Neon violet doughnut

a tale of outer space

I witnessed this when I was 19 years old. I had been drafted into the Army and I was doing my advanced infantry training while stationed at Fort Ord, California.

One night the whole training company was out in the boondocks on the army post. We were receiving night training and the course was called “Survival, Escape, and Evasion”. The purpose of the course was to give us some training in how to get away from and stay away from the enemy. After having had several classes the final part of the course for the night had us standing at the foot of a steep slope. What was going to happen was that someone would give the word and we were to scramble up this steep slope in front of us and once we got on top where it leveled out, evade the “enemy” aggressor forces which would be waiting for us to try to capture us.

Prior to scrambling up the slope, the whole company was standing around in a loose, relaxed formation waiting for the action to begin. We were standing on a dusty dirt road which ran along at the base of the slope. I was just standing there, doing nothing, waiting for things to begin, when I happened to look over at the platoon of men standing next to our platoon. One of the men in the other platoon was looking up into the sky, directly overhead, like he was watching something up there. He looked down and saw that I was watching him. He said to me “Look up there! What IS that?”. I looked up at the sky directly overhead but I didn’t see anything for a few seconds, but then I saw it. What I saw was a spot of light, no brighter than an average star, but it was moving around. If it hadn’t been moving, it would have been just another star in the starfield. It was moving back and forth, like something would look if it was hanging from a string and swinging like a pendulum.

As I was looking at the spot of light, trying to decide what it was, a brilliant beam of light shot out of it and practically blinded me. I looked away from it for a few seconds and I could see that the entire countryside for as far as I could see was lit up just like daylight. I looked back up at the light and while I was looking at it, the source of the light seemed to shoot up vertically at fantastic speed, faster than a bullet travels. The bright light faded away at the same time as its source shot up vertically. The light was gone and so was the little point of light which started the whole event. What was left in their place was just as fantastic as what I had just witnessed. What was up there was what can only be described as a neon violet doughnut. The center and hole of the doughnut was where the little point of light and brilliant beam of light had been. Surrounding the empty hole was a wide ring of glowing plasma, violet colored and very beautiful.

These events seemed to take place very high up in the atmosphere , perhaps as high as the ionosphere. The glowing violet doughnut-shaped cloud hung around for quite a while, perhaps 20 minutes or more, taking a long time before it faded away. The glowing cloud never moved the whole time, and just stayed in place until it faded, suggesting to me that it was up very high, away from any winds which could break it up or blow it away.

I saw a lot of different types of flares while I was in the Army. Hand-launched flares, flares fired from artillery pieces and mortars, flares dropped from jets and helicopters, but what I saw looked nothing like those. I don’t know what it was that I saw. It probably has a conventional explanation, perhaps the second stage of a missile firing, or a satellite re-entering the earth’s atmosphere, but I have never seen anything like it before or since.

Terry Coats

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