UFO Investigations Jan. - Aug., 1996

April '96 Investigation Reports
June '96 Investigation Reports (Added 9/29/97)
July '96 Investigation Reports
August '96 Investigation Reports

Investigation on April 28, 1996 Highway 12 Nocturnal lights sightings.
Date of Sighting: 28 April 1996
Place of Sighting: Highway 12, Wright County, Minnesota
From: Craig R. Lang, Field Investigator (trainee)
Date of Report: 03 July 1996
Type of Report: Multiple Witness Multiple Event NL/MA1
Local Evaluation: Multiple Conclusions as follows:
Event 1: MA1 - Probable IFO
Event 2: MA1 - Inconclusive - Possible IFO
Event 3: MA1 - Probable IFO
(Note: Witnesses believe that all events are unexplained)

Sighting Background:
I interviewed witnesses #1 and #2 in detail and made inquiries with the weather bureau, and the Wright county sheriff's department. I also investigated the optics and flight paths of airplanes and the geography surrounding the sightings. In addition I performed a site survey and some "old-fashioned airplane watching", observing aircraft along the flight path to and from Crystal Airport (Crystal, MN - near the region of the sightings). This report is based upon the results of these activities.

Witness #3 has not been available for an interview as of the time of this report. Despite several attempts to contact and interview him, I have not yet succeeded in doing so.

Witness Descriptions:
Witness #1 (and possibly #3) are believers in UFOs - Witness #1 also belongs to CSETI. Several other members of the family of witness #1 and #3 feel that they have had paranormal and possibly UFO-related experiences, and hold views supporting the reality of paranormal phenomena.

Witness #2 is more skeptical than the other two - but is open minded on UFO related topics. All witnesses believe that they have had paranormal events occur to them, and witness #1 feels that she may have some psychic capabilities. Witness #1 and #2 had one prior UFO sighting (NL/MA1 of a somewhat similar nature to the sighting of this report).

Additional Witnesses: None: the only known witnesses were the three described above, who were together at the time of the sighting. Thus, there is no independent corroboration. There were no anomaly sightings reported to the Wright county sheriff's office during the immediate time period of the sightings. There are also no known sighting reports to any UFO reporting centers for the approximate time of the sightings.

There are some unconfirmed reports of other sightings on that weekend, but none can be substantiated. There are also occasional reports of nocturnal light sightings (FB1/MA1) in that portion of the greater Minneapolis metro area. However, these are unsubstantiated, and may be due to the various airports and their associated approach/departure paths.

Sighting Account:
The following is an account, compiled from the combined interviews of witnesses #1 and #2. Many references in the account are to the following objects and sightings:
- Objects #1 and 2 which were observed in sighting #1 just east of Howard Lake - Objects #3 and 4, which were observed during sighting #2, between Montrose and Delano - Object #5, which was observed during sighting #3, just east of Delano The reader should consult the attached highway map and sighting diagram (drawn by witness#3) for details.

Sighting Preliminary Events:
The three witnesses were returning to the twin cities from Darwin, MN. They were driving eastbound on US Highway 12, through Howard Lake, MN. at the time of the first sighting. The time was 8:58 PM (as noticed by witness #2 on a bank sign at the eastern edge of Howard Lake). Witness #1 was driving.

First Sighting Description:
As the car was exiting the eastern edge of the town of Howard lake, at the top of a hill, witnesses #1 and #3 both noticed two lights in the sky. The witnesses immediately pulled the car over to the edge of the road, remaining for about five minutes to watch these objects. Witness #2's vision is such that she is nearly legally blind, she did not observe these lights. However the other two witnesses observed them travelling in an apparently irregular path through the sky - changing direction at roughly 90 degree angles. The lights were white, red, and green, (possibly with some blue as well) and blinked irregularly.

Object #1 was observed to be travelling from South to North along the horizon, approximately 20 to 25 degrees above the tree line (witness #1 described it as being about 40 degrees above the horizon). It disappeared momentarily, then reappeared and continued on. After about 10 degrees of motion, object #1 changed directions by 90 degrees, appearing to descend for a few seconds [CL Note: not clear whether it was descending, travelling either east or travelling west]. It then resumed its northerly course. At a direction of nearly due east, it changed direction again to descend nearly to the horizon, where it remained visible for a short time as the car resumed travel to the East. During the time in which the witnesses were observing the motion of object #1, object #2 seemed to hover in the southeast, about five degrees (or less) lower in elevation and to the right of the original location of object #1.

