Updated February 2014

Spectacular Marine Lightwheel Display Witnessed by Navy Crew
in the Straits of Hormuz, May 19, 2007

By Kris Sherwood

Please also refer to report of stunning new latest extraordinary sighting of April 2009

Update February 2014: New eyewitness account of the 2007 sighting,
from a witness who first contacted me on January 31, 2014

Fig. 1 Marine Lightwheel Illustration
Copyright 1997 Ed Sherwood

Sunday morning May 20, 2007 I awoke to several astonishing email messages from excited crewmembers aboard a US Navy ship deployed in waters off the Iranian coast. Over the night of May 19, 2007 they witnessed something that had completely stunned, amazed, and shocked them and, as one said, made them think that Iran had some “new form of weaponry” that was being deployed against them (!). An apparently rapid internet search resulted in their finding an article I wrote that was first published in 1997, about a rarely witnessed, and nearly mythic, phenomenon known as “Marine Lightwheels” (Ref. 1). The information contained in my article relieved their concerns and described exactly what they had witnessed, and they responded with exuberant descriptions of their freshly experience sighting.

Years ago while conducting research into the possible geophysical forces involved in the creation of non-manmade Crop Circles and certain associated phenomena, my attention was drawn to reports of a little known or understood bioluminescent marine phenomenon known as ‘Marine Lightwheels’ and, noting some very intriguing similarities to certain aspects of non-manmade Crop Circle creation (not to be confused with, though many continue to do so, the countless ‘crop circles’ that have been deceptively made by human hoaxers), I did further research and wrote an article summarizing what I found which was later published in a number of periodicals, and linked widely on the internet. For those who don’t know of it, the rare and exotic Marine Lightwheel phenomenon apparently results when naturally bioluminescent marine micro-organisms are stimulated by unseen but large scale electro-magnetic planetary forces which are revealed by the bioluminescent organisms present in the water that fluoresce in response to the stimulation. Similar to the way that dust is swept into “dust devils”, and leaves into whirlwinds, revealing the invisible energy systems propelling them. A more detailed description of the Lightwheel phenomenon can be found in my original article, but to briefly describe here: the rotating, curve-spoked Lightwheels can appear or approach from the distance in open waters extending as far as the horizon, and consist of multiple glowing and rimless “wheels” of curving arms that radiate from a center point, sometimes several overlapping, and reportedly spinning past the ship’s bow as fast as three per second, sometimes in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions, and also can manifest in huge rotating circles; concentric, radially pulsing rings; spinning crescents; converging sets of bars, and random pulsing patches of light, sometimes progressing through phases of the different shapes. One of the email descriptions I received from one of the witnesses said it was “like your husband’s illustration, but ten times more”. (Fig.1) The most recent Lightwheel sighting Ivan Sanderson cited in his book, Invisible Residents, which I referenced in my 1997 article, occurred on January 23, 1964 in waters near Western Australia. It includes the very interesting detail that the compass “went haywire” during the sighting of the large “clockwise rotating lights”. Coincidentally, compasses going “haywire” have also been reported in relation to certain “crop circle” locations and events, suggesting an electromagnetically related disturbance.

Most Lightwheel and related bioluminescent displays have been reported within a limited range of latitudes North and South of the Equator. The physics of the angular momentum of planetary rotation creating conducive conditions for this. The ‘light’ is actually generated by microscopic bioluminescent organisms known as Noctiluca, which are present in vast numbers only under particular conditions, in certain bodies of water, and produces the same blue-green/white glow and color as normal bioluminescence, but flouresces on a massive scale upon interaction with the gigantic, geometrically organized electro-magnetic energy discharge of planetary and Solar forces, thereby revealing their composition and motion through the awesome Lightwheel display. Mariners have reported sightings of this enigmatic phenomenon in ships’ logs for hundreds of years, but the reports had largely been considered nothing more than “wild sailor’s tales”. It is my hope that further scientific research will eventually be able to provide a more thorough understanding of this phenomenon and how it may be related to the causative forces involved in non-manmade Crop Circle creation, and in the process add credibility and scientific weight to the reality of both phenomena.

