Free State UFOs leave skygazers puzzled

2011-11-03 08:03

Bloemfontein - The appearance of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) in the Free State have left skygazers puzzled as they try to fathom what they are looking at.

Riaan van Greuning of Eloff near Delmas, said that at 22:00 on Sunday night he saw a strange phenomenon in Harrismith and took photographs of what looks like fireballs.

"It was cloudy and the phenomenon was fairly low in the sky. Five of these objects appeared in a matter of 20 minutes."

Greuning said the fireballs moved from north to south, made no noise and were relatively slow moving.

"I do not know what it was. Something like this makes one think. All I know is that it was not a helicopter's searchlight."

Flares, lanterns?

He has since consulted several websites, but could not get clarity on what he saw.

"I don’t believe in aliens. This is really just a strange thing."

On Facebook, several readers in Bloemfontein said they had seen the strange lights the past few nights too.

Professor Matie Hoffman, of the physics department at the University of the Free State and the Boyden Observatory, said that phenomenon seen below clouds falls outside his field of expertise.

"My ideas are only as good as any other member of the public." He said the objects remind him of emergency flares. "They can stay in the air for quite a long time."

A former resident in the Middle East, Phillippa Lowe, said the so-called "silent fireballs" were most likely Chinese lanterns, which are miniature hot air balloons - as seen in the cartoon Tangled.

The air in the lanterns are heated by a compressed firelighter than can burn for a long time, keeping the lanterns afloat.

  • Jason - 2011-11-03 08:12

    I would go with 1000foot flares or Chinese lanterns!

      justindeklerk - 2011-11-03 09:05

      Not quite how I imagined the Chinese Invasion would be!

      Squeegee - 2011-11-03 09:18

      Now all the kooks will come out...

      George - 2011-11-03 12:18

      These are flares, you can see from the smoke trail

      Rinesh - 2011-11-03 16:14

      Maybe they are here to abduct JZ and Malema??? LOL

      Pieter - 2011-11-03 17:28

      No my friend..They would have to send the mothership to fit jz and malema in.

  • nicolene.v.heerden - 2011-11-03 08:15

    I live in Durbanville, Cape Town and a few weeks ago also on a Sunday evening my fiance and I was standing on our balcony and also saw strange "fire ball" like objects coming over a hill near us going into the air and flying in a line format. There were a whole lot of those things and we could also not hear a noise. At first we thought maybe it was lanterns floating in air, but the straight line of 3 or 2 next to each other flying in a straight row and turning at some point just didn't make any sense. We've asked aroud if someone new about something that was happening in this area that evening but no one knew of anything. We tried taking photo's but it came out very "blurry" and faint. This really was creapy!!!!

      Colbert - 2011-11-03 10:41

      I live in Durbanville and also have been seeing strange Orb like things but the weird part is that they change color. I dont know what it is but It seems to be happening world wide:

      Dayne - 2011-11-03 13:00

      I too have seen weird orb lights flying over Durbanville and Table View areas. I am not a big believer in UFO's, but this was certainly "unidentified". My experience was a few years ago. I was traveling from City Bowl out towards Table View. As I left the city, I spotted 5 green orb lights flying over Table View in the direction of Cape Town. They were moving very slowly and were arranged in an arc formation. My initial instinct was that they were helicopters with search lights. But as I got closer, I noticed how the lights did not change their shape, and did not reflect off of anything. If it was a search light, then as my angle to the aircraft changed, so too should the shape of the search light. I also noticed how perfectly they appeared to hold their formation. Eventually I met up with the lights at Woodbridge Island where I stopped (along with many other drivers) to get a better look. They appeared to be just over the tall block of flats. There is a significant amount of light in that area and would have expected to be able to see the silhouette of an aircraft. But there was none. There was also no sound of engines. There was still no change in the shape of the lights, even as they passed me by. They turned slowly toward Durbanville where I finally lost sight of them.

      George - 2011-11-03 13:23

      I also saw angels full with wings. My spirits were lifted higher and higher.

      Nitesh - 2011-11-03 14:17

      it was diwali.....idiots

      Pieter - 2011-11-03 17:39

      People smoking POT normally see strange phenon strange phemonan strange fenona strange things.

      Jonathan - 2011-11-03 18:06

      @Nitesh. Diwali was last Wednesday you twit

  • Don - 2011-11-03 08:20

    Obviously Chinese lanterns, you can even make them out in the pic.

  • africanwolf - 2011-11-03 08:21

    it was the Vali

  • marazor - 2011-11-03 08:21

    some bored person fired crackers and took pictures of them... big deal

  • Shawn - 2011-11-03 08:22

    It's happening . . . whooooooooo hooooo

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2011-11-03 08:30


  • Lana-May - 2011-11-03 08:26

    Its probably just lanterns but the thought of it being something alien like is exciting.....

  • Gaby - 2011-11-03 08:33

    It's aliens, yay!

      Darryn - 2011-11-03 13:23

      Yay..... if you like weird probes being shoved up ur bum!

