This article was published in the daily newspaper Herald News, Illinois, USA, on November 13, 2004.
Wilmington meeting to focus on UFOs
Recent incidents: Youth's accounts are among several in area
By Kim Smith
WILMINGTON — Four local children tell a tale of seeing a rotating disc flying across their subdivision and over a nearby cornfield before the object disappeared somewhere around Illinois 53.
The children tell their story so well that expert investigators from the Mutual UFO Network Inc. say their story could not be made up.
Investigators from the UFO network, those who report witnessing UFOs, and members of the public are invited to attend a special meeting at 1 this afternoon at the Wilmington Public Library, 201 S. Kankakee St.
The group will provide videotapes and hundreds of photographs taken during what the UFO network's Illinois Section director, Sam Maranto, is calling some of the most massive area UFO sightings in recent history.
Two of the events took place on Aug. 21 and Oct. 31 of this year and were reportedly seen by hundreds of people in Frankfort, Mokena, New Lenox, Tinley Park, Oak Forest, Orland Park, Orland Hills, Matteson and possibly as far away as Hazel Crest.
The sighting reported by the children happened in Wilmington this past June and differs from the more recent events.
The more massive sightings are of a peculiar formation of three red lights — not a disc — that were seen by hundreds of witnesses.
One business owner said he was sitting outside with some friends after the Chicago Bears football game when a neighbor yelled at them to look up. They watched the three lights change formations as they went from a northwest direction to the southeast in about 20 minutes, he said. There reportedly was no sound.
He said the bright red lights turned white before disappearing. Around 45 minutes later, a single red light appeared. He was able to capture the light with his video camera.
The witness, who lives in Tinley Park, also viewed the return of the lights on Halloween night. There were three of them again, he said.
There is a video of the sightings available at the National UFO Reporting Center Web site, www.nuforc.org.
The reporting center takes the reports, and the Mutual UFO Network Inc. does the actual investigations.
Maranto said the UFO incidents are investigated by individuals certified in aviation, meteorology, physics, astronomy and other scientific fields. Eyewitness testimonies, photos and videotapes are analyzed.
The Halloween sighting happened around 8 p.m. and was viewed by hundreds of trick-or-treaters, according to a preliminary Mutual UFO Network report. On two streets alone, nearly 50 trick-or-treaters were stopped with their eyes on the sky.
The group said the object was shaped like a triangle and was more than 5,000 feet long. At the longest dimension, it reportedly covered eight north and south blocks. Depending on how it rotated, the object reportedly was 1,500 feet to 6,500 feet off the ground and hovered about 4,000 feet above the ground.
This is not the first time there have been UFO sightings in the Joliet area. A fiery pinkish-orange flash of light reportedly was seen near Parker Road by drivers on Interstate 80 as well as a New Lenox man parked in his driveway near Cedar Road in New Lenox on Nov. 30, 1997. A rash of sightings were reported in the fall of 1988.
While there might be more sightings reported by more people, Maranto said there is no reason to panic. While he has heard the tales of possible abductions, most of the stories he has heard have had happy endings.
"I heard about a guy who had trouble getting around due to severe multiple sclerosis who was abducted and came back. He lost 30 pounds in one week and now moves like an antelope," Maranto said. "Another man in Indiana who had a hole in his heart woke up to find a V-shape cut. He went to the doctor and found he had been cured."
Maranto is looking for more people who have seen UFOs. He can be e-mailed at email@example.com.
Reporter Kim Smith can be reached at (815) 729-6067 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org