Last week I wrote about our strange experience on the Broad Mountain and I would like to thank one reader, Bill H., for his information on one possible explanation for the sighting we made. He found information on something called skyfish or flying rods and forwarded me some YouTube links of various sightings.
Skyfish and flying rods are crypto-zoological creatures. Cryptozoology is the study or hunt for hidden animal species that have not yet been "officially" discovered. In past columns, I have written about several such animals also known as cryptids including Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the Jersey Devil and others. While most scientists don't take these mythic creatures seriously, they have been found to be wrong several times. The mountain gorilla, giraffes, tigers and giant squids are four examples of cryptids that scientists refused to believe existed until they were proven to exist by explorers and naturalists.
Even though several cryptids have been found, most scientists are skeptical when it comes to cryptids and rightfully so. While it's easy to criticize them for not accepting eyewitness accounts with little evidence at face value, they must also be conservative or our biology texts would be running rampant with fantastical creatures. There is too much temptation for hoaxers to fake a sighting of these animals in hopes of fame and fortune and for scientists to just accept such claims would be irresponsible to science.
With that said, the jury is out on what skyfish or flying rods actually are. There are supposed photographs of dead flying rods which look suspiciously like several dragonflies mutilated and fastened together to create a strange looking creature with several pairs of wings. In other cases, point and shoot digital cameras that take poor quality video have photographed blurred rod shaped creatures with half moon wing like projections coming from a rod like body. When these videos are slowed to single frames, one can see that these rods are nothing more than bugs being distorted by the camera's filtering system.
One comical video showed a 15-year old boy bragging about how he cleverly caught a flying rod in a jar and spent three minutes violently shaking his "flying rod" creature in a jar. When he finally showed the contents of the container, it was one badly shaken moth for whom I started to feel sympathy.
The one common denominator in most of the sightings and video taping of these flying rods is that these creatures are only a few inches long. Unfortunately, while the anomalies my wife and I saw that night looked in a way like these rods, the difference is they were not seen on camera but with our own eyes and they were not inches long, these objects were a few feet long and at least several inches to a foot or so tall.
It was fascinating to see these videos and I deeply appreciated the response from my reader for the lead on this possible explanation. I wish that it was that easily explained but I think for now, we will have to continue to search for the explanation for that encounter. If anyone else has had a similar experience, I would be interested in hearing about it.
It is not the only time I have had weird experiences while driving and apparently I am not alone. One friend told me about an early morning drive to work when he encountered a shoeless woman in a nightgown on Lentz Trail who disappeared when he looked in his rear view mirror creating quite a shock in the pre-dawn darkness. Another friend of mine who was experience sightings of a ghost of a man that used to live in his house encountered the man on the highway near his home. My friend was on his way home from work at the time.
A third encounter was related to me by a store clerk at the Switchback Mini Market several years ago. It was a foggy night and a driver came into the store. He was shaking. She asked what was wrong and he described seeing a woman in the fog appear right in front of his car as he was traveling up the mountain. He had no time to react but instead of hitting someone, he went through the woman. She passed through the hood of his car into the passenger compartment and out the rear.
While I have yet to have had such a dramatic encounter, I have experienced my own phantom hitchhiker in a way. Four or five years ago on my way home from work in broad daylight, I was driving up Route 512 just north of Bethlehem. I happened to glance over at the side of the road and noticed a male figure with no features walking down the berm of the road toward me. It was such a startling sight that I momentarily blinked and all of a sudden he was gone. I slowed down and looked around and there were no pedestrians in sight on this stretch of open road. It was one of the weirdest driving experiences I ever had. I never saw the figure on that road again.
Have you experienced something strange while driving that you can't explain? Write and tell me about it. I will keep your identities confidential but I am curious to hear from you.
Til next time …