I Want to Believe
The sky fades from cobalt to black. Stars, billions of them, begin to flicker into the distant atmosphere as the air stagnates. The stillness of the night devours your deliberations. Your transcendence is cut shorts - a growing hum drones on just behind the tree line. Body stiff, your eyes dart across the horizon, waiting for the vibration to present itself. That’s when you see it. A beam begins to ignite, flickering in and out of vision. The humming pulsates louder and louder as the beams float overhead. Like yourself, the lights flying over are rigid, following a distinct path. Peering, neck bent at a 135-degree angle, you attempt to make out the shapes and flickering lights. Before you know it, your time has passed.
“Just a plane,” they tell you. “Aliens are not real,” they explain.
Over two billion people across the globe credit the existence of man-kind to the Almighty. Over a billion believe in the universal soul of Brahman, which takes many forms to explain the existence of eternal life. The list goes on. Modern cultures deem religious folk as believers. Yet, those who take a moment to consider the reality of extraterrestrial beings are branded as conspirators. Why is it so hard to believe? Let’s start with what we know.
March 1st, 1639 – Born into a wealthy, English Puritan family, John Winthrop grew up to become the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Known for developing much of colonial New England, Winthrop is also noted for the first ever UFO sighting. “When it stood still, it flamed up, and was about three yards square. When it ran, it was contracted into the figure of a swine.” Winthrop wrote in his journal. Over two centuries behind, planes were not a valid excuse.
September 19th, 1961 – It was late Tuesday night. Barreling down the dark and dusty roads of Lancaster, New Hampshire, Portsmouth residents Barney and Betty Hill soon found themselves in hot pursuit with bright lights in the sky. Navigating Route 3, Betty described the encounter as if there were falling stars, which seemingly fell upward. Barney’s account explains that the lights bounced back and forth in the night sky, and through his binoculars, witnessed nearly ten humanoid figures gazing back at him. The next thing they remembered, the two of them were sitting in their ’57 Chevy Bel Air, 35 miles south, without any recollection of the events that had occurred that night. The only thing left besides their vague memories were the rips and tears in their clothing. The surprising nature of this case sparked national interest, leading to the widely popular 1966 publication Interrupted Journeyand the 1975 film The UFO Incident.
September 3rd, 1965 – The events that occurred on the afternoon of September 3rdresulted in what’s considered to be the most compelling case of extraterrestrial contact to date. 18-year-old Exeter resident, Norman Muscarello, was hitchhiking on Highway 150 when around 2am, he noticed five lights radiating from the nearby woods. When the lights began to move in his direction, he bolted. Clearly shaken up, Muscarello flagged down a passing car and was driven straight to the Exeter police station to file a report. After speaking with officers Reginald Toland and Eugene Bertrand, they were shocked to learn that earlier that night, the two officers were on patrol and discovered a woman parked on the side of Route 108, claiming she too had witnessed red, flashing lights which followed her vehicle for over ten miles. Fueled by curiosity, the two officers decided to check out the scene. After parking their cruiser by the farmhouse where Muscarello had seen the lights, the two officers witnessed a dark shadow cast from the woods, ascending up into the sky illuminating with red lights. In no time, the barn-sized object flew overhead and beyond the horizon. Within minutes, a B-47 bomber from Pease Air Force Base flew overhead.
Each of these individual cases which took place decades apart shook the world for one simple reason: it was the first of its kind. John Winthrop’s sighting was the first ever recording of an unidentified flying object. Betty and Barney Hill’s chilling drive was the first ever abductee story of its time, and the incidents that occurred in Exeter on that cold, Friday night were the first time that indistinguishable sightings were reported across the map. One things for sure – New Hampshire is undeniably an extraterrestrial hotspot.
Besides disbelief, judgment and public criticism, the one thing that each sighting has in common is the seemingly immediate justification. Locals, law enforcement, the government, your mother and father; each and every one has, what they believe to be, a rationalized explanation. Yet they still pile in their vehicles on Sunday mornings and worship Divinity. They sport gold and silver necklaces, shrouded with large or small crosses. It’s easy not to believe. As FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder explains, “When convention and science offer us no answers, might we not finally turn to the fantastic as a plausibility?”
The mere idea of aliens has fueled Hollywood for generations, endlessly pumping out blockbuster hits depicting little green men in a constant battle against either society, the government or their own kind. Taking many forms, aliens have gone through endless transformations on screen, dominating human society with their physics-defying technology, scandalous intelligence and epic journeys throughout time and space. Don’t get me wrong, Spielberg’s E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind hold a special place in my heart, but the stereotypical depiction of elongated head and gray skinned humanoids may simply just be a cliché. For all we know, extraterrestrials could have stereo vision, opposable thumbs and simple, common language. They could be walking among us, for all we know it.
That’s just it: we don’tknow. That’s half the fun. If we only knew what lie just beyond our atmosphere, the stories would stop. The idea of something greater, something far beyond our reach would vanish. Our movies would halt, our imagination would subsid
e and the idea of aliens would end up in history books. We would stop wondering, we would stop admiring, and worst of all, we would stop believing. And one things for sure, I want to believe.