As the car resumed its journey both objects were lost to sight. Witnesses #1 and #3 discussed the lights and were excited about having "seen a UFO". Witness #2 suggested that the lights might be airplanes. However the other two indicated that the lights seemed rather strange for airplanes.

Second Sighting Description:
As they were passing a farm east of Montrose (less than a mile East of the intersection with Minnesota Highway 25), witness #2 noticed the second object, which appeared to be very bright, and exclaimed "what are those?". Her vision is poor and she later commented to me that "it had to be bright in order for me to notice it". [CL Note: witnesses #2 and #1 disagreed somewhat on the exact location of the second sighting.]. Upon seeing it, witness #1 also exclaimed.

The light was to the East South East. It was a white strobe light "like a dance floor crystal ball". In the words of witness #1 it was the brightest and fastest strobe light she had ever seen [CL Note: Not sure of actual speed or regularity of the strobe beats]. Object #3 appeared to witness #1 to consist of three distinct lights and appeared to illuminate the sky around it. There did not appear to be any constant background light accompanying the strobes. Although bright, the object did not appear to illuminate the ground around it. However, the witnesses felt that the blink rate seemed both too fast and too bright to be an airplane.

The object seemed to be beyond a farm field to the south of the highway, above the trees at the field's far edge. [CL Note: with lack of a distance reference the light could have been arbitrarily far beyond trees]. It appeared to be approximately 25 to 30 degrees above horizon, [Witness #1 described it as higher than 45 degrees above the horizon] in the Southeast, moving slowly along the tree line from right to left (South to North) . The rate of movement of the object seemed to be approximately airplane speed ["a little faster" in the words of witness #2, "a little slower" in the words of witness #1.] The object traveled horizontally, approximately 10 degrees (the width of a hand at arms length) in about 10 seconds [CL time estimate from description]. It turned 90 degrees, and appeared to descend, at about the about same rate for approximately 5 to 10 degrees. It then resumed its right to left horizontal motion, at about 20 to 25 degrees of elevation, again, at about the same rate. The strobe rate was described by witness #1 as unchanged as the object changed direction.

As they watched, another light appeared and the first object disappeared [this transition was described by witness #1 as nearly instantaneous]. Object #4 was at about the same elevation but to the north of the Object #3. Object #4 was also blinking at the same apparent rate and brightness and appeared to be smaller (only one strobe light was visible to witness #1). It descended at roughly a 45 degree angle toward the horizon. Near the horizon the object appeared to "hover" for several minutes.

Immediately upon noticing object #3, the witness #1 pulled the car over to the side of the road to observe them. [CL Note: not sure of object location in flight path at the time the car pulled off]. Shortly after pulling off the road, they turned on the car's hazard flashers. Witness #2 observed that the strobes of object #4 seemed to match the rate of the hazard flashers. [It is not clear when this effect was noticed]. They shut off the flashers and observed that the blinking appeared to resume its previous, higher rate. When they turned the flashers back on, the object appeared to again mimic the pattern. [CL note: It is not clear whether this synchronization was actual or an optical illusion. Witnesses #1 and #2 insist that it was real.]

The witnesses then got out of the car to more closely observe the object(s). At that point object #4 had descended in its 45 degree path to a point near the eastern horizon (in a notch in the tree line), where it appeared to hover. Witness #1 described the feeling of watching the object hover as "creepy", and that she "felt that they were watching" them. Witnesses #1 and #3 "got scared" and returned to the car, with witness #2 following shortly. The witnesses resumed the drive toward the city but could still observe the object. As they approached the town of Delano the object was lost to view. [CL Note: not sure if object was lost in the city lights, descended below tree line, or otherwise disappeared].

Third Sighting Description:
On the eastern side of the town of Delano (as they were exiting the town), witnesses #1 and #3 observed object #5 (sighting #3), seeing a single light in the sky. This object was not observed by witness #2. The witnesses did not stop the car to observe this object.