Fig. 2 Three intersecting, spinning wheels of light; one spinning clockwise and two counterclockwise.
Illustration from Handbook of Unusual Natural Phenomenon
William R. Corliss, Crown Publishing New York 1986

After my article’s first publication in 1997 in Nexus Magazine, and subsequent radio interviews that husband and research partner, Ed Sherwood, and I did on, a handful of anecdotal reports were forwarded to me from other previous witnesses to the Lightwheel phenomenon. The most notable of these was from an Australian mariner, Norm Fraser, who had written a report of his sighting and had published it in the Marine Observer, before he discovered my article on the subject in a by then ‘back issue’ of the magazine. 

I plan to write a more comprehensive account of the numerous sightings on record that came to light during my further research, but for this report I will now let one of the valiant sailors aboard the USNS describe their sighting in his own words, and without which this new sighting of this still under-investigated and little understood phenomenon would not be possible. My heartfelt thanks to those sailors who took a possible risk in contacting me, and my assurance to them that their names, the ship’s name and exact location (except as CMK describes it) will remain undisclosed, out of respect for the nature of their mission and deployment in actively hostile waters.

Fig 3. Map of Persian Gulf and Straits of Hormuz Area
Hammond Standard World Atlas Hammond Incorporated Copyright 1967

I received the following precisely detailed and concise account of the May 19th sighting from a crewmember who has asked to be identified only as “CMK”. This report was approved for release by his ship’s master (Ref. 2). CMK’s riveting account contains valuable confirmation and much corroborating information consistent with many historic reports that I found while researching my original article.

The May 18/19, 2007 sighting in CMK’s own words:

1. First occasion.

The time of the first occurrence was approximately 2315 on 18 May 2007 and lasted for about 40 minutes. At the onset, we were in the east-bound international shipping lane, and our position was in the vicinity of 26 degrees 31 minutes north and 56 degrees 22 minutes east on a course of 066 degrees true at 11 knots. Our distance from land was approximately 8 miles and the water depth was approximately 82 fathoms. The wind direction and speed was out of the south west at 10 knots prior to the event, and rose steadily upon the onset of the event to approximately 20+ knots true (30+relative wind speed). Once we changed course to 090 degrees true, the event was more pronounced.

The first occurrence consisted primarily of "blob" shapes (described as an underwater disco show) and some concentric rings "radiating" out from the vicinity of the ship and was spread over an extremely large area, literally as far as I could see. There were occasional bars or echelons that varied in size, and direction of travel. Additionally there were a few spiral designs, however there was no set pattern or rhythm to any of the displays. The flashing of the bioluminescence was completely random.

2. Second occasion.

The second occurrence happened at approximately 0045 on 19 May 2007 and lasted for about 30 minutes. At the onset of the second occurrence, we were still in the east-bound international shipping lane, our position was in the vicinity of 26 degrees 25 minutes north 56 degrees 37 minutes east on a course of 147 degrees true at 11 knots. Our distance from land was approximately 7 miles and the water depth varied between 90 and 130 fathoms during the sighting. The wind direction and speed was not recorded during the second event, but the winds had calmed after the first event, and rose again during the second to near the same speed as before.

The second occurrence consisted primarily of bars, "waves" or echelons that were approximately 8-10 feet wide with some being larger. There were also blob shapes and concentric rings. Again this was spread over an extremely large area. There were occasional bars or echelons ("waves" of light) that varied in size, and direction of travel. This time there were several spiral designs. Again there was no set rhythm or pattern to the occurrence. The flashing of the bioluminescence was completely random.

3. Commonalties.

During both occurrences, which happened while in the international shipping lanes of the Straights of Hormuz, the air temperature was 83-86, and the water temperature was 88 degrees.

The height of eye during the observations was about 80 feet.

The seas were calm until the event and then kicked up to about 2-3 feet, calmed again and repeated during the second event.

Additionally, the barometric pressure at 2200 on the 18th was 1002.3 millibars and rising, dropped during the events and 4 hours later had risen up to that amount again.

The concentric rings that seemed to radiate out from the vicinity of the ship were actually diamond shaped, with a point on the bow, stern and each beam of the ship. I did not see any set rhythm when this did happen (but the rather straight lines would explain why we saw so many "waves" of light).

