Monday, January 25, 2010

UFOs, Ghosts and Bigfoot

So I hope you don't think I'm a complete loon, but I've always been interested in the paranormal, cryptozoology and lights in the sky. I think it is driven by my need to try to answer all those unanswered questions in life.

Lately I've been watching various 'reality' shows on these topics like MonsterQuest, Paranormal State and Ghosthunters. Don't get me wrong, I'm not gullible enough to believe these shows are finding evidence of anything, its just some good ol' fashioned mind-numbing popcorn TV for me to fall asleep to.

Watching them has reminded me of a few unexplained incidents I've had in my life and I wonder if you've experienced anything similar? I've got three that all happened to me over a decade ago but were so unnerving that I remember them vividly. So here are my campfire ghost stories, feel free to share yours!

Incident #1: The Mysterious Flash
I don't remember the exact date or even the season of this first incident, but my best guess is it happened during the summer of 1993. It was the summer before my sophomore year of high school. I had a goal to read 50 books that summer. I know what you're thinking "wow, was he really that cool?" My motivation was a challenge from my freshman English teacher that I couldn't do it, and I ended up proving him wrong. The reason I'm telling you all this is to set the scene that I was in my bedroom reading a book around 10 o'clock at night.

My Dad is awesome and years earlier had installed overhead track lighting in my room attached to a touch-sensitive dimmer switch. The track lights hung from the ceiling and I had most of them pointed outward to face the walls so I wouldn't be blinded. However the one light that hung near the head of my bed I faced inward to act as a reading light. For whatever reason, I was laying in bed with the lights dimmed as low as I could and still be able to read. I can't explain the inner workings of my 15 year old self but I liked the lighting that way.

As I'm laying there in bed with my back propped against the wall my entire room is flooded with brilliantly blinding light! I stare at my book and realize the light isn't coming from above me it's from behind me as I can see my shadow and the shadow of the book I'm holding cast against the far wall of my room like someone is holding a spotlight a few feet behind my shoulder. And before I can react it's gone! The whole flash takes about half a second. Then as I turn to see where the light came from I come to the realization that I'm laying on the wall, it couldn't have possibly come from behind me and cast the shadows I saw. Now being rational, my first thought is that I imagined the shadows and it was a simple power surge so I go downstairs and ask my parents if they saw anything, but they hadn't.

Incident #2: The 727 at 500'
For this next incident I wasn't alone. I was still in high school and my Mom and I were in the car together coming home from an after-school activity, probably band practice or musical rehearsal. It was twilight and as we drove home I see a plane on the horizon. As I watch it I realize it is not near the horizon because its far away, it's because it is close but flying low to the ground. I pointed out the plane to my Mom and wondered out loud if something is wrong with it. She was surprised and decided to pull over to watch it. As the plane drew closer we both realized that it was a commercial airliner, not a small prop plane out of Danbury as I was expecting. Now mind you, I grew up in the hills of New Milford where the closest airport that can land an airliner is 40 miles away. It continued to approach us and at this point I realized it was traveling extremely slow for a jet of its size. Finally as it passed directly overhead I realized it was the size of a 727, no more than 500 feet from the ground, and going maybe a 100 miles an hour which is very close to, if not less than, the stall speed for an jet like that. But if that all wasn't strange enough, here's the part that haunts my mother and I to this day...it was dead silent. I mean so silent that the crickets stopped chirping. The jet passed and disappeared past the treeline and we never heard a thing. In that pre-internet age, my only recourse was to check the newspaper every day for at least a week. Nothing.

Incident #3: Close Encounters of the Orange Kind
My last weird event is probably the clearest of the three in my mind. It was September of 1995 near the beginning of my senior year of high school. My Dad and I were flying to Florida for the weekend so I could tour the Ringling School of Art and Design and see if it was where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life studying computer graphics. In the end, I went to Trinity College in Hartford but that's another story.

On this trip we flew down on a Friday night. It was one of the first night-time flights I'd ever been on so I was pretty excited. We were seated on the left side of the plane that faced the Atlantic Ocean for most of the trip. Even without much to see but the blackness of the ocean I still sat watching out the window almost the entire trip. Midway through the trip I got to see thunderhead clouds out on the horizon. It was a lot of fun watching a lightning storm from 200 miles away. But as I watching I realize that one of the clouds has begun to light up with a constant orange light. The cloud wasn't lit in a diffuse way, it was very clear it was emanating from a point within the cloud. If you've seen the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind in the scene where the UFOs arrive you can only see points of lights within the clouds, it looked exactly like that but for only one light source. I'm not saying I think this was a UFO, only that the special effects in this movie are a good approximation of what I saw. So I immediately got my Dad to lean over and take a look to see if he had any idea what it was. As we sat there and watched, it became extremely bright. It was so bright that you could see the light cast through the windows onto the right wall similar to what happens when the setting sun is off the left wing. We watched it brighten for about 30 seconds, stay at full brightness for a minute or two and then fade to nothing in about the same amount of time it took to arrive. To this day I have no idea what I saw.