Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: Have you seen a UFO and what happened? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.
I’m not sure of the exact year; I would guess it was 1994 or 1995. I would’ve been 13 or 14 years old then. I remember that it was around a holiday (Thanksgiving or Christmas maybe) and my mother, my older brother (who was about 19 or 20 at the time), and I had traveled to Wheeling, Illinois, to pick up my cousin (who was 16 or 17) to have a sleepover at our house in Pistakee Highlands, Illinois, near Fox Lake.
We were on our way home from picking him up and were driving along desolate Gilmer Road, when suddenly; three distant, but large, white lights appeared off in the distance in front of us. Having grown up near Palwaukee airport, and by virtue, having grown quite accustomed to seeing airplanes over Illinois skies; my immediate thought was that they were large airplanes coming in for landing at some small airport nearby; however, after a few minutes of watching them I noticed that these lights didn’t move, not even a little bit.
I remember distinctly that the sun had just gone down and the sky was a fiery, burnt, red; and it was getting darker outside by the minute (it gets dark ridiculously early in the winter in Illinois, so I’m guessing it must’ve been very early evening sometime). The lights appeared to hang motionless, like three small suns looming over the horizon. Suddenly, and without my awareness, these three large lights had turned to six medium-sized lights, and appeared to spread out equidistantly. Curious, I continued to watch the lights; informing my mother, brother, and cousin that they had doubled. As I was explaining what I had noticed, the lights doubled yet again into even smaller lights. Despite the fact that we were now focusing on watching them I was unable to witness the actual transition from six medium-sized lights to what now appeared to be 10-12 small lights. We were growing quite uneasy with the situation and night was beginning to eclipse the last remaining light.
The lights were still too far off in the distance to have any recognizable shape and had a star-like quality about them. Moments passed, and the sky had now turned completely black, when the lights appeared to double yet again. Now there were too many lights to count. It seemed that the entire sky in front of us was filled with them and we began to notice that our radio was intermittently cutting out to static fuzz and back again. I remember moving my hand up to gesture covering one of the lights with my finger, in front of my face, when suddenly, the lights moved, all of them, in different directions all at once. They began to move in motions that resembled geometric patterns, each one doing something different. Some patterns even being created by two lights moving together, such as two that moved to create a spinning circle. Another two made a lightning-bolt-shape-like zigzag in unison, I remember. The whole sky was moving.
We didn’t speak for a few seconds. My mother kept driving, doing her best to not seem afraid, my brother, cousin and I weren’t; we were simply in awe. We watched intently, and I remember asking everyone in the car if they were seeing what I was seeing. They confirmed and I peered out of the side and back windows (I was in the back seat) and found that the lights were no longer just in front of us. They were all around us, far off in the distance. Our radio was now emitting nothing but pure static. I remember thinking that the whole sky was freaking out, that the “stars” were “dancing.” I think this was the only explanation my young mind could think of: the stars were dancing.
Seeing cars was a very rare occasion along that road, since it’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but what confirmed to my family and I that we were not the only ones witnessing this event was when we passed a car on the side of the road and two people, a couple, were pointing up at the sky, watching the spectacle before them, with the same expression of awe that we had. We passed another car, a family, on the side of the road, looking up in wonder. The kids were smiling. I remember that because they looked about my age. My mother decided to stop and ask a third car if they were seeing what we were. It was another couple, and the man said “yes, I don’t know what it is though,” before they both got back in their car hurriedly and drove off in a state of masked fear. I think that seeing the man’s expression might have scared my mother and she ordered us back into the car, which we had just gotten out of.
We continued on our drive home, looking up, and began to notice that the lights were slowly disappearing one by one over several minutes, until finally, the sky was back to normal. Now there were no “dancing” small stars, only itty-bitty regular ones. By the time we got home the event had been over for about 15-20 minutes. We immediately rushed into the house to tell my father what we had witnessed. My brother rushed to the phone to call his best friend to tell him what we had seen as well. His friend was curious and he wanted to see if we could “find some more.” My brother told him to swing by and pick us up.
