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What were those lights in the Phoenix sky?


Researchers still sorting out hundreds of witness accounts

June 19, 1997
Web posted at: 11:58 a.m. EDT (1558 GMT)

PHOENIX (CNN) -- When it appeared in the Arizona sky on the night of March 13, it was witnessed by hundreds of people. Neither researchers nor witnesses have yet figured out what Arizonans saw in the event now dubbed "the Phoenix Lights." But that hasn't stopped them from trying to puzzle it out.

Tim Ley and his family are among the hundreds of witnesses who have come forward to talk about the Phoenix Lights. They first saw the lights while looking north from their Phoenix home.

Report on Roswell 'UFO crash' due soon

Amateur video of lights in the sky
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1.3M/24 sec. small frame QuickTime movie

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Now, their recollections of what they saw have been transformed into computer images, using a combination of digital photos of the landscape taken by Ley and computer drawings of the objects his family saw in the sky.

"When it finally got here and we realized this thing was coming right over us, we really started getting antsy," Ley said. Then, said he and his son Hal, it went directly overhead in complete silence. icon (53K/5 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

Tim Ley said that when the right side of what appeared to be a giant V-shaped craft passed directly over him, the left side was a couple of blocks away.

See the evidence, and the reconstruction of the incident, in the VXtreme of this KSAZ story.

VXtreme logo VXtreme Streaming Video

His wife, Bobbi, who also saw the aerial light show, said the size of the craft they saw was overwhelming. But, she said, "It didn't seem threatening. ... When it was right overhead and we couldn't hear a sound, it was like you're just awestruck."


Jim Dilettoso of Village Labs, who has been researching UFOs for 20 years, is in the process of reconstructing the incident with a virtual reality model.

The Leys are among the hundreds of witnesses he interviewed about the Phoenix Lights. He said he considers the family to be "very reliable," and their data "very important," because by their account they were so close to the craft.

While nobody knows for sure what the Leys and hundreds of others saw, Tim Ley is sure his family will never forget that night. He said it has changed his outlook on the UFO movement, turning him from a "polite skeptic" to someone quite open to the experiences of UFO believers. icon (133K/12 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

"We just re-experience it every time we tell it," said his wife. "It's like it was just yesterday. We've never seen anything like it."

Reporter John Hook of CNN affiliate KSAZ in Phoenix contributed to this report.

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