July 30, 2002
Follow-up to yesterday's Monday Mission.
Something Was Out There... and I saw It
I have seen something inexplicable. I'm still looking for the answer to this. Or maybe just a logical explanation. It was mid-spring, 1980. Saturday evening. Dusk. Central Illinois. Farm country. Some of the richest black dirt you'll find anywhere. Fields planted? Not sure. Black dirt tilled and fully exposed.
Driving home from my friend's wedding. It was a quaint little country wedding in a small-town church. It was also non-alcoholic. So, you can rest assured I was totally sober. I left the reception early. I was alone.
The day had been quite warm. I recall thinking that the candles in the unairconditioned church were too much for the heat. But the evening had settled into pleasantness. Not cool, not warm, just pleasant.
I had to drive about 10 miles of various country, county, and township roads to get back to the highway. Some of the roads cut through small towns. Most of the roads were straight-aways through farm fields. One of those roads left me with the permanent memory of something I'll never forget.
I was driving down one of those straight-aways. It was about one mile long. With a "T" intersection at each end. No buildings. No street lights. Nothing but vast farm fields on either side of the road. Oh, and big drainage ditches on each side of the road too.
I had gone about a quarter mile when I noticed up ahead and off in the distance to my left what appeared to be a motorcycle traveling across the field towards the road.
I could see only the headlight. My first concern was that we would both meet at a point in the road at the same time and collide. My next concern was that the motorcycle was either going to crash into the drainage ditch, or the driver would have to slow down, stop, get off and walk the bike down one edge of the ditch and up the other to get to the road. I kept driving and watching the bike.
Then the realization hit me that the head light from the bike should have been bumping up and down as it drove along the rutty field. But it wasn't. It was making a smooth path toward the road.
I slowed the car as it got closer. I rolled down the window to listen for the engine of the bike. There was no sound.
It was now about 100 feet away, off to the left, and a little ahead.
Then I realized it wasn't a headlight of a motorcycle as there was no light beam. It was a sphere. It was illuminated. It was not quite twice the size of a basketball. Floating. Propelled somehow.
I stopped the car and watched as it smoothly traveled across the drainage ditch, across the road about 40 feet ahead of me, across the drainage ditch to the right, and then disappeared about 60 feet after that into the right field.
I have never been able to determine what that was. I have made some inquiries. Someone told me it could have been a weather balloon. Someone else theorized that it could have been a probe from another civilization sent to examine the rich Central Illinois soil.
A couple years later, I was at an event where I was introduced to a man who was a physicist at Fermi Lab. I got the guy to spare me a few minutes and I told him my story. As I was about to ask him what his theory was, he checked his watch, excused himself to make a phone call, and I never saw him again.
Twenty years later, I was alone in a room with yet another physicist. I described what I had witnessed. When I was done, he looked at me and said, "you weren't supposed to see that."
Who knows? I sure don't! Any theories? But, Ball Lightning at mysterlights.com is an interesting possibility to check out. Let me know what you think.