Saturday, April 26, 2008

Shostak’s 'Phoenix Lights' Faux Pas

Phoenix UFO Overhead
By Mike Fortson
© 4-25-08

Mike Fortson (C Sml)     The article written by, “Seth Shostak” on the April 24, 2008, entitled, “Phoenix Lights”, appears like a ploy often times used by “debunkers” to scoff at the truth of the “Massive UFO Flyover of Arizona, March 13, 1997” otherwise known by most as, The Phoenix Lights.

Shostak states that “only two events occurred that night”; one at 8:30 PM of high altitude planes, and another 10 PM, the flare drop.

He accredits the 8:30 PM high altitude planes to an amateur astronomer who looked at the formation with his scope. My guess is that he’s never met this amateur astronomer, but I have; he was a 19-year-old young man by the name of “Mitch Stanley.” He had a 10” Dobsonian telescope and at 8:30 PM or so on March 13, he said to his mother, that he observed high-altitude, fixed-winged aircraft flying in formation, wing tip to wing tip, and it “was no big deal”.

We met at Village Labs in Tempe, Arizona in August of that year (’97), while being filmed for a special by Discovery Channel. There were dozens of witnesses along with young Mitch Stanley; as Mitch spoke before the crowd while being filmed by Discovery Channel, he told the story of his observance of the high-altitude fixed wing craft, flying wing tip to wing tip; he claimed again, “that it was no big deal” and in his own words he only observed the formation for a few seconds and moved on to other things.

But here is where young Mitch struggled (keep in mind he was not the youngest participant present). During the question and answer segment, a couple of pilots and ex-military people responded that at night no pilot would be willing to fly in such formation. Especially wing_tip-to-wing_tip or even in tight formation, it’s just too dangerous . . . and at night this just isn’t done!

Since Shostak is using Stanley’s statement to paint a picture of what occurred that night, and he commends “the work of the astronomers” stating they’re “experienced observers of the sky,” one would think he would give the same esteem to “pilots” as well (assuming he’s even aware of the meeting that took place at Village Labs).

Furthermore, a fact conveniently omitted was almost all the witnesses in the 8:00 hour (to which I am one) recounted seeing a “massive object” at an incredibly low altitude, which did not emit any noise (i.e., engine or any type of propulsion etc)! Not to mention the slow speed of the massive object as it seemed to “glide” by the witnesses.

Some might think that I’m just one of those goofy UFO nut cases who makes wild claims, but, what if I were to say …”I believe there were high altitude aircraft present that night.” Why not? I believe that instead of civilian aircraft, they were military aircraft! Not in a strange formation to attract attention, but to observe the massive unidentified objects below. So Mitch could be right that there were high altitude aircraft, and also wrong, that this was “no big deal”. Why wouldn’t our military be watching below as these massive unknowns paraded thru our state? I mean they couldn’t attack in a populated area. Why wouldn’t they be watching?

Shostak mistakenly claims only “2” events occurred on March 13th, 1997, to offer a clearer picture, there were multiple events beginning at 5:30 PM and well extending thru 2:00 AM March 14, 1997. Please keep in mind that the 5:30 PM sighting was during daylight, with sixteen witnesses and “a telescope certainly wasn’t necessary” as they watched in awe. Moreover, these witnesses claimed that as 2 fighter jets approached from the south, the three massive V shaped craft “pancaked” on top of each other, formed a white ball of light and vanished!

Then at 8:16 PM near Paulden, AZ., more sightings of massive objects began; not just one or two events, but multiple events were in play! Anyone who has been involved with the massive sightings of March 13, 1997, will tell you that dozens of fantastic reports were never told. Any attempt to wash it away as high altitude aircraft is negligent, and or ignorant of the facts in my view.

High altitude aircraft will not stop a little league game; high altitude aircraft will not discourage a police helicopter during search and rescue training from going up and seeing what it is; high altitude aircraft will not stop traffic along the highways and cause the drivers to get out and watch . . . but a massive V shaped craft that’s incredibly low, nearly a mile long and totally quiet will!

I may agree with the notion that in the area southwest of Phoenix an intentional diversionary flare drop did occur. I agree with Dr. Bruce Maccabee that these flares would have to have been ignited around 16,000’ in order to be seen by a few mountainside residents where five videos were shot; by the way, less than 5% of all witnesses are in the 10 PM hour.

In conclusion, anyone choosing to debunk the, “Massive UFO Flyover of Arizona, March 13, 1997” needs do their homework! “In part,” a proper investigation and or analysis of the event requires actually speaking/interviewing witnesses and “listening” to what they have to say.

Cherry picking snippets from “old biased articles” on the Internet to shore-up ones viewpoint, as it seems is the case here is asinine!


  1. It's unfortunate to see so may people misled by all this UFO hype. Almost two decades later and people still want to believe this so badly. As a wise man once said (or was it Bill & Ted):

    "Why would we lie to ourselves?"

    1. What's to not believe? So many people who saw. So many people who recorded the event one way or the other. Military people who came out and said they weren't flares, never mind the residents who have seen them drop REAL flares and know the difference.

  2. Shostak believes there's life "out there" but refuses to believe they've been here regardless of all the stories, photos, and video. He is the one who won't believe it unless HE is the one to find them. Sad for a man with all that brain power.


Dear Contributor,

Your comments are greatly appreciated, and coveted; however, blatant mis-use of this site's bandwidth will not be tolerated (e.g., SPAM etc).

Additionally, healthy debate is invited; however, ad hominem and or vitriolic attacks will not be published, nor will "anonymous" criticisms. Please keep your arguments "to the issues" and present them with civility and proper decorum. -FW


Mutual UFO Network Logo