MASON CITY — First there was a single light in the sky above Clear Lake, around dusk on July 9.

“It was kind of more floating there. It was round, also. It wasn’t like a regular airplane,” said a North Iowan who wishes to remain anonymous.

Soon she and her boatmates saw another light.

And another.

Ultimately there were five, poised directly over the boat.

“We were saying, ‘What is this?’ ” the woman said. “We had never seen anything like this. It was very strange. But then, of course, you start doubting yourself.”

Orange blinking lights seen in early April over Chicago proved to be sky lanterns — small hot-air balloons released in memory of child abuse victims, according to aolnews.com.

The lights over Clear Lake were too high for that, the North Iowa woman said.

“And these were not little balloons. These were big lights,” she said. “They were just following way too precisely in the sky to be balloons.

“They were spaced like you could measure them. And then they just disappeared in the sky, at the same point.”

Was it the red-orange glow of Chinese Flying Lanterns? Available for $6.29 (for a pack of 10) at amazon.com?

“Their mysterious glow can be seen floating in the sky for up to 20 minutes and will travel several miles,” the website said. “Sky Lanterns will fly to more than 1,000 feet in altitude, providing an enjoyable amazing show for all ages.”

That might explain all the recent UFO-related calls to KIMT, meteorologist Jim Politis said.

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“Either that or we’re being invaded one of these days,” he said.

Another somebody saw an orange-ish light, possibly round, last Sept. 5 in the night sky north of Mason City, according to http://the-v-factor-paranormal.blogspot.com.

A second light appeared about two minutes later in the same spot, also moving slowly, east to west.

But then it moved north, and seemed to stop for about 30 seconds.

“Then it seemed to be moving much faster, and quickly disappeared into the northern night sky,” the viewer said.

And several folks recently saw a cluster of 20 or 30 flare-like red lights moving north to south over Mason City.

The lights reached the south side of town and disappeared.

Those hovering ominously over Clear Lake worried our poor boating friend.

“If a couple more would have come, we would have said, ‘Let’s get off the lake,’ ” she said. “It seemed kind of awesome and threatening. I feel like if I never see one of these again, I would say I was privileged to see something spectacular. We witnessed something that was very different.”

Richard Johnson writes about people, places and things. To leave comments or column ideas, call 641-421-0556 or email richard.johnson@globegazette.com.


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