ALTON - A strange aerial object was sighted by a group of friends talking on the back deck of a building on Langdon in Alton.

Altonian Ian Whitmore said he sighted the object after midnight Tuesday morning with a group of a few friends. He said it appeared in the southeastern sky, toward the Clark Bridge. Whitmore said he noticed a light in his periphery, but ignored it for as long as a half hour before realizing it was not similar to any plane, planet, star or other atmospheric phenomenon of which he was familiar.

"I was sitting around chatting with some friends and had noticed the light in the sky from my peripheral view, but ignored it for probably 20-30 minutes, until it finally struck me that the light wasn't budging, so it wasn't a plane like I had assumed," Whitmore said in a Facebook message. "We observed it flash red and blue very intensely for another 20 minutes until we decided to look up what the light is."

Whitmore said the unidentified flying object was like "a cop car in the sky." He said it was formless at times, but appeared to be circular. He said it emitted bright flashes of red and blue lights, like "cartoon stars." Whitmore and his friends, being logical skeptics they said, began researching astronomical and meteorological phenomena to find the source of the object.

"After using several sources that utilized Hubble telescope/NASA data, we concluded that the object was not identified currently as a planet or star," he said. "We watched it flash at that rate for several hours by the time it was all said and done. It flashed more intensely in random spurts, but at every moment, remained much brighter and larger than anything else in the sky."

The object was stationary for that entire time, Whitmore said, which would mean it existed within the confines of Earth's atmosphere, not bound by its rotation through the cosmos. The duration of the object's stationary hovering also discounts a suspicion of Whitmore's friend the object was a drone. Most commercial-use drones would have to have recharged batteries to sustain that amount of flight time. Whitmore also said the object was far away.

"However, it was clear this was something that was quite far away," he said. "My final thoughts were that it was either an unidentified star out there in supernova or something; or perhaps something even stranger. The phenomenon was not visible from the exact location the next night at any point. We looked thoroughly."

Calls to the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) of Illinois were answered with the assertion the Riverbend area is a hot spot for such activity. He said three reports from Illinois were entered within a few days of Whitmore's sighting.

The night before, a sighting was reported from Hamel, Illinois, which lasted for hours as well. The following is a witness report from the MUFON live sighting map.

On the night of October 15, 2017 at roughly 8:35pm cst my girlfriend and i were driving down Fruit Road in between Edwardsville and Hamel, Illinois in Madison County, 30 minutes outside of St. Louis. we noticed one larger-than-star-sized light in the sky glowing orange and witnessed it remaining motionless in the night sky for roughly 15 minutes before we pulled over on a Frontage Road that parallels Interstate 55. the objects where roughly north/north east of or position when we stopped the car. once parked a second object, appeared in the sky that looked similar but may or may not have been associated with this phenomenon. we began to photograph and film the anomalous floating object in the sky and shortly after recording the original object began to move, at first in an eastward direction and then south east towards our vehicle until it flew directly over head. at this point we witnessed but did not record the previously homogeneous orange glow reveal itself to be a constant orange glow followed by a series of successive lights that flashed in an ordered pattern, appearing to be on the same craft. over the course of the next 3 hours multiple orange glowing objects appeared from the same point on the horizon only follow a similar pattern of hovering then flying in various directions but not necessarily in the same direction as the ones before it. over all 4-5 craft were observed.

Another report from Fenton, Missouri was reported to MUFON on Oct. 15. That report described a different object than either of the Illinois reports.

I was taking our dog for a walk on Sennawood Dr. to Fabick Lane in Fenton, Missouri when at approximately 10:00-10:15pm my dog started barking. I looked up and witnessed a large, dark craft which was long like a cylinder over the treeline with 3-4 emerald to pine green iridescent but non-flashing lights underneath moving from what I believe is the south west to the north east of where I was standing. it appeared to be under a mile away and I witnessed a faint, almost non noticeable beam protruding from the back of the craft but not illuminating the trees, I could see a shadow from the craft on the tree tops but no light hitting them. I did not hear any sound coming from it and my phone shut off and restarted on its own. the object appeared to be moving at about 20-30 mph until it stopped in the distance, then I lost view of it.

A call to NASA regarding the incident was not returned.

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Reporter Cory Davenport can be reached via call or text at (618) 419-3046 or via email at cory@riverbender.com

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