The Truth is (Still) Out There
“Am I the only one who understands the implications of the existence of material UAPs, extraterrestrial or otherwise? Why isn’t there more discussion about something so significant that it would literally change everything?” ~ J.D. Bever commenting on the 1999 release of the COMETA Report confirming the existence of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena as material objects.
The stigma of saying what you know to be true
The following article is not pseudo-science and we will not be diving headlong into a conspiracy rabbit hole. We can’t deny that much of what we find online is rife with misinformation, some intentionally misleading and some simply fanciful thinking.
The following stories come from credible people who risk ridicule or worse for observing an aerial object or objects that demonstrate flight characteristics beyond our current technology level. These are fellow citizens who know what they saw.
I am not a ufologist nor a militant skeptic, as I understand the terms. I have observed natural phenomena that I couldn’t immediately explain but, having been a former investigator by trade and curious by nature, I am challenged by getting to the bottom of a mystery using logic and facts.
We will not ponder the existence of unicorns in this column. Occam’s razor will always prevail.
On a frigid February morning a couple of years ago, a friend and I witnessed the sudden appearance of a 20-foot-high, perfectly cylindrical form that appeared to be comprised of millions of brilliant swirling diamonds.
Then, just as suddenly as it appeared, it vanished.
This occurrence happened in the woods just below my house, and we both were left a bit gob-smacked. In biblical times, perhaps even today, this wondrous manifestation could have been readily labeled as a miracle.
Instead, by tapping into trustworthy websites, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), it only took an hour or so to identify the apparition as an atmospheric phenomenon called a Light Pillar.
Following the release of the European COMETA Report in 1999 and the Pentagon Report in 2021, many of the world’s nations admitted to the existence of these unexplainable objects.
These reports on UAPs, formerly known as UFOs, could be summed up as stating, “These objects exist; they are not our technology, probably not any other country’s technology, but we do not know what they are.”
These admissions are a far cry from the Operation Blue Book days when our secretive government denied these mysterious objects’ existence and used their agents to discredit any and all reports as nothing more than “swamp gas,” birds, or hole-punch clouds.
By way of an introduction to this short series on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, we’ll meet an individual of impeccable character and integrity, willing to share his experience on an evening back in 1977.
Mark Reed and his wife were the subject of an earlier article showcasing their woodworking talents. I have known Mark for nearly a half-century. At the time, we both worked as officers with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Mark went on to a lifetime career as a law enforcement officer.
We are also friends, having climbed, caved and whitewater boated together for many decades. These are outdoor activities that demand a level of dependability beyond most other sporting activities.
In addition to his woodworking talents, Mark is a superb writer by any standard. I had the pleasure and privilege of dropping Mark off near Wytheville, Virginia on March 18, 2007.
I watched as he attached fully loaded panniers to his bicycle and rode out of sight. Ahead lay his journey across the great expanse of mountains and deserts of the southwestern United States.
He kept a delightful journal of his travels and experiences that was entertaining, informative, and often spellbinding. He shared his well-written stories with friends all along the route by stopping at libraries and using their computers.
In my book, Mark has no peers when it comes to the power of critical thinking and never crossing the line into fanciful conjecture. Mark is, as we used to say, a “straight arrow.”
Rewriting Mark’s story wouldn’t do it justice or improve its literary quality. What follows is the experience of Mark Reed and two other witnesses on a clear summer evening in 1977, in his own words:
“During the summer of 1977, I worked at a small state park in southeast Ohio as a campground attendant. On weekends, I’d stay busy registering campers during the late afternoon and early evening, but things usually settled down by 10 p.m. and I would finish out my shift riding with the park ranger.
“After making final rounds for the night, we typically spent some time parked on the high side of the Beach Loop Road, engine off and windows down. From our vantage point on the hill we could see the main entrance to the park, most of the day-use facilities, and the north end of the lake including the boat ramp and beach below us.
“One warm, clear, mid-summer night, while parked in our usual spot, the ranger saw something over his left shoulder that neither of us has ever forgotten. I turned in my seat to see what had grabbed his attention. Peering out the rear windows on the driver’s side, I could see three white lights spread out in a boomerang shape over the lake, just above the shoreline treetops, coming our way from the south.
“They were moving slowly; too slowly to be a fixed-wing aircraft. I immediately thought it must be a helicopter, but I couldn’t hear it. As the lights came closer, we both got out of the vehicle to get a better look. When they drew even with our position, still out over the water, they stopped and hovered about two hundred feet away from us.
“The lights did not appear independent of each other. To the contrary, they seemed to be parts of a single unit, but there was nothing visible between them, above them, or below them. If they were part of an aircraft, we couldn’t see it.
“Even more unsettling to me was there was no sound whatsoever: no engine noise, no rotor wash, no whirring, no buzzing, no humming. Just the normal sounds of the night.
“Whatever it was, it hovered for perhaps 10 or 15 seconds and then continued north, silently and steadily, until it was out of sight. We spent the next forty-five minutes discussing what we had just seen, exploring every man-made explanation we could think of from weather balloons to experimental aircraft. Of course we talked about U.F.O.s (the vernacular of the time), but neither of us took the idea of alien spacecraft seriously.
“Just when we had exhausted all the rational thoughts we could muster and started in on the ridiculous and inane, the lights suddenly reappeared over the trees in roughly the same place they had vanished less than an hour before. I thought for a moment that they were coming back toward us, but when they reached the main park road that ran west toward the entrance, they banked right, picked up a little speed and headed away from us. The ranger started the vehicle and tried to pursue them, but by the time we rounded the first curve of the main road, the lights were long gone.
“At the end of our shift we went back to the office at the north end of the park to clock out. When we arrived, the manager, who lived next to the office in a state-owned house, was waiting to greet us. That had never happened before so we knew something was up. First, he wanted to know if everything was all right in the park and we assured him it was. Then he wanted to know if anything unusual had happened. Funny he should ask. We told him about the lights and that’s when he said that it matched up with his own experience that night.
“Before watching the 11 o’clock news, he’d taken out the trash and saw the lights hovering above the hill behind the house. He’d watched the lights for a few minutes but they hadn’t moved so he’d gone back inside to watch TV. Every time there was a commercial, he’d check on the lights. They had remained hovering over the ridge for about forty-five minutes, but when he’d checked again after the news program ended, they had gone. That timeline coincided with our second sighting.
“Over the next few days, I found out that there were other sightings reported that same night in central Ohio, over 100 miles away. Most of the reports were from civilians, but a few law enforcement officers said they had seen them, too. The only difference I could find in newspaper articles was that the lights were different colors, not just white. None of the phenomena, however, were identified or explained.”
Next week’s For Your Consideration
We will hear a story about a Droop Mountain man’s close encounter of the first kind.
We’ll also examine the story of wildlife worker Steve Fisher, who mysteriously dies within weeks of a close encounter. Steve was a good friend who shared his story with me on the same day it happened. I had never seen him so rattled as when he told me about this unexpected and frightening encounter.
Then we’ll go up to southwestern Ohio, where dozens of citizens, law enforcement officers and helicopter pilots from the Air National Guard are reporting and following UAPs for several nights in a row in October of 1973.
I know. I was there.