Here’s one for the X-Files.
Philip DiPaolo, a family man and respected community activist, says he saw a silently pulsing, moving light floating over his beloved Williamsburg neighborhood last Monday — one year after witnesses saw a similar phenomenon in the same area.
DiPaolo, 50, saw the light while walking his dogs around 11 pm.
“I got out my camera to use the zoom to see if it was a satellite,” the mild-mannered leader of the New York Community Council told us via e-mail. “I could not figure out what this was. About 10 seconds in, some pulsing image goes across the screen. Very weird!”
Weirder still, witnesses reported seeing a similar bright light spinning over Williamsburg several times last winter.
DiPaolo’s unidentified flying object appeared high in the clear, south sky. It appeared to change color and move, he said. He shot some video of the object, then went inside. When he came back a few minutes later, the airborne anomaly was gone.
DiPaolo, who lives on North Seventh Street and Driggs Avenue and was once named the “mayor of North Brooklyn,” insists he wasn’t drinking and that he’s not prone to bouts of delusion. He still can’t really say what he captured in the video that night, but it didn’t appear to be an airplane, helicopter or star, he said.
He also doubted that it was an alien spaceship.
“I’m not a UFO nut or anything. I was more looking for a rational explanation. I’ve been living here 30 something years. I’ve never seen anything like that thing,” he said, adding that he put the video on YouTube in hopes that someone would have an explanation for the phenomenon.
The video was met with the sort of skepticism usually reserved for crackpots.
“Was he drinking?” exclaimed FOX-NY anchor Rosanna Scotto after seeing DiPaolo’s clip. Co-anchor Greg Kelly said it looked like someone pulled a prank on DiPaolo.
“You need another hobby,” said one YouTube commenter. “Hoax,” said another.
DiPaolo said he received a voicemail last Thursday from a man identifying himself as a Federal Aviation Administration official. The caller said that DiPaolo likely saw the space shuttle Discovery, which was visible in orbit around that time for a few minutes.
“It seems to be a viable explanation,” DiPaolo said.
But it was unclear whether NASA spacecraft would have been visible over Brooklyn that night. The space station and Discovery shuttle were visible over New York on Wednesday, but information for Monday was unavailable by press time, said NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries.
“I don’t know if it honestly was the FAA,” DiPaolo said of the mysterious call. “They didn’t leave a name; they didn’t leave a callback number.
Jim Peters, New York spokesman for the FAA, couldn’t be certain what DiPaolo saw and referred questions about the space shuttle’s trajectory to NASA.
“We do get calls on things that people believe would be classified as UFOs,” he said. His office didn’t get any calls about a UFO on Monday, but it’s possible that DiPaolo saw an airplane landing, he said.
Whatever the light was, DiPaolo says he probably won’t cry “UFO!” again anytime soon.
“I could understand now why a lot of people might see something and not go public with it, because you get the slings and arrows from it,” he said.