February 16th 8pm Eastern
The SHADOW POKERS are a geographically diverse group of individuals with a passion for the unknown. There is no limit to the scope of our research, as knowledge and science know no boundaries. Our main goal is to bring acceptance to the study of the unknown, and hopefully discover something new along the way.
October 20, 2012
Approximately 11 p.m. Central Daylight Savings Time
We had just finished attending an entertainment event at our friend’s venue (it was an all-ages show and we didn’t drink anything alcoholic). My wife was driving us home on I-255 north of Cottage Hills, Illinois. I happened to look to the south and spied an orange-red light in the sky, which caught my eye because I knew that while red lights are present on aircraft, these are small and matched up with green lights to give other pilots an idea which way the planes they’re seeing in the sky around them are headed. In this case, the distant red dot wasn’t very large, not much more noticeable than a star, but on this particular partly cloudy night I happened to be able to see that there were no stars behind this glowing dot—the southern sky had cloud cover, whereas the sky over our heads was clear and starry. So I realized that this red light I was seeing was NOT a star, because it was IN FRONT OF distant clouds.
I pointed the strange light out to my wife as we kept traveling on the highway, moving along around 65 mph. The light, we realized after about a mile or so, was coming in our direction. By that point, we were both fascinated by it. My thought from that long distance viewing was irrational: It looked to me like an airliner with its front end ablaze—continuing along in level flight. That of course made no sense, and my aerospace experience and engineering skills were not providing a rational explanation of that slowly approaching red anomaly. We took the exit onto Seminary Road, turning south on the two lane country road, and this gave us a frontal view of the thing through the windshield.
We were going straight toward it. And the strangest moment was about to occur.
My wife did not see this part. She was driving. I know I saw it, but my mind wants it to be a trick of windshield glare: That being the night of the Orionid meteor shower, it had been the reason I was staring up at the night sky in the first place. But I had seen no meteors—until then. As this orange-red thing, this fireball contained in an unseen sphere, drew within about a mile or two of us I saw two parallel white meteor streaks light the sky off to its left. The leftmost of these two streaks vanished, but the right sort of went into “orbit”, as though the fireball had captured it in some sort of gravity. Arcing beneath the fireball, the thing completed a backwards J, coming up on the right side of the anomaly, wherein it made a quick left and seemed to go right into the orange-red fire. Again, my wife didn’t see it. And we didn’t even quite see the fireball exactly the same, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
We kept going. I was urging my wife to pull over because I wanted to get out and see it but she was too entranced and worried about possible traffic behind her to do so. We were probably creeping along about 25 to 30 mph as it closed in on our position.
By then I realized this thing was flying VERY low. I’ve been up in small planes and this was lower than they tend to fly. Hundreds of feet, maybe? Could have been a thousand at most. It was cruising at a relentlessly unhurried pace and we were still on an intercept path, so we kept watching. Finally we reached a stop sign and I had my wife round the corner and pull over. I jumped out just as the thing was passing almost directly overhead. We were out in the country and there was virtually no noise other than the very low hum of the car engine. I heard NO sound at all as it passed over us. Staring up at it, what it looked like to me more than anything was the lit end of an immense cigarette: THAT color of orange-red, and it was fairly uniform in its intensity.
My wife, meanwhile, was seeing something that looked like roiling plasma: orange, red and white energy in a sort of constant flux.
Since then I have wondered if we were seeing pure plasma, or perhaps a flying nuclear fission or fusion reaction: Like the sun, what my wife saw (her eyes are much better than mine) was an uneven, shifting flux of patches and webs of energy.
I continued to watch the object as it crossed the northern half of the sky, a feat it accomplished in only a couple of minutes. I lost track of it on the northern horizon, where it faded into a background of stars. My wife and I experienced whatever the emotional phenomenon is called that brings tears to your eyes in the face of things beyond the mundane. Whatever this was, I’m convinced it was a legitimate unknown phenomenon. Maybe the folks at S4 and Dugway know what it was. Maybe they sent it out to catch meteors for their rare metals. Maybe it was a returning Mayan god. The thought crossed my mind since it was two months before the December 21st date of Mayan prophesy.
Research since then suggests that for the approximately five minutes that the encounter lasted, we were watching a “foo fighter” as reported by WWII pilots. Was it part of something bigger we couldn’t see? I don’t know. Was it ours? Not a clue. Was it something conventional that we “saw wrong”? Not in a million years. It WAS an anomaly. Funny thing is that I always said I never needed proof of the paranormal to believe in it, and that I figured since I was already such a believer that I would never see anything. Hah. Nice move, universe.
I find myself wondering if anyone else noticed that thing that night. Last time I checked, no one else reported a fireball over Illinois or Missouri on that date. Yet there were other cars out there on Seminary with us. I think one even held up at the stop sign going the other way, quite possibly to watch.
An amazing experience. It’s almost as if the unknown is what makes life worthwhile.
Kevin Candela is a former aerospace engineer and university physics instructor turned independent fiction writer whose numerous novels are available on Amazon. He has an advanced degree in civil engineering too in case you want to talk about conspiracies, but be forewarned that though vegetarian he has skeptics for breakfast on occasion. Big fan of the Rolling Stones, Graham Parker and John Hiatt, among other rockers. He and his wife Jackie live in Godfrey, Illinois, with their cat associates.