Screenshot of Fife Symington’s 1997 press conference following the Phoenix Lights incident
The Ohio UFO flap of 1973 made history for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the so-called Coyne Incident, which stands as one of the best documented UFO encounters. While 1973 stands out in the annals of ufology, it is far from being an isolated incident. UFOs were sighted frequently before 1973 and continue to be reported in the Buckeye State to this day. Ohio is, in fact, one of the more active states for UFO sightings, according to the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC). With California the number one state in reports (with 8,248 reports between 1994 and 2011), Ohio ranked number nine with 1,813 reports in the same period. The Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) ranks Ohio number 12 on its list of most reported sightings by state. MUFON also ranks California its number one state for sightings. One of the more well known events in recent history happened in the Cleveland area in March of 2010, when witnesses reported seeing odd lights over Lake Erie for nine consecutive nights. A MUFON investigator went to the scene in Euclid and was able to observe the phenomenon. The Federal Aviation Administration and military authorities were contacted and neither offered any explanation. The lights were widely reported in the mainstream media, most notably by MSNBC's David Schuster. If one gathers their news from strictly mainstream news outlets, it is easy to get the impression that UFOs are rare events. Further, when reported, the media often treat the subject with a nudge and a wink, as if the witnesses were clearly misinterpreting mundane and everyday events. It is as if there is an established protocol for handling such reports. Take as an example what happened in Arizona in the aftermath of the so-called Phoenix Lights incident of 1997, in which thousands of witnesses claimed to have observed a huge carpenter's square-shaped UFO, containing five spherical lights or possibly light-emitting engines. Among the witnesses was then Arizona governor Fife Symington III, who held a press conference soon after the event. During that press conference, Symington stated that "they found who was responsible." He then proceeded to make light of the situation by bringing his aide on stage dressed in an alien costume. While that display was widely reported in the mainstream press, little notice was paid when Symington had second thoughts about how he treated the subject a decade after the event. In a 2007 interview with The Daily Courier in Prescott, AZ, Symington said: “I'm a pilot and I know just about every machine that flies. It was bigger than anything that I've ever seen. It remains a great mystery. Other people saw it, responsible people. I don't know why people would ridicule it.” The U.S. Air Force tried to explain away the incident as slow-falling, long-burning illumination flares dropped by a flight of four A-10 Warthog aircraft on a training exercise at the Barry Goldwater Range at Luke Air Force Base. According to this explanation, the flares would have been visible in Phoenix and appeared to hover due to rising heat from the burning flares creating a "balloon" effect on their parachutes, which slowed the descent. The lights then appeared to wink out as they fell behind the Sierra Estrella, a mountain range to the southwest of Phoenix. But 10 years after the event Symington had this to say: “It was enormous and inexplicable. Who knows where it came from? A lot of people saw it, and I saw it too. It was dramatic. And it couldn't have been flares because it was too symmetrical. It had a geometric outline, a constant shape.” Here in Ohio, UFOs are far more frequently reported that most people think. Often multiple reports are filed on the same day and/or consecutive days. NUFORC records show that between September 21 of this year and September 29, people all over the state were seeing a similar phenomenon. An anonymous reporter from Englewood said his sighting on the 23rd lasted between 15 and 20 minutes, “There were multiple balls of light moving in every direction. We noticed a strange sliver in the sky. It also appeared to have a single ball of light circling it. “As I continued to watch four or five more balls of light appeared moving, up, down, left and right.” On the 28th a witness from the village of Morrow reported, “My friends and I were hanging out when we looked up and saw three orange lights just above the tree line.” The anonymous witness went on to add, “The lights formed a perfect equilateral triangle. The lights were moving in unison, very slowly across the sky until disappearing after about 45 seconds.” On the same night, a couple in West Carrollton gave this report, “We saw a large bright light hovering above the tree line. It suddenly split into two bright lights and those two split into four. They hovered close together, went back to two and again to four. It then dropped below the tree line and we lost sight of it. The (sighting) started about 9:10 eastern and lasted about five minutes.” NUFORC has posted 29 separate sightings in the September 21-29 time frame, coming from all over the state. Even more recent is the string of reports between the 9th and 12th of October. On the 9th, a witness in Wellington stated: “I observed an egg shaped objected in the sky at 5:00 in the afternoon. This objected was about 500 yards off the ground travelling south to north and about the size of a small plane but no wings.” On the 11th an anonymous reporter from Drexel claimed: “I saw what appeared to be two orange orbs split. I also saw a streak of blue and white dash across the night sky.” The next day a couple in Lima saw something that compelled them to file a report. “My husband and I witnessed four translucent lights moving clockwise then coming together in the center and then spreading back out. We drove to find a strobe light and there was no evidence of one. It was dark out and you could still see the clouds through the lights.” On the same night, a witness in Miamisburg said, “It looked as if a comet or fireball was falling from high above the sky looking over the Great Miami River but toward Middletown. As it was falling for about one minute, the fireball went out, like a comet that fizzled, then it reappeared and separated into three or four separate lights that hovered and then were in a line formation that slowly descended until you could not see them below the horizon.” Many more reports can be viewed at