Orange Orbs over Southeastern Wisconsin

July 9th, 2013

In the autumn of 2011, I was contacted by a woman who wishes to remain anonymous.  In October of that year, her, her Husband, and her 14 year-old son had a bizarre experience just outside of West Bend on Paradise Road while driving into the city. The three witnessed “three huge amber balls of light” hovering and dancing just above the tree tops of a field. She said they made no noise, and just slowly moved one in front of the other. She attempted to make a video recording with her smart phone but she didn’t have sufficient memory. They then witnessed the orbs disappear one-by-one as she tried to deleted unwanted files. She contacted me hoping I’d have had other reports, as she said numerous other cars as pulled over to watch with them.

What fascinated me about story is that she said she thought people coming from West Bend might believe the lights were actually over Washington County Memorial Park instead of a field. I was currently researching reports of alleged “ghost lights” in WCMP. I wondered if these were associated with the cemetery lights in anyway. The woman’s full correspondence as well as my own investigation into WCMP’s strange lights is recorded in full in my book Washington County Paranormal: A Wisconsin Legend Trip.

I myself witnessed a similar phenomena shortly after moving to West Bend in the summer of 2007. As I and my wife were walking up 5th Ave at dusk, I witnessed an amber orb of light high in the northern sky. It appeared above the Old Courthose Museum, but considering how high up it was it could have been much further away. It resembled a street light, but was much too high in the air. I watched it for probably 2 full minutes as we walked down the street. When we reached Decorah Ave, I pointed it out to my wife. The light never pulsated, moved, or appeared to get nearer or farther. A few seconds after I pointed it out it got dimmer and dimmer until it vanished. It was like it just lost energy. Much to my wife’s protest, I made us stand on the corner for another 5 minutes until I was sure the light wouldn’t return.

Since the book was published I’ve been made aware of a history of similar sightings in Washington and Ozaukee counties. All of the below information is from unless otherwise noted.

A straight line of opaque amber lights was witnessed flying low to the ground on 02-04-2004 by a “Michelle K.” She sighted these objects as she was leading Saukville via Hwy 33 headed towards West Bend. The objects were flying east. Here’s an excerpt from

As they hovered slowly near the road, the line of lights would slowly form right angles and perfect equliatteral triangles.  Once in triangle form the whole triangle appeared to rotate very slowly both clockwise and counterclockwise as the lights as a whole sowly moved northeast closer to the road and eventually right over the road.  I was so busy looking up, I did not realize until that time that all the other cars that were stoppped in the west bound lane were gone.  I then became afraid.  Since getting abducted by aliens was not on my schedule that day, I drove away west on HWY 33 fast.  As I did this, I lost sight of the lights that were directley overhead and now behind me.  But as I was tring to get one last look it seemed one of the lights blurred really fast away from the others.  But then I was out of range and could not tell for sure, it could have been becuase my vehicle was mov [sic]!

In August 2003 a poster named Brandon reported an incident where three large amber orbs were spotted flying over Lake Michigan from the a beach in Port Washington. The objects were observed by multiple people before “fizzle out or in a starburst manner, fly away” (whatever that means).

On April 30, 2000 the National UFO Reporting Center reported a “very bright fireball in the southern sky” just south of Port Washington.

On June 14, 1998 Bob Mueller reported a very bright orange flashing light low to the ground above his home in Port Washington.

An anonymous witness reported a Summer, 1972 sighting of a large “sun-like object” in the Meqoun-Cedarburg area, which his mother related to him. She’d witnessed it while driving to work.

Then today I stumbled upon a post made July 09, 2013 on A Man named Jeff K. posted several photos of a cluster of orange lights that he captured on July 2. Here’s an excerpt:

I saw 3 of these large bright orange orbs move slowly and silently across the sky last night. One would make a slow pass… 10 minutes perhaps… and then the other would follow. All coming from NE over the north beach, traveling SW over the Historic Lighthouse, then W over town and out west a bit before vanishing in the clouds. I’ve never seen anything like it. Each orb/light seem to have another orb/light that rotated along/under the perimeter. It was an incredible sight.

After sharing his story via my Ozaukee County Facebook page I received a report from a Ozaukee man named Shawn F. He posted the following:

Saw one close enough it looked like the size of a basket ball and was floating around in a tree around some power lines and then disappeared into the clouds. Made no sounds and was like a bubble with a glowing light source that seemed to look like a clear light bulb with an odd shaped filament that went from bright to dim like a kitchen dimmer switch. Seemed like it was a probe sent out from a UFO to collect energy from the lines.

When asked about the weather conditions, he replied:

Partly cloudy, I was driving on [HWY] NN headed to West Bend from Grafton and actually turned around to observe it when I saw it start acting as if it knew I was in pursuit. It was about a year and a half ago [Approximately February 2012].

A skeptic named Theresa responded saying the images looked very much like Chinese lanterns, which have become extremely popular since the release of the 2010 Disney animated film Tangled.  That’s a reasonable explanation for the 2013 Port Washington sighting, considering it was so near the 4th of July. Chinese lanterns are considered an eco-friendly alternative to fireworks since they’re bio-degradable. It doesn’t however, explain many of the rest. I’d love to hear opinions. Are these misidentified objects? UFOs? Ghost Lights? I’d also definitely love to hear about any other sightings!

As an interesting aside, I spotted a strange object in the twilight skies of West Bend on July 4th, 2013 (ony the second possible UFO I’ve ever seen) at roughly 8:45pm. Both my wife and I spotted a dark parachute-shaped object silhouetted over the tree tops in a field across from Wallace Lake Road as we were headed into the city of West Bend on HWY 144. I turned around at a nearby business and returned to the spot we saw the object not 45 seconds later, and it was gone.

Tangled (2010)

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