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eburacum

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Definitely not a comet. I saw the comet that was around during that period, and it was completely different in behaviour, and only visible at night.

Of course the height of such an unknown object is entirely speculative; it could have been much higher than 30,000 feet, or much lower, depending on its size. If it were only a couple of metres across, its height could be measured in the hundreds of feet rather than thousands.
 

EnolaGaia

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On a Fortean note ... The location and landmarks mentioned in this report correlate with the locations of the fabled Brown Mountain Lights. Here's a map I assembled to illustrate the observation's ground references.

NC-UFO-2006-Map.jpg

The witness was at the airport in Morganton. He reported the UAP as orb-like and visible in the direction of Table Rock Mountain (basically NNW from his vantage point) and apparently oriented northward. I presume this means the 'exhaust plume' or 'tail' trailed southward, insofar as the report makes no mention of horizontal travel.

Table Rock Mountain is a flat-topped peak on the eastern side or rim of Linville Gorge. Brown Mountain (proper) is a low ridge to the east of Linville Gorge. Brown Mtn. is visible from Linville Gorge (even from a lookout location on the gorge's western rim), and it's fully visible from atop Table Rock.

Although Brown Mtn. proper is the home site of the legendary lights, they are also observed in and around Linville Gorge itself - including on / above the flanks of Table Rock Mtn. I've been to the gorge and other vantage points (including sitting atop Table Rock) multiple nights watching for the lights. If anything, the most noteworthy lights I've seen were around the gorge itself (on the flanks of Table Rock Mtn.) rather than on the more distant Brown Mtn.

I'm not aware of any claims for daytime sightings of the lights, but I find it interesting that the witness's report seems to place the UAP as hovering in the direction of the gorge - and the specific mountain - where I'd witnessed the lights multiple times.
 
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EnolaGaia

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What's your best guess as to their cause, EG?

Bear with me as I set some context ...

I think a lot of the sightings in more recent times have been misidentified artificial lights - e.g., from trains or automobile traffic. The Brown Mountain area is permeated with settled areas that produce a lot of different light forms - e.g., the nearby towns of Lenoir and Morganton. This, plus a reasonably organized series of sightings and interviews, led USGS investigators to conclude the lights were of non-natural origin (perhaps reflected / refracted in addition to observed directly) back in 1922. The reprinted 1922 report can be accessed at:

https://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/1971/0646/report.pdf

I mention all this not because I believe artificial lights account for the entirety of sightings, but rather to note that a lot of 'filtering' has to be done to determine which observed lights may reasonably be taken to be anomalous. The necessity for such filtering has steadily increased over the decades with increased settlement and associated illumination in the area.

Still, there's one fact or factor that seems well-established throughout the history of the sightings - the lights are almost always seen from a distance. In over a century of sightings there are very, very few claims of anyone observing the lights up close (e.g., at a distance of yards within a forest). This consistent feature suggests the truly anomalous lights involve something to do with atmospheric conditions to become visible or to appear as anomalies.

I've never witnessed a credibly anomalous light there that moves at anything other than a slow, lazy pace (if at all). I've only rarely seen a credibly anomalous light that rises so far above the ridge line as to be backgrounded against sky alone, though I've often seen lights rise far enough to ascertain they were hovering above the ridge line. Note my allusion to hovering. I've only rarely observed a credibly anomalous light move laterally, and even then not by much.

Similarly, I've only seen occasional credibly anomalous lights that were clearly situated among trees.

The mountains in that area are largely granitic, with considerable quartz content and inclusions of metallic minerals (especially iron). Detectable magnetic deviations (vis a vis the compass) are common but relatively localized throughout the area.

Having said all that ... IMHO the credibly anomalous lights I've personally witnessed are localized, generally limited to vertical movement, and strongly correlated with peaks and ridges. If there's a natural explanation I suspect it has something to do with illumination of possibly ionized air above transient hotspots of electromagnetic disturbance - possibly resulting from piezoelectric effects in the surface rocks.
 

skinny

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The mountains in that area are largely granitic, with considerable quartz content and inclusions of metallic minerals (especially iron). Detectable magnetic deviations (vis a vis the compass) are common but relatively localized throughout the area.

