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Interview With Mike Fortson - Part II

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2007 09:52:52 -0400
Archived: Wed, 26 Sep 2007 09:52:52 -0400
Subject: Interview With Mike Fortson - Part II

Source: American Chronicle - Beverly Hills, California, USA


September 25, 2007

Interview With Mike Fortson (II):
Eye Witness To The Phoenix Lights UFO

Frank Warren

Note-Having recently passed the 10th anniversary of the so-
called "Phoenix Lights" of March 13, 1997, the following is a
continuation of a series of interviews/articles with and by
direct eye witnesses of this monumental event.

Although many who witnessed this huge "V-shaped craft" have come
forward, there are a great deal more who haven't; research
concerning this case is ongoing to this day, and it is our hope
by highlighting the event(s) and the individuals who witnessed
it, more people will come forward and share their experiences.
Comments are always welcome, and if requested confidentiality
will be honored-FW

- Part II -

FW: Mike we left off in Part I of this interview at the end of
your narrative describing what you refer to as "your life-
 changing event," i.e., the sighting of a "huge" V-Shaped craft
by you and your wife known as the "Phoenix Lights." This taking
place almost ten years ago March 13, 1997.

I would like to begin the very next day, but first given what is
now known about that night, calling it the "Phoenix Lights"
certainly isn't accurate, to put it mildly; where and how did
that name originate?

Mike Fortson (B)MF: Frank, that's a really good question, and I
don't know if I have the right answer. I think several people
will take the credit for the name, Phoenix Lights. The massive
sighting occurred Thursday evening March 13, 1997. After I
reported it to MUFONAZ, I was asked to be at Village Labs in
Tempe, AZ., on Sunday March 16. There the Strange Universe
crew met with us and videotaped our experience. I think the term
was first used then. However, a few others may claim the term,
I'm just not sure. Another, which I thought was first, was a
producer from MSNBC. One fact does remain... I have argued this
title since it's creation as inaccurate. What was seen that
night was witnessed nearly all over the state of Arizona. Today
I equate the term Phoenix Lights to the 5 videos of a
diversionary flare drop around 10 PM that night. These more than
likely flares were dropped at around 16,000' foot altitude and
witnessed by a few people in Phoenix metro area. These lights
weren't over Phoenix. And truthfully, they weren't even over
Maricopa county. But the descriptive name for March 13th will
forever be Phoenix Lights. Sad but true.

I do agree with the late Doc Barry; The Massive UFO Flyover of
Arizona March 13, 1997, is the most accurate way to describe
that wonderful night.

FW: In our private correspondence, you often refer to your
experience as, "life changing" and "wonderful" etc., which by
the way is a common theme amongst witnesses who saw this massive
object "up close"; take us back to the next day after the
event; when you woke up that morning, what was going through
your mind?

MF: Since we both worked, we would have started the day doing
the normal things to get ready for work. We had questioned each
other wondering if anyone else had seen this massive V shaped
object. Our questions were soon answered... yes, hundreds, maybe
even thousands had seen it. We soon learned that Thursday
evening the phones had lit up at various TV and radio stations.
Talk Radio was a-buzz. There was, I guess the best word to
describe the first day after the sighting... confusion. The most
upsetting part of the early hours of the first day was the
constant spinning by Talk Radio hosts of something explainable.
They would laugh and tee-hee at some of the callers reports of
what they had seen. Everyone was made fun of. People were told
to rest assured that what was seen last night was explainable
and probably a military exercise. Talk Radio had no idea that
there was more than one event Thursday evening. A few of the
five (5) videos were being turned in to MUFONAZ and one or two
were already on television news. It truly was the talk of the

I was listening to Talk Radio most of the day. I hadn't yet
decided to call in - mainly because of the debunking that was
already going on. They really made the callers feel ignorant and
silly from the beginning. I was really getting upset. I have
never experienced anything like this before. Without
investigation... conclusions were being drawn. This was very
frustrating. And this is why I believe so many that had seen
this massive craft refused to call in or report their sighting.
One so called expert said, this is why people shouldn't look
up!. Everyone laughed.

