The phenomenon of mysterious lights appearing in the night sky has returned to the U.S., specifically the Cincinnati, Ohio, area this past weekend, puzzling witnesses who recorded the event.
John Maisel shot videos Saturday night at 9:45 p.m. as he and 20 others from two neighboring families witnessed red and white lights floating over their homes in Greenhills, Ohio, a town 20 miles north of Cincinnati.
"What are those?" says a voice in one of the videos.
"Could be a drone," says another.
"A rocket light!" yells one child.
"It might be the angels," states one witness.
"It might be a little alien," whispers another.
"This is kind of scary," says a youngster.
"No, it's cool," comes a response.
"We saw over a period of 15 to 20 minutes at least 14 of these and I was able to record three of them," Maisel told WND. "Each came from the same place on the northern horizon, flew south until they hit between 90 and 120 degrees and then disappeared."
"Each light moved in a smooth straight line," Maisel continued, with each "dead silent" light taking "about 1.5 to 2 minutes to get across the sky and blink out."
When asked to estimate how high the lights were flying, Maisel said, "I've spent time through my years watching shooting stars and satellites fly overhead and I'd say given my best estimate they were roughly between airline height and satellite height, a big variation. They certainly were not hundreds of feet off the ground. More like thousands."
Maisel checked with local authorities during the event, but received no explanation.
"I called 9-1-1 while they were flying overhead and they said they would call back if they heard something. They never called back," he said.
"Additionally, I called the Wright Patterson Air Force Base 60 miles or so north of us to ask whether drills were being flown or flares launched and they said no, but they have in the past heard similar reports with no explanation."
Maisel also said broadcasters in Ohio are shying away from video, which was shot on a Droid Razr Maxx.
"I have reached out to all three of the major TV stations here locally in Cincinnati and none have expressed interest," he noted.
"Frankly, I feel I've ruled out about everything it could be with facts. I do see that postings from across Cincinnati over the last couple of years seem prevalent. In speaking with the National Reporting Center for UFOs the comment was made that since 2012 'a corner seems to have been turned' on this sightings and that they are everywhere."
Some have speculated that in previous cases, people might have been actually viewing Chinese sky lanterns, also known as floating candles, but Maisel considered and ruled out that possibility.
See video of 8,000 Chinese lanterns launched in Poznan, Poland, on June 21, 2011:
"They flew way too fast. The video doesn't reflect this since I'm zoomed in," he explained, adding they were flying against a light wind.
"They flew from the Northeast to the Southwest and I confirmed with the National Weather Service that our winds at that time were gentle – 7 mph – from the West/Southwest."
But before you think E.T. is phoning home, the mystery may have a more terrestrial explanation than extraterrestrial.
WND contacted the Middletown Regional Airport, slightly north of Greenhills, and discovered there was illuminated skydiving activity Saturday night.
"It's probably us," said airport manager Todd Johnson. "We did night jumps on the 26th and we were doing pyrotechnics training."
Johnson says Team Fastrax, which bills itself as "the most ambitious professional skydiving team in the world," often gets mistaken for being something from another world.
"Every single year we do all the U.C. (University of Cincinnati) football games downtown. Everybody thought it was UFOs," he said.
Maisel told WND he hopes pyrotechnic skydiving is the actual answer to his mystery.
"It would be nice if that explained it," Maisel said.
"These flew from the horizon and then directly overhead. The referenced video did not zoom in. I was zoomed in the whole time and the sphere shape seems pretty clear. Additionally, they would have been going towards a city/residential area. I am open to an explanation."
As WND reported previously, a rash of similar lights were seen last summer across America on the night of July 27, including the skies over Arizona, Missouri, and New Jersey.
Then on Sunday night, Aug. 4, more lights were seen in Virginia and Missouri.
Catherine Crabill of Irvington, Virginia, submitted video to WND:
"I personally saw at least 30-plus [lights]," she said.
"This is not the best video as they show up more like pinpoints of light when they were actually bright orange orbs. Some seemed in formation, others were randomly arranged. They were headed in a southerly direction in the western sky from us. We saw this from my backyard at about 10:15. There were at least 10 witnesses."
