Like many kids who grew up in the Mahoning Valley, I spent much of my childhood hidden among the rows and rows of books at the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library.
Whether I was reading about freckle juice or the various babysitter clubs and their spunky young protagonists, I usually had a book in hand for most of my life (before we got a Nintendo, anyway).
A large portion of my time was spent in the back of the library, near the music (with actual vinyl records) room. There was the aisle with my favorite books: about ghosts, vampires, Bigfoot, and those mysterious aliens.
In the wake of "Unsolved Mysteries," the "Sightings" miniseries and other freaky, scary shows, I was soon addicted everything unexplained.
I read every book on UFOs the library had. Big, huge books that could serve as a booster seat for any kid who wanted to drive a semi-truck. Stories about sightings, abductions, black helicopters, Roswell, Project Blue Book, and all of the vast government conspiracies. Photos of alleged UFOs caught on film stayed in my imagination for years, and fed my curiosity about the world, and that love of scary fear that all little kids have.
Since I was practically an expert in library UFO studies, you can imagine my surprise that there was an actual honest-to-Murgatroyd UFO event right here in Trumbull County almost 20 years ago, and I never heard one word about it until the other day.
Browsing through Netflix Instant one night, I decided "Paranormal Witness," the only show about the unexplained I can tolerate because they have actual physical evidence to go with the stories (my UFO photo books set high standards). If you have Netflix, check it out.
Color me shocked when one of the episodes was titled "Trumbull County UFO." Yeah. OUR Trumbull County.
In disbelief and awe, I watched as the 911 dispatch and police officials told the story of how in 1994, the county was abuzz with calls and reports of lights over Liberty, Hubbard, Brookfield, Bloomfield, and other cities in the area. The airport reported nothing unusual, but audio tapes of the 911 calls and police radio told a different story.
A huge, bright light was seen over Sampson Drive in Liberty, and led police on a chase all over trying to catch up with it. One officer's description of the craft was recorded by dispatch; a huge, rectangular object that did not move as it hovered silently, more than 100 yards in length.
Woah. I felt ripped off. With all of my knowledge about UFO sightings, I should have been the one to see it! I would have been ready with recording equipment, looking for patterns and movements and evidence like burned grass or crop circles.
Only a day after I discovered our not-so ancient alien past, reports began popping up on Facebook about another UFO sighting, seen near I-680 and Route 46 only last week!
The UFO report database MUFON has witness accounts of a silent, black triangle hovering over the highway: "The two lights did not seem to be moving but were rather stationary. As I came closer to the 46 overpass I noticed that the lights were slightly moving. (Crossing under the overpass), I looked up and to the left (north) and observed two black triangles to be seemingly gliding at about 200-330 feet off of the ground ... Both black triangles were gliding without any noise."
So not only were there aliens here since 1994, they're still making cameos!
Have there always been aliens among us? Have they been hanging out with us, watching high-school football and eating hot sausage sandwiches?
Former congressman Jim Traficant always said "Beam me up." Was that a secret message to his alien brethren? Is his hair really a Tribble from "Star Trek?"
As I had long suspected, the Valley is loaded with aliens. Only they want nothing to do with their biggest fan. Aliens, I am only here to learn. Feel free to zip past my house anytime. I won't tell anyone that Jim Traficant is your leader. We can totes hang.
Unless you're those aliens from "V." Forget that stuff.
Have you ever seen a UFO? Tell me about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.