Mothman: The Sandhill Crane of Point Pleasant, WV

On December 15, 1967 the Silver Bridge—an eyebar-chain suspension bridge which spanned the Ohio River joining Point Pleasant, WV and Gallipolis, OH—collapsed under rush hour traffic. 46 people were killed. The cause of the collapse was discovered by investigators to be a broken link in the chain suspension system.

Here is an example of a tragedy that occurred because in the 39 year existence of the bridge it never dawned on anyone that an increased traffic load the bridge was not designed for meant the potential failure of said bridge under such a load. Hello. So who’s keeping tabs on this stuff anyway?

Unfortunately for the poor victims of the collapse but fortunate for the rest of us someone woke the hell up and decided this would be a good to review current bridges in use around the country and determine upgrades to increase the safety of those bridges in question. Bravo. You know, it’s too damn bad somebody didn’t think about this sooner, wasn’t clued in at some point. Oh wait! Apparently we were…

According to some, a string of allegedly unexplained events began happening just over a year prior to the collapse of the Silver Bridge, and are thought to have been omens of doom, some kind of foretelling of the catastrophe to come. There were Mothman sightings, phone calls featuring strange sounds, UFOs, and mysterious men in black, all somehow trying to let the people of Point Pleasant know that something wasn’t right.

Foretellings… Seriously, if Mothman knew something was going to happen why didn’t he just grab a welder and fix the chain, or write a letter to the Mason County Highway Department and let them know about the broken link. At the very least he could have swooped in and grabbed falling cars, flying them to safety before they hit the water below. Some hero.

Look, I’m all for good paranormal phenomena, UFOs, weird flying creatures and stuff like that, but when you connect this bunk to a human tragedy like a bridge collapse it’s just stupid and disrespectful to the poor people who lost their lives in the tragedy. It was a terrible accident, leave it alone.

Okay, I’ll talk about Mothman.

These are great spooky tales to tell around a campfire and fun fodder for books and documentaries but, if you actually start thinking about the mechanism involved in lifting a man-sized creature off the ground you realize that a “mothman” can’t exist. Won’t happen. There is this thing called physics, and within the boundaries of physics the wingspan necessary to lift an average dude would be enormous. Humans have only been able to lift themself off of the ground with jet packs and aircraft. Hang gliders require a running start downhill to develop lift unless you attach a motor.

Wingspan is only one consideration though, the physical attributes required to perform such a feat mean that Mothman would have to be super-jacked to flap his wings fast enough to get 200 lbs airborne way before any chance of catching an updraft to take a break. He’d look more distorted than the Tick on steroids, not just a man with wings.

So, what the hell did people of Point Pleasant see flapping over their heads back in 1967 that had them so convinced it was a dude with big moth wings and glowing red eyes? Let’s take a look at the reports and see if we can’t figure this one out.

Buzz Aldrin Selfie 1966 Gemini Spacewalk

The first sighting of a winged humanoid creature flying around was made on November 12, 1966, which incidentally is the same day Buzz Aldrin took a selfie during a space walk on the Gemini Mission. Back on Earth far below five guys were digging a grave at a cemetery near Clendenin, WV, when they claim to have seen a large, man-like creature flying overhead, and it wasn’t Buzz.

It is my opinion that Buzz Aldrin may have been the only humanoid creature flying unaided by conventional aircraft at the time, but he wasn’t contending with much gravity.

No further details were given in that sighting, but a couple of days later on November 15, there was another alleged sighting of a strange flying man-like creature. Two couples were driving around in a ’57 Chevy at the then abandoned West Virginia Ordinance Works, known locally as the TNT Area and now part of the McClintic Wildlife Management Area.

The witnesses spotted the thing at the abandoned north power plant when the wash of the headlights illuminated what they thought were glowing red eyes. The creature “wobbled” around the back of the building and the couples decided to vacate the area. One witness claimed you could “see the muscles” in the legs of the creature, though I’m not sure what creature would need to wobble when they have apparently sufficient muscles to walk with.

As they drove out they saw the creature, or maybe another of the same type, near a billboard where it flew up into the air and apparently began pursuit. According to their story it kept up with the car even at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. I’m betting they didn’t mention that speed to the cops later.

The creature allegedly chased them, “squeaking like a big mouse”, drifting back and forth as it flew along behind the car, casting its shadow upon the car. It got so close at times that its wings hit the roof. Pardon me for a minute… so it’s dark enough for them to require headlights which illuminate the creatures “eyes”, yet the thing is casting a shadow on their car? I did a quick check here and found that on November 15, 1966, at around 7PM the moon was waxing crescent, just over an eighth of it was illuminated, and it’s altitude was 5.6° above the horizon, very low in the western sky. This means there wasn’t enough moonlight to cast a shadow. Maybe street lights, but typically country roads out of town do not have regular street lights.

In any case they lost the flying thing as they entered Point Pleasant proper and stopped at a local ice cream shop to figure out what to do. They decided to head back out of town to see if the creature was still there and apparently encountered it, or something similar, near the carcass of a dead dog. According to their report the eyes appeared to glow red in the headlights again, and the thing flew over their car into a nearby field. Scared, they drove back to town and this time stopped at a Tiny’s Diner to plan their next move, which was ultimately to notify the police about what they had seen.

Linda Scarberry, one of the witnesses, described a grey creature with circular, fiery red eyes, standing 6 to 7 feet tall and being generally man-shaped with wings. Sheriff’s Deputy Millard Halstead didn’t believe them at first, but based on their apparent agitation he figured they weren’t screwing around so he accompanied them back to the area where their sighting began. The group found nothing except a set of dubious footprints.

The following day Mason County Sheriff George Johnson held a press conference to discuss the event with reporters. Johnson thought the creature was a misidentified heron, albeit a large one. He called the creature a “shitepoke”, a nicknamed earned by small green herons because of their apparent habit of dropping a deuce before taking off when they’re startled.

Other sightings followed, undoubtedly spurred on by the news report of the TNT Area sighting, and all had similar descriptions of the creature.

All of the pertinent sightings in this Point Pleasant flap occurred within the months of November and December and pretty much stopped after the collapse of the Silver Bridge. It seems folks had something more important on their minds after that.

Another interesting thing about this time frame is that it’s the migration period of the sandhill crane.

