Wednesday, October 4, 2023

A Traveler’s Haunting Encounter With a Mysterious Orb in the Darkness of the Mendocino County Night

Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus photographed in the inky black of space [Photograph from NASA]

The geography of the Emerald Triangle evokes an older Earth. The landscape seemingly resists humanity’s attempt to tame it. In this primal place, the unexplained is always close. 

Six years ago, a man drove north along Highway 101 near the Mendocino/Humboldt County line. The towering trees, the windy roads, and the far-off ridgelines enveloped the vehicle in darkness.

In the inky blackness of early morning, this man said he came upon an apparition beyond explanation. In a detailed post on the social media website Reddit, he recounted his experience of encountering an unidentified flying object. Not only did he see the object, but in his telling, it seemingly followed him along Highway 101, appearing and reappearing three times though no one but himself can corroborate his tale.

The Reddit user named YunggMangg characterizes himself as a “skeptic”. He denies ever experiencing hallucinations of any sort and generally disregards accounts of aliens and UFOs.

On the night in question, Highway 101 was empty. He saw another motorist every 15 minutes or so. Beyond that, he was “totally alone and it was basically pitch black, aside from my headlights.” Upon approaching a tight turn, however, there appeared to be a “super bright light up ahead and around the corner.” This light was reportedly much brighter than headlights and “lit up a huge area up ahead.” 

Rounding the bend, the man saw in front of him about an ⅛ of a mile, an orb of white light, 20’ in diameter, seemingly suspended 100’ in the air. 

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What lay ahead was the brightest source of light the traveler had ever encountered. “Everything around me was strangely illuminated in this extremely bright perfectly white light,” he wrote. The illuminated trees sent visible shadows despite being in the dead of night. The light did not cause glare and it did not hurt his eyes. “…[I]t was just so… white,” he claimed.”Almost like looking at a piece of paper.”

The traveler’s mind reeled. Was that a roadwork light used when Caltrans worked after dark? A bright meteor? He continued driving towards the brightness going what he estimated was 55 miles per hour. He slowed down and sped up but was taken aback when he realized the object was not getting farther ahead or getting closer. Instead, the object seemed to change its position and speed synchronously with the van giving the appearance that it was moving in unison with the van.

Driving slower, the orb traveled along with the van for approximately 45 seconds when it “suddenly shoots off over the horizon to my 2 o’clock” accelerating “to some crazy speed and instantly” disappearing in less than one second. The man was left in the darkness of the redwood night, his headlights leading the way. 

Confused and bewildered, he rolled down the window to get some air and plowed forward driving north along Highway 101’s twists and turns. Ten minutes later, the orb returned. 

Once again, while navigating a straightway section of Highway 101, the driver watched the ball of light travel over the approaching horizon and “place itself in front of me in the air, the same distance in front of me and above me as before.” His stomach dropped and he slowed down to 25 miles per hour. He could not look away from the light as he drove slowly through the night. He noted there was no sound of propellers, only the sound of his tires rolling across the asphalt. 

The gauntlet of trees around him was clearly visible bathed in the orb’s light. After approximately one minute, the orb once again made an abrupt exit when it “suddenly shot off almost directly over me to my 5 or 6 o’clock.”

The object’s movement was peculiar. He described it as accelerating in a “super strange way like someone grabbing the movement slider thing on a 3D object in a blender or something and just swinging your mouse as fast as you can to get it to move in a straight line.”

Left in the darkness, the man stopped his vehicle and got out looking back in the direction the object had zoomed off. 

Shaking off the strangeness, the man got back on the road and his mind spun with his encounter. Was it a government craft? A fancy drone? Was he losing his mind? Could it be a craft from another world? 

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While the traveler’s mind turned over seeking an explanation, the orb reappeared five minutes later. 

Highway 101 straightened out and from the driver’s 3 o’clock it “zoomed back into place in front of me.” The object, like the previous two encounters, moved in unison with the van illuminating the immediate area “never seemingly getting a single foot closer or further away.” Encountering the apparition for a third time, the driver felt angry and “let out some expletives and tried accelerating at it a few times.” The orb accompanied the traveler for only 15 seconds before “silently shooting over the horizon to my 10 o’clock.”

