Archives for category: New Jersey

Of all the topics I’ve ever brought up in my life the existence of Extra Terrestrials elicits the strongest responses. Religion, Politics, Gay Marriage, all no matches for E.T.s. The responses vary from “Oh, I saw mine when I was 16” to “Don’t ever bring this up again!!”. I have learned to keep my mouth shut about my encounter. But now through the magic of the internet and the blogosphere I will recount my story.

It was a spring night in 1988, my wife at the time and I were leaving our 3rd floor walk-up apartment in the heart of Closter New Jersey on our way to have dinner at her parents house. As soon as we stepped out the door we were aware of a sound, a low pulsating rumble coming from the south-west. As we crossed the street we stopped. Something caught our attention, lights, off in the distance coming toward us. The lights, which were in a distinct pattern, appeared to be very far away yet as we watched them approach seemed to take no time at all to reach us. All the while the sound grew louder. It was spring and still fairly light out but I couldn’t make out the overall shape of what the lights were attached to. We bantered back and forth, “What do you think it is?”, “Maybe its lots of helicopters flying in formation”. Whatever it was it was extremely large, large enough to make you turn your head from side to side to see the lights on opposing ends. When it was directly overhead you could feel the presence of the thing, like when you can feel mass even if you aren’t touching it. Then as soon as it moved over us we watched it disappear as quickly as it had approached. We looked at each other realizing that we both knew we had gone through something neither of us had ever experienced. At that moment I realized we were literally standing in the middle of the street, normally a very busy street at about 7pm on a week night, yet there wasn’t a car to be found and the sidewalks were deserted as well.

When we got to my in-laws house we recanted the story to my father in-law. He was a scientist and pragmatic guy in general. After laughing and rolled his eyes, he dismissed our story and hypothesized that it was a military operation, that is until the next day. He called us to say that he had read an article in The Bergen Record which stated that other people had witnessed the same thing. The article then went on to say that it had followed up with all the area military bases and all denied having anything up in the air the night before.

What I saw was real. I don’t know what it was but I know it was not a B-52 or a blimp which were the biggest things I had ever seen up in the sky. I have met other people who have had similar experiences and I have read accounts by people who are “way out there” I have also spoken with people who are very religious and become very angry when the whole subject is mentioned. In my mind one thing is certain, whether through fear or fascination most of us share a common bond in thinking that we may not be the only beings in the universe.


I’ve always had a fascination with guns and I think this stems from all the toy pistols my grandfather bought for me as a little kid. Water guns, cap guns, you name it, if it was carried by Valley Fair or Two Guys discount department stores he’d get it for me . Growing up in Elizabeth, it seems like my friends and I were always playing cops and robbers in and around the garden apartments where we lived. All of us had cap guns that is except for one kid who had a real gun. “Don’t worry my dad took the firing pin out” he said over our ooos and ahhhs. His dad was a criminal/superintendent and was probably responsible for the burglary of our apartment. This however wasn’t my first experience seeing a real gun.

My grandfather had real guns. He owned a dry cleaning store in Newark from the thirties through the Newark riots in the late sixties. I guess he needed the guns for protection although he had his own criminal past.
I would stay with my grandparents often and when he would get home from the store he would take off a small holster and put his gun away. I would watch this ritual with interest always asking lots of questions. It was one gun in particular that caught my fancy. I would always ask him to see it and he showed it to me but never let me touch it. It looked like a cowboy gun and in my mind I had built this gun up to be the most prized possession of all time.

The High Standard Double Nine Revolver as I recently learned its name lived at the top of my grandfathers closet well past his death. When my grandmother started showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease my mother removed the gun and put it at the top of her own closet where it remained until her death. I finally was able to touch it after 40 years and although it wasn’t as impressive as I had built it up during those four decades it still held some of that special power that comes from an heirloom.

I needed to fire this 22 caliber rim-fire revolver but I knew I didn’t want it in my house because of my young son. In hindsight because of my curiosity I’m happy my dad didn’t have guns. I needed to get this thing out of New Jersey, a very gun unfriendly state. I wrapped it in a brown paper bag and put it under my seat and drove very cautiously across state lines to an undisclosed location.

My friend’s son taught me to handle a pistol at a small firing range in south Philadelphia. I shot a 45 caliber Glock, a 9mm and a 38 caliber. I learned the rules of the range, the etiquette of fire arms and I was actually a very good shot. To the disbelief of my shooting mates I hit this bulls-eye hand-holding a pistol at 30 yards. Of course I attribute this new-found natural shooting ability to my years of hand-holding a camera very steady at slow shutter speeds. They attributed it to luck. All I know is I had a blast and I got to fire my grandfather’s gun.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,100 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 52 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.