Monday, November 07, 2005

"I Believe in Aliens . . ."

UFOs Over Romford


     I have another confession to make, though am doing it (a bit) reluctantly because my first confession - that I drive the speed limit in the left lane - generated months worth of e-mails and voice mail messages. But I'll be brave and just confess:

     I believe in aliens ... or at least the concept of aliens. I don't know if they are little green men from Mars or purple dinosaurs from Pluto. And I don't know if they would befriend us like the one in "E.T." or want to exterminate us like those in my all-time favorite movie, "Independence Day."

     In our ever-expanding universe, it makes sense to assume that we aren't alone.

     Now let me exit stage right and give the floor - and a share of the ridicule - to Suzanne Van Atten, a frequent visitor from Atlanta, and Keith Ellison, who works at the Surfside Beach Wal-Mart Supercenter.

     Neither Van Atten nor Ellison necessarily believes in aliens, but they both saw something recently that has friends laughing at them.

     They saw a UFO over the Atlantic. Both described seeing an unexplained light show about two weeks ago. A similar sighting was reported a couple of years ago. Officials and experts then said such sightings could be caused by lightning storms or military exercises that involve the use of flares. I don't want to know the official explanation from two weeks ago. When it comes to aliens, the less you know, the more intriguing.

     "There were four bright orange lights, all in a row. Then a light on the left faded and a light on the right became visible," is how Van Atten remembers seeing it from a Garden City Beach balcony.

     Ellison said he and his wife saw the lights as they drove over the bridge in Socastee.

     "I told people I worked with when I got to work and no one believed me," Ellison said via e-mail. "It was kind of funny in a way cause associates were walking around with styrofoam hats with wires poking out or they were wearing masks and throwing [flying discs], shouting, 'Watch out, it's a flying saucer!' But then again, I felt kind of humiliated."

     Van Atten, a 20-year veteran journalist who was in town writing a travel book, at first hesitated before responding to my questions. She sent the newspaper an e-mail titled "I'm Not Crazy!" wondering if others had seen the lights.

     "Obviously it is an unidentified flying object to me because I don't know what it is," she said. "It is sort of embarrassing. You tend to write off [people who claim to see UFOs] as crackpots or conspiracy theorists, and I don't want to be included in that company."

     I couldn't help but wonder if she was talking about me.

More . . .


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