PENNSYLVANIA— UFOs and the possibility that aliens from another galaxy could be sending emissaries to check things out on planet Earth have captivated Americans for decades; Pennsylvania residents make dozens of reports annually of strange happenings in the sky. Navy pilots recently spoke of seeing mysterious objects — with no discernible engine or exhaust fumes — flying at hypersonic speeds, which brought the phenomenon back into the headlines.
So far, there have been 63 reports of unexplained things in the night sky over Pennsylvania this year, according to the National UFO Reporting Center.
Several reports — including one in York County — are as recent as the past two weeks.
The most recent report was June 13, when a York resident reported four stationary lights in a “diamond formation.”
The lights were located “between Jupiter and Saturn,” according to the report. After about 30 seconds, they began to fade out one by one.
A very detailed sighting occurred on May 29 on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, between mile markers 318 and 317.
The witness reported seeing a triangle-shaped object, with blinking red lights on the edges and white lights in the center. The witness thought it was a communications tower, but saw there was no structure below it as he drew closer. It was reportedly 300 feet over the ground, hovering over the turnpike, and noiseless.
Things took a different shape on May 23 over in Elkins Park, when a UFO appeared to pursue motorists.
Witnesses were driving down 309 when two orbs hovered on either side of the car and followed them all the way to Wawa. The orbs stopped and “waited” while they went into Wawa, then continued following them part of the way home after that.
Around Pennsylvania, residents reported seeing lights in the sky, fireballs, disks and more. You can check out more Pennsylvania UFO reports on the National UFO Reporting Center website.
President Donald Trump recently said he was briefed on UFOs. A group of Senate lawmakers received a classified briefing this week about such objects. And let’s not get started on that strange Facebook video that seems to show a creepy-looking alien doing some sort of jig down someone’s driveway.
Virginia Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Warner wants answers on UFOs, whether it’s “weather balloons, little green men, or something else entirely,” Rachel Cohen, his spokeswoman, told CNN. And the Navy has drafted guidelines to allow pilots to report UFOs, and so that the military can track them, though the military branch prefers not to use the term “UFO.”
“We don’t actually use that term,” Joseph Gradisher, a spokesman for the deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, told Patch last week. “We use ‘Unmanned Aerial System.”http://patch.com/”
The term, shortened to UAS, refers to things like recreational flying drones people can buy at a store. For the “other” things, the Navy uses the term UAP, meaning “Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon.”
“We constitute anything unknown or unidentified in the airspace as an ‘Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon,’ no matter what it is,” he said.
According to data compiled by the National UFO Reporting Center, there were nearly 500 sightings across the country in May and more than 300 in January, March and April.
The Navy recently told POLITICO in a statement there were reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft “entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years.”
“For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report,” the statement said.
And Ryan Graves, an F/A-18 Super Hornet pilot who reported his sightings to the Pentagon and Congress, told The New York Times last month he was one of multiple pilots who saw UFOs. The pilots began seeing the objects in 2014 and 2015 after receiving upgraded equipment.
Initially they believed they were getting bad readings. But the sightings kept happening, showing up at 30,000 feet, 20,000 feet and even at sea level. The objects could speed up, slow down and then reach hypersonic speeds.
“These things would be out there all day,” he said. “Keeping an aircraft in the air requires a significant amount of energy. With the speeds we observed, 12 hours in the air is 11 hours longer than we’d expect.”
Patch national staffer Dan Hampton contributed to this report.