Saturday, March 14, 2009

orange flash and missing time

This is my old neighborhood as seen in a google-earth image. The yellow X marks the exact location of the event.

  This story requires reading this other story first.  

It was a pleasant and clear autumn night in Michigan, I was a boy living in a quiet suburb of Detroit. I was 12 years old and in 7th grade, it was 1974. It was Friday night after the local high school football game, and I was walking home after the game ended. It was normal for me to walk the half-mile back to my house. I was with my friend (also named Mike), who was walking the same way. We were close to my home in a neighborhood of small suburban houses on a well lit but quiet street. The scene was completely normal and calm. We were in front of a house where an elementary school pal named Cindy Gail's used to live.

A recent photo with the spot marked with a yellow "X"

I know exactly the spot on the sidewalk where we were when suddenly there was a bold and jarring flash that took up most of the sky. It was a giant blur, and everything up above us was lit bright orange. It felt like someone just flipped a switch and the sky lit up, and then went back to normal. As soon as it happened, it was gone. It was completely silent. We were surprised and both responded with, "What just happened?"

There was nothing to see, since the event was over instantly, but something unsettling had happened. Was it a meteor? Was it lightning? Why was it silent? I know that I saw something, but there's an odd skip in my memory.

The color seemed utterly bizarre, it was a very bright and very saturated orange. To this day, whenever I see a campfire, and look at that the way the coals can glow as a warm radiant orange, I say to myself, "That's how the sky looked above Cindy Gail's house."

We continued to my house, I said goodbye and Mike walked home. I was excited to get home and watch a television show I really loved (KOLCHAK, The Night Stalker) that started at ten o'clock. I remember leaving the football game in order to get home in plenty of time so I could watch this show. But when I walked in the door, my parents were angry that I was out so late. I was surprised because I had made certain to be home at about 9:30, but instead it was well after 11 o'clock. It seemed odd, but I was genuinely disappointed because I missed that cool TV show.

The next Monday a group of friends were all in the cafeteria at my junior high school, along with Mike, and I told everyone that we had seen a bizarre light on Friday night. Mike added, "Yeah, a UFO with lights and everything!" What? I hadn't seen anything with lights. Did he see something I didn't? Mike and I never mentioned that night again.

That was over 34 years ago, and I have no idea what has happened to him.

I've always had a memory of this event, but the pieces were disjointed. I clearly remember the orange light in the night sky. And, I’ve always had a definite memory of missing that TV show, and my parents being angry about me being out so late. I had no explanation for that missing time. It wasn't until the mid-1990's that I remembered both of these events together. It happened while watching an interview with Chris Carter, creator of the X-Files, he talked excitedly about how he loved the same TV show (KOLCHAK, The Night Stalker) when he was a kid. Instantly the memories resurfaced with an almost electric jolt, like somebody just flipped a switch in my head. These two events slammed together in my head.

I suddenly realized that this all happened on the same night, I jumped off the couch and paced around my cabin in anxious circles. I’ve read a lot of UFO books, and the implications of this story unnerved me to my core.

Note: I easily googled the TV show KOLCHAK and it was only on for one season. So, I can pinpoint this event to the fall of 1974. The show was on Friday nights at 10 o’clock, exactly as I remembered.

A little more about the orange flash.

Now remember, this is over 35 years ago, so I can only say so much. I remember that it was a very pleasant night in autumn, there was nothing stormy about weather.

The actual color was a hot orange. Exactly the color of glowing coals when they "illuminate" as that deep rich orange. Quite a vivid color. Radiant.

The flash was abrupt. Normal night sky - ORANGE - normal night sky. Lasting maybe 1 second. Extremely jarring. Perfectly silent.

Imagine you took movie footage of a night-time street, a normal suburban street on a clear night. The film runs thru the projector at 24 frames per second. You take this film, and using some sort of post production computer effect you change the sky to a hot radiant orange, all of it, one uniform color. But only for 24 frames, meaning just one second. No fading up and no fading out. Just ON - and then OFF.

If I was to watch this film on a projector, with the effect inserted for one abrupt second, this would match (as much as I can remember) what I saw in Michigan in 1974.


I've added this on Aug. 6th 2009.
If you've read this far, you simply must read about the curious reemergence (again, at an intensely synchronistic moment via facefook) of my friend from that night, Mike.


And - I've added this on Sept 2nd 2009.

