A new video of a reported UFO over Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, in May set off a new round of speculation regarding objects spotted in the Midwest skies.
A couple called news agencies and UFO teams alleging they captured a strange object on cell phone video over the base on May 25. Both local and national news stations covered the story. SecureTeam 10, which investigates UFOs and other strange anomalies in the skies, investigated the alleged sighting, with team member Tyler Glockner stating two separate witnesses reported the same sighting around 9:45 p.m. The video went viral after the group posted it.
However, others like astrophysicist Joseph Childers and UFO investigator Tom Wertman, who is the Ohio state director for MUFON, said they believed the video was a hoax. Wright Patterson officials told local media the base had no connection to the object reported.
Part of the dilemma about researching Ohio UFOs is the history. Wright Patteron AFB is entrenched in UFO stories because it was the home base of the infamous Project Blue Book, a quazisecret government agency created specifically to document and investigate UFO cases. There are 12,618 documented cases of strangeness from 1947 to 1969 in the records of Project Blue Book.
Some, including Wertman, said there are actually just as many reported UFO cases over Lake Erie in Cleveland. There are several theories on this, with UFO expert John Ventre stating large bodies of water seem to be a common denominator in at least half of the UFO sightings. Speculations among UFO believers are these waters could hide a base camp for aliens.
Wertman offers simpler explanations: air traffic and Chinese lanterns.
Wertman said a rash of UFO sightings occurred in 2009 and 2010, when Lake Erie remained frozen. A young man called local news stations after seeing strange lights eight or nine nights in a row. Wertman, who never watches the news, got involved after MUFON’s Louisiana state director notified him and put him in touch with the young man reporting the lights.
“HE SAID HE HAD BEEN SEEING THINGS MULTIPLE NIGHTS IN A ROW. THEY ALWAYS APPEARED IN THE SAME DIRECTION AND DISAPPEARED THE SAME WAY. TO ME, IT SOUNDED LIKE AIRCRAFT,” WERTMAN SAID.
It took four nights, but Wertman finally got to view the objects for himself. He used a phone app to look at aircraft flight patterns and determined it was planes coming from the Minneapolis area and headed for a landing at the airport.
Even so, he went out another night with movie cameras, highpowered binoculars and two teams, one in Euclid and one in Lakewood. Wertman talked to a Delta pilot about flight paths, air speeds and altitude. Mathematical formulas proved the objects were on the typical flight path to the airport.
“WHEN THEY COME IN FROM THAT DIRECTION, THEY COME IN AND MAKE THIS BIG TURN AND HEAD SOUTHWEST. THAT’S WHEN THEY BEGIN THEIR FLIGHT PATH FOR LANDING,” WERTMAN SAID.
He said planes produce a type of optical illusion when they make the 90degree turn. Although planes are at least two miles apart, they look like they are close and appear to move faster while the lights dim heading southwest, he said. “It gave the appearance of two balls moving around each other,” he said. How could people mistake planes for UFOs?
“SOMETIMES, WHEN IT HAPPENS, IS WHEN AIRCRAFT IS HEADING DIRECTLY AT THEM, THE LANDING LIGHTS ARE THERE. THEY SEE THOSE, BUT NOT THE LIGHTS ON THE WINGS,” WERTMAN SAID.
Other reports of balls of light over the lake are probably Chinese lanterns, Wertman said. He said he gets a lot of reports around July 4 and holidays when people tend to light the lanterns.
The Coast Guard said the strange orbs of light over Lake Erie are attributed to television and radio towers on the Canadian shore across the lake. Wertman said that a farfetched theory because of the distance from Cleveland to Canada, but is possible.
Whatever the reason, Ohio will likely continue to remain a hotspot for sightings as long as people remained interested in seeing something unusual.