Unravelling the UFO mystery
“It’s hard to believe in coincidence,
but it’s even harder to believe in anything else.”
John Green, Will Grayson and Will Grayson
Date: February 22, 2017
Time: 1710 hours
Location: In-flight Adelaide to Sydney
Qantas Domestic Flight QF7650
Flight Duration: One hour and 55 minutes
A paranoid person might suspect the encounter with Evan to be anything but a coincidence. Was it possible to arrange the seating that way? There would be a follow up enquiry with the airline for certain.
Julius opened his laptop, tapped into the internet as soon as it became available, and began trolling through the huge array of communication awaiting him. More than 120 messages competed for attention on Facebook alone. Social media can wait. Ever since Donald Trump ascended to the presidency, Julius found himself having less and less respect and desire for the use of social media. He’d be returning to a very different America.
All of Julius’s various email accounts, except for one, were forwarded to a single account. Six hundred and seven messages awaited his attention. Had he really been away that long? They can be put off until later. The communication he’d most longed for would be in an email account used exclusively for communication with his personal assistant Mel. It was the return to business briefing from Mel that would take priority. Julius held no doubt that in his absence, Mel had vigilantly maintained the blood flow of his enterprises, and she was more than capable of trouble-shooting any problems. But more than that, Mel had a keen sense of identifying opportunity. That’s where the return to business brief from Mel would focus.
Melanie (Mel) Stuart would happily tell anybody who’d listen that she was the hardest working, most efficient, most patient, most underpaid, yet most dedicated personal assistant in the whole world. Julius agreed absolutely. Mel was the sort of person that exceled at anything her heart was in. More than just intelligent, she was insightful, resourceful, a great ambassador and people person. She could’ve made C.E.O. of almost any of the companies he presided over, but long ago Julius realized that she was much more valuable to him in her current role; and so too did Mel. Together, they made an awesome team.
Mel loved her job of nine years. In particular, she’d thrive on the enormous and diverse challenges thrown at her by her ever-expectant employer. Nothing was out of bounds in their relationship, Julius knew that. However, long ago, he’d decided not to throw this highly-valued relationship away frivolously. Mel had evolved to become his right hand, his strength and his keeper. She scrutinized everything, tirelessly identified opportunities and risks, inspired success throughout the empire, and she’d saved his bacon too many times to remember. In Julius’s absence, she was confidently and justifiably entrusted with full capacity to act on his behalf.
Once, and only once, there’d been a “moment”. Working late whilst based in Jakarta one evening, it had been decided that to break open a bottle of scotch would not be inappropriate to their circumstances. Was it scotch? The kiss! That was long ago, and forgotten . . . almost.
What is the time in Chicago? It doesn’t matter. Even before he read her emails, Julius thought he might first try to minimize the advantage Evan had over him.
From: Julius Ryan
To: Melanie Stuart
Date: Feb 22 2017 17:14
Subject: I might have a stalker on my hands
Mel, are you about?
If it’s not an inconvenient time, can you please dig up any previous email correspondence (about 2 or 3 years ago I think) and any background you can find on Evan Armstrong, American, about 85 years old, sitting in flight next to me now. Interests are UFOs, alien conspiracies, laissez-faire economics. Family in Australia. Served in the Air Force from memory. I believe he mentioned it in one of his emails.
“I have known them” was his last email subject.
Urgent. Everything you can please. Thank you.
From: Melanie Stuart
To: Julius Ryan
Date: Feb 22 2017 17:21
Subject: I might have a stalker on my hands
Welcome back, Caesar. Why has your phone been off? You made your flight obviously. Did you catch your alien??
Evan Richard Armstrong. 86 years of age. Born Roswell N.M. March 3, 1930. Served in the Air Force 1947 to 1964. Military test pilot 1951 to 1963 except for time spent in service in Korea 1952. Highly decorated. All previous correspondence attached (7 received, 3 sent). Give me an hour and I’ll send a more comprehensive brief.
Please approve the schedule I’ve tentatively booked for your return? IMPORTANT!!
Please read the attached “Resignation” document.