The Sandhill Crane theory
I’d hate to cut right to it but this one works for me. I’m not suggesting the witnesses were making all of this up, clearly they saw something that they didn’t understand and were caught off guard. During a charged moment like that it’s nearly impossible to step back and objectively analyze the event. Dimensions are easy to miscalculate and often exaggerated, especially when you take even a minor dive into the psychology of it, but given the description of a large grey creature with wings, a red area perceived as eyes that “glowed” in the headlights, a wobbling gate, and a sound like the squeaking like a big mouse, it does actually fit with the description of a large sandhill crane.

Regardless of what the Haunted Librarian says, there doesn’t have to be anything paranormal going on here. This isn’t about belief or supernatural activity. Let’s stick to the facts.

An article found on regarding the 2002 film Mothman Prophecies starring Richard Gere states, “The Sandhill Crane is not native to the area, nor had they ever been seen there before or since.” However, the sightings occur precisely within the migration timeframe of the sandhill crane and Point Pleasant is very near a common migration route for these birds. And let’s face it, migrating birds do not follow the rules, they will go where they go regardless of whether or not they have been to that area before. Weather patterns play a big part in that too.

It is extremely likely that this is the bird mistaken for the creature sighted by witnesses. Since they are not directly in the more heavily traveled migration route there are likely many people of Point Pleasant who are not familiar with this kind of bird, and haven’t seen them, let alone at night, and could have been taken by surprise.

According to this Wikipedia article “During migration and winter, unrelated cranes come together to form ‘survival groups’ that forage and roost together.” So it’s likely that the four witnesses stumbled onto a group of migrating sandhill cranes that had decided to take a respite at the abandoned TNT Area, startling the birds and possibly prompting a few of them to act agitated and maybe even attack.

Consider their story about the one that wobbled around the north power plant. Shortly after they saw a creature standing near a billboard by the entrance to the area. That one flew up in the air and apparently followed their car. This could easily have been two birds. There is nothing in their story confirming that only one creature was seen. It is very possible that they saw multiple similar looking creatures. The one that flew over their car as they drove back out of town could have been a third bird, not the same one.

As for the “squeaking like a big mouse” comment, listen to the sandhill crane calls at, especially the second and third recordings. In the right situation those sounds could be described as squeaky and mouse-like.

We’re only human. I’m not willy-nilly criticizing anyone who has any particular beliefs with regard to the paranormal, we don’t know everything, and I like a spooky story as much as the next guy, but when we have ample evidence to suggest one possible explanation and only speculation on the other hand you have to step back and admit the obvious. Two possibilities come to mind when you strip away every unrealistic and unprovable paranormal claim about the so-called mothman sighings.

One, the witnesses were startled by something they had never seen before and high-tailed it out the area in a sort of excited panic, with exaggerated notions of what they really saw. It is very likely they misjudged positions, sizes and features, and misidentified a very large bird. Later they may have realized that what they saw were really birds but were so embroiled in the story that they didn’t want to go back on their claim and look like liars or fools. They were in the newspaper after all.

Two, they knew what they saw but decided to create some crazy story for fun, and got in the newspaper. It happens. Some people do things to get noticed or feel important, even if they don’t set out to do that intentionally. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and ride along with what might seem like a fun idea at the time.

I’m leaning toward the first scenario. Other folks can then be stirred up by the excitement and are on high alert for something strange and unexplained. Subsequent misidentifications of large birds in the area become more sightings of mothman.

The fact remains that a mothman as a real living creature is not physically possible. Most mysteries like this are the result of misidentification and general hype. They become another folk tale or legend, which is fine, but let’s enjoy the stories as just that, stories. We don’t need to believe it.

Next I’ll take a look at the UFO sightings and strange phone calls, among other paranormal events that are said to have taken place during the same timeframe, up until the collapse of the Silver Bridge.

Until then, keep an eye out for the weird, but don’t believe everything you hear, and only half of what you see…

The Bell Island Boom – Super Lighting and Ball Lightning?

I was perusing the YouTube and stumbled upon an old CBC news broadcast from 1978 about mysterious booms and a spectacular explosion that made a notable disruption of some lives on Bell Island in Conception Bay, just off the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

Okay, to be honest I was perusing the YouTube looking for the old CBC news broadcast from 1978 because I had just listened to the Nighttime Podcast episode about the Bell Island Boom from April 23 2016, but that didn’t sound like a good opener.

Yes, this is a rehash of an old story, and an old episode from that podcast—which is pretty darn good if you’re interested in all of the weirdness that goes on in Canada—but there are some who haven’t heard of the Bell Island Boom, like me, and I was intrigued by the tale so decided to take a look at it here at Apokryphunk.

So What Happened?
Way back when, on April 2, 1978, something strange and scary rattled the residents of a village on Bell Island, NL, Canada. Along with a shocking “explosion” locals reported strange electrical occurrences, at least one report of what some might describe as ball lightning, holes in the ground, and a massive beam of light hitting the island as reported by more a distant observer.

The CBC report begins with reports of booms heard along the eastern seaboard of the U.S. from South Carolina to New Jersey. Mysterious booms are heard all over the place to this day. There are the Seneca Guns, so-named for their origins on the shores of Seneca and Cayuga lakes in Western New York. The name stuck and they are called the Seneca Guns in the Carolinas and other states as well. Otherwise they’re just called, well, “mysterious booms”. Most of these unexplained booms are heard in the Eastern United States but there have been some reported in California and elsewhere.

Sonic Booms?
The most common explanation is supersonic aircraft, which create a pressure wave as they compress the air ahead of them. Yes, they are going so fast that the air literally can’t get out of the way in time and compresses into water vapor and creates a continuous cone of pressure around the craft that travels all the way down to earth. When this wave passes an unsuspecting ear far below it creates a dull thump or sometimes a very noticeable boom sound. The intensity depends on the distance of the aircraft to the listener.

Many of the booms heard along the eastern seaboard during the late 1970s were initially thought to be the result of a passing Concord jet just off the coast, headed from New York’s JFK to London’s Heathrow Airport. After figuring this was the likely cause authorities altered the flight path so the plane would produce its sonic boom farther out over the ocean instead of near land. Some booms persisted, though, and can’t be so easily locked down.

Dr. William Donn of the Lamont Doherty Geological Observatory in Palisades, NY, interviewed for the CBC special report, examined data collected from sensitive atmospheric sound monitoring stations and noticed that many of the booms took weekends off, as well as the Christmas holiday. Dr. Donn suspected that the booms, and lack there of during American holidays and weekend breaks, were the result of military activity. Could be.

