By Tim LeyThere were four of us standing together that saw "something" pass over our heads on March 13, 1997 in Phoenix. What follows ismy impression.
Note—As the 10th anniversary of the so-called “Phoenix Lights” approaches, we will continue to highlight eyewitness accounts—special thanks to Tim Ley in allowing us to republish his narrative, as well as Mike Fortson for his ongoing efforts in this endeavor—FW.
Note—As the 10th anniversary of the so-called “Phoenix Lights” approaches, we will continue to highlight eyewitness accounts—special thanks to Tim Ley in allowing us to republish his narrative, as well as Mike Fortson for his ongoing efforts in this endeavor—FW.
Until this event happened here in Phoenix on March 13th, I was not a believer in Ufos. What I mean by that is that I had never had a clear and direct experience with a Ufo. I had seen strange lights in the sky before in my life, but never close enough for me to see exactly what it was. If someone told me they saw something strange in the sky, I would not deny what they saw but no one I ever knew personally had seen something up close. So I definitely was not on the "Ufo bandwagon", although I knew people who were. I was politely reserved on the subject of Ufo's. I would still feel uncomfortable just saying "I believe in Ufo's". In my understanding of the meaning of the word "belief", I apply its meaning to God and to the fruit of God, which is life. I don't believe in any objects, even Ufo's. I reserve my belief for people and for God.
The way I feel about Ufo's is the same as I feel about the Statue Of Liberty. I've been there and I looked at it and touched it. If I came to your town and visited you and you had never seen or touched the Statue of Liberty, not even on TV or photos, you might ask me if I saw it and touched it, and I would just remember back to when I was there at the Statue and I would describe my memory. After my description to you, you would not say to me: "I believe in the Statue of Liberty" but rather you would decide in yourself whether or not you believed what I was saying. If you believed what I said you might then say "I believe you Tim" which would mean that you trust me. So in truth you would be more apt to say "I believe in Tim" instead of "I believe in the Statue of Liberty". In that context I can tell you that asking me if I believe in Ufo's would be the same as asking about the Statue. I believe in myself and I saw a Ufo up close.
My wife Bobbi; my 10 year old son Hal; my 13 year old grandson Damien, and I all saw the same thing and agree completely together in our descriptions of what happened. For us the event began shortly after 8:00 PM on March 13, 1997. Phoenix is called the "Valley of the Sun", because it is almost completely surrounded by mountains. Our house is up in the north mountains of Phoenix. Our neighborhood is like a mountain valley a couple thousand feet in elevation, surrounded on three sides by peaks and open completely on the west side to the valley in the southwest and the mountains in the northwest. My son Hal and I had just arrived home and pulled into our driveway. The front of the car was facing west. The sun was down and it was already getting dark. After we parked, Hal had to sit in the front seat of the car and wait for me to come around and open his door, which only opened from the outside. He was looking around the sky through his window to see if the Hale-Bopp comet was visible while he waited. At that time the Hale-Bopp comet would appear in the western sky, right after sundown.
When I opened his door he told me to look toward the Northwest and see the strange lights. My grandson, Damien had come out front when he heard me pull up in the car, and came over to look also. At first what Hal pointed out looked like a very tiny arc of 5 lights. It looked like they were just floating in the sky. As my eyes adjusted to looking at this arc of lights, I thought perhaps the lights were outlining the top side of a blimp, or balloon; especially because they seemed to just float there. The pattern of the lights looked like something between a small arc and the Greek letter Omega. We could clearly see it was 5 separate lights. We realized the reason these lights seemed to "float" was because they were moving directly towards us not deviating from its course directly towards us at all. Hal ran in the house and got my wife Bobbi and brought her out. The lights were still in arc formation when Bobbi came out to look. She commented about the "floating" effect of the lights. And we again talked about how the lights were coming directly at us.