  • Sean - 2011-11-03 08:36

    I am willing to guess that there were clouds about and that there was most probably a storm closeby. Looking at that pic, I would say that them lights are in fact Ball Lightning. These are not un-common on the highveld.

  • Raegan - 2011-11-03 08:37

    it was aliens on their way to abduct mr malema ,suppose they wana di-sect him and find out what goes on in his brain...

      Houtskool - 2011-11-03 08:46

      you mean to FIND his brain and identify the ape gene in him

      clairerossiter - 2011-11-03 08:47

      well that shouldn't take too long...

      QuintSch - 2011-11-03 08:49

      He he ... that would then be called space invaders?

      Thembisile - 2011-11-03 14:34

      lol wa bora

  • herculesjansenvanvuuren - 2011-11-03 08:39

    Why the hell would Aliens want to come to South Africa in the first place? Haven't they seen District 9? Haven't they heard of the Xenophobic attacks in our country? If it is in fact an advanced alien life form (and from what I understand from space travel, they have to be advanced), they must be pretty dof to come to South Africa.

  • JazzyBlues - 2011-11-03 08:56

    Call Mulder and Scully... The truth is out there .... Hahahahaha xxxxxx

      Raegan - 2011-11-03 09:00

      call malema and sheik ...their lies are out there.........

      Marni - 2011-11-03 10:54

      X Files rocks!!!!!!!

  • daniele.zanato - 2011-11-03 08:59

    Aliens getting ready to invade on the 21st December 2012 and are just doing reconnaissance.

  • Stewart - 2011-11-03 09:02

    Looks like sky lantern and you can buy them now a few have been sent up in Bloemfontein a swell.

  • Jerhone - 2011-11-03 09:02

    here we go again now its shy aliens that only fly around at night no day sightings no real proof why do you UFO geeks just look around you there must be at least five million aliens walking around SA. from over the borders

      daniele.zanato - 2011-11-03 09:13

      You do know that when it's night time here it's day time on the other side of the earth right ;-)

      Jerhone - 2011-11-03 13:27

      To Daniele, so on the other side of the earth there are no people with cellphone cameras that can take at least ONE decent shot of a UFO all you get from these UFO geeks are pictures of blurred hubcaps

  • DanteCampbell - 2011-11-03 09:12

    Well I for one shall not say it is aliens however I will say that the 'items' do not behave like anything that was listed there. For 1)Chinese lanterns keep the fire on the inside not on the outside. 2)emergency flares go up then down, they cannot 'fly' they accelerate upwards then fall. So perhaps some other type of human invention? Highly unlikely that it was aliens, and if it is aliens then who cares? They are not here killing us right now so don't even bother with them.

  • Nkululeko - 2011-11-03 09:15

    I thought it was only Zimbabwens,Mozambicans, Pakistanies, Thaies etc. but now it's real ALLIENS.

  • ar.kotze1 - 2011-11-03 09:17

    About 3 weeks ago we had the same 2 objects passing in Vanrhynsdorp, they also traveled very silently but one could see it clearly. They past Vanrhynsdorp twice on the same evening, heading in a south direction. I also asked around the next morning but no one was aware of the flying fire balls objects.

  • Marion - 2011-11-03 09:21

    If you go to this website you will be able to watch videos of sky lanterns. The bottom lot look very much like this pic from a distance. Hopefully they don't come to earth while the firelighter is still smouldering cos that could cause disastrous fires, especially in the farming community. Wish it had been more exciting like aliens...

      Azurite - 2011-11-03 10:36

      Jip, mystery solved, it's only Chinese lanterns

  • Santapola - 2011-11-03 09:24

    We are finished..Amen

  • Captain870 - 2011-11-03 09:30

    hmmmm... It could also be space debris... But yea, I do believe in UFO's but this is not something related to that. Probably one of the flare-firework thingy...

  • philip.spies - 2011-11-03 10:06

    It's an Alien conspiracy. They are lighting Chinese Lanterns to draw attention away from their REAL fleet. (Which does not rely on internal combustion!!!)

  • Rajen - 2011-11-03 10:07

    Hi Skygazers, If these aliens were granted a visa to enter our country, why could'nt the exiled Tibetan Leader Dalia Lama? Could we have feedback from the Dept of Foreign Affairs on how they so quickly granted these aliens a visa to enter our country! Rajen :0733917945

  • Hooloovoo - 2011-11-03 11:22

    Seker 'n vliegtuig, hulle is ook niks gewoond in Bloem nie

      Paul-Willem - 2011-11-03 17:46


  • TonyPerkis - 2011-11-03 11:31

    Weather balloons, chinese lanterns, fireworks or flares.

      riyaadmiller - 2011-11-03 13:20

      Not forgetting weather balloon or swam gas hee hee

  • errolsnr.oake - 2011-11-03 11:37

    Two microlite planes left harrismith air field, flying low and slowley, microlites are not as noisey as thought, however military fire flares where proberly used, fire flares can last a few minits depend what grade, I can also play funny tricks and games.

