Allentown UFOs identified as memorial sky lanterns for "pappy"

The Morning Call, Pennsylvania/December 6, 2011

An anonymous caller to The Morning Call today says he can identify those unidentified flying objects seen above the Sam's Club on Airport Road in Allentown Sunday.

The man, who would not provide his name, said a co-worker of his told him she lit and launched nine sky lanterns into the air around 5 p.m. Sunday while visiting her "pappy's grave" in Cedar Hill Memorial Park cemetery behind the Sam's Club store.

The man said his female co-worker did not want to be in the spotlight, but she wanted the public to know what they saw Sunday night were not space ships carrying little green men. One of the people who spotted them reported the sighting to the Mutual Unidentified Flying Object Network's website, and The Morning Call wrote a brief article about the report.

According to the report, a man who exited the store around 5:15 p.m. reported seeing three objects in the air that he said resembled hot-air balloons but lacked gondola baskets and seemed to have a downward instead of upward flames.

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Sky lanterns essentially are miniature, unmanned hot-air balloons with an open-flame heat source to cause them to lift-off into the atmosphere. They became popularized in the 2010 Walt Disney computerized animated movie "Tangled" in which sky lanterns were lit for Rapunzel's birthday. There is a growing movement to ban them as fire hazards, litter and nuisances to aeronautics agencies forced to deal with unnecessary reports about them.

The man who made the report to MUFON about the Allentown sighting said he and his wife were "amazed" and his 9-year-old daughter "truly scared" by the sight, which lasted approximately 40 seconds.

If the objects in the sky were indeed the lanterns, it wouldn't be the first time these memorials were mistaken for UFOs.

In April, folks in Chicago spotted similar objects in the sky and reported them to authorities as possible UFOs only to learn an organization had launched the lanterns in honor of child abuse victims, according to an AOL news report.

There have been news reports in other parts of the country as well debunking UFO sightings as either sky lanterns, also called wish lanterns, or as helium-filled, metallic party balloons.

In October 2010, the New York City Police Department and the Federal Aviation Administration received numerous reports about three objects in the sky. While authorities ruled them out as airplanes and helicopters, a group of school kids came forward to identify them as party balloons accidentally released before entering the school.

Stories about the New York City incident included video of the images, which posted on its website at .

The Lehigh County Communications Center did not receive any reports from the public about unidentified flying objects Sunday night near Allentown.

The person who made the report to MUFON said he was unable to get to his camera from his car before the objects disappeared into the sky. However, he said his wife noticed two people using their cellphones to take photos or videos of the objects.

If those people have any images to share, send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Then our readers can decide for themselves whether those were UFOs or sky lanterns.

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