We could see the lights were also getting slightly larger and the spaces in between them increasing in distance. We stood there together, watching the arc of lights continue to approach and then after another minute or so the pattern of lights changed shape. It now appeared that the middle light on the top of the arc had elongated up, so that now the lights looked like the letter A, without the bar across, which would be the Greek letter "Alpha". At the time I thought that the reason it had changed its appearance from an arc pattern to an alpha pattern was that it might have been so far on the horizon, that it had flattened-out on the top, like the sun flattens over the ocean at sunset. However since then I have found out that two witnesses from the Prescott area (which is northwest of us and about 85 miles away in the same direction where we saw the arc of lights) had seen a "V" formation of 5 lights passing over them slowly and silently which then transformed into an "arc" pattern and sped away rapidly towards Phoenix in the southeast. Since the arc of lights which we saw was coming directly towards us, we couldn't tell how fast it was going. But when it was in the alpha formation we could see it was going pretty slow. Likewise the distance between the lights was increasing. It was very clearly an Alpha pattern, although at the time we thought in terms of a "V" formation, like military helicopters might fly. We were all out in my front yard watching these lights, which continued to come directly towards us, maintaining their altitude and position
We could see the distinct and even separation between the lights as it got closer and closer. I was amazed at the rigid relationship between the five lights. I watched them closely for a few minutes to see if there was any deviation whatsoever, and there was none. It seemed that the lights were moving towards us so slowly and were spread out so far that it almost had to be a squadron of five helicopters cruising in formation. I continued to observe that the lights were rigidly maintaining the Alpha pattern without any deviation whatsoever. My mind was searching for an answer that could balance these two different observations: the great distance between the lights; and the absolute integrity of their relationship to each other. My wife and I were talking to each other while this was going on, and we discussed how difficult it would be to fly five separate objects in such a perfect pattern. They were still coming straight at us, never altering course or altitude. We were standing right in my front yard next to our big saguaro cactus and watched this Alpha pattern of five bright white lights come directly at us for probably about 15 minutes altogether before it reached us. By the time it got about a mile away we had finally decided it was definitely one huge structure, because the lights were so rigidly maintaining their relative positions to each other they had to be locked together.
We also noted that we still had not heard any kind of sounds coming from that direction. If it had been five helicopters, then we would have heard their engines. Where we live, up in this small mountain valley, we can hear the slightest engine noises from miles away. And now this object was almost upon us and we still didn't hear anything. At this point, especially because of its apparent immense size and slow speed, it began to dawn upon us that this was not anything we were even remotely familiar with. It was not an airplane or a balloon or helicopters or anything else we had ever seen before. It was a real Ufo. I told everyone to really pay attention so we could remember afterwards. For me that means I stopped thinking about everything else in the world and focused my mind and all my senses on the moment in time and what I was looking at, with my mind completely open. As the event progressed we all would spontaneously call out some specific observation we were having at various times. I imagined that I had a place in my mind that was like a camcorder and I began to mentally "record" everything that I was experiencing. I commented that the lights had to be connected together, as no separate flying lit objects in our world could maintain such perfect symmetry. By now it was about a half a mile away, still coming directly at us, and at that point, we could then clearly see the distinct outline of its dark shape as it moved across the background of stars which were above and beyond it. What we saw reminded me of a carpenter's square set at 60 degrees. That was what popped in my head. That's because the outline of the structure of the object, was so perfectly balanced, sharp-edged and geometrical. The leading tip was pointed and the ends of both arms were squared off. The five lights were set perfectly into the structure in balance with each other, with the leading light set in the middle up front right behind the pointed tip. Each of its two arms had two lights set in them evenly spaced from the center front light with the last lights on each arm set in the structure just in front of the squared-off ends.
The structure itself was very dark, just slightly darker than the sky. At a distance it seemed to blend into the sky so well that you could only really see its shape because of the stars behind it showing its outline When we finally saw the shape of the structure against the stars, we were all totally astonished. Even though we had already suspected there was a structure, we were still not prepared mentally for the reality of what we were seeing and what was happening.. It looked like something out of a science fiction story was about to pass directly over us. It was mind-boggling because it was so huge but at the same time so geometric. You would expect to see more to the shape and perhaps some kind of recognizability design. But all there was was a geometric shape with evenly spaced lights set into it. It was amazing because I had nothing else in my experience to compare it to.
And by now there was no time to do anything but stand there and observe as much as possible. I knew it was important and I had to really pay attention. As it approached closer it was overwhelmingly large, spread out over a couple of blocks. We noticed that one of the lights on the far side arm seemed to flicker into two lights. We talked about the possibility of double lights for a couple of seconds. By that point the tip of the structure with the leading light reached us and we shifted our attention to observe the west arm of the Alpha structure and its lights as it began to pass directly over our heads and diagonally across the street in front of our house. It intersected our street at an approximate 20 degree angle, on a northwest to southeast course. The length of the arm passing over us was probably about 700 feet long. It was very dark so we could just barely see its edges. The shape blocked out the stars. It is very difficult to get an accurate impression of the dimensions of such an immense object when it is so close that you can't see the whole thing in one view. When it was passing over it was just that close. We had to first look at one end, and then shift our heads to see the other end in order to get an idea of how big it was. As it was passing over I did look down the length of the arm, at the last light, and it seemed to be a couple of blocks long.