Look oddball booms are one thing and they happen a lot, check out for more information on that subject. There are a huge number of explanations for something like that: sonic booms, seismic activity, frost quake, a distant thunderstorm, a hair-raising explosion from some DIY MythBuster playing with gunpowder in his back yard, military activity, a blasting company fracturing a massive boulder nearby—I used to work for one, they don’t tell everyone in town about it—among other things.

But the booms along the east coast in December of 1977, as strange and mysterious as they were, were not related to the explosive event that occurred on Bell Island. At least I don’t think they were, but I could be wrong. For example, it is possible that the booms heard by some residents were actually thunder related to a storm far in the distance, but that wouldn’t have been audible in almost every state along the east coast.

So, what the hell happened on Bell Island that had folks thinking the world was coming to an end? After listening to the reports given in the CBCs news piece I did some research and pondering and to me the event sounds an awful lot like a massive lightning strike, with other associated electromagnetic effects. Let’s take a look at what those folks reported, and see what we can make of them.

First of all, these were not loony people. They were down to earth folks who witnessed something way out of the ordinary and had physical evidence to prove it. Everyone interviewed heard a sound they described as an explosion, or at least a big boom. A few witnesses described a massive concussion that rattled their homes. One woman exclaimed it was as if her house had been broken in two.

One gentleman witnessed “fire” as he called it, likely an electrical arc, blast about 18 inches out of an outlet above his kitchen table. Immediately after this discharge he heard a loud boom.

Other witnesses described similar events, some more extreme including TVs utterly destroyed by electrical overloads, burned out electric motors, and a report of a “ball of fire” flaring up in an oven, apparently passing through the glass.

So, what the hell can cause such strangeness and destruction? The electrical arc shooting out of the outlet and the fried TV set are telling. Having researched a huge lightning strike my wife and I experienced during an electrical storm which set off our smoke detector for a few seconds, it seems likely or at least possible that these particular disturbances were cause by something known as an EMP, or electromagnetic pulse. And in the case of the Bell Islanders it was a massive electromagnetic pulse because by comparison our smoke detector was intact and functioning after the incident we witnessed. And let me tell you, the crack of thunder we heard was enough to scare the living daylights out of us.

Elsewhere in the village a blast of some kind shot through buildings from one end to the other, a barn was essentially blown apart, and chickens on that same property were killed and had blood coming from their eyes and beaks. No scortching or burns were seen on the barn or chickens, so it was not a direct hit by lightning. Still, lightning could be the culprit, especially if it was a super bolt that found it’s way to Bell Island from a strong winter storm in the Labrador Sea.

Accoring to this article, How far away from a thunderstorm can lightning strike? at anvil lightning can strike more than 100 miles from a storm. That means it can appear to come out of nowhere, a so-called “bolt from the blue”. Indeed the longest recorded lightning distance was nearly 200 miles, as recorded in Oklahoma in 2007. Maybe that’s what happened here; a record breaking, long distance super bolt that was not recorded by weather monitoring stations at the time.

A Possible Explanation: Super Lightning
I did some serious poking around on the interwebs, because obvi I didn’t have anything else to do this weekend, but I could find no specific data on actual weather events on Bell Island or the surrounding area. However, according to this study published by the Journal of Physical Oceanography, typical storms that form in the Labrador Sea “occur more frequently in winter and spring, about one every 3 to 5 days…” and have a diameter of 500km, 310-ish miles.

Based on that information it is very possible, unbeknownst to Bell Islanders and others nearby, that a strong storm was churning somewhere in the sea north of Newfoundland and a rogue lightning bolt from said storm found its way to Bell Island, blasting holes in the ground and generating an EMP strong enough to shoot electrical arcs out of wall outlets and fry TVs as well as other equipment. A witness across the bay claims to have seen a “white streak” come down from the sky and strike on the island which, if her report is reliable, could have been the only visual confirmation of a super lightning bolt on that day. I’m not sure why the CBC reporter deemed that report unreliable.

Near the end of the news report, Geophysicist Dr. Thomas Gold had this to say to the CBC reporter, “It was a very strange phenomenon alright…” but added that there was “no hint of anything other than electrical phenomenon.” He concluded that it was an electrical discharge, stating, “a very unusual one, and enormous one.” What occurred on Bell Island is probably the most incredible example of a clear air super bolt of lightning from a powerful, distant winter storm.

A strike from super-lightning would also have created an incredible shockwave with potential to blow through buildings, rattle a barn apart and kill chickens within close proximity to the impact. Primary injuries associated with a blast event include ruptured eardrums, and damage to soft tissue and internal organs like the lungs, which could be the reason for the blood evidence on the chickens. So those poor chickens were too close to ground zero.

Holes in the ground? I was curious about that too, but yes, lightning can actually blast a hole in the ground. Here is photographic evidence of a 3 foot diameter hole in a golf course made by a lightning strike and a hole in runway tarmac. Lightning can cause some interesting patterns in grass too.

Ball Lightning
Now what about the glowing ball of energy? Youngster Darrin Bickford was riding his bike when the blast occurred on Bell Island. He commented that he thought something was happening “with the world,” like a bomb attack or something. But after that he witnessed something very strange. He described seeing a ball of light, three feet in diameter, glowing mostly blue with orange around the edge, with sparks.

Ball lightning, though relatively rare, is an unexplained phenomenon associated with electrical storms or other electromagnetic disturbances. For example, ball lightning has been reported in association with seismic activity. Known as earthquake lights there are many theories but the exact mechanism that causes them is unknown.

The electrifying orbs sometimes seen in relation to lightning strikes or in the vicinity of electrical storms are more well known but, like earthquake lights, they aren’t well understood though many theories have been presented to explain them. They happen though, and they appear in various sizes and colors, sometimes with noisy pops or static sounds, sometimes completely silent. In the case of Bell Island that seems like the kind of phenomenon Darrin witnessed. A somehow charged ball of electricity glowing and sparking, floating in the air before him. It happens. There are a lot of things about nature that we don’t understand, but we’re learning.

Back in the late 80’s I saw something I’d describe as ball lightning. Two balls of light actually, late in the evening, floating slowly and silently, side by side just above the power lines. I watched them drift along, above the utility poles until they followed the guy wire on the last pole to ground and disappeared. One of the craziest things I had ever witnessed. I don’t recall any storm activity in my general vicinity, but I can’t say for sure that there wasn’t one in the area. Also, this was in New Jersey and there is very little seismic activity there.

