A Continuing History of Sightings of Triangular-shaped Craft
in the Wallkill River Valley of New York State

Previous: Introduction
Next: Conclusion


Through our research and observations, we have become alerted to many anomalies in the flight paths, speed, and flight characteristics of TLPs in this region of the Wallkill River valley. Because of the poor observation skills of most people who witness TLPs, unless the behavior of the craft is obviously different or abnormal compared to that of a conventional aircraft, these objects will invariably be misinterpreted as conventional. This statement is quite the opposite of what most skeptics say. It has become apparent through many test cases that people on the ground observing an anomalous performance will have very different interpretations of what they saw depending on their skills of observation, beliefs, and personal biases. A skeptic once told Bruce that he had to have been holding his camera to produce the numerous loops and circular motions of the light traces, and would not accept his statement that the camera had been locked down on a tripod when the photograph was taken. But many people who take pictures of anomalous lights in the valley end up with similar images. In the majority of those cases a flash was used and the camera was set at 1/60th of a second speed, precluding any significant camera movement as a cause for the spaghetti-type pattern of light traces they got on film.

In one example Bruce photographically recorded a large diamond-shaped craft lifting off from a swampy area slightly less than a mile to the north, slowly rise and move towards a group of observers on West Searsville Rd., then slowly rotate 90 degrees so that it was flying vertical to the ground as it passed the observers about 2500 feet (estimate) due west of our location. "We first observed it to the east of the low ridge which parallels West Searsville Rd. Because it had lights positioned on that diamond similar to the positions and colors of lights on a conventional aircraft, and because it stuck its angled side up into the air on its closest approach, observers on the ground with binoculars were convinced that what they saw was nothing more than a conventional jet silhouetted against the night sky. The sound it produced was further evidence to them that it was a jet, even though the sound was much too low in decibels for that distance. No one except me seemed to think it was unusual that this misidentified TLP flew at an apparent maximum altitude of only a few hundred feet above the ground, nor was anyone else convinced that it had been too low behind the trees when first observed to have been above tree height. How could it have been too low if it was a jet someone commented. It disappeared from sight behind the ridge to our west, which rises to a peak only 140 feet above us in that immediate area! That should have been a clue, but it was overlooked due to stereotyping and information filtering. When I got my photographs back and analyzed them, the evidence was unmistakable that everyone else had been fooled when someone in the group yelled out, 'I see a tail fin; it's got a tail fin; it's a jet.' But what he thought he saw was probably only the upright side of the diamond."

Simple trigonometric calculation of altitude based on the point it disappeared behind the ridge 1300 feet from us gives an angle of about six degrees and a maximum altitude of only 270 feet, well below the safe cruising altitude of a commercial passenger jet, even one that is on approach to an airport nine miles away! Note: This TLP was initially east of the ridge, crossed over it at a low point on the ridge, and disappeared behind it. FAA regulations require a minimum safe altitude of 1500 feet for commercial jets. Such performances of TLPs in this area are common, and it would seem that whoever is behind them enjoys pulling the wool over our eyes. And because group concensus is usually regarded as the correct interpretation, investigators such as us who disagree with that concensus are usually considered mistaken at best and deluded at worst. Because of these tendencies, we are going to describe the 17 May sighting in unusual detail, noting sixteen anomalies so that the reader can begin to appreciate what skills in observation are required to avoid being fooled by these clever high-tech performers.

On 17 May about seven minutes after the first triangle or TLP went down below tree top level at 11:03 pm, Dinah spotted another set of lights coming at us from the north over the ridge on which we were standing. We began videotaping this event with two camcorders: Marc's Sony 8 mm and Bruce's Sony Hi-8 camcorder, while Dinah took time exposures with a 35 mm reflex Cannon AE1 camera with 300 mm telephoto lens. The camera was mounted on a tripod. The ridge rises about 200 feet above the valley floor in this area, with peaks rising to not much more than about 300 feet. The lights initially appeared low over the ridge, and seemed to gradually rise as they came towards us, which is confirmed by the time exposures taken by Dinah. Estimated initial elevation of the craft above the valley floor was about 1000 feet (700 feet above the highest parts of the ridge). Such an elevation is lower than normal for aircraft flying to Stewart, which at this location fly over us at an altitude of 2000 feet or more on a glide path to Stewart, alerting us to the first anomaly (Figure 8).

