|Satellite Photo of Erie, PA, courtesy of Google Earth.|
|Witness' Sightings Map.|
Map courtesy Google Maps.
An Erie, Pennsylvania Patrolman reports that on the evening of July 16, 2011, he and two other officers witnessed a strange light in the sky.
Here is that unedited report, which was submitted to MUFON.
MUFON Case # 30329
Vallee Index: MA1
Summary: Object with single, white light appeared over city and Lake Erie and moved in ways I've never seen an aircraft move.
I have been a police officer for ten years, and I served active duty in the United States Army in a reconnaissance unit. One of my duties in the military was to observe and be able to identify aircraft from many countries, primarily those from the United States and the former Soviet Union. I am also a huge fan of helicopter aviation.
I was working patrol on the night of 7/16/11 on the 2230 – 0630 shift. I was in uniform and in a marked patrol car. While patrolling on a main street in town, I was driving southeast away from the lake and toward the downtown area. At approximately 2352 hrs., I noticed a single, white light in the sky moving northwest. The light appeared to be at an altitude of approximately 1,000-2,000 feet over the downtown area. I first thought the object was a helicopter. Just up the street from me was a large hospital which averages probably 4-5 medical helicopter transports a week. I am very familiar with the medical helicopters which frequent my area, and after a few seconds I realized that what I was seeing was not a helicopter.
As the light came toward me, I realized that it had no navigational or hazard lights (the green and red lights which flash on an aircraft). It had a single, white light. It was very bright at first. As it got closer to being directly overhead, I noticed that the light appeared to be cigar shaped. But as it got even closer to being overhead, the light seemed to dim. By the time it was overhead (approximately one minute since I first saw it), it was as dim as most of the stars in the sky. In fact, if it hadn't been moving, I probably would have thought that it was a star.
I actually stopped my patrol car in the middle of the street and had to stick my head out of my driver's side window to look up at the object because it was directly overhead. The object continued to move northwest, but it was dim and appeared to be much higher than when I first saw it. In fact, it appeared then that it was 10,000 feet or higher.
Then I was amazed when the object stopped dead in it's tracks and began to zig and zag, back and forth! It went in all directions. I would estimate that if it was 10,000 high it was probably moving maybe 200 feet in each direction around the point where it had stopped.
It became difficult for me to watch the object with my head sticking out the car window and looking over the roof of the car to my west, so I made a u-turn and parked along the curb. I could now see the object by looking out of my window toward the west. Shortly after I parked, I phoned my wife to tell her what I was seeing. My cell phone indicated that I called my wife at 2353 hrs. on 7/16/11.
Just after I started talking to my wife, the object stopped zigging and zagging and it began to move toward the east. Just then, another police unit with two officers pulled up and asked what I was doing. I ended the phone call with my wife and I informed the officers about the object that I was watching. We then exited our respective vehicles while we watched the object. Both officers saw what I was seeing. One of them believed it to be an aircraft. The other officer said she wasn't sure what it was.
As we watched the object continue east, we noticed an aircraft far out in front of it, also flying east. The object and the aircraft appeared to be around the same altitude, but the object had become so dim that it was hard to determine how high it was. In fact, several times the object's light appeared to fade out completely and then quickly fade back in. However, at no time did the light of the object appear to flash or blink.
All three of us watched the object move east and, once again, it stopped in mid flight and began to zig and zag around the point it stopped. The one officer continued to believe that the object was an aircraft, and the other officer said she didn't know what it was. Then the other officers had to move their vehicle because they had stopped in the travel lane and they were blocking traffic. I got back into my vehicle and drove east and parked in a parking lot one block east of my original location where I continued to watch the object. It continued east and its light faded in and out a few more times. I lost track of where the aircraft, which I had seen in front of it, had flown. Then I received a call for service from my dispatcher and I had to leave the area. The total time I watched the object was approximately 15 minutes.
Later that night I looked to the sky in the direction I last saw the object but I didn't see it again. Through the course of the night I did see two meteorites, one to the north of town over the lake and one to the south. However, I am familiar with what meteorites look like and the object I watched was NOT a meteorite.
Later in my shift I tried to call the local international airport to see if they had any aircraft or any other contacts on radar at that time. But I only got an automated system and was never able to get through to anyone there.
Original Sightings Map