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UFO Reports

Update on New Jersey UFOs

Source: Filer's Files #30; July 22, 2001 http://www.filersfiles.com

CARTERET-A series of strange extraordinary lights were seen flying over Carteret only 10 miles from downtown Manhattan on Sunday morning July 15, 2001.  This sighting has created a great deal of interest in the news media and the local population.  Peter Davenport at the National UFO Reporting Center received at least fifteen reports concerning the sighting.  We are working to investigate the cause of the sighting.  The story was carried on CNN, MSNBC, ABC New Jersey FM 101.5, and many other stations.  The object flew about a five miles south of Newark Airport around 12:30 AM.  Witnesses reported seeing a cluster of lights estimated as 15 to 30 amber, gold, orange lights hovering and moving slowly at an estimated 10 mph.  Many witnesses were traveling on the New Jersey Turnpike when they noticed the lights above them and an estimated 75 cars stopped on side of the highway.  Many of their occupants stood outside their vehicles watching the formation of lights. This is a twelve lane lighted highway and the light pollution creates difficult viewing. 

Six policemen and hundreds of witnesses viewed the huge unidentified flying object or objects.  After initial investigation witnesses agree that a very large object was flying at about 10 to 20 mph described variously as a V, U, or M formation.  The light formation appeared different to various witnesses.

Some people claimed to have seen 30 white lights; some claim they were only able to view a dozen lights.  Those in darker locations described the lights as white, others called them amber or gold.  About ten lights stayed lit continuously and at least a half dozen other brightened and dimmed in unison. The witnesses claimed the lights stayed in the same relative position as they moved slowly across the sky towards the southeast.  Some people claimed the lights appeared to fall or climb just before going out.  I have made an initial examination of the videotape taken off the news channel.  There appears to be a smaller structured object in the lower right hand part of the screen.  This object appears to have two smaller lights and may be the source of all the lights perhaps using holographic projections.  In-depth analysis of the videotape is needed.  The sound bite from the video was also interesting in that you could hear a woman's voice say, "Isn't it amazing!"  This lends credibility to the video, since it doesn't sound like their acting.  In recent days many of the witnesses were whisked off in limousines to appear on the various news shows.  Some were paid for their videos and photos making it difficult for our research until things quiet down. 

Peter Davenport appeared on MSNBC and discussed the sighting.  I thought it was significant that the host commented that the station gets numerous UFO reports everyday, and they could spend all their time covering UFO reports, but this one was special.  "Eyewitness Joe Malvasio said, "It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. They were just hovering, and then they just disappeared.  One at a time, each one started to fade until they were gone."  According to investigator Bob Durant the wind was measured at 2351 hours from 340 degrees at 10 mph, and at 0051 hours on July 15, from 310 degrees at 10 mph with clear sky. The winds indicate the lights may have been drifting with the wind to the southeast.  The descriptions and video are similar to the Phoenix Lights, where a similar V formation appeared in March of 1997.  Another similar sighting was reported over Rockford, Illinois on March 18, 2001.  The formation also matches reports of unexplained lights in the sky from all across the United States, as well as England and Europe.  According to ABC news, Colm Kelleher of the National Institute of Discovery Science (NIDS) says that from what he's heard, this one sounds like the Jersey Lights were a set of military flares.  The NIDS claims their witnesses saw pieces of burning debris coming off the lights, and another said he saw a puff of smoke when one of the lights went out through his night vision binoculars, although he did not see a parachute.  Unless these two witnesses are lying (one is a cop, the other in "special forces"), it sounds like something man-made."