The lights appeared golden in color, not white like typical aircraft lights. There were two closely-spaced bright lights on the outside and one small pulsing light in between. No navigation lights were observed, alerting us to a second anomaly (Figure 9). If the bright lights represented landing lights as on a conventional aircraft, they would be positioned either on the wings close to the fuselage or on the fuselage. The absence of any color navigation lights farther out and away from the landing lights either indicated that this craft was flying without those lights turned on (against FAA regulation), or that it did not have wings on which lights could be mounted. As this TLP got closer, the central light became resolved into two lights: a solid white light above a pulsing red light - but still no navigation or wingtip lights.

This TLP seemed to take forever to get to our position. It soon became apparent that whatever it was, it was headed directly for our position. Bruce's video record begins at 11:11:07 pm. It took about one minute and 40 seconds to reach us from the time it was first spotted. That amount of time would not be considered unusual if this were a conventional jet flying at 3000 feet or higher and initially spotted several miles away. High altitude, perspective, and distance can create the illusion of slow speed. But the low altitude of the TLP and reference to landmarks it seemed to pass on the ground indicated that it was no more than a mile away from us when first observed, alerting us to a third anomaly.

Commercial jets on approach to Stewart airport typically use the red beacons on peaks along this ridge for navigation. But we have never witnessed any jets flying directly above this ridge when going to Stewart, because the pilot would have poor visibility of those beacons from the flight deck. Instead, conventional aircraft typically parallel the ridge to the west and turn after passing the beacon located just to the north of our position. From that position pilots can easily see the beacon and know when to begin their turn. That turn orients airplanes directly on line with the main runway at Stewart. But whatever was coming towards us was not following normal procedure, which alerted us to the fourth anomaly (Figure 8).

Small planes on approach to Orange County airport just to the south of our position sometimes fly along the ridge as this TLP was doing, because the main runway there is oriented parallel to the ridge. But Orange County normally closes at 9:30 pm. We discounted that destination as a possibility when the TLP turned to the east in front of us as if it were going to Stewart.

At 11:12:42 pm the craft began to bank or list to its right (starboard) but did not turn. It gradually raised its left side up and tilted at an angle of about 45 degrees from horizontal, but did not turn, alerting us to a fifth anomaly (Figure 9). The craft then slowly tilted back to horizontal, reaching horizontal by 11:13:05 pm on the camcorder clock. This maneuver took 23 seconds. A conventional airplane would have difficulty holding a tilt like that for so long without slipping sideways or descending in altitude due to decreased lift efficiency against gravity at slower landing speeds, even with flaps completely extended.

As the TLP returned to horizontal it flashed both of its outer lights, one after the other multiple times in rapid succession. Light flashes can occur on conventional jets when the aircraft is approaching an observer and it turns slightly so that each landing light points directly at the observer. But the TLP did not turn. It continued to travel in our direction without turning, alerting us to a sixth anomaly (Figure 9). Landing lights on a conventional aircraft do not point directly ahead, but are slightly angled towards an imaginary common point out in front of the pilot. If this had been a conventional aircraft making a bank, the tilt direction would indicate a turn to its right. As the nose of the plane moves right, its left light would flash first, followed by the right light due to their individual orientation. We have observed and videotaped such flashes produced by conventional jets during turns. When analyzing the video frame by frame, there were multiple flashes, not just two, and they formed a pattern: The right light on the craft flashed, followed by a normal frame, then the left light, a pause for three video frames, followed by the right light, then a normal frame, followed by the left light flashing again. After several more normal frames both lights flashed simultaneously, followed by several normal frames and then the right light again and a repeat of the previous pattern. Even if these light flashes were due to orientation, the sequence of flashes (right to left) is contrary to the inferred direction of turn based on its bank orientation, alerting us to a seventh anomaly. Moreover, the pattern of light flashes, if intentionally produced, is also an anomaly that was not apparent to us at the time of initial observation, because it happened in less than a second. Shades of CSETI in reverse!

