Mystery Airships and other weird aerial Encounters

October 30, 2012     The Thirteen Days of Halloween  Post 12

I had intended to blog today about a classic Dixie haunting, but after having an encounter this morning with a UFO I decided to do something different.  I would have called it a close encounter, but looking up J. Allen Hynek’s categories I can’t say what I saw was as close as 500 feet, although it was about as close as I’d want to be descending as rapidly as what I saw.  What did I see?  Well, I was driving due east north of Nashville a little after six am; the moon was full even through a light haze and low on the horizon when looking ahead just left of it came streaking down a large glowing object, descending at a fort-five degree angle.  Compared to the full moon it looked about a third the size although obviously was much closer, it was about as bright as the moon and whether it left a trail or simply that it moved so fast it created a blur behind it I can’t say.  It was only visible for a few seconds before it disappeared behind the treeline.  Judging by its trajectory it would have either landed in Old Hickory Lake on close by in Hendersonville, or nearby in Madison or Old Hickory.  Now, what it was is anybody’s guess: that’s the Unidentified part of being a UFO.  It could have been a plane crashing, a meteor or some sort of artificial craft.  Since a plane crash would have been on the news that is unlikely.  If it was a meteor it was a very large one; there are probably some very spooked cows right now near Opryland if so.  On the other hand, a craft from outer space can’t be ruled out, albeit that also includes space junk.  Whatever it is it is quite real.  Look to the skies Nashville!

Sorry I can’t tell you about seeing little green men, or “grays” or the like; which is not to say that Tennessee and the South haven’t had such encounters in the past.  For example I wrote the Mystery Airship that buzzed Tennessee in the early 1900’s.  “Mystery Airships” was the term they used in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century for the cigar-shaped UFO’s.  In Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground I chronicled the “Cigars from Mars” that buzzed the Tennessee Valley in January, 1910.  It was sighted over Huntsville, Alabama, Chattanooga, Tennessee and Knoxville and was seen by hundreds of people.   While there are those who have suggested it was simply some anonymous dirigible having fun with the populace, I checked Jane’s All the World’s Airships for that period and none of the American craft could have fitted the bill.  At that point in time, before World War I, such craft ambled along at about 10 or 20 mph; your lawnmower engine would be more powerful than the engines these craft had.  This UFO was going at a relatively high rate of speed and at a height which was simply beyond the technology of the time.  Moreover, across the globe there was a rash of similar sightings late in 1909 and early 1910–all of them unexplained.

The there was the Close Encounter that occurred in West Virginia in 1952 near Flatwoods when some kids playing ball saw an aerial object come down.  Unlike my UFO it descended at a more gradual trajectory and one might have assumed it was just a meteor roaring past; but the boys went investigate and the craft evidently made a soft landing.  Gathering some friends and acquaintances, they went into the woods to investigate and encountered a creature unlike any of the standard descriptions of aliens.  One professional debunker–who wasn’t there–brushed it off as a “screech-owl” after interviewing all the residents of the area who weren’t there that night, which ranks with “swamp gas” as one of the more feeble rationalizations.  Although the craft was gone when the locals came back with authorities, there were signs on the ground that something had indeed been there–what, remains a mystery to this day.

From Pascagoula to Louisville and everywhere in between, weird craft, strange sights, , uncanny lights, red rains, preternatural falls snakes and all manner of other aerial spookiness have been reported for generations.  While many may scoff at those who report such things, don’t count me among them, for I too have seen something descend from the heavens I can’t explain.

Comets and meteors have often been recorded as celestial dragons wreaking havoc from above.

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