Tuesday, July 17, 2012

UFO Sightings

Betsy often laughs at me. Most notably, she laughed at me as I limped in late to our Dante lecture, bleeding heavily from my knee, hands, and foot after a mysterious shift in the balance of the universe caused me to fall up some stairs on my way to class.

More benignly and less friendship-threatening-ly, she finds hilarious my passing interest in conspiracy theories, cryptozoology, and ufo-ology. Incidentally, I did not make up inter-demensional string beings. Also, if you are a kindred spirit, you can sign a petition to various and sundry governments to protect Sasquatch.  Protect our wildlife. 

I'll admit it, I don't actually believe in bigfoot or aliens, but I wish I did. I am cursed with non-belief. Lo, I have been a reluctant skeptic from my mother's womb and a doubter of mystery. Sometimes I psych myself out a little bit just so I can imagine what it would be like to actually be a kook who hunts Sasquatch. Sometimes when I walk out in the woods, I try to imagine that behind every odd crack and crunch crouches an undiscovered 200lb primate. Sometimes I've amused myself with bogies of at least six impossible beasties before breakfast. This is easy when you actually live in a cabin like I do. (Last night I woke up at 4am with what sounded like an explosion of all my pots and pans in the kitchen. A raccoon? Impossible. The Flatwoods monster has probably moved East.)

Some nights, however, I don't have to make things up. 

My third night on the farm, the crescendo of what sounded like a John-Cage-orchestrated rip in the Earth's atmosphere took several years off my life. Now, I wander around in the misty woods when I pop awake in the early morning before dawn without a thought. When I first got here, I confess that I huddled on my narrow cot as a terrifying plague of June bugs pinged against my window screens in a hellish rain, little limbs outstretched like angels of death. I tried to take my mind of the rustle of moth wings against the glass by madly flipping pages of Maximus the Confessor (note to past self: Eastern theology does not make good escapist literature). Things would walk past my cabin, sniffing, and my heart would go into heart-attack-inducing palpitations. 

That third night, however, I heard something different, like the wind rending and screaming overhead, and so shrill I could feel it rip through me as well. 

I was pretty damn sure I was going to be abducted by aliens and some confused state trooper with a heavy Appalachian accent would find me wandering along the high way fifty miles from Floyd in a week, a wreck of a woman with mad wide eyes and several organs missing. Hollywood would make a movie about it.

Turns out that it is a government conspiracy--a conspiracy to prevent the residents of Floyd County from sleeping. The Air Force sends trainees right over our heads at all hours of the day and night. Well, they're not supposed to fly after dark, but they fly so low at 11am sometimes that you'd swear you lived in a war zone. 

I'll admit I love watching them fly in the daytime: they move so impossibly fast. Just think, when you get in your car and zip down the highway to the grocery store, you're going faster than anyone had ever gone before (unless perhaps they fell off a cliff), say, 70 years ago. Ever. Now watch the jet go overhead and let your jaw drop a little. I once watched a video taken from the cockpit of the first man to break the speed of sound. He died. The memory of that spinning camera and the silence of the cockpit I still find chilling. Just the other week one of those Air Force planes went down in fire a few miles from here. 

Whenever their scream startles me at night now I like to distract myself from my irrational sweaty-palmed fear with the thought that they're shepherding an alien ambassador to the secret interplanetary embassy here in southwestern, VA. It's almost as good as being abducted myself--except without the movie story rights.

(Also literally seconds ago I heard a very loud and mysterious explosion. This happens about once every two weeks. Explanations?)


  1. Ahh worst friend ever. Haha.

    I think maybe you actually do believe in UFOs/extraterrestrials/cryptozoological creatures and you're a few layers deep in denial about it. There's hope for you yet. Also why haven't you signed the petition? If not us, who??

  2. Mysterious explosions, huh? Mining maybe?