The family all went out onto their deck to look at the strange sight. Paul Hurley, a pilot who works at Morristown Airport, said they weren't planes. "I've been in aviation for 20 years and never seen anything like it," he told CBS 2. Paul was one of several people who e-mailed WCBSTV.com after witnessing the lights.So the experienced aviator says they took off quickly and an anonymous viewer says they dropped out of the sky but left no trace (never mind it was first seen in Whippany and last seen on the Madison/Florham Park border, miles away from Morris). But officials came to an interesting conclusion:
"Red lights in the sky over the Morristown-Morris Township area, 5 red lights in a weird pattern over the area," one viewer wrote. "The formation of 5 lights were first noticed over Cedar Knolls and then as they approached the Madison/Morris Township border the rear half of the formation slowly faded and appeared to drop from the sky and then the front part of the formation went out one by one," wrote another.
MORRISTOWN -- Agents Mulder and Scully won't be needed in Morristown after all. The UFOs hovering in the sky over the neighborhoods around Columbia Road and West Valley View Drive weren't space ships or flying saucers. They are probably just helium balloons attached to road hazard flares, Morristown Police Officer James Cullen said Monday night.- Daily Record
Well, it looks like the evidence doesn't support that dismissal. More witnesses have come forward:
Maria D'Andrea said she was on her way home in Hanover at 8:20 p.m. when she saw five lights traveling together. "I called my neighbor because I thought I was crazy," she said. "It was a little bit freaky."But it looks like someone is worried about this incident, since the CSICOP bunch was called to do their usual song-and-dance:
She said the neighbor confirmed what she had seen, lights moving slowly to the east. D'Andrea said they seemed to be "floating."
Robert Giaquinta, 39, of Sparta, was in Harding when he saw the lights a little after 8:30 p.m. He said they looked like they were attached to a radio tower -- except there was no tower where he was looking. He called his mother in Parsippany, who told him she also was able to see the lights.
"I was struck by how perfectly spaced they were," Giaquinta said.
George Van Orden, Hanover's health officer, said he saw the lights while walking his dog in Madison at 8:38 p.m. He said he only saw three lights, and they appeared to be over the Exxon property. He said they didn't appear to be flares because they didn't leave trails. He also said they sometimes appeared to move against the wind.
"These things were moving fast, holding formation, and then moving in three different directions," Van Orden said. "I don't know what it was."
Tom Bender, 36, of Morristown said he went outside after his wife alerted him to the lights. He said they were in an L-shaped formation and two of them appeared to be oscillating. He said he didn't believe in UFOs but added that the lights he saw "didn't seem man-made."
"No way this could have been weather balloons," he said. "They wouldn't have been able to be stationary."
Benjamin Radford, an investigator with Skeptical Inquirer magazine who has examined UFO sightings in various parts of the country, said it appeared to be the same kind of hoax perpetrated in Phoenix last year. In that case, he said the hoaxer admitted using flares attached to balloons.That's an interesting claim. Where's the evidence? And how would that device keep then geometrically change formation in a windy night sky? There's a National Guard Armory in the area- maybe this was a test run of some new equipment. Why isn't that possibility raised? This is why I don't take CSICOP seriously when it comes to UFOs. This Radford character also has a dismal grasp on geography:
Russo's video shows the lights moving together, remaining a fixed distance from one another. Radford said that effect could be achieved by attaching flares to plastic piping and suspending the whole apparatus from balloons.
He said it most likely won't ever be found because "it's probably somewhere over the Atlantic (Ocean)."That would be quite a feat for the contraption Radford is dreaming up out of whole cloth. Morristown is a good 30 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, and this thing was tracking to the southwest, not the east. And so far no other reports of this UFO in the vast expanse of terrain between Morristown and the sea, either.
But don't worry, I'm sure if this story gets out of hand, some pranksters will step forward and tell us all how it was done.
UPDATE: Ben Fairhall is on the Tentacle UFO story in The Daily Behemoth. It's a good thing Lovecraft is dead.
UPDATE II: A True Original links to an interesting TV news story where an unidentified Phoenix (!) man used Orion (!) road flares on April 21 (the day of the feast of the goddess Buto for whom the marsh where Horus was born is named for) to create a similar effect to what we saw in Nova Cesarea. It's obviously meant to quash the 1997 Phoenix Lights story.
Any serious investigator would be uncomfortable with citing an unidentified source (was this guy polygraphed?) and no reproduction of the original result, which skeptics wouldn't stand for if this guy wasn't bolstering their opinion - and quashing the Phoenix Lights as well. Wouldn't life be grand if we could all play by skeptic rules?
The other problem with linking this to the NJ story is the time and distance involved. It was seen in Hanover at 8:20, the Hurleys saw this thing some time "between 8:30 and 9" in Whippany, it traveled through Morristown, Harding and Morris into Madison and was seen near Florham Park by 8:38 PM. That's a pretty wide swath of terrain to cover in 18 minutes, especially when this thing was seen hovering in spots. I'm no expert at these things, but it would have to be going at least 60 miles an hour to cover that distance at a steady clip.
I'm not sure if these UFOs are balloons or ETs (my hunch is they're neither, and may be some new mil-tech) but I certainly love the semiotics of it all (Phoenix! Buto! Orion!) And that's all that really matters on The Secret Sun.
UPDATE III: Monday, strange lights over Hanover. Thursday, a woman and her two children go missing. Unsettling.
UPDATE IV: Let me just go on record as saying I don't care much about lights in the sky, in and of themselves. I'm interested in the semiotics and how it's all filtered through the Mediawash. I'm not gullible about these things. Lights are lights until proven otherwise. When we start seeing some actual craft over the skies of NJ, then that will be a different story. Then I'll probably be hiding under the bed.
UPDATE V: Actual craft reported in East Brunswick, NJ, the night before the Morris County sightings. Witness took video, but it hasn't been put online yet.