The Californian skies held more than fireworks on New Year's Eve, as multiple UFO sightings were reported across the state.
From Placer County across to the Hollywood Hills, eye-witnesses have come forward with accounts of glowing lights and mysterious objects darting across the night skies.
Kaye Pinlac, from Stockton, saw a formation of glowing objects behaving in a very strange manner:
""I seen like six bright orange colored lights," said Pinlac, who captured images of the multiple objects on his iPhone. "They were almost in a diamond or triangle shape. It was weird. Then they just started separating."
FAA spokesman Ian Gregor confirmed that none of the UFOs were observed by pilots in the area or picked up on radar by local air traffic controllers, and consequently, various prosaic explanations for the anomalous lights have been put forward, including floating luminaria light bags and celebration balloons, but these suggestions were dismissed by another witness,Terry Mauth, from Auburn:
"It was too huge to be a birthday balloon or something like that," she said. "And it moved too quickly."
Terry and her husband Hans saw a large, egg-shaped object near their home which was illuminated by a bright light. They said that the UFO moved slowly, then suddenly accelerated away.
"It kind of approached from over in that direction and came across kind of slow," Mauth said.
"There was no sound," added his wife. "That's the funny thing." "No sound, no blinking lights, just this big illuminated form."
This report appears to be corroborated by Steven Brown, of Sacramento, who saw something similar above Belle Cooledge Park.
"Well, we saw it right through the trees," he said. "It was bright enough to shine directly through the trees without any problem seeing it. Whatever it was moved up and to the left," he explained. "It hovered there for probably about 60 seconds, then it took off at a high rate of speed."
Sightings in previous years have found conventional explanations, such as a 2008 sighting over the Sacrament Valley which turned out to be an airplane with an electric sign under the wings, and in Placerville in 2009, odd flashing lights in the sky turned out to be arcing power lines, but so far, the Californian reports remain as "Unidentified Flying Objects."
In fact, the New Year's Eve sightings were not the only ones reported in the Western half of the U.S.A. during the latter part of last year; it appears that the Western U.S. has been a UFO "hotspot" for the past few months, playing host to a succession of UFO sightings and other strange phenomena, including strange objects over the Superstition Mountains in Arizona on December 10th.
Earlier in the year, in November, Whitley Strieber saw a UFO in the early morning in southern California, and friends of his also observed orange orbs emerging out of Santa Monica Bay on the same evening.
One of the most significant events, however, occurred in Salinas, California, on December 28th, when an amazing crop formation appeared in a barley field. Reports suggest that the patterns in the field, which were noticed by aerial photographer Julie Belanger, were very precisely laid in the formation, which was large and complex in design, resembled a strange computer chip with dots in the middle that some observers interpreted as either Braille or Morse code. The braille repeats the number 192.
Whitley Strieber made the following comment about its authenticity : "This looks like a manmade hoax to me, largely because of the use of braille as a means of providing an intriguing but probably meaningless puzzle. However, it should also be noted that Iridium 192 is the isotope that has most often gone missing, and one that could be used to create a dirty bomb."
So, the formation could well be a hoax, but as it arrived just before the flurry of UFO sightings on New Year's Eve, some people are speculating whether the two events could be connected. UFOs have often been seen around crop formation sites, either preceding or following the discovery of formations, and on the odd occasion, have been observed from within the formations themselves.
We may never know the answer to that question; all we can do is keep our eyes on the skies, and if you see anything unusual, tell us here at Unknown Country. Check out our "Out There" section for the latest UFO reports from around the globe.
NB: Please note that there is some strong language in the video clip accompanying this story.