By: Eric Quade
Two nights in a row last week, dispatchers at the Barron County Sheriff's Department took calls about strange lights in the skies. Although some maintain they observed a UFO, authorities are characterizing the incident as nothing unusual.
At 8:30 p.m. Jan. 4, a call came in regarding something in the sky approximately 1 mile south of Prairie Farm with flashing red, blue and green lights but no sound. After watching the lights for about 15 minutes, the object appeared to have moved very little and seemed to be hovering in the same area.
Two deputies responded minutes before 9 p.m. and reported seeing something from Cty. Hwy. A. Then a third officer said that two objects could be observed. One of the officers deemed the objects to be satellites or airplanes.
Then the next night at 8:22 p.m., dispatchers received another call about the same "UFO type item" as before. Lois Johnvin of the town of Prairie Farm reported that this time the lights were situated 4 miles west and 1 mile south of Prairie Farm. The lights were described as being blue/green and white and were bouncing up and down in the sky, remaining in the same general vicinity.
Within the next hour, the sheriff's department received more calls about the lights in different parts of the county. One sighting was southeast of Rice Lake of an object with red, green and white lights. Another sighting west of Cameron came from an officer. Authorities again deemed the object in the sky to be a satellite.
Johnvin said what she saw those two nights was quite large-at least the size of the moon in the sky. She said her neighbor also witnessed the lights and said they were "beautiful."
The object would flash different colors, move all directions in the sky, seem to explode like fireworks, then continue to move around. The first night, she jokingly said she was too frightened to go fetch the binoculars out of her car because she didn't want to "get beamed up."
The second night, she grabbed a camcorder and documented the lights, though they were farther away.
Johnvin said she later asked if law enforcement wanted to see the video footage she had taken, but they didn't take her seriously and downplayed the incident as a satellite. While she doesn't totally rule out the possibility that the object was manmade, Johnvin is convinced that someone would be able to account for a satellite's whereabouts.
Jason Hickok is a patrol officer with the Barron County Sheriff's Department who responded to the UFO reports both nights. He characterized the lights as very small in the sky and nothing out of the ordinary-most likely a satellite or an airplane.
When asked what evidence brought him to that conclusion, Hickok declined to comment further.
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