Fig. 4 “Phosphorescent Bars” (or “echelons” as CMK called them) illustration.
Science Frontiers on line #48 Nov/Dec ’86

Some of the comments I heard about this were: "I have been sailing for 40 years and I have never seen anything like it", "I thought I had seen everything. Now I have!", "It's like a underwater techno show!", "It looked like and underwater disco", "No one is gonna believe this!", "Amazing", "Remarkable", "Incredible", "What the F*** is that?!"

There were about 30 eyewitnesses.

-End of CMK's report.

Subsequent to my learning of this event a news report out of South Africa caught my attention that provided further very significant and corroborating evidence of an association that Ed and I have long suspected to exist in relation to non-manmade Crop Circle creation, and that has been documented between Solar Flare activity and certain other electromagnetic planetary phenomena (Ref 2a), such as Marine Lightwheels. I consider the evidence as documented in the Lightwheel phenomenon stunning proof of an electromagnetic energy force that can and does manifest in organized geometric patterns, that include straight lines, right angled progressions of shapes, and in armed or curve-spoked wheels, spirals and concentric rings that rotate clockwise and counterclockwise in the same event. Virtually all the reports of sightings on record also describe the displays as manifesting in the basis geometries, shapes, design elements, and configurations found in classic non-manmade Crop Circle formations, as they too have been documented throughout the centuries.

Radio Pretoria in South Africa reported that on the days of May 19 and 20, the same period during which the Marine Lightwheel sighting took place, “unusually strong Solar outbursts…interfered with the Earth’s electro-magnetic field” causing “thousands of valuable racing pigeons” that navigate by Earth’s electromagnetic fields, to be lost when the fields were disrupted during a weekend of racing flights. (Ref. 3 & 4) European pigeon handlers reported similar losses that weekend. This was a terrible loss for the trainers as well as the unfortunate birds. Homing instincts recovered for the remaining birds following the Solar outbursts and further losses ceased. It is hoped that predicting Solar weather will not only help protect human technology from damaging Solar storms by giving advance warnings, it may also help minimize future losses among Pigeon keepers by allowing them to keep their birds from flying during high Solar activity.

In an extremely synchronous “life sign” event, on Saturday May 19, the day I received the emails from the crew members on the Navy ship, Ed and I rescued a baby Pigeon, that had been separated from nest and parents and was in the street being attacked by Crows. We’ve rescued many birds over the years but this was our first Pigeon rescue. When I later learned of the huge loss of Pigeons due to the disrupted electromagnetic fields from Solar activity, I felt it was a further ‘confirmation’ that this was what had triggered the extraordinary Marine Lightwheel occurrence.

Kris Sherwood
Copyright June 2007
Updated August 2008
Further Updated February 2014

February 2014 – The following is an Update to this original article on the mass Marine Lightwheel sighting of May 2007.

Officer Payne’s experience, being unknown to me at the time, had not been included in the original article, but his account contains numerous very interesting and significant details and valuable observations to add to the documentation of this event and should be included here in the body of evidence, along with the testimony of the other highly credible witnesses of the crew of the USNS Concord. (Ref. 5)

On January 31, 2014 I was surprised to receive an email from an eyewitness to this event who was previously unknown to me, Military Sealift Command Officer, Anthony Payne, who had been the Watch Officer on watch the night of this spectacular 2007 Marine Lightwheel sighting; the subject of this article. Officer Payne’s experience, being unknown to me at the time, had not been included in the original article, but his account contains numerous very interesting and significant details and valuable observations to add to the documentation of this event and should be included here in the body of evidence, along with the testimony of the other highly credible witnesses of the crew of the USNS Concord.

This is the text of that email:


My name is Anthony Payne.

I just finished reading the account of the May 2007 Marine lightwheel event. It quite surprised me as I was the watch officer on watch the night that this event occurred.

A good deal of what I read is accurate as I remember. However, I do not recall the wind speed and baro changes and many of the "details" that we're mentioned. Also, I only recall one event not two. But, no matter, there is always different recollections of witnesses to an event, as I am sure I do not have to tell you.

I will tell you what I recall.

