'PHOENIX LIGHTS': OBSESSIVE SEARCH FOR ANSWERS
In Close Encounters of the Third Kind, an Indiana suburbanite played by
Richard Dreyfuss sees some kind of spacecraft and becomes so obsessed that he
quits his job to investigate.
It turns out that doesn't happen only in the movies.
A Paradise Valley physician who witnessed the ''Phoenix Lights'' from her
mountainside home on the night of March 13, 1997, has put her career on hold,
devoted the past three years to research into the sighting and just finished a
330-page book that contends conventional explanations don't wash.
Her work included interviews with witnesses of the unusual lights, UFO
experts, optical experts, military experts, former astronauts and professors
in astrophysics and computer science. She's also studied reports of UFO
sightings from around the world similar to the one here.
She agreed to an interview if only her professional name, Dr. Lynne, were
used. She was known that way appearing as a health consultant for two Phoenix
TV stations. Her husband of 28 years is also a physician.
She started out as a skeptic, looking for logical answers and using her
medical training to analyze information methodically. Although she doesn't
know what lit the Arizona sky that night, she's ruled out ordinary answers.
Lynne is stepping forward now - two TV interviews will also air soon -
largely because she believes the hundreds of witnesses of the Phoenix Lights
have been marginalized.
''They've been ignored or dismissed as unreliable,'' she said. ''They
deserve to know that what they saw was real and unexplained. I don't know what
it was, but I know that it was, and I have evidence to prove it.''
The lights that evening were spotted along a 300-mile corridor from the
Nevada line through Prescott Valley and Phoenix to the northern edge of
Tucson. Many witnesses saw a huge ''V'' formation flying silently over the
state. Later in the night, a series of bright lights appeared on the city's
Those two events ''constitute one of the most dramatic UFO sightings in the
past 50 years,'' said Peter Davenport, director of the National UFO Reporting
Center in Seattle.
Others, however, had less out-of-this-world explanations. The ''V''
formation may have been a squadron of military planes, and the balls of light
could have been high-intensity flares dropped in a training exercise.
Lynne says those contentions are not supported by eyewitness accounts,
photographic evidence or optical tests.
''I've tried to examine the evidence scientifically and remain open to any
rational answers, but the evidence doesn't compute,'' she said.
Her belief that the lights were not routine is reinforced by three other
sightings of bright, amber orbs from her home. The images on her photos and
videotape don't look the same as pictures of flares or aircraft lights.
Lynne hardly fits the stereotype of a UFO fanatic. She's highly educated,
articulate and successful. She has no apparent motive for her investigation
other than to satisfy her intellectual curiosity. She says she's not
interested in trying to convince anyone of anything.
Although I don't find her evidence as conclusive as she does, I'm impressed
by her work. Even though I'm still inclined to think the lights came from this
world, she gives good reason to doubt past explanations.
I don't believe ET and his pals were in the sky that night. But I'd feel
better if we had a firmer fix on what was.
Memo: Reach Wilson at Steve.Wilson@...
or (602) 444-8775.
Copyright The Arizona Republic (2000)
STEVE WILSON, The Arizona Republic, 'PHOENIX LIGHTS': OBSESSIVE SEARCH FOR
ANSWERS. , The Arizona Republic, 02-12-2000, pp A2.
**coming to you live from deep in the backwoods of Mississippi**
~~~Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.~~~