Date of Sighting: August 20, 1997 Time: 10:45 PM CDT +/- 15 Min Type of Event: FB1 Duration: about 20 Minutes Place of Sighting: Canterbury Park - Shakopee, MN Local Evaluation: Possible Unexplained. (subsequently revised to "Possible IFO") Significance: Ordinary Investigator: Craig R. Lang, Field Investigator, MN MUFON Sighting Account: The witnesses were leaving the "Lilith Fair" concert at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN. The time was about 10:30 or 11:00 PM CDT on Wed 20 Aug, 1997. The primary witness looked up and observed six "strange looking clouds" in formation, about 45 degrees up in the southwestern sky. The clouds appeared to be in a nearly circular formation, and each appeared to be circular in shape (with cloudlike fuzzy edges). They appeared to be illuminated by the nearly-full moon. The primary witness estimated the size of each to be about the width of the thumb at arms length. Witness' sketch of approximate appearance of objects. The second witness suggested that the objects were searchlights on the clouds, but the primary witness felt that these were actual objects, perhaps illuminated by the moon. There was no apparent sound or other effects from the objects (although the rock festival was still going on, and the noise level was relatively high in the parking lot). Map of sighting area showing witness walking path, departure path of car and initial and final views to object. They continued to observe the objects as they left the concert grounds and walked across the parking lot to their car. The "clouds" had an "imperceptible" motion over the 20 minutes they saw them. As they left the parking lot, they observed them to be in the south, at about 35 degrees elevation, indicating a west to east motion. The objects' shapes and formation had not changed. Their last view to the object was shortly after their car had turned left onto the road after departing the parking lot Additional Witnesses: Her room mate also saw these objects - I have not yet interviewed her in detail, but asked her about this over the phone. They also pointed these objects out to other people in the parking lot, who also thought that they were strange. Weather Conditions: The moon was one day past full. The witnesses describe weather as clear and muggy, with a few clouds in the sky. The following is the weather information from the state climatologist's office: Temp: 16 degrees C DewPt: 14 degrees C (note: relatively high humidity) Winds: 4 knots from 320 degrees (from the Northwest) Cloud Ceiling and Type: 9000 ft broken (probably altocumulus) - Note: possible lenticular clouds Visibility: 10 Mi + (unlimited) Manmade Phenomena Check: The description of the objects does not appear to match any manmade craft. The witness' room mate indicated that she felt the objects were searchlights, which does not appear to be compatible with the witness's description of them. Natural Phenomena Check: A possible explanation considered is that the objects were, in fact, clouds. However, the objects remained in a perfect circular formation for about 20 minutes, and appeared to be anomalous to the witnesses. The geometric precision which the witness described seems remarkable for a natural formation. FB1, Originally listed as "Possible unknown", subsequently revised to "Possible IFO". Significance: Ordinary [CL Note: Subsequent to the original submission of this report, it was learned that the sighting may be explainable in terms of a projected light formation from Mystic Lake Casino. While this was not initially believed to be the cause of the sighting, subsequent analysis suggests that this explanation is plausible. This sighting is important primarily in the context of the witness' other sightings and experiences.] Return to Main Witness' report
Type of Report: MA1 Date of Report: 01 Oct, 1997 Investigator: Craig R. Lang - Field Investigator, MN MUFON Date of Sighting: 26 Aug, 1997 - 21:06 CDT Place of Sighting: South Minneapolis Local Evaluation: MA1, unexplained, normal significance Sighting Background Minnesota MUFON was informed of this sighting via e-mail sent by the witness to the webmaster. The report was to me. I then contacted the witness to arrange an interview. Approximately one week later I interviewed the witness regarding this and another sighting (Bemidji, MN Summer 1982 CE1 - investigation in progress). Witness Description The witness is a 25 year old male. His occupation is as a PC computer network administrator. He is currently a freelance consultant. He has an associate degree in electronics, with additional training in computer network administration. He is married and lives in south minneapolis. (Note: The sighting was from his home.) His vision is described as correctable to 20/20 with glasses. His hearing is good. He describes his health as good, although on the night of the sighting, he had taken a fall and bruised several ribs. He was taking ibuprophen for the injury at the time. Sighting Account: The sky was clear to partly cloudy and stars were clearly