A lot of people believe that intelligent life has visited the Earth, and judging by some of the mail I get in this job it would definitely be the first time that's happened. All joking aside, the universe is a big place, and on a large enough scale all improbabilities become certainties. Maybe little green men have come here.
There are definitely some strange things in the sky over Houston, regardless. That's to be expected. Texas is the fourth most prolific state when it comes to UFO sightings. California is No. 1, followed by Washington and Florida. That link lists nearly 500 UFO sightings in Houston alone since 1954, and today we're going to look at the ten best.
10. April 2012, Texas City: Dozens of residents of Texas City reported seeing mysterious red lights in the sky over the course of several days. Most witnesses claim that the lights drifted north of Texas City over Moses Lake. The leading theory is that the lights were Chinese lanterns launched by pranksters. The lights return again over the Thanksgiving holiday, but skeptics still say they are clearly floating lanterns.
9. April 2012, Houston: And now in the "Clearly Not a Model on a String" department of UFOlogy, we previously reported on this incontrovertible proof of the existence of UFOs many year back, and it has not aged very well. Still, no less an authority on UFOs than Jaime Maussan (Mexico's leading UFOlogist according to a Wikipedia entry that was surely not written by Maussan) declares the video to be a clear cut piece of evidence. Real or not, it's made the fringe rounds so much that it felt weird not to include it.
8. June 1989, Houston: Though the National UFO Reporting Center website can be a treasure trove of information (And with that spinning flying saucer gif on the homepage you know it's a classy operation!) I don't generally pull from it as the witnesses are almost always anonymous, there are no pictures of video, and for the most part independent corroboration even through conspiracy websites is often impossible. In essence, NUFORC is basically just a place where people can post experiences they've had.
Still, one woman's account was so strange it warranted mention. While pregnant and living ten miles from the Johnson Space Center in 1989, the witness reported waking up from a nap to see a grey alien standing at the foot of her bed. The being stood four feet tall, had large bulbous eyes and a tiny slit for a mouth, and featured four-fingered hands on the ends of long, spindly arms. The woman felt that the alien was attempting to read her mind and ran screaming from the room. She returned with her husband, who had been watching TV nearby, and the alien was gone.
This story continues on the next page.
7. December 2012, Cleveland: Lights in the sky around New Year's Eve are nothing noteworthy, but Lauren Harris of Cleveland, TX saw something more remarkable over U. S. 59 in 2012. A large, cylindrical craft appeared above her, pulsing with light. Occasionally it would disappear, and then reappear again without having changed position.
Her attempts to document the encounter were thwarted by a mysteriously malfunctioning phone, but Fletcher Gray of the Mutual UFO Network took the nursing student seriously enough to drive to Cleveland and investigate. There's been no update on Gray's findings on the MUFON website, but apparently Cleveland isn't done with strange sights in the sky. Earlier in March a witness took pictures of a tornado-shaped cloud surrounded by five moving lights.
6. September 2013, Houston and Beyond: Some sightings are so massive that they actually spread all across the state. This was the case of the so-called Fireball Over Texas spotted last year. In the video above you can see pictures taken of the mysterious light that appeared from various Houstonians (And even photos provided by NASA from space), but witnesses from San Antonio, Fort Worth, and even up into Oklahoma all reported the flash.
One Waxahachie resident compared it to an explosion, according to Dallas Morning News. "After it exploded, the meteor got brighter and didn't burn out until it was close to the horizon," the person said. Astronomers at the Houston Museum of Natural Science believe the UFO was nothing more than a meteor.
5. April 2008, Baytown: Admit it, when we started this article you thought 90 percent of it would feature people East of Jacinto City, didn't you? Well, shame on you for that, but having grown up in East Houston I forgive you that assumption. Strangely enough, no. Baytown's not all that hot a UFO destination.
That said, in 2008 two women in Baytown, Lisa Fojt and Kathy Boyd reported seeing bright, blue-green lights flying over the Fred Hartman Bridge. The women ruled out suggestions of a meteorite, saying that the light made a sharp turn before disappearing. During the interview done by KHOU both women denied they'd been drinking.
4. April 2012, Houston: For some reason Spring of 2012 was host to dozens of different UFO sightings in Houston, though some of them are a bit more dubious than others. This photo comes a video shot on the side of the road by a Houston woman (The flashes in the video are cars driving by), and it features a strange ball of stationary light that fades in and out of the sky without changing position. According to the report on the incident over at UFO Sightings Daily, sunset is the best time to record spaceships because that's when the light changes and renders their cloaking devices inoperable. While that notion is clearly insane, the light itself remains both strange and unexplained. This story continues on the next page.
3. January 2013, Webster: Most UFO and alien sightings are little more than distant flashes of light, but one witness saw something massive over I-45 early last year. The anonymous witness submitted his experience to MUFON, describing the craft he spotted as a black triangle 300 feet long. As an Examiner article on the subject quotes...
It was very large, maybe a football field long. It moved directly over my car and the others heading northeast. From underneath it was a solid black triangle with the top being at the back of the craft. At this point, I had rolled down my windows and heard no sound other than that of the other cars, typical rolling tire noise.
After attempting to retrieve a camera from his home, the witness found the craft gone.
2. December 2005, Houston: Easily the most disturbing report of a UFO encounter in Houston involves Clatyon and Donna Lee, and no less a figure than Bill O'Reilly spoke to the couple regarding their alleged repeated abductions by aliens.
Over the course of both their lives, the Lees say they have been taken up into the sky and probed and experimented on by not-quite-human blond figures. In one of these encounters Donna states that she either miscarried or had a fetus removed from her by the aliens. Under hypnotic regression to the incident Donna screamed "Quit touching me!" and has stated she believes she will be abducted again in the future. The original Local 6 video of her hypnosis sessions (As well as the remarks from Harvard psychiatrist Susan Clancy on the mentality behind abduction stories) is no longer online, but there is a transcription thanks to the folks over at UFO Casebook.
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1. December 1980, Dayton: The most famous UFO sighting in and around Houston is the notorious Cash-Landrum Incident. It's a remarkable case that actually resulted in civil court proceedings because witnesses declared that their encounter with the UFO affected their health.
The story goes like this; Betty Cash, Vickie Landrum and Vickie's grandson Colby Landrum were returning home after dining out when they saw a light over the trees. Thinking it was a plane approaching George Bush Intercontinental Airport they didn't take much notice of it. However, upon getting closer they saw it was a diamond-shaped flying machine belching fire and giving off great heat.
The ship was the size of the Dayton water tower, and rose the temperature around it so high that parts of the car apparently became painful to touch. Eventually, it rose into the sky to be pursued by a fleet of helicopters. Dayton police officer, Detective Lamar Walker later confirmed seeing the copters in the area, though he did not say that he'd seen the diamond ship.
After the incident both women suffered symptoms consistent with radiation poisoning and sued the federal government claiming that the helicopters proved some sort of involvement. The case was dismissed, but the encounter remains one of the more baffling and amazing things to have occurred in the dark skies surrounding our city.