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That Time I Saw a "UFO"
Everything is aliens!
As a child I was fascinated by the phenomenon of UFOs. My best friend growing up (I will call her "K”) and I would spend evenings staring at the sky at our homes and reporting to each other in class the next day if we had seen anything. The short answer was generally “no” most of the time, or an exited “yes” that was quickly turned to disappointment upon realizing that we had likely seen an airplane and that our imaginations had filled in the rest with what we were hoping to see. Sky-gazing was limited to summer nights without curfews or, once school started again, the winter months when the sun set earlier so that we could stare into the vastness of the universe for a glimpse of extraterrestrial technology before our bedtimes at 9:00 pm.
We frequently watched The X-Files or the film Fire in the Sky, and K was even convinced at one point that she had been abducted by aliens at least two times. Looking back, she had likely experienced sleep paralysis that had tinges of alien life influenced by subconscious memories of the shows we had been watching and the plethora of paranormal reading material we subjected ourselves to in the Alien/Bigfoot Clubhouse that her father had built. Regardless, it was still a thrilling, but at times, frightening adventure for two six/seven-year-olds living in a small city in Central Massachusetts with a lot of nothing to do.
As a more skeptical adult who can safely rule out encounters with the supernatural using science and logic, I am much more inclined to see UFOs in the most literal sense and easily explained as misidentified aircraft, electromagnetic phenomenon, or flat out hoaxes. Fakery being the most common explanation, especially if there is a video on YouTube or The Travel Channel’s Paranormal Caught on Camera. Even with several declassified recordings of unidentified aerial objects by the Pentagon, there is no evidence that these are extraterrestrial in origin. Different outfits of the military are testing different devices and are not sharing that data with one another for security reasons. It’s an obvious answer to the sensational footage shown from time to time on local and cable news channels. Sorry to pop your saucer-shaped balloon.
That being said, there was one night in grade school when my routine searches of the night sky actually produced something. It was quarter of 1:00 in the morning on a Sunday in the middle of winter. I woke up needing to use the bathroom which was a mere two metres from my bedroom and, when finished, decided to raise the shade and take a peek outside one last time before going back to sleep. That is when I saw this:
A perfect sphere of bright, white light surrounded by an opaque halo was slowly moving in a southbound direction towards Worcester from the north, from about the location of Leominster. It made its way over the neighbouring streets silently. It had a small tail trailing from behind it that flickered outwards from the orb and retracted back into it at a steady rate of about 90 pulses per minute (I am using my metronome to calculate the pattern of the tail, as unscientific as that is). The light was so bright that it pierced through the thick fir trees that dotted the backyard of my childhood home. The bathroom window faced westward at 284° and the object was moving from about 345° N to about 275° W before disappearing behind the trees, houses, and hills. The entire event lasted less than a minute, but I never blinked or took my eyes off of the light as it made its journey into oblivion.
I went back to sleep with a feeling of satisfaction to have finally witnessed something that I remember feeling the biggest smirk across my face as I nodded off. Of course K was ecstatic that I had had an actual sighting, but nobody else in our class believed me, and this was a story that I could not wait to share. I remember, when describing the motions of the tail, I was ridiculed by another kid who claimed that I was the one who had a tail “moving in and out.” That has no bearing on the story; I just find it amusing, especially now after 30 years have passed.
Decades later, I can look at this so-called “encounter” and draw a few conclusions that better explain just what I had witnessed that night.
As a child I suffered from anxiety induced insomnia that worsened around school, so my paediatrician had recommended that I take a Tylenol PM if I was having difficulty sleeping or became too nervous about attending the next day for my predictable ass-whooping at the hands of the class bully. I was likely in a very drowsy state and just conscious enough to make my way to the bathroom to take a whiz and, upon looking out the window, saw what I had wanted to see. I was probably in a sort of sleepwalking state and all of the exposure to paranormal literature and the desire to actually see something resulted in what was basically an hallucination.
The UFO was just an airplane or helicopter at an odd angle. The “tail” that I had seen could have been a light on the rear of an ordinary aircraft or life flight heading to the local hospital. The cold, dense air of winter could have played with the appearance of the lights and, combined with my drowsiness and imagination, became something extraordinary. At the time, there was an active base in Devens and it could have been a military aircraft performing exercises or other routine maneuvers.
Nothing; I had dreamt the entire thing.
I hate for a story like this to be anticlimactic, but that’s how the world works. At least, that’s how they want us to think the world works. By “they” I mean the council of extraterrestrial overlords from the Andromeda Galaxy secretly injecting our brains with their own farts to weaken our resistance to the secret invasion already underway. Wake up, for the love of all that is holy, wake up!
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