This would be around 1960, back in the days when kids were not allowed to enter the "Adult" section until the librarian deemed them ready. Like many small-town libraries, ours was built around donated collections from local residents, one of whom had a passion for the occult.
So I would wander down to the basement of the Paul Pratt Library and immerse myself in Atlantis, the para-normal, and, of course, UFO's. The grainy black-and-white images of slightly out-of-focus disk-like objects floating above tree tops lit a fire in my imagination that has never quite gone out. Nowadays, YouTube provides a steady diet of images from around the world, images that are hard to refute, both in their quality and their volume.
Let's pretend that, like me, you accept the reality of UFO's. The obvious question is, "Where do they come from?" Most folks think they come from other places in the galaxy. We know they aren't from our own Solar System, but science is uncovering habitable planets by the thousands in neighboring solar systems, neighboring being a relative term.
Which raises still more questions. Are they coming from just one place or from two or more places? If so, are they working together or against each other? And why exactly are they coming here? Just to say hi? I don't think so. Two possibilities. Either they are peaceful and are content with observing us, just as anthropologists live among primitive tribes to learn their ways. Or maybe they want or need something we have, like the visitors in the movie "Signs."
My theory is that they come from here ... time travelers, coming back from some unimaginable future thousands of years from now to see ... what? Surely they wouldn't just pick any period at random. Think about it. If you could travel back in time, would you want to see just any old day in the life or would you want to see the pivot point, the era that jump-shifted mankind into a future that for one reason or another has an urgent need to know how it got that way, urgent enough to go to the trouble of figuring out a way to travel back in time and then building the machines to do it?
When you see the things science is leaping into without really looking too hard, you could see where we might have opened some Pandora's Box with consequences that resonated deep into the future. Just the other day, the folks at DARPA announced a four-year project aimed at building machines that could teach themselves to become better machines. SkyNet anyone?
Whatever is going on up there, it is hard not to think that something isn't out there. Too much evidence is piling up on sites like YouTube, videos from folks all over the world, showing aerial presences that no government claims as its own, that require technology not used in our everyday lives, built in facilities no one has seen by workers no one has ever met.
I'd like to think this is all good, but common sense says otherwise. If these things exist, they exist for a purpose. It would be nice to think these are future Carnival cruise ships, filled with rich people who are experiencing the ultimate journey back into one of many available pasts.
Yes, it would be nice to think that, but I wouldn't want to bet the ranch on it. Until we understand what their purpose is, I'd say it's good to to hope for Captain Kirk but you'd better be worried about Darth Vader.