WHAT WERE THOSE LIGHTS?
Near the end of the summer of 1973, I went down to visit my brother who lives in Eugene, Oregon (from Seattle). Not being one who likes to travel on busy holiday weekends, I decided to go down on the weekend after Labor Day when the kids would be back in school and most vacationers had taken their last excursion for the year.
I also recall the year of 1973 as being one of the most heavily noted for the numerous UFO sightings in this area and throughout the world. Until now I had never seen anything that I would honestly call a UFO, although on several occasions I had seen strange lights I could not identify.
As was my custom, on the return trip from Eugene, I invariably stopped off in Longview, Washington to visit a cousin and an aunt. I usually stayed for several hours, but was always rather anxious to return home as I had to be at work the following morning.
It was just getting dusk as I left Longview and crossed the river to the adjoining town of Kelso. From here I would take the access ramp to the I-5 freeway on which I would travel home to Lynnwood, Washington in a little over two hours.
Although having traveled this route on numerous occasions, I somehow missed the freeway on ramp. I couldn't turn around as I was caught in a rather heavy stream of traffic. I did manage to glimpse a road sign saying "Castle Rock," so I decided I would get on old Highway 99 to Castle Rock and access the freeway from there. I was rather familiar with old Highway 99 as I had traveled it quite frequently before the I-5 Freeway was built.
Soon all the other vehicles had left the road both ahead and behind and I was traveling on some older section of highway. None of the area was familiar to me even though I knew all the area along old Highway 99. I had the car radio on and tuned to radio station KJR in Seattle. This I always used as a homing device. As the music got louder, I knew I was getting closer to Seattle.
Somehow I missed old Highway 99. Either the directional signs were not placed or I had crossed it along the way. The old highway ran through Kelso, but somehow I had either been running parallel with it or at a slight northeasterly angle. The radio station was getting louder so I knew that I was still heading northward.
Eventually even the farms were becoming rather rare and I was entering a rather remote wilderness area. I had absolutely no idea where I was except that I was still headed in a northerly direction. I still expected to reach Castle Rock or at least another remote settlement where I could find directions. I knew I should have reached Castle Rock long before now.
The area was quite heavily wooded and the road was beginning to wind quite a bit. Suddenly I began going down a rather steep hill and eventually I would be in a valley where I expected to see farms again. When I had reached the bottom of the steep hill, I noticed a pair of lights beginning to descend down the hill and assumed it was another automobile.
Even then I noticed the lights as being rather odd that they appeared to be descending at a much steeper angle than I recall the hill as being. Also the lights appeared to be unusually bright and they appeared to have more orange to the beams than was noticeable in most automobile headlights. In addition the lights were descending the hill quite rapidly.
At the time I thought this to be some teenager testing out a souped up engine on the remote highway. It looked as if he were doing at least one hundred twenty miles per hour. If he wanted to go by, I would let him as the last thing I wanted was to be involved in an accident in a rather remote area where I was even unsure of my exact location.
As the vehicle reached the bottom of the decline, it began to slow down and travel at a more reasonable speed. I was traveling between forty and forty-five miles per hour because the road was rather twisty and hilly. If the hot rodder wished to pass, he was most welcome to do so.
I could only catch an occasional glimpse of the other vehicle's headlights in my inside rearview mirror as I was more concerned about keeping my own vehicle on the winding road. There seemed to be something rather odd and strange about those headlights behind me. They appeared to be at the proper spacing for vehicle headlights and the vehicle appeared to be traveling at the proper following distance for the speed we were traveling.
Whenever the roadway became straight for any length of time, I would catch a glimpse of the headlights in the inside rearview mirror. It was during one of these times that I finally noticed what was so strange about them. They appeared to be fluorescent green in color.
This I thought as being rather unusual at the time, but then I thought that being in the rather remote area where I was, teenagers could do almost anything to their automobiles and get away with it than could teenagers living in a town or city.
The next time I was able to catch a glimpse of the headlights in the rearview mirror, I noticed something more peculiar about them. They were still fluorescent green in color, but now they appeared to have a huge black spot in the center. This was the first time I began having doubts that this might not be an automobile following me down the road. At the time I wasn't really certain exactly what it could have been.
The reflected lights in the rearview mirror reminded me of the small cathode ray tuning eyes that used to be popular on radios in the late 1930s and early 1940s. They had a similar appearance except for the band width indicator which was missing. Now I was becoming a bit concerned as to exactly what it was that was behind me.