Meanwhile, Doug Crites of Missouri says he saw similar lights Sunday, July 27, from his front porch in O'Fallon, Missouri, some 25 miles west of St. Louis.
"My wife and I were standing on the porch enjoying an unusually cool end of July evening," Crites told WND.
"It was dark so it must have been about 10 p.m. although I didn't actually note the time. Two orange fairly bright lights appeared, the one on the right somewhat higher than the one on the left but both in a fairly tight formation. They caught my attention because they were orange and appeared to be moving toward us although they were quite a ways out.
"The lights were constant, not blinking, and they definitely were not aircraft green and red aviation lights. I commented to my wife that they were unusual and that I wasn't sure what they might be. Anyhow, after 20 or 30 seconds watching them appear to move toward us, they both in formation turned north and several seconds later disappeared.
"A few seconds after that, a third single light appeared from where the others had first appeared. It, too, was seemingly heading in our direction and then also turned to the north a disappeared."
Bob Busch in New Jersey says he saw them as well.
"These lights were seen over Clinton, New Jersey, also," said Bob Busch. "The sky still had light to it and no stars were seen yet. These two objects very close together were very bright."
The new reports come on the heels of a WND report about mysterious lights in the night sky over Arizona and Missouri on July 27.
The lights appear to be floating in formation over Tucson and Kansas City with witnesses indicating they were silent.
(Video of the lights over Tucson, Arizona:)
"Look over there! There's another one," says a man recording video of the event in Tucson. "What the hell are they? They're not jets. We heard jets fly over us all morning. ... They're completely silent."
A woman on the recording says, "You can't even see what they are. ... It's freaking us out."
There were reportedly seven or eight lights in the sky at the same time over Tucson, with some were moving independently while the others were flying in tandem.
A YouTube user named Cbazz who recorded the phenomenon said, "My family and I witnessed these strange amber lights in Tucson on our way home from dinner. There were seven or eight of them crossing the sky, some solo and others in pairs flying very, very close together.
"Living in this part of the country, we often hear fighter jets from the Air Force base, but we are used to that and it is always recognizable and very loud."
"These objects we saw tonight were silent and moving across the sky very fast....Not sure what we were seeing, but I never really believed in this sort of thing until tonight. Glad I had my phone to record."
Similar lights were spotted the same Saturday night, July 27, over Kansas City. (Click to view the Kansas City video below:)
"Not for sure what they are, but I got several videos of them and pics. Looks like a UFO fleet!?" wrote YouTube poster jemnich1, who was contacted by another witness, GoGraveside, who sent this message on YouTube: "I really hope you get to investigate this incident. I was in the same vicinity and recorded the same lights on my cell phone. There were 3 additional passengers in my vehicle at the time who witnessed the 'lights' as well."
Ben Hansen, a former FBI agent who has analyzed thousands of videos and photos of purported paranormal events believes there's a simple explanation for the lights.
"In my opinion both videos are definitely man-made, combustible objects -- most likely Chinese lanterns," Hansen told the Huffington Post.
"The Kansas [City] video is slightly different, especially in the beginning because they appear to move more quickly, but that could simply be a perspective illusion of the videographer's zoom and shaky tracking," he said.
"Both videos are consistent with the characteristics of ground-launched, fire-lit objects. In the last five years, we've seen an exponential increase in the use of Chinese lanterns and similar lighter-than-air objects launched as hoaxes or as part of celebrations.
"If you've never seen them in the sky before, the experience can be quite stunning to the casual observer."
Doug Crites in O'Fallon, Missouri, isn't buying that explanation.
"I don't know what they might have been, but I know what they weren't: Chinese floating lanterns," he told WND. "For one thing those lanterns are visible 360 degrees. They don't disappear just because your angle of view on them changes. Also, they drift with the breeze, and unless there is some heavy-duty wind shear occurring (it was a completely calm evening, just a pleasant breeze blowing) they would not make a 90-degree turn."