We know that each witness will observe extraordinary objects in a different way. It is interesting to note that MUFON witnesses did not see any evidence of flares.  The lights did not swing like they were attached to parachutes nor was there smoke, lines, or structure visible.  The lights operated in a continuous manner similar to aircraft lights, unlike flares.  The lights moved in unison as if connected to a flying object.  Another group of five or six lights brightened and dimmed in unison.  Flares when dropped from an aircraft are generally blown around randomly and will drift and descend downwind.  Generally, they do not remain burning or airborne for more than 5 minutes, while most witnesses claimed a much longer time period.  Smoke trails are usually quite visible as flares slowly descend.  I have also fired Anti-Sam flares from my aircraft that travel like a rocket with a visible trail.  In most videos and eyewitness accounts flares with parachutes are discernible as they meander and descend fairly quickly.  We estimate the total sighting to be ten to twenty minutes.  Flares also tend to illuminate the parachutes and area around them.  They do not brighten and dim in unison.  I visited the area of the sighting specifically looking for any signs of parachutes orsimilar remains.  So far the police have not located any evidence of flares or similar burning or pyrotechnic objects.  There have been no fires reported.  The entire area over flown is densely populated with homes, and numerous fuel tanks.  Signs are posted stating no smoking due to the obvious danger from fire among the tanks.  I also visited the shoreline of the Arthur Kill!  River.  There was no evidence o n or along the shore of parachutes or pyrotechnic devices.  We can hypothesize that a formation of balloons or aircraft could carry the lights or special long burning flares.  The Federal Aviation Administration said, that there were no planned military operations in the area and that air traffic was light at the time of the reported sightings.  No pilots flying in or out of Newark Airport reported seeing anything out of the ordinary.  One witness claimed that an aircraft on approach to Newark Airport appeared to be diverted prior to landing.  The military has denied having flights in the area.  The New Jersey Air National Guard 177th Fighter Wing at Atlantic City Airport denied any exercises or having any F-16 aircraft airborne at the time.  McGuire AFB 305th Air Mobility Wing also denied having any aircraft airborne at the time.  There are no restricted areas in the Carteret area although air traffic is under tight control because of the three major airports.  The Army's Picatinny Arsenal is 30 miles northwest of Carteret. Based on the wind direction the lights are likely to have flown over the arsenal.  I called and spoke to the Command Section w! ho denied launching any kind of balloons or flares with artillery.  They assured me they didn't do anything like that there, I drove several hours to Carteret to interview a Ukrainian Priest, Right Reverend, Father Chubenko on July 17, 2001.  I believe he is probably the strongest witness because of his location at a comparatively dark observation point next to the rectory on Roosevelt Road.  He is extremely intelligent, an excellent witness, an electrical engineer, and a pilot.  He was adamant in his belief that the lights were not flares.  He has flown over the area on a regular basis and felt the lights were at 3,000 feet altitude.  He measured the lights with his fist at arm's length and the lights covered 5 widths of his fist about 24 inches.  He estimated the lights covered a 1000 feet of airspace.

Additionally he documented his sighting immediately after it occurred and before any news media coverage.  He specifically tried to analyze what he was viewing. We were both interviewed on ABC Channel 12 by Cynthia Scott.  His son Greg Chubenko was driving in Carteret, when he spotted the UFO and phoned his father who was in bed.  Father Chubenko got dressed and went outside to observe and immediately spotted 15 or more lights flying over the Rectory.  Father Chubenko indicated, that an apparent craft flew overhead, although he did not see a structure only lights.  He watched the lights very closely for more than 5 to 10 minutes.  The lights were completely synchronized and brightened and dimmed in unison.  There was emission from the light like a candle droppings, as the lights would descend before shutting off.  Almost all witnesses claim these were not flares, candles in bags etc.  The lights were similar to glowing stars, but not shining in any particular direction. 

I asked specifically if he thought these were flares?  He said, these were not flares he was sure of that.  The lights did go out periodically.  He felt that many lights moved in unison that they appeared to be attached to some kind of an object probably a craft, although he did not personally see a craft.  The lights moved in unison and they brightened and dimmed in unison as if they were attached to the same craft.  The newspaper claimed that the lights might be bags of garbage on fire.  He laughed since fuel storage tanks cover this area and burning objects could easily cause a fire.  The lights periodically stopped working and shut down as if one was turning off a light. Some may have fell 400 to 500 feet like they were shutting down.  It did not appear as a burning light, a flame, a fire, or a flare.  They were more like a star or planet.  This is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.  Since there have been no fires associated with the UFO sighting the police are not investigating the possibility of arson or pyrotechnic devices.

I also interviewed Middlesex County Sheriff's officer Andrew Halkovich.  He had not actually seen the craft, but was on his porch with his dog at the time the UFO flew over.  His dog suddenly jumped up and started barking, jumping, and running around on his two back feet.  He had never seen his dog do anything similar to this and was quite surprised and concerned.  He had trouble trying to keep the dog quiet and calming it down.  He did not think to look into the sky at the time.  They live near the Newark Airport and his dog is quite familiar with aircraft flying overhead.  He felt it was very significant that his dog felt or heard the UFO.  No one has reported that the object made any noise.

Another, MUFON investigator has been able to interview Lt. Daniel Tarrant of the Carteret Police Department who claims, "I saw 16 golden-orange colored lights, several in a V-type formation, others were scattered around the V." Lt. Tarrant felt it was some kind of falling space debris.  At least 15 people contacted the Carteret Police Department. NOTAMS: The Notice to Airmen (NOTAMS) or warnings are much earlier in the day and fifty miles to the south.  This area around Carteret is also devoid of low level Military Training Routes or restricted flight areas.  The investigation will continue.