Help me identify some mysterious lights
June 9, 2008 2:25 PM   Subscribe

Help me identify a UFO (in the proper sense), seen in Devon, UK a few weeks ago.

A few weeks ago (Friday 16th May at around 11pm to be precise) I was driving along the A30, on my way to Cornwall with Mrs Bea and the little'un, having just left the M5 motorway. I suppose that would put us somewhere between Exeter and Okehampton, if anyone is familiar with the geography.

Anyway, we couldn't help but notice something rather strange. Beginning some distance to the right of the road, and curving up and across the road, was a clearly-defined arc of reddish lights. Just off the top of my head, I would estimate that the arc began somewhere about 50m to the right-hand side of the road and curved up in a quarter-circle to a point about 100m above the road; there were approximately fifteen to twenty lights spaced fairly regularly along this arc, each about as bright as a car tail light. The colour was a sort of reddish-orange. The scale of the curve became apparent as we drove towards and then under it - it was quite an impressive sight.

What I found puzzling (then and subsequently) is that this is a road which runs through a relatively sparsely-inhabited rural area. What few buildings there are along the route are mostly farms and small villages. Driving back two days later in daylight I could see no sign of any structure nearly tall enough to have supported the lights. And there was no sign of any construction work (e.g. a crane) or any sort of art installation.

So what did we see?
posted by le morte de bea arthur to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
A guy did something similar a few months ago in the US with some balloons and road flares.
posted by Mach5 at 2:36 PM on June 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by Mach5 at 2:37 PM on June 9, 2008

Response by poster: A guy did something similar a few months ago in the US with some balloons and road flares.

Visually quite close, although the lights we saw didn't appear to move at all; surely with a balloon attached to each light we'd have seen some upwards movement in the minutes that the lights were visible... although I with the right size of balloon they might only rise very slowly...
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:12 PM on June 9, 2008

"...although the lights we saw didn't appear to move at all..."

I used to drive down a section of highway that was parallel with the landing path of an airport. I've seen many planes that were probably going 100 to 150 mph appear to hover for 15-30 seconds just because of the distance, change in perspective and speed between myself and the plane.
posted by 517 at 3:41 PM on June 9, 2008

Best answer: Found it!

They were meant to float up into the sky to mark the happy union of a wedding, but the newly married couple were shocked to find they had accidentally caused a UFO scare.


Elle Crowden and Wayne Packer sent up 40 floating lanterns as the stunning finale to mark their big day - but the sight of them gliding through the darkness sparked a flurry of calls to police.

The couple married at Nutwell Court, Exeter, and released white and heart-shaped red lanterns from their reception at Barley Lane.

But some onlookers were convinced the floating illuminations were a fleet of alien vehicles who had chosen to make contact with the Earth by visiting Exeter.

posted by tomcooke at 1:44 AM on June 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Found it!

Fantastic. Thanks.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 9:00 AM on June 10, 2008

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