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The Llewellyn Journal

Sky Predators

This article was written by John Vincent Sanders
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The existence of strange, unclassified forms of life which may inhabit Earth’s atmosphere has long been the subject of speculation and independent research. It is a fact that the myths and folklore of many cultures are rife with references to aerial apparitions like faeries, sylphs, elementals, and wills-o’-the-wisp, and that sightings of these unusual things have occurred throughout history. Although many of these creatures are considered benign, there are troubling indications which suggest that others could be classified as sky predators.

Fiery Birds and Sky Snakes

Investigative journalist Scott Corrales has unearthed accounts of mysterious “incendiary birds” which allegedly set fires in ancient Rome around 106 b.c.-and in Puerto Rico as recently as the 1970s (see “Paranormal Pyromania,” FATE, October 1997). Researcher Trevor James Constable captured inexplicable aerial images while conducting infrared photography in California’s Mojave Desert in the late 1950s. More recently, cinematographer José Escamilla has astonished the world with compelling video and film images of fast-flying oddities he calls “rods.”

The late Fortean journalist Vincent P. Gaddis related a disturbing account of a “sky serpent” in his 1967 book, Mysterious Fires and Lights. This creature, reportedly 18 to 20 feet in length, swooped low over a group of frightened observers in Crawfordsville, Indiana, in September of 1891. Eyewitness reports, which included a sworn statement from a local pastor, seem to indicate that it was a living thing with a flaming red “eye” and that it radiated “a hot breath.” Similar creatures were reported in the western United States in the 1960s and ‘70s. A color illustration of a predatory sky creature, based on witness descriptions, appears in William Gordon Allen’s 1976 documentary film Overlords of the UFO.

Gaddis also reported on a strange coincidence involving birds: “…On September 11, 1948…thousands of birds of different species were killed or injured when they crashed into the Empire State Building in New York City, and into the transmitting tower of WBAL in Baltimore, Maryland.” According to INS news dispatches, “…there was no fog and weather conditions were good…” at the time the crashes took place. Were all those birds actually trying to escape the pursuit of a sky predator not visible to human eyes?

Sky Falls and Aerogel

More than 30 years earlier, the May 1917 issue of Monthly Weather Review reported that hundreds of birds of varied species fell from a clear sky over Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Vincent Gaddis also reported a similar fall involving thousands of dead petrels near Capitola Beach, California, in August 1960.

Charles Fort’s landmark Book of the Damned is filled with well-documented references to strange falls of jellyfish-like objects and other things, many of which were originally noted in such reputable scientific journals as the Transactions of the Swedish Academy of Sciences. Vincent Gaddis and naturalist/author Ivan T. Sanderson also collected news-media accounts of similar events and most recently, “contrail” investigator William Thomas has discussed this phenomenon with talk-radio icon Art Bell. Although skeptics assert that there is no basis in fact to support the existence of sky predators, a recent scientific discovery might suggest otherwise.

In my feature article “Are Sky Animals Made of Aerogel?” (FATE, June 1998), I commented on the nature of an amazing new chemical compound. “Aerogel” is the result of a decade-long, multi-million-dollar research effort conducted by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. This amazing substance blurs the line between the solid and gaseous states of matter, and it can become lighter-than-air when exposed to even a small amount of heat. The National Aeronautical and Space Administration announced in 1999 that its “Stardust Mission” unmanned spacecraft would use an aerogel collector to scoop up particles from comet Wild-2 and return them to Earth. Scientists at Lawrence Livermore have dubbed aerogel “solid smoke” because it is actually possible to touch it without feeling it.

Interestingly enough, a retired Miami, Florida, police detective named Faustin Gallegos found an object that he could touch-but not feel-in the front yard of his home on the morning of December 28, 1958. It was a semitransparent globe about the size of a medicine ball, and although he tried to preserve a sample of the mysterious thing in a sealed glass jar, all traces of it literally vanished within a few hours. If aerogel is a rare yet naturally occurring substance, the possibility exists that some form of life might have evolved from it.

Mangled Aircraft

Perhaps the only modern account of a sky predator attack on humans was presented by best-selling author Charles Berlitz in his 1989 book, The Dragon’s Triangle. Berlitz retells the story of a doomed aircraft, an account he attributes to researcher Robert Coe Gardner. According to Gardner, a military transport plane took off from the San Diego Naval Air Station late one afternoon during the summer of 1939. Several hours later over the Pacific, the plane transmitted a desperate SOS, then fell silent. The stricken aircraft made it back to San Diego and managed an emergency landing.

After touchdown, ground personnel were horrified to discover that 12 of the 13 men on board were dead. The sole survivor-the copilot-died several minutes later. Reportedly, all the bodies exhibited massive, gaping wounds, and the exterior of the craft was badly damaged and torn open in places. It was also soon determined that the pilot and copilot had emptied their pistols at some unknown target. The whole episode was quickly hushed up, and Gardner would not hear of it until 1954.

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Many paranormal researchers have speculated that unknown forms of aerial life could be of extradimensional origin and that occasional ruptures in the local space-time continuum could allow these creatures access to our skies, their preferred habitat.

Like so many other things in the world of the unexplained, the possible existence of sky predators is scoffed at by the scientific establishment. Not surprisingly, the leading paleontologists of the early twentieth century were absolutely certain that a species of prehistoric fish known as the coelecanth became extinct millions of years ago. Well, the discovery of living specimens of the coelecanth changed all that. Hopefully, scientists of the new millennium will heed the advice of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Edwin Schrödinger, “The first requirement of a scientist is that he be curious; he must be capable of being astonished, and eager to find out.”

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