It seems that almost everyone has at least a few strong biases, and this certainly is the case among members of the UFO community. I am no different, in that respect, from the other members of the UFO community, and one of my several strong biases is my opposition to the notion that there are so-called UFO “hotspots,” i.e. locations on our planet where a person has a higher-than-average likelihood of witnessing a UFO. My opinion is that such locations don’t exist, and certainly not with the frequency that many people suggest is the case. Interestingly, I have noticed, during the course of my career of collecting UFO sighting reports, that if one asks the average citizen whether there have been any UFO sightings from his/her local community, many of those individuals polled will aver that their particular community happens to be a “hotspot” of UFO activity! There may be several reasons for this apparent social phenomenon, but that is outside the scope of this article.
Perhaps the most prominent of these alleged “hotspots” are nuclear facilities, where the presence of nuclear materials or weapons is thought by some to draw the special attention of UFOs and their presumed occupants. This belief may explain why so many Hollywood movies were produced during the 1950s that implied a link between the early testing of atomic weapons in the southwestern U. S., and the alleged, and frequent, presence there of “flying saucers.”
Still other advocates of the UFO “hotspot” concept are convinced that UFOs make frequent returns to the same areas for reasons which are still not understood. One such example may be the six monthly visitations of three young children near Fatima, Portugal, from May to October 1917, to which the Catholic Church ascribes special religious importance.
Another example of alleged serial sightings of a UFO is described in the book, The Scoriton Mystery, co-authored in 1967 by Eileen Buckle and Norman Oliver, who describe two visitations of an English farmer, Mr. Ernest Arthur Bryant, during the spring of 1965. During the first of those sightings of a disc-shaped craft, Mr. Bryant alleged to have communicated telepathically with alien creatures aboard it, as it sat in a field on his farm near Scoriton, England. During the second encounter, the spacecraft was described by Mr. Bryant to have dropped off some curious metal parts, which later allegedly disappeared. The third scheduled visitation, which Bryant alleged he had been assured by its occupants would take place, apparently never occurred.
As I mention above, I happen not to subscribe to the theory that UFO “hotspots” are, in fact, a real and documented phenomenon. The evidence I’ve collected over the last 19 years, as Director of the National UFO Center (NUFORC), suggests to me that a person is as likely to witness a UFO while standing and smoking on his front porch, as he or she would be by traveling to another more remote, and therefore “exotic,” location on the planet. The areas from which suspected UFO sightings are reported appear to me to be randomly distributed across the U. S. and around the world.
However, there appears to be one possible exception to my observation…Myrtle Beach, South Carolina…a fact which appears to be strongly supported by the large number of well documented sighting reports from that area. For at least the past 5-10 years, and perhaps longer, NUFORC has received from that area, stretching from North Myrtle Beach to Pawley’s Island, an inordinately large number of sightings of clusters of red, orange, or yellow “fireballs,” most of the objects reportedly seen out over the Atlantic Ocean. Many of the witnesses who have reported sightings of these objects appear to be reliable, and highly-qualified, observers. What they usually have reported is sightings of clusters of orange lights, which appear to maneuver in a complex fashion, suggestive of their being under intelligent control.
Initially, NUFORC assumed that the lights were related to either military operations, or perhaps nighttime fishing activities, off the coast of South Carolina. However, that explanation appears not to fit the reported facts, something that local newspaper articles about the phenomenon seem to confirm. Many witnesses have reported that the lights appear to maneuver independently of one another in a complex manner, tending to rule out the possibility of flares. Other witnesses have reported seeing the lights at as high as 45 degrees above the horizon, which also seems to militate against the flare theory, or against the notion that they are associated with fishing boats. Despite the local publicity the phenomenon has attracted, it nevertheless appears to defy easy explanation, and it seems to be continuing, perhaps even with increasing frequency.
The NUFORC database of sighting reports contains approximately 240 reports from the communities of Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, and Pawley’s Island, South Carolina. An even cursory review of those reports indicates that the majority of them are of sightings of red, orange, or yellow lights, usually seen out over the ocean. Many of the reports describe simultaneous sightings from different vantage points on the shoreline.
For the reader’s interest, I copy below the text of two examples of the more interesting reports that have been received by NUFORC, in recent years:
PAWLEY’S ISLAND, SC, JUNE 8TH, 2011—Several orange, sphere-shaped UFOs appeared off the coast of Pawley’s Island, SC on 06/08/2011.
We were sitting outside our beach house looking over the ocean. Initially, we saw one orange/red light that began as a glow and got brighter until fading to dim and then disappearing completely. It was a circular/sphere shape. Quickly, another light (that looked exactly the same) appeared just to the north of it at the same altitude and faded away as well. After several minutes, more lights appeared simultaneously in the same general vicinity, all displaying the same characteristics. The lights appeared on and off again across about a 40 mile stretch of ocean. At most, there were about 12 lights at once. Finally, four smaller, white, blinking lights appeared in a straight line and traveled from off shore, over the beach and continued until they were out of our line of vision behind us. Just minutes after that, the orange/red lights appeared back out over the water in front of us and were brighter than they had been previously. They also appeared bigger and then faded completely. We used binoculars throughout the viewing duration but were unable to identify any distinct characteristics of the UFOs other than what is listed above.
Author’s Note: The witness who submitted the report above is the senior partner in a major law firm on the east coast. One of the other witnesses is a senior international airline pilot. Both admitted that they were more than just surprised by the sighting...they were shocked by it!
MYRTLE BEACH, SC, JULY 4TH, 2013—Six orange lights observed, following conclusion of a fireworks display.
Orange rotating lights over Myrtle Beach. I was on vacation at the Camelot by the Sea Hotel on Thursday, June 13, 2013. My wife and I were watching the fireworks from our balcony that was at Pier 14 that started at 10 p.m. that night. The fireworks lasted until around 10:10 p.m. and at approximately 10:15 p.m. straight over the ocean I noticed an orange light that lit up and disappeared a few times. Then six lights appeared in a half circle and appeared to rotate and disappear one by one.
Hundreds of other, and similar, reports from the coast of South Carolina can be accessed on the NUFORC website, UFOCenter.com, by clicking on the “Report Database” and sorting the reports by state.
The large number of sightings reported from Horry County, South Carolina, seem to suggest that sightings of peculiar red, orange, and yellow lights occur in that area at a significantly elevated frequency, and above the frequency of similar reports in other areas of the country. In over a decade, during which these peculiar displays have been reported to NUFORC and MUFON, no adequate explanation has been put forth that explains what the cause of the phenomenon may be. The phenomenon appears to warrant active investigation, and the author presents the data above, hoping that UFO investigators located in that area of South Carolina will be induced to conduct an active investigation of the peculiar phenomenon.