NUFORC Home Page
Web Report Indexes : by Event Date | by Location | by Shape | by Posting Date

National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 8/24/1978 23:00 (Entered as : 08/24/78 23:00)
Reported: 6/29/2020 3:05:48 PM 15:05
Posted: 7/3/2020
Location: Arches National Park, UT
Shape: Rectangle
Duration:10 minutes
Date: August 1978 - around 8/23 to 8/25, 1978 Time: Around 10PM to Midnight. Clear dry SW sky.

Where: Arches National Park Campground, Grand County, Utah, Zip Code 84532 Height in sky: About 200 ft. (not sure).

Length of obj: If 100-300 ft high in air, then maybe 150-600 ft in length (all approximates here) Speed: Something like Helicopter speed (maybe 100 mph) Duration: About 10 minutes from horizon to horizon.

What: Four continuous distinct rectangular colors of light (red, blue, white, yellow) moving across the craft left to right. No other lights on it at all. Straight as an arrow horizon to horizon. Dead silent. Could not distinguish any form to the craft.

Sighting happened around 11 pm (10pm to Midnight) around August 23 – 25, 1978 in southern Utah at Arches National Park campground. I was 28 years old at the time. My younger brother and I were on a 4-week camping vacation through the Southwest. We had rented a station wagon in Grand Junction, CO and drove and just slept in the back of the station wagon at various National Parks.

This night we and the other campers were settling down for the night. I like staying up late, so I was sitting off the back of the station wagon enjoying the clear night sky and reflecting how nice it was to be traveling around for a few weeks. Things were getting quieter and quieter around the campground until at last the last campers that were up had finally gone to sleep. My brother had gone to sleep also. It was about 11pm.

Around 15 minutes after everything went quiet, I saw a very bright solid white light in the sky off in the distance to my right. The white light was coming closer, not flying very high, maybe about 200 ft (not sure) in a very straight line. I was wondering what it was and figured it must be a small plane, maybe a search plane or maybe a search helicopter. I thought maybe someone was missing that day, and they were searching for them that night. Then I kind of laughed to myself because I could see it would be flying right over our campground and figured the noise would be so loud that it would probably wake up everyone.

As it started to fly past in front of me, coming from the bright white light in the front, the side view became a very, very long narrow band of 4 distinct and different rectangular colored lights moving from left to right across the side of whatever this was. Red, blue, white, yellow. (Not sure of the order, but white and yellow were next to each other, definitely.) It was a continuous running rectangular strip of distinct lights. You could see at least 3 of the colors at one time, and as one color ‘dropped off’ the back, it would appear again at the front end of the strip. Evenly spaced colors, very bright, solid colors.

| Yellow | White | Blue | Red | At first I thought it was just 3 colors, red, blue, white and that the white strip was twice as long as the other 2 colors; but looking very intently as this thing went past, I could see that there was a very faint yellow strip of light next to the white strip of light. So, all 4 colors were the same length.

My jaw literally dropped open. I was yelling and shaking my brother to wake him up and to look at this thing. I could not wake him no matter how hard I tried. There were no other lights on this anywhere; no blinking lights like aircraft is supposed to have. And looking at this very intently, I could not for the life of me, make out any craft or shape to it at all. It was just a strip of rectangular colors going by in the night sky. And it made no noise at all, dead silent; so, it was not a plane or a helicopter.

I was gasping at the sight, and I wanted to scream to wake up the whole campground; but I stopped myself out of embarrassment because it would be gone by the time I woke anybody and because I thought what if it is just a blimp. A blimp would be the only earthly thing that could possibly make any sense at all. In 1978, I did not know if blimps made noise. Now I know they are very noisy so this could not have been a blimp. No noise coming or going.

After it went past, the back end of it just became the same type of bright white solid light (coming off the colored lights of the side) that the front end had been. I watched that bright white light as it flew off to the horizon on my left until it just faded from my eyes, and I could no longer see it. It went straight as an arrow across the sky past me. Never wavering, at about the speed of a helicopter. I was dumbfounded.

Several days later, we were camping at Capitol Reed National Park, Utah. We met a couple from Rhode Island that were traveling across the country. When the young woman found out that we had been at Arches N.P. the same night they were, she started telling me about a strange thing she had seen in the sky there. I said, oh my gosh, did you see it too? She described the exact same thing. We were both so excited to corroborate each other. She had thought that the white rectangular color of light was twice as long as the other colors, red and blue. I told her I had thought the same thing at first, but then I had distinguished a very faint yellow rectangular color next to the white. So, there was in fact 4 distinct colors of the same length. She said, oh that explains that part then. She had no idea what it was either. Also, she could not wake up her husband that night, so he did not see it either.

I don’t have a picture of it; but recently, I asked my son to write a little program that would portray it. I sent a gif view of this via email. It is a pretty good likeness of what I saw. My son has a Physics PhD degree and is a skeptic. He is convinced I saw a blimp in 1978. I remain open-minded; but when searching 1978 blimps on-line now, I do not see any that look like what I saw. And nothing out there currently looks like it either.

-Blimps are noisy; this was dead silent.

-Blimps should have blinking and other lights on it; this had none.

-I should have been able to distinguish some outline; I could not see any. That seems very dangerous.

I wish now that I had screamed that night, if only to have made contact with the Rhode Island girl that night. I wish I had her name so I could contact her now. I always wonder if she ever made a report since she was as astonished as I was that night.