visible (to the extent possible in an urban environment). The witness was walking his dog, in his back yard, and was staring up at the sky. Looking east, he noticed a star about 45 degrees above the horizon (at about the location of the stars Markab and Alpheratz in Pegausis). The object had a brightness rivaling the magnitude of Jupiter, but of a whiter color. He first thought that it was a planet. However, after about two minutes, as he watched, the object began to move, which surprised him [CL Note: this occurred about two minutes after he first noticed the object]. As he watched with growing curiosity, the light moved to the right (south) for about 20 degrees in about 4 to 5 seconds. The object then abruptly changed directions - the witness felt that it was now moving straight up. The object crossed about 20 degrees of sky (moving toward the west from the witness's perspective). As it ascended, the object faded, eventually being lost to view. The witness described the flight path as smooth. The light did not vary as it moved (except as it faded toward the end of the sighting) . Aftermath: The witness continued to watch the sky for another 5 minutes or so. He then saw two lights moving in a north-south direction. One was moving north toward the northern horizon, the other moving toward the southern horizon. Both objects faded from view after a few minutes. He thought that these were notable in the context of the first sighting although their descriptions would be consistent with that of satellites. Additional Witnesses: None are known, although anybody stargazing at approximately that location at that time of night would have seen this object. Thus, the possibility of additional witnesses exists. Weather Conditions: - WX report for 21:00 CDT from National Weather Service Temperature: 72 degrees F. Dew Point: 67 degrees F. (note: very humid) Visibility: 10 miles + (unlimited) Cloud Cover ~50%, no cieling (some altocumulus at 15K ft, cirrus clouds at 22K, 25K ft) Wind Speed: 4MPH from 230 degrees Radar Check: A check of FAA radar records indicates no unusual events. Natural and Manmade Phenomena Check: No known phenomenon, either natural or manmade, could execute the maneuver which the witness described. A "satellite" explanation was evaluated. However, the turn which the object performed would argue against this explanation. Also the turn as described by the witness seems to be too sharp and abrupt for the object to be explainable as an aircraft. Sighting Evaluation: Type: MA1 (Nocturnal Light) Evaluation: Unexplained Significance: Normal Appendix A: Witness Sketches Click here for Sketch of sighting area layout. Click here for Sketch of witness view of object/flight.
Date of Sighting: 22 Sep, 1997 Place of Sighting: Rural Frazee, MN Local Evaluation: CE1 - Unexplained. Significance: Moderate to High Type of Report: CE1, Nocturnal Lights at close to intermediate range Date of Report: 16 Dec, 1997 Investigators: Craig R. Lang - Field Investigator, MN MUFON Dr. Steven T. Hero - FIT and Consultant, MN MUFON Sighting Background: I was informed of the sighting by Dr. Steven T. Hero, a consultant to MUFON, who is also a MUFON FIT. He called me to indicate that the witnesses, who are relatives of his, had observed an object on 22 Sep, 1997. I contacted the witnesses and interviewed them on 30 Sep, 1997. Steve Hero visited the sighting location to investigate the sighting circumstances. The subsequent followup investigation has resulted in this report. Witness Description: The witnesses to this sighting are a couple, who reside in White Bear Lake, MN. They also maintain a trailer home on her family's property near Frazee, MN, where the sighting occurred. The primary witness is a 67 year old female. She is a retired property manager. Her education level is one year of college, plus special training in property management. The secondary witness is an 82 year old male. He is a retired police/criminal investigator. His education level is a college degree, plus two years of law school, with special training in police investigation. Both witnesses are in good health, which was not affected by the sighting. Both indicate that their hearing is good, and their vision is correctable to 20/20. He indicates that he has a slight degree of color blindness. Sighting Account: The two witnesses to this sighting maintain a trailer on land near Frazee, MN, as a summer home. At approximately 11:30 PM on the night of 22 Sep, 1997, the primary witness was awakened by a loud noise. Thinking that it was due to raccoons disturbing a roll of sheet aluminum which she had in the front yard, she looked out the kitchen window, to see if she could see them. She saw no animals, but instead observed a brilliant light about two to three blocks away. The light appeared to be over a field to the north of the farmhouse across the road from their trailer (see map below). Click here for: Map of sighting area, depicting location of main object and surrounding buildings. She initially felt that she might have been