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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 12/2/1988 22:30 (Entered as : 12/2/88 22:30)
Reported: 4/24/1999 12:13
Posted: 2/25/2003
Location: Hilo, HI
Shape: Light
Duration:2 - 3 Hours
7 lights observed around Mauna Kea, HI

My wife and I were descending Mauna Loa to the weather station, at 11,500 feet, after a day summit hike. In the developing twilight, we missed a trail marker and had to finish our descent in the dark. Fortunately, the weather station has a red beacon over it, so we were able to home in on it. Less fortunate was that we had to hike over about a mile or two of what Hawaiians call "ah ah," the very loose, jagged clinkly lava. This required a great deal of effort on our parts as we held hands and snaked our way across the lava field towards the beacon at the weather station. One of us would get a firm footing to support the other while the other would then move forward. Not fast progress, but we were able to keep our feet for the most part. It was during one of our many rests that I noticed these little whitish lights dancing around Mauna Kea. It was clear, beautiful night with a few small clouds around the summit of Mauna Kea and one very large cloud directly above the summit. The moon had not yet risen. I was suffering a bit of altitude sickness and was wondering if these dancing lights around Mauna Kea were a manifestation of that. After watching these lights dart about the top of the mountain across the island for a while, I turned to my wife who it turns out was watching them, too. We tried to figure out what they might be. There is an observatory atop Mauna Kea and we thought the lights might be a reflection in the clouds of descending vehicle headlights. That didn't make sense as the lights would zip and dart very fast not only across the face of the mountain, but beyond its extents as well. Then the lights would just as suddenly stop and hover. Vehicle lights would behave in a more consistant pattern. We wondered if they were some kind of laser projection as we could see occasional beams of light from the moving lights to the large cloud above the summit of Mauna Kea. Since the beams would initiate at either the lights or in the cloud and then terminate at the other, not going beyond, we reasoned we were watching some type of transmission. We listened closely, as it is very quiet on a large mountain at night, and could detect no sound which ruled out helicopters. We would have heard them loud and clear. Besides, the lights could move much faster than I have ever seen any aircraft move. They were a most unique phenomenon in that they would dart swiftly from place to place about the mountain and then hover. We continued our descent of Mauna Loa and would stop to watch the dancing lights when we took our rests for the next 3 - 4 hours. At one point I suggested to my wife that we attempt to signal the craft to see if we could get a ride down to our car. Needless to say, whe was not particularly enthusiastic about this idea, so we continued snaking our way down the mountain. When we arrived at our car at about 02:00, the lights were still there darting about and hovering. We drove down the mountain to Hilo and fell exhaustedly into bed. The next day we both got massages and related the story to our masseuses. They both commented that many people have had strange sightings up on the mountain.