Ah, skyfish, a post suggested by a long time reader and illustrious blogger in his own right, Pyrodin. Everyone has heard of skyfish, more commonly known as rods. (OK, maybe they haven’t.) These are mysterious flying creatures discovered on videotapes in 1994, appearing to be flying rod shaped creatures with a two long undulating wings or multiple pairs of wings. The first images of them can be viewed here: The Cave of the Swallows. Creepy, eh? Are strange creatures flying around us all the time, too fast for the human eye to see? Rods have been photographed all over the world, and even underwater. Cue Twilight Zone music.
Fortunately the whole mystery of the rods has been solved. Trust me. Rods, as extensive scientific analysis has shown, are simply an artifact of flying insects and video cameras. They are simply bugs, blurred into flying rods by the nature of video cameras. Unlike the human eye, video capture devices capture a series of images, the human brain operates continuously. (Well, maybe on Planck time frequency.) And of course even without the video analysis, the fact that no one has ever found some sort of dead or stunning flying rod would seem like slam dunk evidence that rods don’t exist. I mean, how could these things be all over the place and not get occasionally tangled in clothesline? Or blown out of the air by a bomb?
On the other hand, maybe the occasional one has, but the reports have been discounted? There is at least one interview extent with someone who claims to have knocked a skyfish out of the air and examined it. Here is an excerpt:
“It was about 12 inches long and about 6 inches wide at its widest point. There was a finger sized rod running down the center of the “rods” full length. From the points at both ends a flap of skin like membrane ran tapered from the ends and widened towards the center of the “rod”. Basically it was the size of a flattened football. I picked up the “rod” and noticed that it had the feel of freshly washed up sea weed, our father took us to the ocean quite a few times….. so it is spot on the feel of fresh sea weed. The rod itself looked like the rubber band from a wrist rocket sling shot…. and the flaps where transparent……. and small veins where visible……. and at one end of the rod where a set of teeth like a lamprey…. or like a leach….”
The whole interview can be read here: Xenophilia. It’s a little hard to swallow no doubt, since if a kid tossing sticks into the air can knock down a skyfish, one would think it would happen regularly. The same web site shows what are purported rod drawings in ancient rock carvings in Australia. Fascinating, except that if we can only see rods in video images, how were aborigines able to see and draw them? One could claim that they were in a trance or under the influence of drugs, but that’s quite a stretch. And one would think that rod sightings would be common at, say, Grateful Dead concerts. I’ve known a lot of hippies in my day, and some of them did indeed see strange things under the influence of drugs. Flying rods wasn’t one of them though.
I did once read an interesting report that may be related. It was in an old copy of the Fortean Times, so while I may have it in a box around here somewhere, I’m not going to spend hours leafing through old magazines to find it. It was a very brief little snippet about someone who reported something they saw as a child in Turkey. She had gone to a well to draw water for her family, and there were these three flying “sticks” hovering in the air near the well. When she left, alarmed, they followed her for quite some distance. She was so distraught by the experience she could never go back to the well alone. This little snippet stuck in my mind for decades because it was both creepy and inexplicable. And I think it predated the “discovery” of rods in 1994, which makes it more interesting.
Am I seriously proposing that skyfish exist? No. That’s too much of a stretch even for me. What I am playing around with here is the idea that there are two realities. There is the defined logical scientific reality where things like rods are “impossible” and thus can be safely discounted as video artifacts. This is the very same reality where powered flight and meteorites were once also discounted as “impossible.” The other reality, is reality itself. And reality itself doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what is or isn’t possible. And it is under no obligation whatsoever to adhere to our idea of what “makes sense.” In this reality, skyfish are perfectly possible. And I don’t think a lot of hard core sceptics and scientists really understand that.
And since the first reality, consensus reality as it were, is entirely a creation of our brains interpreting the world, how much does our model of the world effect our perception of it? Maybe skyfish do get knocked down and seen fairly frequently, but because we have defined such things as impossible most people simply don’t or can’t see them. Our brains neatly filter out the blind spot in the centre of each eye, one wonders what else the brain can filter out? Granted this isn’t terribly original or new speculation, philosophers have been musing about same for thousands of years. Still, I’m going to try and be a bit more open minded as I approach things like skyfish, I intend to keep an eye out for them so to speak. Things like quantum physics or the Big Bang, neither of which make any sense whatsoever, are an accepted part of most people’s realities now. Maybe there is a whole other biota of exotic alien flying things flitting around, almost entirely invisible to us due to our preconceptions.
As Alfred Korzybski said: “The map is not the territory.”
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. I could only find it on one site of the Internet, possibly they hold the copyright but it’s not clear: Unexplainable.net Tomorrow, more random weirdness.)