Berkeley, California occupies a hallowed place in science fiction lore, as the place where author Philip K. Dick spent his adolescent years contemplating the dilemma of distinguishing between what is real and what is imagined.
But for another Berkeley writer, the free-thinking bohemian mecca in the East Bay area is the place where he saw what may have been an extraterrestrial spacecraft late in the evening of December 14, 2011.
The man, who chooses to remain anonymous, had just left a Berkeley coffee shop and was walking down San Pablo Avenue toward Cedar Avenue just before 11:00 p.m., when he suddenly got an urge to look up at the night sky.
“Immediately I saw something moving fast, directly crossing into the moon’s glow,” he recalled. “My first thought was that it was a meteor but before I could even complete that thought, it changed.”
The witness saw what he described as a massive craft with a cigar-shaped body, with two red lights on its rear section. “It was moving really fast,” he wrote. “Faster than anything I’ve ever seen. And it was completely silent.”
The witness was unable to estimate the craft’s precise altitude, but says “it was not up that high” and that it was descending rapidly at a sharp angle. Then, just as rapidly, it disappeared into the clouds in the night sky. The entire sighting lasted only about four to five seconds, he later estimated.
The entire time… I stood there asking myself ‘What the [deleted] is that?’” he explained. “I have seen shooting stars and meteors. While there is a chance that this was a meteor, it didn’t look like one. There was no streaks left in the sky, there was nothing protruding outward from this at all. Only two red lights, and this thing looked like it was firing towards earth.”
While the witness already was inclined to believe that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the cosmos and that extraterrestrials possibly have visited Earth and interacted with humans, he did not automatically assume that what he saw was an alien craft. “I am a rational man,” he explained. “I want what I saw to be explainable within the framework of our scientific understanding while at the same time, if I trust my instincts and the awe, jaw-dropping moment this created, I can’t help but believe it was something else.”
“It was so brief and brilliantly impressive,” he said.
Unfortunately, he notes, the area where the witness was walking was deserted at that hour, so there probably were no other witnesses in the vicinity.
However, the NUFORC database does include a report of a sighting three days later in nearby Berkeley Hills. In that report, two residents were sitting on a porch at about 8 p.m. when they noticed a trio of unusual lights in the sky.
“At first, I thought it was wonderful to be seeing three planes at varying distances at just such an angle, the unnamed person who filed the report said. “Then they did not move and they were changing colors --red, blue, yellow, orange, green, if I remember correctly. They began moving at sharp angles and sometimes seemed to come together.”
The East Bay area was the scene of a famous UFO incident on the night May 20, 1977, when three adolescent boys in West Pittsburg saw an object resembling a flying saucer and equipped with red lights land near them. The boys reportedly fled when unknown, robot-like creatures walked toward them, surrounded by smoke and vapor. Local police interviewed the boys and found that separate interviews, they all told the same story. UFO investigators probed the area, but were unable to find any additional physical evidence of the visit.