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Valley of Shadows

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The Invaders

“...beings from a dying world.” -From the 1960s ABC TV series

Maybe this is not that dramatic, but I can’t resist a nugget from my childhood. I won’t give a tedious recap of UFOs throughout history, but the modern age, beginning at the end of WWII, featured Foo Fighters, the Kenneth Arnold sighting near Mt. Rainier, and the all-too-familiar Roswell, along with our own sightings right around here as well.

The latest occurred just this last August at the time of the Festival at Sandpoint. A brief sighting, it lasted about 15 seconds, was seen on the south side of town, and it appears to defy conventional explanation.

Two couples, the local hosts and their guests from Alaska, were, let’s say, well within earshot of the Festival’s music and were sitting around a barbecue pit, finishing off a late dinner and enjoying the warm August night. They were facing generally northwest, looking over toward Baldy. One of the party noticed what he thought to be the lights of a plane approaching generally from the west, heading east/northeast. As it got closer, however, they all say that it appeared to be a dull, glowing orb, about the size of a golf ball held at arm’s length.

Someone suggested it might be a meteor, but that frail theory went out the window when it stopped over the Farmin/Stidwell school for a couple of seconds, then appeared to change direction and go toward the mountain, slowly fading into the distance.

Well, meteors usually don’t travel straight and level, and stop and change direction about the altitude that a small prop plane does that might be landing at Sandpoint’s tiny airport. Unmanned drone, perhaps? Maybe North Idaho isn’t important enough for a full-fledged flying saucer? Well, we’ll see, but first a quick account that came to me recently from Nampa, Idaho.

Closing the main doors of a shopping mall late one night, two employees saw a vision in the sky. At first they saw what looked like four or five, then a dozen conventional, saucer-shaped UFOs hovering several hundred feet over the far edge of the parking lot. Suddenly, one of the objects came flying into the open main mall doors and landed on the floor, deflating like a Mylar balloon. While observers stared incredulously at the pile of silver material, it re-inflated and zipped back out the door to rejoin its companions, who then all accelerated away at incredible speed. Maybe the little grey guys had a sense of humor. 

Now, as promised for those of you who remember my first column in February ‘08, the recollection of my mother’s sighting over Happy Gap in the mid- to late-1960s.

Dad often drove my brother and I to the city beach after work to swim for half an hour. One evening after we got home, I remember my mom telling us over dinner about something unusual she had seen while taking the garbage out to the alley. (Yes, the garbage used to be collected out there.)

There had been a spectacular sunset with pink, salmon and lavender clouds over... wait for it... “happy gap.” She stopped to appreciate one of nature’s perks, but among the irregular clouds was what Mom described as a smooth-sided, fat little sausage-shape cloud. Unusual perhaps, but what really got her attention was that while the other clouds were just sitting there minding their own business, this little devil was descending; going down, down, down, and finally disappearing in the gap. Don’t say ‘weather balloon.’ Weather balloons are an upside down, tear drop shape.

Next comes my one and only sighting of what could only be a UFOO: “Unidentified Flying Orbiting Object.”

It was the late summer of 1975. I was 19 and a couple of weeks away from going back to my second year at North Idaho College. I was laying out in a lawn chair at our family’s house in the 600 block of Forest Avenue, watching satellites go over. After over an hour I had seen nine, and told myself that one more and I’d go in and hit the sack. The first nine were in an equatorial orbit, west to east.

As I sat there waiting, number ten appeared, this time in a polar orbit, south to north. As it got over our neighbor’s tall jack pine trees, I started to get up to go inside, but then sat back down. The satellite had stopped. “What the f...?” was all I could think. I lost track of the object in the star field, but then a second satellite appeared on a parallel course to the first. It moved past the first, then it, too, stopped, reversed course, moved over and joined with the first object. I should have gone in and gotten witnesses, but I was too afraid of missing something.

Both objects flattened out and began gyrating, changing all colors of the rainbow, then... stopped. They went back to looking like satellites. The second object undocked and continued north, leaving the first object.

This was about six weeks after the Apollo/Soyez docking. Could aliens have been mimicking this for some reason?

Finally, from about 20 years ago, some of you may remember the account of a man driving north from I-90 to Newman Lake late one night. Suddenly, a bright light swamped his pickup, which stopped it in the middle of the highway. He got out and looked up to a blinding light encircling his rig which then winked out and disappeared north. Explain this.

Got your own unexplained sighting to share? Send it to info(at)riverjournal.com

Next month, the other story of Egypt.

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Author info

Lawrence Fury Lawrence Fury is an inveterate letter-to-the-editor writer, and a conservative conscience for this area of North Idaho. He's also an expert on local ghost stories, and is compiling a group of them for future book publication. You can read more about him in a Love Notes feature for the River Journal

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Sandpoint, UFOs

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