The unidentified lights reported by several witnesses on Tuesday can be seen in this image, a screenshot taken from a video of the event posted on YouTube.
Petoskey - Late Tuesday, John Cassidy and his wife, Jackie, were sitting around the fire pit in their backyard on Howard Road in Petoskey when they saw something strange in the night sky.
"When we first saw the lights it looked like the moon coming up and I could see it through the trees to the east," John said.
But it wasn't the moon.
"Within about 30 seconds the light caught my attention and I noticed it had moved, so I commented to Jackie that it's not the moon, and we got up to walk 30 feet to the clearing and we could see it unobstructed to the east, still moving north. We could see a long bright orange glow, resembling fireworks or an orange flare. The glow didn't last long and when the glare went away we could see two objects with whitish flashing lights, a fast flash," John said.
John said a "flare-like" light again appeared from the area near one of the lights.
It happened twice and the lights continued to travel across the sky heading north until they were out of sight. There was no sound.
"We had calls from all over the region Tuesday night about the lights," said Mary Albertson, office manager at this area's 9-1-1 CCE Central Dispatch. "The calls began around 10:15 p.m. and continued to about 11:30 p.m."
The call center covers Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties, and Albertson noted the calls came in from Mackinaw City to Indian River, Harbor Springs to Petoskey.
One caller said she saw the lights over Little Traverse Bay.
News-Review Facebook fans also reported seeing the lights.
Dispatch did contact the FAA and no unusual activity in the area was reported.
Keith Berger, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Gaylord, said there was meteor activity visible in Northern Michigan on Tuesday, but couldn't say if that was indeed what people may have seen.
CCE Central Dispatch sent the News-Review this report from callers who contacted them about strange lights late Tuesday.
- 10:15 p.m. - 9-1-1 call received from Mill Creek Campground in Mackinaw City reporting, "Something looked like it exploded, but it wasn't fireworks." Location was the sky south east of the campground.
- 10:23 p.m. - 9-1-1 call from a woman south of Cross Village reporting, "Two small lights in the sky that got bigger," and described the lights as a "bright orange flame." Also stated that they "Didn't look like fireworks."
A State Tropper informed Dispatch that there was a jet in the sky. 9-1-1 called the Cross Village woman back to double check her facts. She stated that she saw the jet, and could still see the tail of smoke from the jet, but "this was separate from that. It was a big ball of flame, and then it disappeared."
- 11:03 p.m. - 9-1-1 call from a man in Cheboygan asking if anyone could see the sky. Reported a "huge line of gold lights going across the sky."
- 11:03 p.m. - 9-1-1 call from a man in Indian River identifying the sky northwest of his location. Reported a "string of lights going on and off in a sequence... way up in the air... not making any noise." Caller also reported that "it was really weird, (the lights) were traveling after each other."
- 11:04 p.m. - 9-1-1 call received from a woman at the Glen's South location in Petoskey. Could see the lights over the Little Traverse Bay. Said the "lights flicker and shoot across the sky, and form into different things, like triangles."
- 11:06 p.m. - 9-1-1 call received from near the Odawa Casino reporting more lights over the casino.
- 11:23 p.m. - 9-1-1 call received from the area of Howard Road in Petoskey. Caller said, "Thought at first it was the moon coming through the trees" and "there were two objects in the sky" and also "to me, it looked like military flares." This caller also reported seeing the jet previously, however the first report of the jet was an hour before.
- Compiled by Mary Albertson, office manger for CCE Central Dispatch.