This was submitted as a SWIFT article but I guess it didn’t make the cut.
When I was little I dreamed of becoming an astronomer and my favorite class of my first semester of college was Astronomy 101 which consisted mainly of memorizing constellations, stars, and all the various things you can see in the night sky. At the time I could name just about anything you could see with the naked eye and some things you couldn’t.
Well, things rarely go according to plan and a few years later I found myself stationed at a base in England working the nightshift. This would have no significance to the story except the base in question was RAF Bentwaters and the time was a year or two after a UFO supposedly touched down and scared some airmen.
This particular night it was dark and clear and I found myself sitting on a forklift hiding from the people who were actually doing all the work and staring at the stars. I was trying to remember all the constellations and stars I had learned in college and noticed three bright stars that formed a perfect equilateral triangle almost directly overhead. I searched my brain for the constellation and found none and had already accounted for the planets and other things so I was stumped. I even held my arm out and measured 4 fingers between each corner, trying to remember why I did that in Astronomy 101. I also tried to remember my brightness scale and realized these were three of the brightest stars in the sky, again it didn’t make any sense to me.
I sat there for about half an hour going back and forth from just ignoring them to being darned if I could ignore them because they just didn’t belong there. I knew I still had my star chart at home and tried to memorize where these were so I could look them up and even made a mental note to bring it with me the next night so I could compare directly.
Then the only thing in my entire life that I have never been able to explain to myself happened.
The three stars started to move. They moved in a slow circle around what would have been the center of the triangle. I could see stars between them so I knew it wasn’t a solid object, they were just three mere specks of lights, bright stars.
At first I frantically searched my mind for any kind of satellite anyone would have that could be stationary then move like that and of course could think of none. I couldn’t think of, well, any explanation for it. I was absolutely stunned. But then the next thing happened.
All three stars shot out in opposite directions. I followed one until it was lost in the glare of lights on the horizon then quickly darted to another and caught a brief glimpse of it disappearing over the horizon as well. All three lights were gone. I don’t even know how long I sat there staring at the sky trying to figure what I just saw.
I don’t believe aliens visit our planet. I don’t believe “earth lights” appear before an earthquake or that orbs float around at night. (Indeed, orbs hadn’t been “invented” yet.) I did ask around to see if anyone else saw anything unusual that night but being RAF Bentwaters it just started a new round of jokes about the secret UFO hangers that are supposed to be everywhere.
Even though I have no explanation whatsoever of what I saw I still don’t believe aliens visit our planet. I have even had nightmares about that night, but mostly I have an intense feeling that I simply saw something that will never, ever be explained and I just have to accept that. It hasn’t shaken my belief in science, it strengthened it.
It also helped me realize that just because someone saw something they can’t explain doesn’t mean that they either lying or loony. They simply saw something they can’t explain. It may shake their beliefs, it may spark legends, it may rock their world, it may give them religion, it may do anything they let it do them, but I simply chose to file it away in the “Yeah, Oooookay” section of my brain and let it just stay the wonder that it was.
Personally, I think everyone should see something like this at least once in their lives. How boring would life be if we didn’t see something truly amazing from time to time?
And yes, to this day I still look for equilateral triangles in the sky at night, but often get distracted by the stars themselves, which are truly amazing all on their own.