Published: 12:26 PM 7/12/2013
Alice Tessier, Litchfield County Times
New Milford - What was that in the night sky last Saturday? - that's what residents in the Northville section of town and their houseguests want to know.
Angela and Robert Janonis of 514 Litchfield Road, along with relative Philip Postiglione of Long Island, N.Y., and their other guests were sitting out front in the driveway at 10 p.m. watching some fireworks go off when their air space was "invaded."
"Eight eye witnesses saw a caravan of unidentifiable flying vehicles in the Northville corridor of Litchfield County over Route 202," they wrote in an e-mail to The Litchfield County Times.
"The vessels that approached above the trees were flying in a one up one down, perfectly synchronized formation with a bright, iridescent, glowing orange ring at each angle with brown tentacles illuminating from each ring.
"This unidentifiable fleet of ships silently came out of the north from the Marbledale area of Route 202 (Litchfield Road) and exited going east in New Milford toward Washington. Only minutes later, another caravan of six orange lights appeared just above the trees.
"It was huge, there was one group of three in a triangular formation, and they hovered only momentarily tilted in flight showing off the beauty in the triangular shape, then continued to move and went as fast as they came.
"Our group of eight, spooked eye witnesses is baffled, not just sure how to explain the incident, and would like to know if anyone in the Marbledale, New Milford, New Preston or Washington area also reported the sighting," they said.
Mr. Janonis, in an interview Wednesday, said they were facing north and the objects "came from the left, the west," and then went toward the east.
"There was no noise. It was absolutely silent," he said, noting that the unidentifiable flying objects did not pass over Clamps food stand on Litchfield Road nor directly over Marbledale, "given the angle of inclination.
"It was a clear, starlit night, and there was no telling how high in the sky they were. The second one appeared to be bigger and closer than the rest of them."
His wife said, "When we saw them, they were just above the trees. There was really no sense of depth."
She said there was maybe a two-minute gap between the arrivals, "just long enough for us to say 'What did we just see?'"
There were "maybe eight to 10 orbs that first came, and I'm not sure that one or three were in a triangle the second time," Mrs. Janonis said.
"It was beautiful but spooky - and scary serious when they came back," she said.
They did not have a camera on hand to photograph the objects because Mr. Janonis had taken it inside after shooting the fireworks earlier.
"I couldn't go in," he recounted. "We said to everybody, 'Stay still,' because we didn't want to the sensor on the house to trigger the lights."
The couple have been local residents since 1985, and this is not the first time they witnessed "something" in the air.
"We did see something about 12 years ago hovering in the western sky, like mini ships buzzing around," Mr. Janonis said.
A surveyor by profession, who works in Manhattan, Mr. Janonis said he is "not fixated on things such as UFOs" but that he can recall "reports of unusual sightings in the early '80s in the Danbury-Brewster-Poughkeepsie corridor."
"I don't know what we saw last weekend but would like to know," he added.
"I really want to know now," said his wife.
Both said they mentioned the episode to friends when they went to work early this week.
"I asked a friend, 'Do you believe me?' and she said 'yes, why wouldn't I?' Mrs. Janonis, who is an administrative assistant for a medical group, recounted.
In asking around the area, The Litchfield County Times learned about sky lanterns from a Spruce Lane resident who found a deflated one in his yard Sunday morning.
"I noticed that I ended up with a lantern thing, a mini hot air balloon, that wasn't there the night before," said Jeffrey Kilberg.
He described a mini hot air balloon as about 8 inches in diameter.
"It's like a rubbery plastic balloon on top of a circle frame with spokes and a little paper disc," said Mr. Kilberg, calling attention to descriptions and illustrations of such items online. "When the paper is lit, the heat sends the hot air balloon up in the air."
When Mrs. Janonis' attention was called to this type of airborne object, she took a look online.
"That's not it. I wish that was an answer, but that's not what we saw," she said.
A spokesman for New Milford Police Department said that were no reports of unusual sightings in the night sky last weekend.
Donald Ross, a founder and one of the dedicated sky-watchers at the McCarthy Observatory in New Milford, said Wednesday that there was nothing unusual in the night sky Saturday that he knew about.
However, he saw a Chinese lantern previous night right before New Milford's Fourth of July fireworks.
"It was pretty bright, with an orange glow, and it hovered quite a long time over the baseball field [Young's Field]. It was like a good-sized beach ball. It was pretty," Ross said.
In April of last year, the public's interest was captured by reports of an unusual sighting at Bantam Lake in the Bantam/Morris/Litchfield area. It was later thought a meteor fell into the lake, as The National Weather Service reportedly had documented a meteor shower that night.
Are aliens looking for desirable real estate? Could this be a drive-by viewing or is there a more plausible explanation for the unknown objects?
For the time being at least, the mystery in the night sky remains unsolved.