Julius didn’t even look at the schedule, Mel was always on top of things and knew best. Yet another resignation to deal with. That could wait.
From: Julius Ryan
To: Melanie Stuart
Date: Feb 22 2017 18:35
Subject: I might have a stalker on my hands
No aliens in my net, but I have a great story to tell about the one that got away.
Yes, schedule approved. Thank You.
‘Scotch on the rocks please,’ said Evan to the attentive and very attractive flight attendant who was still clearly charmed from her earlier encounter with him.
‘Make that two please,’ said Julius feeling slightly ignored. It was scotch. And on the rocks. He remembered now. It was a bitter sweet memory.
‘Your menus for this flight gentlemen,’ offered the flight attendant. ‘I’ll be back shortly to take your orders.’
‘Are you heading back to the states?’ asked Evan, ‘Or are you expecting UFOs in Sydney?’
‘I’m heading for three well deserved nights at Waikiki. I’ve been roughing it in the Australian outback pretty much alone for eight days, no phone and no internet. I’m taking a little time to relax and recuperate, and maybe catch up on some correspondence and the election news.’
‘Ah,’ exclaimed Evan. ‘We might yet be stuck together on the same flight to Honolulu then. I’ll be continuing onto Florida after a two-night stopover in Honolulu. Personal business.’
‘I call Chicago home,’ said Julius. ‘I don’t enjoy long flights, so any excuse to take a break is a good one these days.’
‘So, Julius, I’m all ears. Please tell me about your experiences in Australia,’ probed Evan. ‘Did you find what you were looking for? I thought I read on your Facebook post that you found your UFO?’
‘Yes, I didn’t uncover what I had hoped to, but I did at least manage to see a UFO. I’d never seen one before. It was exciting to finally witness a sighting first hand,’ said Julius without revealing his concern that Evan was watching his Facebook posts that close. That post had been made a mere fifteen minutes before boarding.
‘That’s incredible! But, exactly what were you looking for then if it wasn’t a UFO?’ asked Evan, genuinely perplexed with Julius’s response.
‘Proof!’ replied Julius. ‘Proof to the world that they, UFOs, exist. Proof that they come from other worlds.’
‘Hmmm. I have to admit, even after hearing it from you first hand, I have doubts that what you saw was really a UFO,’ said Evan.
‘Why do you say that?’ asked Julius with more than just a hint of indignation in his tone.
‘Well, you predicted this sighting I read on your Facebook post. Is that correct?’
‘Yes, although, my predictions were quite a bit off to tell the truth,’ Julius confessed. ‘I ended up having to stay a couple of extra days before the UFO belatedly made an appearance.’
‘The stroganoff sounds good, no wine please, but you’ll win favor with me if the scotch is replaced regularly,’ said Evan to the flight attendant.
‘That sounds fine,’ said Julius still feeling slightly ignored. ‘I’ll have the same.’
‘Sightings originally seemed impossibly random,’ continued Julius. ‘For years, I searched for a common thread that might link the appearances. More frequent credible sightings occur in the less populated southern hemisphere. The sightings in Australia are more often from reliable witnesses such as airline pilots and military, which attracts me because I can be more confident in the analysis of the data.
‘Credible sightings in South Australia are quite rare, and seem to only occur when the Earth is within certain positions in relation to our Sun and the other planets in our solar system.
‘Last week, after years of waiting for the ideal circumstances, I finally tested my theories by attending the predicted time and place of an appearance in a very isolated location about a three-hour drive northwest of Broken Hill, which is about 300 miles northeast of Adelaide, and I must tell you, the isolation I found myself in was truly an amazing experience.’
‘Nobody else saw this UFO?’ offered Evan reinforcing his skepticism.
‘No, I didn’t see evidence of human existence, except for an occasional passing high altitude jet or satellite, for four whole days at one point! There were no roads where I needed to be, just endless miles of flat, tree-less plains as far as the eye could see in every direction.’
‘Please don’t take offence at my observation here, but what you describe sounds more like a natural event,’ said Evan. ‘A “St. Elmo’s Fire” type event rather than aliens traversing the galaxy to spy on us.’
