One of the characteristics of the UFO phenomena appears to be the fact that most sightings occur at night in rural areas when nobody seems to be aware of unusual things in the sky. They seem to appear in the sky when most people are at home in front of their television. Nobody really seems to expects UFOs between high-rises in the inner city limits. But this is exactly what happened on Saturday evening on May 21, 1994, in the city of Plauen. The city of Plauen is located about 250 km east of Frankfurt and has a population of about 100,000 people. The 39-year-old postal worker Mrs. H. was watching TV by herself in her first-floor apartment, which is part of a high-rise community near the city center. Her daughter was out for the evening enjoying the local discotheque.
After her movie ended at about 11 p.m., Mrs. H went to her balcony from where she has an unobstructed view of the road and the disco. It was getting late and she was looking out for her daughter. As she stepped outside she noticed a bright light about 5 m to her right in front of the balcony. She realized that the light surrounded a small 9-year-old oak-tree like an aura. The little tree was surrounded by other small trees, but none of the other trees were illuminated and it was also the only one that was swaying back and forth in the wind. Mrs. H. felt the strong wind and was surprised that only the illuminated tree was moving with the wind. The other trees were not affected, but this one was touching the ground at times and seemed to have a terrible struggle against the wind. Mrs. H, looking for the source of the wind, suddenly spotted a big luminous object approximately 100 meters away, hovering at an altitude of about 30 meters just above the building. It looked to her like two frisbees stuck together, turning in opposite directions. The bottom part had small, dark squares that looked like windows under which a circle of white lights rotated in a clockwise direction. The top of the object had a circle of white lights as well, but these were turning counterclockwise (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1: May, 21st 1994: An unknown object flies through a street in Plauen, Germany. It iluminates a small oak-tree and lets it shake as in a storm. (Drawing: Gabriele Berndt)
After about one minute the wind stopped blowing, the light around the tree disappeared and the tree went back to its usual upright position.
The object appeared to be about 10 m in diameter; it suddenly moved to the left and disappeared behind one of the other buildings. One moment later the object came back around the same corner and moved in front of the building, only to disappear behind the building on the right. Mrs. H. ran into the street so that she could follow the object. She observed the object vanish a few hundred meters away, above some other apartment buildings. Mrs. H. noticed that other people in the street had been watching the object as well as about five couples who were standing on their balconies. She did not talk to any of the other people because: “I really don’t believe in those kind of things.“ Mrs. H. estimated that the whole incident took about 6 minutes.
At about 11.15 p.m. the telephone woke Mrs. Martina S. who was already asleep together with her 4-year-old daughter in their 11th floor apartment. Her friend Mrs. A., who lived in the same building on the third floor, was very excited on the phone, saying “Martina, I think there is a UFO above our building.“ Mrs. A. had observed the unusual object from her third-floor balcony and wanted to know if her friend could see the same thing from the top floor. Mrs. S. replied with something like “Are you crazy“ and was about to put the phone down when she heard her friend exclaim “It’s coming back again, look at it yourself.“ This caused Mrs. S. to walk to the living-room window, with the phone in her hand, where she saw for herself a very large object hovering in front of her window. The object was only about five meters in front of her and looked like a shiny, silver metallic structure to her (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2: 23 o'clock: The unknown object hovers with rotating flashing lights behind Martins S.'s appartment's window in the 11th floor - just 5 meters away from the witness. (Drawing: Gabriele Berndt)
Mrs. S. also noticed the two counter-rotating light rings and some dark windows on the object. She said: “It seemed like the object was about to land on top, of the building.“ Mrs. S. dropped the phone, got her daughter and ran down to her friends apartment on the third floor. After a little while they carefully went towards the balcony, and eventually ventured all the way out onto the balcony, to observe the object from below. They felt a strong wind coming from the object and noticed that there was a hole in the cloud cover above it, which they assumed was caused by the object. The object moved up and down like a yoyo for a few minutes in the same place before it proceeded to a higher altitude, where it tilted on its axis and sped away in a north-easterly direction. During the incident Mrs. S. called her sister-in-law, who lived in another suburb, and told her about the observations. Her sister-in-law spotted the lights as well and proceeded to capture the phenomena on video. The frightened ladies called the police as well and reported their observations to the authorities. By the time the police arrived the object had disappeared, but the police told the ladies that many other people had called in and reported similar observations.
The local newspaper reported the incident the next day, but explained it as reflections from disco spotlights in the clouds. Because of this report, Mrs. S’s. sister-in-law erased the video recording a few days later. A police officer who is the husband of a coworker of Mrs. S., told the ladies confidentially that the newspapers explanation was not true.
Another interesting observation was discovered the next day. Both Mrs. H. and Mrs. S. independently reported that both had laundry drying on their balconies. Apparently all items of clothing were covered with black soot and had to be washed again.
Mrs. S. was so disturbed by this incident that she did not feel safe in her apartment anymore. She talked about hearing footsteps and strange noises as well as seeing lights inside her apartment after the incident. This frightened her so much that she moved to another apartment some time later. When she was interviewed by MUFON-CES members in December 1995 she was still so scared of the place that she refused to accompany the interviewer, even for a minute, to her old apartment.
MUFON-CES distributed 500 questionnaires in the area, as a follow-up to the investigation. Only one other witness replied. He confirmed the ladies’ description of the object as well as the hole in the cloud cover. His drawing of the object matched those of the ladies.
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