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Some Personal UFO Sightings
by Kenneth W. Behrendt
It was during my teenage years that my interest in ufology first began. Prior to that, I had been an avid reader of science fiction books and viewer of the films derived from that genre. However, it was from the reading of other people's UFO sightings that I eventually came to accept that the phenomenon was real and worthy of scientific investigation. I realized that the safest approach to studying the subject was to read books that each covered dozens of DIFFERENT sightings. In this way, it would seem more likely that most of the cases presented would be genuine. Thus, most of the conclusions I eventually reached concerning UFO technology were based on broad catagories of sightings rather than individual cases. Only rarely have I ever based a conclusion about the technical nature of the phenomenon on a single case and only then if the probability of it being genuine seemed VERY high to me.
The above approach to ufology is, perhaps, all that is really necessary to make progress in the subject. Yet, it is also nice for motivational purposes if one has also had one's own personal UFO sighting as well. Not that one will necessarily derive any useful information from one's own sightings, but they tend to weaken any residual philosophical skepticism one might harbor that could prevent one from vigorously pursuing this area of inquiry.
Over the decades I have encountered many people who have privately told me of their own UFO sightings. Most were convinced that what they saw was, indeed, of an extraterrestrial origin and most were stimulated by their sightings to read a book or magazine article on the topic and perhaps discuss it with a friend of two. Only rarely did any decide to become ufologists or write their own material on the topic.
Of the many sighting cases I have heard privately, I realized that, perhaps, less than 10% were the "real thing" (i.e., actual extraterrestrial space / aircraft being operated by actual extraterrestrial beings). Most of the time, sadly, witnesses are surprised and impressed while viewing prosaic natural or artificial phenomena under unusual conditions. For example, a well formed lenticular cloud on the horizon during twilight may reflect sunlight from an already set sun to appear to be a brightly glowing saucer hovering near ground level. Or, a runaway child's toy mylar balloon may float by and appear to be a "daylight disc" that is self-propelled. On these occasions the person may insist that he has seen the real thing merely because he has never seen anything like it in the past. In collecting such personal stories, I always try to find some elements within them that would indicate to me whether or not they could be genuine.
Even in the most carefully investigated sighting cases, there are ALWAYS some details that are not known precisely. Thus, it is ALWAYS possible that ANY case may NOT be genuine! I know that this statement may disturb a lot of ardent ufologists, but the fact is that, in the absence of a captured or crashed UFO and its live or dead occupant(s), modern ufology is forced to work with data of a PROBABILISTIC nature. We can only gather the cases which seem to be the most probable and then proceed to derive conclusions from them concerning the nature of the phenomenon which we hope will be as accurate as possible. IF a good job was done with this method, then we should, eventually, have enough answers concerning the phenomenon to allow us to DUPLICATE it. Thus, IF UFO's are real and our analysis valid, then we will eventually be able to construct our own working UFO-like craft. On the other hand, if UFO's are not real, then we will not be able to construct our own working UFO-like craft no matter what method we use to evaluate the case data.
The problem facing the ufologist is somewhat similar to the one an organic chemist encounters. The chemist may obtain a sample of an unknown compound and wish to determine its exact molecular structure. To do so, he and other analytical specialists will subject the sample to a variety of tests which detect the presence of certain stuctural features within the unknown molecule. This information is then collected and a HYPOTHETICAL model for the molecular structure of the compound is developed. It is then time to "prove" the structure of the compound's molecules. This is done by attempting to synthesize the molecule from simpler compounds using standard and well known chemical reactions until one has created a sample of material which has the EXACT same structure as that of the HYPOTHETICAL molecular structure that was earlier proposed for the unknown compound.
Now for the important part. IF the chemists were correct in their assumption of the hypothetical molecular structure for the unknown compound that they were originally presented with, THEN the physical and chemical properties of the compound they later synthesized based on this hypothetical molecular structure should EXACTLY match those of the unknown compound. Only when this process has been successfully completed can the chemists be assured that they know FOR A FACT exactly what is the molecular structure of the unknown compound. In a similar fashion, ufologists will only know FOR A FACT what the true nature of the UFO phenomenon is when they can EXACTLY duplicate the properties observed for it in the sighting cases!
