Texas Sightings Spark Worldwide Interest

In early January, 2008, a UFO story took the world by storm. Residents of the Texas town of Stephenville, about 60 miles south-west of Fort Worth, as well as nearby Dublin and Selden, reported seeing a massive UFO crossing the sky at great speed.  As the story grabbed headlines in the mainstream media across the globe, it became apparent that Texans had been seeing these huge craft over a period of weeks.

Most of the reports appeared to describe bright lights that flashed brightly and changed configuration. While some just reported lights, businessman, Steve Allen, said that what he saw was a mile long and half a mile in width. He has offered a $5000 reward for video footage of what he saw. He described what he saw as rectangular and travelling at about 3000 miles per hour. The lights blinked out, only to reappear 10 minutes later. Military jets arrived and appeared to pursue the object. He told reporters, “It was positively, absolutely nothing from these parts.”

Other reports of military jets in pursuit of the objects resulted in Major Karl Lewis from the Naval Reserve base in Fort Worth to deny that any aircraft from his station were in the air that night. Two other nearby bases also denied having planes in the sky during the sightings. This stance was later retracted, with Major Lewis explaining that F-16s were in the area on a training mission and that the earlier, incorrect statement was due to a miscommunication.

A week earlier, Ricky Sorrells of Dublin, about 12 miles from Stephenville, was deer hunting in the woods near his home at about sunset. Speaking to Linda Moulton-Howe, he said: “For some reason, I don’t know what, I look up and look back down. I don’t know what made me look up, but then I realized what I had seen with my eyes and immediately looked back up. There was this thing. It covered from – I could not see the edges in my tree canopy.” The underside of the metallic craft was dotted with circular depressions and emitted heat waves, like haze on a hot road. He said it appeared moulded and had no seams or rivets. Although he could not see its edges through the trees, he estimated it to be about 300 feet above him, making the craft at least 1000 feet across. As he watched, it shot off at a 45-degree angle. He has seen the object on two more occasions, both times from his back porch. He said it appeared like “a thick piece of plate. But it was a long way away, like a 1.5 to 2 miles.”

Speaking to local TV stations, Stephenville resident, Glenda Jackson, said, “It looked like two plates upside down, like a saucer. It was at least as wide as a football field.”

Also from Stephenville, James Huse said he saw large, round objects in the sky that, he estimated, were about the size of conventional aircraft.

Many other sightings were reported both to the media and to organisations such as the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON). The reports on the MUFON website are generally lacking in detail, but interesting nevertheless. Here are a few:

“I am a resident of Stephenville, TX. I was getting back from buying fireworks in Stephenville, TX on December 31, 2007. It was around 6:00. I was in the car with my dad and my friend; they both saw the thing in the sky also. There was a very bright light in the sky travelling very, very fast, about 2-3 times bigger than a star, a second light popped up, very close to the first one, for about 30 seconds, then disappeared, but the first light was still there. Tuesday the 8th of January wasn't the only day we saw the UFO.” – 31st December, 2007

“We left together from fiancé’s house in Stephenville near HEB (Hard Eight Barbecue - SJ) around Green View Additions. I went the wrong way and turned left on 377. Then went over the bridge and turned left on Harbin Rd. Went over the railroad tracks. Drove past Swan St. and noticed it to the left of us about 500 feet up (I WOULD SAY IT WAS SITTING RIGHT OVER HEB MAYBE.) It was hovering in place. It was amber in color with the color moving throughout it. We didn't stop. I couldn't drive down the road straight because we where looking at it. I called my brother and told him what we saw and where it was so he could see it.” – 19th January, 2008

“At around 8:45 pm I received a call, telling me that there was a strange amber light hovering over Stephenville. After driving around for ten minutes or so, my wife spotted the object towards the north east side of town. As I stopped the car and stepped out of the vehicle, I witnessed the amber light flicker as if on a metallic surface. It was several miles away, and around 1,500ft to 3,000ft (or maybe higher) in the sky. I have no way of describing just how large the light was, but I am guessing sizeable. It moved in the same general direction, but not necessarily in a straight line. There were no flashing aircraft lights, only the amber flicker. It moved slowly, before stopping in mid air. Suddenly it gained several thousand feet in altitude (almost straight up) in a matter of seconds, before turning bright (almost stoplight red) as if on fire, and then vanishing.

“I was unable to take photos, or video.