The fact that they rode along the power lines could explain it. Maybe they were just some form of static discharge, like the old tale of the “Hooker Man” I used to hear as a kid. You’d see his lantern drifting down the railroad tracks late a night, apparently the result of some static electricity generated in the metal of the railway escaping into the air. Who knows?

Like the folks on Bell Island back in 1978, I know I saw something weird that I don’t completely understand. If a blast of lightning struck down, on a clear day, and no one saw it except for some lady across the bay, what would you think in that moment? Your just hanging out at your kitchen table and electricity shoots 18 inches out of the wall socket and you hear a massive boom, eh? Your TV burns up. A barn is blasted apart clean of any telltale burn marks. Your chickens are killed by some unseen force, and a kid down the street sees a floating, glowing ball of sparking light. Not to mention the huge holes and marks blasted into the snowy ground nearby.

Lightning is crazy stuff, we know it happens, but happens mostly when there’s a storm around. No storm? No lightning, right? Nope. It can happen and has happened. As I mentioned lightning has struck nearly 200 miles from it’s origin in a storm. Make it a super lightning bolt, 100 times more powerful than your run-of-the-mill lightning, and you have a massively crazy thing happening right there.

So I agree with Dr. Gold on this one: basically a ginormous, freak bolt of lightning from a storm far away. It caught everyone off guard. Nature will continue to play tricks on us, so stay alert my friends. It’s been forty-one years, maybe we’re due. You never know when or where that next super bolt-from-the blue is going to strike.

Travis Walton UFO Incident Reflux

In keeping with a theme which began last month, the “What Didn’t Happen this Month in Paranormal History” series, I bring you this gem from November of 1975…

The Travis Walton UFO Incident, er… Experience, er… Abduction, er… story, or whatever it was.

The story, and it is a good one, is that on November 5, 1975, Travis Walton and his fellow crew members were clearing brush and dead trees in an area of the Apache-Stigreaves National Forest, not far from the town of Heber, Arizona. They had worked late into the evening and were driving out of the area in a crew-cab pickup truck when they noticed a glowing light filtering through the trees. They approached an area where they were able to observe the source of the light and saw an object hovering in a clearing.

The driver, crew mate Ken Peterson, started to pull away but Travis had allegedly exited the vehicle and walked toward the light as the others watched. They described an object about fifteen to twenty feet in diameter and ten feet high, hovering about fifteen feet off of the ground.

Recounting the event for a documentary entitled Travis: The True Story of Travis Walton, Travis claimed to hear a persistent “alternating” frequency with very high and very low, rumbling frequencies as well; a sound that Walton claimed “Carried real well”. Ken Peterson described a similar loud sound which he also claimed to feel through low frequency vibrations in the vehicle. Another crew member, John Goulette, referred to the sound simply as “a beep.” That’s a little bit not the same.

Travis Walton Abduction Sketch

Peterson saw “a blue light hit Travis” after which, he stated, Travis fell over sideways. Goulette claims that he had turned and was looking in the other direction when this happened, but says he saw a bright bluish-green light illuminate the surrounding forest, then turned to see Travis raised up a foot or two off of the ground and held there in the light with his arms and legs outstretched before finally dropping to the ground, a crumpled and apparently lifeless form.

Other crew members allege that Travis was more or less blasted off of his feet by the impact of the beam, or electrical charge, or whatever it was, and not necessarily suspended in the air for any length of time.

In an apparent panic Peterson hit the gas and drove the truck out of the area but after a short distance they decided to turn around and go back to help Travis.

Upon returning to the location they found that Travis was gone. They searched for fifteen minutes but found no trace of Travis or the UFO. On their way to nearby Heber they called the police. Debuty Sheriff Chuck Ellison met with the boys initially, and alerted County Sheriff Marlin Gillespie who organized a search for the missing 22 year old Walton. The boys were held but not under arrest, and early suspicions were that they had murdered their crew mate.

Interviewed for the documentary, Ellison recalls the boys “stomping around” and commented that “a couple of them were crying.” He said he tried to get as close as he could to each one to determine if alcohol or marijuana had been involved but did not detect any use.

Five days passed with no progress in the search, and the boys all stuck to their story. On November 10 Travis made a phone call from a phone booth in Heber, Arizona, and was picked up by his brother then brought home.

The rest is UFO abduction history. It’s a fun story, but is it real? I doubt it. Based on my cursory examination of various bits of info available online, and my bunk-senses, there are many things that just don’t add up. Inconsistencies in the story are revealed through various newspaper articles. The abduction scenario changes and grows more elaborate in subsequent tellings. Early on Travis described your run-of-the-mill UFO abduction scenario, but in a later statement he claims to have piloted the UFO. Later still, instead of just one kind of alien he encounters bald headed beings, who he heroically battles, and then encounters a more humanoid alien. His story changed and was embellished.

In one report Walton’s friend and crew boss Mike Rogers is said to have been driving the truck, and that is how it presented in the movie, however in the documentary mentioned above it is indicated that Ken Peterson was the driver. That could be just a simple case of misreporting, but the rest just seems like a story getting worse.

UFO investigators who arrived during the period when Travis was missing and interviewed the witnesses, and Travis’ mother, noticed inconsistencies. When they prodded with more questions to get more information the stories began to unravel. Those Ufologists, and anyone else who seemed to doubt the story, were not allowed any further access to the witnesses. Only those who believed and were supporting the story were permitted.

To me this reeks of a con. According to those shunned UFO investigators Travis and his close family had an apparent history of UFO interest and experiences, claiming numerous sightings. His mother also seemed unfazed by the disappearance of her son. Stating, “That’s how these things happen…”

As I watched the documentary it seemed that they were trying to convince the viewer of the validity of the story. The last portion of the film centered on Walton and others bashing the late Phillip J. Klass, a popular debunker of UFO sightings and abduction claims. It’s common for someone with dubious claims to lash out when confronted with contradicting information; Christians hate atheists, Bigfooters hate anyone who criticizes their monster-in-the-woods, and UFO believers hate UFO debunkers. I’d hate it if someone kept pointing out facts that contradicted my tall tale too.

