What would you do if you saw a UFO?

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Let's say you saw a UFO. No, wait. Let's say one landed right in front of you and talked to you using a universal translator. And they let you take cell phone footage. Then they got back in their ship and flew away. Now what?


You never thought it would happen to you. You were just going out one night to take in the night sky, and you're on a deserted stretch of road, when you see a light in the sky moving strangely. Is it a plane? Is it a helicopter? Whatever it is, it's definitely coming closer. You whip out your cell phone and film the light getting closer, closer, and then - it lands. During the next five minutes, you do your best to keep the aliens in focus while talking to them and, let's admit it, peeing yourself just a little. After the encounter, when the aliens go off again to Dersterbetol Six (And I always wondered, why is there always a number after the planet. What kind of aliens call their planet something other than number one?) what you will have is shaky, confusing footage that's unambiguously ambiguous.

I have actually thought about this. My decision is made easier by the fact that my cell phone is the kind of thing that paleontologist would painstakingly chisel out of sedimentary rock, and so it can't take video. The only thing I would have would be my word. Still, even if I had a few minutes of confusing video footage, I think I would have treated this the same way as if I'd gotten lost at a family reunion and walked in on my great-grandparents having sex with their faces dusted with cocaine. I would quietly walk away and not tell anyone. Possibly I might drink and post an adulterated version of the story anonymously on an internet forum, for the emotional release, but that's it.

All I know is, I don't want to be one of those people who comes staggering out of the woods, announcing that I'd just met some aliens and had video of a glowing light as proof. The best case scenario is that no one even believes me enough for the show to go viral. The worst case is that enough people believe me and I am infamous forever. What about you? Would you tell the world and chance the consequences? Or would you think that, if aliens were serious about making contact, they'd find a more crowded place to do it?

On this week's show, we talk about the various people who have been kidnapped by aliens with Warehouse 13 writer and story editor Deric Hughes. He tells us about the first UFO abduction story that really got him interested in sci-fi. We also talk about what would constitute proof of alien contact. A shaky video, it turns out, is not it.



Oh what the hell. I have been posting on io9 for several years now and never told this story. Why? Because it is insane. But since I posted it on my blog a few years ago, I have already released it to the wild. Here is that blog post in its entirety. Feel free to label me a nutjob.

"It seems that currently the hip meme running through the blogging world is telling ghost stories. It all started with Stephanie’s very good post about an experience she had in Amsterdam. From there it spread like wildfire and you can find other stories here, here, here and here.

For me personally, I am a little confused on the subject. On one hand, my favorite column in Scientific American is Michael Shermer’s Skeptic. I try to be a pragmatist and think rationally on subjects that on the surface seem to defy a rationale explanation. However, on the other hand, I have had some really really weird things happen to me in my life that I can’t explain in a satisfactory manner.

I am not going to tell you any of the stories that have happened to only me because, while I don’t think it is the case, there is always the possibility that I am simply bat-shit crazy. I might be so freaking insane that my memories are complete bunk and my mind has somehow created these vivid memories.

So no, the story I am going to tell is one where there was another eye witness.

Before we begin, let me give you a little background. The other person present was my friend Jeff. While I don’t remember exactly how old we were, it certainly happened more than 15 years ago. Neither one of us liked to talk about this event. Especially if the other was present. I can’t really explain it, but it seems “wrong” to discuss the event together. Even now, typing this after more than 15 years, I feel a little paranoid. It is almost like I am experiencing the beginnings of a panic attack. I know that Jeff has already written about this story on his blog, but I have never read it. I just can’t do it. My wife has told me that his account is very similar to my account, but I am not going to go read it.

Anyway, here is the story.

One the best things about growing up in my neighborhood were all of the friends that were the same age. There wasn’t a square inch of that neighborhood that we hadn’t explored to the depth of detail that only youth permits. One of our favorite activities was spending the night at each others houses and then slipping out very late. We never really did anything bad. Just boys being boys.

On this particular evening, I was spending the night at Jeff’s house. Jeff and I lived in what we boys called the “new section” of the neighborhood. When my grandmother developed the neighborhood, she created three different phases. The first phase was the “old section”, the second was the “new section” and the third was a section that had not been developed yet.

Right in between the new section and the old section was a lake. This was a man-made lake created when a dam had been built in a deep valley. The quickest route for us boys to travel from one section of the neighborhood to the other was by walking along a path that went down into this valley on one side of the dam. The entire path was maybe ¼ of a mile long, at most. While fairly short, this area could be pretty spooky because fog coming off of the lake would settle into this valley and on one side of the bath was the foundation of an old pig slaughtering facility.

This evening though there was nothing really spooky about the area. We had spent most of the night in the old section of the neighborhood with friends. At about 3 or 4 in the morning, we were headed back to Jeff’s house. When you are heading to the new section from the old section, you walk down a nice wide road until it dead ends. When you reach the dead end, you take a sharp right next to this nice elderly couple’s house and start descending down the path into the valley.

We made our turn and were walking about 150 feet from the large triple car garage door of this elderly couple’s house, when suddenly the very bright light over the garage door came on and the garage door started to open.

Doing what boys do best, we ran. Immediately upon realizing the door was opening we turned 180 degrees from the door and started running into the empty field. And this is where things turned weird.

When we were about 300 feet from the garage door, both Jeff and I fell, face first. Somehow, and I have no idea how, we were then lying in the grass facing the garage door. We should have been facing the opposite direction when we fell, but we weren’t.

I can’t speak for Jeff, but from this point on, I will be telling you what I saw.

I am lying in the grass looking at this open garage with a large bright light illuminating the driveway, when what appeared to be about 25 to 30 “little kids” emerged from the garage. We weren’t that far away, but these kids looked blurry. They all were wearing some kind of grey jumper. These kids were running around in the middle of the driveway very fast, jumping up and down and making little squeaking noises. For some reason, I then and still to this day, want to call these kids German. They didn’t speak German and they were not wearing lederhosen but for some reason I want to call them German.

These kids continued to run around, jumping and making their little squeaks for about 2 minutes then suddenly they all ran back into the garage, the door shut and the light went out. I then remember Jeff and me standing up, looking at each other but not saying a single word. Then the next thing I knew, we were both lying in Jeff’s bed. I have no memory of walking back to Jeff’s house. I just remember lying in the bed and going immediately to sleep.

The next morning, I got up, maybe said bye to Jeff and went home. Each of us told friends about the story but for some reason could not talk about it to each other. It was years and years before either of us would even briefly mention it if the other was present.

In case you are interested, here is Jeff’s take on the event.

But I still won’t read it."