Contemporary Legend – Texas

Reid revealed to me a phenomenon he experienced first hand when he was 19 in South Texas outside of Houston. Reid is originally from Oklahoma but when he was a student in college in Texas and some of his friends that were from the area told him about an urban legend of mysterious bright lights visible on a lone highway. Reid said he was very skeptical at first but wanted to examine it firsthand just to say he had done it. He recalls driving down the highway for quite some time down in the empty flat land late at night. They pulled to the side of the road and looked to the east toward some hills and in the distance Reid said he saw green glowing lights just above the hill. This is an urban legend that many people in the area have attributed to seeing.

According to Reid many people speculated about what it was, and in the beginning it caused quite a stir as a great number of people presumed we were being invaded by aliens. When I asked Reid what he thought phenomena might be; he agreed saying he would certainly think that something very large is coming this way. The actual explanation is a reaction of certain gases in the air and light reflection which causes this green glowing effect in the night sky.

I agree that this example falls into place with many other common urban legends about us being invaded by aliens. The universe is so complex and we are so small that we yearn to discover any other possibility of life out there. So, when an opportunity like this occurs people are very quick to jump to the probability of extraterrestrial activity. Reid’s experience here is a prime example of a Von Sydow “memorate”. He had heard of his occurrence from his friends and decided to see it for himself creating a personal experience. I feel that urban legends like this gain such popularity because of man’s desire to see if intelligent life exists out there aside from ourselves. This is the reason why UFO urban legends and supposed sightings are common practice. An event like this certainly lends itself to be a prime example.

Pop culture over the last century has caused a increased fascination with lengends of extraterrestrial sightings and invasions. Dating back to the H.G. Wells radio broadcast of the War of the Worlds, humans have been attracted to any notion of other intelligent life in the universe. For the most part the portrayal of the aliens was extremely negative such as the vicious aliens seen in the blockbuster film Independence Day. To my knowledge the only recent positive depiction of aliens in popular culture would be E.T. Regardless of how aliens are depicted in the media, we have developed an utter fascination with them, which leads to the vast popularity of any form of urban legend surrounding visitors from another planet. Reid although skeptical at first still felt the urge to witness whatever those green lights could be. We do not like to hear the scientific facts behind issues like these because we would rather have our imagination run wild.