The Truth Behind: UFOs Over Phoenix

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As you may remember, I’ve previously written in this blog about the famous March 13, 1997 “Phoenix lights” UFO sighting, a series of bizarre optical phenomena seen by thousands of people in Arizona, Nevada and parts of Mexico, and the seeming reappearance of the lights almost exactly 10 years later, on February 6, 2007.

To recap, the 1997 incident actually was two distinct events—a triangular formation of lights that passed over Arizona, and a series of stationary lights seen in the Phoenix area. As this article from the time details, some witnesses claimed the triangular formation looked like an immense spacecraft. (Here’s a photo of it, from the website of a Phoenix TV station. ) Among the witnesses were two journalists from the Phoenix alternative weekly New Times. In a 1997 article, they gave this description: 

Each saw a V-shape of five lights moving slowly from north to south. The lights were bright and yellow-white, and seemed very high in the sky. No sound accompanied them. Holthouse says he perceived that something connected the lights in a boomerang shape; Kiefer disagrees, saying they didn’t seem connected.

Other witnesses reported seeing six lights. Some saw seven. Videotapes of the event show seven lights, and the V-shape clearly. Reports of the lights’ altitude and speed vary widely.

The U.S. military eventually came up with the explanation that the sighting actually was caused by flares released from aircraft from the visiting Maryland Air National Guard during a training mission, and not by extraterrestrial visitors. A similiar explanation was given in 2007 for that sighting as well.

But not everyone bought that official story, particularly when it came to the original sighting. The most conspicuous critic of the military-flares explanation was former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington, himself a former Air Force pilot, who was among the thousands of people who saw the lights. In 2007, Symington and 14 other former government officials who also claimed to have knowledge of UFOs held a panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Before the event, Symington wrote a provocative CNN commentary, in which he described what he saw in detail.

I witnessed a massive delta-shaped craft silently navigate over Squaw Peak, a mountain range in Phoenix, Arizona. It was truly breathtaking. I was absolutely stunned because I was turning to the west looking for the distant Phoenix Lights.

To my astonishment this apparition appeared; this dramatically large, very distinctive leading edge with some enormous lights was traveling through the Arizona sky.

As a pilot and a former Air Force Officer, I can definitively say that this craft did not resemble any man-made object I’d ever seen. And it was certainly not high-altitude flares because flares don’t fly in formation.

Symington admitted he had worried about public panic over the sighting, and thus had tried to diffuse the tension by having his chief of staff jokingly wear an alien costume to a press briefing. But quietly, he pressed the military to admit that the lights actually had come from a UFO.

I was never happy with the Air Force’s silly explanation. There might very well have been military flares in the sky that evening, but what I and hundreds others saw had nothing to do with that.

Symington said that since then, he had learned that other high-ranking officials had either witnessed the UFOs or uncovered information during investigations of sightings that led them to doubt the government’s explanations. That prompted him to come forward.

We want the government to stop putting out stories that perpetuate the myth that all UFOs can be explained away in down-to-earth conventional terms. Investigations need to be re-opened, documents need to be unsealed, and the idea of an open dialogue can no longer be shunned.

To date, that clarion call has yet to be answered.

Don’t miss American Paranormal The Truth Behind UFOs over Phoenix airing August 6th at 10P et/pt.


  1. Danny S.
    United States
    April 23, 2015, 11:49 pm

    Then why were the lights standing still,flares don’t do that even with parachutes?

  2. Danny S.
    United States
    April 24, 2015, 12:01 am

    It was probably in the same family as the top secret TR-3B nuclear craft .Flares don’t stay in the air that long they drop down even with parachutes.

  3. Danny S.
    United States
    April 24, 2015, 12:14 am

    I’ve seen movies where a jet fighter like the F35 deploys a string of flares to confuse enemy heat seeking missiles,but eventually the flares drop to the ground not fly away..Even with parachutes attached to them..I’ve served in the Marine Corp and what the military said is what we used to call ( scuddlebutt

  4. Danny S.
    United States
    April 24, 2015, 12:21 am

    i still think this craft was like the top secret TR-3B nuclear almost anti-gravity triangle craft.

  5. Chrisence
    June 20, 2016, 4:43 am

    Wow! that is like the UFO sighting in Pampanga,Philippines. It was also a V formed with yellow lights!You can search it for yourself if you won’t believe me.

  6. Logan McGaughy
    Birmingham, Alabama
    January 16, 4:36 am

    Is it coincidence that four experienced hikers were reported missing on March 13, 1997 in the Estrella Mountains? Which is were the UFO lights seemed to vanish. This missing persons case was never resolved and is the longest unsolved mystery in the state of Nevada.

  7. kicki
    Northern Sweden
    March 15, 12:00 pm

    my son was out on a frozen lake to look at the stars when he saw a V-shaped craft, he saw it because it was illuminated by the moon, there were no lights and it was black.
    This was on New Years night in 2016.

  8. kicki
    Northern Sweden
    March 15, 12:04 pm

    I forgot to mention he said it was very very large

  9. KK
    Glendale, Arizona
    April 6, 2:24 pm

    I was no more than 8 months old when this incident happened, and only recently found out about it. However, unrelated to this specific incident , a couple years ago, around this same time of the year, I went out to the backyard just to enjoy the cool night air and to be alone in my thoughts, and after about 30 minutes of being outside, a very large dark colored v-shaped air craft came looming over the houses, keep in mind there is Luke Air Force Base and Phoenix Sky Harbor only so many miles away, however what frightened me (and I trust my gut) was how LOW in the sky this air craft was flying and how silent it was, I see regular airplanes fly over our house all the time but they look small cause they’re always so high in the sky, and you can always hear them, and when you drive out towards Suprise, AZ you can hear how loud the jets are that the military uses. I have no clue what kind of air craft that was, it could of been military perhaps but it actually scared me with how low in the sky it was, and how silent and I haven’t seen anything like it since.