Pittsfield, MA – The reports first appeared on an online forum July 2; several Berkshire County residents had witnessed what they described as, "lighted objects," floating over Pittsfield and south county, rotating and turning different shades of, "orange, yellow and red," on the evening of July 1.
A month later, Great Barrington residents reported seeing what were described as, "incredible flashing white lights," in skies to the south on August 1, and others reported seeing strange lights over Lenox on August 5.
These types of sightings, generally referred to as "unidentified flying objects," or UFOs, are not new to the Berkshires. Pittsfield resident Joe Durwin is author of the blog "These Mysterious Hills" and writes a periodic newspaper column of the same name on local folklore.
"There's some sightings and stuff that have been in the papers going back the last century or so. There was a mystery airship sighting around here; there was some strange lights in North Adams in the thirties."
While he has never witnessed the phenomena, Dalton resident Caleb Hiliadis concurred that there have been recent reports of UFO sightings over Pittsfield.
"I've known a few people who have seen some up at Wachonah Falls, so if you go up past the falls actually, up onto the top of the mountain there. Just large, large lights just kind of hovering."
Tuesday, Pittsfield Police Sergeant Mark Trapani said there were no reports of aerial phenomena made on July 2, and Lenox police said they had not been contacted regarding lights over town over the last week.
Steve Firmani, director of the New England bureau of the Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON, said that while MUFON received no reports from Pittsfield on July 1, the sighting wasn't surprising.
"Around the Fourth of July we're usually prepared for things like that. Besides just sending up regular fireworks, there are things the firework retailers sell called Chinese Lanterns.'"
"Pretty much it's just a lantern that you light up and the hot air launches things in the air and they will look like a string of orbs hanging in the sky, and the wind direction, depending on how high up they are, can alter what directions they're travelling in."
That may explain the Pittsfield sighting, but what about the reports that followed?
Firmani again said MUFON had received no similar reports, and offered some more non-galactic explanations.
"If they were seeing flashes in the sky it could be almost anything. I mean there's heat lightening, ball lightening, it could be something on the ground."
Even Durwin admitted that reports he had seen regarding the Lenox lights had a possible worldly explanation.
"I had heard about the Tanglewood sightings and somebody had suggested that it might have been optical illusions from the cannons that they fired during the 1812 Overture,' but I couldn't get an exact time of when people said they saw these lights. I have seen people mistake music festival lighting effects for UFOs."
While this may have identified these "UFOs," according to MUFON's "UFO Stalker"website, there have been several reports throughout the WAMC listening area over the last few months.
For example, on May 30 a Greenwhich, NY resident reported seeing a, "cigar shaped metallic object with no contrail," moving across the sky.
Jake Meier, a life-long resident of the town of Pine Bush in Orange County, NY, regarded by many as the UFO capital of the east coast because of a series of sightings since the 1980s, described an encounter he had about two years ago.
"So I'm there with my cousin, and I see about a mile away flying over the field, only about 100 feet off the ground, two lights."
"They flew in side by side, and as they got real close they start flying completely erratically; circling each other, up and down real fast, too fast to even be real."
While he couldn't be positive what he saw was extraterrestrial, Meier said he knows it was unlike anything he had ever seen before, and offered some theories on UFO sightings.
"Maybe the visitors we're seeing are us from another time, or a different version of us. I'm willing to accept that it was en experimental military spacecraft. I know that it was a flying ship of some kind."
Firmani confirmed that there are military spacecraft currently in orbit that the general public may not be aware of. As for speculation on where truly unidentified flying objects originate, Durwin said
"You never know."