The age-old question of “are we alone in the universe” may have been answered for a South Whidbey couple last weekend.
A series of mysterious orange lights appeared in the sky over their home Saturday evening, and while they are accustomed to seeing all kinds or marine and air traffic from their picture windows overlooking Admiralty Inlet, the couple admit this has left them scratching their heads.
“We’ve seen a lot of stuff but this was the weirdest thing we’ve ever seen,” said Dick Johnson, a retired civil engineer.
Johnson and his wife have lived in the community for 17 years and were watching television Saturday at about 8:30 when they noticed what appeared to be a steady, orange light hovering over Marrowstone Island.
The lone light was quickly joined by several more, which then began to make their way across Puget Sound. Johnson walked out on his porch, and to his astonishment, saw more over Whidbey Island, somewhere between their home and Lagoon Point.
The incident ended when two of the strange lights flew over their neighborhood — one went right over the top of their house, Johnson said. In all, they reported a total of seven objects.
“The first thing I thought was Area 51 moved to Whidbey Island,” he said, alluding to the secretive Air Force property in Nevada.
As a hobby, Johnson studies military aircraft but said this was like nothing he’s ever seen before. It lacked signature aviation navigation lights, moved quickly and was totally silent.
“I know what a helicopter sounds like; thump, thump, thump,” Johnson said. “This was no noise.”
While he’s more inclined to believe the lights were some sort of top-secret military project, as opposed to a flying saucer from outer space, the experience was more than a little startling.
“Someone has to come up with an answer for this because this was kinda scary,” he said.
Johnson said he called 911 and, as directed, called the Federal Aviation Administration to report their observations. They received no explanation.
Mike Welding, spokesman for Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, confirmed that two P-3 Orions — large four-engine turboprop submarine hunters — took off from the airbase Saturday evening but neither flew over South Whidbey.
A South Whidbey Record reporter also visited six different homes around the Johnsons’ house but none of the neighbors reported seeing anything out of the ordinary the night of the incident.
Several did express disappointment, however, at being left out.
“I wish I’d seen it,” said Tim Oliver, with a laugh.
A 23-year resident of the community, he also has a great view of the water and often observes marine and air traffic passing through the area. Oliver said he’s never witnessed anything that might fit into the extraterrestrial category but planned to redouble his vigil following the Johnsons’ encounter.
“Now I’m really going to be looking out the window,” he said.
Another neighbor, who asked to be identified only by her first name, was home Saturday evening but said she also missed the excitement.
“That would be cool if it was (a UFO) but I didn’t see anything,” said Janice, with a smile.
While being interviewed, another neighbor drove by and Janice eagerly asked if they had seen anything. The driver replied that she hadn’t but seemed to express the same excitement over the possibility and the news has no doubt begun to spread through the tight-knit community.
Although the Johnsons may be the only people in Bush Point to witness the phenomenon, sightings of unexplained flying objects are nothing new on Whidbey Island.
According to the Seattle-based National UFO Reporting Center’s online database, six different sightings have occurred over the past eight months alone between Coupeville and Clinton.
The most recent took place in January when an observer reported seeing a “shiny boomerang shape flying over Langley.”
“It made no noise and looked as if it was reflecting light, not emitting light,” wrote the unidentified party. “It was a clear night and if there had been any details on the object (landing gear, engine housings) they would have been easily visible but there were none.”
A July sighting last year, this one from the Clinton area, was strikingly similar to that the Johnsons observed.
“The objects were completely silent, orange in color, and appeared to be very close … there was no flickering or other lights coming from the objects,” the reporting party wrote, again unidentified.
Johnson said he can’t identify just what he saw and isn’t make any conclusions. Both he and his wife, however, are sure that the lights were there and are the strangest thing they’ve seen in 17 years of living in Bush Point.
“This is not something I was imagining,” Johnson said. “I was sober, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke pot. … I definitely saw what I saw.”
“I’d swear on a stack of Bibles,” he said.