MYSTERY WIRE — Written accounts on file with the National UFO Reporting Center describe sightings in Southern Nevada that were part of the “Phoenix Lights” phenomenon of 1997.

December 8 reports from Mesa, Arizona, which is just southeast of Phoenix, have some people wondering if the Phoenix Lights have returned.

The 1997 is called a “mass UFO sighting” because there were so many reports. It has never been adequately explained.

As the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) describes it: “Lights of varying descriptions were seen by thousands of people between 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. MST, in a space of about 300 miles from the Nevada line, through Phoenix, to the edge of Tucson.” Read the full MUFON description here.

An account written by a Las Vegas witness:

“… out of the corner of my eye (I) noticed lights moving in the sky. As I turned to see what it was, my neighbor let out a little shriek and said, ‘What is that?” A formation of many lights (2 dozen, maybe 30 or so) in the shape of a flying seagull approached from the west over the Spring Mountain range headed east toards Nellis Air Force Base area. The lights were spread out quite wide (maybe 2 football fields) but didn’t seem very deep in height. There was no sound associated with these lights. The altitude was lower than jets fly over the city, so I’d estimate 12,000-15,000 feet. All of the lights stayed together as the ‘formation’? headed east. The whole event lasted about 2 1/2-3 minutes.” (8:15 p.m., Wednesday, March 12, 1997)

Another account, written by a Henderson witness:

“I saw a V-shaped object the size of a low flying jet, 747 in size; it had 6 large lights under the wing and shining from the leading edge as headlights; it passed over my head and continued on a (straight) southeast course with a sound of what seemed like rushin’ wind.” (6:55 p.m., Thursday, March 13, 1997)

Similar reports came in from the Phoenix area extending down to Sonora, Mexico. Feature articles on the phenomenon appeared in the New York Times, and later in the Arizona Republic.

Click for a full list of NUFORC reports from March 1997.

Art Bell’s Coast-to-Coast broadcast on the event is below: