High Strangeness: August 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Not so fast, Lone Wolf

Wouldn't you know it? A few hours after I posted on Monday to voice my disappointment in MUFON for not responding to my UFO sighting report, MUFON responded to my UFO sighting report. It had been two weeks, after all, and I was all set to go all Lone Wolf on the UFO world if I didn't hear from them. Now, I find I must set my personal feelings of Lone Wolfishness aside and give the pros a chance to impress me.

The email came from the Wisconsin State Director, and it informed me that a MUFON Field Investigator has been assigned to my case. I am to await contact from Mxxxxxx Lxxxx, ID # 3xxxx (just being careful). All well and good. But then there is a subtle shift in the email's tone. "Please do not speak with anyone else about your sighting," the Director says, "unless I have provided their name to you." I see a problem here: I have already told everyone I know. I'm not sure what I am expected to do now. Silence everyone I've talked to? That would put a damper on the the family reunion next month. Lie to MUFON Field Investigator #3xxxx? That's a bit more doable. I think that is what I will do, and I will encourage my wife and daughter to do the same.

But that doesn't address the real issue here: why is MUFON trying to tell me who I can and cannot talk to about what I saw? Ever since the first modern UFO sighting in the US in 1947, UFO researchers have accused the US Air Force of engaging in one UFO cover-up after another. Today, in 2011, MUFON members are demanding that the US government stop lying to us about the "truth" about UFOs and come clean with everything it knows about our alien visitors. These are the same people asking me not to speak with anyone outside their organization? Really?

Anyway... the email goes on to say that, "Any MUFON investigator who meets with you in person must show you their MUFON Field Investigator Photo ID." For personal reasons, I will also require that any MUFON Field Investigator who meets with me in person also shows me his or her MUFON Field Investigator car sun screen (pictured below, a steal at $15 from the MUFON store). I will encourage my wife and daughter to do the same. Think about it: anyone can carry around a photo ID, but a guy with an official car sun screen unfurled in his windshield, that is one dedicated mofo.

Like I said, just being careful.

Monday, August 29, 2011

They Make This Too Easy

In my post last Friday I reported that the Mutual UFO Network was planning to introduce a revised UFO Field Investigator Handbook and Exam by the end of the year. When I saw this news in the August issue of the MUFON Journal, I decided I would wait until the new Handbook came out to take the exam. Made sense to me, especially since the Handbook is about $60.

So, last night I emailed the Illinois MUFON director to inform him of my decision. I told him I would wait and take the exam at the end of the year, after the revisions had been made.

I don't know what I expected, but the email I got this morning in reply did not inspire confidence... The Illinois director says he is not aware that the Handbook and Exam are being replaced by new versions, and he will "have to check in with HQ" to find out more. Uh... ok. Meanwhile, it's been two weeks and nobody from MUFON has contacted me, my wife or my daughter to investigate our sighting. For a group dedicated to discovering the truth about UFOs, they sure do make life easy for those UFOs. If I was a UFO, I would not be quaking in my space boots.

More and more, it looks as though I may have to chart a new course, as a Lone Wolf UFO Field Investigator.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Batsignal

Now I know the shiver of excitement Bruce Wayne must feel when he looks up in the sky and sees the Batsignal... This email came in from a friend via Facebook:

"A & I noted a UFO in East Hampton NY last week.... Confirmed sighting by other family members. Hurricane connection? Please investigate."

This will be a real test. I now have two sightings to investigate: this one and my own. That means I'll potentially be stepping on the toes of two actual Certified MUFON UFO Field Investigators, one in Wisconsin and one in New York. Can the plucky outsider measure up against the trained and Certified professionals? I'm going to go out on a limb and say this: not only can the plucky outsider measure up, but the UFOs actually want the plucky outsider to measure up.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Too Much Enigmaz

The new MUFON Journal has arrived, so there's lots to write about today.

First of all, for security purposes, I have been assigned an official MUFON I.D #. It's not clear to me yet whether I can disclose this number, but I can give you a hint: the digits add up to 23. Which, if you recall from one of my earlier posts ("Posh Spice, E.T." August 2, 2011), has an enigma associated with it. I don't know about you, but I think enigmas are kind of puzzling and inexplicable, and I find it troubling that the MUFON folks have dragged me into the whole thing. Still, having an official secret I.D. # is cool, so I'm not going to make a big deal about it.

