I recently received the following account:
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7. 1941, my Dad, an employee, a teacher, of the then-called U.S Indian Service (now called the Bureau of Indian Affairs) went to volunteer, intending to enlist in the U.S. Army.
He was marked 4-F because of a noticeable limp he had acquired when, as a 12-year-old boy, he fell off the high porch of my Grandparents' homestead house located in east central Oklahoma, and broke his leg very badly. He had to learn to walk all over again.
Because he could not get into the service, he signed up for a program that allowed him to volunteer to take the place of another federal employee who would be going overseas.
Dad was notified that he would relocate for the duration to the federal boarding school for Indian children at White Rocks Indian School, very near the Ute Indian Reservation at Ft. Duchesne, Utah. I was about six months old at the time and, of course, remember virtually nothing of the entire experience.
My mother had been a U.S. Indian Service nurse in Phoenix, but there were no open positions for her at Ft. Duchesne, so she became a housewife. From time to time, she would take me out in my stroller to a small meadow close to the school, and we would have a small picnic.
When I was in my 30s, my mother told me a story.
One day, when we were having our little picnic lunch--it couldn't have been much of a lunch as there was heavy wartime food rationing in effect--a shiny object flew in from the west, made a circuit around the little meadow, hovered for a few minutes, then flew away to the east. I was surprised. I asked her why she had never told me the story before, and she said she never considered the incident of much significance. She could have been right, but I asked her to draw the object from memory. She drew a circular globe. That's it. A circular globe. I asked her if the object did anything but fly through the air. She tried to explain that it made some kind of jittery or shaky movements, but she really couldn't describe what the movement was like. Hmmm. I asked if the object could have been carried by the wind, but she didn't remember it being particularly windy that day. So. Circled . . . the . . . little . . . meadow . . . then . . . flew . . . away.
The incident was several years before Kenneth Arnold's famous 1947 sighting of nine shiny objects that flew in tandem and skipped like saucers as they flew through the sky near Mt. Rainer in Washington state.
Years later, I met a man, a police officer who had worked at Ft. Duchesne. He told of an incident when he and his family were laying out on the lawn one evening as families do, drinking coffee and soft drinks, when a shiny object overflew their house, stopped, and shot straight up. The officer couldn't identify what the object was, but it was enough to send the family scurrying into the house. The officer said he and his family didn't go out in the evening like that for awhile.
Well, after Mom told me the story of the meadow sighting, I gave it some thought. At least two possibilities came to me. As I said, Kenneth Arnold hadn't yet had his sighting experience, but I learned even in those pre-internet days that the Ft. Duchesne area was kind of notorious for sightings of that kind.
Or, there was the other possibility. During the war, the Japanese had made and released a number of Fu-go hydrogen-filled balloons carrying incendiary devices from the Japanese home islands, hoping the balloons would make their way via the jetstream, land in America's forest lands, and start forest or wildfires. Or perhaps actually kill somebody. From Wikipedia: "From late 1944 until early 1945, the Japanese launched over 9,300 fire balloons, of which 300 were found or observed in the U.S. Despite the high hopes of their designers, the balloons were ineffective as weapons, causing only six deaths (from one single incident) and a small amount of damage. The deaths occurred when the victims decided to touch the balloon, thus causing it to explode."
Whether the shiny object my mother saw was a flying saucer or a Fu-go bomb, or something else, I certainly can't say.
But here's what I can say: that little meadow is within two or three miles of the infamous Skinwalker Ranch. I don't know if the paranormal experiences and phenomena experienced in that Ranch area were happening back as far as WWII, but one certainly happened nearby on a picnic day in about 1944. - JP
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