At 11:13:14 pm the craft began to brighten its left light (right side from our perspective). The intensity of the flaring was considerable as the light became at least four times the size of the light on the right side of the triangle (Figure 10). As this happened, a small dot appeared on Bruce's video in the upper left quadrant of the screen, and it danced around in relationship to the movement created by his unsteady camera at maximum zoom. Such a dot will appear in the picture when the brightness of a light being recorded becomes very intense. Normally an aircraft landing light will not become that bright unless the camera or observer is looking directly into it. Because of the angled-in orientation of landing lights, the brightening of the left light means that, if this was an aircraft, it was turned slightly to its left for this to happen. Because the TLP continued to fly straight towards our position, if it were a conventional jet, it had to be flying without its leading edge facing towards us. Such a flight attitude is highly unusual, alerting us to an eighth anomaly (Figure 10).

As this dot appeared on my camera (11:13:50 pm) Marc said that the battery to his camcorder was dying. He later said that a low battery warning icon began to flash on his screen, and then his camera went dead! Just before that he said his picture began losing integrity and began to quiver as if the timing code were being interfered with. Bruce's camcorder, however, continued to operate normally. Marc had a freshly charged battery. We saw him recharge that batter at Bruce's house before we left for Pine Bush. After the event Marc checked his camcorder battery with an attachable video light and found his battery to be fully charged and the video light bright, indicating that it was a camcorder malfunctioned rather than a truly dead battery. Under normal circumstances and by themselves the malfunction of his camcorder and the TLP event would not be correlated. They would be described as coincidences. We would agree, except for the fact that we have heard reports of similar incidences of apparent battery failure from people on West Searsville Rd. who were trying to videotape an unusual light or craft in their vicinity at the time of the malfunction (J. diTuro, 1997, pers. comm.). Once the TLP disappeared, they said, their camcorders returned to normal function without any indication of battery failure. Therefore, the camcorder malfunction due to a dead battery indicator message at a crucial moment is considered the ninth anomaly, even though it was not directly part of the TLP performance. It has almost become a trademark for UFOs to produce an electrical dampening field during a staged encounter.

Marc noted the first audible sound at 11:14:34 pm. He said, "It sounds like a jet," but sounds can be deceiving. After analyzing the sound recorded on the videotape using frequency spectral analysis software on one of our computers, it was discovered that there is no indication of any white noise (typically 1-7 kHz) produced by this TLP. The only sound loud enough to be recorded ranged from 300 Hz to 600 Hz, with a median at about 470 Hz. An F18 fighter jet, for example, produces a prominent frequency at 474 Hz. But commercial and military jets also produce numerous frequencies above this range, which were absent. The sounds on the tape attributable to this TLP had a decibel level significantly less than that of our voices, which were recorded at about 40-50 decibels, and it is barely audible except when it was loudest (approaching 20 decibels). A commercial jet at that same apparent distance would produce a much louder sound, most of which would be white noise coming from its engines. There was no sound of a turbine engine whine (i.e. multiple frequencies between 900 Hz and 2500 Hz for commercial and military jets). The sound of the TLP seemed to pulse at 232 Hz on the spectrogram, whereas turbine engine sounds recorded for both commercial and military jets pulse between 30 Hz and 50 Hz. A brief breeze recorded by the shotgun mic with windscreen as the TLP passed us was at least three times the loudness of the loudest sound coming from this craft. Despite the comment by Marc on the tape, the sound recorded has none of the typical characteristics of the sound produced by a commercial passenger jet, indicating the existence of a tenth anomaly. We have not ruled out the possibility that a stealth military jet could produce a similar sound. We conclude, however, that whatever this was, it did not produce the sound of a commercial jet on approach to Stewart airport. Only one plane landed at Stewart during the time of this event according to operation records, and that was an American Airline passenger jet, which landed at 11:21 pm.

At 11:14:38 pm the craft began a slow bank to its left (our right). As it turned the central white light resolved into two small white lights, one behind the other. Just in front of this pair of lights and at the point of the triangle a small dim reddish light can be briefly observed. The rear light of the white pair of front lights went out as the craft turned, and another white light, slightly larger, appeared (blinked on) on the underbelly of the craft behind the central white light and slightly to its left. This new light was positioned to the right (our left) of the pulsing red light, and appears on the video to be slightly behind (to the rear of) the red light. Such a pattern of changing lights is not typical of conventional aircraft, alerting us to an eleventh anomaly.