Looking inside the Journal (which, by the way, you can't access online if you don't have a secret MUFON I.D. #, which, by the way, I do), this item jumped out at me from the editor's column: "Before the end of this year, MUFON will have a new Field Investigator Manual and a new test to take to become a Field Investigator." This is shattering news... I'd been planning to order the Field Investigator Manual soon, so that I could study up and take the Chicago-area Field Investigator Examination in September. Now I'm looking at at least three or four months more of amateur field investigating, and, as rewarding as that can be (see my last post), I'm not entirely comfortable with the "one mere human vs. the aliens" dynamic, especially when I'm the one mere human.

On the plus side, the editor does go on to say that both the new manual and the new test will be "much more user-friendly for new field investigators." Translation: "Too many people were failing the exam, so we made it even easier." No complaints here, although I have to wonder whether lowering the bar is such a good idea. On further reflection, this seems like a prescription for disaster to me. Won't this just embolden E.T.? Is this any better than the "one mere human" scenario? I'll tell you one thing: I sure will be interested to meet my fellow graduates... assuming we all graduate... which, of course, we will.

Further into the Journal, I find the welcome news that Bigfoot investigators may have found new reasons to work closely with UFO Field Investigators. Since my brother is a Bigfoot fan, this can only bring my family closer together.

I'd say more about Bigfoot, but I skipped that article to get right to the real meat of the issue: a six-page feature offering a digest of recently-investigated UFO encounters. I was curious to see whether any other recent sightings are similar to my family's (they are), and whether I could pick up any tricks from the Field Investigators who filed the reports (the jury's out). Good reading all-in-all, with one curious detail: the most unspectacular cases get the longest write-ups, while the strangest occurrences get very little attention at all. Why does a ho-hum story about a woman watching three lights over the horizon get almost a full page of copy, while a barn-burner about a man who awakes to find strange little people in his bedroom gets one scant column? Especially when the guy who had aliens in his bedroom also reports that his father was a UFO abductee? I find this enigmatic. Also puzzling and inexplicable.

Keep watching the skies!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Showing Some Pluck

What are the qualities of a great detective? Persistence? A logical mind? Patience? An observant nature? Pluck? I'd say pluck.

The thing about pluck is, a detective never knows when he or she may need to draw on his or her pluck. Take me for instance. I've been waiting for over a week for my friends and future colleagues at MUFON to respond to my UFO sighting report and initiate an official investigation. But where is the knock on the door? Where is the phone call? Where is the team of NAVY SEALS in HazMat suits jumping out of the unmarked white van that has just screeched to a halt on the street outside my house?

I was beginning to worry that my wife, my daughter and I might start to forget the details of our sighting, might even be made to forget the details of our sighting... Then what would we have to tell the MUFON Field Investigator when he or she finally got around to interviewing us?

So I decided to show some pluck and initiate my own damned investigation. And you know what? If, by initiating my own damned investigation, I unravel this whole UFO enigma once and for all, MUFON better not come crying to me.

To initiate my own damned investigation, I asked my wife and my daughter to write down their own accounts of what we saw on the night of August 13th, in their own words, without talking to each other. Here's what they had to say:

MY WIFE: "My husband, his daughter Cxxxx and I were driving back to Fort Atkinson from Madison along a two lane road around 8 or 9 at night. The object we saw in the sky was hovering 200 feet over the field to the right of us. We were maybe 300 yards away from it when my husband first saw it and asked Cxxxx and me what we thought it was. We drove past it slowly but even when we were closest, none of us could figure out what the object was. It glowed from the inside with a warm orange light and was cylindrical in shape. At first it looked like a light tower but the glowing object did not seem to be atop any kind of pole or structure. Some kind of flare? The light seemed too constant and the object did not change position at all. It was difficult to tell how big it was with no real reference point in the night sky but my best guess was that it was between 4-6 feet long."

