Since the years following World War II, “flying saucer” has been widely recognized as a household term. Shortly after its appearance in the American media in 1947, U.S. Air Force investigator Edward Ruppelt introduced the term “unidentified flying object”, or UFO, which was devised with hope of employing a more ambiguous, catch-all term that could be applied to a wide variety of alleged aerial phenomena. However, today the use of “UFO” is generally accepted as representing the presence of extraterrestrial spacecraft in our skies, despite a lack of any sufficient evidence that can support, without dispute, a belief in this exotic origin.
Descriptions of UFOs vary greatly enough, in fact, that no single explanation has ever been offered that accounts for all of the kinds of aerial phenomena observed over the decades. However, within the broader range of UFO reports that have been collected over the last several decades, there are some reliable examples that have emerged, which also present consistencies from case-to-case, particularly in recent years.
Among these are reports of the so-called “flying triangles”, objects which are typically described as large, silent, slow-moving triangular objects which are dark enough in color to nearly blend in against the night sky, save only for lighted portions which are often reported at the corners, as well as the center of the base of the objects. The website of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) includes a description given for an alleged kind of mysterious blimp, listed on the site’s page for “Mystery Aircraft”, which began to appear as early as the 1980s:
“A very intriguing aircraft was been reported in the late 1980s. Some observers claim to have witnessed a vast black flying wing, estimated at between 600 and 800 feet in width, passing silently over city streets in California. The craft moved so slowly one observer claimed that he could jog along with it. The aircraft reportedly executed bizarre maneuvers in which it stopped, rotated in place and hovered vertically, pointing its thin trailing edge toward the ground. This vehicle’s unlikely gyrations suggest that it is distinct from the other sightings, and could be a lighter-than-air craft pushed by slow- turning propellers.”
Clearly, the FAS entry excerpted above does appear to reference the giant triangular UFOs which have risen to prominence over last few decades. In fact, the prevalence of triangle UFO sightings has resulted in a number of books, articles, and television documentaries devoted almost entirely to solving the mystery of their appearances. David Marler, an independent UFO researcher and member/State Director of MUFON, published a book on the subject, titled Triangular UFOs: An Estimate of the Situation. With the book, Marler has, as described at his website, “collected, collated, and analyzed hundreds of reports. In the process, he has created a detailed profile of these objects and written a rich narrative of their history. He tackles the arguments made by skeptics that dismiss these triangular UFO reports outright. He also addresses the claims of so-called insiders who claim these objects are a creation of the U.S. military.”
Indeed, many have asserted that these strange aircraft are the result of some secretive U.S. Military project, with some further asserting that the triangles are likely a variety of platform blimp developed by DARPA. While this may be a likely explanation for the origin of the objects, no conclusive data has been presented which helps confirm this.
Whatever their origins, as stated previously the “flying triangles” are indeed unique among UFO reports for the consistency they provide. Over the years, this author has collected reports and corresponded with a number of individuals who have claimed to have had their own encounters, a few of which we will review here (though some of the names of the individuals who supplied these reports have been changed or omitted, due to requests for anonymity).
The first of these, which I collected from a South Carolina resident named “Aaron”, occurred in October 1998, just outside the town of Liberty, South Carolina. The time was roughly 1 AM, local time:
“At the time, I was about ten miles from the nearest town, so light pollution was fairly low. As I came around a bend in the road my headlights malfunctioned causing me to stop the car. The car had some electrical problems, and I do not attribute that to what happened next.
As I opened the door to get out of the car, I looked up, and at around a 45 degree angle to my line of sight was a black triangular object. It was to the right side of the road, and moving slowly to my left. It appeared to be about the size of a large commercial airplane, and had three dim red lights near each corner. The illumination of these lights [had been] just enough that I could make out the shape. I watched for about 1-2 minutes as it moved over the road, and it then began to accelerate and moved out of view.
At the time, I was 17 years old and thought that I had witnessed something extraterrestrial. I was terrified, and didn’t tell anyone for months. As I have grown older, I have come to think that this may indeed have been very terrestrial in origin. I find the reports of mystery blimps fascinating, and wonder if this was something similar.”
