UFO's: Are They Real?
Are UFO’s real or only products of our imaginations? I’ve talked with others who have had unexplainable experiences, some who wish they would and others who'd be terrified if they did. Some who've had UFO experiences while flying say the object will look “cigar shaped” if you see it from the side and “saucer shaped if seen from the top or bottom.
I’ve had more than one unexplainable experience. Besides the one in this story, some while ocean sailing at night and one while sitting on a friend’s balcony overlooking a lake on the Oregon coast. The following account is the one that stands out most vividly in my mind. It happened during the early 90’s, in the Northeast corner of Oregon where Idaho, Washington and Oregon meet.
There were many old barns in the area, a few had been built in the late 1800’s. Many of the barns were constructed from hand sawn, old growth beams, some thirty to forty feet long and two by two feet square. A lot of people living in the area felt new steel barns had more appeal and function than those made of wood. Rather than spend money on repairs, they were pulling the barns down and burning the wood.
Old weathered wood has a lot of character and is visually appealing to my eye. Out of love for the beauty of the wood and hating to see it turned into a pile of gray ash, I began salvaging some of the timbers and panels. I had no idea what I was going to do with the wood. Because of my involvement with the barn wood, plus being a writer, photographer and videographer, I was introduced to a lady, who we’ll call Wilma.
Wilma was the local amateur authority on history, and barns in particular. During our introductory phone conversation, we made an appointment to go barn hunting. She told me she had chores in the morning and that she’d pick me up shortly after nine the next day. She also told me to pack a lunch, since there were lots of barns and we’d be gone most of the day. She also told me what kind of boots and clothes to wear and to be sure to bring my camera and a note pad. I said, “ OK.” It was hard to get a word in. Wilma was a local farmer, in her early seventies, and liked to talk nonstop.
The first barns we looked at were just outside the small town of Joseph, Oregon. One was round and multiple stories high. The bottom part was where the cows were milked. Hay was pitched into shoots that ran down from the floor above and dropped into a circular feeding area. The farmer’s living quarters were on the floor above the hay storage area . The winters can be very cold and heat from the cows and insulation from the hay helped warm the living area above. I saw similar barns in Spain while walking the El Camino de Santiago.
Lots of roads, paved and dirt, crisscross the area and we drove most of them. We looked at all types and sizes of barns barns, from well maintained to run down, from small to very large. Some were being used on a daily basis and others were not much more than a large pile of siding and timbers lying in a field. Wilma knew the history of them all.
One barn belonged to Walter Brennan, the actor. At one time a lot of old cowboy movie stars lived in the small towns of The Wallowa Valley. One old cowboy was said to have plotted to blow up the only road leading in and out of the area, in order to keep others from finding their paradise.
Wilma and I stopped in the little town of Imnaha for lunch. We sat next to the Imnaha River in a little grassy area that had a table and two benches. I was amazed that she could talk nonstop, and eat her lunch at the same time. A few miles farther north, the Imnaha runs into the Snake River, with Lewiston, Idaho another fifty or so miles downstream.
After lunch, we went southwest and then backtracked to the north. Our objective was the last two barns, twenty or so miles north and up a valley where only a hardy, self-sufficient family, that didn’t require a lot of social interaction with neighbors, would live.
The valley was about two miles long and three to five hundred yards wide on the valley floor. The pine covered mountains rose steeply on either side, with the opening at the top about seven to eight hundreds yards wide.
We drove to the end of the road, where a large, old, deserted barn sat atop giant boulders. Whether the boulders had been there naturally with the barn built to conform to them or had somehow been moved, Wilma didn’t know. The boulders were huge. My guess is, they were there and the builder used them to his advantage. Wilma turned the truck around, facing it south and back down the way we’d come in. We got out of the pickup. She talked and I filmed.
On our way in, and about a quarter mile back down the road, we’d passed a road to the west that was badly rutted and undriveable for Wilma’s two wheel drive pickup truck. Wilma had said there was an old barn, the last of our day, at the end of the rutted road. When I was finished filming the barn on the boulders, Wilma said she’d wait in the truck while I filmed the last barn. I double checked to make sure I had all my gear, and started walking down the road toward the last barn.
I hadn’t gotten far from the pickup when I noticed something out of the corner of my right eye. Flying from west to east, and just above the mountain tops, was a very large, cigar shaped “something.” It made no noise and took about five or six seconds to cross from the western ridge top to the eastern ridge top. I stood there, camera in hand, mouth wide open and mind completely shut down. Stopped in my tracks, I watched it pass overhead. I listened for the inevitable crash, but there was none.
After a period of time and half in a daze, I walked to the last barn, did my video and then started walking back to the truck. I barely remembered what the last barn looked like, my mind was consumed with thinking about what I’d seen and what I wanted to do about it. If Wilma hadn’t seen it, and I said anything, she’d probably consider me some kind of a nut case, and I had no proof on film. Should I say anything to Wilma or, for that matter, anyone else except my wife? I’d seen unexplainable things before, but nothing of that magnitude, or that closely.
When I got back to the truck, Wilma started the engine and, without saying a word, drove back toward Joseph. We drove for the better part of an hour, with not more than a dozen words being exchanged. I had no proof of my story. But, going more than a few moments without talking was out of character for Wilma and I believe the same questions were going through both our minds. “If I tell the other person what I saw, will they think I’m crazy. Did they see what I saw, or was I hallucinating?” Neither of us said anything about the incident to the other. We rotated in different circles and there were only a couple of times when we saw each other after the incident.
A few months later we moved. Contacting Wilma about the incident crossed my mind many times over the years, especially in the first few months, but I never did. I guess the question now is, “What would you have done?”
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