posted on Jun, 21 2004 @ 12:38 PM
AURORA CAUGHT ON VIDEO?
Port Charlotte man films two UFOs
'Ball of fire' not explained by meteor shower, experts say
Nov. 27, 1998
By Greg Martin Staff Writer
Jim DeVoy, 38, of Port Charlotte, saw something astronomical on
his way home the afternoon of Nov. 16.
As he was pulling into his driveway at 530 Lakehurst Ave., he
looked up through the windshield of his '93 Dodge pickup truck and
saw "a ball of fire" streaking slowly toward the horizon.
"It looked like something out of 'Armageddon,' " he said. "It
was headed straight down."
He jumped out, dashed inside, grabbed his video camera and started
filming the object. About that time, he saw a second, smaller object
in the sky. He couldn't film both at the same time, so he trained
the camera on the "ball of fire."
"It was creeping toward the horizon for an entire minute," he
The videotape shows an object perhaps as broad as a thumbnail
at arm's length traveling slowly toward the horizon, with a brightly
illuminated, fan-shaped tail of vapor. The image is jittery and
comes in and out of focus as DeVoy adjusts the telephoto lens.
On the soundtrack, one can hear birds chirping, a passing car
and DeVoy calling for his wife. "Kathy! Kathy!" he says. There's
no noise from the unidentified flying object.
After 60 seconds, the silhouette of rooftops of neighboring houses
and trees come into view as if the object was flying well past them
and far overhead. It disappears below the horizon. Without stopping
his camera, DeVoy swings around, looking for the second object.
"I knew there was something else up there, but I couldn't take
my eyes off the first one (until it was gone)," he said. "I panned
over to the other one."
The second object seemed to be traveling faster, more like a rocket,
he said. It was moving more southerly, from right to left, and lower
in the horizon, so the paths of the two objects would have intersected
beyond the horizon.
He filmed the second object until it passed behind some palm trees.
DeVoy's life hasn't been quite the same since.
He said he's shown the videotape to two television stations. One
ran a short clip of the first shot as promotion for its newscasts
about the Leonid meteor shower that peaked last week. The other
news station rejected the film as a fake, after its meteorologist
said the objects couldn't be asteroids.
But DeVoy's family members remain stunned by the film.
"My mother was like, '(The news stations) don't want to use it?
Something's up,' " said DeVoy, grinning.
"I was really astounded by it," said his mother, Jean DeVoy. "I
thought it was kind of frightening."
DeVoy's sister, Dianne DeVoy, said she expected to see a film
of a "shooting star." But what she saw on the tape appeared much
"I thought it was a meteor getting chased by a missile," she said.
DeVoy then brought the film to the Sun Herald. The newspaper posted
the video clip on its Internet site (www.sunline.net/ufo/).
Dr. Ed Smith, an astronomy teacher at Edison Community College
in Punta Gorda, said there are space objects large enough to appear
like a ball of fire as they burn up in the atmosphere.
But they would be moving at some 500,000 mph -- like shooting
stars. DeVoy's UFO didn't appear to be moving that fast.
"It was quite strange, I thought," said Dr. Brian Bowman, a professor
of physics at Florida Gulf Coast University, after he viewed the
video on the Internet.
Bowman majored in astrophysics and will be teaching a course on
astronomy next spring.
"It appeared that the meteorite's profile didn't change. And the
second one -- it doesn't even look real.
"The resolution wasn't good, but it looks like a white rod. ...
It kind of looks fishy."
Meteors are particles the size of pebbles that have fallen off
a comet. They leave narrow trails, appear more distant and move
extremely fast, he said. Asteroids are larger chunks of rock and
are less common. They're big enough to leave huge craters if they
hit the earth, like one in Arizona.
One of those hitting the earth would not go unnoticed, experts
What about a rocket? Bowman said their smoke trails don't look
like the ones shown on the film, he said.
Cruise missiles? They fly like a jet, but leave no trail, he said.
"You want to minimize their visibility," he said. "There's a lot
of defense-minded activity associated with them."
Dave McQuade, president of the Southwest Florida Astronomical
Society in Fort Myers, said he was very interested in seeing the
In fact, he has invited DeVoy to show the tape at the club's next
A NASA space station payload processing supervisor, Joe DeLai,
will be the guest speaker at the event.
McQuade also said the object DeVoy described was moving too slow
to be either an asteroid or a meteor.
"My hunch is what he probably saw is a satellite reflecting the
sun," he said.
But, when told the object left a vapor trail, he said a commercial
jet was "more plausible."
"There's no way it was a rocket," said Bruce Buckingham, a spokesman
for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center. "I'd say it could look quite
a bit like a rocket. It's not a rocket. There aren't any rockets
that fly like that.
"You can look up into the clouds with the right light and, by
golly, you're seeing a dragon," he added. "I'm sure it's just an
A report of DeVoy's sighting was sent to the National UFO Reporting
Center in Seattle.
Peter B. Davenport, director of the center, said last week he
would have UFO investigators study the video before commenting on
But he said for the past 10 weeks, UFO sightings have hit all-time
There have been 66 sightings this month, 127 in October, 164 in
September and 56 in August. The center makes no claims about the
authenticity of the reports.
Some of the objects reported were triangular, some round and one
was "like an X on its side with the long parts connected."
Many are described as fast-moving lights that defy the typical,
steady flight patterns of conventional aircraft or shooting stars.
There were half a dozen UFO sightings Monday and Tuesday as the
meteor shower passed.
For example, at 11:41 p.m. Monday in Kansas City, Mo., a police
supervisor reported getting a call from his girlfriend on his cellular
phone. She described a UFO as an "orange, glowing, round object
leaving a trail behind it."
She felt as though it was coming after her, so she fled into a
relative's house, the cop told the UFO center.
"We are honest, churchgoing people and have no need to be dishonest
or phony," he wrote.
A man in Tavares, Fla., reported a UFO at 11:55 p.m. Tuesday.
The craft passed silently at an altitude of 1,500 feet with all
its lights out as if on a covert approach to Orlando International
Airport, he said.
"It looked like a stealth aircraft," he said.
Davenport said the sightings have little to do with the meteor
shower, which are remnants of the comet P/55 Tempel-Tuttle, which
crossed near earth's orbit in February.
The only correlation between the meteor shower and UFO sightings
is that more people were outside at night watching the sky because
of the shower, Davenport said.
"It is rarely the case that a person mistakes a shooting star
during a meteor shower for an intergalactic ship," he said.
He said the UFO center has tried to get national news organizations
to investigate the rash of sightings to no avail.
"We've been inundated with UFO reports," Davenport said. "It is
clearly the case, from our vantage point, that the government and
the national press really don't want people to hear about this."
DeVoy's videotape may be sparking some national interest.
A week ago, DeVoy got a call from a reporter from "Dateline NBC."
The national news magazine had DeVoy rush a tape of the UFOs via
Federal Express to the station's offices in Manhattan.
(reprinted with permission)