In the remainder of this article I want to present some of my own personal UFO sightings. While they are certainly not as spectacular as most reported in the UFO literature, they are ones that, for me, were observed under conditions that would seem to minimize the probability of them having been the result of misidentifications of prosaic phenomena. Of course, I can not absolutely guarantee that they are "the real thing", but I feel comfortable enough to describe them and let the reader draw his own conclusions concerning their validity.
My first sighting occurred in late July of the year 1961 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA. I had celebrated my 10th birthday a few months prior in May and was home during summer vacation awaiting the start of 5th grade at a local public grammar school.
I lived in the second floor apartment of a rear building while the landlord's family and another tenant family occupied the front building of the property which was located in the "port" section of the city.
During summer vacation I would often stay up until around ten p.m. or so and sit on the first floor porch of the front building with my mother and members of the landlord's family. In those days very few people owned air conditioners and people would often stay out late until their houses cooled off enough to allow for comfortable sleeping.
On one night I found myself sitting at the closed end of the approximately 20 foot wide by 6 foot deep front porch while my mother and six other adults sat at the other end near the front steps and hall door leading to the front building's first and second floor apartments. I think that it was sometime between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. when a very strange incident occurred.
I had been sitting quietly at my end of the porch listening to the adults conversing when, suddenly, there was a bright flash of greenish-yellow light that, for a FRACTION of a second, lit up the porch. For about a minute after this flash occurred, everybody on the porch remained silent. Then someone said in a loud voice, "What the hell was that?" A few people said something about lightning or lightning bugs and then it seemed that the conversation slowly turned to other matters.
I, however, because of the location I on the porch that I was sitting at and the direction I happened to be looking in, saw something more than just a sudden flash of light. The source of the light appeared to me to be a small object that VERY quickly dove down toward the porch from the sky, flew between the porch's support posts, and then sharply angled up as it flew back toward the sky and exited the porch area by again flying between two of its other support posts. For a brief instant in its flight, this bright object lined up almost perfectly with my line of sight. At the speed with which it moved, I did not really have time to study it and the decription that follows is really based on the memory I have of the after image it impressed on my retinas. Thus, I can not assert with 100% confidence that my description is accurate, but I feel that it is at least 90% accurate.
I recall that the object was about 6 inches wide or, more properly, this was the distance from one of its wingtips to the other because this object consisted of a small egg-shaped central body on each side of which there was a small wing or fin. On each of the object's small wings there were 2 or 3 narrow ridges that ran from ran from each wing's leading edge to its trailing edge. The bright greenish-yellow glow of the object seemed to emanate from its surface. However, the glow was somewhat diffuse and I think it may actually have come from a thin and brightly luminous layer of air that immediately surrounded a solid object within the glowing layer. I can only guess at the velocity at which this object moved which was on the order of tens of feet per second.
Years later, I recall discussing this "sighting" with a teacher who suggested that it was, most likely, just a bat covered with bioluminous fungi. If so, then it was the first and last bat I have ever seen in the state of New Jersey! A friend suggested to me that it might have been some leftover fireworks from the Fourth of July that kids were playing with at the time. Perhaps it was just part of the material ejected from a Roman candle that made its way to the porch. I must reject this suggestion because I do not remember anybody setting off fireworks on the night of my experience. Also, as a kid growing up in that neigborhood, I had never seen anybody with anything other than firecrackers or the much louder "cherry bombs".
Over the years, I have developed my own theory as to what I "saw" on that July night way back in 1961. Obviously, from the size of my UFO, it is very unlikely that it carried any type of intelligent living organisms. Most likely, it was some sort of miniaturized probe designed to gather information on a planet's surface objects which was then recorded and carried back to a larger vessel for analysis or, perhaps even more likely, was immediately transmitted back to its carrier craft for "real time" analysis. Such a small, fast moving device would allow close-up surveillance of a planet's various surface lifeforms without creating the panic in them that would be produced should a larger UFO appear.
I also find it interesting that, of the eight or so people on the porch that night, I was the only child present and was sitting some distance from the main group of adults! Thus, I would have been a perfect subject for such a device to capture and image of if this was the intention of its operator. This theory also makes sense when one considers that its trajectory momentarily lined up with the direction in which I was facing. I would be the only one that might actually get a glimpse of its shape and, since I was a child, my description would most likely be dismissed by any adults present...very clever!
