Enter the words “glowing balls of light” or “white orb of light” into a Google Search engine and it’s going to lead you to a 2006 UFO story from Northern Minnesota titled “Bright White Orb of Light: Have You Seen These Too?” The story is posted by Kate P. on the new-age website exemplore.com. Kate P. identifies herself as “a dental hygienist, pyrography artist, avid gardener, writer, vegetarian, and world traveler.” In addition, she may be one of the world’s foremost authority on the strange phenomenon of the ghostly hovering orbs of light that account for a large number of UFO sightings.
Kate’s story happened thirteen years ago, in the summer of 2006, on a camping trip with her family somewhere along the one of the hiking trails in the forests of Northern Minnesota. The family was not far from Lake Superior and the famous Highway 61. They were probably hiking inland somewhere near Tetagouche or Temperance State Park. After backpacking to a campsite several miles from the highway, the family pitched tents. On account of the summer heat, Kate and her brother removed the rain cover from the tent they shared. The open screen roof gave them better ventilation and a view of the sky.
Kate describes it as bright white light the size of a softball or small grapefruit, perfectly round.
Kate tried to force herself to fall asleep, but the heat and the discomfort of sleeping on the ground kept her awake. Her brother fell asleep, so he did not see the bright orb of light that appeared in the middle of the night about fifteen feet above them, hovering at treetop level. Kate describes it as bright white light “the size of a softball or small grapefruit, perfectly round.” She claims to have watched it for more than hour. It moved gently and smoothly in straight line for a distance of about five feet. Then the light would disappear for a few seconds before returning. “Each time this happened, the orb would appear at a different spot, follow the straight line again, and go out.”
Kate felt transfixed by the orb. She heard no sound at all. She felt no fear, only fascination. She wanted to wake her brother, but she was afraid that, if she did so, the orb might disappear completely. She opted to watch it in silence.
Kate posted her story on the new age website exemplore.com and asked readers “if anyone has had a similar experience with a white ball of light.” As of 11/20/2019, she has had more than 800 replies from all over the world. Most of the comments describe similar stories to her own—unexplained encounters with small glowing orbs of light ranging in size from a softball to a basketball. There’s plenty of speculation suggesting that the lights are not extra-planetary visitors but, rather, spirits of the deceased (i.e. ghosts) or some other paranormal phenomenon. A recent article at UFO Insight titled “The UFO Home Invasion Incident and Bizarre Plasma UFO Orbs” featured Kate’s story and provided some wider context and analysis pertaining to the phenomenon.
Kate’s orb has some remarkable similarities to another Northwoods Minnesota camping story recently posted on UFOdays.net social media by Minneapolis resident Jeremy Liebig. (Yes, that is his real name, and, no, it does not cast doubt on the credibility of the story.) In 2004, Liebig and a friend of his drove from Minneapolis to the North Shore for a Boundary Waters Canoe Area trip, but they didn’t arrive on the North Shore until around 9:00 PM as darkness was falling. Liebig says, “Instead of venturing into the Boundary Waters that night we decided to camp at an old logging site so we could get bait in the morning and go from there.” The two men made dinner, had a few beers, and “decided to call it a night” around midnight.
At first I thought it was a flashlight in the woods … all of a sudden it grew crazy bright and moved right over the Jeep.
Rather than unpack and pitch the tent, they opted to sleep in the back of Liebig’s Jeep Cherokee. They unloaded the gear that was in the back of the vehicle to make room for sleeping. After Liebig’s friend fell asleep, the encounter happened:
My buddy pretty much zonked our instantly and was snoring. I was just starting to fall asleep when I saw a light coming through the side window of the Jeep. At first I thought it was a flashlight in the woods, but our camp spot was miles from anyone. I watched it for maybe two minutes and it ascended and descended into the woods. All of a sudden it grew crazy bright and moved right over the Jeep.
Unlike Kate P. who elected to let her brother sleep while she watched the glowing orb, Liebig woke his friend in a panic and quickly explained what was happening. At that moment, another light appeared outside the truck, and now both men were witnessing the phenomenon.
The lights illuminated the whole valley of the Temperance River like the lights of a football field in the night.
They got out of the truck to try to make sense of what their eyes were seeing. Another one appeared, and then another, and another for a total of five lights. Up until then, the men had not noticed any sound, but at that point, the lights seemed to emit a strange “whirring pulsating noise.” All five of the lights moved erratically and at tremendous speed, seeming to jump from the horizon to hover right above their heads. When above the logging site where the men had parked, the lights illuminated the whole valley of the Temperance River like the lights of a football field in the night. Then the lights “would bolt off toward the horizon as they shuffled position.” The noise grew louder and louder, like a low pulsating, thrumming “whewwhewwheew” which seemed to almost penetrate the ground.
