After spending the weekend in Bristol, Virginia, I now wish I had kept my eyes on the skyline a bit more. Within the last 24 hours, NASA has announced the successful launch of a rocket in Virginia as part of an experiment to gather data on clouds higher in Earth’s atmosphere. However, the blast may also be what prompted dozens of calls to area TV and radio stations to report seeing “strange lights” in the sky.

The Black Brant XII was launched on Saturday evening, according to NASA officials. Around the same time of the launch, people in the Northeast portion of the state began calling local television stations to report seeing lights in the sky, although reports of the sightings range from places as far away as Boston.

LEADING A DOUBLE LIFE: Of course, around the time of the launch, I had taken enough time off from professional ufology to perform at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival (indeed, I’ve been known to pick a mean flat-top guitar when Bluegrass is in season). It was lovely weather, and a lively crowd! Still, I would have loved to have seen NASA’s Black Brant light up the skies. Were any Gralien Report readers present in Northern Virginia at the time of the launch, and furthermore, I wonder if anyone witnessed the “strange lights” that caused speculation among so many?

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at