High Strangeness: A Drop of Dawn

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Drop of Dawn

Have I mentioned how fascinating it is to interview UFO witnesses? Seriously, if I wasn't in this racket for the UFO stuff, I would want to be in it for the psychology of it all...

For example, how do you get someone to describe nothingness? 

I spent a half hour last night interviewing an extremely nice married couple about their recent UFO sighting, and spent a lot of that time trying to coax a good description of nothingness out of them. Did I vary somewhat from the official MUFON questionnaire? Eh, maybe. There's actually nothing in the MUFON canon that allows for a Certified UFO Field Investigator's finessing a witness' powers of description, because... well, that's not completely objective. It's leading the witness.

Okay, so maybe I blew it, but wait 'til I finish the story before you throw stones, ok? Because it really worked out well.

Here's how the witness described the event in his initial report to MUFON: "Then again directly above me very high in the sky there was another flash... This emanated from absolutely nothing visible. The 'flash' was black like a hole being ripped in the sky with a dull black-red border extending outward from the origination point. The flash didnt seem like an actual flash of visible light at all but rather a transparent shockwave of some sort." He added that his wife grew frustrated trying to describe it, because she could think of nothing to compare it to...

I thought the whole thing was pretty damn interesting, so I kept encouraging the couple to find new ways to describe this flash of nothing. At first all that did was add to their frustration. Which... again is a bad thing for an investigator to do... But these witnesses were so articulate and so deeply engaged in their story that I didn't want to let off...

The husband, Kxxxx, told me that their first reaction after the hole in the sky dissipated was to try to come up with a rational explanation. Heat lightning? Satellites colliding in orbit? They tried and tried, but no explanation they could think of was quite right. What do you do then? According to Kxxxx, when you've exhausted all the rational possibilities, "you have to go fringe."

So they did. Kxxxx and his wife Dxxxx tried again to describe their apparition to me: "It was directly above me at a substantial distance... It did not emanate from an object... There was an aura emanating from around it, but it was dark... It looked like a hole opening up... The boundaries were light and expanding... It disappeared in less than a second... It started out from a point of light and expanded to the size of a basketball held at arm's length... You knew it wasn't normal, it didn't fit into any categories..."

But they still weren't quite capturing it. I knew it and they knew it, but there didn't seem to be anywhere to go with it. So I started wrapping up the interview, and that's when Kxxxx said, "You know what it was like..."

I stopped and listened. There was a new certainty in Kxxxx's voice as he said, "Have you ever seen what happens when you mix water and oil in a pan, and then you take a drop of Dawn and drop it into the pan?"

Yes! That was it! A drop of Dawn -- Dawn dishwashing detergent! Of course! The soap seems to explode on the surface of the oily water, expanding almost instantaneously from a single drop to a huge bloom... Here's a Youtube video that shows the experiment, with milk and food coloring added for visual appeal.

Turns out that was the description that Kxxxx and Dxxxx had been going for all along, and they finally expressed it in a way that erased all the frustration they had been feeling. And all it took was a little rule-bending on my part, and a lot of free association on their part. And now we have at least a mental image of what they saw in the sky that night...

PS: I also mentioned in my last post how surprised Kxxxx was to get my call about investigating his and his wife's sighting, and in our interview, he explained why that was... Turns out they had reported a UFO sighting to MUFON back in 2008 and had never gotten a call. Back then they were living in northern Arizona and on two occasions had seen a strange object that glowed red like an ember fall from the sky then stop before hitting the earth, and then flash away across the horizon. They now believe it was an experimental aircraft from a nearby Air Force base, but at the time they were seriously puzzled and called MUFON immediately. It's too bad the Arizona MUFON crowd didn't bother to investigate...

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