Is There Anybody Out There?
One of the many wonders of modern technology is that we always know where everything is (save for the keys). Thanks to advancements in can-and-string technology, it is now possible to track the movements of any aircraft at any time. While this is no doubt a lot of fun for the armchair hobbyist who is content to watch aeroplanes fly to and fro on their computer, it is endlessly useful for the likes of airport personnel and the military, who are able to determine where planes are in relation to each other and to watch for any sign of an impending attack. And yet even with such wondrous developments, sometimes there are things in the sky that cannot be explained. This week's entry will not concern itself with one locality or even city - no, today we're going nationwide on the hunt for objects unknown.
Unexplained phenomena in the skies over Vodeo are nothing new. There are stories circulating from some tribes around Vodeo who claim to have witnessed strange lights, enormous spears, and huge objects shaped like flat river stones flying through the sky, while in 1722 none other than Vodeo's most famous pirate, "Red" Rachel Montgomery, wrote in her log of seeing what looked like a large saucer floating high in the sky off the coast of Avalon (it is believed that this is the origin of the "flying saucer"). Such sightings were relatively rare but nevertheless caused a stir at the time. Yet it was at the turn of the 20th century that Vodeo's skies began to fill with all sorts of most unusual phenomena.
The Coming of the Airships
Vodeo was a quiet place in the year 1899. While the newspapers commonly ran stories of the latest technological marvels and happenings from abroad, there didn't seem to be much to report on the home front. That all changed when reports came in from around Victoria and Storbada that a peculiar light was seen manoeuvring through the hills on the night of September 21. The locals wondered what the light could have been, but it was the report of two men who had been hunting in the hills that they had witnessed what looked to be a kind of searchlight shining onto the ground from a point unknown in the sky. Rumours circulated that some kind of airship was roaming around the area, although at the time there were only a few airships in the whole of Vodeo, and their whereabouts at the time were confirmed as nowhere near Victoria and Storbada.
No sooner did the news break than an outbreak of sightings was reported nationwide. A huge, mysterious object was seen near Alfredton, in Avalon, on September 25. A large, dark, illuminated object was seen flying low over a beach on Hopesmarch Island, near Holme the next day. The day after that, another sighting was reported near Culwawa. On September 30, a strange light was seen by hundreds of people flying over the skies of Gerrise. October 3 brought a report of three large craft hovering over the Bunenton Hills northwest of Silverton. A few weeks passed before the next sighting, over Hopecross, near Crafers, on October 23. Another airship was seen far out at sea by a ship on November 4. A group of lights moving in unison were seen moving along the northern Avalon coast on the night of November 15. On Christmas Day, a group of picnickers enjoying their lunch near Cetorancra were astonished to see a long, white airship floating by less than half a mile or so from where they stood. A strange black craft was seen over Lake Ellis by over a dozen people on December 29. Finally, on January 3, 1900, another craft was witnessed by half a dozen young boys at play in Templeton, north of Radern.
The Templeton sighting was the last of the phantom airships, much to the relief of Vodeans, who had become almost paranoid that some foreign power was conducting reconnaisance for an invasion. Skeptics claim that the sightings were hoaxes, misidentified sightings of other planets, and excited minds imagining phantom craft after having read about them in the papers. And yet people around the world seemed to take great interest in the stories of the Vodean airships, which seemed to take place in the midst of a wave of sightings recorded all over the world between between the 1890s and 1910s, from places as varied as New Ingerland, Drabantia, and the Federal States. What were those things that were seen in the skies over Vodeo over three months in 1899 and 1900? Nobody can say for sure.
The concept of UFOs took hold in the late 1940s, evolving from reports of phantom craft seen during the Great War, and in the 1950s became firmly ingrained into public consciousness. Around the world sightings seemed to come in every week - a UFO landing in a paddock near Núburh, Myrcia in 1949; a close encounter on a rural road in Ingerland's Triland National Park in 1953; a large cigar-shaped object seen descending into the Makaskan woods in the FSA in 1955; and strange glowing lights seen in the Gobrassanyan mountains in 1956. Movies, TV shows, and radio dramas mined the UFO craze for all it was worth, but for the students of Casserres High School in 1958, the science fiction stories became science fact one strange morning in May.
Casserres is home to a huge Royal Vodean Air Force base a few kilometres to the south. As such, seeing military aircraft was nothing unusual for the townsfolk, who had become used to the sight of Spirit fighters and Consolidation bombers. But shortly before 9:30 am on May 21, students and teachers at the school witnessed a large silver disc-shaped object descend into the woods behind the school. Despite the best efforts of teachers, students streamed out onto the school field, where a few minutes later, they witnessed the craft slowly rise above the trees, hover for a moment, and then take off at tremendous speed up into the sky and heading due north-east toward the coast.
