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The Phoenix lights, Arizona, USA, March 13, 1997:

On March 13, 1997, residents throughout the state of Arizona witnessed various airborne phenomena that remain largely unexplained. Commonly known as the "Phoenix Lights", these sightings, witnessed in at least six Arizona cities, continue to receive international media attention and interest; and new sightings continue to be recorded.

What happened in Arizona on March 13, 1997 to a cross-section of American society is unprecedented as a UFO incident. There is literally nothing to compare it to in at least the last 50 years of ufology if you except the Belgium flap of 1990.

Still from amateur video

The events:

First observed in a hexagram pattern at about 7:30 PM over the Superstition Mountains area east of Phoenix, the characteristic 8+1 formation of amber orbs was next seen in two separate arc patterns with "trailing lights" over the Gila River area at about 9:50 and again at 10:00 at the southern edge of Phoenix, where they were seen by thousands and videotaped by a handful who had camcorders close enough at hand to catch the fleeting minutes of their displays.

These amateur videos have immortalized the orb formations, becoming soon known the world over as "The Phoenix Lights".

The last appearance of the hovering orbs of the night, this time in a distinct vee formation, was in the now-recognized " hot spot" of Rainbow Valley at about 2:00 AM on March 14, where they later reappeared on 1/14/98.

A V formation in flight:

First seen leaving the Henderson-Las Vegas area and entering Arizona at high speed, a vee-formation of five to seven orbs, variously seen as bright blue-white to a yellow-white, came through the Prescott Valley area at low altitude by 7:50 PM, turning south, where by 8:28, were videotaped (displaying their characteristic movement within the formation) at the north end of the valley that comprises the Phoenix metro area. In an apparent slower mode of flight, the orbs appeared at the point as "amber" in color formation moved along interstate 10 angling toward Tucson after having been visually seen (but not so on radar) to intersect air traffic coming in on approach to Sky Harbor International Airport.

After hovering for several minutes over a car full of witnesses driving north on I-10 (at 65 mph!), the formation was then picked up by observers in the Oracle area who reported the orbs' color as red to red-orange before the formation split up, going in separate directions while skirting the edges of the Tucson metropolitan area.

At various points independent of this very specific formation, individual orbs were seen to shoot across the metro Phoenix valley, with some seen moving away from and then re-attaching with one or more of the Very Large Objects (VLOs) which came through later in the night.

V formation hovers above Phoenix:

Observed first as a 'vee formation' of five white lights moving slowly and silently toward Prescott Valley from the northwest at about 8:15, the 'Chevron' was soon clearly seen as a single object.

The huge craft made a pivot turn over the witnesses' home while the lights shifted into an arc formation while turning to red, and upon doing so, it suddenly shot off at blinding speed toward Phoenix. Meanwhile, the next set of witnesses in central Phoenix saw the object coming directly toward them (estimated at Mach 2 to 3) while still in the 'fast mode' arc configuration and then, as if to slow back down again, was seen to change back into a vee; whereupon it cruised silently and slowly right over their heads (only 100' to 200' up at 10 to 15 mph).

The craft was later seen to zigzag through the valley, even changing altitude at various points and hovering for five minutes at the edge of Sky harbor before proceeding south (right over the Village Labs building) to Interstate 10.

After following I-10 several miles to Picacho Peak, the enormous craft (estimated at 900' or more on each leading edge and more than a mile in length to its 'taillights') hovered once again for ten to fifteen minutes there, after which we lose track of it. This is a possible 'docking' point for this craft and the giant triangle that followed it down I-10 some fifteen minutes later.

This same 'Chevron' or a similar craft was seen traveling east to west over north Phoenix at about 10:50 PM that night.

Five groups of thee lights:

This vee formation, consisting of five groups of three lights, was confirmed to be a single, huge object by various Prescott-area witnesses, being equivalent to a formation of five 747s flying absolutely lock-step in formation toward Phoenix.

