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No one, except the person I was with, will ever believe me. Posting here because, well…. reddit 🙂
It's a true story.
I was at a Phish concert. (ok, not a great start). No LSD In me, I swear. Just maybe some pot smoking and beer. Charlotte NC. July 7, 1999 Blockbuster Pavilion (now known as the PNC Music Pavilion) Time: Unknown. It happened during You Enjoy Myself Last song during Set 2 Maybe around 10:30 pm?
I'm also a college student working in Astronomy. I'm with my girlfriend at the time who is also in Astronomy. (We met in Astromechanics class) We have lots of experience with sky watching and love to find the fun stuff like satellites. We could explain everything we saw in the sky. We worked on a 32" telescope together – all night observing runs. I'm a published Astronomer.
I'm watching every single thing in the sky – the sky is cool. Commercial and private planes, helicopters, etc. This is a city with lots of air traffic.
There is a low, thin, broken cloud cover. I'd say about 500 ft. You could easily see the moon through the cloud cover. However, I don't think there was a moon that evening.
It's still twilight, but maybe just city lights are the illumination.
All of a sudden I spot a slower moving craft in the sky. I try to identify it in one or two seconds, and I can't. I then notice that I can't quite focus on it. I get the feeling that I'm staring at a pegboard and I've got my eyes slightly crossed – and distance is now confused in my head. I've merged two objects into one? How can that happen at something 500 to 1000 ft in the sky? That's pretty much focal and parallax infinity for human eyes, right? I blink, I can't work it out.
It's like a diamond shape. Four lights. 3 white-blue lights with one light "a different color" Not a triangle, but a parallelogram. The different color is maybe red? Violet? Not sure. These lights are twinkling. Like glints more than bulbs. I can't focus on it.
I tap my girlfriend on the shoulder and point to the object. She sees it.
At that point it stops in the sky. Dead stop. As if it just got caught doing something it wasn't supposed to do. Sits in the sky for maybe a full second, then moves in what appears to be a very fast 'J' shape and disappears – or moves EXTREMELY fast off towards the horizon.
I see something sparkling near the horizon and ask if that's it there. I can't confirm. She swears it was the same object. I don't know. It's so low on the horizon it could be anything. Things twinkle and change color at that high an airmass. I discount that observation.
The rest of the night I keep asking her if I really saw that. I ask her to describe what she saw – she recounts it exactly the way I saw it. I end up annoying the hell out of her asking the same questions over and over. I want to be wrong. I want it explained.
The best explanation was the cloud cover forming a reflection of sorts. Seeing the lights of a car on the ground reflected on a part of the sky. The thin cloud layer suggesting a very quick change in temperature over a small altitude change.
But the altitude (as in distance from the horizon) was well over 45 degrees. Probably closer to 60 degrees. A reflection is hard to believe.
Months later, we're watching one of those UFO shows on TV. We like that crap. It's fun to debunk and laugh at that stuff.
We see a picture of the Belgium Triangle. We both gasp at the same time.
That's it. That's what we saw.
Feel free to comment. I'd love to read what you think. I prefer skeptics. Extraterrestrial life come to visit us and bug out a bunch of kids at a Phish show seems a little far-fetched to me.
I've since given up smoking pot and drinking. But I haven't had a sober sighting yet. Everything I've seen in the sky has been a let-down because it's just another plane, or venus being goofy on the horizon, or some other easily explainable (or not so easily explainable) phenomenon.