Back in the 1970’s, during the oil shocks and long lines at the pump, there was a good news/bad news report in circulation.
The bad news was that aliens had landed in front of City Hall. The good news was that they eat bureaucrats and piss gasoline.
I’ve followed the UFO saga pretty much from the beginning – flying saucers, Area 51, Barney & Betty, ancient astronauts, etc. – usually with amusement but once in a while with a blink instead of a wink.
As silly as most of the reports have been, you have to remember that we are dipping into our own pockets at tax time each year to build UFOs and send them to the moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and in one or two cases clear out of the solar system.
Except for the near neighborhood of the moon, we send robots instead of people to take the pictures and sample the soil, and presumably so would denizens of other solar systems because traversing interstellar distances would take many lifetimes for us squishy biological specimens, human or otherwise.
But after following the whole folklorical storyline for many years – and I thought I had heard it all — I just now discovered my all-time favorite UFO story.
Not that this incident proves anything, and it would be a big disappointment to people who yearn for gargantuan spaceships, bulge-eyed reptilians, force fields, abductions, and government conspiracies. But I don’t care about any of that; what I love is absurdity.
Thomas Bullard, in his non-hysterical new book, The Myth and Mystery of UFOs, notes that the problem with most UFO accounts is the lack of credible witnesses. So Bullard relates the close encounter of the ideal observer, a Nobel Prize winning scientist named Kary Mullis, when he arrived late one night at his hunting cabin in the woods of northern California:
“Once he had turned on the lights and left sacks of groceries on the floor, he lighted his path to the outhouse with a flashlight. On the way, he saw something glowing under a fir tree. Shining the flashlight on this glow, it seemed to be a raccoon with little black eyes. The raccoon spoke, ‘Good evening, doctor,’ and he replied with a hello.”
Asked later if he thought the hypothetical raccoon was some form of alien life, Mullis replied:
“To say it was an alien is to assume a lot. But to say it was weird is to understate it … it’s what science calls anecdotal because it only happened in a way that you can’t replicate.
“But it happened.”