I think this is corroborated by knowing the relative speed of the object and how long it took to pass over our heads. This object was moving so slowly overhead and it was so close that by watching the lights you could get a pretty good feel for its speed. As it passed over, I tried to memorize my perception of the relative speed of the lights as they passed by and have subsequently reviewed that memory and compared it to other memories of known relative speeds, which I have accumulated over the years. My conclusion is that this object was travelling approximately 30mph. My kids thought it was moving as slow as 15mph but they have limited experience with relative speeds. I trust my own judgment based on 36 years of driving cars over the streets and highways of America. Like millions of drivers around the world, I can drive a car at whatever approximate speed I want without looking at the speedometer especially city-cruising speed around 35mph. I can feel speed from the seat of my pants as I drive along in my car. The object was definitely going slower than 35mph. If I'm standing still watching an object pass by me, within a reasonable distance like 100 feet, and I want to know it's relative speed, I would compare the "feel" of the relative motion of the object to reference points in my mind that access similar relative motion "feelings". Many times in my life I've stood on the side of some street or road and watched cars drive by. I know what a vehicle travelling 35mph looks like. Again, this object was going noticeably slower than 35. So in the light of that, I would again estimate the speed of the craft to be about 30mph,
As to it's altitude above me, it was so close that at first I felt oppressed by its presence because it covered so much total area in our neighborhood and it was impossibly low. My first impression was that it was about 100 feet up in the air. It was so close, it was hard to believe. It was a huge dark shape with immense lights in it. I have thought about its altitude above me many times, and reviewed my first impression. I have to stick by that impression because all my experience tells me to. I grew up in New York City and spent years working in Manhattan and I liked to walk to where I needed to go, because the busses and subways felt so constrictive compared to the freedom of walking. As I walked I would look at all the various buildings and out of habit, would count the stories and calculate the height. I would allow ten feet per floor. After awhile I had a whole bunch of different buildings in my head and would use these images to calculate relative elevations of other things like trees or hills or bridges or whatever. I always thought in "stories" and would convert "stories" to feet whenever I needed to know feet. When I thought about the Alpha structure in my memory and compared its altitude to the heights of buildings I have known, I felt convinced that its altitude was closer to 100 feet above me, than anything else. The relative low altitude of this object over us was verified a few minutes after passing over us as it moved through the gap in the mountain peaks. It passed the peak on the southwest side of the object about halfway up to the top of the peak. The top of the peak is only a couple hundred feet higher than my property.
The overwhelming feeling of the closeness and immense size of the alpha structure passing overhead was in stark contrast to the absolute silence around us. There was absolutely no sound coming out of the object. It was ridiculously close and there was no noise. It was so quiet that our dogs in the back yard didn't even bark. As a matter of fact the whole neighborhood seemed to be still. When I think about it the whole scene seemed to be like something out of "2000 SPACE ODYSSEY". The craft seemed more to be in orbit; just sailing by like it was in zero gravity in outer space. There didn't seem to be anything threatening about the craft. It was just passing quietly and slowly over us. It was definitely a surreal atmosphere. When it first began to pass over, I felt a nervousness in my body, almost like stagefright. The craft itself wasn't doing anything threatening other than being so close. It just stayed silently on its course without deviation.
I think this nervousness which I felt in my body was probably some kind of reflection of the energy of the craft passing over us. Somehow I was "feeling" the craft in my nervous system; and so was my family. It was as if there was some type of field extending beyond the edge of the structure, and we could sense it. At first when the field came upon us, the kids started jumping up and down talking about how there was no sound and mentioning the movie "Independence Day" and exhibiting symptoms of hysteria. They were even backing away as if they would run into the house. But then they directed their excitement to running out in the street under the craft, looking up inside of the arms and checking it out. They were so excited they were almost giddy. I felt excitement myself, but at the same time I was mentally calm. I was observing with absolute focus and continued to remain calm. I felt a slight emptiness in my chest and upper back, almost like I was going to get a chill in my upper back, you know the kind of chill that goes up the back of your neck, and I had slight goosebumps on both my arms. I really didn't think about being afraid at that moment because I was completely overwhelmed by all the aspects of what I was observing. What was happening was unbelievable. I just tried to observe the object and remember as much as I could while I had the opportunity. The kids were out in the street looking up inside in the space between the arms and pointed out to my wife and I how strangely the stars looked, almost as if looking through a very thick glass with the slight distortion of the light as it passed through, caused by the thickness itself and a wavering effect caused by the
motion of the craft.
