Sixteen years ago this week, the so-called “Phoenix Lights” phenomenon stunned thousands of Arizonans, eventually attracted global media, evoked a belated eyewitness confession from then-Gov. Fife Symington, prompted the USAF to blow off a tepid query from Sen. John McCain with a flimsy flare-drop storyline, and spun itself into books and televised specials. And although UFO sightings continue to unfurl across Arizona, the trail of clues relating to the 1997 incident grows colder with each passing year.
Please, let’s not drag HIM into this thing, OK?/CREDIT: news.yahoo.com
That’s why it’s good to see Grand Canyon State media, at least in a token way, still fanning the dying embers every now and then, especially on anniversaries that don’t end with a 0 or a 5. At least one station has promoted the screening of an updated documentary at a Scottsdale multiplex on Sunday, where Navajo Nation Rangers are expected to talk up recent developments over their own territory.
It’d be great if those Rangers had some hard data to share, but lacking that, the burden, as usual, shifts to eyewitness credibility. And as the late Sufi philosopher Idries Shah reminds us, “Opinion is usually something which people have when they lack comprehensive information.”
Here’s an example of where a credible eyewitness had me until he veered into Opinionworld (courtesy of a recent first-person byline in The UFO Chronicles):
With 12,000 hours flying time, Trig Johnston would appear to have all the credentials. Featured in several related documentaries, the retired commercial airline pilot is a trained observer, which shines through in his recounting of the bizarre events of March 13, 1997, from his home in Scottsdale. “Whatever it was,” he wrote of the “huge mass — at least a mile wide” he watched from his driveway, the UFO “seemed to be following the Tonto One arrival, the standard jet arrival routing for instrument traffic in PHX on an approximate heading of 120 degrees.
“I estimate it passed 90 degrees to our position,” Johnston went on, “roughly at the intersection of Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard, a couple of miles away, at 22:30.” He calculated its cruising speed at 30 mph, and “perceived a rounded, almost gondola shaped — what? — what DO you call a semi-transparent thing on the bottom of the craft whose top might have been 10,000 feet in height?”
That’s when Johnston lapsed into rhetorical flourishes, wielding the word “they” like a bludgeon, as in: “You see, they [Johnston's emphasis] don’t want you to know what we saw on March 13.” Which may well be true, but exactly how many of “they” are we talking about here?
“The SR-71 flew in 1958 before they had any real money to play with,” Johnston goes on. “Remember, they shot JFK in front of God and everyone else and got away with it. Fried some folks at Waco, but deny it to this day. Do you believe that TWA 800 was brought down by a faulty boost boost pump. Do you really believe the ‘9-11’ story?
There’s more: “Is it possible that ‘they,’ the flight crew of the March 13th UFO are in the service of ‘them’? Your tax dollars at work? That would be my guess. But then I have to ask myself why they would parade their new toy down Scottsdale Road, and then deny it? Look up. ‘They’ [no bold-face emphasis this time, just quotation marks, suggesting a different they] will be back.”
OK, now I’m confused. Which “they” will be back? The JFK assassins, the SR-71 people, the Waco people, the “they” who brought down TWA 800, the 9/11 conspirators, the Phoenix Lights pilots or those to whom “they” are in service? I don’t like any of them options, and I hope I never see any of they anytime soon.