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Thursday, October 14, 2010
UFO OVER SULTAN, WASHINGTON
Paul and I did this several times, during both day and night, and it was fun to watch it climb hundreds of feet into the air before finally burning out. And watching it burn out is fun, too, for when the flames reach the balsa wood, the sticks fall apart, and balls of fire drop from the balloon. This is especially impressive at night. All the flames burn out long before reaching the ground, so there’s no fire hazard.
I thought it would be just another hot-air balloon making night in Sultan, Washington, in the late 1960's, when I showed my good friend, Calvin, how to make one. I got together the stuff needed, and went over to his dairy farm. (His family’s dairy farm was located right in the town of Sultan, which hints at what a wonderful life we had.) It was a dark night with no wind on the ground and only a slight breeze up in the sky. The bag filled up with heat like a charm, and when it was weightless, we let go of it. Up it went, higher and higher, looking like a little, moving campfire among the stars.
Since it looked so unique, Calvin and I began to imagine it as a UFO, and we pointed it out to others, even going so far as to knock on a couple doors to bring people out to witness the mysterious object in the sky. It moved southward toward Haystack Mountain, as a small group of onlookers made guesses as to what it might be. Eventually the balls of fire began dropping from the main light, and finally the main light broke up and headed downwards and soon disappeared. People scratched their heads and went back into their houses. I said good-night to Calvin with a big smile, and went home.
The next day, the UFO was talked about all over town. It was decided by some that it must have been a real hot-air balloon, and that it caught fire and fell. And Calvin and I were surprised to find out that a search and rescue team had gone up and scoured Haystack Mountain for the remains of the tragedy!
We never told anyone what it really was…until now.
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