Mysterious lights puzzle locals

Whether it was aliens, fireworks or a flock of late flying birds, several Whiteville residents witnessed an odd light show Saturday.

Shortly after sunset, a large number of small white lights were reported in the skies over town.

Officials speculated that the lights were possibly reflections of fireworks from the north end of the county. A large and well-defined cloudbank was crossing the city around the time the lights were reported, and the burst from the celebratory pyrotechnics could easily have reflected against the clouds.

A more likely explanation offered by some was that a large flock of cattle egrets was disturbed from their roost in Soles Swamp, and began winging their way across the city. The white undersides of the wings on “cattle merchants” can reflect lights from the ground under some conditions.

After seeing this story in Monday’s print edition, Eddie Hammonds contacted the News Reporter to report he saw something similar recently. The Peacock Road resident said he doesn’t sleep well, and was awake around 2 a.m. last week when he saw strange lights.
“I thought it was somebody turning around in my neighbor’s driveway,” he said, “so I went to look. It wasn’t somebody’s lights flickering through the trees, and there wasn’t anybody in the driveway. I looked up, and I saw it.”

The Marine Corps veteran said he saw a large cloud bank to the east of his home, and there was constant light in the clouds.
“It wasn’t like lightning,” he said. “There wasn’t any thunder. The light was flickering, like a light bulb with a short in it. I watched it for a good while.”
Hammond described the lights as “looking like the Northern Lights,” but “they were to the southeast.”
“I was just glad to hear somebody else saw something,” he said.

The lights remain unexplained, but officials said there were no reports of mysterious spacecraft landings or little green men in the Whiteville area in connection with the lights.