By DeWayne Bartels
Wed Jun 18, 2008, 04:44 AM CDT
Peoria, Ill. -
The evening of May 31 was perfect.
Off to the north of Peoria a large storm was passing by, far enough away to provide Gerald Horst and I a grand show of lightning as we sat in front of the Northmoor Observatory on Leo Donovan Golf Course in North Peoria.
Horst and I were there in the daylight waiting for it to get dark.
It was our turn to show the public around the evening sky as members of the Peoria Astronomical Society.
It was not the kind of night we expected to see a UFO.
But, then, is there such a thing as a time you expect to see a UFO in North Peoria?
We were watching the storm when a dark moving shape appeared in the peripheral vision of my left eye.
The black circle was approaching from the west.
At first I thought it was a goose flying toward the pond behind the observatory. Horst and I had seen a couple take off from there a little earlier.
But, as it got closer, I could not see any wings.
Horst was engrossed in watching the storm and had not noticed this object coming right at us.
I called his attention to it.
He asked if it was a balloon. That was my thought exactly.
But, we both quickly realized this object was moving very fast, and in a straight line.
“Could a balloon move in a straight line that fast?” I asked.
We both quickly concluded that did not seem plausible to us.
We each looked at our cell phones.
It was 8:40 p.m.
When the object passed over us, we saw a different shape.
It had looked round while coming toward us.
As it passed overhead, we saw it looked like a capital B laying on its side. And, as it passed overhead, it tilted slightly to the south, showing a streak of gray, but the color was flat, not reflective.
I got goose bumps.
Horst said, softly, “There wasn’t any sound.”
We looked at each other and watched the item disappear into the horizon to the east, never altering its speed, as far as we could tell, or its direction.
Horst looked at me.
“You going to say anything about this?” he asked.
“Oh, yeah,” I said.
“This is column material.”
“I’m glad you were here,” he said.
“If I had seen this alone, I wouldn’t have said a word about it to anyone.”
A neighbor of mine is an Air Force veteran.
I told him about our experience and asked him if what we saw sounded like a balloon to him.
“Nope,” he said.
“That sounds like a UFO.”
So, what does one do besides write a column about this?
Well, responsible UFO sighters, it turns out, contact the National UFO Reporting Center.
I sent my report.
I’m anxious to see what happens.
I requested an investigator contact me.
As an amateur astronomer, I can tell you I’ve seen very interesting things in the sky.
However, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked by people at the observatory if I had ever seen a UFO while looking into the dark night sky.
I’ve always had to say no.
I still will.
But, I can come back with, “But, let me tell you what I saw one sunny summer twilight.”