Of all that may be supernatural, UFOs rattle my cage the most. And, as it turns out, there may have been one seen in my home town a few weeks ago. My husband told me about the sighting this past Friday night. It was ‘Earth Hour” and, as responsible environmental citizens, my husband and I spent the time sitting out on our porch, with candles, some wine, grilling our dinner and checking out the stars. We had been thinking back about seeing a space shuttle night launch from our porch, when he mentioned that his players had seen a video posted on YouTube of a UFO witnessed here in our home town.
That was all it took. I raced off to the computer (it was actually past earth hour by this point so felt justified to use electricity… but I still kept the lights off) and immediately pulled up YouTube. And there it was. Someone commented that it might be a hot air balloon, a sight that is very common in our area. But my mind raced: Why fly at night? And why can’t we see the balloon’s flame at its center? Another post claims it is a new sort of plane being tested at a nearby Air Force base. But finally, a post agrees that it is a U.F.O. and one was in fact seen in Brazil at the exact same time. Oh terrific.
Deep in thought, I padded back out to our dark porch and took a healthy gulp of my wine. You must understand that ghosts, psychic phenomenon, and most paranormal occurrences don’t really frighten me. (I actually 100% believe in their existence and embrace all bumps in the night – but I will save my thoughts on that for another post.) U.F.O.s, on the other hand, just give me a legitimate case of the heebie jeebies.
Here’s the thing about U.F.O.s. Their possibility represents the overwhelming prospect of the “unknown” in its truest form. The scientist in me gets right to the facts. If this universe is really so enormous and infinite, even a novice statistician (that would be me) can work out that it is very unlikely we are the only living beings in existence. My husband argued that while there may be life, it may also be in a much simpler form. Who says? That may be true in some cases but we can not assume we are the most advanced beings out there. Now the philosophical and spiritual guru in me steps forward (am attaching the white beard, and throwing on ancient looking robes)… Who are we to say what, who, or where we are in the universal context of things? The only living beings? The most advanced? Unlikely. Your faith tells you God made us in his image. Well, then, he/she is quite brilliant, correct? Who’s to say there aren’t a whole slew of his/her images all over this universe? Now stay with me here, have you ever seen the movie Men in Black? One scene depicts an entire community of aliens living in a forgotten locker in Penn Station – that was their reality, their universe, and they had no concept of what lay outside of that locker. I am humble enough to accept that we know very little about who we are in the grand scheme of this universe. We are, in fact, living in that locker arrogantly rationalizing our feeble ideas of science to each other, while extraterrestrial commuters race by and the Amtrak of the cosmos has stopped at track 9, possibly right outside our door!!!
I must keep in mind that Hollywood has done a terrific job of scaring the bejesus out of me. Have you seen Independence Day? While I do feel it is ripe with that well known bit of American “we’ll blow the brains out anything unfamiliar if it dares step on our soil” agenda, (note: that movie was filmed before 9/11, interesting food for thought), the image of those space ships darkening the morning sky is unsettling to say the least. The movie War of the Worlds was horrendous to watch, and also a story that goes back for quite a few decades now. The list goes on: Aliens (I, II, III), Fire in the Sky, Mars Attacks!, Taken… at least E.T. and Men in Black involve some nice aliens. Close Encounters of the Third Kind is an excellent U.F.O. movie but also does quite a bit of alien fear mongering until we get to its conclusion (which is secretly my hope for how such an alien/human meeting would occur… and there would be peace throughout our cosmos).
Back to the point. I have forgotten to mention that I have also seen a U.F.O. for myself. I know I know, I should turn the lights back on and stop watching all those movies. Before I do, I will just tell you what I saw and leave it at that.
I was living at a boarding school in Swaziland at the time – the school was located up on a hill and had a terrific view of country’s capital Mbabane, nestled in a small valley to our south. A friend and I were walking across the soccer field at night on our way to an art class. At the time, Swaziland had no evening air traffic. The one airport only landed its one jet once a week during the day – thanks to its less than advanced air traffic controlling capabilities. So when we saw something with a light far in the distance descending in the sky, it took us by surprise. We watched it for awhile, trying to explain what it might be. Suddenly it changed direction at a sharp 90 degree angle and seemed to be heading in the opposite direction, parallel to the ground. And finally, it made another extreme turn up into the sky and sped away very quickly. This may have happened over a period of two minutes or less. We convinced ourselves there must be some explanation but I don’t think we ever came up with one and I don’t think we ever brought it up again really. I still can’t figure out what could move like that in the night’s sky in Africa.
So here is my final thought on this. I will work hard not to be convinced of impending space invasion, or fall for all the alien abduction hype. But I will not let myself be fooled that science can explain everything in our skies. Now turn your own lights off (for the sake of a postponed “Earth Hour”) and watch what was filmed in my own night’s sky only a few weeks ago.