Monday, January 20, 2014
Unidentified and flying and ... er, something
I may write fantasy, but basically I am a very scientifically oriented person who believes nothing absolutely until it's proven to be true. And one thing I have always been sceptical about is UFOs. (Another is ghosts). I reckon both are pretty much just people seeing something out of the ordinary and jumping to conclusions -- when in fact there is an explanation that is rooted in science, not the supernatural.
So when I see something that is unidentified and flying through the air, I reckon there has to be an explanation, ok? I just don't know what it is yet...
I do know it wasn't in my head because the person I was with saw it just as clearly as I did.
We were driving out to the airport last night at about 12.30 a.m. It was a clear night after a very hot day (about 36C/98F). No clouds at all. The temperature at that hour was about 25C/77F and there was a gusty wind. We were in a van, one of those ones with a big wide windscreen which gives a great view of the sky, travelling down a 4-lane highway just out of Mandurah. No lights anywhere as we were passing through an area that is a bit rural -- low bush, some trees. There's a wide median strip with very low vegetation, and no cars on the other side of the road at that particular moment, one sedan not far behind us (love to know what they saw).
It appeared as a light. My immediate thought -- and my companion's -- was that it was a shooting star, i.e. a meteor, but we both pretty much dismissed that immediately. Meteors present as streaks through the sky, this was a ball of light travelling more or less parallel to us in the same direction, but getting lower all the time, and didn't give the impression of being in the sky at all, but a whole lot closer. It kept pace with us (at somewhere around a 45 angle up), then vanished. And when I say vanish, that's what it did. It didn't pass out of sight, or travel behind something, or fade, or explode. It was an intensely bright white light growing slightly larger over the period it was in view (possibly because our routes were converging and it was getting closer--which was the way it felt)--and then it wasn't there any more. We had it on view for maybe half a minute.
With something like this is very hard to judge just how far away it was. (A huge light a long way off or something the size of a beach ball over the far lane of the highway?) My impression was that by the time it vanished it was less than 50m away, but I could be completely wrong.
My companion suggested (without conviction!) a helicopter searchlight that was abruptly switched off. Well, if that was so, the helicopter was flying without navigation lights, and we certainly didn't hear anything, and I think that, if that's what it was, we would have seen the outline. It would have been close enough. The light did not appear to illuminate anything around it the way a helicopter searchlight would have. It was a light without illumination of anything nearby.
My feeling is that we were privileged enough to see a Min Min light. And yes, there may be a scientific explanation for them. Doesn't matter: it was an experience I'm so glad I had. I've seen an unidentified flying ... um ... light. A UFL.
Don't you dare tell me it was a helicopter or a weather balloon. I want it to be a Min Min light!
UPDATE: I was sent this link by Barb Holten, and I must admit the photos there -- of the lab-made ball lightning and the accidentally filmed ball lightning in China -- really do resemble what I saw. A lot.