MY DAUGHTER: "We were driving home from Madison somewhere between 8 and 10 pm on a friday when we passed a strange light. It was orange and blobular and seemed to be suspended in air. If you didn't draw attention to it, it could easily be mistaken for some sort of tower or an airplane, but it wasn't. For one thing, it didn't move the whole time we watched it. And- the far odder thing- nothing was holding it up. As much as my eyes were willing me to imagine some sort of structure underneath the light to clear up my confusion, there really was nothing under it. It was simply a bright blob of mysterious light. Probably an alien."

Note how each of them experienced the phenomenon in unique ways. My wife Mxxxxx saw a cylindrical object, but to my daughter Cxxxx it appeared blobular. Cxxxx assumes it is alien in origin, but Mxxxxx makes no assumptions at all about its nature or origin. Over the coming days and weeks I will question them both closely about their experiences, and I will get to the bottom of this.

I know what you're thinking: "But, he's not trained! He's not even Certified!" Rest assured, dear readers, my intention is not to break my subjects, but merely to uncover the truth. And that takes pluck.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mission Statement

It's funny how this is unfolding... A friend who found out about my blog wrote to me recently offering to discuss certain personal encounters with UFOs. I was thrilled to get the letter: this is someone I admire and respect a great deal, and I am looking forward to having this discussion very soon.

In my reply to my friend, I felt the need to elaborate on my approach to the UFO phenomenon before having our conversation. I think that I need to make this my mission statement. Do blogs need to have mission statements? I'm not sure, but I think it's a good idea in this case. Here's what I wrote back to my friend:

"I can't tell you how excited I am to get this letter! I really am serious about this. It has been a lifelong interest of mine, and I think this project could become an amazing experience for me. Your letter confirms for me that the energy I am sending out into the universe is being seriously responded to...

"I have to tell you that I have already been attacked by an old friend over my blog, because he thought I was setting out to ridicule and belittle UFO contactees and abductees. He was dead wrong, but I can understand why my approach may have bothered him. I approach everything with a sense of humor, and if I see humor in the situations and people that I come across, my portrayal will be humorous (or at least I will attempt to make it so...). I think a humorous approach works on a number of levels: it makes the phenomenon more accessible and more human, it brings everyone to a common plane of experience and understanding, and frankly, I think it can ultimately make the UFO encounter phenomenon more credible to people who would otherwise dismiss it.

"My friend said I was taking the 'easy approach,' but I think the easy approach would be to be serious, either by treating the phenomenon with unquestioning solemnity or condescending dismissal. Frankly, I think the 'serious' approach to reporting on UFO phenomenon has done the whole field a disservice, and has done much to push away people who might otherwise find something to relate to in the UFO phenomenon. It is such a fluid phenomenon, why do people insist on applying rigorous standards of analysis to it?? In part, my quest to become a UFO Field Investigator is fueled by a desire to make the study and analysis of the phenomenon as random and unpredictable as the phenomenon itself. I'd like to think that my approach might open some doors and open some minds."

Sincerely,
Mark

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pulling Over

In the aftermath of our surprising UFO sighting last weekend, my wife and I had an interesting conversation about about my entrenched patterns of behavior, and how poorly they serve my new mission as a UFO Field Investigator...

You see, I was driving the car when we saw the orange light hovering in the night sky, and although I slowed down, it never occurred to me to pull over and get out of the car. And that's no good. Had I pulled over, and had my wife, my daughter and I gotten out of the car to get a better look at the UFO, it might have been a much different, much richer experience for all of us. We might have been able to make out more visual detail, we might have felt or heard something, we might have seen someone looking back at us. We just don't know.

And that's the point. Scooby Doo never unmasked the Sheriff by walking on past him. He stopped, he looked, he shook his head and looked again, he looked some more, and then he ran away. This is not a good analogy, but I'm committed now.

What my wife and I decided is, from now on, when confronted with something unusual, unexplainable, and unidentifiable in the sky, I need to pull over and I need to look. And I need to keep my binoculars handy. And my camera. I need to fall back on my old Boy Scout training and be prepared.

But I wonder, in the world of UFOs, can you ever really be prepared?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Contact!

