Saturday, August 21, 2010

Look! Up in the Sky!

It wasn't a bird, nor a plane.  And it sure wasn't Superman.  I had just moved to Pennsylvania and was living in our first apartment in downtown Harrisburg.  Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, by the way, is not too terribly far from Three Mile Island.  I was living in a top-floor apartment, about four stories up, and one of the nicer things about it was the small balcony just outside the dining area.  One warm, clear evening in May, there was a power failure.  It struck me as a little unusual, since there were no thunderstorms in the area and it wasn't hot enough for air conditioners to be draining the power grid.  At any rate, I thought it would be neat to just sit on the balcony in the dark and look out at the blacked-out city skyline.  I admit it; I find blackouts in general to be pretty cool, so long as I'm not stuck in an elevator when the lights go out!

It was a clear night, and the sky was full of stars.  It was actually quite wonderful to be able to see so many stars without the usual light pollution from the streetlights and neighboring buildings.

That's when things got a little weird.

I was looking up when an enormous black shape started blotting out the stars.  It was dead black, the exact color of the space between the stars.  There was no light coming from the shape, no reflection and absolutely no sound.  It was impossible to tell how high up the thing was, but it "felt" fairly close, about 150 feet up.  It was moving north at about fifteen miles per hour, and whatever it was, it was HUGE.

The first thing that people suggest to me was that it was a cloud, but whatever this may have been, it was certainly not natural.  The front end of it came to a point, and it was perfectly symmetrical.  And it just kept coming.  At one point I was reminded of that scene in the opening of Star Wars where the Imperial Star Destroyer just keeps coming...and coming...and coming.  It had almost that exact same triangle shape.  And it was perfectly silent.  It was strikingly odd, in fact, that something so big could be so totally silent.

The next day, I checked the newspaper to see if anyone else had reported seeing anything, but there was no mention of this phenomenon.  The power failure was attributed to a minor "incident" at the nuclear power plant on Three Mile Island.  (If you live anywhere near a nuclear plant, you will know that their press offices love the word "incident."  It can cover anything from a faulty circuit breaker to a core meltdown.)  My wife, to this day, I think, attributes the incident to my imagination.

I did share my experience on line prior to this, with a bunch of folks on the old X-Files forums, and what was very gratifying (and more than a little odd!) was the fact that several people there reported similar experiences.  All of them had seen the dead black, dead silent "Star Destroyer" shape.  For all of them, the shape was moving slowly northward, and the sighting was associated with a power failure.  After all, power plants and UFO's have had a long association.

I never saw anything in the sky before or since that I couldn't explain; this is my one and only "sighting."  I used to scoff at folks who mistook Venus for a UFO when it was especially close to Earth orbit, but the feeling I got when I was looking up at this large black triangle moving between me and the night sky was uniquely creepy.  Whatever I saw, I saw something.  And I cannot explain it.

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