are cruising silently just over your head.
The subject of “Dark UFOs” came up recently when I interviewed Lorraine M. about her early 1980s sighting in Putnam County, NY, which was the scene of a major flap in the Hudson Valley which lasted several years.
“I was leaving a party with my friends,” Lorraine explained in a detailed email. “It was 1am and we had parked our cars in an elementary school parking lot. There were about six of us, laughing, having fun. I looked up into the sky to take in the beauty of this clear, starlit night when all of a sudden I noticed an area straight up without stars! ‘What the hell?!’ was my first response! I elbowed my boyfriend and pointed to the sky without saying a word. Immediately he elbowed and pointed upward to the next friend, and so on! We all stood there dumbstruck, looking up, amazed at the sight before us.”
This is a great description of the immediate reaction to such a sighting—no words, just each friend nudging one another and pointing successively on down the line. Lorraine explained that there were no streetlights, and the field of stars was very bright that night. The “colossal craft” had no lights or other form of illumination, so “The only way you could see its triangular shape was how it blotted out the stars!”
“We all stood there, staring upward, mouths agape, bewildered… scared yet amazed…It passed over us at a height that it could nick its bottom on the point of the Empire State Building. And its speed was as slow as a balloon in the Macy’s Day Parade. It passed slowly. Creeping along. Then all of a sudden it shot out from view, then reappeared what seemed like ten miles down further and continued its sloth-like pace.
“We ran to our cars! The next day we learned through the local newspaper that others had witnessed this craft as well! I would say that experience far exceeded any party that night!”
Just to further emphasize her story, Lorraine later emailed me this:
“All of this is the darn truth! I’ll never forget it!!”
Book cover to Linda Zimmerman’s Hudson Valley UFOs.
This craft exhibited many of the characteristics described by witnesses during the 1980s flap—triangular, the size of a football field, and the ability to go both incredibly slow and impossibly fast. However, whereas most of the other craft witnessed were often described as being lit up like Christmas trees, this one was flying dark.
Around the same time frame of the late 70s and early 80s, a “black disk” was spotted one night in Brentwood, NY, which is on Long Island. A witness reported to MUFON that she went outside to call her cat in for the night when she looked up and saw “a black disk the size of a stop sign at arm’s length” and about the height of a radio tower. It moved very slowly, diagonally over her house and she had time to observe it from both the back and front yards.
Again, there were no lights, and the shape was only able to be determined by the “sky glow” from the neighborhood lights, as the object was silhouetted against the dark sky. There was one other unusual feature the witness described with this craft—“The bottom didn’t appear smooth, it looked like it had sections that were raised, with sharp edges.” Unlike the previous case, however, where the UFO shot off in the blink of an eye, this black craft just quietly floated out of sight.
Yet another different shape of dark object appeared even earlier in the area, a rectangular craft as described in a 1978 NUFORC report from Avon, Connecticut. This case was also different, as what first drew the attention of the witness was a bright light, which apparently shut off as the witness approached.
“I was driving back to where I was staying that night after dropping off a friend. I was driving up a road in Avon, CT, when I saw a bright light up ahead; I thought this was unusual for this time of night [1 am]. I proceeded up the road and when I got to where the light basically was coming from, there was no light present. I looked around in curiosity and discovered an object the size of a house hovering about fifty feet in the air. There was a half moon and visibility was good, this object was very dark and large, there were no lights on and it made no noise whatsoever.
“I parked my car in the middle of the road and left it running with the lights on, hoping someone would come down the road to witness this as well. I stood still in one spot staring at this object for about 5 minutes, fearing what it would be capable of doing. I looked around and saw a house that had its lights on, so I ran over to it and knocked on the door. I waited for a couple of minutes, but nobody answered.
“I ran back to where my car was and the object was still there. I became so scared I jumped in my car and drove off quickly. As I went to the stop sign at the end of the road, I looked up and the object had followed me all the way down the road. I turned to the left and saw the object was still following me, so I floored the gas and never looked back again.”
As if this case isn’t bizarre enough, there was a final twist.
