My Mystery UFO
My Mystery UFO
Many years ago I was walking across a bridge by a park one night in the company of a friend. He happened to look up and pointed out something in the sky. We stopped, and stared. I saw a light, the size of a large star, moving in a half haphazard, half seemingly intentional way across the sky. It wasn't a planet, or any other astronomical object - my mystery UFO moved in a wandering arc right across the sky in a matter of seconds - and it wasn't a satellite. I've seen all the things a sceptic might try to tell me it was, and I know it wasn't Venus, an aeroplane, or anything else I could account for. In short, it was a true UFO sighting. An unidentified flying object.
My friend, being of an imaginative turn of mind, swore he could see the 'mothership' above and behind it. I saw no such thing. I saw a light move across the sky, above our heads, and eventually disappear into the night sky over the city. End of story.
Do Aliens Exist?
Years later, while at home, my father shouted to me from the back garden one evening and said 'Come and look at this.' I hurried down and found him pointing to the south, where a light danced in the sky. Once again, in that half random, half purposeful way, it moved around the sky for several minutes. I had time to fetch my camera and shoot some slides. Which, when developed, only went to prove C.G.Jung's point about UFOs being difficult to photograph well. The shots below, none too good to start with, and not improved by my attempts to scan them, are the end result. Not very impressive.
Do I believe in either case that I saw evidence of extraterrestrial life? I don't know. I have no frame of reference for what I saw, and any explanation I can come up with is liable to be wrong. Best guess? A rare, natural phenomenon in each case. Ground stress causing piezo-electric sparks in the air. Ball lightning, maybe. I only have one philosophical tool in my toolbox, and that's Occam's razor. Using that, ball lightning is the simplest explanation that fits the bill. But I can see how that would be less appealing than visitors and motherships.
My UFO Picture. Sorry.
This so far unexplained atmospheric electrical phenomenon produces shining spheres that vary in size and last longer than a lightning bolt. They happen during thunderstorms, and can have fatal consequences - like the one that struck the church of Widecombe-in-the-Moor in Devon, in 1638. Four people died and sixty were injured when an 8 foot ball of flame entered the church during a severe thunderstorm and caused extensive damage to the building.
Further historical accounts describe more fatalities, British naval vessels, it seems, being particularly prone to being struck by ball lightning.
Scientists have reproduced the phenomenon in laboratory conditions, using a hypothesis which suggests that ball lightning arises when lightning, striking the earth, vapourizes silica and produces a floating aerosol which glows as it recombines with atmospheric oxygen. They claim to have made luminous balls lasting for seconds this way.
Ball Lightning Weather Phenomenon
The Hessdalen valley is one of many places worldwide where this phenomenon occurs - and, like the rest of them, is prone to other, more mundane explanations involving distant aeroplane lights and atmospheric mirage effects.
So what is this rare, unpredictable, but well known natural phenomenon? There's an article in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, volume 18, number 2, pages 217–251, about the Hessdalen lights in Norway, which addresses this very question. Unfortunately, the answers reached depend on an unlikely hypothesis involving unproven natural phenomena conspiring together in unlikely ways - see 'Earth lights', below.
Other places where ghostlights can be seen include Mitchell Flats, near Marfa, in Texas, where regular appearances of mysterious lights are something of a tourist attraction - and have been explained away as a simple mirage effect caused by a temperature inversion in the air. In Australia's Western Queensland, 40 miles east of Boulia, lies a deserted town called Min Min, where ghost lights have been reported since 1838 - and have been successfully reproduced using the headlights of a car parked some miles away.
UFO Evidence In Norway
Earth lights, or earthquake lights, are a rare phenomenon, previously lumped in with UFOs or ball lightning, but eventually given a separate category. The theory is that they are generated by tectonic strain in minor fault lines. Earth lights were brought to public attention by Paul Devereux in his 1982 book, 'Earth Lights'.
Earthquake lights reportedly appear in the sky around areas of tectonic stress, seismic activity, and volcanic eruption. While previously considered apocryphal, photographs taken of the earthquake lights that occurred during the Matsushiro earthquakes in Japan, in the 60s, forced the seismology community to accept the phenomenon as being real.
They generally appear to be the size of a basketball, and orange, though they do come in different colours and sizes. Most sightings occur at night, when lights can be seen for miles around. They're reported to be able to move against the wind and reach extraordinary speeds. Though sightings are sporadic, there are places where they appear relatively often, in hotspots, such as Norway's Hessdalen valley and England's Pennines.
So were my sightings the result of tectonic stresses rather than alien activity? It's strangely unsatisfying to have these phenomena dismissed by such simple explanations, but it's as well to keep one's feet on the ground. And also to remember that not all sightings or phenomena can be explained away so easily.
UFOs Over London Friday 2011
Area 51 Aliens
But there are problems involved in seeking the truth about the possibility of extraterrestrial visitation. Not least of which is the accumulation of mad rubbish that clumps around the whole subject, rushing in to fill the void left by the absence of solid evidence.
If, for example, you go to YouTube and type in the search query 'Area 51', you'll get 218,000 results listed. Getting on for a quarter of a million UFO videos. Think there's some interest there? Unfortunately, interest doesn't equate with calm and rational exploration. Dip a toe into the Area 51 end of YouTube and you soon find yourself neck deep in insane conspiracy theories that involve reptilian shape shifting aliens, the Illuminati, the EOTWAWKI, and demonic plots, HAARP super weapons and FEMA death camps.
In short - what you won't find is honest enquiry or anything approaching rational explanation. Just acres of nonsense unsupported by anything resembling evidence, spewed out by people whose main intention is not so much to find the truth as to gain attention and a following, to whom they can spread alarm and despondency.
Is the government trying to screw you over? Yes, probably. Are they collaborating with alien reptiles to do it? I'm guessing no. Occam's razor, remember?
But then, that's just what they would say...
Area 51 : The Frantic Caller
Alien Conspiracy. Not.
Chill. I'm as sure as I can be that I'm not a part of the alien conspiracy. Because there is no alien conspiracy. Just some rare, intriguing events and phenomena that are hard to analyze because of their fleeting, random nature.
And all you Photoshop freaks on YouTube aren't helping when you stoke the fires of paranoia with your latest fake UFO videos and UFO pictures. Maybe there are alien visitors. I like to think so. It's a big universe, which makes it paradoxically both likely and unlikely that they're here. Likely, because if life could appear on Earth, it has probably appeared elsewhere too. Unlikely, because the distances involved need something far beyond what we have now to make travel between the stars possible, let alone likely.
Someday, maybe, we'll finally have the hard evidence that's lacking to date. Film, video and photographs don't cut it for me any more, given the awesome power of CGI available to anyone with a fast computer and some easily accessible software. My mystery UFO may well show up for real one day - but it's going to take a personal appearance in my back yard to convince me.
I'd love it if that happened. Just so, you know... what is it with those little grey guys and the probing?
UFOs on Amazon
- Earthquake light - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Earthquake light - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Marfa lights - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Marfa lights - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Ball lightning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ball lightning - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- The Marfa Lights: A Real American Mystery
What is the cause of the mysterious ghost lights outside Marfa, Texas?
- The Hessdalen Lights
Scientists seek a high-tech explanation for these ghost lights in Norway. But is the true cause much simpler?
- Hessdalen light - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hessdalen light - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- A Long-Term Scientific Survey of the Hessdalen Phenomenon
PDF download detailing a scientific investigation of the Hessdalen lights in Norway.
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