seeing some new lights, perhaps installed by the farmer across the road. However, she could see the source of the light through a clearing in the trees, and realized that this was not it. She subsequently thought that it might be an airplane, perhaps about to crash. She then realized that it was not this either. Click here for sketch by primary witness depicting her view of the object(s) over farmhouse. [Annotation by CL.] The object appeared to her to be a collection of five brilliant white lights, nearly painful in intensity, largely diffused into one lenticular-shaped object. They were extremely bright, and appeared to be radiating bluish colored beams in all directions. She could not discern any other structure associated with the lights. She felt that the size of the object was about that of a house. It hovered motionless and appeared to illuminate the entire field. About 20 minutes after seeing the initial object, she noticed that to its right three smaller lights had appeared, arranged in a triangle, with one light above the other two. These lights were bright, and were round in shape. The lights appeared to her to be hovering motionless above the farm house. She watched the objects through the kitchen window (see sketch of trailer below). After about 10 minutes, the highest light moved rapidly to the left, merging into the main object. The other two lights remained in place. She opened the kitchen window to determine if there was any sound, but could hear none. Click here for witness sketch of window layout as seen from inside trailer. View looks east toward sighting. [Annotation by CL.] She indicated that she was both fascinated by the object, and very frightened by it. She awakened her companion, periodically urging him to look at the object. [Note: During the time she was attempting to do this, the three additional lights appeared]. When he awakened, he looked at them and first indicated that he felt the object was a helicopter. He then felt that it was probably due to the lights from the Perham airport, about 8 miles to the southeast. The following sketch shows his impression of the object. Click here for sketch of main object by second witness [with CL annotation]. He also saw smaller lights [CL Note: not sure if these were the same three lights which she described] and felt that these were perhaps associated with the nearby railroad tracks. He then went to bed, while she continued to watch the object. She indicates that she then went from window to window, watching it from several different locations within the trailer, but was too frightened to go outside for a clearer view. At about 1:00 AM, still frightened, she went to bed. She lay there trying to compose herself for 20 minutes, then got up again to watch the objects. When she looked again, at about 1:30 AM, the two remaining lights were now at about ground level, either on the road, or in the surrounding field. Also, at that time, the large object moved slowly to the right, toward the farm house, until it was directly above the location of the lights. She again went from window to window attempting to get a better view. At about 2:45 AM, she felt that the lights on the ground were now approaching the trailer. They seemed to be bouncing as if they were mounted on as vehicle. She hoped that they were a vehicle, perhaps belonging to a neighbor. However, the lights seemed too bright and too far apart to be his truck.. She again became extremely frightened, and again went to bed to try and compose herself. She also noted that she slept extremely soundly until 8:00AM that morning [CL Note: Her change from a state of extreme fear to a sound sleep is very notable]. Aftermath: Dr. Hero visited the site approximately two weeks after the sighting. He checked for possible ground traces and found none. He also talked to the neighbors who live just to the north of the apparent position of the object. The house has a view of the field where the object apparently hovered. The residents indicated that they did not observe any unusual lights or object(s). However, the witness indicated that they usually have their drapes drawn, thus the object would most likely not have been visible to them. Additional Witnesses: None are known beyond the two witnesses indicated in this report. It is possible that either the residents of the farm house across the road from the witness, or the witness' neighbors to the north could have seen the object. Neither were home at the time of Dr. Hero's field visit, and thus were unable to be interviewed. A future visit to the area may establish this. In addition, the object might well have been visible to motorists on Highway 10, about a mile away. Weather Conditions: (WX Info from state climatologist's office for Detroit Lakes, 11:15 PM - 22 Sep, 1997) Temperature: 11 degrees C. Dew Point: 8 degrees C. Cloud Ceiling: Clear below 12,000 ft. (Cloud type unknown, if any clouds present) Wind: 6 Knots from 30 degrees (approx NE) Visibility: 10 Mi+ (Unlimited) Note: I also asked about weather information