EMERALD ISLE, CARTERET COUNTY - People reported seeing at least 10 red circles in the sky above Eastern North Carolina this past weekend. After one women took a video of the event, she learned other people have been seeing these mysterious orbs as well.
Kelly Burke said she spends plenty of evenings on her back porch but had never seen anything like the red circles before.
"That's when they started coming off of the horizon one by one. They would all completely disappear in the same spot - the same spot! So it would go from there to there, poof its gone," said Burke.
Burke, her husband, and her daughter all saw the lights together. She said there were a total of 10 and each flitted across the sky at a level elevation. Burke says the glowing objects were too symmetrical to be flares and too level to be floating lanterns.
"I've photographed Chinese lanterns for weddings that I do. All of those have a center of brightness. " said Burke.
Burke says the circles in sky she spotted were not like the lanterns she photographed. The lanterns she saw did not have that point of brightness. They were the same color all thew ay through. She described the orbs as moving against the wind, not with it unlike a lantern.
Driven by curiosity, Burke posted her video on Facebook. She was surprised to find out a lot of people had seen similar red circles all across the country, several were along the coast from Nags Head to Oak Island.
Friend Stephanie Brunner says she was relieved when she saw Kelly Burke's post. She saw a group of red orbs almost a year ago in Jacksonville.
"Ours was in a formation, like a triangle. Not a full triangle, but there were five of them," said Stephanie Brunner.
Brunner said she and her husband tried to drive closer to the lights before they went out. She said she didn't tell many people about the event.
"People thought I was crazy, but we definitely saw them. I'm just glad my husband was there to see them too," said Brunner.
One local North Carolinian says his whole family saw one while on vacation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
"And being in aviation, I know there has to be blinking lights on an aircraft. And there was none on this," described Ronald Winstead.
Reports of flying orbs way back. We found a 1944 article from the New York Times with the headline "Floating Mystery Ball is New Nazi Air Weapon."
Retired U.S. Marine General Tom Braaten says the circle reminded him of a jet burner, but there were some differences. "If you were looking right at the back end, then it would look like a very bright circle," said Braaten.
He did say burners are usually bright white, not the red seen in the video. He also said the shape of the light didn't match up with the motion of the burner. He said a burner would only appear to be a circle if the jet was pointed away from the viewer, but the circle in the video was seen traveling along the coast from left to right. When jets do that, Gen. Braaten said you see the side of the burner which appears as more of a cone shape.
General Braaten and a Harrier pilot we spoke to both said there are too many variables to pin-point what the circles in the sky are.
For now, the circles will technically remain a "U.F.O." After all, "U.F.O." stands for "Unidentified Flying Objects" and these circles in the sky are still unidentified.
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