In the vacuum tube era of the early 1960's my theory of a highly sophisticated and super miniaturized extraterrestrial probe would have seemed fantastic. However, today, the military of the United States is actively pursuing many different types of remotely controlled, unmanned drones that will be capable of overflying a battlefield so as to maintain realtime surveillance of enemy troops and their equipment. Some of the devices now being tested are so small that they can easily be mistaken for flying insects, yet they are capable of transmitting moving images of enemy troops back to a miniaturized flat screen computer monitor that a soldier can wear like a wristwatch. If we can achieve this today, then what would an advanced spacefaring extraterrestrial culture be capable of doing in 1961?
My second UFO sighting occurred while I was on vacation in Mexico. The year was 1974 and, because I had been working steadily full time since graduating from college the previous year, I decided to spend some of my savings on a vacation with a longtime friend. We arranged to take our vacations together in July and selected an economical American Express tour to sunny Mexico.
Our jet landed in Mexico City on July 3rd and we made the customary sightseeing rounds there of museums, churches, and gift shops. After a few days of these activities, our group was placed on a bus and we headed for our next sleep over destination which was the mountain town of Taxco. During this five hour bus ride, we made a stop to stretch our legs by climbing the steps of the huge Pyramid of the Sun and later on had a rest stop in the American retirement town of Cuernavaca.
Our bus finally arrived in Taxco in the late afternoon of Saturday, July 6th. My friend and I took our luggage up to a room we shared at the first class De La Borda Hotel and then we decided to relax on the hotel's back veranda which, because the hotel was built on a hill, had a commanding view of the town of Taxco which lay in a wide valley below the hotel. Beyond this valley, one's view of the horizon was blocked by rather steep mountain walls which surrounded the town. Shortly after 5 p.m. local time my friend and I each ordered ONE "Bloody Mary" which is a popular mixed drink in Mexico that is a mixture of vodka and tomato juice. We decided to remain on the veranda until 6:15 p.m. at which time we were due to enter the hotel's dining room to eat our dinners that were included as part of our tour package.
At approximately 5:40 p.m., as my friend and I sat chatting about the events of our trip, my attention was drawn to a small moving object in the distance. I noticed what appeared to be a small orange ball of light that was ASCENDING the face of the opposite mountain wall that rose up from the valley floor beneath us. I would say that this light was over a thousand yards from our position on the veranda and, to give the reader an accurate idea of its APPARENT size, I would say that it appeared to be about the same size as a poppy seed held at arm's length from one's eye.
I think that this object attracted my attention because it seemed to me that is was not reflecting the fading rays of the quickly setting sun, but, rather, was emitting its OWN glow. At the time of this sighting, the light level was beginning to drop rapidly and we could see random window lights starting to come on in the town below us.
I pointed the object out to my friend and we both continued to watch it as it climbed the mountain wall. It moved at a velocity similar to that at which an automobile at that distance might move and this prompted my friend to suggest that we were merely observing the taillight of a car. I quickly discounted this possibility by pointing out that the mountain wall that the light moved up had probably close to a 60° grade! My friend then suggested that it was some sort of cable car, but, again, we quickly discounted this hypothesis because we knew just about every possible tourist attraction in this town and had heard no mention of anything involving cable cars.
After observing the glowing sphere's ascent for a minute or so, we then saw it arrive at a dense cloud layer that obscured the top portion of the mountain wall. At this point, the object immediately entered the misty layer and an interesting phenomenon occurred. As it entered, a thin bright RING of orange light momentarily encircled it before it disappeared from out sight. I realized at the time that this ring was due to light from the object being refracted by the water droplets in the mist and thereby directed toward our eyes. This convinced me beyond any doubt that the object was, indeed, emitting its own light and was spherical shape. I also realized that the object was not in physical contact with the mountain wall, but, rather, was floating very near to it.
