All right, Iím going to be brutally honest: I argued with my editor for the first time when she assigned me to cover the UFO sightings last week. I didnít want to have anything to do with it.
I love my job but I am about six months into my journalism career and I have aspirations of continuing for many years. When she said I was going to report on UFOs, I could see my career flashing away with the rest of the lights in the night sky. But being a dutiful reporter, I set out to report on the mysterious lights plaguing Erath County and beyond.
One of the things I like most about what I do is that I get to talk to all kinds of people. Covering the UFO story has been no different.
Almost every call I get and every person I meet starts out by saying, ďIím not crazy butÖĒ
Iíve talked to people from all walks of life who have seen things they canít explain over the past two weeks. Some believe itís military jets; others say aliens; others say they donít know, but theyíre kind of concerned.
I like to think that I am a pretty open-minded person and I certainly know I am in no position to judge anyoneís sanity. And over the last few weeks, Iíve learned to expect just about anything. However, there was one call I received during this brouhaha that still sends chills straight through me. It was from a woman who lives in Florida and the call started like all the others.
ďYou are going to think Iím crazy, but thereís something I have to tell you,Ē she said.
ďMaíam, youíd be surprised. Iíll believe just about anything these days,Ē I replied.
She continued to explain that she isnít psychic, but said she gets a ringing in her ears when something big is about to happen.
She said for days she felt something was going to happen to the west, either Texas or California, then she saw news reports of UFO sightings in Stephenville.
She thought something devastating was going to happen in the next few days.
I listened to her in earnest, but at the end of the call I told her I honestly didnít know what to say or what to think. She said to pay attention because something was going to happen.
I convinced myself to forget about it, until a few days later when I woke up to reports of earthquakes in Irving. Then I was freaked out.
As a reporter, I try not to form opinions or take sides, but this story has taken on a life of its own and Iím just along for the ride at this point.
What do I think? I honestly donít know. I havenít seen any of the lights. I think the universe is a very large place that we know little about. I also think the government tests new technology before they tell us about it.
For now, just like everyone else, Iíll keep watching the night sky and Iíll keep asking questions. And hopefully, I can find some answers.
Whitney White-Ashley is a staff writer at the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 968-2379, ext. 229 or by e-mail at Whitney.firstname.lastname@example.org.