A similar report was supplied to me by an individual whose encounter occurred in the early 1990s, near the small town of Enon, approximately four miles from Fairborn, Ohio:
“I was driving from Enon into Fairborn on Dayton Springfield Road on the overpass of a railroad track (if you Google map this it is about ½ mile East of I-675). As the crow flies, it is less than 3 miles to the large landing strip at WPAFB. To the North I saw a very large, silent, low flying black triangle. It was headed toward Wright Patterson’s airstrip.
I grew up in Enon and as a child there were B52s at this airstrip where the triangle was headed. The triangle looked to be twice the size of a B52. One last odd thing, it seemed as if I was traveling faster than the triangle.”
The witnesses’s description that the object appeared to move more slowly than he did while traveling by car is not unusual, per se, at least as it relates to flying triangle reports. In many instances, these objects appear to be capable of hovering, in addition to a number of other unusual airborne maneuvers that involve such things as clockwise rotation, as described by “Lance”, a contact who reported observing one of the craft behaving in this manner in the evening sky over Jacksonville, Florida, in 1999. His report described the following:
“This object made the same clockwise and counter-clockwise spins on its axis, hovered motionless and, most strangely, pivoted vertically with either the nose or the tail pointed to the ground until it formed a thin, nearly imperceptible line in the sky. Due to the relatively close proximity of the sighting to a naval air station I’ve always suspected that the object was one of the military’s new toys and your article boosts my belief that this is the case.
I’m hoping that one day soon the pentagon will take the wraps off these things so I can be vindicated in the eyes of my family. Of course, if it helps keep our various global adversaries on their toes to keep them secret then I suppose I can take the sideways glances for another decade or two.”
Note here the recurring sense the witness expresses that these aircraft are some variety of military aircraft, rather than being of exotic origins.
A final report for consideration here was supplied to me by a woman who, along with her late husband, observed a large, black triangular craft as it passed above them at low altitude in August, 2002. It was near midnight on the local question, and the two were watching the Perseid meteor shower together at their home near Saskatoon:
“We had noticed a very bright light on the eastern horizon but didn’t take much notice of it until we realized that it was slowly coming directly towards us. We kept checking in that direction and watched as the now amber light kept coming straight at us. When it was almost on top of us it was like we became frozen to the spot staring at this light that we could now see had a dark shape behind it.
The triangle flew directly over us. I estimate that it was about 75 – 100 ft. off the ground. I made this estimate because at one point I realized that it was so low I was concerned that it was going to hit the chimney on our 2 1/2 story house! We sat transfixed as it seemed to take the triangle forever to pass overhead due to the extremely slow speed that it was travelling at. I would estimate it was going no more than 10 mph. As it was about halfway over I realized that the triangle was so massive that it filled my entire field of vision. We couldn’t make out any detail of the underneath of the triangle; it was just an enormous black shape lit on each corner by an amber light. I really can’t think of anything to compare the size of the triangle to it was so huge.”
The witness noted that the object moved perfectly silently, and that she had been given the impression that she and her husband observed it for much longer than they realized, as it was nearly 2:30 AM when they returned indoors. She further questioned why, in the event that this aircraft had been the product of a U.S. “black budget” program, the object had been moving within Canadian airspace.
While the U.S. military explanation remains the most likely explanation for the flying triangles, their presence in our skies remains a mystery in lieu of the absence of further evidence that clearly helps substantiate a government origin. Whatever the case, the number of similar reports of these objects, now spanning several decades, does seem to support their existence… which is more than can be said of many other varieties of alleged UFOs which have traversed the public consciousness since the late 1940s.
Micah Hanks is a writer, podcaster, and researcher whose interests include history, science, current events, cultural studies, technology, business, philosophy, unexplained phenomena, and ways the future of humankind may be influenced by science and innovation in the coming decades. With his writing, he has covered topics that include controversial themes such as artificial intelligence, government surveillance, unconventional aviation technologies, and the broadening of human knowledge through the reach of the Internet. Micah lives in the heart of Appalachia near Asheville, North Carolina, where he makes a living as a writer and musician. You can find his podcasts at GralienReport.com and his books at Amazon.com