Saturday, August 09, 2008

Cracker-Barrel UFO Stories

Late at night. Sittin’ around the cracker barrel at the general store, swappin’ spooky stories about strange lights and weird critters.

I’ve never had the pleasure of sitting in on such a get-together. But I do have a recording of a local radio program that featured such stories contributed by callers. The cassette tape is dated 08/08/06. After haunting my desk for a couple of years, I thought the time had come to write about its contents.

Flashback: WIRY 1340-AM, Plattsburgh’s Hometown Radio Station, used to broadcast a weekly program called “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise.” The co-hosts were Bob, a jovial WIRY DJ, and Gail, owner of the Crystal Caboose up there in West Chazy.

Gail described the Crystal Caboose as a gift shop, bookstore, music shop and community meeting place all rolled into one. I’m guessing that one could find the right crystal for aura-tuning at her metaphysical resource center.

Each week Gail and Bob would discuss a particular New Age topic. The program I recorded was about UFOs. Call-ins were invited.

This neck of the woods, the northeastern corner of New York State, is very rural. Many of the people are unpretentious, plainspoken, honest. It’s interesting to hear a local call in with a UFO story. You can easily imagine what they would look like in person, sitting across from you at the cracker barrel.

During the program the co-hosts talked about the great power blackout on November 9th, 1965, that affected the US northeast and parts of Canada. Were UFOs responsible for plunging New York City into the dark?

That topic prompted a caller to share his story about a weird encounter the same evening of the great blackout. Darkness falls early in November. Around 6 or 7 PM he was traveling with his son on the Jersey Swamp Road out there in the Beekmantown area. The caller said he had been a civilian employee at the Plattsburgh Air Force Base (PAFB). He had picked up his son after work at a friend’s house. His son was around 7 or 8 years old at that time.

Driving along, he suddenly spotted a strange being in the middle of the road, maybe four or five feet tall, the size of a human child. It was humanoid, glowing. Its eyes reflected the car’s headlights, eye shine like that of a deer. The thing ambled away into the dark.

The caller said he and his son were shaken. He wanted to turn around but decided against it because his son was so traumatized by the sighting.

As a civilian employee at the Plattsburgh AF base, he heard about a room where reports of “bogies” were collected from enlisted men and civilians. Every base had such a room. There was speculation that the Air Force was keeping track of UFO and other paranormal sightings because such events could’ve been part of a plot by the Soviet Union.

Another caller related her experience that dated back to the late 1950s. She had been living near Saranac Lake, out in the countryside, no streetlights around. One summer night she heard a humming sound and noticed a greenish-white light outside her window. She tried to awaken her husband but he just told her that it was only a storm or fog, nothing to worry about.

The woman caller said she saw an UFO hovering over the pen where they kept their two horses, some chickens and a big barn cat. The object was hazy; she couldn’t tell if it was metallic.

The UFO directed a light beam down at her cat as if it was trying to pick it up. For some reason the UFO left without taking any animals for a ride.

The woman caller said that her pet was a Maine Coon cat. It used to be very vocal, meowing a lot, but after the UFO incident it remained silent.

She called the PAFB and the person who answered the phone said the base had been receiving reports of mysterious lights that night from both pilots and civilians, even though the sky was clear and the lights didn’t seem to be the aurora (northern lights).

The woman caller said that her daughter and son-in-law didn’t believe her story. She added that she wasn’t a kook or insane. She was a conventional person who enjoyed quilting as a hobby and at one time belonged to the chamber of commerce. She wasn’t the “seeing things type.”

The only ones to back up her story to some extent were neighbors who also heard the humming sound and noticed the lights, but like her husband thought it was just a summer storm.

That was the only time she had a UFO sighting.

She thanked the co-hosts for letting her share her story. She hoped that other people would also talk about their sightings without worrying about the “astigmatism” associated with such reports.

So what do I think about these stories?

I’m staying off the Jersey Swamp Road at night. My car insurance doesn’t include chupacobras collision coverage.


X. Dell said...

That sounds like a fascinating show. I don't suppose you have the ability to make a duplicate tape for me, do you?

Upstate New York has seen more than its share of UFO activity. I remember William Birnes talking about it on another UFO show.

Ray said...

X. Dell:

If you email me your snail mail address, I'll try to make a dupe within a reasonable time and send it to you.

Be advised that my writing distilled the best parts of the radio show, so you might not find it that interesting. Then again, as a slice of hometown life, maybe you will.