UFO sightings reported in Clover on Halloween
11/02/2011 12:00 AM
11/02/2011 1:48 PM
Jonathan and Kathy Engle are regular people.
They do not live in a desert and seek out Martians through telepathy or interplanetary cell phone calls - assuming there is cell service in outer space.
Jonathan Engle works maintenance in a department store. On Tuesday afternoon, he had a doctor's appointment. He went to a doctor - not a mystic or faith healer. He's solid.
"But I know what I saw in that sky last night," Engle said, pointing northwest from his porch on Tuesday - the day after Halloween, when people dress up in masks and costumes and try to scare each other.
He paused. He lit a cigarette.
"That was no plane. I am not trying to scare anybody. And now I seen it twice."
What Jonathan and Kathy Engle believe they saw - because neither has another explanation - is simple.
"It had to be a UFO," said Jonathan Engle.
His wife, who has lived in Clover for 15 years and in York before that - a lady with years in the area - said, "It sure wasn't any Chinese lantern or fireworks or anything else. What else could it be?"
"UFO" is short for unidentified flying object. People who report such things are often heard on all-night radio shows, or seen assembling at conferences where people might wear hats with transmitters on them.
Jonathan and Kathy Engle are well aware of this.
But the Engles say they know what they saw. Others, neighbors who don't want to be identified, claim to have seen lights, too.
One of the neighbors even took photos and video of the lights on a cell phone. (see video at end of story)
The Engles and other neighbors say planes are seen "all the time," because only about 20 miles to the northeast is Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
"We know what planes look like, how they fly, how fast," Jonathan Engle said.
"This was lights," said Kathy Engle. "They just hung there."
Halloween night, the Engles and a neighbor across the street saw three red lights in the sky, close together.
"Full circles," Jonathan Engle said. "The size of a full moon, about."
The lights stayed a few minutes before heading northwest at great speed, turning into white dots in the distance and disappearing.
"We all can't be seeing something at the same time if it is not there," said Kathy Engle. "It had to be something."
Jonathan Engle said the incident Oct. 23, around 7:30 p.m. on a clear night just like Halloween, was the first time.
"The lights were moving, stopped, hovered - and went straight up," he said.
Both times, Clover Police Department officers came out. Halloween night, the police even took a report from the Engles and a neighbor to document the sightings.
"Unidentified objects," is what the report is titled.
When somebody reports an incident to police, the cops usually give some description of the person they are reporting about.
This report was written by a cop named Scott Seaford - an Afghanistan veteran and terrific guy who is dedicated to the public's safety. Seaford wants to find any smile he can in a business that often involves despair, knives and guns.
Officer Seaford wrote the name of the subject involved with the lights in the sky as: Unknown, Unknown, Unknown.
Race, unknown. Sex, unknown. Ethnicity, unknown. Hair and eyes, unknown. Address, unknown.
The neighborhood does not have a history of crank calls or much of any calls, as it is a quiet place filled with quiet people, said Lt. Tanner Davis of the Clover Police Department.
A pair of officers spent more than an hour in the neighborhood, almost until midnight Halloween night, but did not see any lights.
York County emergency dispatch reported no other calls about the lights, either, and there were no military maneuvers or other aircraft in the area.
"It could be anything, lasers are so sophisticated now," said Cotton Howell, York County emergency management director. "There is all kind of stuff to light up the sky. They may have seen something, but what they saw - that's another story."
One neighbor who saw the lights even called the national UFO Reporting Center in Washington state. That center - not a government agency, but an institution where people who believe in UFOs tally sightings - gets tens of thousands of sighting claims each year.
The director of that center, Peter Davenport, said Tuesday most people who claim a sighting find out that it was Jupiter, or a chromatic display, or some other legitimate cause.
Others, Davenport said, see UFOs. About 30 percent of American adults claim to have seen a UFO, he said, but most are afraid to report seeing anything.
People who report sightings do not have problems with their eyes or minds, Davenport said.
"They see what they see," he said.
On Oct. 24, somebody in Charlotte claimed a yellow/orange cigar-shaped thing hovered overhead.
Then again, that's Charlotte. A fat banker wearing a Day-Glo bowtie on his way home from a UNC alumni dinner might have taken a balloon ride.
A couple days before that, somebody from Columbia reported to the national center about seeing lights in the sky.
That being Columbia, it could have been politicians lighting cigars with workingmen's tax money, or former Gov. Mark Sanford signaling Argentina with the one mirror he does not use to look at himself.
Another neighbor had told Jonathan Engle last week he thought he saw something - six red lights in the sky - but didn't call anybody because he didn't want anyone to think he was strange.
Jonathan Engle is just a hard-working 43-year-old guy who, twice in nine days, looked up into the sky from his house and saw some lights that did not act like airplanes.
"We saw something," Jonathan Engle said. "Something was in that sky - twice. I always thought there might be UFOs.
"Well, I think I saw them myself."
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