We continued to watch the exact spot in the cloud layer where the object had disappeared and, after about 15 seconds, it emerged from the mist, momentarily made its ring of light, and then slowly began DESCENDING the mountain wall! It did not, however, descend with the same motion with which it had ascended the mountain wall. Upon descent, the object followed a kind of slow zig-zag motion. That is, it would travel down toward the right, then reverse its direction and move down to the left. Then it would again move down to the right before stopping and then moving down again to the left. In this manner, the object slowly swept out a path about several hundred feet wide as it descended the mountain wall. At the time, I got the distinct impression that the object was searching for something on or in the rocks of the mountain wall.
The object finally reached the base of the mountain wall where it came to a stop and hovered at a height of about 60 feet or so. It was at this point that I became aware that the light it was emitting was slowly pulsating in intensity. At the base of the mountain wall there was a orchard with widely spaced trees. The random distribution of these fruit trees indicated that this was probably a small family orchard whose fruit was only traded locally in the town of Taxco.
It was now about 6:55 p.m. and twilight was almost upon the town. More and more lights were coming on in the valley below us, but we had no difficulty seeing the glowing orange ball of light. As we continued to observe it, it slowly began moving toward our position on the rear veranda of the De La Borda Hotel. After a few tens of seconds of this motion, the spherical light hovered over one of the larger trees in the orchard and again came to a stop. It then slowly settled down to the top of the tree and finally moved out of our view behind the tree and simultaneously dimmed out. From its size compared to the tree, I would estimate that this object was a sphere about 10 to 12 feet in diameter...certainly large enough to carry a pilot!
At the sight of what appeared to us to be the landing of the object, I became quite excited. I then suggested to my friend that we hire one of the many taxi cabs available at the hotel and get ourselves down to the field to see if we could get a close up view of this object and possible some photographs of it. My friend, however, did not share my enthusiasm for this adventure and pointed out that it might be dangerous. I thought the matter over for a few seconds and reluctantly agreed when I recalled certain cases I had read of about people being burned by the radiation emitted from such objects. My friend also pointed out that we had not eaten since noon, he was starving, and we had a hot meal waiting for us in the hotel's dining room in a few minutes. BR>
So, it was we who quit the scene and left the possibly landed UFO and its pilot to continue their activities without interruption on that evening back in 1974. Even today, I do not regret our decision not to investigate further. It could have exposed us to some unexpected risk that we would have regretted later. Yes, I did have a 35mm Pentax camera with me, but it had no telephoto lens with it and it was up in my room at the time. I would have had to run across freshly mopped ad still wet tiles to retrieve my camera and then might have missed observing the details of this sighting that I am able to report here almost 30 years later.
The remainder of our tour in Mexico was somewhat of a letdown compared to the day of our UFO sighting. We left Taxco on Monday and arrived in the resort city of Acapulco that day. I had to spend most of the few days there in our hotel room because I had contracted a severe case of "tourista" and had to stay within a few feet of a bathroom at all times! I was relieved and feeling much better when we finally boarded a jet for a seven hour flight back to New York City.
I have often wondered what our Mexican UFO was doing as it swept over the rocky surfaces of the mountain walls in Taxco that day. Perhaps its pilot was somehow scanning the rocks for minerals. Taxco is famous in Mexico for its rich deposits of silver and its shops are full of beautiful jewelry crafted from this dense, precious metal. Silver has a variety of interesting properties that would certainly be of interest to a spacefaring extraterrestrial culture. The metal is an excellent electrical conductor and can be plated onto glass surfaces to create mirrors with close to 100% reflectivity. It can be used in topical creams to act as a powerful antibiotic. Surely, an extraterrestrial exploration of a planet would want to know where its richest deposits of this metal were located.
My third significant UFO sighting occurred in my hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA. I am not certain of the exact year and date, but I feel that it most likely took place in August of 1977 on a Saturday night. On that night I was attending a party at the apartment of a friend (yes, he was the one I took the vacation in Mexico with described above) who lived about a block away from me. Shortly before 10 p.m. I started telling him and his other guests that I had heard on the television that a regular yearly meteor shower was supposed to be starting that night and that if we all went outside, then we might be lucky enough to actually see some "shooting stars".
My friend and his guests were fascinated by this announcement and it was soon decided that our small group would walk about a block from my friend's apartment to a nearby, empty, block sized lot so that we could better view the night sky. This lot had been the former site of a row of small houses that had been torn down decades earlier and many of the kids in the neighborhood routinely used it for baseball games, flying model planes, etc. It was flat, grass covered, and not fenced in.