Having said all that ... IMHO the credibly anomalous lights I've personally witnessed are localized, generally limited to vertical movement, and strongly correlated with peaks and ridges. If there's a natural explanation I suspect it has something to do with illumination of possibly ionized air above transient hotspots of electromagnetic disturbance - possibly resulting from piezoelectric effects in the surface rocks.
Makes sense. How active is the area, geologically?
I spend time annually in geologically active mountains and have only once witnessed a light phenomenon through trees at a great distance. It is thrilling to experience, but just sleeping on the ground there is energising. Two nights there cures me of all that ails, physically and mentally. It really does.
 

skinny

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Agreed. There is a solitary satellite glint, five Starlink satellites in a row, and the aurora, both green and red. Very nice.

...then a lot of city lights come into view as the ISS travels over inhabited country. This artificial illuminance issuing from the ground is generally known as 'skyglow' or light pollution.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyglow

You can also see the 'airglow', the faint, constant, transparent luminescence visible at the top of the atmosphere. This is a natural phenomenon and can be seen from space very clearly, but is barely visible from the ground.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airglow
I witnessed last week's Starlink release string, quite by accident while scoping for the ISS, and was wowed.
 

EnolaGaia

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Makes sense. How active is the area, geologically? ...

It's not a very active area, though occasional small earthquakes occur. The Appalachians are quite "settled down" (geologically), being one of the oldest surviving mountain ranges on earth.
 

Sharon Hill

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The idea of quartz in the rock creating piezoelectrical light effects is not that strong. I'm open to entertaining the idea that effects can be propagated if the fabric of the bedrock created some crystal orientation but there are too many other factors that will cancel out any charges produced. They won't make it to the surface let alone propagate through the air. I'm more inclined to think that this is a broader system between earth and atmosphere. I'm intrigued by the idea that large earthquakes affect the ionosphere, for example. We simply aren't looking in the right places because of expensive technology, scope, etc. See my stuff on earthquake lights at Spooky Geology.

I've had Brown Mountain on my list of places to go for a long time. I've also been collecting all the resources on earth lights I can find. There is not that much content. My goal is to synthesize it all into something useful. EG - if you have any suggestions on content, I'd like to hear them. I've got most of the readily available lit already. What complicates the matter is evident in the title of this thread - sighting of balls of light are considered UFOs, which makes good info more difficult to tease out from the chaotic cultural content.
 

EnolaGaia

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I wish you luck, Sharon, in compiling the observational data from all the different topical sectors into which it's been divided up and developed in terms of that particular sector's overarching theme(s).

If lights are seen aloft, it tends to get sucked into the UFO sector. If it's at ground level and spooky (if only by virtue of being anomalous) it gets sucked into ghost lore or other folkloric areas (e.g., fairies or other spirits). Occasionally such observations even get sucked into the conspiracy sector, spun as possible evidence for secret weapons development and testing. When you get down to it, there's practically no area of Fortean / paranormal interest into which a story about mysterious lights cannot be absorbed and re-contextualized.

The reason I brought up the Brown Mountain angle in relation to the North Carolina UAP sighting is that the details of a story about a 'UFO' happened to map directly onto the locations where the lights have been witnessed for a long time. It may be that such cross-correlating of (e.g.) locations across different thematic bins could help in identifying mystery light phenomena with the most substantive histories of observation.
 

EnolaGaia

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... I'm more inclined to think that this is a broader system between earth and atmosphere. I'm intrigued by the idea that large earthquakes affect the ionosphere, for example. ...

It wouldn't surprise me if this were found to be the case.

The two most noteworthy mystery light phenomena I've personally witnessed (Brown Mountain lights; the moving orb I reported in the Will O' the Wisp thread) shared one characteristic that I suspect is a clue. Both were correlated with a location or landform. The Brown Mountain lights (that I've seen*) tend to hover on or above a single surface point and move primarily up / down vertically with little horizontal drift. The moving orb strictly followed a trail (which itself followed the peak of a ridge) and disappeared into the forest beyond still tracing the ridge line's highest profile. One hovered, one traveled, but both exhibited correlation with a particular place or landscape profile.

