Unidentified

Some places are quite ordinary.  Once you get to know the people, however, you begin to find some oddities.  That’s all normal.  Other places, however, are strange for one reason or another.  One such region is the Hudson Valley in New York.  With all the UFO news the past couple of years, I grew curious about the sightings in the Hudson Valley from about 1983 to 1986.  This was a period when hundreds of sightings were reported of an object flying low and slow, and even hovering, over several locations throughout the region.  They were investigated by J. Allen Hynek and Philip J. Imbrogno, and written up with the help of Bob Pratt.  Night Siege: The Hudson Valley UFO Sightings was published by a mainstream house (Ballantine, a division of Random House).  Not exactly belles lettres, the book is pretty bare bones.  It contains some interesting information, however.

Hynek, who worked for years with Project Bluebook and who was a bona fide scientist, was ailing as the book was written.  Indeed, he died before this book was published.  His name is the big draw, however, since he was a respected authority in the field.  Some questions have been raised about Imbrogno’s accounts of himself, but that shouldn’t take away from the data collected on the Hudson Valley phenomenon.  In short: in a period of mostly two years (1983 and 1984) several “flaps” of reports came in regarding an object that was described in similar terms by hundreds of people, many of them well-educated professionals.  The authorities trotted out mundane explanations that don’t fit the evidence, although even noted skeptics stated that the sightings were unexplainable.  Part of the weird Hudson Valley.

But not just there.  In 1997 a large number of people in Phoenix reported a similar object over Arizona.  This one made national news and even led to stunts by uncomfortable politicians.  We’ve become such an arrogant species that we’re reluctant to admit there are things we just can’t understand, it seems.  Or that there might not possibly be anyone smarter than us anywhere in this vast—indeed, infinite—universe.  I don’t pretend to know what people were seeing in the Hudson Valley, or in Phoenix, but I also don’t pretend that ruling out logical possibilities will give an answer.  I tend to think that when large numbers of people see something that’s unexplained, it’s an insult to our collective intelligence to make up something and refuse to consider the options.  The solution, to me, seems to be to read.  Widely.  Even if it only raises more questions.

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