Opinion

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Like I Was Saying

Embracing the Unexplained

Commentary: Like I was Saying ...

It’s fitting that earlier this month the Great Falls Sox minor league baseball team opted to change its name to the Voyagers, an ode to UFO sightings – specifically from the grounds where the team plays and reoccurring cow mutilations happen nearby.

Fitting because every so often the unexplained invades the news cycle in America and catches on with its mainstream populace. Last week pundits, taking a break from drilling presidential candidates, drilled “experts” on the extraterrestrial. CNN’s Larry King had two so-called experts in his studio to discuss recent UFO sightings in the small Texas town of Stephenville. Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly interviewed one of the witnesses live via satellite, who recounted the following:

“Back in January, the 8th, we was at a friend of mine’s house and burning some debris and looked off to the east and saw several sets of lights coming towards us. Thought it might have been several aircraft approaching us in some sort of formation. And the lights was more intense and very bright. And they all seemed to be moving at the same speed and altitude and everything, about 3,000 feer above coming at us very fast.”

This witness, one of dozens to report seeing strange lights that night, prompted the U.S. military to reverse its earlier position and say, in fact, that they “were performing training operations” in the area at the time of sightings.

“After it already came by us and did a little flame-job over Stephenville, and disappeared,” the witness continued, “it came back by.”

Aircraft, as far as I know, don’t do “flame jobs.” And those flames aren’t chased by military aircraft, as has been reported. So it’s understandable that the town’s folks were spooked.

To add to an already strange month, NASA’s wheeled robot Spirit recently captured an image on Mars that some people are convinced looks like a person, or Bigfoot. They are brushing off the explanation that it is simply a rock carved by the Martian winds.

Before dismissing these believers as delusional, know that the Flathead has had its own share of strange sightings. The most recent one reported to the UFO Reporting Center occurred in Glacier National Park last September when a tourist snapped an image of three “silvery, domed-shaped objects.” Two months prior, a Kalispell resident saw a silver object disappear in the sky. Another teardrop-shaped chrome object was reported in Kalispell in 2006. The traditional chrome saucer is a popular visitor to the Flathead Valley. But Great Falls remains the UFO capital of Montana.

In late 2006, aliens began mutilating cows again in the Great Falls area, as they often did in the 1970s. The rancher who found one of the carcasses told the Great Falls Tribune, ‘‘It’s the weirdest thing. A guy hates to say too much because I don’t know how far you can go before they’ll put you in the nut house.’’

He shouldn’t worry. Sightings are abundant in that area. Part of the reason for the baseball name change, is that in 1950 the minor-league baseball team’s general manager filmed “bright, silvery spheres” flying over his stadium.

As eyes remain fixed on the Stephenville skies, the Voyagers name change and the recent sightings provide a welcome respite from the hordes of presidential hopefuls fighting over the mantle of “change.” Even to the skeptic, like myself, watching “experts” argue over UFOs is far more provocative than watching politicians banter over policy.