The look of the stars up inside between the arms was almost like a video projection. These stars were noticeably different from the look of the stars in the rest of the sky. At that moment I had the thought that I was looking at some kind of field that tricked my eyes into seeing around whatever was up inside between the two arms of the craft. I thought that there was more up above me than I was actually seeing.
We were also still amazed by the complete lack of sound. Perhaps whatever technology could achieve visual stealth also had audio stealth. It was impossibly strange that there was no sound at all. There wasn't even a wind sound that you might expect from the motion of an object of such a size, or even strong breeze from the air being displaced in front of it. The concept of "stealth" comes to our minds when we think about a flying object that you can't see with radar, and obviously visual stealth is also possible. Well its not hard to also imagine some type of audio stealth. But the "stealth" idea comes from the military-type viewpoint, that the "stealth" function is the intent of an object which we cannot sense. It is possible that the "stealth" ability of the craft is only an ancillary function of the craft's power and drive system.
As the structure passed overhead, its altitude and course was maintained exactly. I had been watching the right arm of the craft go by overhead and as the part in between the lights passed by I could see its outer edge against the stars in the sky, and that edge flowed by so perfectly even, without any fluctuation whatsoever, that I got the impression it was like watching a train go by on an unseen track. The object maintained its altitude so exactly that it demonstrated it was not "lifted by air. This exactness and evenness of motion was not possible with any kind of earth aircraft. This thing was not floating on air. It was moving through it.
Finally, after about 13 to 15 seconds, the last light on the tip of the right arm passed slowly overhead directly perpendicular to the point where my wife and I were standing. I had been waiting for it to come by so I could get a good look at it from directly underneath. I was so focused that when this light passed over us, it seemed like everything slowed down and for a brief instant the light seemed frozen in time. The diameter of the light was at least 6 or 7 feet across; it could have been even larger. The luminance was perfectly uniform. I saw the most beautiful white, soft, luminous light which glowed ever so slightly around its edges, as if it was bulging slightly out of the surface. I could see through the soft white light at the surface below into what appeared to be a cylinder without any bottom. I got the impression it was like a well, but instead of being a water well it was a light well. I could only see far enough into it to get the impression of depth. Below the surface, there seemed to be particles of light rapidly streaming about, and as they came streaming up to the surface they disappeared into the surface light. The surface itself seemed to be holding the light inside and reminded me of the surface-tension effect you see at the top of a overfilled glass of liquid. The light did not radiate out of the surface of the light well. It was super pure and bright but was trapped inside. We remained in the darkness below it without being illuminated at all or any part of the neighborhood as it passed over. The light on the surface was like reflected light, and must have had its source inside the well as if the light inside could not escape and we were just seeing a reflection of it on the surface of whatever type of field was holding it in. This was not a big light bulb or any other earthly light derived from heat. It was pure light, with such beauty that it is inexplicable within the normal human experience. It was super bright and yet not glaring. I could look directly into it without any difficulty.
My wife wears contact lenses and normally gets a lot of refraction in her eye from any bright light. She told me that as the craft approached she was able to look at its lights without any kind of distortion. There was no corona around the lights. And when it was overhead she was able to look at it and see it clearly and sharp. It was pleasing to look at. Even now, when I look at the light in my mind's eye, I feel soothed and pleased by its beauty. My wife also experiences the same phenomena. I have wondered and thought about that one light every day since the event happened. And every day I seem to learn more about it. Its obvious that the function of the light has nothing to do with illumination, so I don't even think of the light in that context. What context I do think about the light, is as the source of the craft's silent flying power. It may, in fact be the very thing which keeps this huge object up in the air, and more.
After the light passed by, I continued to stay focused on it, but then I noticed the perfectly squared-off end of the dark structure as it went by right after the light, the dark shape clearly visible to us against the background of stars and slightly lighter sky. The image of that squared-off end is one of the clearest in my memory, because its exactness was such a curiosity.
