Local News

Wednesday, Dec 12 2012 11:57 AM

JASON KOTOWSKI: Mysterious lights seen over Oildale

BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian columnist jkotowski@bakersfield.com

Is 2012 the year we make contact? And if so, did extraterrestrials forgo the hustle and bustle of New York City, the ancient structures of Italy and the elitism of France and instead choose the dusty environs of Oildale as their first stop on planet Earth?

While so far there are no definitive answers, law enforcement and firefighters have confirmed there were several reports Tuesday evening of mysterious lights floating near Meadows Field in Oildale. And before the skeptic in you screams, “It was just a plane!”, think again.

Kern County Fire Capt. Eric Coughran said the lights, which were visible from a fire station nearby, hovered for quite a while in the night sky. He said they weren’t from a plane.

“Nobody’s determined what it was,” Coughran said.

A video of the lights posted on YouTube contains several people breathlessly talking about what they’re seeing and how beautiful it is. The lights are viewed far above the person holding the camera, and at times the witnesses are so overcome they can only respond in expletives.

But there was no awe apparent in Coughran’s voice as he described what he saw, which is curious considering the possibly momentous nature of what had occurred. Would Dec. 11, 2012 soon be mentioned in the same breath as other famous dates throughout history, something perhaps on equal footing if not more important than the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence or the founding of Rome in 753 BC?

Maybe not. Coughran said that, from what he’s read online, the lights may have been caused by “floating lanterns” in which a candle heats the inside of a paper lantern and sends it airborne.

Coughran said sky lanterns were used in a scene of the hit film “The Hangover Part II.” A fire crew was sent to investigate the area near where the lights were seen Tuesday after several frantic 911 calls came in, but the crew was unable to find anything.

So the mystery remains. It’s possible those lights may have been something as simple as a candle and a paper bag.

In the meantime, those of you living near rural areas should be on the lookout for crop circles.

— These are the opinions of Jason Kotowski, not necessarily The Californian.

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