ELY, NV - Ely sits in one of the most isolated corners of the state. The nearest communities of any size are hours away in any direction.
If you live out here, chances are you drive a lot and you work outside. Away from civilization's light pollution, the night sky is as full of stars as the landscape below is empty. You take note of any thing out of the ordinary.
And lately people here have been seeing some strange things in the eastern Nevada sky.
Highway 93 runs north and south between through Steptoe Valley. Sixty miles north of Ely is Lages Junction. A pair of street lights and the occasional car or truck are the only interuptions to the darkness and silence.
Late the night of October 2nd, Shawn and Heather Morrison and their son, Travis were driving back from Wells.....
"And I saw it out of the corner of my eye and I thought it was a shooting star," says Heather Morrison.
"But it wasn't moving," adds her husband.
"I'm looking at him and he sees it out my window and I turn and look and caught just the tail end of it before it disappeared," says Heather.
As they drove they watched the lights, stationary, seemingly hanging in the sky, blinking off, then reappearing. With a mixture of growing excitement and curiousity they pulled off the road at the junction.
Heather reached for the only operating camera she had, an inexpensive digital camera meant to take still, but capable of recording brief clips of video.
She was able to take three clips, each only seconds long. The handheld video is shaky, the lights almost beyond the camera's capabilities. The Morrisons' reactions to what they were seeing unmistakable.
"Look," shouts Heather on one of them. "Look at that. Two of them."
"You/ve got it on video?" asks Shawn.
"I'm not sure it's going to show up. It's so dark." answers Heather..
"What the.....is that?" asks Shawn
Yeah. What is that?" chimes their son, Travis.
That's a question without an answer.
The video is evidence, but hardly tells the story.
I've got this cheap little video camera that doesn't take very good pictures," laments Heather. "So you can't tell because the video looks nothing like what we saw. Nothing at all."
For the record "It was a bright orange light. Big. Oval," says Shawn. "Something we'd never seen before"
The experience left the Morrisons, shaken, but exhilerated. "It's hard to describe," says Shawn. "You're scared, you're excited."
"I was startled, surprised," says Heather. "I've always studied the night sky and I've never seen anything like this. Now I want to know what it was."
Four nights later several workers at a mine near Ely, saw something similar, orange glowing globes emerge over the Schell Creek Range across the valley, then something different.
"Instead of being orange, this one was red," one of the witnesses who asked not to be identified told us. "It was almost like a rocket and it actually looked like, I don't know, had sparks coming out the back end."
These lights didn't remain hovering.....
"It accelerated fast. It accelerated very fast."
This witness was one of a standing room only crowd who gathered Saturday night at an Ely motel to hear a presentation by Mark Easter, a field investigator and the public relations director for the Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON.
Drawn by the Morrisons' report to MUFON's website, Easter hoped others might come forward.
They did. Including a man who works in Railroad Valley in neighboring Nye County. Returning from Ely one night recently saw orange lights too and something else.
"It was like amber lights lined up in a row. It looked to me like one large object with just all these lights on it."
None of these people are sure of what they saw, but they are sure they saw something and they are sure it was like nothing they'd seen in the eastern Nevada sky before.
"I don't know what it was," admits Shawn Morrison, who adds he once laughed off stories about UFO's. But he says he knows what he saw and he wasn't imagining it.
"No, this is real, as real as you and me standing here."
And the reports continue. In the past two days four other sightings have been reported on the MUFON website.
For more information, go to MUFON. You'll be able to follow this investigation, read other reports and, if there's a need be able to post your own sighting.
Note: What does this reporter believe about all of this? In all things paranormal or supernatural I'm a skeptic until I see something myself, Having said that I'm convinced these people saw something. Like them, I don't know what they saw, but they have no reason to be making this up. I believe they saw something.