Julius considered Evan’s comment as their meals and drinks were placed in front of them. It was an astute observation Julius had to admit.
Evan continued. ‘It seems logical to me that your research will point to these events as being a purely natural event. One that we haven’t figured out yet. That’s my initial take on what you’ve told me so far. Why would alien visitations be influenced by astronomical alignments?’
‘Actually, that’s a very clever and logical deduction from the information I’ve given you Evan. Can you now see my disappointment with this whole exercise?’ asked Julius despondently.
‘So, you agree with my deduction then?’
‘Any impartial party listening to our conversation would agree with you and consider it to be obviously a naturally occurring event I’m sure,’ admitted Julius.
‘But I can see, you’re not convinced,’ said Evan. ‘What haven’t you told me?’
‘Let me show you instead.’
With that, Julius opened the South Australian images files on his laptop. Scrolling through, he came to some grainy, very out of focus images of what looked to be “classic” UFO captures.
‘These are yours?’ asked Evan thinking Julius may have opened the wrong file. ‘I can’t help but think that I’ve seen these before.’
Julius understood what Evan meant. They looked exactly like most of the images of UFOs floating around the internet. They’re always grainy and out of focus, just as you’d expect from someone trying to perpetrate a fraud. Julius continued unabated, he was trying to mask his own considerable disappointment.
‘When the UFO eventually appeared, I could see it quite clearly. Even though it was daytime, I could see that there was light emanating from the underneath, and I saw markings evident of design around the outside rim. It moved with purpose, moved around clouds, moved towards landmarks and features just as you might expect of a curious observer. There was nobody else around for hundreds of miles. It was the sort of place you wouldn’t expect to run into anyone ever.
‘I quickly started my recording and sensory equipment, which was supposed to have started automatically as soon as anything at all was about. Nothing worked as it was meant to. Nothing! Every possible detection device I could think of was trained right at that damned UFO, but it was as if it wasn’t there. For all my preparation and planning I got nothing. These poor-quality images are the result of my last attempt to capture something using my iPhone. I can’t understand how they’re so out of focus. It’s the only device that recorded anything at all . . . the only evidence of what I witnessed.’
‘How close did you get?’
‘You know, I can’t really be sure, it was difficult to judge. At the closest point, and by close, I mean I thought it was only fifty or a hundred yards away, it seemed to me that it spotted me. It then took off at such an incredible speed it was gone in under a second. That was the last I saw of it. The whole experience only took a minute or less.’
‘Fifty yards, that’s awfully close. A spaceship travelling light years to reach us would have considerable size I’d imagine. How big was this thing?’
Julius pondered the question for a moment before replying.
‘I honestly don’t have a clue Evan. It seemed to grow, then shrink, or was it just moving closer and then moving away? The closest point was when it appeared to be at its smallest. No bigger than an average size house. At another point, I assessed it to be nearly as big as a baseball field. It was weird.’
‘Sounds like you might’ve had some trouble focusing on it yourself. You think that it saw you observing it and just took off?’ pursued Evan.
‘It sure seemed like it. When the disc was almost fully facing towards me and at its closest, it stopped momentarily as if it’d only just realized I was there, as if to briefly observe my exact position. Then it just took off at incredible speed as if it didn’t want to be observed. The rate of acceleration was so fast, I imagined the occupants inside being plastered over the walls like lumpy ketchup.’
‘And yet, your sensory equipment picked up nothing at all,’ said Evan. ‘Very curious. What sort of sensory equipment are we talking about?’
‘A magnetometer, designed to pick up magnetic field anomalies, special movement and light sensor cameras, mobile radar, a radiation detection system, electrical anomaly detection. All were set at extreme sensitivity. All were in operation and should have detected the UFO’s presence automatically. All failed to detect anything,’ said Julius dejectedly. ‘One morning I woke up and made myself a coffee and there it was in plain view.’
‘Did it make any sound?’
‘Not that I heard. Sound recording equipment of course picked up absolutely nothing,’ said Julius despondently. ‘The speed it left at should’ve generated a sonic boom, but I’m certain there wasn’t one.’