* Yes, I know there have been reports of Brown Mountain lights zipping around in the sky or through the trees, but neither I nor the other folks accompanying me have ever seen such rapid movement behavior.
 

gordonrutter

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The idea of quartz in the rock creating piezoelectrical light effects is not that strong. I'm open to entertaining the idea that effects can be propagated if the fabric of the bedrock created some crystal orientation but there are too many other factors that will cancel out any charges produced. They won't make it to the surface let alone propagate through the air. I'm more inclined to think that this is a broader system between earth and atmosphere. I'm intrigued by the idea that large earthquakes affect the ionosphere, for example. We simply aren't looking in the right places because of expensive technology, scope, etc. See my stuff on earthquake lights at Spooky Geology.

I've had Brown Mountain on my list of places to go for a long time. I've also been collecting all the resources on earth lights I can find. There is not that much content. My goal is to synthesize it all into something useful. EG - if you have any suggestions on content, I'd like to hear them. I've got most of the readily available lit already. What complicates the matter is evident in the title of this thread - sighting of balls of light are considered UFOs, which makes good info more difficult to tease out from the chaotic cultural content.
I’m pretty sure William Corliss collected some information as part of his Sourcebook Project?
 

Sharon Hill

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I’m pretty sure William Corliss collected some information as part of his Sourcebook Project?
There are several incidents documented in the Corliss catalogs (I have them all for geology and atmospheric anomalies) but he didn't expound on the causes too much, just says they are probably a natural thing we haven't figured out yet. The piezoelectric idea is easy to demonstrate (just knock or rub two pieces of quartz together in the dark) and ubiquitous. But it's not the right answer (or the entire answer, at least). If you get into the concepts on earthquake lights, there are discussions about why this isn't so feasible as a mechanism.

Hessdalen is another interesting case where location matters. The most interesting book I read was Examining the Earth Lights Theory by Greg Long where he investigated the lights related as UFOs in the Yakima area. I guess it depends how far off the ground the lights are. If they follow cars... it's unclear what to call them other than weird.
 

eburacum

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If they follow cars they could be a reflection or refraction of the car lights.

There have been many new luminous atmospheric phenomena discovered in recent years; blue jets, sprites, elfs. Unfortunately all these occur in the rarefied upper atmosphere, where electrical discharges propagate as transient luminous events (TLEs). If these phenomena are occurring at low level they can't be TLEs.
 
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charliebrown

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The Sun reports a September 1 near miss between a commercial airliner and UFO at Leeds Bradford Airport was ruled by UK Airprox as a drone.

The two two pilots objected claiming that their opinion was it was clearly a UFO.
 

Hogarth999

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How very curious, I was initially suspecting a flock of birds but they seem to be way too bunched up at the 'head' of the 'object', although as it's at quite a distance it's hard to be sure how close together they are (if it's birds).
 

eburacum

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I think it probably was birds, a flock of starlings. Starlings often form curved shapes in the air, that roughly follow so-called Bezier curves- I think I can see at least one Bezier curve in that shape.
step-0.png
 

maximus otter

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My first thought was “ murmuration”, but l’ve never seen one sustain a shape for that length of time. Also, the sustained shape seemed to be moving as a unit. Murmurations resemble a plastic bag blown by a wind; twisting, coiling and writhing.

:dunno:

maximus otter
 

dannycheveaux1

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Might this be comparable?

Yes a murmuration is what I thought from the still picture and I've seen loads, some spectacular. But after seeing the actual video, murmurations never stay in the same shape like that - It's impossible! It may be some kind of debris though
 

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I saw a smoke ring produced at an event at Warwick Castle. People claimed they’d seen a UFO shortly afterwards but it was really just a black firework.
 

EnolaGaia

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The Norfolk photographer ruined the evidence by zooming in and making the zoom-in the entirety of the published video. This made it impossible to get any sense of whether the figure was moving enough to represent a bird murmuration.

Absent evidence of dynamic movement I tend to favor the smoke ring hypothesis.

The 2019 Montana incident Analogue Boy cited has now been added to our thread on giant smoke rings in the sky:

Giant Smoke Rings In The Sky
https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/giant-smoke-rings-in-the-sky.56278/
 

monkeyfudger

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@Sharon Hill After your post above referencing Greg Long's Examing The Earth Lights Theory, I found a PDF of the book online and gave it a read. I found it a very interesting and enjoyable book, partly because of its age as it felt like going back to a previous time where UFOs were more prevalent. I was a teenager in the 80s and it almost felt like being transported back to then and experiencing the joy and wonder of reading about something I had previously been unaware of.
Some kind of broader system in play feels intuitively the right direction as an explanation. However, the other stuff such as lights following cars and bigfoot sightings is very weird. Obviously people are broadly unreliable as witnesses as expounded on above, but as others have also said, people are experiencing "something". Anyway, thanks for mentioning the book. I will take another look at your Spooky Geology website. I'm sure I've read it before but after reading this book it may be like looking at it afresh.
 