Klass suggested that Mike Rogers and Travis Walton concocted the scheme in order to get Rogers out of the contract he had with the U.S. Forest Service because he was seriously behind schedule to complete the acreage he had agreed to tend. He had already received a penalty and an extension for missing the first deadline, and was about to miss the extended deadline. The idea was that if the crew were too afraid to return to work because of the UFO then Roger’s could get out of the contract due to an “Act of God” but still receive his full contract amount. I wonder how that worked out? Because he damn sure didn’t finish the job after all the hubbub about this alleged event hit the press.

Maybe the young twenty-somethings weren’t thinking, and just wanted to make a few bucks and move on. They were paid $5000 by National Enquirer for the story. Travis got a check for $2500 and the remainder was divided among the rest of the crew. $5,000 was a lot of dinero back in 1975, nearly $24,000 in todays economy. Once you stake a claim in UFO land you have to ride that puppy though. Can’t turn back or you reveal yourself as a fraud.

Travis continued, continues, to profit from his story. He wrote a book about his alleged experience in 1998, later revised and re-released as Fire in the Sky, which was later made into a movie of the same name. He tried his hand at an annual UFO convention of sorts with the SkyFire Summit, but it was short-lived with only one event each in 2014 and 2015. Walton continues to make appearances, paid of course, at other UFO related conventions, radio shows, TV appearances and other events, not to mention the 2015 documentary.

Toward the end of the documentary Travis is talking with a friend as they stroll through the woods, apparently near where the alleged event took place, and Travis posits yet another possibility: Maybe the aliens zapped him by mistake and didn’t mean to hurt him so they took him abord the UFO to fix him up, returning him to earth five days later when he was fully recovered. That’s a cute idea, but it completely contradicts his story in which he battled the aliens. Just more smoke to fog things up. A continuously changing story that still resonates with true UFO believers regardless of how outlandish or inconsistent it is, or may become.

That’s all for now my friends. Keep your eyes on the skies! I might be a skeptic but damn I wish this stuff was for real.

Sheaffer, R (Revised August 5, 2016) Skeptical Information on the Travis Walton “UFO Abduction” Story. Retrieved from

Jen Stein (Producer/Director). (2015). Travis: The True Story of Travis Walton [Video file]. Retrieved from

Wikipedia: Travis Walton UFO Incident –

Wikipedia: Phillip J. Klass –

The Philadelphia Experiment

October, Rocktober, Shocktober… Schlocktober. Whatever kind of -tober you call it, it’s that time of month. The wind turns cold, dead leaves start swirling around in the streets, Home Depot shuffles out their halloween decor. Wait, that was last month, this month they set up all of the Christmas displays.

I can recall a time when Home Depot sold nothing but serious equipment, tools and materials for electricians, plumbers, construction and landscraping professionals. Now Home Depot, et al., are just department stores with lame, jumbo Halloween decorations and plastic Christmas trees, who also happen to stock building materials. And people think the paranormal is weird….

But I digress. It’s October! It’s almost Halloween! It’s that time of year when our minds drift to the supernatural and spooky, the creepy and macabre (the “r” is generally silent there by the way). So, what zany out of this world event didn’t happen this month in unexplained mystery history? I’ve got just the thing…

The Philadelphia Experiment
That’s right, didn’t happen, so stop watching all of those dopey “documentaries” that claim this nonsense is real and get on with the true meaning of the season: fun for fun-sake, bunk for bunk-sake. There doesn’t have to be anything real about any of it, it’s just fun fodder for fertile imaginations.

Now, how do we know that the Philadelphia Experiment didn’t happen? Easy, it’s called “Occam’s Razor.” In short Occam’s Razor is a reasoning tool which can be summed up like this: the simplest explanation is likely the correct one. Write that down.

The following is based on information easily digested at See the main article at that website for any potential references. They did the research, I’m just summarizing.

The Philadelphia Experiment was first proposed in letters received by Morris K. Jessup, a writer on the UFO phenomenon who mostly earned a living as an auto parts salesman and photographer. Though he had a masters degree in astronomy he never persued that field any further than beginning work on and ultimately abandoning his doctorate.

The letters were written by a Carlos Miguel Allende, who also referred to himself as Carl M. Allen in other correspondence to Jessup. The mystery letter sender’s real name was in fact Carl Meredith Allen. Allen was a strange fellow with a very active imagination and just maybe a screw or two loose.

In these letters Allen claimed to have witnessed an experiment which occurred in October of 1943, at the Naval Shipyard in Philadeplphia, involving U.S. Navy ship USS Eldridge, in which the ship was made invisible with some kind of humongous electromagnetic field. Or something like that. After reappearing it was subsequently revealed, somehow to someone, that while invisible the ship had made a short jaunt to to New York and even encountered some aliens along the way.

Sounds fun, except for the part where, upon allegedly reappearing in Philly after its alleged vanishing, some of the crew were allegedly found physically blended with parts of the ship. Not just stuck half way into a wall, but literally part of the wall.

That’s an incredibly fantastical tale, so… Insert decades of bunky nonsense here, regurgitated and revised by countless television shows, documentaries, newspaper articles, books, magazines, websites, forums, podcasts and on and on…

Jessup considered Allen a whack-job, and for good reason: generally speaking Allen was a whack-job. We have it on first-hand account by Robert Goerman, a freelance reporter who has written on various topics in the paranormal camp. During his research into the persona of Carl M. Allen, Goerman found that the truth was closer than he expected. Turns out he was actually acquainted with Allen’s immediate family, though he didn’t know it until he mentioned his research to them during a casual conversation.

It was revealed that Carl M. Allen was literally disturbed and a “creative loner.” Read Goerman’s report on the matter at his website.

So, SLICE… Occam’s Razor cuts a huge chunk of bunk from the story of the Philadelphia Experiment and we come to the more logical, and practical, explanation that Carl Meredith Allen perpetrated a hoax with his letters to Jessup regarding the alleged vanishing of the USS Eldridge in 1943.

The truth is usually right under our noses, but all too often—more like all the time when it comes to the paranormal and “unexplained”—a simmering soup of speculation and stubborn beliefs among dedicated fans of these mysteries creates a sloppy glop of claims and fantastic ideas that obscure the truth, distract and mislead.

But why let the truth stand in the way of a good story?