The grainy images displayed on Julius’s phone and laptop were evidence that he’d witnessed something. The images did indeed bare the characteristic ingredients of a UFO image . . . grainy, streaked and just out of focus.
Why are all UFO images like that? thought Julius. When I know the answer to that, I’ll be well along the path to finally working out what these UFOs really are.
‘Maybe you should believe your sensory equipment,’ said Evan breaking the silence. ‘There was nothing physically there perhaps?’
‘But I saw what I saw. Something was there,’ insisted Julius.
‘Consider this,’ said Evan determined to break Julius’s mind-set. ‘Spaceships might take many thousands of years or more to get here from other worlds. Yet we purportedly witness so many UFOs and they stay for only very short periods of time. You’d think at least some of them would stop and say “hi” or invade us or something.’
‘Are you suggesting they aren’t manned?’ asked Julius.
‘Not at all. I’m suggesting they’re not spacecraft! Maybe they’re observing us from afar, and for some reason they can’t communicate with us?’
‘I’ve considered that the UFOs might all be unmanned . . . fully automated,’ said Julius not able to break his mind-set and consider what Evan had actually suggested. ‘But they at least have their tools of observation physically here. The UFOs I mean. They’re still spacecraft of some sort.’
‘Not according to your sensory equipment,’ countered Evan. He understood Julius was having difficulty letting go of his “expert” preconceived ideas. He was patient. ‘According to your sensory equipment, there wasn’t a UFO there at all. No UFO, and no spacecraft.’
‘That’s true, but I don’t think I understand where you’re leading with this,’ said Julius, the point of difference finally registering.
‘I’m not completely sure either, but follow me anyway. It’s unlikely that they’d travel so far and stay for only a short time, whether they’re manned or not,’ offered Evan. ‘But evidence suggests that’s exactly what they do.’
‘Agreed,’ said Julius after consideration.
‘However, it seems logical to conclude that the UFOs we see are most likely the tools of their observation only, and that they observe us from afar.’
‘It might take thousands of years for the information gathered by the UFOs to reach the beings that sent them here,’ said Evan. ‘And it may take many hundreds of thousands of years for any spacecraft to make the journey here.’
‘Once again Evan, agreed,’ said Julius curious as to where Evan was leading with this.
‘But you said that it was as if they spotted you and then almost immediately took off? If they’re possibly many light years away, how could this reaction time be possible?’
Julius took a moment to consider this dilemma. ‘The unmanned UFOs have been programmed to stay out of sight perhaps . . . The only other explanation I can imagine is that they’ve found a way to observe us in “real time”. They sit at their desks on their home world and study us “live”, as we would study an ant farm. They see the action as it happens, without the need for light to travel enormous distances . . .’
Julius realized that the shackles of his expertise had just been broken.
‘Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light though,’ Evan stated categorically.
A small pause while Julius quickly thinks through what he’s just realized. Evan’s glass is empty. He decides in favor of ordering another and not waiting for Julius.
‘Maybe, it wouldn’t have to!’ Julius finally offers. ‘Oh, my God of course. They wouldn’t be interested in outdated observations, they’d want to observe us “live” . . . and from the comfort of their living rooms.’
‘Or their nests,’ quipped Evan. ‘But how’s something like that possible unless they live very close, like on the dark side of the Moon or something?’
Julius didn’t even hear Evan’s words, he was so deep in thought. He emerges with a rush of enthusiasm.
‘Imagine a two-dimensional universe. Two points, “A” and “B”, are hundreds of light years apart. If we take their two-dimensional existence and fold it, so that in effect point “A” is directly on top of point “B”, they could then communicate instantly. It’d seem impossible in a two-dimensional existence because they’re still light years apart, but we who master a three-dimensional existence think the solution to be obvious.’
‘I think I follow you,’ said Evan.
‘We live in a universe with multiple dimensions, more than we’re currently aware of is the latest thinking out there with string theory. What if they’ve somehow managed to “fold” space and/or time; that they are actually viewing us “live”, but through another dimension?’ Julius ventured with real excitement in his tone.