As with objects #1 and #2 of the first sighting, the lights were white, red and green (and possibly some blue) in color, and were flashing irregularly. The object travelled in a horizontal path at about 40 degrees above the horizon from North to South. When it was due East of the witnesses, the object changed course to descend at a 45 degree angle, becoming lost to view (disappearing?) at about one hand-width above the horizon, to the East South East.

Traffic conditions on highway:
There were few cars on the road at the time of the sightings. Both witnesses indicated that "a few cars would pass every few minutes or so". This is notable, as the intersection of US 12 and Minnesota 25 is generally quite busy.

Additional notes:
The witnesses did not observe any sort of sound or any other effects from the objects beyond the visual ones described above. The night was quiet, with only a slight wind from the Northeast (this is consistent with weather report), so any sound from a nearby object would probably have been audible to the witnesses.

Sighting Aftermath:
During and after the sighting, all three witnesses discussed the sighting to some degree, with witnesses #1 and #3 much more excited. All three witnesses indicated that witness #2 was much more reserved than the other two, attempting to be more "detached" and "scientific" about it (although witness #1 indicated that she was rather excited after the second sighting).

There were no subsequent physical effects to the car or the witnesses, although the car apparently developed unrelated mechanical problems a few days later. Witness #2 also indicated that she had subsequently had a "creepy" feeling for approximately the day after the sighting. [CL Note: this may have been due to the reactions of the other witnesses to the sightings.] Witness #1 also reported having a nightmare that night, following the sighting. She indicated that this was unusual for her. (Note: the dream did not involve UFOs).

Sky and Weather Conditions:
Cloud Cover: Overcast with High Cirrus Clouds: 20,000 Foot ceiling
Visibility: 15 Miles
Temperature: 54 Degrees
Wind: 8 Knots out of NE
Moon: Gibbous - high in the eastern sky at time of sighting - hazy or obscured due to high (mostly cirrus) cloud cover.

Note: The witnesses described night as dark with no stars visible. The moon was barely visible through the clouds. [CL Note: The visibility of bright lights such as those of aircraft would probably be much farther than the visibility as indicated by the weather bureau]

Natural Phenomena Check:
No known natural phenomena would produce the observed objects as described by the witnesses.

Manmade Phenomena Check:
The working hypothesis of this investigation has been that the witnesses probably saw aircraft in various stages of approach to, or departure from Crystal or MSP airports. The behavior and color of the lights in sightings #1 and #3 (and possibly #2) would be consistent with this hypothesis. In addition, the direction to the objects from the observers is largely in line with the direction to Crystal and MSP Airports.

The behavior of the objects in sighting #2 could be envisioned as being compatible with an airplane travelling to or from MSP but quite distant from the airport. However, the witness description of the behavior of the strobe lights on these objects is not entirely compatible with that of an airplane. While this behavior could possibly be a misinterpretation by the witness, they insist that their description of the objects in sighting #2 is accurate. (Note: Witness #1 indicated that she works near the airport, and can see often aircraft approaching from a long distance away. In her words objects #3 and #4 looked nothing like them).

In several nights of viewing airplanes on approach to and departure from both Crystal and MSP airports, I observed many different patterns of strobe lights. Some of these resembled the description of the strobes on object #3 and #4. However, the apparent synchronization of the strobes with the car's emergency flashers is not compatible with any airplane explanation. It must be noted though that strobe lights on aircraft are often asynchronous with each other, and thus from a distance they can appear to vary in frequency. In the right circumstances, as were perhaps the case in this sighting, the strobes might appear to synchronize with the flashers of the car. This theory can not be verified, as there is only the witnesses verbal description of this effect. When this explanation was suggested to witness #1 and #2, both insisted that the synchronization was neither imaginary nor an optical illusion - it was real.

Other Possibilities:
Witness #2 indicated that she clearly believed that the strobe rate of the objects in the second sighting was too fast to be an airplane.

