Still Standing on a Chair in my Kitchen to Access the Internet
Dammit though, I’m still going to post. It’s annoying this had to happen when I was getting my muse back, but such is life. On the plus side, several of my favourite TV channels also went out (I don’t think the neighbours had anything to do with that) so at least I’m not wasting time watching TV anymore. My apartment is as clean as a whistle as a result. It’s really nice staggering to the kitchen in the morning and not having to scrounge for a clean coffee mug and counter space. I should have done this years ago.
OK, so Wednesday is science day or weird science day. Since I’m not a scientist I don’t have any science stories, and without reliable Internet access I can’t really research and write one. So we’re stuck with weird science, and fortunately I have a few of those. And what could be weirder than UFOs? So here, published for the first time, my one and only UFO encounter.
This was in the late eighties when I lived in a big old flat roofed house in the Berkeley hills. I was doing some remodelling in the house to defray my rent costs, and this one night I had my crew of two sleeping over in the spare bedroom. (They didn’t have a car so this was very convenient for them, plus it meant I could get them working at a good early hour.) Couple of young girls, 18 or 19 I think. In any event, I went to sleep in my room and they in theirs.
Well, during the night I was awakened by a police helicopter flying around the neighbourhood using a searchlight. This happened sometimes in the hills, looking for a burglar no doubt. The noise and the light woke me up, but sometimes when I’m awakened in the night I’m just so damn tired that I simply can’t get up to investigate. So I just lay there awhile while the helicopter circled, then I fell back asleep. The next morning passed without incident and I pretty much forgot what I thought was basically a non-event.
Well, a month or so later something reminded me of it, and I mentioned the night the helicopter circled the house to the girls, the two who had been sleeping up on the hill with me that night. Well, they got real quiet and looked at me funny. Turns out they most definitely remembered that night, but not the way I remembered it.
In their version they were awakened in the middle of the night by a bright light shining in the window. They had no idea what it was, but it definitely wasn’t a police helicopter. They spent the night cowering under the covers, afraid to even venture forth and investigate. Even worse, when morning came, they ventured downstairs and met me. And what did I reportedly say when they talked about the bright light in the window and being terrified. I allegedly said to them “Don’t worry about it, a UFO landed on the roof during the night.” They were so freaked by my nonchalant reply that they dropped the subject, at least until I brought it up some weeks later.
The problem of course is that I remember nothing of a UFO nor do I remember saying any such thing. It’s not really the sort of joke I would make, at least off-the-cuff like that. And the girls knew nothing of me or my interests, so it seems unlikely that they made the story up. I mean, something did happen that night, I do remember laying in bed more or less too tired or paralysed to investigate the lights, but that’s all I remember.
So what happened that night? Beats me, it’s still one of the great mysteries of my life. It has many of the elements of a classic UFO abduction story, so it’s a common human experience, many other people have similar stories. Some combination of suggestibility, cultural conditioning, unreliable memory, and police helicopter flying around the neighbourhood I suppose. Or the girls had a more wicked sense of humour than I gave them credit for? There of course was no empirical evidence, so this is just another UFO anecdote.
On the other hand, maybe a UFO did land on the roof and conduct nefarious experiments on me. My favourite UFO conspiracy theory goes like this … The USA government was contacted by aliens in the forties. (Roswell, etc.) And they made a deal with the US government. In exchange for permission to conduct a few secret experiments on US citizens, they would give the USA advanced technology. The US government eagerly accepted the deal. Hell, the government of the time was conducting germ warfare experiments on US citizens, what would a few more alien experiments matter?
It did matter. The aliens double-crossed the US government. The technology they gave the USA proved to be almost worthless in application, and they proceeded to conduct bizarre nocturnal experiments on millions of unsuspecting Americans, experiments that continue to this day. It’s a beautiful theory becasue it explains everything. UFO abductions, Roswell, why the B-52 is still in service 60 years later … and most of all why the USA government is so adamant in their denial of any knowledge of aliens. I mean, Americans may be sheep, but if we found out that the government had given aliens permission to experiment on us in our sleep … well, things could get ugly.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, it’s a low resolution version of the original, and it is an historically important image. Credit: George Adamski (1891-1965). It is a photo of a UFO taken by Adamski on December 13 1952. He was one of the original alien contactees, and had many stories of meeting with aliens and travelling to nearby planets with them. Some considered him a great man, others considered him deluded or an outright fraud. His stories have not stood the test of time well, and few regard Adamski terribly seriously today.)