At 11:15:06 pm the craft was vertically oriented in its turn towards the east. In that rotation you can see on the video that the central rear white light was positioned behind the pulsing red light and also positioned slightly rear of the two outer white lights marking the lateral margins of the triangle. On conventional aircraft this light is invariably positioned directly on line with the two outer lights near the wingtips. But as this craft turned in front of us we agree that we saw the outline of a triangle, not an elongate fuselage with wings attached. In addition, reflections flashed off objects sticking out from the bottom of this craft as it turned. The reflections were in positions on the triangle where there is no corresponding structure on a conventional plane with wings. The light reflections can be briefly seen on the video, and they give visual aid in identifying the triangular margins of the craft. The odd shape of this TLP and the absence of any visible wings alerted us to a twelfth anomaly (Figure 11).

By 11:15:14 pm it was clear to us that the craft was rolling onto its back (Figure 12). It completed that maneuver and was completely on its back by 11:15:22 pm. At this point in time the craft was moving due east away from us after completing its turn. It executed the rollover just after making the turn. It then moved away from us in a straight line, which is confirmed by the time exposures (Figures 12, 13, and 14). The map (Figure 13) shows the flight path which all three of us observed. Both Marc and Bruce commented on the video, "It just rolled over. The TLP rolled over onto its back," alterting us a thirteenth anomaly.

Pilots do not normally execute such maneuvers except as performances, and most pilots would not make them at night so low to the ground. Such a maneuver is very dangerous at night when the pilot's perception and observation are limited to instruments. Because of this fact, some people who have reviewed this video have a very difficult time accepting what they see. Two skeptics instead interpreted the rollover as a continued turn towards the north, and that what we observed was nothing more than a conventional aircraft making a sharp bank. But careful analysis of the data strongly argues against such an interpretation. A pilot, who was shown this video, said that what he sees is indeed a roll over (B. Hamilton, 1997, pers. comm.). Because of this possible confusion should our videotape become widely distributed and viewed at large, we think that it is important for the reader to understand how information when viewed in isolated can be misinterpreted.

When viewing only the videotape record, on which there are no reference points against which to distinguish between a turn and a rollover, more than one interpretation is possible - but only one is correct. A competent investigator will analyze and correlate all the pieces of evidence. If the observations of three witnesses are intentionally omitted or dismissed as misinterpretations, then alternative interpretations are indeed possible when the video is studied in isolation. One skeptic said that the craft appears to get smaller during this maneuver. He interpreted that fact as evidence of a turn that rapidly increased the distance between the TLP and the camera. But if the craft turned north instead of flipping onto its back, its heading after the turn would have been very different from that which we observed. And that kind of misinterpretation is simply not possible unless we were blind. The question becomes, how rapidly would the craft appear to decrease in size for each of the two interpretations? A rollover to an on-edge view will create the illusion that the craft is growing smaller rapidly, because the outer lights will appear to move closer together as the craft flips. The deciding factor for us is the time exposure of this maneuver. Does it show the craft turning sharply back towards the north? No! It shows the craft continuing to fly in a straight line (Figure 9). The time exposure also shows the distance between the outer lights to decrease rapidly as the orientation of the craft changed during the roll. In addition, the next time exposure shows the craft rotating back or flipping to right-side up again. During that maneuver the distance between the lights increased significantly, blowing a major hole in the skeptic's argument, which is based on apparent size relative to distance. What this lesson has taught us is that first hand observation should be valued more than second hand interpretation.