We arrived at the empty lot about 10:15 p.m. and eagerly began searching the dark night sky for the first dramatic streaks that momentarily appear as meteors enter the Earth's atmosphere, heat to incandescence upon impacting atmospheric gas particles, and then shed a brightly glowing trail of metal vapor behind themselves. We made jokes about what we would do when the meteors started raining down on us and about how we had to be careful that we did not get struck by any of them.
About twenty minutes passed and we saw...NOTHING! Nothing but a pitch black night sky speckled with stars with different magnitudes of brightness. Everyone was starting to get bored and disappointed when, suddenly, I saw something...but it was not a meteor!
As I strained my eyes to pick out meteors in the black sky above us, I suddenly noticed two tiny red dots that were moving from almost exactly north to south over our position. These red dots moved side by side and I can only VERY roughly guess at their altitude and speed. IF they were discs or spheres that were about, say, 32 feet in diameter, then I would guess they would have had an altitude of 40,000 feet and were moving with a velocity of around 3000 miles per hour (which is close to "hypersonic" or 5 times the velocity of sound).
I remember calling out to everybody to look up in the direction I was pointing so that they could see these tiny specks of red light moving against the sky. My friend did look, but complained that he could not see the objects. I then had him sight along my outstretched arm and he then also saw these two moving lights. Others followed his example and within a few seconds all of our group was staring intently at these two moving points of light. One person thought that they might be a high flying jet and another said that maybe they were satellites of some sort. I dismissed the idea of them being two satellites moving in tandem due to there apparently low altitude. However, the possibility that they might really be some sort of wingtip warning lights on a high flying jet seemed plausible to me for a few seconds.
In the next instance, however, something happened which proved to all of us that the two red dots were not conventional objects. As we watched the two move over our position, one of the two light sources came to a dead stop while the other continued to travel along its flight path! The second object had continued on for several seconds until it was about five degrees or so past the object that had stopped. Then the second object came to a stop and, after a pause of a few seconds, it reversed its direction of motion and BACKED UP until it had rejoined its companion! At that point the two objects remained stationary in a position that was directly over our location on the ground.
After a half minute or so had passed, BOTH objects again resumed their southerly flight and within a minute more could no longer be seen by us. At this point the conversation quickly changed to the subject of UFO's. It was obvious to all of us that the objects we observed that night in 1977 were neither meteors nor conventional objects like jetplanes or satellites. We had no doubt that we had just observed the overflight of two genuine UFO's!
In thinking about this multiple witness sighting over the years, I can not escape the feeling that the reason that the first object came to a complete stop above us was because its crew was somehow aware of our group's presence on the ground below the object! Perhaps this object's crew was scanning the ground over which the craft flew and noticed our group of skywatchers conspicuously standing out in the middle of an empty lot. Or, even more fascinating is the possibility that the UFO that stopped over our group was somehow able to pick up a telepathic signal from us as we strained our eyes to focus on these objects and track their motion across the sky!
How it might be possible for a UFO to technologically detect, amplify, and decode an incoming telepathic message from outside observers of the craft is far beyond the scope of this short article. Let it suffice for me to state that I think that it IS possible and is probably ROUTINELY used by extraterrestrial craft that enter our planet's atmosphere. One can only assume that if extraterrestrials have used telepathic communication as their primary mode of communication as they evolved, then they eventually must have done an enormous amount of research on the physical processes involved in telepathy. They would then have reached the point were they could both send and receive telepathic information using technological equipment and it would be a simple matter to install such equipment into the hull of a UFO.
Once a UFO is equipped with such telepathic sending and receiving equipment, the pilot of such a craft could, while it was airborne, almost instantly transmit his thoughts down to a sentient organism at ground level or be able to pick up the thoughts of such an organism. Thus, this advanced equipment can allow an airborne UFO's pilot to keep in constant contact with a ground crew that has been placed on a planet's surface. Without the use of conventional radio communication of any type, the pilot of a hovering UFO could direct the activities of his ground crew and also monitor their health status as well. A high altitude UFO's pilot could alert his ground crew of the approach of any threats and direct them to assemble at a particular spot for extraction from the scene. If any ground crew member was injured, the nature and extent of the injuries and the being's location would instantly be known to the UFO's pilot.
