A Sarasota County, FL, witness recalls watching a "massive, black rectangle" crossing the sky while being pursued by two military jets, according to January 11, 2013, testimony from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) witness reporting database.
The Englewood, FL, resident is a longtime amateur astronomer and often scans the sky from a backyard observatory - but was standing outside on a porch about 11:15 p.m. on January 17, 2003, when the incident occurred.
Aside from some minor editing, the witness tells the story in his own words in Case 45140.
"After this event and later that night, I wrote down the date and time," the witness stated. "I cannot find the paper, so I will have to guess on the date, month and year. I have been an amateur astronomer for over 20 years. I spend almost every cold clear night out in my backyard observatory. Living in Florida you have to take advantage of every good astronomy night. I think the year was 2003 and I believe the month was January. It was during a multi-day cold spell.
"Cold as in a hard, freeze warning for plants, water pipes etc. Maybe I can use that to help nail down the date. The event took place exactly like this in detail.
"It was about 11 p.m. I went out the porch door into the backyard and walked to my dome observatory. It was extremely cold out. I was dressed in real winter clothing, stocking hat, mittens - not my usual outfit living in Florida.
"It was a very clear night. I am pretty sure the moon was not visible at all. It was so cold that the dome had a light icy frost all over it. I realized that I got too late a start for a night of observing and taking astro-photos. I would have to use heaters on the telescope and fight dew onset on the optics. I knew that if I set up, it would be a losing battle. I decided to just get my binoculars and maybe spend 10 minutes taking a nice look.
"It was too clear and crisp not to at least spend some time with this great sky. I went in the house and got my binoculars and then went back out. I stood just outside the porch door on the cement entrance way. I was just looking around the sky without the binoculars, trying to decide on what to look at.
"I'm guessing it was about 11:15 or so. I was facing east. North is to my left. Suddenly I see an enormous motion in the sky. I see this out of the corner of my eyes. It is moving from north to south through my east facing view. I turn my head a very small amount and have a direct clear view of something that does not make sense to me. I see a gigantic black void moving across the sky.
"I could say it was as black as black can be, but it actually looked like an opening, a void, like a section of the sky had been cut out. It was a clear rectangle shape. No lights. No sounds. It was so big that I was frozen with absolute amazement. It was moving fast, I so wanted to look at it with my binoculars. I had them right in my hands. I knew this thing was going to be out of my view real quick. I knew that if I put the binoculars up to my eyes that I would most likely lose the object.
"I feel accurate in saying that the object went into and out of my field of view in 10 seconds. Just after I watched it disappear from view, two military jets came roaring across the sky following the same path as the rectangle. I watched in awe and wonder.
"I feel accurate in saying that the jets crossed my horizon view from left to right in about 15 seconds. I had a thousand questions. I felt many feelings. I stayed there begging to see more.
"I would quickly run in the house and call my uncle and tell him what just happened. Then I would run back outside and wait. Then I ran in and called my parents. Then ran back out. There were no other events that night.
"I wrote the time and date somewhere on a calendar or a book.
"Now I will try to describe size, speed, height, etc.
"The rectangle was as large as the constellation Orion the hunter. It took up about that much of the sky. Describing the data path of the two jets will be easier than describing the position of the rectangle.
"I would say that the two jets were about one to three miles away at most from my location. I would say they were flying much lower than regular everyday small, single engine airplanes that you see often. The jets were sharp, pointy, long and skinny - just like an F-16 or F-15
"I could see them very clearly. From my view, one jet was ahead of the other by about one and-a-half jet lengths. And off to one side. The jets were very loud and moving fast.
"If the rectangle stayed at the same speed as when I watched it go by, I would say that the jets would catch up to it within a minute. But the way the rectangle moved was so different. It moved as if it was gliding on a rail or tracks. This is hard to describe. It moved across the sky in such a perfect straight line. Not at all like an object being propelled. Not at all like a projectile. Definitely not needing or using anything to do with air and aerodynamics.
"Watching the jets chase after the rectangle made me feel like I was watching children try to chase an airliner with paper airplanes.
"I wondered how long hey had been chasing it. I felt kind of a good feeling knowing that the people in the jets and whoever sent up the jets also must have seen this. I wondered if this was something we made. And are the jets working with it? By that I mean, we absolutely could not make a machine like it. It was too incredible.
"So I can only wonder if it was a projection of some sort. That might be something we can make. I have wondered if one can project a pitch black rectangle on a dark sky? Project it from space or from the ground? Or from a plane.
"I can only describe the one dimension of the rectangle. I saw no depth or side view, no thickness, no view of volume. The way it moved so perfectly makes me think that a projection from some kind of projector would explain the perfect straight line path.
"It also, though, made me think that it was like a window being opened.
"It was more like a void in the sky than a hard object. I try as hard as I can to remember if I could see any stars behind it as it passed by. It went across my entire left-to-right view of my horizon up 40 degrees.
"At that time of night it would have to pass in front of about nine visible stars in my eastern sky.
"I would like to get hypnotized and try to recall every detail possible. This was that incredible. Over the years since, I have gone online to see if anyone else reported anything like this. All I ever read was sightings of black triangles, etc.
"If I was very wealthy I would spend the time and money trying to find and interview people who also saw it. And research it as far as I could. I could go on, but I think that is just about it.
"I apologize for any bad spelling and grammar. Thank you for reading this. I would really like to hear back of similar events.
"PS - I have a friend who is a pilot with his own plane and some day he is going to fly it on the same path while we are on the phone. I will be standing exactly where I was standing and when he is in the correct height and distance, I will tell him and he will note the altitude and distance to me. We can also see how long it takes to cross my horizon view from left to right at a known speed and then extrapolate up, etc."