This artistic depiction of a UFO has absolutely nothing to do with a Yankton sighting of an unknown object in the sky. I just thought it looked cool. Cool?
I got excited Monday when I saw in the Yankton County Sheriff’s report that an unknown object had been spotted in the sky west of Yankton.
I don’t keep up with the UFO literature much anymore, but I read extensively about possible alien visits to Earth in my youth. When “The X-Files” began airing in 1993, it brought to life many of the stories I had read up to that point.
One of the books on these matters that I particularly enjoyed in later years was Jim Marrs’ “Alien Agenda: Investigating the Extraterrestrial Presence Among Us.”
I admittedly haven’t given much serious thought to the issue of UFOs recently, but I’m always on the look-out for the unusual.
When I saw the sheriff’s report, I immediately asked myself if this had been a UFO — which I guess could mean any number of things. The possibilities aren’t exclusively extraterrestrial, of course.
Within minutes, my brother happened to send me a link to this story a UFO writer had posted about the Yankton case.
The matter culminated with this story I wrote in the Yankton Press & Dakotan today:
A resident just west of Yankton claims he has seen unexplained lights in the sky on multiple recent nights.
A male resident along Rainbow Street in Riverside Acres reported to the Yankton County Sheriff’s Office at 8:40 p.m. Friday that he had observed an unknown object in the sky.
Sheriff Jim Vlahakis said two of his deputies subsequently observed the light and believed it to be a satellite or, more likely, an airplane due to the flashing red light common on all aircraft.
A message was left by the Press & Dakotan at the residence of the individual who reported the light, but it was not returned by press time.
According to Jim Klancnik, the state director for the Mutual UFO Network, Inc. (MUFON) who resides in Spearfish Canyon, the same individual submitted a report to the organization’s public UFO case files Sunday. MUFON is a Greeley, Colo.-based organization dedicated to the study of unexplained flying objects.
In the report, the man said he was outside around 10:15 p.m. Jan. 3 when he noticed what looked like police lights in the sky to the south of his location.
“The part of the sky I was looking at is a pretty busy flight path,” the report states. “On any day at any time of the day, I see planes and, especially, helicopters flying by, usually flying (northeast). This was definitely not a plane or helicopter.”
While watching the light, the man said a smaller object appeared to fly out of and away from it in parabolic curve toward the ground.
“As soon as object #2 disappeared behind background trees and houses I heard a herd of cows about a mile away freak out briefly,” the report reads. “Nothing really happened; no cows were harmed and the diving craft didn’t crash.”
Looking around, he said about four more similar lights were observed.
On Friday night, the man said he saw about six of them. Approximately 11 lights were spotted around 1 a.m. Saturday night.
As the report was being written around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, the witness said they were directly overhead.
“I can see the shape of it (maybe triangle or stealth fighter shape),” he states. “There are no military bases around here or anything else that should bring so much aircraft other than the usual traffic of private planes, crop duster planes and medical helicopters.”
The sheriff’s office has received no other reports of strange aerial activity.
MUFON allows photos to be attached to the reports but none were submitted.
Klancnik said it’s not the first instance of a possible UFO sighting in the region in recent times.
“I’ve had about six different reports within 100 miles of Yankton of a lot of different UFO sightings,” he stated. “Most of them have to do with orange lights.”
For example, a witness reported May 17 of last year that two sets of orange orbs were spotted in the sky at Pickstown.
“They appeared only for a few seconds then disappeared,” the Pickstown report states. “I tried to get the images on my camera and it was unsuccessful. (Fifteen minutes) later a squadron of jet fighters circled the area and looked like they were sweeping the area around the (site). At first, we thought it was military training activities with flares. The more I thought about it, flares don’t stay stationary. Or do they?”
Klancnik said he planned to conduct an interview with the witness in Yankton. During his investigation process, he attempts to gauge the reliability of the individual to make sure they aren’t just making up a story.
“For all of the reports we receive, 98 percent of them are explainable,” Klancnik added. “About 2 percent are not, and that’s the stuff that makes us wonder.”
This is the full report posted by the Yankton witness on the MUFON site:
on Thur Jan 3rd I went outside to smoke and was about ready to go to bed. It was about 10:15 pm. I couldnt help but notice what looked like police lights (“cherries” or whatever theyre called) in the sky to the south. I was pretty sure there werent any cop cars flying around that night, and the part of the sky I was looking at is a pretty busy flight path. On any day at any time of the day I see planes and especially helicopters flying by, usually flying NE. This was definitely not a plane or helicopter. Then, while I was scratching my head “what the &*%$ is that?!” a smaller thing like it appeared to fly out of and away from the first object. Its flight trajectory was a sort on parabolic curve toward the ground. And as soon as object #2 disappeared behind background trees and houses I heard a herd of cows about a mile away freak out briefly. Nothing really happened; no cows were harmed and the diving craft didnt crash. But seeing that made me realize that there may be more of them. I looked around at the sky and spotted about 4 more of them but all were either smaller or at higher altitude than the first one. The same thing happened every night since then. But every night there seems to be more of them. Thursday there were maybe about 3 or 4 of them. Friday 1/4/13 there were about 6 of them, Saturday night at about 1am there were at least 11. While I write this its about 6:30 pm and they seem to have started early because instead of being on the easter horizon, right now they are almost directly overhead, and other new developments are that they must be lower because they are much easier to see. And about 15 minutes ago I saw something with all of those same flashing lights but is was much closer to the ground and I can see the shape of it (maybe triangle or stealth fighter shape. There are no military bases around here or anything else that should bring so much aircraft other than the usual traffic of private planes, crop duster planes and medical helicopters. Tonight is as interesting as all the other nights so, I guess the story continues to unfold.
I’m going to admit that I’m skeptical of the story.
These lights were allegedly viewed in the area of Riverside Acres, which isn’t exactly sparsely populated. If the lights were visible on multiple nights — as early as 6:30 p.m. in one case — it’s a bit hard to believe no one else noticed anything strange.
In addition, you have Highway 81 crossing the Missouri River nearby, which gives motorists a clear view to the west. Traffic is always crossing that bridge. You would think someone would have spotted something.
Also, I know if I was seeing strange things over multiple nights, I would try really hard to get pictures or videos of the phenomenon. If those exist, they have not been shared on the MUFON site.
While walking across the Meridian Bridge Monday night, I made sure to keep my eyes to the west in case the lights made an appearance. I will say that between airplanes, cell phone towers and wind towers, there are a lot of red lights that can be seen from the Meridian Bridge. However, I saw nothing out of the ordinary.
At this point, I’ll assume that the witness is being honest about what he believed he was seeing. However, more evidence will be necessary before I can truly get excited about this UFO sighting.
On a probably unrelated note, these red lights made quite a stir in Colorado in 2011:
Read about the mysterious lights here.