Join Plus+ and get exclusive shows and extensions! Subscribe Today!

Strange Lights Spotted in Cluster Over North Carolina Coast

A large cluster of glowing lights was filmed over North Carolina’s largest coastal lagoon recently by a man who was traveling by ferry, sparking theories about the origin of the unusual glowing objects.

The observer, William Guy, was crossing Pamlico Sound via ferry from Ocracoke Village on North Carolina’s Outer Banks to Swan Quarters, according to the UFO Sightings Hotspot YouTube Channel, which featured Guy’s video of the objects. The incident occurred on September 18, 2019.

“Look, nothing in the sky, at all,” Guy can be heard saying as he pans the camera along the horizon, before framing the objects and asking, “Can anybody tell me what that is?”

The Daily Star added to the conspiracy speculation, quoting viewers online who advised that “Earth is under heavy observation,” implying that the objects were alien spacecraft.

So what were the objects?

In likelihood, the lights were nothing more than a military training operation being undertaken over the coast. As to the specific source of these lights, they appear to resemble chaff flares, a variety of countermeasure that is commonly used during training exercises, as can be seen in the video below:

According to a North Carolina Military Affairs Commission Map Atlas for 2016, much of the air space above the Outer Banks is a designated Protection Area for the Marine Corps, the primary use for which involves helicopter flight operations. “The Marine Corps has three bases along North Carolina’s southeastern coastline, and uses several auxiliary fields for flight operation training,” the Atlas states. “The Marines have two air stations in the area and helicopter training is a big part of their operations.”

More relevant to the observation of lights over Pamlico Sound, the Atlas further notes that, “The Marine Corps Protection Areas encompass several counties around the Pamlico and Neuse rivers and also includes some flight routes between the Marine bases and Raleigh, where some helicopter operations occur.” It notes that additional flight routes exist in the southern part of North Carolina, which are also included with the designated Protection Areas.

Incidentally, the lights over Pamlico Sound were filmed on the 72nd birthday of the U.S. Air Force, as it traditionally recognizes Sept. 18, 1947, as its birth date.

It is also worth noting that earlier in the month, the Army had announced it would be conducting a series of “unconventional warfare exercises” in 21 North Carolina counties. According to the Charlotte Observer, these operations are called Robin Sage training, which “can be likened to live-action role playing in the extreme, with hostile engagement playing out between Special Forces students, volunteer civilians and soldiers.”

However, these training exercises concluded on September 12, and appear to have been conducted mainly with civilians and soldiers on the ground, rather than by air. Nonetheless, this is further indication that the various branches of the military often do conduct training exercises that it sometimes deems “unconventional,” which may at times give rise to misinterpretation or confusion.

In the case of the lights filmed over Pamlico Sound, it’s all too tempting to speculate that we’re “seeing them aliens,” although the more likely cause is just another military exercise over one of the Marine Corps’ designated Protection Areas. Of course, that’s not to say that unusual things of the aerial variety don’t turn up in military airspace from time to time.


Micah Hanks is a writer, podcaster, and researcher whose interests cover a variety of subjects. His areas of focus include history, science, philosophy, current events, cultural studies, technology, unexplained phenomena, and ways the future of humankind may be influenced by science and innovation in the coming decades. In addition to writing, Micah hosts the Middle Theory and Gralien Report podcasts.
You can follow Micah on and