Halloween is still a few days away, but there are signs all around of the ghoulish and ghastly night that lies ahead. Those early indicators, many in the form of creative Halloween decorations, have pushed All Hallows’ Eve to the forefront of my thoughts and kept it there.
Think I’m exaggerating? Right outside my office at the Daily Record stands a 7-foot, mechanized horror with a battered pumpkin for a head that hurls motion-activated snark from the abyss at passersby. Try not thinking about Halloween with that beaut nearby.
The RDR front-office staff went all out in decorating this year, as have a few others around town. Take a ride one evening and get a feel — if you have the nerve — for what’s to come Oct. 31.
Just be sure to keep one eye on the night sky. This is Roswell, after all, and one never knows when something otherworldly might be added to an already frightening mix.
When one encounters extraterrestrial imagery year-round, it’s easy to forget how scary the concept of beings from another planet — zipping about overhead, their intentions unknown — can be.
Halloween’s the perfect time to remember, with a little help from one of the most chilling recent entries in the annals of UFO lore.
There are countless modern sightings and encounters to choose from, spanning decades.
The case of Frederick Valentich, who in 1978 vanished while flying a small plane off the coast of Australia — after reporting to air traffic controllers that a large, metallic UFO was shadowing his craft — has always been among the creepiest. His last radio transmission before disappearing: “It is hovering and it’s not an aircraft.”
Halloween levels of horror can be found in the details of most accounts of alleged alien abduction. Among the best-known and most harrowing: That of Betty and Barney Hill, who reported being kidnapped — and experimented upon — by extraterrestrials while on a drive in the New Hampshire countryside in the early ‘60s.
But why reach so far back into the archives when one of the most unnerving reports on record — a confrontation in 2004 between Navy pilots and one of the now infamous Tic Tac-shaped UFOs — is still making headlines?
During a training exercise 100 miles southwest of San Diego, pilots from the USS Nimitz carrier strike group were diverted to intercept an object of unknown origin — in military terms, an anomalous aerial vehicle, or AAV. For a week, radar operators had been watching AAVs move about at great altitude, then descend rapidly into more trafficked airspace. Here was a chance to learn what kind of object could create such an unusual radar signature.
But what the pilots reported experiencing only led to more questions — raising possibilities that might seem to some the stuff of nightmares (OK, keep in mind, this is a Halloween column): A 40-foot, Tic Tac-shaped UFO hovered over a patch of churning ocean, the water breaking around what appeared to be a large object just beneath the waves. The Tic Tac moved with inexplicable speed and executed physics-defying changes of direction as the fighter pilots tried in vain to intercept it, then flew directly toward one jet before leaving the area.
Later, The New York Times published an article about the encounter and released a video recorded by one of the pilots using an infrared camera, spurring interest in this and similar sightings. “Tic Tacs” have been in the news throughout 2019, and a podcast interview conducted a few weeks ago with one of the Nimitz-group pilots, Commander David Fravor, has garnered more than three million views on YouTube.
Just search for Fravor’s name — the interview’s worth watching, especially as Oct. 31 nears. There’s no better way to get into the Halloween spirit than listening to a hair-raising tale, be it one focused on ghosts, goblins, zombies … or UFOs.
We know all about those around here. Why, just the other day, one of my coworkers mentioned he’d seen something in the sky west of town that he was hard-pressed to identify.
I didn’t ask for additional details — it was probably “just a weather balloon.” Happy (early) Halloween.
John Dilmore is editor of the Roswell Daily Record. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this column are those of the author.