“The exact duration of time wasn't very long. But I know it was no plane.” - 19th January, 2008

“Driving home from the grocery store I looked up at the sky and saw 3 comet looking things, I commented to my son they looked like comets, but they were going in a horizontal line at 3 different altitudes, not falling and by the time we got home they were gone. He said maybe falling stars, but it wasn't the same. I joked and said maybe they were UFO's, but after seeing the report on Larry King maybe it wasn't a joke. I thought maybe airplanes, but I am a Flight Attendant and have never seen any aircraft look like this or with the bright lighting at the one end like this, nor fly at that altitude with those characteristics?” – 10th January, 2008

“I drive a water transport in the oilfield out of Bono, TX. I drive to and from Stephenville Saturday thru Wednesday. I left work at 5:45pm Tuesday evening January 8, 2008, travelling west on Hwy.67, between Chalk Mountain and Three Way. This is when something caught my eye off in the western sky. I saw two very bright lights shining in no apparent direction. The lights were very bright, like a welding arc. The lights were dancing around and then they split in two different directions at a very fast rate of speed.

“I do not know what it was that I saw, but I don't think that it was a plane, weather balloon, a reflection of the sun or anything manmade.” – 8th January, 2008

Several videos have appeared on the web, claiming to be UFOs over Texas. Most of these are poor quality, though, and simply depict distant lights in the sky.

January saw other reports of large UFOs from outside Texas.

On the night of January 19th, 2008, residents of Guanica, Puerto Rico, saw a huge, round UFO, with hundreds of rows of red lights glide across the sky. Jose Martinez reported: “The object rested for several minutes on a nearby hill, at very low altitude, nearly treetop level, blinding witnesses with its red lights. Among them were Roberto Garcia and wife Patricia, who tried to photograph the object with their cell phone but didn't manage to obtain an image. Other local residents were frightened and unable to sleep that night after the object took off toward Lajas at high speed.”

Brian Vike of hbccufo.org received a report from Altoona, Iowa, of an object ‘as big as a house’ that was seen on 22nd January, 2008. The witness stated: “I was getting a drink of water when I happened to look out the window and saw an unknown object with three big white lights flying near my house. I went outside to see it this object was huge, it was probably the size of a house. The back of the object had 2 silverish brown lights, but I can't stress enough how big this object was and the big bright white lights were pretty bright, but not blinding. This object was in sight for about three minutes.”

More recently, the local reporter that broke the story, Angelia Joiner, has been forced out of her job for covering the incident. A staff reporter at the Stephenville Empire-Tribune, Ms Joiner was ordered by her superiors to ‘back off’ from the UFO stories. She tried to do this, but being the ‘point person’ on the case, she still received many letters and emails about the incident. Trying to cope with these on her own time, it became clear to Ms Joiner that something was wrong at work and she offered her two-week notice. She was told to leave immediately. She said: “I had given notice when I realized my boss was unhappy with my performance, but was unexpectedly asked to pack my things and leave.” Ms Joiner has now created her own website which can be found at www.stephenvillelights.com.

Her sacking came after local eyewitnesses reported being harassed by officialdom.

Ricky Sorrells reported that he was contacted by a man claiming to be from the US Air Force, after a heated discussion over the phone, threats were made. Mr Sorrells said: “I said if he was who he said he was, why didn't he stop flying over my air space with all those helicopters. And he informed me that it was not my air space — it was his. He told me if I'd quit talking about what I saw he would stop the helicopters.”

He told Angelia Joiner that he encountered an intruder on his property. She reported in the Stephenville Empire-Tribune:

“I was in bed asleep,” Sorrells said. “I keep my bird dogs on the east side of my house and three others on the west side. The black lab doesn't bark until someone comes across the cattle guard and the Catahoula doesn't bark until she actually sees someone. They were all barking so I got up to see what was going on.”

Sorrells said he walked to his bedroom window and looked out to the top of his driveway - he saw someone.

“I went around the bed and grabbed my rifle,” Sorrells said.

His family was still sleeping, so with one hand on his gun and one hand on his backdoor knob, he peered through the window of the door to see if he could spot the intruder again.

“He had positioned himself in between the car and the pickup 40 to 50 feet from my back door,” Sorrells said. “He stood staring at me rocking back and forth. I didn't think his feet were moving but the next morning when looking at his tracks I could tell they were.”

Sorrels said it was cold and misting rain and it was obvious the guy was “dressed for the elements with a heavy parka-like coat.”