I just reported a sighting. The Irony!!
Here's what I reported to MUFON Central:

"My wife, daughter and I were returning home shortly after sunset last Friday night, driving east on Highway 12 just west of Cambridge, WI. I saw a floating orange light at about 1 o'clock, floating perhaps 200 feet in the air. I pointed it out to my wife and daughter and they saw it too. It looked to me like a glowing orange light bulb, and I could not distinguish any shape of the object. It appeared to hover or float in one spot the whole time we observed it. After a few moments of observation, my daughter said, 'I keep trying to imagine a tower holding it up, but there's no tower.'

"We observed it for perhaps a minute or two, then lost sight of it. It never moved the entire time we saw it. I wish we had pulled over to observe it more closely!"

This is serious; we really saw a strange object that we can't explain. Is this what happens when you set out to be a UFOlogist? Do they home in on you and start to follow you around?? I am expecting a call from my local MUFON Field Investigator at any second...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Are "They" Inside My Smartphone?


I'm a big believer in synchronicity, but this is a little eerie. I woke up this morning thinking about what I would write in my blog today, and when I turned on my smartphone the very first thing that greeted my eyes was a tweet from AM Coast to Coast linking me to a story in today's Huffington Post, of all places, about the National MUFON Conference.

Feeling as though I was being purposefully guided to this HuffPost story by forces I could barely comprehend, I clicked the link and came to an article entitled, "Close Encounters with UFOs Inspire Bizarre Art at MUFON." I was floored... I was so disappointed that I had been unable to attend the MUFON Conference in California last week, and suddenly, thanks to powers working through my smartphone, it was as if I was there.

The story was, sadly but tellingly, one of the lead stories on HuffPost's Today's News of the Weird, alongside such blockbuster exposes as "Men Skin 16-Foot Roadkill Python," and "Blue Tit Gobbled by Carnivorous Plant" (I don't even want to go there). Despite its unfortunate placement, it's actually not a bad story. See it here:<"http://http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/07/extraterrestrial-art-mufon-2011_n_916609.html#s321032&title=Art_And_Artists">
It turns out that many of the vendors at the MUFON Conference were artists selling alien-inspired works, and many of them have been inspired by first-hand experiences. So, had I gone to the conference, my office would now be decorated with ET busts and paintings of hexagons designed to condition my human eyes to see alien dimensions... Such coolness could only be alien in origin.

Until next year's conference, then, I will have to be content with the small piece of alien art, pictured here, that my wife just bought me over the weekend. She says she got it from a gumball machine at the Pancake House, but in light of this morning's events, how can I be sure...?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Posh Spice, E.T.

I'm starting to receive more communications from MUFON, so I must really be a member. That's good. Sadly, I did not join in time to attend the Annual MUFON Symposium, held last weekend at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine, CA. That's bad, but I am hoping that a full recap of the meeting will be posted on the MUFON website before the end of the year. And next year, without a doubt, I will attend.

Meanwhile, some startling news has come out of the July MUFON newsletter I received the other day -- startling for me, anyway. In a transcript of a panel discussion held at the Ozark UFO Conference in Eureka Springs, Arkansas last April, there is much talk of human-alien hybrids. Now, it should be noted that one of the panelists, Travis Walton, is among the most famous UFO abductees around, so he brings some gravitas to the discussion. Anyway, it seems that with all the women who've been abducted by aliens and probed and examined over the years, there are potentially a great many aliens among us... half-human, half-alien hybrids that are impossibly good-looking and have an almost unearthly fashion sense (I immediately suspected my wife, and I am watching her a little more closely now...).

I decided that, as an aspiring MUFON Field Investigator, I should do some research into this phenomenon. So, just now, I did a google search for "human-alien hybrids," and I really was not prepared for what I found. There, in the images section... the #2 image was that of... yes, you guessed it from the title of this blog entry: Posh Spice.

Makes a lot sense, doesn't it? Turns out Perez Hilton has been aware of this for some time, but he can't get people to heed his warnings...

I wonder, does David know? Or is he, too, a hybrid? Chew on this: Beckham's jersey number is 23, and 23 just happens to be one of the most enigmatic numbers out there. Remember that Jim Carrey movie, "23," where he discovers his whole life is controlled by the number 23? I'm just sayin'....