Frohn and Marcia Krause of the Cranberry section of Roaring River are extremely puzzled by something they’ve been seeing flying in the sky on clear nights for about three months.
Their curiosity is infectious.
I couldn’t help but be skeptical when Frohn Krause left a phone message about over a week ago, but something about his details and his overall story indicated credibility when I called him back.
I intended to follow up but got consumed with writing about the coronavirus. Fortunately, Krause called about 10:30 p.m. Saturday to say it was back and was heading my way at the base of the Brushy Mountains.
So, I drove up to a high, cleared off spot on the Brushies with a good vantage point of the Yadkin Valley and beyond.
Scanning the sky to the northeast and east with binoculars, I spotted what almost looked like an airplane on a course roughly following U.S. 421 except it lacked the flashing lights of typical aircraft flying at night.
It almost looked like an especially bright star, but it was moving. There were wispy clouds that night, so it’s visibility was intermittent.
Krause, a retired steel mill worker, called again about 8 p.m. Sunday to say it was out again. So out I went again to the same vantage point on the Brushy Mountains for a look.
I saw the object fairly low on the horizon, perhaps above Red, White and Blue Road in Roaring River. It soon was moving in my direction, again standing out like one of the brightest stars.
I can’t explain why, but I began flashing my head lamp off and on and this almost seemed to bring the object toward my position on a prominent knoll. As it drew nearly directly above me, I believe several miles up, flashing red lights were visible, possible flashing sequentially. It was as if the whiteness of the object was from its main light and the red lights were on the side.
From directly above me, it went south over the interior of the Brushies, then east and continued counter-clockwise to go northwest toward W. Kerr Scott Reservoir. When it was roughly over U.S. 421, it’s course changed again and it headed east again toward Roaring River.
At one point during these maneuvers, the object seemed to be moving remarkably fast. During this time Krause told me on the phone that a second and similar object was in the sky and saw it off in the distance.
He said he once saw as many as five flying around at the same time and they appeared to form a shape. They also once appeared to be flying with a helicopter.
My first thought was that these are drones and I found stories online about fleets of drones recently creating a stir by flying at night in northeastern Colorado and western Nebraska.
However, Krause said the objects he and his wife regularly observe are airborne for several hours at a time. If the Krauses are seeing drones, they must be comparable to surveillance military drones because even high-end consumer drones won’t stay charged long enough to remain up over an hour.
Krause said one of the objects he saw flying within the last three months was airborne for about 10 hours - from dusk until dawn. He and his wife agreed that they’ve never seen one land.
The one I observed Sunday night was in the sky for at least 30 minutes.
Krause estimated seeing them as high as 10 miles and as low as two or three miles up in the sky. Their normal pattern is to first appear around 8 p.m. and be visible at various distances until as late as around midnight.
He said each is about as large as four SUVs side by side.
In his search for an explanation of what they’ve been seeing, Krauss contacted MUFON, the world’s oldest and largest civilian UFO investigation and research organization. Krause said his report was assigned to an investigator with the all-volunteer, nonprofit corporation.
A spokesman for the Wilkes County Airport wasn’t aware of these flying objects when I called. So far, it remains a mystery looking for an explanation.