I saw a UFO once when I was a kid, and then my friend Tony, the same one I saw get hit by a car, ruined it for me.
We were playing in my backyard after dark and for some reason I looked to the south and could see a bright star twinkling and changing color, going from red to white to blue, even though the fourth of July was long since over. And also this was clearly not any kind of firecracker or plane because it was motionless over the horizon. This was it. This was what I’d been waiting for, hoping for, this had to be a UFO.
I’d been obsessed with UFOs for a while. I’d read every book I could find about UFOs—which, admittedly, wasn’t a lot, but some librarians helped as much as they could—and a few years earlier I’d faithfully tuned in to a TV show called Project U.F.O. which I realize now was actually kind of a precursor to The X-Files in that it followed a couple of government agents investigating reports of strange sightings and events all over the country. Except that, instead of Mulder and Scully, the government agents are highly decorated Air Force pilots which would be cool if they didn’t have all the personality of wet sponges. And instead of a shadowy government conspiracy all the cases they investigate either have a perfectly logical explanation or they shrug and say, “Well, who knows what happened?” and move on. The special effects are good, though, since the producers obviously didn’t waste any money on scripts, and include a modified Robby The Robot, and, since it was the ‘70’s, there was the obligatory cameo by Dr. Joyce Brothers.
And there was also Close Encounters Of The Third Kind which I also loved because it had spaceships and aliens and, hey, a shadowy government conspiracy that completely went over my head when I was a kid, but that’s another story.
Anyway I was certain that the twinkling color-changing star I was seeing was a UFO. It had to be. What else could explain it?
“Weird,” said Tony. “It must be something in the air. Other stars are doing it too.”
And he was right. The particular star I’d noticed, which I’m now pretty sure was Sirius, is extremely bright, and atmospheric conditions often cause it to appear to rapidly change color. So it’s identified, and it wasn’t really flying, but, hey, it was an object. One out of three ain’t bad, right?