Once on its back the craft rotated clockwise so that the right side of the triangle was forward. In other words, the former leading point was now on the right, and the former right edge was in front. Thus, this craft flew away from us upside down and sideways relative to its original orientation before it rolled over. The TLP continued to rotate until at 11:15:40 pm the former right point of the triangle was in front. Then the craft began to tilt this leading point upwards and began to flip back over to right side up (Figure 14). If the previous rollover is difficult for skeptics to believe, this second maneuver is by-the-seat-of-your-pants mind boggling. As the leading edge raised up, it resembled a Dorito chip being slowly flipped by the wind. In other words, the axis of rotation was not from front to rear as in a barrel roll, but from side to side. For a conventional aircraft to make such a maneuver would require that it slow to near stall speed, raise its nose upwards, and then flip over backwards! But as this TLP made this incredible maneuver, it did not fall out of the sky as a plane would do, but gradually descended in a straight line (Figure 14b). Once right side up it turned gently more towards the north but without banking, apparently following the new direction in which its engineered nose was pointing. After turning it resumed a straight and horizontal course (11:16:10 pm), now towards the east-northeast, and began to descend slowly (Figure 15).

From the time it began to first bank towards the east until now, two minutes and 30 seconds had elapsed. A conventional jet flying to Stewart at a minimum air speed of 150 mph would travel 6.25 miles in that amount of time, but this TLP had barely reached the position of the Wallkill River, which is only 2.8 miles from our observation station in the direction it was traveling! That means its average speed was not much more than 67 mph over that distance, which is well below the stall speed of any normal fixed wing conventional jet (i.e. excluding all jump jets).

At 11:17:38 pm Marc noted that the craft turned sharply toward the north without banking (Figure 13). The TLP was now traveling due north at a very slow speed. At 11:18:10 pm it made a steep bank near Walden towards the right as it turned around and headed back south. At 11:18:24 pm Bruce commented about his eyes watering. He had been experiencing strong eye irritation every since the craft flared its right light during the initial approach. Marc said that his eyes also felt strange as if more sensitive to the wind and moisture. The TLP proceeded south at a slightly faster speed, passing just above the height of a red directional beacon to the east of Walden at 11:18:44 pm. At 11:19:02 pm the craft appeared to slow down and nearly stop, but it was quickly determined that it had turned towards the camera and was headed back in our direction (towards the west). It then began a very slow descent towards us, and was just above the tree line at 11:19:52 pm, alerting us to a fourteenth anomaly (Figure 16). Had this been a jet on its way towards Stewart airport 8.5 miles away, it would not have turned around and come back towards us, nor would its lights have been resolved by the telephoto lenses on both the camcorder and the 35 mm camera. And we certainly would not have been able to capture it on video and film passing so far down below the tops of so many individual trees.

The TLP continued to skim across the tops of the trees at 11:20:07 pm, and produced a distinctive plume of light that rose almost vertically many tens of feet above the TLP, which is visible on the time exposure (Figure 16). It is possible that this plume is plasma being discharged just before it landed. Such a plume of yellow white light is highly anomalous, indicating a fifteenth anomaly. It went down below the tree tops at 11:20:17 pm, in an area much closer to our location on the ridge than Stewart airport, alerting us to a sixteenth anomaly (Figure 16). At 11:20:28 pm one can still see its lights behind the trees on the video, about one third to one half of the way down from the tops of those trees. The craft continued to move south (seemingly sideways) as it descended behind the trees, presumably over an open field. It came very near to the position of the red beacon light marking the direction of Montgomery, NY. That beacon can be seen to the right of the TLP in the same shot on the video. The lights went out or were completely obscured by vegetation by 11:20:35 pm. Ironically, it disappeared just north of a golf course that had been a landing strip during WWII (Figure 1). There are large open fields located just to the north of the old runway. However, tall trees are now growing on what remains of that runway, making it impossible for a plane to land there, and very difficult for a helicopter to safely land except in the fields to the north. A possible location where it disappeared is marked on the map in Figure 1 (arrow).

The Wallkill River valley is 7.5 miles wide between our location on the ridge and the high ridge on the other side of the valley. This craft seems to have gone down no more than 3 miles from us, which is the distance to north end of that golf course. The distance the craft flew from the time it was first sighted to the time it disappeared below tree tops is estimated to be about 6 miles (5.7 miles by map measurement). The entire event took approximately 9 minutes and 30 seconds. If we use 7 miles as a conservative distance traveled (which takes into account inaccuracies in our determination of its flight path), the calculated average speed of this craft was 44 mph! Even if we increase the distance to 10 miles, the speed increases to only 63 mph, which is still well below the stall speed for conventional jets.

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