We can not entirely rule out the possibility that sighting #2 is unexplained. If the witnesses' descriptions of the behavior of objects #3 and #4 as seen during this sighting, are taken literally, and the description of the witnesses is truly accurate, then an airplane might not be sufficient to explain this sighting #2. Thus the local evaluation of sighting #2 is that of "possible IFO"

Overall Sighting Evaluation:
Event 1: MA1 - Probable IFO: (likely airplane distant from airport, approaching Crystal or MSP airport)
Event 2: MA1 - Inconclusive - possible IFO (airplane distant from airport, approaching Crystal Airport)
Note: A literal interpretation of some aspects of described object behavior would indicate "unexplained".
Event 3: MA1 - Probable IFO: (likely airplane distant from airport, approaching Crystal or MSP airport)

Hastings, MN CE1 - June 1996

Date of Sighting:  June 1996
Time of Sighting:  5:30 PM CDT
Place of Sighting:  Hastings, MN

Type of Report:  CE1
Local Evaluation:  Unexplained

Sighting Account
The witness was traveling South at about 5:30 PM.  She had just crossed the bridge 
and was travelling south through the city of Hastings. She had stopped at a stop 
light, where there is a rental machinery company on the south-east corner of Hwy 
61 and 10th St SE (which turns into Hwy 54).  As she waited, she looked up, and
observed an object directly to her south, over the city of Hastings. The object was 
at an angular elevation of between 30 and 45 degrees above the horizon (in the upper 
1/4 of her windshield).  She felt that it was directly over the intersection of MN 
Hwy 55, and US 10, which is about a block to the south (extremely close).

The object was moving to the left (from the southwest, towards the east) at about 
"helicopter speed".  As she watched, the object seemed to change directions, heading 
more toward the southeast (toward Treasure Island Casino - which was also her

Map of Hastings, MN showing sighting loc. and dir. of view

When the traffic light changed, she turned left onto 10th St. SE, (which turns into 
Highway 54).  When she turned the corner, a used machinery sales building on the 
southeast corner of the intersection, and the trees on the south side of the street, 
hid the object from view.  Hoping to get another glimpse of the object, she attempted 
to drive as fast as practical (the street is a 30 MPH zone, closely monitored by the 
police).  A few blocks down highway 54, she found a location with a clear view and 
pulled off to scan the sky.  However, the object had disappeared from view.

The total time duration of the sighting was roughly 1 minute.  The witness described 
the object as a "silver saucer"  (see sketch below).  She felt that it was about the 
size of her hand at arm's length.  It did not appear to be spinning, and there were 
no visible features (such as windows, doors or antennas).  She felt that the flight 
path was smooth and that the attitude was horizontal throughout the sighting.  

Witness sketch [CL Annotation] of object

Additional Witnesses:  
None are known.  However, The witness indicated that there was other traffic on the 
road at the time of the sighting so there may well have been other witnesses.  

Weather Conditions:
The witness could not remember the detailed weather conditions, but noted that there 
was no precipitation. Due to the uncertainty of the sighting date, the detailed 
weather records can not be obtained.

Natural and Manmade Phenomena Check:
No known natural or manmade phenomena would be able to explain this sighting.

It was notable that there are several car dealerships at the south end of Hastings, 
which often utilize advertising balloons.  However, when I asked the witness about 
this possibility, she indicated that she was clearly able todistinguish this object 
from any prosaic object (such as a blimp or helicopter, etc.) - it was clearly not 
a balloon.

Sighting Evaluation:
Type:  CE1
Evaluation:  Unexplained
Significance:  Normal to High (due to the possibility of additional witnesses)

July '96 Inv. Reports

Type of Report: Flyby of the 1st kind (FB1), Daylight Disk (DD)
Date of Report: 31 Aug, 1996
Date of Sighting: 05 July, 1996
Place of Sighting: Mounds View, MN
Local Evaluation: Possible Unexplained, Significance: Ordinary
From: Craig R. Lang, Field Investigator

Sighting Background
The witness is a member of MN MUFON, who I know from his interest in UFO field investigation. He sent this report in by electronic mail to the proprietor of the MN MUFON internet world-wide-web site. The report contained the description of the event detailed in this report. I filled out form 1 from his e-mail description, then interviewed him over the telephone to confirm and followup on remaining details.

Sighting Account
At approximate time of 15:10 CDT. The witness (age 32) was on a break from work. It was a nice day so she stepped outside to bird-watch for a few minutes. While doing so, she noticed an unusual object in the East-South-Eastern sky at an elevation of about 45 degrees. The object appeared distant, but to her it clearly appeared spherical. She first thought that the object was a balloon (due to the spherical shape). The object was travelling too fast for a balloon, so she then thought that it was probably an airplane. However as she watched, it retained its spherical shape.

