Strange lights spotted over Wyoming
Rumors have been circulating of strange light displays over Wyoming. Videos began appearing on YouTube by airline passengers who had been on flights over Wyoming claiming to be seeing light patterns in the night sky.
One video appears to first show the outline of the state of Wyoming, with the outline of Yellowstone National Park then appearing, along with a huge arrow and then the letters "YNP" flashing. The light pattern appears to encompass the entire state of Wyoming and border of Yellowstone National Park, and the giant arrow and massive letters appear in the middle of the state. The dimensions of the displays are hard to comprehend. The lighted arrow alone would have to be more than a hundred miles long.
A second alleged video from another nighttime airline passenger appears to show a similar light pattern first outlining the entire state of Wyoming, and then a small star appears in the lower right hand corner of the state. The small light then turns into a big yellow star which flashes and then disappears, and then the entire light sequence again goes dark. The lighted star appears to be in the exact location of Cheyenne, the capitol of the state of Wyoming.
The videos started appearing on YouTube in November and December 2018 by people who said they were passengers on flights over Wyoming during their Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday travels. Each had nightime flights. As they flew over Wyoming, the light patterns could be seen out their windows in the darkness of the night sky. November and December are peak times for airline traffic flying over the state of Wyoming.
Speculation has been raised that the humongous light displays are actually a novel new marketing campaign by the Wyoming Tourism Department (WTD) in collaboration with the state's oil and gas industry.
Wyoming has sometimes been condescendingly referred to as a "fly-over" state. It is located in the middle of the continental United States. The insinuation is that people from the east and west coasts consider it unimportant as they "fly-over" between destinations like New York and Los Angeles. Wyoming is the home of Yellowstone National Park, the country's first national park. It was also the first state to give women the right to vote, doing so as a territory even before it officially became a state in the Union, long before the other states in the country finally let the women in their states have the right to vote or hold public office.
There has been more and more speculation that the videos captured the testing of a new super secret marketing campaign by the Wyoming Tourism Department to advertise Wyoming's assets to the captive audience of airplane passengers as they fly over the state on overnight flights. With the pitch black sky over Wyoming at night, any lights really stand out as if on a giant black screen backdrop.
It has been a mystery how lights could be connected and coordinated across the vastness of remote Wyoming. The only entities that have physical facilities in all those locations are all the various oil and gas industry operators working throughout the state. "If you tied them all together as one, you could in theory create a network that could link into a massive unified lighting system," said an anonymous source. "But that would require massive cooperation because they are all independent operators. I could never see that happening among them."
Oil and gas rigs that are taller than 60 feet high are required to have a light on the top of the rig for safety reasons. They also fly an American flag up high. Other sites in remote locations use solar powered lights on their pads for their lighting requirements. Those lighting patterns could be seen from an airplane flying overhead and even by astronauts in the space station high outside the earth's atmosphere. The thought of sending messages to people from that massive height scale has never before been done on a state-wide scale. But the coordination and technology to link all those sources together would be intricately complicated. "This would be vastly more technically challenging than lighting the Empire State Building in New York City with a giant red heart on Valentine's Day," one electrician explained.
By the content of the two unsourced videos, the light patterns appear to be highlighting Yellowstone National Park and Cheyenne, Wyoming. Although millions of people visit Yellowstone Park each year, a recent survey indicates that some people who have never been "out west" still believe Wyoming is a place where cowboys and Indians live.
A spokesperson for the Wyoming Tourism Department told Pinedale OFFline, on condition of anonymity, that they are working hard to showcase the scenic beauty of Wyoming while still capturing the essence of our western way of life and rural lifestyle. "We do still have real cowboys and Indians living in Wyoming, but they live together in harmony in the modern world," she said. She acknowledged they want to do everything they can to tell the world how great Wyoming is as a place to live and play and they've done some controversial marketing campaigns in the past.
The WTD discounted the notion that they were testing new marketing campaigns on unsuspecting airplane passengers flying overhead. However, they could not offer an explanation for the videos. One source scoffed at the allegations. "Who in their right mind would target a marketing campaign to try and reach people who might happen to be looking out their window, at just the right time, at night? And who just happens to have their cell phones pointed out the window at night to happen to capture a 4-second video of a massive state-wide light sequence advertising message?" While the daytime scenery over Wyoming can be quite compelling at times, they doubted many people spent much time looking out their airplane windows at the Wyoming scenery at night.
They also discounted the notion they would use Wyoming tourism dollars to do a geographical education marketing campaign, even though they acknowledged some people living in Wyoming can't name the capitol of their state, which is Cheyenne. They flatly insisted there are no "Make Wyoming Great Again" or "Operation Geography" marketing campaigns by the WTD.
Some have suggested there needs to be an investigation as to whether or not the WTD has negotiated deals with all the various independent oil and gas companies criss-crossing the state to gain rights to periodically take over control of the lighting systems on the drill rigs and oil and gas pads in order to flash specific advertising messages to nighttime airplane passengers. A spokesperson for the East/West Coast Vacation-At-Home Lobby said, "They are cowboys out there in Wyoming. They will do anything to capture the attention of people driving through the state or flying overhead to lure them into coming for a visit or to stay a day or two longer for their vacations. We're talking about a state that has more antelope than people."
The big elephant-in-the-room question is, "Who is paying whom?" Are tax dollars being paid to thousands of oil and gas companies and independent operators to slip some kind of a controller into their lighting systems that could receive a signal from WTD to flash the lights on and off in some state-wide pre-programmed blinking pattern?
Or, are oil and gas companies across the state paying the Wyoming Tourism Department under the table and secretely giving incentives in order to get relief from regulatory requirements and more permits to drill? Or is something else entirely going on? Are the videos of the lights ethven legitimate? To date, no one has claimed responsibility for the videos or been able to verify their authenticity.
At this time we have also been unable to verify that there has been a multi-year special investigation underway by Federal prosecutors probing allegations of tourism collusion by the WTD with thousands of oil and gas operatives, and possibly some foreign countries.