|Occurred : 6/1/1982 00:00 (Entered as : 06/01/82 0:00)
Reported: 3/30/2006 6:49:06 AM 06:49
Location: Oakland, MD
|Bright light in woods moves toward witness; witness was left disoriented.
I think that this happened in the spring/summer of 1982. It might have been 1983, but I am pretty sure that I had just completed my first year of college and I have a vague memory of feeling irresponsible about missing too many days of work at my part-time job. I have to admit that I can't pin this down exactly. I know it happened no earlier than 1982 and no later than 1984. There were green leaves on the trees; the temperature was neither particularly hot nor cold.
I had a close friend who was several years younger. I think I was 19-20 years old, so she was 16 or 17. Her father was a boy scout troop leader, and he, her mother, and other adults were taking their troop camping at Swallow Falls State Park, near Oakland, Maryland. (Here is the url for more information: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/swallowfalls.html.) She was a bit of a problem teen, and there was no way that her parents were going to let her stay home alone while they took the troop to Swallow Falls. She had to go, but they told her that she was allowed to bring a friend. She asked me and I agreed to go along.
Looking at the Swallow Falls camping maps, I believe that we camped in the Youth Group Loop. I’m not sure exactly where on the loop we were positioned (http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/maps/msfmap.html), but my gut tells me we were in camp site number 2 (http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/maps/sfyg.html). I am sure that no one was in camp site 3, but I am not clear if any one was in camp 1. I have no recollection of seeing any other campers outside our party during the entire trip.
The camping loop went fairly deep into the forest of huge old trees. On the first night, there was a heavy rain storm. My friend and I were sleeping on the ground in a small two-man tent. We were utterly miserable; our tent was damp and leaking. It kept raining into the next day, and in fact, by the evening, it was absolutely pouring. We decided to spend the night in her father's car. It was parked facing the loop road, next to the encampment. My friend, who was a tiny person, took the backseat, and I planned to sleep in the driver's seat in recline.
I recall that we sat in the car talking for hours while the rain pounded the car. I don’t remember thunder or lightning, just driving rain and some winds. I don’t think the car had a lighted clock. (Now that I think about it, I’m not sure cars had lighted clocks in the early 1980s.) But I guess it was around midnight.
At some point while we conversed, I noticed a light through the front windshield. I can remember that it illuminated the hard streaks of rain hitting the glass.
We both stopped talking, so I assume that she also saw the light. I never turned my head to look at her in the back seat as the light wended its way toward us. It was yellow-greenish and about as bright as a car headlight pointed full on very bright. It did not have a defined shape because of this brightness, but I assume its core was round. It moved smoothly, about 3-5 feet from the ground, swerving gently a few times to avoid trees. I remember wondering whether it was a car on the muddy loop coming from camp 1. Then I thought, "Maybe it’s someone walking with a really bright lantern."
My last memory of the light is as it reached the front of our car. I retain an image of it crossing in front of us, as if it was going to follow the loop out of the woods to the parking area. But I can’t recall it actually doing that. I think I saw it start to illuminate the tents that were to my right.
The next thing I remember is disorientation then turning around to my friend to say, "That was weird." The two of us immediately picked up our conversation from before the light appeared.
After that night in the woods, I didn’t think about the odd light for years. I don’t recall ever mentioning it to anyone until the early 1990s, when I read a description of ball lightning. How it can glide and make unusual maneuvers. I decided that was what we had seen and mentioned it to my husband and friends.
When I was in my 30s, my friend visited from Arizona, where she then lived. I asked her if she remembered that night in the car. She did, except for the light. In her memory, we sat in the car talking in the driving rain until we fell asleep.
Now, after another decade of consideration, I’m no longer sure what I saw was ball lightning and lean more toward a UFO-type experience or that I am simply misremembering an event with a rational explanation: a car; a camper.
I have to rule out it was a vehicle for several reasons. First, there was only one light, not two, although I concede it could have been a car with one headlight. But I don’t remember a car. Second, the only source for a car would have been camp site 1. From where I sat, site one would have been at approximately 1 o’clock. I would have been at roughly 7 o’clock. My memory is of the light coming toward us from about 10 o’clock, out of the woods. I don’t remember seeing camp site 1 occupied. If it was, and this was a car from that site, why would they drive the long way around the unpaved, muddy loop in the storm to exit into the parking area? Was it a person with a lantern? It might have been someone armed with an incredibly bright light, but I don’t remember a person. I’ve wondered if it was someone from camp site 1 walking to the toilets. I personally have no memory of the bathhouse that is shown on the youth group loop detail, however, a site 1 camper would again be taking a very long route to get to the toilets, through driving rain on a muddy trail.
I also wonder about the disorientation I felt. I don’t know exactly what time it was when the light appeared, so I don’t know if we were missing time, but something felt wrong. I also wonder why my friend and I never discussed it, and why I barely recalled the incident until I read the description of ball lightning years later. I don’t remember any other experiences that could be construed as abductions. Perhaps they were coming for her? We had a falling out in the late 1990s and no longer are in touch or I’d ask her if she has had further experiences. Aliens? A one-headlight car? Another camper? Ball lightning? I don’t know what I saw that night and I never will, I suppose. It’s been bothering me so much recently that I thought I should file a report.
((NUFORC Note: Witness indicates that the date of the event is approximate. PD))