at 1:00 AM on 23 Sep, 1997 It was indicated that 11:15 PM was the last reading, after which the weather station was not functioning until 9:00 AM CDT. Natural and Manmade Phenomena Check: No phenomena, either natural or manmade, would appear to explain this event. However, the following are a number of hypotheses which the investigators have considered: Hypothesis 1) Distant lights (or moon) on clouds: The duration of the phenomenon argues against this. Over the two-plus hours of the sighting, the Moon and/or clouds would have moved in sky. In addition, the main object the witness described seems too bright to be explained by this theory. Hypothesis 2) Some form of plasma or corona. This area is extremely swampy, and the night was relatively humid. Thus, the object could conceivably have been some form of power line corona, etc. However, again, the duration of the sighting and the behavior of the object as it moved over the farm house in the latter part of the sighting, and of the accompanying three lights, would argue against this hypothesis. Hypothesis 3) Lights from trains or from railroad work: This was suggested by the neighbors living immediately to her north, and by the second witness as a source of the smaller lights. While it is conceivable, the primary witness indicated that there was not a clear view to the railroad tracks from the trailer. Also, train lights would not remain in place for such an extended duration and would not appear so high in the sky. The described behavior would also argue against this explanation as well. Hypothesis 4) Helicopter or other hovering craft: The second witness had considered that the main object might have been this, although his description did not correspond to any known configuration. However, the primary witness indicated that she heard no sound from the object, which she felt was only a few blocks away from her. She indicated that it lit up the field, suggesting a close proximity. A helicopter that close would have very loud. Hypothesis 5) Reflection or Refraction on Window: After his visit to the site, Dr. Hero suggested the possibility of a reflection or refraction of some other light on double pane windows. However, the primary witness indicated that she observed object through screens and through an open window at least once during the sighting. Hypothesis 6) Distant City or Airport Lights: There is an airport, about eight miles away in Perham, MN. However, this is not in the correct direction to account for the lights seen. In addition, the town of Frazee is to the north of the sighting area, and also would not have been in the correct direction to account for the lights. Hypothesis 7) Misidentified Astronomical Bodies: A half-moon was rising in the approximate direction in which she first saw the object. Further, the witness indicates that she did not notice the Moon at the time she saw the object. Thus, this might be considered as a possible explanation. However, the witness indicates that she has seen the moon from this location before, and this looked nothing like it. (Dr. Hero did not think it likely that either of the witnesses would misidentify an object such as the moon in such a way). Also, the primary witness observed the object as being stationary for about three hours, during which time the moon would have risen from the horizon to approximately 35 degrees elevation. In addition, the Moon would not account for the observed behavior of the object during the latter stages of the sighting. It was also suggested that the lights approaching the trailer might have been misidentification of the stars Sirius (Magnitude -2, exactly on the horizon in the east-southeast), and Procyon (Magnitude 0.5, 6 degrees elevation, due East). These would be in about the right direction at about that time (3:00 AM). However, at about midnight, when the witness initially saw the three lights, only the star Aldebaran (magnitude 1.1) was present at the indicated azimuth and elevation. Thus, this explanation can not fully account for all of the anomalous lights observed. Sighting Evaluation: Local Evaluation: CE1 - Unexplained Significance: Intermediate to High In my view, this event appears to be unexplained. Based upon the clear description of the object(s) and the duration of the sighting, I would classify this event as a close encounter of the first kind. It should be noted that there is a degree of ambiguity regarding the events at the latter parts of the sighting. This could possibly indicate that missing time occurred during the latter stages of the event. Should the witness(es) be so inclined, this could be pursued as a followup investigation. Since no additional neighbors have yet been located who might have observed the object, I suggest that an intermediate significance be assigned to the sighting. If additional neighbors (principally those in the farm house across the road) also observed the object, or if followup investigation were to determine that a CE4 took place, the significance would then be considered high.