The Amygdala – Why We Get Scared and Like It

Well, not everyone likes getting scared, but why do so many of us dig walking through a haunted attraction, down dark roads, or watching scary movies? It doesn’t matter how well you know your environment, on a spooky night with the lights out that jacket tossed over the chair becomes a boogeyman. Blink and it’ll be standing by the bed…

We get scared because we’re human. Many of us, myself included, won’t immediately consider logical explanations when these things occur. Walking down a dark road at night for instance. Any unexpected and unfamiliar sound from the woods beside us, or the darkness behind us, makes us jump. We get goosey and run, or at least pick up the pace and get the hell out of there. So what’s going on?

Allow me to introduce the friendly autonomous sentinel in every human brain, the amygdala. This amazing piece of grey matter cues in on stimuli in our environment way before the rest of the brain is even remotely aware of it. They are tweaked through evolution to recognize facial characteristics, pick up on sounds and other things, even proximity alerts, like how close people are standing to us before we are consciously aware of it.

The Amygdala is the early warning system of the brain that helps us avoid danger. Without the evolution of the amygdala the human race would probably not exist. Our early hominid ancestors were able to survive the dangers of their time with the invaluable aid of this biological surveillance system.

When something potentially harmful or threatening is picked up by the amygdala it warns us by making us feel nervous or scared; causing the hair to stand up on the back of our neck, giving us goosebumps, raising our heart rate and triggering what is called the “fight or flight response” all before we are conscious enough of the situation to help ourselves. The amygdala wakes us up to the fact that we might be in danger and puts innate systems into action. If the threat is a false alarm we get a scare, but if the threat is real we have a chance at saving ourselves. We either run like hell or fight.

The thrill we experience when the threat is not real is the result of dopamine being released by the brain and causing us to feel good, even though we’re getting scared. It works differently for some people, which is why not everyone enjoys getting scared and some people absolutely love it.

Some of us stand in line outside a haunted attraction waiting to get the crap scared out of us. Some of us watch scary movies or read scary books at night. Some people enjoy jumping off of cliffs with parachutes attached.

The brain becomes overloaded with potential threats but you are ultimately aware that the threat is not real so you feel the fear as excitement due to chemicals in the brain.

A silhouette outside the window, creaking branches in the wind, unknown sounds, cold spots, footsteps, haunting moans and creaks, the earth rushing toward you at critical velocity. Roller coasters, bungee jumping, ferris wheels, jump scares in horror movies. This stuff scares us because our amygdalae is programmed to respond to perceived real threats. It doesn’t know you’re watching a horror movie. It’s interpreting sights and sounds, and assumes something very bad is going to happen.

The amygdala, and a little dopamine. That’s the recipe for thrill seekers and the rest of us who just like a little scare once in awhile. Remember your older sister jumping out as you walked down the hall? BOO! Whether you seek it or not, the thrill happens.

Many of us like listening to spooky stories as we sit around campfires with the dark night and forest surrounding us. We enjoy the stir of fear and excitement we feel. The same thing happens when we venture into a spooky location at night, or intentionally put ourselve in a scary situation.

Ever notice that every paranormal investigation takes place at night? Why would ghosts care what time it is? They don’t, we do. We get a bigger thrill being in a spooky, supposedly haunted house at night than during the day. That’s exactly why the crew from Finding Bigfoot ventures out at night. It’s more fun and exciting to look for scary things in the dark, try it sometime.

So that’s that. Our amazing brains are the reason we get that rush of adrenaline, the excitement in fear. You guys have a great night now, I need to go lock my door. Just heard something outside. Probably the wind rattling the door handle, let me take a look….

Bigfoot Official Critter of Whitehall NY and Marion NC

Ahh why not Marion, NC too? The village of Whitehall, NY, dubbed the old Cryptozoological poster-cryptid their official animal last month, there’s plenty of Squatch to go around.

I can hear the mayor of Marion, NC, now, “Crap we should have put that through sooner, Whitehall beat us to it!”

Bigfoot of Whitehall, NY
Whitehall is a small unassuming village a mere mile and a half or so from the Vermont border, just east of Lake George, nestled in the foothills of the Adirondacks. The high peaks region of the Adirondacks lies within a two-ish hour drive to the northwest. Plenty of wildlife, rivers, creeks and miles of forest shelter. The Adirondacks is Bigfoot heaven.

Lets face it, the northeast wilderness of New York, New Hampshire and Vermont is probably the most likely region on the east coast for a decent population of these creatures to thrive if they do actually exist. I mean, if Bigfoot (that is the plural form, like deer and bear) are real the Adirondacks is the kind of place they’re likely to be found cavorting. The jury of popular science is still out on that though, so more compelling evidence—than the thousands of sightings and footprint casts already amassed—is required.

Whitehall NY Bigfoot Statue
Impressive steel sculpture displayed by Vermont Marble, Granite, Slate & Soapstone Co. on Rt 4 in Whitehall. Pic courtesy

Whitehall is a personal favorite for various reasons; beautiful scenery, a massive steel Bigfoot sculpture and assorted other tributes to these hairy forest giants, including a rather goofy looking metal Bigfoot sculpture standing outside of Bigfoot Wine & Liquor. Whitehall has had a fair share of Bigfoot sightings over the years too.

The first reported and most famous Bigfoot sighting near Whitehall is the 1976 Abair Road encounter. On the night of August 24th of that year 18 year old Paul Gosselin and his friend Martin Paddock were driving in a pickup truck along Abair Road just over the town line in Hampton, NY. They passed a “human figure” standing by the roadside. Turning around they returned to the spot and stopped the truck but the figure was gone.

The story goes that they heard a sound like a “pig or a lady” screaming. Startled and unsure what to make of it all they “took off to the top of the hill” where they locked the doors and waited for a bit. Suddenly they saw “something big” running at them so they high-tailed it out of there and drove into Whitehall to get the police. After a few jokes and jeers the officers, one of whom was Paul’s older brother Brian Gosselin, returned with them to check out their claim. Their father, also a cop, was also on the scene as were state troopers. This was apparently a pretty big deal.

Bigfoot Wine & Liquors sculpture and wood sasquatch in Whitehall, NY
Metal sculpture at Bigfoot Wine & Liquors, and a wood carving of Bigfoot. Photos pilfered from, thanks!

At one point officer Brian Gosselin shined his search light into a field along Abair Road and caught a huge creature in the wash of the beam. The boys witnessed the creature as well and the officer stepped closer to the field while another officer apparently fled the scene, later refusing to admit what he had seen. It’s interesting to note that although many iterations of this tale mention state troopers and other officers on the scene not one of those other witnesses ever came forward to tell their version of events and are not mentioned further.