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Swifty

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Posted about an hour ago on facebook:
Dan Atkinson
Weird Norfolk


1 h ·

Possibly an odd question- did anyone else see these lights above Scole this afternoon (Roughly 2:30pm)? They were 2 large round lights just hovering stationary for about 3 or 4 minutes, and then they just disappeared.
Far too big to be a plane, no engine or propellor noises





 

Schrodinger's Zebra

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Posted about an hour ago on facebook:
Dan Atkinson
Weird Norfolk


1 h ·

Possibly an odd question- did anyone else see these lights above Scole this afternoon (Roughly 2:30pm)? They were 2 large round lights just hovering stationary for about 3 or 4 minutes, and then they just disappeared.
Far too big to be a plane, no engine or propellor noises


My first thought was the Jupiter-Saturn alignment thing, but I don't think it would be that bright through the clouds... would it?

I've had a quick look for 'Scole' on Stellarium and it would be in the sky at that time: (very faint in middle of photo above the 'S'):
1608675819873.png


Depends on what direction the photo was taken?



Sometimes an aeroplane heading 'straight on' toward you can look stationery.

Other than that... I don't know. Hmm.
 

Sid

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Got a bit of time on my hands, so thought it might be a good time to send in this account of my last encounter - to date, with something pretty weird...

This took place quite a few years ago, not long after I found myself on my own after my Dad died, and I didn't have a job at that point either. So, needless to say I was not in a good place but I coped with it.

To keep myself from boredom, and feeling's of things being generally pretty hopeless, I used to go out for walks at night, usually around 11'ish. This particular night I followed a route that I would usually take as I knew how long it would take before I would get back home.

The road I took was along the edge of a deep (local) valley, with a stream running along it's length and a couple of smallish lakes. As I approached the brow of the hill where the road dipped down towards a pub (at the bottom of the hill), I looked to my right as something caught my eye.

As I focused on the 'object,' it became suddenly clear that this was a brightly lit orange sphere with something in the middle of it which I can't remember well at all.

I thought I'd glanced at the object, then passed it by, to look back to see if it was still there. When in fact I'd looked at it, somehow lost an amount of time, and found myself waking on down the road some time after - looking back to see if it was still there, and it was not visible any more, so I continued on my way home wondering what the heck had just taken place.

The following day, I felt the need to go back a little earlier which I did. On the way, I happened to bump into the proprietor in the pub - he was outside sweeping up the general area. So I stopped as I passed him by, and asked him if anyone had seen or heard anything unusual the last few nights (without saying too much about my experience the night before) , and he replied "Oh that's funny you should ask, as a couple of our guests had mentioned that they'd seen some strange coloured lights down in the valley two nights ago and they remarked on it being 'odd!'

I believe I had lost a small amount of time as I'd looked at this object as for-the-life-of-me, I couldn't fathom out why I had seen it, then ignored it (as I'd thought), and came to my senses some way down the road towards the pub just five minutes away ~ that's not what I would normally have done, normally I would have studied it and stayed there until it had vanished or moved off, instead I somehow appeared to have continued on my way for a short time, then came back to realisation when I looked back to see if it was still there... really strange behaviour on my part for me to have done that!

Some weeks later, a woman I know who lives along that road and sometimes bump into on occasion when she's out in here garden, explained that she'd been driving up from the bottom of our valley, and seen seven orange orbs moving across the valley some time before.

In the exact same area, one night quite a while ago, I reported a strange plane slowly flying across the valley in thick fog and it was obviously flying below the radar as it was so low to the ground. This is something like what the 'plane' looked like... I could also just hear what sounded like extremely quite Rolls Royce engines as it passed overhead. The plane had a very large and powerful lamp mounted on the front of it, and it appeared to be using this to fly so low over the valleys.
Plane.jpg

I sent in a report to the Ministries HQ, and in reply they stated that they had no radar information of any plane flying over on that particular night!
 
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