Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hot dogs in the Sky

All manner of UFO shapes and sizes have been reported over the years, assuredly confusing an already multifaceted subject. One of the strangest shapes ever reported to me was a "Chinese dragon," observed by a woman who happened to see something in a very late night sky during a period when UFO sightings were common.

But hot dogs? Yeah, even hot dogs, and plenty of them all at one time.

Back in January of 1976, national newspapers were ablaze -- no, better make that saturated -- with reports that then-President Gerald Ford had passed his annual physical in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, over in Clovis, New Mexico, and throughout southeastern NM folks were making their own headlines while seeing hot dog-like objects in the sky. Associated Press reports state that numerous such objects were seen in evening skies over three nights. One police officer described chasing a "long object with orange and white lights flashing," which hovered at about 900 feet near the Texas-New Mexico border. "It changed directions suddenly, " said patrolman Willie Ronquillo. "It didn't make any noise. I couldn't believe it until I saw it. Now I believe it."

A newspaper reporter and several police officers had an opportunity to watch one of the objects through an amateur astronomer's 425-power telescope. Scott Price, reporting for the Clovis News-Journal, said, "We all agreed that we saw a bright white hot dog or cigar-shaped object with two black circular areas toward each end. . .all 11 of us at the telescope saw something.

"It wasn't a cloudy and it sure wasn't a swamp gas," Price quipped. Green, silver-gray and red seemed to be the predominant colors, according to Price. The amateur astronomer was no less amazed at the sight enhanced through his lens.

Over 30 objects were reported over several communities during just one night. "Everybody in town has called in," explained one police dispatcher. . .they all saw them all at the same time. Plus, our officers saw them."

Another Clovis policeman said, "I've never seen anything that looked like that before. They are there in the air."

A spokesman at Clovis Air Force Base cautioned that the Air Force no longer investigates UFOs (I think, uh, the missing word here is publicly -- rb), but did volunteer that no military aircraft were in the area during the sightings -- and radar equipment was turned off because there were no aircraft to track. Over at the White Sands Missile Range they had little to add, as a spokesman there said, "We didn't have anything in that area-- nothing at all."

Nothing. And as we all learned from that old Billy Preston song -- nothing from nothing is nothing.