204916 sightings reported...
and growing

Arcata, CA

Sighted on Friday 15. November 2002
Reported on
Shape: Light | Duration: 10 min

Four globes of light in formationFirst of all, let me apologise for the approximation on the day and time. Though I cannot remember the exact d/t, based upon where our lives were at the time, I do know that it had to be fall of the academic year 2002-2003. I had just picked up my daughter at around 5:15 or so, and we were heading home to Blue Lake via Jane's Road/Guintoli Road in the northern reaches of Arcata, CA. (in a development area called Valley West). The sun had set, the sky was darkening to a deep purple, but there was still enough sky light that the hills to the northeast were clearly silhouetted, with some slope details still visible. There were a very few stars starting to show the skylight combined with a hazy sky allowed only the very brightest to emerge at that time. It was this paucity of stars that brought my attention to the lights. We were heading north, approaching the point where Jane's Rd curves east to become Guintoli, when I noticed a formation of 4 very bright stars over the hills just northeast of us. As we began climbing the overpass that Guintoli takes over US 101, I could see these stars more clearly and thought that there was something odd. I interpreted them as a familiar constellation made peculiar by the selective manner in which the atmospheric conditions permitted its bright stars to appear earlier than the rest. Honestly, I thought I was looking at the Big Dipper, but only its brightest components. Still, they were preternaturally bright and they didn't seem high enough in the sky to be the Dipper. I grew very puzzled and unsure of what I was looking at. I called my daughter's attention to the "stars." Apparently she had already noticed them and was also trying to figure out what they were. Unfortunately, there was no place to pull over and observe. However, we got the definite impression that these "stars," these lights, were moving. What other real stars we could see were not near enough to confirm this. Our direction was toward the lights, with those northeast hills between us and them, so there was not much in the way of lateral relative motion, making absolute motion easier to detect. Since I was driving, I couldn't watch steadily, but my daughter could. She was able to tell, after a little while, that they were moving as a solid group as if in formation. There was a stop sign along our route, and we were able to briefy watch them, and yes, they were definately moving in a northerly direction, perhaps somewhat east of north since they seem to be moving inland slightly. There is an airport in a town not far to the north (McKinleyville), and I thought maybe we were seeing some kind of commercial aircraft or maybe something being flown by the Coast Guard which has its Air Station next door to the airport. We dismissed these possibilities after watching while paused at the stop. These lights did not flash nor pulse, and they were large, opaque, globular, almost solid looking, if light can be said to look solid. Their color was a brilliant white, no other colors, no prismatic effects, no bluish or reddish hue, just white like wedding cake frosting. They were not phosphorescent or neon-like, not fluorescent, but more like incandescent, though that's not quite right either. They did not twinkle, nor dance, nor do any of the things that starlight does under atmospheric influence, they were dead steady. In size, they appeared to be slightly larger than a large bright planet, Jupiter, on one its closer approaches, maybe, but clearer, with more well-defined edges.Since we were travelling in a car, we don't know if they emitted a sound.We proceeded on through the interesection, and I began looking for a place I could pull over to watch the lights. We turned off Guintoli onto State 299 (the hwy we would take home), trying to keep the lights in view. The lights' altitude was low enough and our relative positions and vectors were such that those hills rapidly got in the way. As we were passing the lights (yes, rapid paralax changes also clued us in to just how close and low the lights really were), seeking a way off the road, one light suddenly disengaged itself from the formation and arced over its neighbor in a smooth curve. Before we could see the final shape of the maneuver and the resulting formation, the crest of the hills and its trees obscured our view completely.I swung off onto a side road that would take us back the way we came, got back onto 101, and headed north toward the neighboring town, McKinleyville. I had hoped that since the lights were heading more or less north and didn't seem to be in a big hurry, that we could pick them up again and watch them some more. Unfortunately, by the time I had gotten back to 101, the lights were gone, either too far to the east to see past the hills, or they simply disappeared like these things have a tendency to do. I was so excited that I phoned by son as soon as we got home. He sees odd lights and objects all the time, so I knew he'd be interested in this. As it turned out, he and his girlfriend had seen two simliar lights over Eureka just minutes before we first spotted our lights over north Arcata/Valley West. This is why I put 4 witnesses in parentheses, if they were the same lights, then four of us saw them, not just two. According to him and his girlfriend, they were in my mom's back yard watching the sunset. The house is in west-central Eureka. Not long after the sun had disappeared, his girlfriend noticed an odd bright light approaching from, if I remember right, the west, and my son saw one coming in from the south. The sky was still fairly bright for them, and these lights were quite brilliant despite the light sky. Note: At this latitude, at that time of the year, there are no long lingering sunsets, the sun would have fallen to the horizon as if gut-shot and the sky darken within 15 minutes or less. That means their sighting could not have preceded ours by more than a quarter hour. The two lights approached each other, one fell in behind the other, and both continued on in a northerly direction, heading toward Humboldt Bay, which lies between Eureka and Arcata. These sounded like two of the very same lights that my daughter and I observed. We surmised that they picked up two other companions somewhere between Eureka and north Arcata, and continued on north/northeast where we saw them disappear into the hills which skirt the eastern frontage of our coastal towns. If you look on a map of northern Califormia, you will see that Eureka, Humboldt Bay, Arcata, and McKinleyville line the coast only a few miles from each other. I will try to create a map of our sighting and mail it to you. Our family has had a lot of weird sightings and other "paranormal" events. I've often thought of writing them all down and sending them to someone doing research into these things who is looking for raw data, but I wouldn't know who to send them to. I found your sight while looking for information on anomalous sky flashes such as the one our area experienced last Sunday. (That has been explained, apparently, there were distant witnesses who saw a bolide). If you would be interested in any other reports for your stats or whatever, let me know. One thing I would like to know is if you received any reports of these same lights from this general area, or points north of here. There was nothing in our local paper and I've not heard of anyone else who saw them. My son is wondering if this isn't an example of the "Pearl Necklace" that has been seen in times past.Thank you.((NUFORC Note: Witness indicates that the date of the incident is approximate. PD))

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