“It took me over a month to tell anyone else, but eventually I told my parents. We ended up moving to an area right where this event occurred, and a neighbor saw the same thing almost one year to the date later. She described the exact same event I witnessed.”
Depiction of triangle UFO at night. (Credit: OpenMinds.tv)
What were the chances that this witness would actually move to the location of her intense encounter, and then find a neighbor who saw the same black, unlit object around the same day the following year?
Another black triangle with no lights was seen by at least three men in 1985. It was around midnight when “Jerry” and his friend, “Matt” were driving from Danbury Hospital toward Brewster, NY on Route 84. The sky was overcast, but not completely dark, due to the sky glow from all the street and building lights. Had it been a clear night, the two friends may not have seen the incredible silent object they witnessed, silhouetted against the clouds.
“It was a large solid, black triangle with no visible sign of propulsion,” Jerry told me. “No exhaust, no propellers. It was low enough that the altitude itself was notable and striking as it appeared to be very low relative to the highway for such a large craft. In terms of speed, I would say somewhere around 80 miles an hour. I am guessing that because we were driving on I-84 and the craft stayed ahead of us during the time we were on the highway, but was not pulling away at great speed. There were no lights that I recall and the craft was a triangle, not the V-shape that I know some others have seen. It would have been travelling at well below stall speed for any conventional aircraft of its size.
“We pulled off the highway at Exit 4 (west bound) and pulled into what I believe was an empty lot where a McDonald’s now exists. There was another motorist who had pulled off for the same reason. He was standing outside his car when we pulled in and we spoke briefly. The three of us; my friend, the other motorist and I, all watched the craft head toward Ridgefield [Connecticut]. The time was likely around midnight, but I don’t know the exact time. It was after 10:00 PM because I called the tower at Danbury Airport the next day to see if they had any idea what it was. They said the tower closed at 10:00 so they had no information at all to offer.”
The most startling case I have had involving a dark craft has to be the one sighted by Jim in Howells, NY, in 1995, if for nothing else, the sheer enormity of the object.
Jim was in his twenties and living at his mother’s house. He went to take the garbage out one night, so he turned on the front porch light. This was no ordinary light, as his mother had installed an extremely bright spotlight that did not aim down, it aimed straight ahead, so the angle of its beam went up into the sky, as well. Without that powerful beam of light, Jim never would have seen what passed overhead.
“It was like something out of Battlestar Galactica! It was an enormous, metallic triangle and I could see a lot of detail.”
The craft did not have any lights on, but as it was only at an altitude of a couple of hundred feet, the spotlight illuminated the underside.
Depiction of triangle UFO seen in Illinois. (Credit: Michael Schratt)
“It wasn’t moving really fast, but it was going along at a good clip. Even so, it took many seconds to pass completely overhead.”
I asked Jim what he would compare the size to: a house, a plane, a football field?
“At least three football fields,” he replied without hesitation.
As he began by making a science fiction spaceship comparison, I mentioned the opening scene of Star Wars where the Imperial Star Destroyer just keeps coming and coming across the screen.
“I never thought of that, but that’s what it was like. It was just enormous.”
“Any sound?” I asked.
“Absolutely silent,” he stated. “Had that spotlight not been on, I don’t think I would have even noticed it.”
I asked what his immediate reaction had been to the sighting, and how it made him feel. In the spirit of a picture being worth a thousand words, rather than trying to describe it, he struck a pose and expression of extreme surprise and amazement. That said it all.
What else is in the skies above us that we don’t notice because it has absolutely no form of illumination? Why are some craft brilliantly lit, clearly wanting to be seen, or at least not caring if they are seen? Can we assume that dark UFOs are rare, or are just the sightings of these craft rare because the conditions have to be just right to see them?
Whatever is going on, these cases present researchers a valuable opportunity to sidestep the numerous excuses for lights in the sky and concentrate on the indisputable facts: for reasons we can only imagine, enormous triangles, disks, and rectangles are in our skies displaying no lights, not wanting to be seen. Based upon the cases with which I have personally dealt, and others I have come across in the MUFON and NUFORC databases, I know I will now be starting a new file labeled “Flying Dark.”
Watch Linda’s presentation on Hudson Valley UFOs here.