My Upfront & Personal Close Encounter {Yes, that UFO Story}

Thank you, dear Readers, for celebrating this momentous occasion - the 100th blog post! Ye faithful readers, do you realize you've consumed your time reading hundreds of pages of absolute drivel from my life?

I've been wondering what I should write about to further pique your interest. And considered a choice piece published Summer of 2012.

Without any further preamble:

My Upfront and Personal Close Encounter
By Maura Stone

Don’t get me wrong – I love a good UFO story. Hell, I even read science fiction. But, I always scoff at the end. “It’s just bullshit,” I state. “Anyone who believes that got one or more screws loose.”

You can blame my outlook on my father. Dad had quite a few tales up his sleeve from working in military defense and at NASA. While growing up, I looked forward to late Saturday nights when his colleagues and their spouses visited. They sat around the kitchen table where they shot down vodka and ate an array of food that could choke a horse, whipped up by my mother moments before their arrival. As the night wore on, voices hushed and some very strange anecdotes were revealed. To my delight. I laid in bed, entertained by convoluted stories involving mysterious lights, music from the stars, Bunker 51, disappearing planes and ancient aliens that seeded the earth. Not to mention the sightings.

Of course, everything seemed ridiculous the following morning. My father, tight-lipped as usual, never responded to my questions. “I thought you were fast sleep,” he complained. When I got older, I recognized that dad was ashamed of his massive hangover as well as the shit he spouted to his friends in their bull sessions.

Nevertheless, as it turns out, I got a story of my very own. Unlike dad and his gang, a true one.

Nine years ago I decided to take Friday off from work to enjoy a long weekend at my summer place. To beat the customary traffic escaping Manhattan, I left around nine Thursday evening. Of course, I got stuck on the FDR, a highway that circles the east side of Manhattan, due to a torrential downpour which flooded the lanes.

My poor car crawled through water that reached the top of the tires. I prayed it wouldn’t give out as others stalled left and right, floating away with drivers trapped inside. Luckily, ol’ Betsy fared well and we swerved onto the Major Deegan, one of several routes to escape the city. Just to get caught up in another traffic jam, this time due to a tractor-trailer jack-knifed on the ramp to the George Washington Bridge. Once again, I prayed for ol’ Betsy to weather the constant stop and go solely to gain a few inches moving forward. Miraculously, she lasted the hour and a half before the lanes opened up and we whizzed on by.

Almost all traffic petered out after I passed Westchester. I lead-pedaled it over an empty Tappen Zee Bridge and up the New York Thruway with nary a car in sight. Meanwhile, the rain stopped. Above, the sky was a magnificent deep black-blue-purple with no moon in sight. The further I left the environs of New York City behind, the deeper the darkness where only my headlights guided the way.

After awhile, I turned onto Route 17 with an hour or so left to go. Thrilled that I made up for lost time, I couldn't wait to unwind in the relative peace and quiet of my home. From far ahead, I spotted a giant light and thought for just a moment, "Wow, since when did they install a light on this highway? That’s progressive." Then, the highway dipped into a valley, cutting off the view.

There weren't any cars on this road except for one keeping pace to my right in the slow lane. Actually, we were the only two cars at eleven-thirty that night. Which explained why we kept abreast of each other in a game I played to stay awake on that lonely, dark road that went on and on.

After several miles, the highway steeply inclined, circling a mountain where I caught sight of that solitary streetlight. It never even crossed my mind why a light from so far away could be visible. It appeared as a beacon across the peaks and troughs of gentle mountains that defined upstate New York. Yet, the closer I got, the more I noticed one strange characteristic: unlike any light I ever saw, this one didn't have heat radiance, a signature that produces a slight distortion. It was uniformly white. In fact, it was as if someone cut a perfect circle in the sky and placed this brightly lit white orb inside.

Distance at night’s hard to gauge, even misleading. I could tell the object was enormous as it floated several hundred feet up in the air. It filled the entire top of my front window even though it was perched at the right hand side of the highway shoulder. I murmured, "That's some humongous streetlight, it must’ve cost a fortune."

And then it moved.

I hit my brakes. As did the car to my right. Fortunately, we fishtailed to a stop without smashing into each other.

With my foot pressing down on the brake, I watched this white as milk globe crawl across the two lanes from above. Suddenly, grayish-white waves rippled over the surface as it rotated. While it moved, two puddled feet trailed behind, like Casper the Friendly Ghost. In a manner of seconds which felt longer, it stopped over the meridian on my left hand side and hovered there.

All at once, it shot straight up into the sky. Within a nanosecond, it shrunk into a pin of light and disappeared.

I looked over at the driver in the car next to me. Simultaneously, we slammed down on our accelerators, burning rubber in the process. I got home in record time. Once inside, I phoned the police to tell them of the incident.

The cop at the other end said, "This happened over the Goshen/Florida area on Route 17?"

Taken aback, I asked, "How did you know?"

Lackadaisically, he responded, "Oh, we got tons of calls about it. Actually, that area's a prime location for UFO sightings."

Like other UFO accounts of a sighting, it leaves one grabbing at straws. I’m certain my story would’ve bored my father and his friends if they were alive today. Then again, I’m certain I would’ve embellished it somewhat and threw in an anal probe to add a new dimension. The bottom line is that I saw something inexplicable. The following day I notified the FCC and put my account up on a registry online with guidance from a friend (who doesn’t recall the conversation). That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.

But I didn’t get into the weird shit that subsequently occurred. That’s a story for another time.


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