Jan 21, 2013 (Reading Eagle - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Last week I reported that Joseph and Pamela Guido saw strange lights in the northern sky above their Ruscombmanor Township home.
They were floating eastward in what appeared to be some kind of formation when the Guidos saw them Jan. 6 about 9 p.m.
Julie Wall said she lives on Oley Road near Fleetwood and saw the same lights that night. She was out on the deck talking on the phone and became so alarmed that she ran inside.
"I went back outside and the first three lights very abruptly turned east and continued in a triangle formation down the entire treeline towards the Boyertown area," Wall said.
Judy Emdee emailed to say she was startled when she first saw the reddish-orange orbs floating in the sky behind her Boyertown area home that night.
A Web search turned up sites for the National UFO Reporting Center or NUFORC and Mutual UFO Network or MUFON, which listed multiple UFO sightings over Berks County in the days before Jan. 6.
NUFORC said that on Dec. 15 there was a report of bright fireball-like orange lights in the sky above Reading for about three minutes. About 27 miles due west, a driver reported seeing a cluster of orange lights that were there for about two minutes before they disappeared.
MUFON reported that on Dec. 19 a string of red or orange orblike lights could be seen floating in the sky between Wernersville and Sinking Spring.
"Since June 2011, our center has been inundated with reports of clusters of usually red, orange or yellow lights," said NUFORC Director Peter Davenport.
Stanton Friedman, a former nuclear physicist who worked on the Roswell investigation of Area 51 for the government and has dedicated most of his later years to investigating UFOs, said the floating lights were Chinese lanterns that are released during celebrations.
Dan Medleycott of Mount Penn is state Section 3 director of MUFON and a senior UFO investigator for the volunteer group. He said he agrees with Friedman. He also said there are UFO hoaxsters out there who use the lanterns and other devices to simulate UFOs.
Then I got a call from Phoebe Ministries, the parent of Phoebe Berks near Wernersville. Mary Kay McMahon, executive director of Phoebe Berks, said the lights in the Wernersville area Dec. 19 were no hoax.
"We had a fundraiser on Dec. 19, and we used the Chinese lanterns as part of the event," McMahon said.
Jasin Garner wrote to say he and his wife, Jen, live in Wernersville and saw the lights that night.
"While sitting on our front porch and backyard deck, we watched them for at least 30 to 40 minutes at a time until they disappeared," Jasin wrote. "I thought it was nice to read in the paper that someone else had seen them."
The relatively new fad of launching the biodegradable paper lanterns at celebrations might take some getting used to for others.
Justin Wolfe said he and his 11-year-old son, Shae, saw six to eight reddish-orange lights floating in the sky above their Lower Alsace Township home on Dec. 15.
"I can't tell you exactly what I saw in the sky that night; it very well could of been those Chinese lanterns," Wolfe said. "But to believe that we are the only life-forms that exist in the entire universe now that's just ridiculous."
You're not alone Justin.
In Kelly's Korner, Dan Kelly writes about the people and personalities that make Berks County special. Contact him 610-371-5040 or dkelly@ readingeagle.com.
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