Especially while airborne, the pilot of a UFO using such telepathic equipment would be able to read the minds of the pilots of any other aircraft that approached his craft. If any sort of hostile intention in the mind of an incoming aircraft pilot of a world being explored was detected, then the UFO's pilot could then take immediate evasive action so as to minimize the possibility that his craft might be disabled or destroyed by the hostile pilot. In order for this to be possible, however, it would be necessary for the hostile pilot to be flying in an aircraft with either an open or canopy covered cockpit. This requirement is necessary for the telepathic signals from the hostile pilot's mind to reach the UFO's telepathy detection equipment. My research has indicated that telepathic signals are really just pulses of extreme low frequency electromagnetic radiation that can easily penetrate air, glass, and plexiglas, but can not penetrate closed metal surfaces. Thus, a hostile pilot who flies an aircraft with a sealed cockpit via instrumentation could approach a UFO without his intentions being detected!
This brings me to my fourth and final sighting which was the last POSSIBLE UFO that I have ever observed and which, unfortunately, is also the weakest of the ones that I am presenting in this article.
This sighting also happened in Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA in late November or early December of 1979. It was early evening and I was food shopping with a companion at a large supermarket near the center of the city. As we exited the supermarket and headed for the adjacent parking lot, my companion suddenly exclaimed, "What's that?!". Looking toward the dark western sky, I could see a bright white light RAPIDLY approaching our position and following a slightly downward sloping incoming trajectory that would, in a matter of SECONDS, bring it down to the rooftop level of the houses that surrounded the supermarket! My best estimate is that this object was only about 1000 feet above the ground when I first saw it and was moving toward us at a velocity in excess of 1000 miles per hour!
When this brightly glowing object was within a 1000 feet of our position, a very strange thing happened. Suddenly, there was a shower of yellowish sparks from its rear that seemed to be directed slightly downward. When these sparks appeared, the object immediately angled upward and flew off into the dark sky east of our position. I would say that the total duration of this UFO sighting was probably LESS than 5 seconds...just long enough for me to follow its motion and observe its sudden upward change of direction.
Most people would probably dismiss this incident as the observation of a meteor burning up in the Earth's dense lower atmosphere. However, I have always been bothered by the object's sudden UPWARD change of direction following what appeared to be the firing of some sort of rocket engine. Perhaps it was a meteor that just exploded in the lower atmosphere which would account for the shower of sparks and this caused part of it to be propelled along an upward sloping trajectory until we finally lost sight of it. On the other hand, although all this took place fairly close to our position, at no time did we hear any sounds associated with the object. It is for these reasons that I must refer to this sighting as the "weakest" of the ones I have had the opportunity to observe.
Of the four UFO sightings that I have presented in this brief article, the two that I feel the most confident in as having been "the real thing" would be the second and third ones presented. That is, my Taxco, Mexico 1975 and Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA 1977 sightings. Each was a multiple witness type case and each was of sufficient duration to allow me to gather some details about the size, distance, and ANOMALOUS motion the object(s) involved. However, even in my best personal sightings, there is always the possibility that what I observed could have been merely some natural or manmade objects seen under unusual viewing conditions that made them seem mysterious and extraterrestrial in nature. Therefore, I can only assert that I feel that they were, more likely, "the real thing" than not.
In any event, my sightings along with my readings of the many, many UFO sightings documented over the last almost 60 years have convinced me in the ultimate reality and EXTRATERRESTRIAL nature of the UFO phenomenon. Although it would be convenient if we could recover an intact UFO for analysis, I am also convinced that the collection and study of sufficient case material will, eventually, allow earthly technology to duplicate the propulsion used in these vehicles. Aside from the profound effects such propulsion technology will have on global travel and space exploration, there will, no doubt, be many additional benefits, especially in the areas of energy production and medical science.
Perhaps the dramatic increase in worldwide UFO activity since the middle of the previous century marks the dawn of a golden new age wherein mankind will experience a level of peace and prosperity that has never before been known on Earth...
(Note: this article completed April 3rd, 2004)
COSMIC VAULT GIFT SHOP