What exactly it was in the skies over west-central Illinois that cold night several months ago is still uncertain.
But it has UFO trackers all abuzz.
The Mutual UFO Network, a Newport Beach, Calif.-based network dedicated to the scientific investigation of unidentified flying objects, said there were at least seven reports from Jacksonville and surrounding communities the night of Jan. 7 of unusual triangular-formation lights in the sky.
“I noticed a single light that was much brighter than a star and had an orange-yellow color. It faded into sight and after sitting motionless for a couple of minutes, then several more lights appeared, forming a large triangle,” according to an anonymous report.
The Jacksonville resident making the report said the lights would dim and brighten. They were visible about 9:30 p.m. over the east side of the city.
“After this happening for several more minutes, a large disc consisting of at least 10 lights appeared to the bottom left of the triangle. I panicked and … and ran into our basement, where my dad was, and told him to come upstairs with a camera … but it had disappeared,” the person reported. “I didn’t know what to think. I just knew it wasn’t anything I commonly see.”
Others reported similar sightings that night, including people in Virginia, Springfield and Carrollton. In all, seven people said they saw the bizarre display.
“We saw three colored lights low in the sky between Alexander and Prentice close to Old State Road. They came on one at a time and then went off,” another reporter said.
While no one offered a guess about what they had seen, most said it was unusual.
“My mom and I saw the same thing. We thought we were going crazy, but at least we are not the only ones,” said someone who reported seeing lights in the sky between Virginia and Jacksonville.
The sightings, officially marked as Case No. 53305, remain unsolved.
David C.L. Bauer can be reached at 217-245-6121, ext. 235, or on Twitter @EditorDCLBauer.