USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘aliens’
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UFO Sighting

My grandfather still recalls an incident that occured on a flight to Washington D. C. approximately fifty years ago.  He remembered being in the aisle seat, while the plane was approaching the airport at twilight.  Looking out the window, he saw an object that he describes as having a “saucer-like bottom” and a smaller inverted saucer on top.  It was off in the distance, passing through the clouds on a parallel path to the airplane.  He said he could not estimate its size, as he could not tell how far away the object was.  Along the edge of the saucer, he mentioned what he called lighted windows or lights.  He was not the only witness of the incident; he recalled a man whose name I will abbreviate F. B., in the seat next to him, that also saw the object.  After the incident was over, my grandfather and F. B. separately sketched their own impression of what the craft looked like, and both the drawings matched.  My grandfather maintains an agnostic view toward the object he saw in the sky.  He indicated that if he were a skeptic, he would try to rationalize it by calling it a reflection of the airplane itself in the clouds; however, he does not hold to this theory.  Rather, he said it excited him, as it occurred in the era when UFO’s were a big cultural phenomenon.
Are these UFO’s still a cultural phenomenon, or have they faded out?  Certainly sightings still occur widely and the subject matter is still quite popular; consider that the paranormal-oriented radio show Coast to Coast AM is the most popular late night talk-radio show in the world.  Why do UFO’s excite people so much in the modern world?  I propose that in America and other developing nations that engage in free enterprise and capitalism, the opportunity of technological innovation promotes a forward outlook on society, civilization, and life in general.  As airplane flights were becoming available to the masses in the mid-twentieth century (when my grandfather’s sighting occurred), UFO’s foreshadowed futuristic technology in the minds of a forward-looking people.  In other nations, which have more monarchic or dictatorial governments, and in less-developed countries, past-oriented outlooks on unidentified flying objects are more common.  Explanations usually involve ancient times or spirituality.  As free trade and global business continue to spread, however, the idea of beings and craft from other parts of the universe or from other dimensions of reality will probably continue to evolve into a global concept.

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