  • Michael - 2011-11-03 11:39

    I HAVE SEEN THIS ABOUT 5 MONTHS AGO IN KZN AT ABOUT 11:55pm i have also taken photos but the objects were too small on the image to be convincing what are these things Chinee’s lanterns can’t move so fast

  • paul.prinsloo3 - 2011-11-03 12:14

    Wow, no wonder people in Durbaville has problems selling proprties. Seems as if the Chinese regime has targeted Durbaville and Harrismith seeme as if the Chinese experiments with lanterns in order to take over the world without a messy war.

  • alain.d.thomas - 2011-11-03 13:14

    If I were an Alien, I'd also like to go see what happens in the Free State

      Skinfaxi - 2011-11-03 13:17

      Maybe they're looking for intelligent lifeforms...

  • Jay - 2011-11-03 13:40

    aliens looking for fat boy malema,,he is an experiment gone wrong...

  • Dewald - 2011-11-03 13:44

    I say chinese lanterns. I see a lot of chinese people nowadays in small towns in South African. Chinese people floating chinese lanterns?

  • avril.french - 2011-11-03 14:17

    Oh come on... let it be Aliens PLEZ

  • kevin.emslie - 2011-11-03 14:22

    Look up ball lightning

  • ronel.cousins - 2011-11-03 14:23

    Yip!The whole universe is aware that SA allows foreign/alien invasion!

  • Jexx - 2011-11-03 14:24

    Saw something very similar about 5 weeks ago in Durban, was weird but pretty sure it was a Chinese lantern, just faded out after a few minutes.

  • shahnoor.ahmed - 2011-11-03 14:24

    Uhmmmm before we go to aliens and flying sauces......maybe its satelite debris that is burning-up upon re-entry to earth.

  • erica.jinxie - 2011-11-03 14:26

    Probably lightning balls, or ball lightning...

  • leijn.tissink - 2011-11-03 14:31

    It could be flying pigs with lanterns!!!

  • TonyPerkis - 2011-11-03 14:33

    Some lifeform of questionable intelligence disliked my comment. What exactly is offensive about that???

  • Anso - 2011-11-03 14:33

    Sky lanterns... I have 10 at home, maybe I should let them "go" and see if they make the news???

  • leijn.tissink - 2011-11-03 14:47

    or it could be my Ex on her broom stick

      Klipkop - 2011-11-03 16:26

      yebo! and my ex is also there! Best comment I read all day, thanks!

  • Peter - 2011-11-03 14:48

    Has anybody remembered that Sunday 30th was the day before halloween? Kids would more likely go out and play on Sunday than Monday 31st.

  • shahnoor.ahmed - 2011-11-03 14:51 that we on a space topic, let me tell you a joke. RUSSIA: we were the first to put a man in space. USA: we were the first to land on the moon. ZUMA: we will be the first to land on the sun. USA: You cant land on the sun, its too hot. MALEMA: We not that stoopid..Eishsh...we will land on the sun at night.....LOKL

  • Fred - 2011-11-03 16:25

    UFO does not mean outer space or aliens, it simply means an Object that Flies and is Unidentified. Considering recent events over the past few weeks, Devali, Falling satellites, Meteor Showers, makes you wonder... perhaps something as simple as that.

  • Adriana - 2011-11-03 17:17

    at the end ONLY South Africa survive! maybe they're coming here to survive the end????

  • ritz.seetaram - 2011-11-03 17:25

    A friend of mine was abducted by aliens once... he said they took him up into their space craft and performed strange tests on him. Then they poured a whiskey like substance from a squared like bottle with a black label and drank it... a few minutes later they seemed to perform some strange kind of ritual dance. Some of them were falling all over the place and one of the aliens had three smaller size cups in which he poured the whiskey like substance and some other yellowish liquid and drank them one by one... I dont know what the hell is going on but I would be very very afraid if I was you!!!

  • felican - 2011-11-03 18:52

    The Draconid meteor shower was on the night of October 8. Early November will feature the South and North Tauruids. Then the Leonids! So it is not surprising there are 'fireballs' all over the earth and all ARE Seen BELOW cloud level.. I even have a 'chance' photo of a 'fireball' yaken here over Amanzimtoti kwaZulu Natal South Africa with my little digicam.. Aliens??? How can one be arrogant and not believe in them.. We are after all aliens ourselves and not the only inhabitants of this vast galaxy and beyond!

  • errolsnr.oake - 2011-11-03 19:18

    Its angels of light, come to collect only the good people.

  • Sheda - 2011-11-03 19:39


  • carinadarkangel - 2011-11-03 21:15

    What I find most interesting on a site like this, is our collective ignorance, and the complete and utter arrogance with which we bandy it about.

      Niall - 2011-11-04 16:36

      their arrogance would soon fade if they were to be confronted by the reality of the outside universe.. and the true secrets that it withholds from the ignorant and the sceptic.. but I am afraid that even if they were to confront or be confronted by any of the unique truths of the `Unknowable` hidden most of the time with good reason. they would or could not perceive any kind of ``Beingness` existing outside their own little world of comic book fantasies