Mae Clair: When the Sky Had a Tail

Last week I read a great blog post by Stephanie Ingram called Aliens Have Landed.  She relayed how as children, she and her brother searched for aliens in the fields behind her house. Imaginative fun!

Stephanie pointed out that much of what we experience as kids makes its way into our writing as adults. Some of it is conscious, some not so conscious. I love the frivolity of childhood and the stories I used to invent with friends. I was always dreaming up something, or imagining a secretive place tucked under the horizon of a far-off land.

If you scroll down the sidebar of my blog you’ll see “12 Weird Facts About Me.”  Note number three. Minus any eye-rolling, please! 😉  The story is this:

It’s a warm summer night, almost dark, and I’m sitting on the front porch with my father. He didn’t realize The Spooky House was two doors down, (for some unfathomable reason he thought it was a simple office building), but I was conscious of it even then. He and I often sat together at dusk, especially if there was a thunderstorm brewing.

He must have worked a long shift, because he drifted off to sleep. Shortly afterward, a large green object trolled across the sky. I remember it as a semi-cloud, the color of algae-enriched seawater. Light spilled from the bottom, drenching the street, front lawn, and half of the porch in an eerie green glow. The light swept over me but didn’t touch my father who remained seated in the shadows.

I don’t know why I didn’t wake him. When you’re a kid you accept the unusual. The ‘cloud’ moved past, and soon people were walking up the street, jabbering excitedly. My dad woke up and I followed him down to the sidewalk where a woman stopped to chat. She’d come from the below The Spooky House, and told my father “the sky looked like it had a tail.” I remember those words clearly.

Had I seen a UFO?

Maybe not of the alien variety but, even now, with the hindsight of an adult, I can’t say what it was.

Hot air balloon?  Weather anomaly?

Given the woman confirmed something strange had happened that night, it will live forever as a goose-bump ‘what-if’ memory in my mind. At some point in the future that strange dirigible will most certainly worm its way into a story.

Are there childhood events, mysterious or common, you see yourself using in fiction?  Maybe you already have. Do tell! Inquiring minds (er…that would be me), want to know! 😉

8 thoughts on “Mae Clair: When the Sky Had a Tail

  1. This gives me goosebumps. I’m sure you must have thought about it a million times and tried to come up with all sorts of explanations as you got older but you’ll never really know… I love moments like that because it opens up new worlds of possibility.

    I hadn’t noticed your 12 Weird Facts before but now that you’ve pointed them out, I have to read. 🙂

    Thanks for linking to my blog, by the way. That was very kind of you and I’m glad that my post helped to inspire you to write about your “encounter”. I enjoyed reading it. 🙂


    • I can still see that “cloud” so vividly. One of those memories that feels as starkly clear as the day it happened.

      You always have intriguing blog posts so I was most happy to point readers there. 🙂 See what your ‘aliens’ inspired, LOL?


  2. I’ve always wanted to see a UFO! I swear if I do, I’ll write about it! LOL. I did write a short story once about making up a story about a car following me when I was younger and that car ending up on the news not long after. Very eerie and it stuck with me to write it out later on in life.


    • Okay that is creepy. The car actually ended up on the news? *shiver* I can understand why that stayed with you. I imagine writing about it brought the memory vividly back to life too.


  3. One night, I was roughly 16, riding my bike home from football practice. I lived two miles outside of a small town. (Rigby, Idaho. The Birthplace of Television!! whoo hooo! lol) and on that ride is a cemetery roughly a quarter of a mile on the way to my home. It was usually dusk on my ride home and I was always so skittish about that cemetery that I would pick up a lot of speed as I came close then I would pedal as hard as I could until I was clear of it.

    This night however, I was tired of being scared and I decided to just cruise by. As I did so I saw a girl walking along the road on the opposite side as me, she walked toward me. when I moved closer I realized she wasn’t on the road, she was on the grass next to the road. Closer still I realized, with the hair standing on the back of my neck, that she wasn’t just on the grass, she was on the other side of the fence, she was inside the cemetery, just walking. she was roughly my age, and she didn’t look up. she had on Levi’s and a plaid button up shirt, with dark black hair. I passed her, looking at her, she never looked up. I kept glancing back in her direction thinking she would come out of the fence, come out of the Cemetery, but she never came out of it.

    To this day I wonder about that. Why would a young girl be walking alone at dusk inside the cemetery fence? Even if she wasn’t scared, that’s weird. I’ve never figured it out, and I’ve never told anyone. Thinking on it now, it’s spooky.


      • LOL! I loved it, M.L.! What a strange, spooky tale. Old cemeteries fascinate me but you’d never find me in one anywhere near dusk. The thing that struck me the most about this is that you said she didn’t glance up when you rode by. That would be a natural, almost instinctive reaction. Goose bump territory indeed! Thanks for sharing such an awesome tale!


      • Absolutely, I’ve also shared this with Stephanie, she was just across the road, very few cars on that route and my bike made a racket from the pedaling. Of course, I believe that my heart makes more of the situation than may be present. I have considered it a lot over the years and I’m not sure what my stance is on beliefs of ghosts and such, other than they give me the hebegeebies. However, my little sister died of pneumonia when I was two. I have brown hair and dark brown eyes, but my father has jet black hair, so it is conceivable that, if there is something paranormal at work, she could have been my little sister. Why else would I be able to see her at that particular moment of my life; what significance of seeing her there could possibly be if she was not my sister.

        I don’t know what the answer is, though I do know she was there, whether ghost or flesh, it wasn’t a trick of my mind. It’s a mystery I can never solve. But I could write about it. 😉

        Yes, as my hometown, that is our one claim to fame. Mr. Philo T. Farnsworth invented the picture tube there and the very first broadcast signal occurred in the basement of Rigby High School.


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