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Association for Aerial Anomaly Research and Cataloging

UFO and Paranormal Research from south-central Indiana

Always Watching the Skies


Gulf Breeze Revisited
(The Black Water Phenomenon)

Night view of Pensacola Bay from Shoreline Park

-- by Lynn Taylor


Recently, my wife and I traveled down to Gulf Breeze, Florida to get in some serious beach time. The trip also gave us a chance to visit with old friends and catch each other up on respective local happenings.

I was particularly interested in learning more about the "black water" phenomenon which, according to a witness description, is a transient condition where light reflectivity of the affected water surface is zero, or "black." Water reflectivity elsewhere remains normal.

Another characteristic of "black water" is it's apparent effect on sound and time displacement. Four eyewitnesses first observed this enigmatic display on the evening of Saturday, August 22, 1998 from Shoreline Park in Gulf Breeze. The event lasted between 11 PM and 2:15 AM in the bay waters between Gulf Breeze and the barrier island of Pensacola Beach. The witnesses made the following observations:

As a precursor to events to follow, one witness reported a powerful wave of ringing in her ears. She described it as being so strong that her ears hurt. "Like being jabbed with a swab or something." The other witnesses present could not hear the sound she described.

Next, a helicopter was observed moving out over the Island making no detectable sound. It was described as being fairly well lit with steady white lights and blinking red lights. The helicopter was projecting a searchlight onto the water in the bay, as it moved slowly down the Island, first in one direction, then the other, before exiting the bay area. It was noted that, at no time was any sound heard from this craft as it made it's passes.

The witnesses noted several small motorized boats traveling the waterway from a considerable distance in both directions, that made no discernable sound while inside the "black water" zone. Earlier in the evening, similar boats in the same locations were clearly audible. The air was reported to be dead calm, all evening.

A witness commented, "We noted this absence of sound from boats in that region several more times and then noticed that there was a dense black area in the waters that did not reflect the light from the lights on the beach, even though these areas appeared smooth. There were short reflections of the lights in the waters immediately adjacent to the shoreline at our observation point in the Park, beyond the 'black water' area."

The witness went on to say, "We then noticed that while there were some reflections on the east side of the pier from the lights on The Bob Sikes Bridge and adjacent to it, these were dim and at times almost non-existent. Additionally, there were no traffic sounds coming from the bridge, despite the fact that there was plenty of observed traffic on the bridge."

At one point, a boat was said to have been observed traveling down the bay, making no sound until it moved past the area of black water, as it approached the launch ramps at Shoreline Park. At a point, which the sounds of the boat suddenly became audible, even conversations those on board could be heard.

A witness states, "Once it became obvious that something unusual was going on, we made it a point to make observations of everything around us. Boats moving up the waterway from the Bob Sikes Bridge shortly became rather extraordinarily audible and remained audible, but varying in intensity or loudness along the waterway until a point slightly before a point that could be reached by an extension of the pier at Shoreline Park. At this point they became inaudible and remained that way until they were out of sight at Deer Point. This was observed repeatedly. After approximately and hour and a half of these observations, the water gradually began to show reflections again in the area where they previously did not show and the boats traversing the water way became audible (though somewhat muffled) for a longer stretch of the waterway directly in front of our observation point on the Shoreline Park beach front to the right of the pier. They still had not returned to full audibility nor were they audible the full length of the waterway before we left the area at approximately 2:15 AM."

Other reported occurrences that seemed to coincide with "black water":

1) Unusual wave disturbances in the water, with no apparent source.

2) Feelings of restlessness and uneasiness on the part of the witnesses.

3) Some witnesses experienced subsequent sleep disturbances and "weird dreams."

4) Fish have been observed jumping in the "black water" area, without any accompanying sound.

5) On one occasion, a boat was seen to travel into the "black water" zone. At one point, it actually appeared to be traveling backward. Although the affected area of water was only a few hundred yards long, it took the boat over an hour to traverse this distance. And of course, no sound was heard coming from the boat until it passed beyond the "black water."

Linda and I spent the better part of the evening of August 1, 1999 at Shoreline Park with two of the witnesses, all of us hoping to catch a glimpse of this mysterious hydrological happening. We were able to see black zones of non-reflectivity forming out in the middle of the bay, but these were small and short-lived.

After listening to witness accounts of the "black water" phenomena and revisiting the area, I have developed a few thoughts on the subject:

First, let me say at the outset, that "black water" is a phenomenon I have not heard of before Gulf Breeze. One thought I had concerning the missing and attenuated sound: It is possible that an audio technology is being employed similar to an electronic muffler. Essentially, the way this works is; a transducer senses the sound produced by the exhaust system, then feeds a signal to an amplifier and speaker system which reproduces the sound, matching the amplitude of the source sound, but exactly 180 degrees out of phase. The net perceived sound is a product of the difference between the start time of the original sound wave and the start time of the amplified and inverted sound wave, which lags slightly. I would guestimate the total attenuation of the source sound to be as high as 95% in a well-designed system. The problem with this theory is, in order to affect oncoming source sounds, numerous highly sensitive transducers would have to be employed 360 degrees around the "dead zone", and corresponding speakers would have to be deployed in a "surround sound" fashion. This would be a quite complicated affair to pull off. And why go to all this trouble in the first place? I only brought this up for the purpose of covering all the bases. I really don't think this is what the folks in Gulf Breeze have been experiencing.

Is "black water" UFO related? No one really knows the extent of side effects caused by a gravity wave generator, and how this can skew our senses. If we're talking about a device that can affect time and space around it (as could have been the case with the boat that moved backward in the "black water"), then it seems logical to expect all sorts of local disturbances, including sound. I remember an incident that happened one night at Lake Monroe in Monroe County, Indiana in which four teens were enveloped in a blue beam from something hovering above them. Other campers only a few feet away could not hear their screams for help.

One observation I did make while I was visiting Gulf Breeze was that, there were very few military planes and helicopters present in the sky, during the day or night, while I was visiting. Being familiar with the huge military presence in the area, I thought that to be somewhat curious. Then it was pointed out to me by a local friend, that the military has been in a conservation mode ever since expending a large portion of resources on the war in Yugoslavia. That makes sense, but it also confirms to me that UFO activity is down in the area of Gulf Breeze, as it has been in many places. I guarantee you; the military would have planes in the sky, no matter what, if that were the case.

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Updated: February 05, 2006
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