UFO Over Highway


C: “Okay, so, this happened, like, ten something years before I was born. Or maybe like five something years? My mom and dad were driving down the highway. I don’t know which highway– it was a specific highway though, they told me the name of the highway. And they were driving down the highway, and suddenly my mom sees these lights in the sky, so they pull over and there’s these like, mysterious lights. And it’s not just like a one-off flash. It’s these, like, moving patterns of glowing lights in the night sky. And my mom and dad are both looking at it, and other people have also pulled over, like, on the side of the highway to observe these lights.

Me: Oh my god! So it’s not just them.

C: Yeah, it’s not just them! And then the next day they read about it in the newspaper. Uh, so they definitely saw these moving lights, and they think it was like- they don’t know what it was because it was like- it couldn’t have been mistaken for a plane or something. It was like these moving patterns of lights in the sky.”


 C is a University of Southern California student from Mercer Island, Washington in the United States; his parents had this experience sometime in the 1990s (and pre-cellphones) while on their way to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. He stated that his parents told him this story when he was around fourteen or fifteen, but clarified that it was due to his parents having many stories to tell, rather than because of any concern about his age or readiness to hear the story. When asked about his and his parents’ belief in aliens, he stated: “My mom thinks it was, like, she doesn’t know what it was, but my dad is more of a skeptic. He thinks it was definitely just like a plane or a weather balloon or something. My mom does not know what it was.” 

C mentioned that he will tell this story to people if the topic of UFOs comes up in conversation, but not “out of nowhere.” When asked about his own beliefs in aliens, C stated the following: “I mean, sometimes I think people will have UFO stories and you sort of have to be polite about it. Um, I don’t- I don’t think aliens are real, but I did think it was like, pretty interesting. But I believe that they saw whatever they thought they saw.” He also stated that he looked for the newspaper article on the event that his parents claimed existed but was unable to find it. 


This memorate showcases the variety of attitudes and beliefs in the United States about aliens and the desire US society has to both prove and disprove legends. The number of other people present, the persistence of the lights, and the newspaper article allegedly written about the UFO sighting are likely mentioned to add credibility to the tale by indicating a larger network of rational peer witnesses. However, C also mentions his and his father’s explicit skepticism and his mother’s uncertainty about what actually happened, keeping the event’s supernatural element up for debate and allowing the respectful persistence of multiple perspectives within the same family. C’s mention of telling others this legend when discussing UFOs also indicates the memorate’s personal value to him as a means of connecting with others over strange yet possibly shared experiences.