As expected the recent holiday period was littered with reports of ‘orange orbs' and lights in the sky (LITS) and from what I can gather this was due to no more than the proliferation of Chinese Lanterns and their many derivatives. Indeed many of the online media sites that covered the reports tended to follow up with an explanatory article several days later, it would of course be futile to mention all of these but as usual I will repost the ones that were located in the North-East of England, namely Sunderland.
They come via & courtesy of the Sunderland Echo who you may remember have a bit of past ‘form' for this as back in 2006 they covered quite extensively one of the earliest such IFO's, further information available here. As well of course as one or two more recent incidents.
And refreshingly it seems that the majority of the public who witnessed the LITS recognised them for what they were (see comments at foot of post).
Anyhoo, on to the 2010 reports and on the 5th January 2010 the Echo ran the following story.
Mystery of the orange light in the night sky
STRANGE sightings have caused a stir in a Sunderland street after lighting up the night sky. The Tokes family were astonished when they saw three unusual objects float across the sky, one after the other. Dad Les was parking the car next to his home in Hepburn Grove, Hylton Castle, when he noticed the first strange light at about 8.15pm on Saturday.
The 52-year-old said:
"As I looked across, I could see this orange light in the sky between the two houses. At first, I thought it could be a plane, but as is started to get nearer it looked the wrong shape…..It wasn't very big and was a strange oblong shape. It was pulsating red and orange and was completely silent as it passed over the house."
By the time he called his wife, Anne, 40, and children, Stefan, 12 and Robyn, nine, it had gone. However, as the family, watched just about seven minutes later another one exactly the same appeared travelling in the same direction as the first over towards the Nissan factory.
"We watched it right the way across as far as we could. Then when I went back to the front of the house a third light, exactly the same, appeared."
This time Les alerted his neighbours to the strange sighting and they all watched as it travelled slowly over their homes.
"We couldn't believe what we were seeing, for three to follow each other like that was strange. We get a lot of aircraft going over our houses towards the airport, but these lights were totally different and were going in the wrong direction for the airport. Also, they went right over our houses and we couldn't hear any noise whatsoever."
Source: Sunderland Echo (04 January 2010)
Followed by this story on the 7th January 2010.
Sunderland UFO sightings: The truth
Little Layla Wood may hold the key to the mystery of the strange lights that have been spotted in the Sunderland sky. The Echo has been inundated with calls and emails from readers after we reported on sightings of objects floating above Hylton Castle during the festive period. But it seems the unidentified lights, which have also been spotted elsewhere across Wearside and East Durham, may be Chinese sky lanterns. Three of the hot air balloons were set off on New Year's Day and the following day to celebrate Bexhill School pupil Layla's fifth birthday.
Stepdad Mark Bulmer, of Baltimore Square, said:
"We bought them for Layla's birthday celebrations. We've never used them before and we were surprised at how high they go…..We set them off in Town End Farm but they floated off over Hylton Castle, which is what we think people have seen…..They are made of tissue paper and are three to four feet high, from underneath they look like orange circles. Layla loved them."
On Tuesday, the Echo reported on the Tokes family who had spotted three unidentified lights in the sky above their home in Hepburn Grove, Castletown. Les Tokes, 52, said:
"They were pulsating red and orange and were completely silent as they passed over the house. We couldn't believe what we were seeing."
Since then, dozens of readers have been contacting the Echo saying they too have seen them. Many people appear to have spotted the lights floating in the night sky throughout the festive period. But, several people are saying there is no mystery to the lights and claim they are in fact the new craze of Chinese lanterns, which are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to fireworks. Kathleen Taylor, 65, from The Avenue in Hetton, said she saw a strange orange light just minutes after midnight on New Year's Eve.
"I couldn't take my eyes off it, I was really fascinated by it. It was like a small ball of fire in the sky…..I thought it was a plane on fire, but then realised it was rising up. I didn't know what it was, but I don't believe in UFOs."
Anne Laing was celebrating New Year's Eve at her home in Moorside when just after the stroke of midnight she and a friend saw three of the strange lights hovering in the sky.
"At first, we thought we were seeing things, but there was three of them together just still in the sky and they lasted ages."
Lyndsey Fox, 21, from Seaham, who saw 20 lights fly over her home, said:
"I believe that these mysterious orange lights are nothing but Chinese lanterns that are used for celebrations."
Paula Weston said:
"I live in Coventry but was visiting relations in Sunderland for Christmas (Bede Street, Roker)…..Early evening on Christmas Day, me and my brother-in-law went outside for a cigarette and saw a strange orange light in the sky."
Jacqueline Watson, of Harraton, Washington, said:
"I too saw the orange lights on Saturday…..I was looking out over the back garden at the snow when I noticed two lights following a parallel course coming from the south-east towards Harraton in Washington…..They approached quite steadily, then simply disappeared into thin air.”
Anthony Cuthbert said:
"I saw the orange light next to the Alexandra Bridge."
David Young from Washington said:
"It wasn't a UFO…..They are called Chinese lanterns…..They are available in different shapes, cost £2-£3 each, and are basically a paper hot air balloon with a special candle at the bottom to provide hot air and make them light up and float up into the sky."
Source: Sunderland Echo (07 January 2010)