While at a stoplight in Goose Creek, South Carolina, Shaneika Joyner and her daughter watched an amorphous, cloud-like body glide across the sky.
“Is it a ship?” Joyner’s daughter asked in the video, filmed early in July.
Joyner told The Epoch Times she watched it for several seconds before she began recording it with her phone.
Though the video only lasted 45 seconds, she said the object was in their line of sight for around 2 minutes, adding that the video doesn’t accurately portray the size, which she said appeared to be much larger when seen with the naked eye.
As it disappeared behind a tree, traffic going to wait, so they had to go.
Although only one object can be seen clearly in the video, Joyner said “there were more.”
The other two, she said, were moving too rapidly to track.
“When I look back at the video, there are three, but the other two are moving so fast that you’ve got to really look at it, and play the video back to catch them,” Joyner said.
She’s heard suggestions as to what it could have been, such as a large, plastic bag, or a flock of birds, but Joyner, having seen it with own eyes, maintains uncertainty.
“I have never seen anything like that before,” Joyner said. “I still don’t know what it was.”
Mutual UFO Network
Cheryl Ann Gilmore, state director for the South Carolina chapter of the Mutual UFO Network, or MUFON, told The Epoch Times that in July they received six reports of unidentified aerial phenomenon (UAP), which is the updated term for unidentified flying objects (UFOs), with a current total of 69 reports to date.
MUFON is a multi-national nonprofit organization that investigates and researches UAP.
Established in 1969 and headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, it has chapters in each state, as well as in 43 countries.
Gilmore, who’s investigated “hundreds of cases over the years,” is no stranger to Joyner’s experience.
Her interest in the field of Ufology began in 1959.
The Flying Saucer Kid
While walking through a pasture with her cousin, Gilmore, then 14, and her cousin, witnessed a silver disk quietly hovering against the blue sky.
When they ran back home, she told her grandmother and aunt.
“I can remember my aunt saying, ‘Oh yea, that’s one of those flying saucers,’” Gilmore said.
From there, she began her research, though back then not much was written about UFOs.
That next day in school, she told her science teacher that she had something to share.
When he asked if what she had to say had anything to do with science, she said—categorizing the subject in her mind as astronomy—that it did.
“I can remember to this day clear as a bell, he sat on the edge of his desk with one foot on the floor and the other leg swinging, and I was about halfway back in the class,” Gilmore recollected.
When she told everyone what she saw, they laughed, as did the teacher, Gilmore said.
It was then that her nickname became the Flying Saucer Kid, a name that followed her until high school graduation.
“You grow a thick skin after a while,” she said.
A Sighting in Gaffney
At MUFON, Gilmore reviews cases and then assigns them to field investigators.
If one’s not available, she’ll do it herself.
In winter 2000, a couple reported that they were driving down the highway when they saw a “translucent balloon, with sparklers,” fly over power lines and into a wooded gulley.
Though there had been a freeze, the trees caught on fire and the object charred the ground.
With boots on the ground, Gilmore—a retired emergency medical technician—and her team investigated the site after the fire department cleared it.
She recollected the fire chief being perplexed by the burned ground.
“It had been icy and raining, so they were amazed,” Gilmore said.
Using a Geiger counter, they tested the area for radiation—finding none—and took soil samples, revealing nothing unusual.
If there were any artifacts from the crash, they were missing when her team investigated.
She classified the case as an “unknown,” determining that it might have been a magnesium balloon that had escaped a nearby college science experiment.
It was a good case for the deployment of all resources and training, even though it turned up nothing conclusive.
When one reports a UAP to MUFON, there is a multiple-choice option on the form for choosing the shape of the craft seen: triangle, round, rectangle, or cigar-shaped.
However, the most reported objects aren’t craft, but what she called orbs, something she said is a global phenomenon.
“Nobody can figure out what in thunder they are,” she said, adding that the common trajectory of an orb is to “come to a dead stop, then shoot into another direction.”
“There have been 13 cases of orbs this year, and ten of spheres, which are either orange, clear, or white,” Gilmore said. “We get a lot of those over the Myrtle Beach area, but we also take into account the Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter.”
Reverse engineering of recovered UAP craft for military and other technological purposes is one of the theories behind what is seen today. The theory was strengthened by the late Col. Philip Corso’s 1997 autobiography, “The Day After Roswell,” in which he alleges that when he was a member of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s National Security Council and head of the Foreign Technological desk at the U.S. Army’s Research and Development department, he headed the Army’s reverse-engineering project that took recovered technology from the 1947 Roswell crash and seeded the information out to major corporate firms.
Using the provided information, these firms were able to manufacture “integrated circuit chips, fiber optics, laser technology, and super-tenacity fibers.”
The Intelligence Report
In June, the Office of the Director on National Intelligence (DNI) presented a nine-page report on UAPs before Congress.
According to its conclusion in the executive summary, because of the “limited amount of high-quality reporting” on UAPs, the DNI said it can’t “draw firm conclusions,” but that UAPs “clearly pose a safety of flight issue and may pose a challenge to U.S. national security.”
The investigation relied on reports that occurred between 2004 and 2021 that were recorded by “multiple sensors, to include radar, infrared, electro-optical, weapon seekers, and visual observation.”
“It’s pretty much what I expected it to be,” Gilmore said on the report. “No commitment. It could be this; it could be that. It went the way I expected it would go.”
An Easier Conversation to Have
Still, the report—in its acknowledgement of not knowing—is considered progress by many in the field, given that for years, just bringing the subject up could lead to what Gilmore experienced in the science classroom back in 1959: ridicule.
On Joyner’s sighting, after Gilmore watched the video she said, “Interesting.”
“In one frame it looks like a plane in nosedive coming down at a steep angle, but then, it starts morphing,” Gilmore said. “It looks like a cloud, but it’s not moving like the other clouds.”
A pair of binoculars might have ended the mystery, Gilmore said, but she ruled out the likeliness of the nebulous object being bugs or a flock of birds.
“I get the impression it’s morphing from one thing to the other, but it could be a large bag in an upper air current getting turned and twisted,” Gilmore said. “When it goes down through the trees, it is almost like a disk shape.”
She uses the word “morphing” because once a person reported what was initially perceived to be a commercial jet transform into a flying saucer, then back to a commercial jet, she explained.
For Joyner’s sighting, Gilmore considers the backdrop: the clouds, the movement of the object in relation to them, how it appears to be changing shapes, and the fact that the Joint Base Charleston—the U.S. Air Force facility that operates in conjunction with the Charleston International Airport—is nearby.
“This is really hard to discern, and I can’t give any definite answer,” Gilmore said. “It seems to be moving, tumbling, and changing shapes, but it could be an illusion.”