Enquiries were made to the RVAF, who had been presumed to be testing some kind of new aircraft. But confusion grew when the RVAF admitted they didn't know what the craft was - they had seen a blip appear out of nowhere on their radar screens and had dispatched two Spirits to investigate, but by the time they had made it over the school, the object was gone. No explanation could be given for how the blip had suddenly shot like a bat out of hell toward the coast at speeds far in excess of any aircraft of the time. Rumours circulated that the Communists were behind it, that it was an RVAF test gone wrong that they didn't want to admit to, or that the students and staff were flat-out lying. But if they were lying, how is it that an object matching the description of that seen in Casserres was seen in the sky rocketing out to sea over the Gardiner Peninsula a few minutes later by witnesses in Dalori Bridge, Torbay, Streatley, and Giboys Beach?
In the Air Tonight
Air travel started to come within the financial reach of more people in the late 1940s and 1950s, and by the 1970s the idea of travelling across the country by air wasn't a fanciful one available only to the wealthy - it was commonplace and economical. With that in mind, two incidents in close succession in late 1979 prompted some to wonder if going up in the air was such a good idea after all.
Late in the afternoon of November 10, a 28-year-old pilot named Henry Clark took off from Hopesmarch Aerodrome for a flight to the Welcome Islands and back. The weather was good and flying conditions were ideal. At 6:24 pm, Clark radioed to Holme Air Traffic Control that something was following him, but ATC reported back that the nearest aircraft to him was south of Tatic, whereas he was over water well north of the town. Clark described the craft as silvery and shiny with bright lights, but could not identify its type. At 6:26, Clark reported that the craft was now flying only about 40 feet above him and was emitting a loud humming noise; the noise was picked up on the radio transmissions. When ATC asked him for further details on the object, Clark replied "I don't know what the hell it is, but it's not going away." Less than 20 seconds later, a suddenly panicked-sounded Clark radioed that he had lost control of his plane; while it was maintaining altitude and the engine was performing normally, he reported that it had taken a sudden swing to the right, and despite his best efforts, he could not direct the plane back onto his original course. Eerily, the strange object above him hadn't deviated as much as an inch from above him, and seemed to be steering Clark's plane. Yet when ATC attempted to contact Clark again, they received no response, but were able to track him for some time headed north toward Promissão. A final, crackly message was received from Clark at 6:41, where he reported that the craft seemed to be pushing his own plane down toward the ocean below - his final words, "Jesus, what is he do-", were interrupted by a kind of crashing sound, before the transmission cut out altogether. Despite a search and rescue operation conducted by both Vodeo and Promissão, no trace of Clark nor his plane were ever found. There were some suggestions that Clark was suffering from mental problems or was suicidal at the time, however these were disproved when it was found that Clark was in a fit state of mental health, and by all accounts of those who knew him had never been happier - he had become engaged to be married only a few weeks earlier.
Clark's disappearance was fresh in the minds when a second, equally perplexing incident was reported on December 27. A cargo flight undertaking an overnight run from Saviso to Holme and back the previous night reported seeing lights of varying size and brightness following them. The lights were said to be undertaking some kind of aerobatics around the plane. Unlike what had happened near Tatic the month before, this time the objects showed up on ATC radar in Holme, Tindalls Bay, Greville, Mercer, and Saviso, as well as on the plane's own radar. Given that there was still considerable interest in Clark's disappearance, the mysterious sighting of lights surrounding a cargo plane became world news. On the night of December 30-31, a VBC film team joined the flight crew as they undertook a re-enactment of their previous run. Nobody expected anything would happen, but to the astonishment of all on board, the lights reappeared alongside the plane north-east of Mercer. Saviso ATC was able to confirm that the plane was being followed by five unknown objects. The film crew eagerly filmed the lights as they danced around the plane, even though nobody on board had any idea what they would do next. The lights followed the plane almost all the way to Holme before disappearing - according to Holme ATC, they simply vanished off the radar.
The job wasn't done yet, though. After refuelling the plane and reloading their cameras, the plane took off for Saviso again at 12:55 am. They had been in the air for only six minutes when ATC radioed in that something was chasing after them and was closing in fast. Barely ten seconds later, the cabin lit up from the light of an immense orb shooting overhead, before the orb veered off to one side and maintained speed with the plane until it neared the St Austellian coast, where the craft suddenly gained altitude and was out of sight in a moment. It made for incredible television viewing and quickly cemented itself as one of the world's most famous UFO sightings, particularly as this was the first account of the enormous orb. Eerily, another cargo plane reported the exact same phenomena less than an hour later, not long after the first plane had landed at Saviso Bradford Airport.
