Published: 8:52 AM 9/11/2010
Bright white lights and strange, triangular shaped objects, Tennesseans are reporting some unusual things overhead. Don’t expect that to stop anytime soon, a local group that investigates UFO close encounters says sightings are on the rise.
For decades millions of people have reported seeing UFO’s. A recent poll shows one in 12 Americans have seen a mysterious object in the sky, and that a third of adults believe it’s likely aliens have visited earth. While some say the increase in volume of reports in Tennessee are enough to make any investigator sit up and take notice, others say it’s all in their heads.
The skies over Tennessee have been busy lately, but some say, it’s not your typical air traffic. A commercial airline pilot from Memphis shows us where he spotted a UFO. He pointed out the UFO’s path, saying, “It started here, passed over about this speed and leveled out down there.”
This pilot, who doesn’t want to be identified for fear he’ll lose his job, says he saw a UFO in the sky over Cordova around 9:45pm on November 24, 2009.
“[It was] absolutely not an airplane, not an airship, this object speed it was flying at, the shape there is nothing in the air even similar in the least bit to what I saw,” the pilot claimed.
The pilot, who has more than 25 years experience, said the black triangle he saw was flying as fast as 1,000 miles per hour, but was completely silent. He said it looked exactly like YouTube video of what an estimated 13,000 saw flying over Belgium in 1990.
“I could not honestly believe what I saw,” he amazed. “[I] stood there for honestly a few minutes thinking what I was going to do or who I was going to report this to.”
The pilot reported it to the Tennessee Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON. MUFON is the largest UFO research and education organization in the United States. The non-profit group is made up of volunteers like Alyson Burgess.
“All we do is if someone reports an object we try our best to figure out if we can identify it,” said Burgess. “If we can’t identify it it’s called an ‘unknown.’”
The pilot’s sighting is classified as ‘unknown,’ but Burgess says 90% of sightings can be attributed to things like airplanes or meteors. What the group can’t explain is the uptick in reports.
“[It] seems like it’s going to be a busy year for us,” said Burgess.
The pilot’s was one of 30 sightings in Tennessee from October to December of last year. Typically, there are between 4 and 8 a month. There have been 10 sightings so far this year.
State MUFON Director, Eddie Middleton said the skies have never been so active in Tennessee.
“It’s like building to some sort of crescendo getting more intense all the time,” said Middleton. “I don’t know where it’s leading; it’s getting more intense, something’s got to give here before long landing on the White House lawn or whatever.”
While many report seeing large black triangles, others see flying saucers or cigar shaped crafts. Middleton said, “The evidence is overwhelming we are being visited. If anyone takes time to look they will find it extremely compelling.”
James McGaha has looked. He’s an astronomer and a scientific consultant to the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, a group that encourages critical examination of unusual claims. He believes popular UFO TV shows are contributing to increased reports.
“A light in the sky is a light in the sky,” stated McGaha. “There are hundreds of different things that can be light in the sky, and not aliens or spacecraft from other worlds.”
He’s particularly skeptical of the black triangle sightings. “It appears the object is a large solid craft when it’s simply not, it’s 3 airplanes flying in formation that is responsible for most of those sightings.”
McGaha, a retired air force pilot, also questions the Memphis pilot’s sighting. “It should be pointed out pilots are not trained observers, pilots are trained to fly airplanes and fly them safely and they are no more reliable than any other witness.”
McGaha says whether or not extraterrestrial life exists, it’s almost impossible for it to visit earth on a regular basis, saying travel at speed of light is not easy.
“From an astronomer’s view, there are other issues that make it very difficult for aliens to get here because simply physics of it, the amount of energy and time takes for aliens civilization to reach the earth.”
Despite a field investigative manual showing pictures of aliens, MUFON does not take a stance on extraterrestrial life.