Savage Thoughts -- A Sighting Report

By Leo Savage

On the night of March 7th the Little Lady and I were sitting in our back yard about a half a mile west of Machipongo, Virginia looking at the stars and watching for meteors. At about quarter to eleven we saw an object pass overhead. I would not say it profoundly changed our lives, but we sure as hell have not been able to forget it.

We've been stargazing for many years. We've seen a lot of stuff up there, but never before have we seen something we could not account for one way or another. Here's a partial list of things it most sincerely by God was not:

We first noticed it when it was roughly at the zenith, and were able to follow it over a quarter of the celestial dome (from directly overhead to halfway down the sky) before losing it behind an obstruction. Total transit time we will guarantee was less than fifteen seconds. In our judgement, as best we're able to say without having used a stopwatch, is that it took between five and ten seconds. This is a very short time to transit that much of the sky, which means that either it was very low, or it was very fast. We retain a subjective impression that it was very low, largely due to its size.

The object was first sighted slightly to the east of the big dipper, moving in a generally southerly direction roughly parallel to the handle of the big dipper. More specifically, it was moving parallel to U.S. Route 13 as best we were able to judge.

The object was dead black, with several dim white lights on the bottom. It was more visible from its blackness than from its lights. If you spend any significant amount of time looking at the night sky (and especially if you look long enough for your eyes to adapt), you'll know that the night sky is not totally black. There are stars up there, for one thing, and a general low-level glow. This thing was black, and stood out sharply to the eye once noticed. The lights were not in any regular pattern, and were quite dim -- dimmer than the stars of the big dipper.

The object had a rounded outline. It appeared somewhat irregular, though this may be an illusion caused by the irregular pattern of the lights. I originally described it as convex on the leading edge and concave on the trailing edge. I have heard other reports of "boomerang shaped objects", and while I would not have come up with that description myself, I can see how others would describe it that way. More the bastard offspring of a boomerang and a frisbee than a true classical boomerang shape.

The object was large. It's length (taken by the direction of travel) was roughly equal to the width of the full moon, or possibly somewhat less. It's width (it was wider than it was long) was roughly equal to one and a half to two times the width of the full moon. I apologize for the roughness, but nobody told me to bring any instruments with me that night.

The object was quiet. We routinely hear airliners passing overhead at quite high altitudes, but from this we heard nothing. There was some low level background noise at the time, so it may not have been totally quiet, but it was darned quiet.

None of this adds up to us as matching any aerial device or phenomenon we've ever seen. If the object was cruising at a significant altitude, then it was far larger than anything we've ever seen, and moving far faster. If we assume from the angular size that it must have been at a very low altitude, then it wasn't fast enough to be a plane and it was too quiet to be anything. We don't know what it was, and we'd sure like to.

We still look at the night sky a lot, but it's different now.

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