I was never really scared at any time, but simply curious. I could not for the life of me determine what it was behind me. Unfortunately I could not look back through the rear window because the twisting and turning of the road would not allow me to take my eyes off the road at any time for very long.
I did check the rearview mirror to see it if had been tilted for night driving, but it was still in normal position. At first I had suspicions that the night shading on the mirror had caused a color change, but it had not been moved.
At the next opportunity when I had a chance to glance up at the rearview mirror, I was rather surprised to note two smaller fluorescent violet lights directly below the fluorescent green lights. At first I simply assumed this to be the reflection of the tail lights of another car going in the opposite direction. Then I recalled there had been no car going in the other direction. In fact I had not seen another vehicle on the road since long before descending the steep hill.
Now I was really getting quite curious as to what it was that appeared to be following me so closely. It most certainly was no motorized vehicle I was familiar with and it could not be either an airplane or a helicopter because there was no noise. Just exactly what it was, I could not even guess.
The next moment I am totally unsure of. It appeared that I could make out the hexagonal lens configuration of the fluorescent violet lights. This was totally impossible as the lights were somewhat smaller than the fluorescent green lights. It was as if the violet lights had suddenly and momentarily been projected up to the outside surface of my automobile rear window.
In this event these lights would have been mounted on flexible conduit so they could be projected or retracted as needed. When I next caught a glimpse of the lights, I could in no way capture the detail I had seen before. This bothered me as I very well recall what the lens configuration had looked like and in very great detail.
The nearest I got to getting a direct look at the lights when I was able to partially turn and see what my Siberian Husky was doing in the back seat. He was lying down fast asleep like he always did on such long trips. It was not bothering him in the least.
At this time my curiosity got the best of me and I finally decided to stop the car and get out to look and get a view of what it was following me down the road. The very instant that thought came into my mind, the lights suddenly veered off over he trees. It was as if whatever it was had been reading my mind.
I glanced at my wristwatch and noted that the total elapsed time I had viewed these lights was about four and one-half minutes. I hadn't even been thinking about UFOs, but the thought suddenly came to mind.
Nothing unusual had happened during the entire observation. My automobile engine never quit or even misfired. The headlights never went dim, and the radio was playing louder as I had gotten several miles closer toward Seattle.
I had three cameras alongside of me in the front seat: a thirty-five millimeter Minolta, a sixteen millimeter movie camera and a Polaroid. I always had my cameras along when I traveled. Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to use them.
Also I carried my thirty-eight special as I was rather prone to picking up hitchhikers. Although my Siberian Husky was a good deterrent, I sometimes took side trips into wilderness areas where a sidearm might prove to be useful.
The following morning when I went to work, I questioned many of my fellow employees about various types of lights. One was, or had been, a trucker and I asked him about recognition lights on semis and other trucks. Another had been a railroad worker and I questioned him at length about lights used on the railroad. I, myself, had been a jet pilot having not many years before gotten off of active duty.
Later I had crossed railroad tracks, but these were quite far down in the valley. When I finally saw a sign indicating the way to Seattle, I finally determined I was in the vicinity of Vader and Ryderwood; two small logging communities in the middle of the wilderness. Also I was not far from the I-5 freeway.
During the Thanksgiving holidays, I went down to visit my brother again and retraced my route during daylight hours. I found the steep hill I had come down and saw where I had traveled when the lights were behind me. There were no farms or houses anywhere in this area and no sources of lights of any type.
To this day I have absolutely no idea as to what it was or what it might have been following me down the road that night. All I know for certain is what it was not. I have never come up with a satisfactory explanation as to what it could have been.
One thing became certain that I became a believer in UFOs. Up until then I had been a fence sitter. I had always had a rather open mind about UFOs. I didn't really believe in them and yet, I wasn't a disbeliever either. People were seeing something and some accounts I knew to be false, but I have yet to this day never heard of an incident even remotely similar to my experience.
I was rather disappointed in not having the experiences that others had apparently encountered. My automobile suffered no electromechanical malfunctions. I wasn't beamed aboard a flying saucer and given a physical examination. I didn't see an unusual vehicle of any type, only the strange lights that I saw reflected in the rearview mirror.
Maybe someday someone will tell about a similar incident. Also maybe I will get a rational explanation. Until then I will still be watching for even remotely similar encounters. I still would like to know what it was that I saw.