He showed up in his car minutes later and my brother and I hopped in with him. My cousin stayed behind with my parents but I can’t remember why. My brother’s friend was hesitant to drive all the way out to Gilmer Road where we had seen just seen the lights because he said he didn’t have much gas so we drove to Johnsburg High School, where we knew we would have an unobstructed view of the sky, given that, at the time, it was in the middle of a cornfield and there were no houses or buildings anywhere in sight.
As we approached the high school I noticed a white light, similar to the ones we had seen, strafing along the sky, over, but some distance behind, the high school, moving from our right-hand-side to our left, slowly. I remember shouting “look, I think that’s one!” My brother focused in on it and his friend, who was driving, was waiting for the turn light to make a turn. When the distant light got almost directly in front of us a single, straight, white, beam shot out of it, directly towards the ground. It was totally luminescent, even more so than lightning, pure white, and it was only visible for a second, but I saw it. Then the object went off fully out of view to our left. My brother and I both simultaneously asked “did you see that!?” My brother’s friend was in the process of turning onto another street when it happened so he missed it. Knowing at least my brother had seen something too, I specifically remember asking him to tell me exactly what he saw so that I would know that we both saw the same thing. He said “I saw a white light come out of it and shoot towards the ground.” I adamantly agreed with him that I had the seen the same thing.
We drove around for another 10-15 minutes, my brother’s friend hoping he would see something too, before we had to call it quits because he was almost out of gas. He drove us home and we told everyone in the house what we saw by the high school. We watched the news that night to see if they’d mention it. They didn’t. We watched the news again the following morning, no mention. Sadly, this was before the internet was widely available so the News was sort of our only hope of hearing that others had seen this event as well. I don’t remember if we called the police or not and we never heard anything about it again. I’ve tried to look it up online since, to see if there might be any mention of it now. No luck yet. Maybe some of those people who we saw and talked to on the side of the road will see this.
The years have passed but I remember it like it was yesterday. In fact, I remember actively telling myself to remember what I was experiencing as it was happening, because I knew it was something very important. As I get older and I try to make sense of it all, I can only conclude that the lights we saw were definitely not airplanes, airplanes don’t move that fast and they don’t make sharp cuts and zigzag, and these lights were making geometric patterns, which seems like a pretty good way to me to communicate with people who might not speak your language. Maybe the lights weren’t UFOs, but if they weren’t, they were something totally foreign to me.
I’ve learned to not talk about it much with friends because it seems that no matter how certain you are that you saw what you saw, and how close you may be to the people you tell about such an event, no one believes you and you just end up sounding like a quack, but given that I’m on a bit of an honest streak lately, especially here on Quora, I figured I’d share my extraordinarily odd experience, possibly, with UFOs. I have nothing to hide, this isn’t meant to be some cheap ploy for attention, and I only know one individual on Quora personally, anyway; so I figure, why not, and I don’t expect anyone to believe me.
Honestly, I’d be skeptical if someone told me they experienced what I did, but I guess it’s one of those things that you have to go through yourself to believe. I’m definitely promoting this question when I get enough credits because I’d like to hear other people’s experiences with strange events like mine. I know that if I’ve seen something, there are probably lots of other people on here who have seen things too. Heck, just next door to where I currently live (I live in UT now), in AZ, maybe a couple of years after my experience, a quarter of the population of the state saw a mile long object with large, orb-like lights beneath it, hover over Tucson and Phoenix (see the “Phoenix lights” – one of the observers has made a documentary about it that’s full of some fact and a bit too much, in my opinion, unnecessary metaphysical claims about it all – It’s on Netflix if you want to see for yourself – but there are better sources on the web about it). A quarter of the state of Arizona! Police officers, doctors, teachers; a quarter of the state. Even the Governor at the time, who at one point mocked the event. We can’t all be quacks.