Read more about the Abair Road encounter in the new book Abair Road the True Story by Sue Gosselin. The road name is pronounce with a long “A” like “ey-bear” by the way. The documentary Beast of Whitehall is another good resource including this and other Whitehall sightings. Bonus, in that doc you’ll also hear excerpts from actual recorded interviews made during the investigation by Bigfoot researcher Bill Brann.

Other sightings in Whitehall include a Sasquatch who apparently wanted to play through on the golf course at Skene Valley Country Club; two hunters who heard low vocalizations and saw a creature on the opposite side of a creek; a NJ couple passing through Whitehall reported a creature crossing the road; and most recently—and maybe conveniently with the upcoming Bigfoot Calling Festival—earlier this month a motorist spotted a large hairy something crossing Route 4, and investigator Paul Bartholomew, co-author of the awesome but sadly out of print book available for an elevated sum by thrid-party sellers at, Monsters of the Northwoods, made a cast of a large footprint found nearby.

If Bigfoot tickles your whatever and you also happen to be a fan of craft beer and brew pubs there are almost as many breweries as Bigfoot sightings in the vicinity. Just south of Whitehall, on Rt 4 in Fort Ann, you’ll find Battle Hill Brewing Co. During our investigation of the area my partner and I stopped in for a flight of some really great beers. The brewer really knows what he’s doing. From the huge window in the dining area you get a great view north toward Whitehall, including the peaks of Battle Hill and the Pinnacle in the distance. I think it’s the Pinnacle, anyone who knows for sure is welcome to leave a comment.

Other local brewery stops include Mean Max Brew Works and Common Roots Brewing Co. in Glens Falls, NY; Paradox Brewing in Schroon Lake, NY; Adirondack Brewery and the Lake George Brewhouse.

It is this blogging investigator’s opinion that Bigfoot, as flesh and blood creatures, have a greater chance of being real than more fantastical things like ghosts, fairies, demons, unicorns or the Great Pumpkin. This isn’t a supernatural thing and it isn’t about belief. There are millions of acres across the Northeast states that roll right on up into Ontario, similar to the gazilions of acres of pristine forest land in the Pacific Northwest. Sure, you get the occasional rogue hairy upright walking hominid in Vineland, NJ—plenty of woodsy spots there and it’s close to IHOP—but nothing compared to the sprawling forests farther north.

Now, about this Marion thing…

Bigfoot of Marion, NC
What sort of Bigfooty things are going on in Marion, NC? Hardly enough to make Bigfoot the official town critter but apparently there is enough Squatchery nearby that they wanted to hop on the Bigfoot bandwagon. There are only two sightings in McDowell county listed in the BFRO database, one in Spruce Pine and other occurances in Little Switzerland that may have been Bigfoot related.

Adjacent counties have had about as much activity over the years as McDowell with just two alleged Bigfoot related incidents each for Avery, Buncombe, Burke and Yancey. One each for Rutherford and Mitchell. So for an area covering over 2,500 square miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains, that’s 1.6 million acres, twelve sightings ain’t much. Granted those are sightings actually reported to the BFRO.

By comparison there are 21 Bigfoot related events in Warren and Washington counties in New York. Whitehall is located in Washington county which boasts 9 sightings. Granted the BFRO isn’t the be-all-end-all of Bigfoot sightings, no doubt there are countless sightings and incidents that have not made it to the BFRO database. Sighting reports still sitting in file cabinets in news offices and police departments across America.

I can’t believe I’m spending so much time on this.

Can’t blame Marion for jumping in on the Bigfoot craze. They did it for the same reason Whitehall did: tourist dollars. You see, after early interest in this subject dwindled in the public eye through the 1980s and 90s, due to the onset of internet social media platforms and services like YouTube the topic of Bigfoot, and other so-called unexplained mysteries, has again grown in popularity and filmmakers and TV producers are taking advantage of this interest, creating content that further fuels the flames of squatchery.

Bring people into town to spend money at local restaurants and businesses, and everyone’s happy. That’s the idea. But how can you get them there? Any way you can. Create a festival, draw attention by claiming Bigfoot as your official animal, give folks something fun to do, something strange to ponder, food, beer, enterainment and you’re all set.

Rolling hills and mountains of Western North Carolina
Does Bigfoot live in the mountains of Western NC?

Want Bigfoot festivals? You got it!
Whitehall is hosting the Sasquatch Calling Contest & Festival on September 29th this year. Free admission, fun for the kids, vendors, movies, live music, Bigfoot information and of course the calling contest. Get your vocal cords ready, you might win $100! For more information visit the Bigfoot Calling Festival Facebook page.

Marion is hosting the NC Bigfoot Festival on September 8th.

Just like the northeast U.S., western North Carolina has millions of acres of wilderness hills and mountains, the perfect place for Bigfoot. So don’t be surprised if, on some moonlit night, you’re driving back from the festival to your RV at the campground or your cabin rental in the mountains, and some hulking, hairy beast steps out into the beam of your headlights. Keep your eyes on the road ahead, you may encounter Bigfoot…

UFO Over Lake Norman – NC

Last week the interwebs were shaken up by a video in which the poster claimed he saw “a spacecraft” hovering in the distance across Lake Norman, just north of Charlotte, North Carolina.

The interwebs weren’t the only thing shaking. The quality of this video suffers from what my collegues in paranormal pursuits and I refer to as fakey-shakey, jive-jiggle or bullshitter jitter. The guy is shaking the camera, in this case his cellphone, on purpose and so damn much that there is no possible way viewers can see what the hell he is recording.

Take a quick look at the video below and see if you can identify the object…

In fact some sharp-eyed YouTubers have pointed out what the object is likely to be and their suggestions have been corroborrated by GoodYear officials. It was a GoodYear blimp, Wingfoot One specifically—and actually a “semi-rigid” airshit not a blimp—as revealed in a USA Today article about the video.

So the video of the UFO over Lake Norman is actually an IFO, and the guy who made the video knew exactly what he was recording, he’s just a joker.

Still and always I will continue my search for real evidence of the unexplained, but crap like this just fogs the swamp. I’m not holding my breath.

Phoenix Lights Regurgitation

The Phoenix Lights Festival returned for its fourth year to The Park at Wild Horse Pass on April 7 & 8, 2018. The two day music festival featured 42 artists, including techno, dance and trance DJs and full bands. Festivals need themes and the Phoenix Lights Festival has an interesting piece of local lore behind it. Who knows, there may very well have been some extraterrestrials at the festival, but there weren’t any at the original sighting events back in 1997. Or at any other time. I don’t mean to pop any bubbles, just being real. It’s my job.