I just got off the phone with Cindy Gail. She still visits her old next door neighbors (the couple are now in their mid-80's). She said they told her a story that they saw a glowing green UFO over her house! This would have been before 1977 (when they moved).

I begged Cindy to play the role of investigative reporter and dig up more on this very curious puzzle piece.



Mac said...

Good idea re. checking the TV listings.

dudivie said...

Talking about simultaneity, which you mention on the sidebar. I had a week or two this winter, talking with my little daughter..every phrase i said was instantly followed on tv..the same phrases (exactly) , what ever we were talkin about. at the time. Funny, and after when it continues for hours and weeks, makes yu angry.

"Leave me alone!" But I love mi alien

Anonymous said...

In swedish " Jag har sett Satan slungas ner från himlen som en blixt" much light comin down from heaven *in the bible..enjoin your stories

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...makes me think about the sighting I had in 1967 when I was 8 years old, when I walked outside my house and saw a low-flying object that looked like the old Project Gemini rocket with capsule with antenna-like structures sticking from the front.

No rocket exhaust or missing time, just a humming noise.

That was the first and last time I've ever seen what one could call a "UFO" or an experience.

Anonymous said...

Did you live in the town of Troy?

Mike Clelland! said...

Al - I did not live in TROY, but close, please contact me via email, it's in the side-bar to the right - at the bottom.

I'm curious why you ask.

Anonymous said...

When i was 20 years old in LI, NY I was driving home with my girlfriend from a party in Greenport to Smithtown and cut through Brookhave Natl. Labs to get to the L.I.E. (495 Long Island Expressway. We lost about 2 hours and when I recal something having not seemed normal she was in tears. SHe started beating my shoulder from the passenger seat telling me "someone had taken us and what was I goin to do?" she was hysterical. I was unable to respond with anything other than "everything was going to be okay." I recall that I was calmer than her.

When I try to talkk about this I get nauseous and my throat closes up, it is like I have aphysical response to the effort of trying ot remember what happened.

I think that in my dreams I have seem bits and peices of this night and I recall that I was hurt very bad. I recall coming home very late and my Father asking why? I had a talk with him that he still remembers. I told him that I thought that I had been abducted and that my girlfriend was emphatic that we were. We broke up after that.

I know that I have been touched by something that altered my ability to remember it as an event in any specifics. It is deliberate as I remember everything else in my life to the little details but this amazing event is just a blank.

Now I was at the wheel of a SAAB 9000 going 100 MPH through the NY countryside in Dec. at 0130 hours and blank out for 2 hours without dying? Impossible, I was driving too fast, I always did and still do. THere is no way I just blacked out for 2 hours. Something happened, we stopped and when I came too, we had only made it less than half way. A 1.5 hour ride was a 4 hour ride!

I am not sure what happened. I know it was unnatural. I have tried to be hypnotized but the guy though I was full of shit and I could not get under his control anyways.

I am now 34 and just trying to type this I hav tears rolling down my face and I am shaking. I am not sure what happened but it was real.

David Downey, Jr. said...

Hi Mike, I had an experience with a UFO when I was in high school. I wrote about it here.

When I read your story it reminded me of mine...its always good to hear similar stories so I know I'm not crazy...


Anonymous said...

Mike I had an experience of missing time when I was a child around the same time as yours. I grew up across the street from the Cranbrook Institute. Briefly, I took a nap on a Saturday afternoon and woke up late that night or what I thought was that night but it was actually Sunday night. Of course I considered the possibility that I was mistaken and took my nap on a Sunday. But I am sure that my memory was acurate.

Mike Clelland! said...


Please - I wanna hear more.

Contact me here:

thank you
Mike C

Brizdaz (Darren) said...

Being a bit of a "Talking Heads" fan,and seeing Cindy's house in this post (it's a similar style to the house on the album cover: mentioned below),
plus the phrase "What just happened?" made me think of the CD;

I've been meaning to purchase a copy,but haven't got around to it yet,so I've only heard bits and pieces of the songs.

I also was a fan of "The Night Stalker" (Australian title) because the actor who played him was named Darren McGavin,so it was easy for me to identify with him as 'on a first name basis'.-)

Anonymous said...

listen, I am not a crazy UFO believer. But I did see an orange flash in the sky in newport beach ca about several months ago. I didn't see the light build up from a spec into a full blown orange dot. But I did see a full blown orange dot (about the size of 10 or more far away stars compiled together) fading and shrinking.

just thought i'd let you know.