My last post described a strange military jet airplane that seemed to float silently beside the highway in mid-day, over a patch of woods not far from where I live. It’s been several months since I wrote that post, but I have thought of this sighting many times since then. Not obsessively, and not to attach any particular significance to it. I really don’t imagine that this airplane was necessarily anything but what it appeared to be, which was a normal military jet that seemed to behave strangely. Yet I’ve also allowed it to signify a certain possibility of meaning, and in so doing, certain synchronistic or curious phenomena constellated around it [link previous post and addenda here].
I’ve noticed something else curious in how I think of this as well. I now remember it differently from how I did before. In this new memory – which I tell myself is not how I saw it, yet which persists, seemingly of its own – there are two impossible features. The first is that the airplane had a long, silver-metallic pole that stuck down several meters from the belly of its fuselage, that may have also had a blinking light at the tip of it. This feature is identical to a sighting that I had of an actual UFO in the late 1980’s [link to post here]. If this pole or antenna were actually jutting from the underside of the plane, it would’ve been impossible to land without breaking it, or at least retracting it. Also, to say it again, I’m quite certain this feature wasn’t there at the time, yet, despite this, I can’t seem to help but remember it this way. The other addition or distortion I have is even stranger: I distinctly remember there being a hatchway open, also on the underside of the fuselage, and a man in a white sweatshirt who wore a flight helmet, leaning out of the opening, smiling and waving down at the traffic that passed beneath, perhaps specifically at me. This is just bizarre, like some cartoon version of what actually happened. Yet every time I think of it, this is how it appears to me in memory.
I postulate nothing about these reconfigured memories beyond what they present themselves as, yet both features have curious referents. The pole or antenna relates directly back to a UFO sighting of my early adulthood. The smiling man who waves reminds me of an attempted kidnapping when I was quite young, when a man tried to entice me into his car. He pulled the car up beside me, opened one of the back doors, and smiled brightly and with one arm, gesturing for me to climb inside. Since I’d been warned about exactly this at a recent school rally, I knew to run away, and that’s what I did. But the knowledge that things could have gone very differently for me has never been far from mind, and though it may seem a stretch, to relate this early incident to what I imagine seeing a man in a airplane doing, the psychological association of “abduction” is valid, because what I’m describing is fundamentally a psychological event, with the concept of the UFO as an invisible, though central, constellating event.
Memory seems never to be only one thing. In fact it isn’t. Yet memory has been the underlying and constant theme throughout these posts, since all are based on memories of observations and impressions, either near or distant in time. Moreover, these recollections are the interpretations of memory – descriptions, which exist apart from the memories themselves and may be more or less accurate, yet are not the thing itself. The description is unavoidably a modification of the memory, a shaping of recalled sense impressions and thoughts and feelings into words, which recollection itself is an ever-shifting modification from the original experience. There are gaps between these things, epistemological gaps and reinterpretations. And though I’ve tried to describe what experience I’ve had as accurately and truthfully as possible, I know that these distortions are an inevitable result of the highly plastic medium of consciousness – a consciousness impacted by this image or idea of the secularly numinous, which in some cases, and from a certain perspective, can be described as contact experience with the UFO – which are exactly the spaces this original sighting and its memory seem to be playful within. A trickster. A shape-shifter. Yet I don’t know that anyone is doing it to me but myself.
This is the nature of the recognition, what I call the alien as myself, as it is my own consciousness which seems to be the most fundamentally mysterious thing to me, and my experience, as such, of the UFO or “ET” which provides the most direct portal to it, which fixes my attention on it, whatever the ultimate nature of that phenomenon is – self or other or both, or beyond such categorization.