A number of explanations for the phenomena quickly surfaced, such as the lights being from boats, planets, other aircraft, the RVAF conducting some sort of test, or of the towns and cities below. Investigations ruled out the possibility of other aircraft, and the RVAF confirmed that it wasn't up to anything that night. As for the bright light, it was explained as being an artificial one brought onto the plane, even though both the film and flight crews said that no such lighting had been brought onto the aircraft. Yet despite the explanations of skeptics, there's one that's never quite been explained - just what were those blips on the radar screens that were picked up in five different cities and on the aeroplane itself? And as the pilot himself said on the film, what sort of boat would be travelling at 150 knots 2000 feet in the air?
The Southern Lights
Were you to be standing outside in southern Vodeo doing some stargazing on the evening of August 27, 1995, you might well have been richly rewarded for choosing not to be watching television that night. That evening, three lights were seen rocketing across the sky from west to east at phenomenal speed. In the space of about 35 minutes between 8:55 pm and 9:30 pm, sightings of these three lights were reported (and recorded on home video) from towns and cities across the south, from Lake Indigo to Gerrise. While the path the lights took is similar to that of commercial aircraft, in 1995 there were no short-haul commercial aircraft in operation in Vodeo that could or would fly such a distance - more than 700 kilometres (435 miles) - in such a short space of time (and there still aren't). Again, the RVAF insisted they had nothing to do with these lights either, but had sent up Serpent fighters to chase after them - the pilots reported the same phenomena that those on the ground had seen, but despite having their throttles wide open, couldn't get close enough to the lights to see what they were. One idea posited at the time claimed that it was a meteor shower that had been seen over the south that night, although it was soon proven that not only was there no meteor shower that night, there were no meteor showers anywhere in the world in August 1995.
Perhaps strangest of all was the timing of the sighting. Just three days earlier, Princess Piper, the third child of Queen Adelaide II, had been born. Three lights seen three days after the birth of third child of the 33-year-old reigning monarch, who also happened to be Vodeo's third queen? Conspiracy theorists had a field day. If there is anyone is out there, maybe they're Vodean monarchists.
This week's entry doesn't quite fit within the scope of a "haunted" Vodeo, but the events in the skies are unusual all the same. All of the tales above are based on real events, adapted and altered to fit the world of OGF. The strange airships are based on numerous sightings of similar occurrences around the world between the 1890s and 1910s, but mainly draw upon a spate of sightings in the Otago region of New Zealand in 1909; the Casserres Incident is based loosely on a UFO sighting at a high school in suburban Melbourne, Australia on April 6, 1966; the strange occurrences in the skies in 1979 are based on the disappearance of Frederick Valentich over Bass Strait on October 21, 1976 and the sighting of strange lights off the coast of the South Island of New Zealand in late December 1978; and lastly, the Southern Lights are loosely based on the the mass sighting of lights over Nevada and Arizona on March 13, 1997.
So are we alone, or is there something really out there? In this world as well as our own, that question remains unanswered. Next week, we shall be paying a visit to rural Prihor, where there have been some mighty peculiar things going on in the swamp outside Auroa. Bring a torch and sturdy shoes.
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Abducting UFOs Keep To Left Lane Only
- Once again, I waited for this. I really like this sort of stuff. A few things:
- I'm familiar with the Westall UFO, and recognised the reference immediately. In Australia, it's sometimes mentioned when people are talking about 'supernatural matters'.
- That last bit about the 'southern lights' is funny, because I'm sure the aliens would've wanted to overthrow the monarchy.
- And we're going to a rural area next time? Count me in! FictiveJ (talk) 03:04, 17 October 2018 (CEST)
- I had a feeling the incident at Casserres would seem familiar to the Australian users. I love the story of the Westall UFO, and so there was no way it wasn't going to be added into this entry. And yes, it's back to the country next week (in fact, we're staying in the countryside for the rest of the month), and once again, Australia plays a leading role. As for the aliens, they know it's a fool's errand to take on the RVAF; any air force that can fly in a dead straight line while juiced to the eyeballs on rum isn't an air force to trifle with. — ParAvion (talk) 06:24, 17 October 2018 (CEST)
I find it really strange that there were no meteor showers in August 1995, in fact the Perseids, the most popular shower in the Northern Hemisphere happens regularly in August and there are others occurring all throughout the year; nonetheless, this was a nice collection of stories and I did have a fun 6 am time reading it. --Eklas (talk) 06:02, 17 October 2018 (CEST)
- Being from the Southern Hemisphere, do forgive my having never heard of the Perseids before; I did look to see if there were any meteor showers in August 1995, but my search turned up empty, hence why I went with it. To hell with it though, this is OGF, there's nothing stopping us from moving the shower back or forward a month or so or not existing at all if we like. — ParAvion (talk) 06:24, 17 October 2018 (CEST)
- You wouldn't happen to have been to Auroa lately, would you? — ParAvion (talk) 08:01, 18 October 2018 (CEST)