Nov 212017
 

About 3/4 of an an hour ago I was in my driveway minding my own business when my west-facing two-car garage door started shaking violently, and for no readily apparent reason. No other “symptoms” were in evidence. I stood there like an idjit for a while, looking at the sky (no sign of interesting contrails), off to the west at the hill between me and ATK (no sign of smoke or bits blowing into the sky) and at the rest of the world (no sign of stuff falling over). Something like 15 to 30 seconds later, it happened again, the garage door shook like someone was physically banging on it. There *may* have been a slight swaying in the ground, but I wasn’t sure of that.

Earthquakes are nothing new, but rest assured that having sizable structures suddenly shaking by themselves is a little disconcerting.

So far the USGS website shows no earthquakes anywhere nearby. I called a neighbor and he reported a similar experience in his workshop, so at least it wasn’t just be going bugnuts. I wonder if it was something “funny” going on at ATK… a rocket test,a burnoff of propellant, a series of detonations. Hmmm.

 Posted by at 2:06 pm
Mar 162017
 

This one is a tad odder than the reappearing star. At one AM on March 1st (I can narrow this one down because I sent a text to a friend) a series of nuisances reached a pinnacle.

Throughout the night there had been a number of odd noises, like *things* bumping up against the side of the house. Some years ago a horse wandered into the corner of the house; this sounded like a smaller version of that, so I assumed that it was something like a deer. In addition to the *thumps* there was some “clacking” sounds associated with the bumps, so I assumed that it was deer antlers bonking against the side of the house.

This occurred several times over a span of three or four hours. Several times I looked outside, but didn’t spot any deer. Shrug.

Then at about 1 AM anomalous noises moved from the side of the house. I’m sitting there doing some CAD drafting, the TV on making some background noise. Even the cats were bored out of their minds; the joy of running around like idjits had burned itself out and they were reduced to a vegetative state. So I hear this noise overhead. I was unsure if it was a noise out in the world or it it was on the TV, so I put it on mute, and the noise occurred again.

What it sounded like was a smallish hoofed animal stomping around on my roof.  My house does not have an attic, so sounds on the roof come through pretty clearly. But a roof is not a naturally tenable place for a hoofed animal to get to in the first place, so my first thought was that I was just hearing things. But then I noticed that both Raedthinn and Buttons were staring intently at the same spot in the ceiling. Whatever I heard, the cats heard too. Then it stomped around a bit more.

Curiosity won out over inertia, but caution was also called for. Coyotes and semi-wild dogs are reasonably common out here; armies of raccoons are not unknown, and there have been reports of mountain lions and even *humans,* if you can believe it. So, I grabbed a coat, shoes, 2,000 lumen flashlight and a 12 gauge and stepped out to see what was on my roof.

Turns out… nothing. Not a damn thing. Except for a light coast of snow, maybe a quarter inch deep, sufficient to show footprints, of which there were none. None on the roof, none around the house. I walked all the way around the house and checked out the whole roof; nothing disturbed the snow except my own footprints. The snow was there from earlier in the day, so any deer bumping into the house should have left tracks.

Since there were other witnesses in the form of at least two cats, I know that the sounds were real. Under other circumstances I’d suggest that the sounds were the result of the house settling or otherwise flexing due to temperature or even geological effects (we get the occasionally just-barely-detectable earthquake). But I’ve lived here since 2004, and while I’ve heard this house make a bunch of noises, I’ve never heard anything resembling “hooves on the roof.”

Speculating further from “settling,” the only thing that kinda seems halfway practical is that a very large raptor or eagle landed on the roof, just on the tips of it’s claws. I suppose if that were to happen, it might not leave visible marks in shallow snow. But a tiptoeing, stomping giant bird of prey doesn’t seem entirely likely either.

So this one falls into not only the “that’s odd” category but also the “the universe is screwing with me” category.

 Posted by at 8:39 pm
Mar 142017
 

As is undoubtedly the case with most people, I’ve seen lots of strange stuff. Attack hippies on fire off the shoulder of Pearl Street, for instance. But as with most strange stuff, the bulk of such things are readily explained, and are honestly pretty mundane.

From time to time, though, I’ve seen stuff that’s harder to explain. Stuff that other people might ascribe supernatural explanations to. In most of these cases, I assume one of two things:

1: My eyes were just a little “funny.” Not having perfect vision, for instance. And lots of the happen at night, when things are hard to make out anyway.

2: Psychological aberrations. I don’t do mind altering drugs of any sort, don’t drink or asphyxiate myself for kicks, nor do I have psychoses or schizophrenia, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get tired, or that my blood sugar never goes goofy, or that … who knows. Any advanced computational system can get glitchy from time to time.

Still, there are sometimes things that happen that are a bit of a puzzlement. Long ago, well before I started pilot training in my college days, I learned that if you wanted to keep a career as a pilot you didn’t report UFOs. And something I’ve noticed many, many times is that a whole lot of people who report weird stuff promptly expand on the observation into unwarranted speculation. See a UFO? Fine. Assume that its an invasion from Zeta Reticuli? Ahhh, no. Hear a bump in the night? Fine. Declare that your house is haunted? Dude, no.

I live out in the sticks. This has afforded many opportunities to experience some damned strange stuff. Urban areas are swamped with the lights and sounds of people and machines, but out here there’s a level of quiet that you come to expect and anomalies are more readily detected. And so… I’ve detected a lot of anomalies. And… what the hell. I’m getting old, I have no chance of becoming an airline or military pilot, I’ll never be an astronaut. I figure I might as well recount some of these, they may provide some momentary amusement. Most can likely be shrugged off, but in the moment they often make my hair stand on end. I remain a skeptic and a materialist, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a good moment of weird. These will be non fiction, recounted as accurately as I can. Some stranger than others. Some might make for useful or interesting plot points in stories if someone wants to use them. If so, let me know.

Ok, the first one to report was Sunday night. Well after sundown I went outside to look at the night sky; it was nearly cloudless, which was great, but there was a full moon that kinda blotted out a lot of the stars. Off to the west are hills often seen in my photos, and they were pretty well lit by moonlight. With snow on them, they showed up pretty well. There was one bright star getting close to setting behind the hills, a minor sight I like to watch. And over the span of two or three seconds, the star faded as it went behind the hill.

Perfectly normal and mundane. Nothing odd about it, just s nice sight.

Then the star came back.

A couple seconds after it disappeared behind the hill, it popped back up. Then, a few seconds later, it disappeared behind the hill again. This all occurred while I was standing still. There are no trees or structures on the hilltop that the star could have been momentarily obscured behind then emerged from, just flat rock. Since the hilltops are several degrees above the horizon, there shouldn’t be issues with the sort of atmospheric effects that can make, say, the sun setting over the ocean eventful

Hmmm.

Now, one possibility is… a cow. Or a deer, perhaps, standing on the hilltop. The star went down behind the deer, disappearing from my sight… then the deer walked away, revealing the star again. And then the star finally set behind the hill proper. This could certainly explain it in a perfectly rational, natural way. But in the moment it was really rather startling to see. Once a star sets, it’s supposed to stay the hell down.

Next time: your narrator breaks out the boomstick.

 Posted by at 1:27 am