She observed the object about 45 degrees above the horizon. It traveled in a north-westerly direction, passing to the North of her at an elevation of about 60 degrees. It passed to the northwest and was lost to view about 50 degrees above the NW horizon . (CL Note: It is not clear whether or not the object was travelling in a straight line path).

The witness described the object as being a silvery/metallic sphere, with no apparent features. She estimated the size of the object at about a nickel at arm's length. The object appeared to retain its spherical shape and to remain the same absolute size during the entire time. The entire time of travel was estimated to be about two minutes.

Witness Description:
The witness works on second shift as a manufacturing team member, 32. She has a high school and a partial college education. She is a member of Minnesota MUFON and is interested in becoming a field investigator. She has worked with me on past sighting cases and is an excellent observer. She he has had two other sightings, one in the recent past (a NL/MA1) and an arial anomaly sighting at age 12. Neither of these sightings are yet reported. She describes her health as good, with no hearing impairments and farsighted (20/10) vision.

Additional Witnesses: None

Natural and Manmade Phenomena Check:
There is the possibility that this could have been either an airplane or a balloon. However the witness described the object as looking unlike either of these. The speed of travel would argue against a balloon, while the spherical shape argues against an airplane.

Sighting Evaluation:
NL/FB1 - Possible Unexplained.
A possible "IFO" explanation is given above. However, several potential arguments against this explanation are also as described above. Thus the sighting must be classified as "Possible Unexplained". This sighting is considered to be of ordinary significance.

August '96 Inv. Reports

Type of Report: Maneuver of the 1st kind (MA1), Nocturnal Light (NL)
Date of Report: 01 Sep, 1996
Date of Sighting: 08 Aug, 1996
Place of Sighting: Lino Lakes, MN
Local Evaluation: Possible Unexplained, Significance: Ordinary
From: Craig R. Lang, Field Investigator

Sighting Background:
The witness is a member of MN MUFON, who I know from his interest in UFO field investigation. He sent this report in by electronic mail to the proprietor of the MN MUFON internet world-wide-web site. The report contained the description of the event detailed in this report. I filled out Form-1 from his e-mail description, then interviewed him over the telephone to confirm and followup on the remaining details.

Sighting Account:
It was an absolutely clear August Night, at approximate time of 23:30 CDT. The witness (age 37) was star gazing at his home in Lino Lakes, MN. He noticed a group of moving starlike lights travelling in a right triangle formation approximately from North-West to South-East. The objects caught his attention due to their similarity to satellites, except that they were travelling in formation - something not expected of satellites. The witness estimated the brightness of each light at approximately second magnitude.

He indicated that these lights did not appear attached to a structure. Stars were clearly visible as the formation passed over them. Thus these were presumably three independent starlike objects.

The lights were first noticed in the constellation of Draco, in the North-West. They passed approximately through the zenith, remaining approximately constant in brightness and travelling in a straight path. The path continued into Capricorn in the SE, where they faded disappearing rapidly from view.

The witness estimated the entire time of travel to be about two minutes.

Witness Description:
The witness is a computer programmer, age 37. He has a bachelors degree in Physics. He has interests in astronomy and other scientific subjects - including UFOs. He is a member of Minnesota MUFON and is interested in becoming a field investigator. He has had no other sightings.

He describes his health as good, with no hearing impairments and vision correctable to 20/20 with eyeglasses.

Additional Witnesses: None

Natural and Manmade Phenomena Check:
The north-south nature of the objects' path suggests that they might have been military satellites. Their appearance in formation is either quite coincidental, or is indicative of objects other than satellites, however.

Other Possibilities:
Possible high altitude aircraft flying in formation. However, the lack of any blinking lights would argue against this explanation. Also, there was no noise associated with the objects - although this could have been due to possible high altitude of the objects, coupled with upper air winds unfavorable for conduction of sound to the location of the witness.

Sighting Evaluation:
NL/MA1 - Possible Unexplained.
A possible "IFO" explanation is given above. However, several potential arguments against this explanation are also as described above. Thus the sighting must be classified as "Possible Unexplained". This sighting is considered to be of ordinary significance.

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