At one point I had to report in to my boss in California. After
our conference, I told him what Nannette and I had witnessed
Thursday evening. His response was just like the Talk Radio
hosts... no way, there has to be an explanation, probably

The first day was terrible for the witnesses. Instead of trying
to find out just how many witnesses there were state-wide, they
would just ridicule and insult the intelligence of those who
called in. I was really starting to boil... after seeing those
late night videos time and time again... it was getting to me...
for that was not what we had seen Thursday evening at 8:30 PM
from our home in Chandler. And after taking just so much... I
finally made the call. I searched UFO on the internet. After
looking for a few seconds I found MUFON. I found Walter Andrus'
phone number in Seguine, Texas. I made the call. He answered the
phone, and the first words I said, was.. Sir, my name is Mike
Fortson. I live in Chandler, Arizona. I would like to ask you a
question... has anyone from Arizona reported a mile-long UFO
from last night? I could hear him take a deep breath. He
responded, "Yes!" I then began to explain everything we had seen
and felt. "You saw it?" he asked. "Yes", I replied, "My wife and
I both saw it for about 2 minutes." "Call these people right
away", he said. I was then given the phone numbers to RM and BH
of MUFONAZ. After several calls I finally got through. I was
asked to call back after lunch Saturday.

As of Friday March 14, the first day after the massive sighting,
there was thought to be only one UFO event that occurred on
March 13, 1997.

FW: So, understandably, given the amount of witnesses who saw
something, there was instantaneous feedback; had you ever called
into a radio show before?

What you describe Mike, in my view, is a very interesting
social phenomenon unto itself; that is a 'can't be, so it isn't
mentality!' Obviously you took the ridicule that was bestowed on
others personally - as anyone would since you shared a very
significant experience.

Explain the difference between the late night videos being
aired on television and what you witnessed.

MF: Frank, I'm thinking that if I had called into a radio
station, it would have been to request a song. I listened to
music rather than Talk Radio. I'm thinking the only time I
turned to a talk station would be to check on traffic.

The 5 -10:00 PM., MST., videos are of distant lights. No one
knows for sure just what they are, or aren't. But it's basically
all the video evidence there is. This is where the term,
Phoenix Lights began.

The truth is the distant lights aren't in Phoenix and probably
aren't even in Maricopa county! But like I said, it's all they
have. So every time a witness speaks of their sighting during a
TV or documentary video... the distant lights video is shown in
the background. And yes, the lights are more than likely flares.
Or as I call it, the perfect diversion. This is one issue that
will never be resolved.

As of nine years and seven months after the fact... there are no
witnesses that were close enough to the lights to accurately
describe just what they were. The sad part... 99% of all the
so-called investigation was on these lights videos... nearly all
witnesses to the March 13, 1997 UFO Flyover were in the 8
o'clock hour!

As I said earlier we all met at Village Labs Sunday, March 16
and were filmed by Strange Universe. There the videos were
played before several witnesses and several MUFONAZ
representatives. That's when I first spoke up to them and said,
that's not what we saw! I described in front of all present
and on film, for the very first time just what we saw at 8:30
PM., MST., not at 10 PM.

Nannette and I saw a solid V-shaped craft, not distant lights.
We had no problem determining it was one object as it came
through the grey background of the city lights, the enormous
black craft stuck out like a sore thumb. It was low and slow and
it did not make any noise. And as I exclaimed during the
sighting, "that son-of-a-bitch is a mile long!"

It was at that time that thoughts of multiple events first were
considered. After the meeting at Village Labs ended, the entire
film crew came to our home in Chandler and interviewed us and
filmed from our vantage point. Clearly seeing that the city
lights to the north west of our location did indeed give a grey
background from the city lights.

What witnesses viewed in the 8 o'clock hour through out Arizona on
March 13, 1997, were not flares. The 5- 10 PM videos, more than
likely are.

FW: In regards to what you call the "perfect diversion", didn't
Optical Physicist Dr. Bruce Maccabee do an analysis of the 10:00
flares? Who was present at Village Labs on the 16th?

MF: Yes, Dr Bruce Maccabee came to Phoenix and examined all the
videos, I believe through a scientific method of triangulation.
He perceived them to be shot pretty close to the same time; app.
10 PM MST. I believe he calculated them to be a distance from
Phoenix of about 30-36 miles and had to have been ignited around
16-17,000'. I would refer you to his conclusions that are on
file at his website. Personally, I trust his conclusions because
he was the only one who approached this from a scientific point
of view. You see, the lights were just too far away

And there are no witnesses or videos close up to confirm just
what they were. And in order for the lights or flares to be seen
in the Phoenix metro area, they had to be very high up.
16-17,000'. And keep in mind the only ones to see the 10 PM
events were those with mountainside homes or elevated

Those present at the first get together at Village Labs on March
16, 1997 were: Jim Dilletoso, Michael Tanner both of Village
Labs, Bill Hamilton (MUFONAZ), Tom King - who shot the 10 PM
video from Mike Krysten's home with Bill Hamilton - Richard
Motzer, Tom Taylor, both with MUFONAZ, Scott Montgomery and his
wife - he shot video of F15's chasing the orbs - Ozma Linderman
and her boyfriend, both 8:25 witnesses from Scottsdale, Mike
Krysten and his wife Sue - he shot the famous footage at 10 PM -
 my wife Nannette and me.