We watched this for about ten to fifteen minutes before it became unbearable and we were hearing sounds in the woods. We packed up our gear in the back of the Jeep in about 39 seconds flat. My adrenaline was rushing so hard that I grabbed our cooler full of all the supplies with one hand and launched in in the truck. It must have weighed at least 50 lbs.
The two men drove away, paranoid that the lights, whatever they were, might be following them. They ended up spending the rest of the night in a wayside rest on Highway 61. Liebig says, “Afterward we went into the boundary waters for three days. I remember the first night we were super freaked out that it would happen again and we wouldn’t be able to escape as easily.”
The two stories share some obvious similarities. Both involve campers in the same general vicinity of the Northwoods on summer nights around the same time period. Kate’s incident occurred in the summer of 2006. Liebig puts his at “about 15 or so years ago,” making it 2004, give or take a few years. Both stories report the sudden and inexplicable appearance of strange lights in the night which moved under their own volition and hovered above the campers. The stories also have some remarkable differences. Kate’s light remained silent, solitary, and only seemed to move within a five-foot radius of her tent. Liebig’s five lights jumped from their station over the truck to the visible horizon on the Temperance River Valley while emitting a loud pulsating sound. Kate felt no fear in her encounter and did not even bother to wake her sleeping brother, but Liebig and his companion were forced to flee the scene.
It scared the shit out of me and my dogs I know that much … help me figure out what the hell these things are.
The 800+ comments left on Kate’s original story at exemplore.com follow a common theme. An ordinary person has a completely unexpected and inexplicable encounter with a ball of light, usually white, but often in other colors as well. The orbs of light show up in remote places like out in the woods and lonely stretches of road, but also at home, in the back yard, in the living room, in the bedrooms. They pass through doors and walls. The light is bright, but not so bright it hurts the eyes. Sometimes it illuminates, sometimes it does not cast illumination. Sometimes the experience is terrifying, but more often the person experiencing it feels strangely calm and at peace. The ball seems to move in a deliberate, controlled manner, and it soon disappears, vanishing into thin air, shooting off at high speed, or passing through a wall or solid object. The person tries to find some explanation for the phenomenon but cannot, so the person gets on Google and starts searching for answers. The Google Search quickly leads the experiencer to Kate’s story from Northern Minnesota where there are some 800 similar stories.
Greg from Minnesota posted his experience on Kate’s story in early November 2019:
I’ve seen a green maybe orangish looking one fly right over me slowly out at the farm one night and it was probably about the size of a basketball. It was a very strange experience. Then this last spring I was awoken during the night to something that felt like it literally shoved me in my sleep and there it was the same color orb and size and everything right above my bed then it just disappeared like 10 seconds later. It scared the shit out of me and my dogs I know that much. But the other night out at the farm again I saw a white one that was a very peaceful non-threatening experience. I can’t explain it and I know I might sound crazy but I swear to you I’m the farthest thing from that. And I find myself doubting myself and what I saw but I know what I’ve seen and felt and I usually would keep something like this to myself for the fact of being criticized but I recorded a video and can’t figure out how to load it on here email me if interested lol and help me figure out what the hell these things are.. also I live in Minnesota and the last experience happened a few days ago
Posts on the story come from all over the world, but Minnesota is well-represented. Another recent post from a Minnesotan relates the following and asks for information.
I am from Minnesota. A white orb the size of a basketball came into my dark bedroom from my door, and I watched it slowly travel across my room in a straight line and go through the wall below the window. I was shocked to see this. It’s like it was just strolling through my room casually. I blinked about ten times to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. It was crazy. This happened two to three weeks ago. Do you know any more about these?
Some people experiencing the phenomenon suggest the balls of light are spirits of deceased loved ones, some suggest they are angels or demons, some suggest they are UFOs. Whatever they are, the abundance of similar stories make it clear that they are not figments of the imagination or optical illusions. It’s some sort of real phenomenon. The orbs of light are not necessarily solid objects, so it’s not exactly accurate to classify them as Unidentified Flying Objects. Nevertheless, they seem to have an affinity with the UFO phenomenon, particularly the phenomenon that Dr. Hynek classified as “nocturnal lights.” Whether solid or not, during the UFO Flap of 1979, one of those unidentified orbs of light in Northern Minnesota seems to have collided with a police car and another one in the same county evaded an Army Military Police Officer in a high speed chase.
Kate P. recently said she has noticed an increase in the number of reports reaching her:
With over 800 comments posted here over the past 9 years, I’ve noticed a significant uptick in the rate of occurrences over these recent few months. Either these orb experiences are becoming much more common, or people are talking more about them here.
If you’ve had an encounter with a glowing orb or a nocturnal light in Minnesota or Western Wisconsin, let us know. Post in the comments below or contact us our Facebook page.
Follow this blog and like UFOdays.net on Facebook for more Minnesota / Western, Wisconsin UFO stories.