My name is Valery Dabaev, and I am a paranormal investigator here in Russia. Six years ago my city Ulan-Ude, Buryat, was visited by several brillant spheres of light that flew over various parts of the metropolis at incredible speeds. These celestial balls of blazing red, orange, and yellow appeared to us during the sunlight hours in the months of June, August, and December 1994. My inquiry into the Ulan-Ude light phenomenon started during the initial June sighting when I happened to be in the market district with a friend of mine whom I will call Svetlana.
A boy, about eight or nine years old, was pestering a woman in front of us who I believe was the child’s mother. It was the boy who caught our notice first, and who drew our attention toward the northeastern sky. Approximately 50 kilometers away from us, and 200 meters off the ground, were three globular spheres, gleaming with the intensity of lightning when it first strikes. These three objects were like weightless, giant translucent pearls -everything about them was unnatural. Many people in the market had become aware of them with us, and several were pointing and whispering.
I began to think that the balls might be some form of unexplained natural phenomena, such as a reflection onto a cloud, because they remained so stationary. As I began to tell Svetlana of my theory, she became very excited. The pearl-like objects started to move in a slow horizontal line from their northeast position to the east. They traveled in this direction for approximately 15 kilometers, and then changed color from orange to bright red. Just as quickly as they had appeared, they accelerated into a high vertical loop, one right behind the other. They grabbed even more speed and disappeared within seconds. They retired in the direction of Ozero Baykal [Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest and largest freshwater lake-R. B.].
On August 26, Svetlana telephoned me at my house to announce that “the lights” had returned. She was very excited to inform me that they were sighted hovering over Factory Number 10, a large agricultural equipment plant approximately 35 kilometers from my home. I retrieved the Polaroid camera that a friend had given me for my investigations, and made my way to the industrial district with the help of my neighbor Alexander and his brother’s truck. When we arrived, the spheres were no longer over Factory No. 10. They had moved 20 kilometers further away, stopping over a garbage dumping area. Alexander drove me to the dump, where I managed to take several pictures of the dazzling lights.
The balls of light duplicated the pattern they had conducted in June. However, this time they floated over a four-story apartment building for what seemed like five to 10 minutes. Just as before, they suddenly flew off high into the blue sky and back toward Lake Baikal. Unfortunately, my Polaroid photos don’t reveal any more of the Ulan-Ude lights than the human eye can see, if not less. The brilliant lustery sheen of the objects caused the film to produce a solid circle of orange-yellow color and not much else. To gather physical evidence that these sightings had actually occurred in reality, I began an inquiry in the areas where the balls had appeared. I compiled a list of names and addresses of those who had witnessed the events, along with anyone who reported strange happenings that coincided with the appearances of the lights.
Katherine Strekolovskaya (a local Ulan-Ude resident who lives in the apartment building where the balls were found over in the second sighting) reported an odd occurrence. Katherine did not witness the Ulan Ude lights, but claimed that after they appeared, she had the following dream:
“I dreamt in color…perhaps I only came to realize my dreams are in color, but I didn’t ever notice that before. In this dream, I met a man in a black suit and hat who told me he was my friend. He said that I was going to be given a gift, and to prepare for its use. Then he showed me places, maybe in Europe, that I have never seen before. My friend says I will visit these places after I’ve received my gift.”
Katherine’s story was very believable and credible to me. She had no reason to lie, and her story remained consistent without fanciful additions. The idea that the spheres and Katherine’s experience were somehow related was very obvious to me.
I am left to conclude that there are four working possibilities in the case of the Ulan-Ude lights. These possibilities are:
1.) The balls are unusual natural phenomena caused by unknown geological effects;
I ruled out the fourth possibility almost immediately. More than 40 people saw the same objects, from different locations and at different times between both sightings. Only three people out of the 40 weren’t sure of what they saw, but agreed it was “bright” and not made by man.
To rule out the third possibility, I contacted Galina Aleksandrovna Turik and asked her if she’d lend me her skills as a parapsychologist and spirit medium. Galina was very enthusiastic about the project and visited the areas with me where the floating balls had been. She entered a Mesmer “trance state,” and attempted to gain readings off of any energy that she might channel from the vicinity. Galina reported a feeling of “four distinct presences,” but nothing further developed.
2.) The balls are alien technology or spacecraft possibly stationed under Lake Baikal;
3.) The balls are spirit forms of unknown origin;
4.) The balls are the result of a massive psychological hallucination.
On the cold morning of December 27, 1994, five glowing balls materialized 12 kilometers east of Svetlana’s house. Alexander, my neighbor, alerted me to their arrival and again provided me with transportation. I called Galina before we left and recited Alexander’s description of where the Ulan-Ude lights were currently hovering. We agreed to rendezvous there together.
I was at the location already when Galina arrived. During this event we were in a large park scattered with tall trees. Five smooth, gigantic, electric pearls illuminated the ground with their orange-red and red-yellow auralike glows. Two of them were floating very close to the ground in front of us (approximately two meters). No sound came forth from anywhere. Galina’s breath bellowed out of her mouth as she exhaled and raised her arms outward toward the “lights” and sky. As she took a step forward, all the balls raised to the air as if threatened and started what had now become their characteristic search pattern which they had displayed previously. There were approximately six to 10 other people with us; it is difficult to say exactly how many, as we focused most of our attention on the balls.
Upon further reflection, I believe that the spheres took no notice of us. That Galina’s gestures seemed to be timed with their departure was merely a coincidence. The Ulan-Ude lights hurried off toward Lake Baikal and have yet to be seen again. Galina reports having felt or read an alien intelligence radiating from them, but she is honest enough to admit that she wasn’t confident in her assessment.
One year after these events, Katherine Strekolovskaya, the apartment building resident, reported having a new gift for healing people, and felt she had been led to study the work of Madame H.P. Blavatsky. My investigation into the Ulan-Ude lights remains inconclusive, and therefore remains open. I am currently searching for Ulan-Ude’s top three psychics, and plan to focus their talents on Lake Baikal to see if there isn’t more to be learned on the matter.
FATE Magazine has covered UFOs since 1948.