There were a couple radio people there, and Strange Universe
filmed the entire meeting. There were probably others but my
memory fails as this was nearly 10 years ago. MUFONAZ had
acquired 4 or 5 videos and they were played for us. That's when
I stood up and said, that's not what we saw!.

FW: In Dr. Maccabee's analysis he writes:

"the following analysis of March 13, 1997 sightings over Phoenix
refers to the sightings by a few people of lights at about 10
PM. An earlier sighting by hundreds of people around 8:30 PM of
a dark triangular object that blocked the stars was a UFO. It is
not the subject of this analysis."

Seems he separated the 'wheat from the chaff' right off the bat.
Who initially arranged the meeting at Village Labs, and for
our readers, please define their function.

MF: Frank, I have no idea who set the first meeting up. I assume
that there is a connection between someone at MUFONAZ and
Village Labs. And it was Village Labs that got a hold of Strange
Universe. Village Labs served as a meeting place and also as a
source for witnesses and media to communicate with for several

FW: What do Village Labs do... their business?

MF: I'm really not sure. I'm assuming until they lost their
funding and lease, they were looking for ET. They were a point
of contact to analyze video tapes. And they had stuff from all
over the world. There were videos I got to see from not only the
US but Australia and Europe. That's about all I know. I do know
they opened their doors to all of us interested in updating the
May 13 stories as they came in. I could come in unannounced and
they would see me and answer my questions and allow me to read
new reports and see the videos anytime I wanted.

FW: So it would seem that prior to the Phoenix Lights,
Village Labs main activities were centered upon Ufology; when
exactly, to the best of your recollection, did the media report
a flare-drop by the military? Also, when did the collective
of witnesses realize they might have seen different object(s)?

MF: The word probably started in April. I'm not sure when the
Arizona Republic article came out, but it was an interview with
then Captain Eileen Bienz and the headline was something to the
effectof: The Solution to the Phoenix Lights. Something like

This brings up the question, that if you have a solution, you
must have had a problem! Anyway, this was one of the first. I
remember flares being brought up among the first times as Bill
Hamilton left MUFONAZ and became the Executive Director of Sky
Watch International. That's when I remember Richard Motzer
MUFONAZ beginning his attacks on the flare issue, trying to
debunk Bill Hamilton's theory on the issue of the 5 to 10 PM

Then, lines were drawn in the sand, so to speak. The rest is
unfortunate history since there never really was an
investigation of March 13, 1997. They just never got past those
10 PM videos.

Witness testimony of different objects from lights, to solid
craft, to orbs, to triangles, to discs were immediately reported
to media, Village Labs, local radio, television stations, etc.
Problem was no one really listened to them since they did not
have video of their events. That was the evil of the whole
evening... unless you had video, it probably didn't happen. This
is why the so-called investigators nearly worshiped those 5 to
10 PM videos. It was like their holy grail. It wasn't until the
USA Today article on June 18th, 1997 came out did people start
listening to the 8 o'clock witnesses. At that point the national
media got involved and people finally started listening. It was
then most of my TV/radio interviews began.

FW: With the benefit of hindsight, if we could go back... what
would you have liked to see happen?

MF: Well, first of all I would have liked to have seen my ass
moving quickly and retrieving a video camera and taping the
massive V shaped craft as it passed in front of us. I truly
believe this would have ended speculation that what we and
thousands of other Arizonians witnessed that night was something
other than flares, planes, blimps or balloons. I really
apologize to the world that I did not think clearly and failed
to react, as I should have. Instead I just stared and was
somewhat paralyzed to the impossible craft I was witnessing.

Other than that, I would like to have seen the media react with
a more keen awareness that something spectacular did happen. I
would have liked to see them treat our fellow citizens with more
respect and accept the fact that the media are not the only ones
with eyes and a brain.

FW: For those of us that pay attention Mike, two common traits
for folks that witnessed the huge craft, number one was "awe",
the second was a sense of "warm wonderment" as opposed to fear.
As you know, most direct witnesses stayed in their respective
seats so to speak... no need to apologize.

This looks like a good place to conclude Part II... readers
stay tuned for Part III with Mike Fortson.

See Part I:


See Also:

Eye Witness Mike Fortson's Original Report of The 'Phoenix Lights'


The Non-Investigation of the Phoenix Lights - My View


[All at Frank Warren's Blog]

Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



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