‘There’s a theory that the “Big Bang” was caused when the gravitational dimension somehow touched the electromagnetic dimension, causing it to move perpendicular to the other dimensions. As it did so, the amount of gravity interactive with our dimensional existence became minimal; a miniscule fraction of what was needed to contain all matter in the universe to the tiny size of a pin head. Without the strong gravitational influence, matter expanded rapidly, resulting in the Big Bang. Could they be looking through this perpendicular gravitational dimension?’ asked Julius in part rhetorically.
‘If the possibility exists, they’d be exploiting it I imagine,’ said Evan. ‘But gravity being a dimension, I don’t think it’s quite scientific fact yet.’
‘It doesn’t matter,’ said Julius excitedly. ‘I’m sure that they’ve found some way to view us “live” when there are favorable gravitational influences in our solar system, or it might be as simple as them only needing a clear line of sight between our world and theirs.’
‘So, what you’re saying is that in fact, your sensory equipment was giving you correct readings. There was nothing “physically” there. Your UFOs, rather than being spacecraft, are likely to be futuristic telescopes located on distant worlds, and all you saw was a visual coming through to you via another dimension. Am I then correct in saying that there was nothing “physically” there?’
‘Yes. Ummm, I think so I mean. Now we’re moving a little out of my depth,’ said Julius.
‘Your UFO. Did it resemble a lens?’ asked Evan.
‘When it was fully facing me, almost exactly,’ said Julius grinning.
‘Different species from different worlds observing us would need different lenses I imagine. Some would need different light spectrums or frequencies, hence the strange lights seen on some UFOs. Some would prefer night to day. Some may use echo, or even sonar to scan our oceans. Could this be why we have so many different types of UFOs? Are we being watched by numerous advanced civilizations?’ asked Evan.
‘I’m wondering, have we just somehow managed to come up with a theory that fully explains the UFO phenomenon? What’s missing in our theory?’
Evan was considering his response when Julius threw him another insight into his UFO encounter that now held significance.
‘Evan, have you ever been in a large lecture theater, and the person speaking stands at the back of the room with a laser pointer?’
‘The UFO, the “jerking” and irregular way it moved, it moved just like the laser light point you see on the screen. When the lecturer moves the light away, the point races off suddenly at incredible speed. It’s not because the lecturer has super-human powers, it’s because he’s so far away, that even a small movement can appear to be quite substantial.’
‘So, what you’re saying,’ said Evan. ‘Is that the alien tool of observation on the other world was moved only slightly, but here on Earth it seemed to move at an incredible speed?’
‘Exactly! Which also explains the lack of a sonic boom.’
‘Maybe communicating with these alien civilizations is as simple as mastering the use of the gravitational dimension?’ ventured Evan.
‘I think we’ve a fascinating new theory at the very least,’ responded Julius.
‘No wonder your iPhone couldn’t focus properly,’ said Evan
‘It’s an interesting and credible theory Evan. I’m certainly excited about it and I’ll have to consider it further that’s for sure.’
‘You mentioned before that there were more often credible sightings in the southern hemisphere. Why would that be?’ asked Evan in part rhetorically.
Silence as they pondered the question.
‘It could be because the southern hemisphere faces the center, and older parts of our galaxy and universe. That’d be where I suspect most advanced civilizations would be . . . the much older parts of our galaxy that developed millions of years before our solar system even existed,’ suggested Julius.
Fresh scotches arrived.
‘Several years ago, I spoke to a witness who said that a UFO actually landed right in front of him without realizing he was there,’ said Julius. ‘When I pressed him further, he corrected what he had said, and told me that it “almost landed” instead. He said it hovered several inches off the ground.’
‘So what’s your point?’
‘Well, I was just thinking that if it was in fact a lens rather than a spacecraft, it was probably trying to get a very close look at the makeup of our surface. It explains so-called UFO “landings”.’
‘Is it possible that the gravitational fields of our Sun and the other planets simply disrupt their viewing, which is why you’ve found the statistical relevance that you claim?’ asked Evan eventually.
No response from Julius at first. He then says slowly and deliberately, ‘It is exactly the correlation of the gravitational influences of the Sun, planets and Moon that I’ve been using to predict the appearance of the UFOs.’