This VLO was later seen (although not clearly enough to identify) by an America West pilot who called Sky Harbor tower wondering what "those nine lights were", and an amateur astronomer in Phoenix who wrote it off as a formation of conventional airplanes.

Following a flying triangle:

Observed clearly by a Mesa family among others in their area at about 8:45 to 8:55pm, this 'enormous' craft was seen to have definite structure to it complete with panels in a grid pattern along with lights at each of the three corners and a larger center light.

Multiple witnesses confirm its northwest to southeast flight path through the eastern part of the valley, with some observers seeing one or more orbs leaving and then re-attaching with this VLO at various points. This particular craft was even seen to 'split in two' as it was seen heading toward the Tucson area around 9:00pm by the last witnesses to report seeing it.

The largest object seen:

By all accounts the largest of the VLOs in the March 13 'demonstration', this gigantic craft was first seen at close range over north Phoenix between 8:30 and 8:45pm where the key witnesses (real estate people who subdivided the area) estimated its size to be as much as two miles wide. Its flight path brought it low to the ground at this point (less than 2,000') where it was seen to not only have dozens of lights along its leading edges, but also a row of windows wherein the silhouettes of 'people' were observed.

At some point further south, other witnesses reported that they saw nothing but the row of windows with beings (also in silhouette) as all of the lights were off at that point.

By the time this VLO was seen over I-10 south of Casa Grande, however three large lights were seen to be turned on, one at each corner, with smaller lights on along with the leading point light. The witnesses here reported that it took them one to two minutes to drive under this immense ship while they were driving at 80 mph. They estimated the width of this VLO to be at least two, possibly three miles wide and big enough for a C5-A Galaxy or 'Condor' troop transport (the largest conventional aircraft known) to land upon it.

The craft had definite structure to it and the family of witnesses described its color as a flat blue-black, 'like the color of a shotgun barrel'. This craft (or one like it) was seen later in north Phoenix at around 9:30pm that night during one of the military jet/UFO interception attempts, and again moving across the valley from west to east at about 10:45 PM.

A giant discoid object:

Witnessed first by a retired airline pilot, his sons and a friend and seen coming down Scottsdale Road at about 10:20 PM, this huge circular craft, featuring amber lights around its perimeter (at an estimated one mile in diameter), was seen to make a purposeful turn toward Sky Harbor at about Camelback Road where it also intersected air traffic before disappearing from view over South Mountain.

The corroborating central Phoenix witness, also a former pilot (Vietnam) and retired U.S. Marshal, described how the craft both reflected the city lights on its underbelly and blocked out the stars with its upper half, attesting to its being a single craft of spectacular, "mile-wide" proportions.

This witness also videotaped what he saw from the roof of his apartment building, but his tapes mysteriously disappeared in what may amount to a genuine 'men in black' episode (not government agents!).

This craft may also possibly have been attached to the 'chevron' vee craft and hidden in some type of 'stealth mode' in its earlier pass through Phoenix at about 8:20 to 8:30. The two craft reappeared (or two like them) last June and were photographed together at high altitude over Phoenix by the same witnesses with a 35 mm camera while also viewing them with binoculars.

A separate set of unconnected witnesses also reported the sighting of a huge discoid craft ('bigger than Sun Devil Stadium at ASU') hovering at treetop level right off of the west end of the Sky Harbor runways at between 2:00 and 3:00 AM one morning about two weeks before March 13.


Here is a pictures gallery and video stills related to these events.

Here are two FOX TV reports including amateur videos of the events.


There are dozens of close-up witnesses in Arizona who have had life-changing experiences on March 13, 1997. They think of their sightings literally every day wondering and waiting, mostly for literal answers that will tell them objectively what they saw, while sensing a deeper, subjective truth that they already know, but cannot impart. These are everyday people, truck drivers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, aerospace people, pilots, and military, active and retired alike, who saw things in all of their life's experiences that they could not, and still cannot explain to themselves or to others.

The Phoenix lights in the Press:

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This page was last updated on June 2, 2017.