We were in a maneuvering detail and as such there were many more people on the bridge than normal. But as the ship is a civilian operated ship with a navy detachment only, There were far fewer people than would be on the bridge of a navy ship during such a maneuvering detail. I would say that there was maybe 15 people at the most on the bridge Including me and my watch team, the Captain, some cadets, and some U.S. Navy personnel.

I had the conn. We were on an eastward, outbound transit of the Straits of Hormuz Sometime around midnight. I remember my lookout coming into the bridge from the port wing and calling me aside and quietly, and very seriously, telling me that he believed he was having an acid flashback from the 70s! I asked him what the hell he was talking about, and he asked me to come out to the port wing and look for myself. I did and what I saw was phosphorescent geometric shapes which looked like they were coming up from the depths of the ocean. They seemed to be expanding as they came up, and they looked as if they were almost coming out of the water. I looked around the ship and realize that they were all around us; the whole ocean was glowing as far as I could see around us. I was bewildered to say the least and as soon as I could take my attention away from it, I came in and told the Captain and asked him to look over the side and see for himself. It was the Captain that said That he had not seen anything like that in 30 years of sailing.

One thing I do recall that I don't remember in your other source account is the radio chatter ceased, and it was in characteristically and eerily quiet while the event occurred--That is not to say that I believe the event interfered with the radio transmission; I believe that the neighboring ships were awestruck to the point that they stopped talking on the radio. The radio chatter resumed afterward.

I had the opportunity to observe in the water these shapes once or twice more for short periods, but I otherwise was engaged in driving the ship, so I could not watch like the others could. It was my recollection that the phenomenon lasted for maybe 20 minutes, or so, and then just sort of faded away.

The next morning I recall seeing an article that was printed out that must've been from you as it had the drawing that's on your website, and it looked very similar to those overlapping light wheels that you described which created these geometric shapes, but some of the shapes that I recall seeing seemed to be autonomous, that is to say, not as though they were connected to the overlapping wheel concept.

Very strange thing from anyone's point of view though--it did not seem of this world.

I also recall a cadet telling me that she had contacted the Scripps Institute and had received some feedback from them as well. This was in the days or weeks that followed.

I do not recognize the initials of the source of your story, I assume it may have been one of the Navy personnel that I was not that familiar with. The similarities of the story on your website, as well as the timeframe involved, could only be from the experience that I had.

At any rate, I commend you for publishing these reports and disseminating information on this most amazing and curious phenomenon.

Best regards,

Anthony Payne Military Sealift Command”


Ref. 1 - Marine Lightwheels – Crop Circles of the Sea?

By Kris Sherwood Copyright 1997. (As published in Nexus Magazine 1997 and online at: http://www.cropcircleanswers.com/marinelightwheels.htm)

Ref. 2 - The USNS crewmember who forwarded this extraordinary report asked to be identified only as “CMK”. I presume this is due to security concerns, especially considering the location of the waters they were traversing on a military deployment. I am amazed and very grateful to have received this report, and the email descriptions I received from the other crewmembers, and honor the requests of these brave sailors to remain anonymous while on assignment. My sincere and heartfelt thanks to CMK for his excellent report.

Ref. 2a - Non-Manmade Crop Circles As a "Vacuum Domain" Phenomenon - An Aspect of the Physics Involved? by Kris Sherwood - Copyright 2002 (Published in UFO Magazine UK 2003, and online at: http://www.cropcircleanswers.com/CC_Vacuum_Domain.htm)

Ref. 3 - Solar Flares Cause Loss of Thousands of Homing Pigeons
by Adriana Stujt (as posted on Rense.com 6-8-07)

Ref. 4 - Radio Pretoria South Africa http://www.radiopretoria.co.za

Ref. 5 - 2014 Update credit: Anthony Payne, Military Sealift Command USNS Concord.

Image credits:

Fig. 1 - Marine Lightwheel illustration Copyright Ed Sherwood 1997

Fig. 2 - Handbook of Unusual Natural Phenomenon William R. Corliss, Crown Publishing New York 1986

Fig. 3 - Map of Persian Gulf and Straits of Hormuz area - from Hammond Standard World Atlas Hammond Incorporated Copyright 1967

Fig. 4 - “Phosphorescent Bars” (or “echelons” as CMK called them) illustration.
Science Frontiers on line #48 Nov/Dec ’86


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