He said he strained to see if the man carried a gun but could not see one but could clearly see the face of someone he thought to be in his late 20s or early 30s judging from the way he “walked and acted.”

“I'm trying to decide whether or not to open the door,” Sorrells said. “We're just standing there face to face looking at each other. I'm thinking he's dressed for the elements and the dogs are raising such a ruckus he must know he's in danger of being caught. That's when I realized he wanted me to see him.”

Sorrells said the trespasser had positioned himself in such a way he decided he could be vulnerable if opened his door. He thought of his family and then the man slowly turned and walked into the woods.

“He walked through an area where I'd cleared the brush so apparently he'd been there before because he knew where to go,” Sorrells said.

Sorrells said shortly after the unwelcome caller disappeared the dogs calmed down and he stayed up the rest of the night to keep watch.

Later, when walking through the woods on his property with Howe, he decided to return to a bare spot where his property line ends at a fence.

“It is washed out there and I like to go there to look for deer and turkey tracks.” Sorrells said. He said he's an avid hunter and keeps abreast of the wildlife on his place. He said he had not been to this particular spot in about a month.

“The first thing I saw was a man's footprint,” Sorrells said. “Ms. Howe videotaped me putting my foot beside it. The sun was going down and I saw something shiny.”

Sorrells said he walked over and picked up a bullet - a shiny new 25-06 Remington - with some dotted tarnished smudges.

“I think the man that I saw that night dropped this bullet and the tarnished spots are from the misting rain that night,” Sorrells said. “I just think it was the military showing me they could get to me if they wanted to.”

A set of new images emerged in February, taken by police constable, Lee Roy Gaiten and his wife. Over several nights, he videotaped an object apparently ‘drawing’ symbols in the sky. His wife took stills with a good quality digital camera. Speaking to Linda Moulton-Howe, he said: “... [It was] throwing off coloured strobe lights. What was so odd about it was when I zoomed in, it looked like a triangle or pyramid inside of the spinning disc.”

A week later, he saw the object again. “I'm at Stephenville working a security job and I see the damn thing again! I see it south toward Dublin. It looks like an object that is spinning and hovering. Well, that was February 9, 2008, OK. Well, that evening at 10:30 PM, I get a phone call from a guy who tells me: ‘Lee Roy, that light is back up in the sky. It’s southeast of your house. I’m watching it through my telescope.’

“I bought my wife a pretty nice still camera and we saw it. The light was travelling southeast towards the little town of Gustine, Texas. We get in the car and travel about 15 miles and my wife takes some pictures.”

“Then about 11:30 PM – I had been at my sister’s house and I told her about it. She lives in town (Dublin) and they can see this light from town and they are all freaking out. Anyway, around 11:30 PM, my wife and I  lost sight of it, but my sister could still see it from town.

“Well, we come into town and the same guy who called me about the first one calls me again. He says, ‘Hey, Lee Roy, there is a second one.’ He says it’s coming in from around the Selden, Texas, area coming towards Dublin. And sure enough, there’s another one – same thing.

“We could see both in the sky at the same time. One was in the southeast and the other was in the northeast sky. We take pictures of the second one also. There are several eyewitnesses: my sister, her husband, my niece, their neighbour. Anyway, we still don’t know what this is.”

UFO DATA Magazine contacted Dick Criswell. He is the co-founder of the International Paranormal UFO Society and has taken an active interest in the Stephenville sightings. He told us:

“A former employee for a government contractor (now retired) told the International Paranormal UFO Society that he worked on F-16s for many years as an electronics engineer and has his own opinion of what happened on January 8, 2008. This informant is known to IPUS and he claims that it would be very unlikely for so many F-16s to be on a evening or night-time training mission at one time. Instead, he believes that the reason so many F-16s were involved in the incident is because the unidentified flying object they were chasing had violated restricted presidential airspace over the Bush Ranch in Crawford, Texas. IPUS is continuing to investigate the Stephenville Sightings and related matters. We will post any new information that we have on our website at http://www.CanYouStandTheTruth.com. We encourage anyone with information about the Texas UFO sightings to contact us through this website or call our UFO Sightings Hotline at 765-483-9089.”

When asked about Ricky Sorrells’ sighting, he said, “Ricky Sorrell had a classic UFO sighting that many people have each year. Sadly, it probably would not have even made the news except for the inclusion of the other UFO sightings near Stephenville at the time. Sorrell seems like an honest and credible UFO witness.”

© Steve Johnson - 2008


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Updated 16th August, 2012