Sunday, January 18, 2009

Close Encounter of the Freaky Kind

By Wilfred Bereswill

I’ve always been enamored by the possibility of life beyond Earth. Life. Somewhere between microorganisms and multi-celled beings.

In January 2004, two solar powered vehicles landed on Mars with some kind of weird air bag to soften the blow of landing. NASA called them Opportunity and Spirit; Mars Rovers. They were sent to for four specific goals:

  • Determine whether Life ever arose on Mars

  • Characterize the Climate of Mars

  • Characterize the Geology of Mars

  • Prepare for Human Exploration
    • They had a life expectancy of 90 days. But some things actually exceed expectations. Five years later, Opportunity and Spirit are still roaming Mars. Still taking pictures, analyzing surface conditions and sending back data.

      Past or present life on Mars? Well, there are no pictures of little green men and I think the data can be interpreted many different ways.

      Another mystery which has been the subject of countless books, articles, movies, documentaries and speculation in general is Area 51. There is something situated at Groom Lake, Nevada.

      The most speculated of all conspiracies is that Area 51 houses the remains of visitors from outer space. I doubt you or I will ever know the truth about Area 51. I’m not even sure if there’s a “truth” to be known about it.

      Is there intelligent life out there? I believe it would be arrogant of us to believe that we are the only beings in the vast universe capable of independent thought. But how intelligent? Could there be a society smart enough for intergalactic travel? Smart enough to take a ride on a spaceship and come to earth?

      And the bigger question is, where the hell am I going with all this?

      Well, a couple of weeks ago a wind turbine owned by Ecotricity in Lincolnshire, England was damaged overnight. Cause of the damage? UNKNOWN. However, that night, strange lights appeared in the sky around Lincolnshire. Speculation is that the wind turbine was damaged by UFOs. No other explanation seems plausible.

      Creepy, huh? Again, what does this have to do with me and why am I writing about it?

      The night before these strange lights appeared in the skies over Lincolnshire, my wife and I saw a phenomena that, honestly, I can’t explain. Now, I know what you’re thinking. "What were you drinking that night?" That’s the first thing my mother-in-law asked when we told her the story. Yes, we were coming back from a casino at 10:30 PM, but neither of us had a thing to drink. Nothing alcoholic that is.

      Before I go into the story, I will reiterate, I’m an engineer who believes there is always a reasonable explanation for things. I don’t believe in the supernatural, and I’m very skeptical of stories that sound suspicious. I’m pragmatic. And believe me, I’ve been wracking my brain for a logical explanation.

      My wife and I were driving on Interstate 270 on the outskirts of St. Louis when off in the distance was an almost blinding flash of light. It seemed miles away, like a bomb exploded just below the clouds. No sound, but then the windows of the car were up and we were traveling 65 mph. The entire eastern sky seemed to brighten, and within three or four seconds it was over. Three miles down the road, it happened again. This time much, much closer. Almost overhead.
      Okay, the first time I was intrigued, now I’m thinking, “What the hell was that?” I’m puzzled, but, fireworks, maybe?

      Within a minute, the area behind my car lit up. I mean right behind the car. Yeah, like a search light on a helicopter was shining in our back window. The lights in my rearview mirror disappeared. No sounds, no visuals. Just a blinding light.

      My first instinct was to pull over; stop. My wife told me to get the hell out of there and speed up. The remainder of the ride home was uneventful, but let me tell you, I was freaked out and honestly, that doesn’t happen much.

      The next morning there was nothing in the newspaper or local news. No reports of unusual sightings. No lights in the sky. Nothing. Not until the next day when the wind turbine was damaged in England.

      The only comforting thing that I have is that if I hallucinated the whole thing, then my wife shared my delusions.

      How about you? Anything you can’t explain ever happen to you?

      For the record, I have an interview for a job this morning, so I’ll be back later today. Wish me luck.


      Anonymous said...

      Good luck with the job interview, Will!
      One thing that really bothers me about the supposedly scientific view of the universe we are supposed to adopt is that, when people experience things that don't quite fit into the model, those experiences are often discounted. Whatever you saw last night, pretending it couldn't have happened seems to me to be the worst way to deal with it. Chances are that there is a rational earth-based explanation, but you'll never know that unless you admit what you saw and look into it. Remember when science said ball lightning was impossible? Maybe you experienced a similar phenomenon.

      Anonymous said...

      Congrats, Wil, on the job interview. I hope it goes well!

      I tend to believe in all sorts of psychic phenomenon. Not sure about UFOs. But, as Gina says, it doesn't work to pretend you didn't see something you did.

      I'm hoping it's a message for you about where you're headed in your life, and a positive one at that.

      Annette said...

      Good luck today with the inteview, Will!

      I recently experienced some unexplained weird flashes of white light while drivng through the city, but I've convinced myself it was a transformer shorting out (I didn't see one, but it sounds plausible) or something like that. The flashes weren't as bright as what you've described, though. However, my reaction was the same as your wife's. Get the hell outta there. In case it was gunfire instead of a tranformer. Or in case the transformer came crashing down on top of me.

      Run first. Ask questions later.

      Joyce Tremel said...

      I'm so glad you have an interview!

      The unexplained is why science is full of theories and guessing.

      I've never had anything like strange lights out of the blue happen to me. I've told this story before, but the weirdest thing that ever happened to me was when my grandfather died when I was twelve years old. He used to always tap his keys on the front window when he got home. The night he died, we were all gathered in the living room and suddenly there was a key tap on the front window. We figured he was telling us he was home.

      Annette said...

      Oh, Joyce, that is so sweet.

      Wilfred Bereswill said...

      Gina and Tory, I'm not pretending it didn't happen. It happened. I'm just trying to put a logical reason for it. I actually heard of ball lightening and thought of transformers exploding because it was windy. But, the flash right behind my car was the one that's got me bewildered.

      Annette, don't discount UFOs. I still believe there's life out there.

      Joyce, that's a nice explanation to a strange event.

      Thanks for the luck. I'll report back later.

      Jenna said...

      I believe in unexplained phenomena, too. No idea what you saw, Will, but I don't doubt you saw it. I've never seen anything like it, though, although God knows I've looked for spooky lights in the sky!

      Joyce, in Norway we have something called 'vardøger'. It's a warning presence, though not necessarily a bad one. It's not signaling death or impending doom or anything. It's just something tied to certain people's spirits, I think. My mom had one. While she was still alive, though. We lived in a house my grandfather built and left to my mother (she was the favorite), and every afternoon about fifteen or twenty minutes before she came home from work, I'd hear the front door open and close. No one was there, but I'd know my mother was on her way home. I didn't think anything of it at the time, although in retrospect, and after having told people about it - and watched their crop of goose bumps - I realize that it's somewhat unusual.

      Jenna said...

      Oh yeah, forgot. Keeping fingers crossed for your interview, Will!

      Jena said...

      I'm guessing meteorites. Big ones.

      Your account sounds like a similar experience my husband and I had here (central Alberta near the Saskatchewan border) on November 20. We were inside and didn't hear anything when this particular meteorite hit, but many witnesses reported a sound like an explosion.

      What we saw reminded me of lightning at night - a HUGE flash that lit up everything outside, like a giant light switch had been thrown. We didn't realize at the time that it was a meteorite because all we saw was the flash, but the next morning, it was all over the news.

      Weirdly enough a friend I follow on Twitter mentioned seeing a huge shooting star last night - I think around 7:30 MST, in California.