We were singing Christmas songs as we headed out of the city. Not a big city, more like a small town. A small town called Chillicothe, Ohio. It was Christmas Eve, 1972 and we just left my grandparents house after exchanging presents with them. We came up on and soon passed the hospital on state route 159 and we were now heading out to a neighboring town called Kingston. The population there may have reached the three thousand mark if you included the people who lived out in the back roads. Rural was an understatement as this area was a farmer’s paradise back in those days. It was so country that at nine years of age, I could hardly wait to join the four-H club as that was the hippest thing to do.
It was a clear night and the stars were out in full force. It was so calm and peaceful, not a hint of snow anywhere on the ground, which is unusual in these parts this time of year. Rain would have been closer to normal but no clouds came a calling this particular evening. Even the air was dry. Not overly warm but a good fifty degrees, maybe slightly less. So, it wasn’t a white Christmas but I think my mother was glad of that because she was the one doing the driving.
Her name is Janet Forsythe and I was but one of her three children at that time. I was the middle kid. My name is Andrew. My siblings were a pain to deal with at most times but not during the holidays. I remember how cool it was to have people around me to share in this joy. My older brother, Greg, had a year and a half on me and my younger sister, Tammy was about a year and a half behind me. I was nine years old that night and I was having the best time of my young life. But that all changed when we took that first curve in the road that was the beginning of about a five mile stretch to Kingston.
It was almost like a dream. We hit that wall of fog like we were plunging into some kind of vortex, some kind of hidden door to another dimension. It was so thick, it looked more like cotton than anything else but we ran right smack into it nonetheless. My mother applied the brakes immediately and we went from fifty MPH to five MPH almost instantly. Not only did these two things get my attention real quick but the panic in my mothers’ voice shook me up as well. “Okay kids, hush. I can’t see anything, not even the road. I need you to quiet down.”
We did as we were told. I looked over at my sister. We were in the back seat and my brother was sitting shotgun. I remember how eerie it was, chilling in fact. Looking out of the windows I could see nothing, absolutely nothing but the white mist. For a nine year old boy, it was the coolest thing ever but for my mother, it was the most frightening. I had never seen fog like that before or at least, I couldn’t recall and I know I haven’t since. Even as an adult now, I have never witnessed this kind of meteorological event. I now compare it to being in a plane and flying into a thick white cloud. It was like floating on air.
My mother was vigorously trying to see the road. She even reached over and turned off the radio. The car was as quiet as a morgue. “Greg, can you see anything? Are we still on the road or what?”
“I don’t see nothing, mom.” He answered. He was doing his best to assist while my sister and I remained still in the back. “Keep looking.” She requested, when suddenly, something caught her ears. “What’s that noise?”
“What noise mommy? I don’t hear anything.” My sister told her. My mother now began to really become concerned. “That humming sound, it sounds like a car behind us or maybe in front. Can you see anything behind us Andrew?”
I turned around and sat on my knees and stared out the back window but, I couldn’t see anything except the white wall all around us. “No mommy, I don’t see anything.”
“Well, keep looking baby. Let me know if you see headlights. I’m worried that someone might be coming up behind and will hit us. Greg,” She again turned to, “keep a look up ahead while I try and keep us on the road. Let me know if you see headlights, okay?”
We all had a job to do except for Tammy. “Mommy,” She now began to whine, “I’m scared.” Okay, so maybe she did have a job, a job that my mother apparently shared with her as she did her best to comfort. “Mommy is scared too honey but we’ll be alright. See anything back there Andrew?”
“Not yet.” I answered, keeping my eyes peeled. But maybe I kept them too peeled because there was a reflection coming off the top of the trunk that caught my little eyes and as I turned around and pushed myself backwards to look up, it was like a sci-fi come true. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen.
Picture a full moon as it gathers in the suns reflection, illuminating like a glow-in-the-dark yo-yo. Now, picture that full moon just a couple hundred feet above your head. As perfectly round as a pizza pie, I took in this sight and mustered up every ounce of awareness to finally acknowledge my discovery. “Mom, look up above the car.”
“Not now, Andrew, I am trying to watch the road and figure out what that noise is.”
“But mom,” I again tried to tell her, “there is something above the car.”
“That’s enough, Andrew; you’re scaring your sister … and me. Now, keep your eyes on the back and let me know if you see any headlights.”
I slid down and leaned across the seat and stuck my head in-between her and my brother. “Mom, I’m not lying. There is something right above the car. It’s huge and round and glowing, like the moon.”
She took one millisecond to look at me before she addressed my brother. “Roll down your window and take a look.”
Then, she addressed me, “If he doesn’t see anything young man then you’re in some big trouble.”
“Oh, my God!” Greg wailed out, “He isn’t kidding mom, there is something up there and it’s right above us!” So much for that spanking. I smiled victoriously and scooted back to take another look. My mother rolled her window down as she too popped her head out just enough and took a look upwards. “Jesus H. Christ.” She whispered.