Classic Mysteries—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, March 2019
Balls of Light In Extreme Northeastern Ohio
by: Rick R. Hilberg
Throughout recorded history, peoples from all cultures from all over this globe have been reporting many "mysterious things in the sky" that they were at a loss to explain. These manifestations have taken on a variety of shapes and characteristics, as well as being silent or making a whole range of noises in various degrees of volume. But perhaps the most common type reported have been unexplainable "Balls of Light" (BOLs). These BOLs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as estimated altitudes and flight paths. Some are silent, and some are reported to make noises that range from an almost inaudible "sizzling" to a tremendous roar. These BOLs are also called a variety of names by the local populations, such as Phantom Lights, Ghost Lights, Graveyard Lights, Spook Lights, to name just a few. They can be a one time experience, or even in many cases be seen in specific locations on a regular basis that can last from several days to tens of years. Just a few examples from the literature include the following two from ancient times: In 919 C.E. "A thing like a burning torch was seen in the sky, and glistening balls like stars moved to and fro in the air" in what is now Hungary, and from 1168 C.E. , "A globe of fire was seen moving to and fro in the air" over Paris on March 20. ( Mysterious Things in The Sky, Allan Manak and Rick Hilberg 2001).
Moving closer to the present, we have the following two: "In Washington State, the ‘Phantom Light of Ringold' is another speedy wanderer. It has appeared from time to time in the vicinity of Pasco for many years, along populated as well as over barren hills. The light gives the impression of an automobile with only one headlight, and 'many motorists have been forced into ditches as it sped by. A search for tracks or a plausible solution to the problem has always resulted in failure. It only appears in foggy or rainy weather.'" And the following, "The Glen Zimmerman family resides on a rural route near Loudenville, Ohio. Adjoining the farmhouse is an open field. The light doesn't appear every night in this field, or at the same time during the night, but it always follows the same route across the field and into a woods at the foot of a slope.
"For thirteen years this light has appeared, floating about four feet above the ground, bobbing and swaying slightly. Mrs. Zimmerman says it appears as if someone were carrying a lantern, and it moves at about the speed of a walking man. But there is no man. Only the open field, often bathed in bright moonlight, and the light moving along its unchangeable course." (Vincent H. Gaddis, Mysterious Fires and Lights 1967).
In recent years, there has also been a spate of BOLs reported over the Atlantic Ocean in the vicinity of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. These lights have come in a variety of sizes and colors as well as flight paths. My wife's parents retired there in the early 1970s, and when we would come down to stay with them for extended periods of time, neighbors who were told about my involvement in writing and investigating reports of UFOs would tell me of their own personal experiences. Over the course of twenty years or so while they were still living there, I must have received more than a score of reports from these folks wanting to know just what it was that they saw down on the beach.
This all brings me to my own family's experience with these puzzling balls of light. My parents and maternal grandparents had a summer cottage in the tiny hamlet of Simons, Ohio, just literally yards from the Ohio/Pennsylvania border by Pymatuning Lake in northeastern Ohio.
My parents and grandparents were more than aware of my youthful interest in UFOs, and my UFO Magazine, the newsletter (and later full-fledged magazine) that I issued at the time. Anyway, during the summer months of 1962 and 1963, both my mother and grandmother spotted red "fireballs" numerous times, silently gliding by outside the northern facing windows of the cottage (on the left side of the photograph obscured by the car). These sightings always happened between midnight and one a.m.
They were described as being approximately a foot in diameter, probably at an altitude of between ten to twelve feet and always traveling from east to west.
Being the budding UFO researcher and boy editor that I was, I naturally was interested, and I carefully inspected every inch of their flight path for any possible clues, but came up empty every time. So what were they? I haven't a clue, but they were quite consistent with what has been cited above, and probably can be classified as classic BOLs. And yes, even though they both tried to wake me up to witness them, they struck out every time but once, when I woke up groggy and only saw an intense red glow outside the window.