To be sure, festivals are not the problem, the problem is these dopey documentaries that show up 21 years later, rehashing reports, adding new nonsense and completely ignoring anything that resembles reality. But then, one guy’s reality is another’s… whatever, you know what I mean.

21 YEARS since Phoenicians first experienced a strange light formation in the sky, and mysterious orange lights flickering over South Mountain and the Sierra Estrella mountain range, southwest of Phoenix, AZ.

Before I comment on this Expanded and Updated documentary which is also apparently Beyond Top Secret, let me first summarize the events which I have independently investigated while sitting at the dinette of my little RV. I happen to be camping in a remote location, staking out a logging site for a friend of mine. He thinks there may be a Bigfoot roaming around in the woods here.

After a long day and no Bigfoot I was winding down with a cold beer and decided to cover-surf on my Amazon FireTV Stick. Since I frequently watch shows about the paranormal as part of my investigative work Amazon pops up various titles that I might find interesting. I know Amazon tracks my viewing behavior, I just hope my Alexa is minding her own business. I’d hate to think she’s logging my conversations, especially the ones I have with myself. Ha! Logging.

Anyway, that’s where I noticed the Phoenix Lights – Beyond Top Secret – Expanded and Updated. The title reads like just like a bullbunkum book you wouldn’t pay two cents for. Well, I wouldn’t, I can get that stuff on Kindle for free. I don’t enjoy the stuff really, but I need to keep up to date in my line of work. Beyond top secret huh? Let’s talk about the Phoenix Lights…

Artist rendering of the Phoenix Lights by Drew Vics

The Phoenix Lights Story

Two events unfolded on the evening of March 13, 1997, and many, including Lynne Kitei, confuse the them, maybe deliberately so, merging them into one and dismissing any rational explanation because it does not fit with what they want to believe.

Witnesses of the first event recount seeing a triangular, or V-shaped, formation of lights traversing slowly overhead and seen by witnesses starting at 7:55 MST in Henderson, NV. A report was made by a motorist in Kingman, AZ, then reports started at 8:17 MST in Prescott, AZ, followed by witness sightings in Phoenix.

Most witnesses described lights in a V formation traveling at a slow rate of speed from northwest to southeast. Some claimed a massive object blocked out stars in the sky as the formation passed overhead, though the brightness of the nearby lights witnesses were focused on would most likely cause their eyes to adjust, thereby making far distant stars seem much dimmer.

Here you go… an amateur astronomer using a Dobsonian telescope observed the lights of the V formation and clearly saw that they were attached to individual airplanes. That pretty much settles it for me, but maybe I should doubt what he says because he could just be a plant for the government to misdirect people from the truth about the UFO Alien coverup. Yeah that’s it.

The second event was subsequently confirmed by authorities at the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range to be a series of parachute flares dropped by A-10 Warthogs over the testing range southwest of Phoenix. In fact, video recordings made by some residents clearly depict lights behaving exactly as one would expect descending and flickering parachute flares to behave. None of the video clips presented in any news reel or documentary show the full deployment of course because then it would be evident as to what they are. They just wouldn’t be as intriguing.

A distant line of reddish glowing lights appear in the distance, flickering to life one by one and progressively descending, eventually disappearing behind the Sierra Estrella mountain range, generally in the same order in which they were dropped. No sound was heard because the aircraft dropping the flares were some distance away and flying perpendicular to witness viewing directions from Phoenix.

So, Beyond Top Secret, what’s that about? There was absolutely nothing top secret about the so-called Phoenix Lights in the first place. Air Force personnel freely disclosed that the series of lights seen over the mountains from Phoenix were flares dropped in a training run, and a guy with a telescope saw airplanes in the giant V-formation.

Now, About this Documentary…

… that I couldn’t waste more than 8 minutes on.

Three swigs into my beer I decided to switch over to Longmire. I just couldn’t stand listening to Dr. Lynne Kitei ramble on about the miraculous encounter she and her husband had had with the lights, and how magical the whole thing seemed to her. In the documentary she implied that she could sense a presence in the lights, and seemed to seriously believe they were some kind of higher beings trying to connect with humanity.

Over and over we see reenactments of her taking pictures of the event and she comments frequently on one photo in particular, which we are never shown. At one point I caught myself yelling at the TV, “show us the picture! Show us the PICTURE! SHOW US THE DANN PICTURE!” During one weird moment she actually takes a framed photo in her hands and looks at it with some apparent longing before returning it to the mantel, hiding it behind other pictures. Very strange. But we never see it.

After a little research I discovered that her photos of the event are available at the Phoenix Lights Network website. They are obvious blurry photos of the flares dropped by planes from Barry Goldwater AF Range, which is an event confirmed by the Air Force and would have appeared as the photos depict if seen from Phoenix. These are photos of the second event, not the V-formation.

This is all so basic it amazes me how these events, which were adequately explained at the time, can get so blown out of proportion. Actually, it doesn’t really. People perpetuate a whole bunch of nonsensical rubbish just because they have a need to believe. It really all boils down to just that. I won’t get into the psychology of it all here, I’m not a psychologist just a simple investigator of the unexplained.

This Phoenix Lights thing has taken on a whole new shape beyond just believing the lights were alien piloted spaceships. Lights, craft and even orbs are terms used to describe the things witnessed on that night in 1997. Orbs hints at the supernatural, ghosts and spirits, so this Phoenix Lights thing has become a kind of spiritual movement.

It reeks of some new age nonsense with sentiments like “Evolution to a New Consciousness,” and claims of a cover up with statements like, “…cover up of what is now being hailed as the largest mass sighting of UFOs in modern times…”

This is a weird amalgamation of UFO lore and spiritual enlightenment with religious overtones, but it’s nothing new. We’ve seen UFO enlightenment movements and “re-awakenings” in the past. In some ways, for some people, UFOs and the idea of aliens from space have replaced a biblical god.

The events known collectively as the Phoenix Lights have been sufficiently and rationally explained. There really is no need to spend any more time on it. The documentary is a rehashing of anecdotes, and the rekindling of a belief, held by some, that the lights were of extraterrestrial origin. It’s also spinning into something far stranger. Good luck to those who wade into the murky waters of some “New Consciousness.”