“A Meteorite or a Flying Saucer?”
One night at the homestead, a loud, penetrating noise awakened me. Like a million jet engines covering the entire sky, the noise was unidentifiable and chartless. Unlike a single jet where you can discern which direction the craft is flying, this sound made me feel that I was in an auditorium where the soundtrack was amplified to create an ominous environment. What made it more terrifying was that the “auditorium” consisted of the Outback’s uniquely quiet isolation.
Fortunately, I was not alone. A friend from Mexico had come to stay with me prior to my due date. We went to the veranda, too frightened to venture outside, but we saw nothing. She eventually stepped outside and said she saw a light, not a star, not a plane, but an undulating light in the sky. I remained on the veranda, fearful that radiation or unseen substances might harm my unborn child. When the unknowable noise stopped, it did so suddenly, as if someone had flipped a switch.
After that, we could not sleep. We made a pot of tea, lit a small gas lamp, and discussed the strange encounter. We considered an extraterrestrial spacecraft, a secret experimental airplane being tested by the Australian government, and a meteorite.
First, we conjured up ideas of aliens searching for life on our planet, an idea that only led to more anxiety. We considered the testing of a secret aircraft. And we didn’t think meteorites could possibly make that much noise, unless they were humongous and hit the earth, in which case, we would have felt an impact similar to a killer earthquake.
We could think of no other logical explanation, except hallucination.
Could we have experienced a strange auditory hallucination? And, if so, why both of us? Neither one of us used drugs or alcohol, so it could not have been a drug-induced hallucination.
Then I temporarily relocated to Darwin until my son was born. My baby boy brought so much joy into my life that the harrowing experience of the unexplained noise drifted from my consciousness.
A couple of months later, my newborn son and I were alone at the homestead. I awakened late at night with bright red and white lights flashing into the bedroom. Terrified–I knew the extraterrestrials had come back for us! Then my name was called. Oh my god, they know my name!
Unbeknown to me, our friends, the policeman and his wife were in route from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Roper River police station where they lived. They’d had car trouble and when they reached St. Vigeon’s, they decided to ask for a bed to spend the night. I’d never been so happy to extend the welcome mat as I was that night!
Next installment: More Adventures at the Homestead
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This series of My Life in the Outback is based on recollections of my life in Australia many years ago. My own photographs of Australia are not only limited, but they are also old 35mm film in dismal condition. To make the series more appealing to the reader, I supplement with photographs that are similar to the experiences and locations I’ve described. I’m often dependent on pictures from the public domain and Creative Commons.
Note: Names of a few people have been changed to protect their identity since this is not a memoir, but merely my recollections of Australia. The name of the cattle station where I lived was known as either St. Vidgeon’s or St. Vigeon. I use the first spelling in most cases, but on occasion, the second one comes in handy.
All photographs are used in an editorial or educational manner.
Photos: “UFO?” by Kelly Hart on CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
“F19x3dartist” by FolsomNatural on CC BY 2.0
“Flashing Lights” by somarj on CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
My Life in Australia – Installment 15 of this blog is brought to you by Tortuga Publishing, LLC