The Phoenix Lights Documentary

Dir: Lynne D. Kitei

On March 13th, 1997, something very strange was seen, by thousands of people, in the skies above Arizona. A V-shaped formation of lights glided slowly, without apparent sound, low over the most populated corridor of the state from North to South. To this day, no reasonable explanation has come out; the Air Force, with their typical flair, suggested "flares". Kitei has been investigating since, and recently published a well-received book on the topic, which led to this film, containing eyewitness accounts, video and still footage, and scientific analysis of the event. And if it had stopped there, this documentary would have been much better off...

Instead, Kitei makes the enormous leap from lights in the sky (which may or may not have be a single solid object - the mind is funny like that), to "extraterrestrial or transdimensional craft". One person even invokes Occam's Razor, which says the simplest explanation is the most likely, as 'proof' it was a spaceship. Er, no. There are a million simpler explanations, up to and including radioactive geese, or a formation team of Elvis impersonators flying paragliders. Worse still, she and her friends rhapsodise about the resulting spiritual awakening, which is nice, but irrelevant. Thousands saw the lights - including Chris, who phoned me during it - and just went on with life. Still, get your epiphanies where you can, I guess.

A particularly telling quote in the film says, anyone recounting an experience tells you more about the person than the experience, and that seems to be the case here. For what it's worth, my guess is it's no coincidence the event happened when Comet Halle-Bopp was around, and people's attention was focused skyward. The lights were not a single mile-wide craft, but separate, flying in formation. I have a suspicion this was a psych-warfare experiment by the military, to see how people reacted. [It'd certainly be far from their weirdest test] Of course, I have no actual evidence: but neither is there any evidence it was an alien craft. Admitting this however, probably wouldn't sell nearly as many books...

March 2005

Light entertainment
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