It is the most famous so-called UFO sighting in the world. "The Phoenix Lights" captured the world's attention 17 years ago on March 13, 1997.
Every year new witnesses come forward to tell the story they kept to themselves all those years. One man who still wants to remain anonymous told CBS 5 News he was working on his roof air conditioner around 8 p.m. that evening when he saw it. He said he never told anyone outside his family until this year.
There are only four known videos that capture what happened in the sky over the Phoenix area. Each one shows a slightly different view of a series of lights out west. They blink on for a few minutes, then disappear.
The U.S. military maintains those lights were part of a training session involving flares dropped over the Barry M. Goldwater Range near Gila Bend, AZ.
Witnesses like Sue Watson believe differently, because they saw something else.
"Evidently what we saw that night was one of the biggest reported UFOs ever," she said.
Watson and her family live in East Phoenix. She said that night they all watched an enormous black aircraft cruise slow and low over Camelback Mountain headed south.
"It was like a [shopping] mall flying over my home," she said of the craft, described by multiple witnesses as being over a mile wide.
"Seriously, when it flew over it was beautiful," Watson said. "It had these lights in front and then it was totally illuminated underneath, like a yellowish amber. It was a totally rounded boomerang shape."
UFO investigator Larry Lowe has produced a short film, Prescott Witness, that includes an animated version of the craft that matches witness descriptions better than any rendering up to this point. It tells the story of a new witness who came forward for the first time in January. The animated craft cruises over the Valley, blocking out the stars to those underneath.
But after 17 years, no video or photos have surfaced of that mystery aircraft. Watson says she had a camera, but could not tear her eyes away from the amazing sight overhead.
"I didn't want to stop watching it," she said. "And then by the time I got out with a camera it passed our house. We kept watching it over our roof going south and then it just shot off! If only I'd had the camera earlier!"
The most famous witness to the phenomenon is Dr. Lynne Kitei. The North Phoenix women's health physician eventually produced a documentary, The Phoenix Lights which will be shown this weekend. The event will feature appearances with Kitei and other witnesses.
The 1 p.m. showing at Harkins' Shea theater is expected to sell out. You can learn more here.
Did you see anything like this on March 13, 1997? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
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