‘Why is it, do you think, that if they master this gravitational dimension, they don’t use it to contact us? They seem to understand that we can “see” their tools of observation, yet they don’t attempt to use those tools to open communications,’ said Evan.
‘That’s true,’ said Julius. ‘It’d be a very simple matter to establish communication if our theory was correct. The fact that they don’t, or can’t, contact us puts our theory in doubt.’
‘Maybe,’ said Evan. ‘Another possible explanation is that there could be some sort of galactic strategy of “no contact”, or even “no interference”, with developing worlds that’s been agreed upon by advanced alien civilizations? A bit like the Star Trek series even? A single policy that explains the behavior of all UFOs and why they try to remain hidden from us and never attempt contact?’
‘Ha, ha, now you’re stretching your imagination just a bit too far even for me Evan,’ said Julius.
‘Have you forgotten the contents of my previous communications Julius? That’s exactly what I claimed back then about all alien contact. There’s a critical point that mankind must reach before we’re contacted by the inter-galactic community.’
Julius began to recall the contentious contents of his communications from Evan all too clearly. At the time, he now remembered, he’d dismissed Evan as a bit of a nut. He may not have even bothered to read the last one or two of Evan’s emails, he’d considered them that far-fetched.
‘What critical point Evan? I remember now, you believe that mankind must face a trial of some type, and only if we survive this trial will we then be contacted by other worlds. Am I right?’
‘That’s not exactly what I said, but you’re in the ballpark that’s for sure.’
‘Our correspondence from back then is right here,’ Julius began opening the forwarded emails sent by Mel originally from Evan. ‘I asked you how you came to such a conclusion, and you sent me back the email with the subject “I have known them”.’
‘I have to admit,’ confessed Julius now wishing he was seated anywhere BUT next to Evan Armstrong. ‘I assumed you to be a little bit off balance after that last message. I don’t think I even read the contents.’
Evan didn’t answer immediately. He struggled to bring his rage under control.
‘I’m not crazy Julius. By now, I assume you’ve taken the opportunity to have a peek at my credentials. I saw my name appear on your laptop before.’
‘You had me at a disadvantage. I simply . . . ’
Evan was highly agitated. He cut Julius off.
‘I am a highly qualified and decorated U.S. fighter pilot. I’ve never made my alien views public. I honestly believe we’re about to face an apocalyptic future, and of our own making. I do not believe we’ll survive. Can you now better recall the context of our previous correspondence?’
‘Yes, I remember now, but I never received any satisfactory explanation for the origin of your . . . your prophecy,’ replied Julius awkwardly.
‘Yes, you did. As I told you, “I have known them”.’
‘I thought that to be a little bit cryptic a response to such a crucial question,’ said Julius. ‘It was at that point, I think, that I decided not to pursue further correspondence from you.’
‘It wasn’t meant to be cryptic,’ said Evan rather gruffly. ‘It was the first and only time I’ve ever admitted to anyone that I’ve had alien contact. I was rather upset that you didn’t respond at the time . . . but now that I think about it, your reaction is quite understandable and I should’ve expected it. It’s quite an outrageous claim I do realize.’
‘So, you’re not saying . . .’ Julius sounded more than just a little cynical now, and he was clearly disappointed with the conversation’s direction.
Evan sat up straight and turned to Julius with a fierce and determined look in his eyes. Clearly, he didn’t appreciate his credibility being questioned.
It was a difficult moment. Julius decided to allow Evan some slack so he could say whatever it was that he wanted to say, even if he didn’t really want to hear it. Evan took close to a full minute before speaking his next words very carefully. He’d actually rehearsed these words to himself many times in anticipation of this exact moment.
‘I am burdened with a terrible secret Julius. It’s a secret that I’ve promised to take to the grave. But, as my time comes close, I fear that I’m making a terrible mistake by doing so. Our entire civilization is at stake Julius. The end of all life on Earth. I believe that I’m the last surviving human to have ever had actual contact with aliens and I’m not sure that the knowledge I’ve gained should die with me.’
No such thing as coincidences thought Julius.