What was also strange was that I could not get an impression of the thickness of the structure as I only could see the flat dark outline with no exact thickness. The only impression of thickness came from seeing into the light but even then I could only see enough to recognize that inside the light was cylindrical and had depth. As the craft moved away from us towards the southeast the kids started running down the street after the object and started yelling that we should get in our car and chase after it as it was going so slowly that we probably could catch up to it. It really was going ridiculously slow. It almost seemed to hover. That last light continued to move away from me towards the southeast when all of a sudden it appeared to act something like the one light we had observed when the craft was coming toward us. The light I was focused on seemed to split into two lights, one above the other, and slightly separated from each other. Both lights remained white but took on a slight
reddish/amber caste and it seemed that I was seeing the light through a kind of transparent waviness like a mirage. The pattern of the mirage in front of the top light, was going in the opposite direction than the pattern of the mirage in front of the bottom light, as if one light was the reverse image of the other light. This all happened in a second or two and then the light cleared up and became stable again. Just around this point, while the craft was still slowly cruising over the neighborhood, my uncle came out of the house. He's 84 years old. He was able to see the lights but by the time he looked the structure no longer was clearly visible.
We all continued to stand outside and watch the object continue on its course slowly through our mountainside neighborhood. It finally reached the gap through the mountain peaks at the end of Hatcher road. When it passed through, and headed out over the city, my wife said she saw a dome-shaped bulge in the middle on the top of the craft, which appeared to be picking up some of the city and parkway lights below and reflecting them off of its surface. We knew there was more to this craft than just a simple "V" shape with lights in it. We later thought it must be a peculiarity of the visual stealth that at certain angles of view, you can see light reflect off of it. The craft maintained its course and altitude seemingly following the curve of the earth, heading straight due southeast on a course that would pass just south and west of Squaw
When it went through the pass we could see that it just barely fit through the pass and that its altitude was only about half way up the peak on the right side of the pass. We watched it go out over the valley and as it did the light pattern now appeared to have a V shape, with the point down. It was as if it was in a low orbit around the curvature of the earth, that was only 100 feet or so over the elevation of my house and on a course that had exactly intersected the street right in front of my house and continued straight through a notch in the mountain peaks. It was like a huge arrow being launched from the distant northwest that shot right through the small notch in our mountain peaks at Hatcher Pass. Wewatched it for a few more minutes as it continued its course out over the valley. Finally we lost the 5 lights in the mix of other aircraft lights and atmosphere over Phoenix. Once it was out of sight, we all continued to stand outside and talk. We were all excited because we knew we had just had the most unique experience in the world. We certainly couldn't talk about the complete meaning of the event at that moment. It would literally take me months of daily reflection on my memory of the event to decipher so much information. But at that moment, when the craft had just passed over us, I summed up all my immediate perceptions and feelings and thoughts into one conclusion: this craft was not from this world. As a matter of fact, right after the craft passed over and I was watching move away, I said to my wife "whoever has this technology must
be in cahoots with God".
I know that some people might not want to hear me speak of God and Ufos in the same breath, but my comment about God is part of what happened at that moment and is very much a part of this sighting. There is no satisfactory worldly explanation for what we saw. Realize that lots of folks saw the lights from various distances and angles, and some videotaped them. A few witnesses also saw the actual structure with the lights set in it. Our family was fortunate enough to see the whole thing close up. This craft is a reality, and anyone that saw any part of its activity, recognized that it was completely out of the normal human experience on the earth. But this craft is now part of that human experience, and if you ask most of the humans that experienced it, they would say it was probably an extraterrestrial craft. In regards to my family, it comes down to believing us, that we are being honest and truthful in describing the fantastic details of what we experienced. If you were to ask me what I think about it, I would say that it is an extraterrestrial craft. I say this because the science and technology of this amazing craft is not understood or explainable by anyone from our world. What we saw is "impossible", and yet we did see it. And what we saw was so geometrical and acted under such absolute control, that I had the overwhelming impression that it was of human origin. I know it's difficult to equate "extraterrestrial" and "human" but that's how I felt at the time and still do. And finally my perception was that whoever had such wondrous technology had to be "in cahoots with God". These "visitors" deliberately allowed their technology to be seen and even videotaped, by just everyday people, for some reason. They did not "show" themselves to the military or any "official" group. Rather, they communicated
to the people.
My understanding is that these visitors are here to help our world. Our family prays that this is so, and look forward to a better future for all the people of the world.
* Special Thanks To Mike Fortson
See Also:The Non-Investigation of the Phoenix Lights- My View
See Also:March 13, 1997 UFO Report
By Capt. Trig Johnston