Hugh, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog today! I’m delighted to be here, and happy to share an encounter I had when I was a child. It might sound a little off the wall, but…
When I was six, my family lived in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My father and I had a habit of sitting on the porch after dinner. We’d take in the sights of people passing on the sidewalk, cars on the street, the occasional thunderstorm. That evening, my dad fell asleep as twilight settled.
Was there traffic? Maybe.
People on the sidewalk? Not then.
What I can tell you—what I still see clearly in my mind—is the object in the sky. I can’t recall if it suddenly appeared, popping into view, or slid from somewhere overhead.
Before I continue, however, I’d like to share some facts you may not be familiar with. As an example, did you know most UFO sightings are not of the saucer-shaped variety, but light sources?
Have you ever heard of a “UFO Flap?” This occurs when an exceptional number of sightings are confined are to a specific area during a limited time frame. Point Pleasant, West Virginia experienced a well-publicized flap during 1966-1967.
Several years ago, while reading a book on UFOs, the author mentioned the skies above Harrisburg, Pennsylvania being filled with light sources. Guess what year? Yep—I was six years old. Harrisburg didn’t experience a flap, but there was a buzz of activity.
Next up: I bet you’ve heard of Men-in-Black. But did you know the late author, John Keel, coined the phrase to identify mysterious strangers who descended on Point Pleasant, West Virginia in 1966? MIBs, as they’re called, had one purpose—find anyone who’d reported seeing a UFO and warn them not to talk about it.
The government denied the existence of MIBs, as did the Air Force, but there were plenty of eyewitnesses. When you descend on a rural area in shiny black Cadillacs, wearing black suits and broad-brimmed black hats, you’re bound to stand out.
Speaking of rural sightings, did you know pastures and fields are often covered with blobs of a mucous-like substance after a UFO appears? Many locals refer to these globs as “starsh*t.”
I could go on, but let’s get back to Harrisburg, and that warm summer night with my dad.
Sometime after he nodded off, the cloud appeared. Not a normal cloud, but something massive and green, moving rapidly across the sky. I remember looking from the cloud to the ground because it emitted a broad beam of light, the same eerie green as the cloud.
The light scrolled across the sidewalk, onto our front lawn, then crept onto the porch, enveloping me, edging near my father. I don’t remember if it touched him, but I looked up into the light.
The next thing I remember is being on the sidewalk, several houses down, with my dad. People were everywhere, chatting with excitement. A woman with two children stopped to talk to us. I distinctly remember her telling my father “the sky looked like it had a tail.”
This incident has stayed with me, vivid in my memory, but there’s something that niggles in the back of my mind. Why didn’t I tell my dad what I’d seen, especially given the excitement on the street? Why is everything blank from the time I looked up into the light until talking to the woman on the sidewalk?
A Cold Tomorrow, the second book of my Point Pleasant trilogy, deals with UFO sightings and MIBs. I dumped a ton of research into the entire series, including making two trips to the actual locations that factor into the story. Something I found highly interesting while doing research: many UFO witnesses don’t recall the incident until years later—especially if they’ve seen a light source.
Some experience “Flicker Phenomena” an occurrence that mesmerizes the individual and blocks the incident from their mind. I wish I could recall when the memory of that warm night in Harrisburg resurfaced. I know it was there by the time I reached high school, because I was enthralled by the idea of spotting a UFO. I desperately wanted to see one again.
I never did.
Many people are able to talk of their encounter immediately after witnessing the sight. Some experience conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the eyes.
When I wrote A Cold Tomorrow, I wanted the cover to reflect the image in my head. My green cloud scrolled across an urban street whereas Point Pleasant is a rural river town. Even so, my cloud factored into my fictional “flap.”
Excerpt from A Cold Tomorrow:
Doreen Sue Lynch stubbed her cigarette into an ashtray and craned her neck to glance out the kitchen window. Her grandson, Sam, had promised not to stray. He’d helped her with the dishes after dinner, then begged to go outside with Rex, a friendly mongrel mix of Australian shepherd and retriever. She’d agreed to take her boyfriend’s dog while Martin’s house was being fumigated for spiders, and Sam would stay overnight because Katie was off visiting a friend.
Not that she minded. She loved having Sam, and Rex was hardly any trouble. Boys and dogs were good together, both bursting with bundles of energy. Even so, she’d have to call them in soon. It was getting late in the evening for an eight-year-old, and she wanted to set a good example as his grammie.
Spying him through the window, she drew in a sharp breath. An eerie green light spilled from somewhere above, haloing him in a cone of brackish illumination. Stock-still, Sam stood as if transfixed, his head tilted back as he gazed up into the weird light. Somewhere out of her line of vision, Rex barked furiously. The sound made the hair on the back on her neck rise, but by the time she reached the door and wrenched it open, the dog had stopped yapping.
“Sam.” Doreen Sue walked onto the rear stoop just as the green light winked out. Like someone throwing a switch. The jarring abruptness left her off-kilter and lightheaded.
It isn’t happening. Not again. Please God, not to Sam.
Shaking off her vertigo, she sprinted from the stoop and was across the yard in record time. “Sam.” Gripping her grandson by the shoulder, she gave him a gentle shake, drawing his attention from the sky. There was nothing. Nothing she could see. “What are you looking at?”
“Huh?” He blinked as if waking from a fog. “N-nothing. Just a cloud.”
Doreen Sue bit her lip. Sam sounded befuddled and, although he wore a jacket against the crisp October air, he shivered. “Look at you. You’re cold to the bone. Let’s get inside.”
Wrapping an arm around his shoulders, she cast a worried glance at the sky. Nothing is there. Nothing was ever there. “Did do you see where Rex got to?”
Sam shook his head as she led him toward the house.
“All right, you go inside and get warm. I’ll look for him.” The dog’s barking had sounded frighteningly out of control. Nothing like the gentle animal she knew. “I won’t be long.”
Sam hesitated when she held open the back door.
“Grammie?” His expression hadn’t changed, still composed of that same odd blankness as if he moved in a haze.
“What is it, baby?”
“Do you have any paper?”
Puzzled by the question, she cocked her head to the side. “What kind of paper?”
“For drawing. I want to draw the cloud.”
Although I changed the events of the encounter in my book, it remains lodged in my head with a sense of wonder and curiosity I hope never to lose. I want to thank Hugh for allowing me to visit and share the story.
If you’d like to read more about UFOs, may I recommend my novel, A Cold Tomorrow? Within its pages, you’ll find green clouds, animal disappearances, MIBs, bright lights in the sky, power outages, and plenty of other oddities. It’s based on historical facts, legends, and folklore surrounding the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
A Cold Tomorrow Blurb:
Stopping to help a motorist in trouble, Katie Lynch stumbles upon a mystery as elusive as the Mothman legend that haunts her hometown of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Could the coded message she finds herald an extraterrestrial visitor? According to locals, it wouldn’t be the first time. And what sense should she make of her young son’s sudden spate of bizarre drawings—and his claim of a late-night visitation? Determined to uncover the truth, Katie only breaks the surface when a new threat erupts. Suddenly her long-gone ex-boyfriend is back and it’s as if he’s under someone else’s control. Not only is he half-crazed, he’s intent on murder….
As a sergeant in the sheriff’s office of the famously uncanny Point Pleasant, Officer Ryan Flynn has learned to tolerate reports of puzzling paranormal events. But single mom Katie Lynch appears to be in very real danger—and somehow Ryan’s own brother, Caden, is caught up in the madness, too. What the skeptical lawman discovers astounds him—and sends him into action. For stopping whatever evil forces are at play may just keep Katie and Caden alive…
Click here to buy A Cold Tomorrow.
Red house image credit: Bigstockphoto.,com
Image licence owned by Mae Clair
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My thanks to Mae for writing this guest post.
Have you ever seen a UFO? What happened and how did you deal with it? Do you have any questions or comments for Mae? Please leave them in the comments box. She would love to hear from you. (No comments for Hugh, please).