This would be his last encounter with the object. During the rest of his drive, he sought a reasonable explanation for what he had seen. When he reached his destination and lay down to sleep, he was restless “racking my brain for some tidy rational bow to wrap up the whole experience with so it can be tucked away as just another memory.”

The traveler would not share his experience for five years. After sharing what happened with his parents and a couple of friends, they did not believe him. Six years after the encounters, the traveler shared his story on the r/UFO subreddit haunted by an experience that he says he “can’t explain away.”

The traveler’s experience closely resembles reports of the Min Min Lights, an unexplained phenomenon reported in the Australian outback. Multiple tribes of Aborigines have long told of strange lights that appear on the horizon, often described as white in color. Legends tell of the lights following and approaching observers, disappearing rapidly, and reappearing later. There are multiple reports of these lights keeping pace with a moving vehicle, similar to what the traveler described when he encountered the light on Highway 101.

The wide open spaces of the Emerald Triangle call upon our inner adventurer. This traveler crossed into the liminal space of root and rock and ridge and emerged forever changed. His experience cannot be authenticated. There are no photographs, videos, or corroborators. The only mark of those moments is a man forever trying to explain the unexplainable. 

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  1. I’ve lived here in Mendocino County 44+ years of my life. Honestly, I see things I cannot explain in the night sky in this county regularly. I have for many years. And I’m not the only one. So this persons account of his personal encounter with this strange light orb is totally believable.

    I don’t blame this person for not sharing his/her experience. I think that most of us don’t share our experiences with strange encounters and observations because it’s hard to talk to others about something most others seem to have no knowledge of.

    • You are not alone in observing night sky weirdness. There is a lot of activity up there from my mountain vantage point. No, not satellites, as you know, but lights galore. Stationary strobe lights, entire fleets of lights moving across the northern sky. Some nights no activity. But with just a modicum of patience, usually some kind of weirdness shows up. Particularly to the north. As an aside, I had three guests a couple weekends ago. I was inside and they were outside. Not sure of the time. Maybe 9 p.m. Their voices became excited. Almost a panic. I went out and looked up. At first I was awestruck. But quickly realized the long line of “stars” passing overhead was Elon Musk’s star link made up of in-tandem multiple satellites. We watched it from west to east. My friends seemed relieved that it was not an alien invasion:-))

  2. It was the cabin lamp! His door was slightly ajar the whole time😂…I dont know why but i really hope aliens are real. Not only would it be super cool but it might give us stupid humans some perspective. Well written piece, Matt! I really enjoyed it.

      • I once saw an alien here in Mendo.
        The only way I know how to describe it was that it was inside of this boy, superimposed almost, although the grayish and slender aliens head was coming out the top of the boys helmet. Inside the Perkins Starbucks at a table with the boys family. It stared at me the whole time. At first I thought the only possible explanation was maybe someone slipped some LSD in my drink but I had just driven from Eureka that morning without any hallucinations or strange feelings. Every hair on my body was standing up and every fiber of my being was screaming to RUN THE F AWAY! But I also felt the need to act normal lol. I stood in line for about 5 minutes though it felt like hours as the alien stared at me almost as if saying… how the f can this girl see me? As I grabbed my coffee my hands shook visibly in terror and it dripped on the counter and my hands. I wanted to run to my truck outside but i kept as calm as possible because I had this feeling of staying hidden. When I got to the door and got outside I couldn’t stop myself from running and my stomach turned to knots and naseau and gas…coffee was spilled all over me. Hot as the coffee was I dont remember feeling burned. My fear was intense but I also felt like it couldn’t possibly follow me if it was under cover inside that disabled kid. I drovebaway like a mad woman until I got to Hopland when the hairs finally soothed and I thought I felt safe. I don’t tell that story often. Never public like this lol. But that was honestly the realest moment of my life. Only birthing my son comes in 2nd place. Never happened again. Thank goodness lol… but whatever it was… it knew I could see it. Call me crazybif you like but I will never forget it’s eyes staring into me.

  3. My sighting happened years ago, perhaps 10. I was driving north on Hwy 101 with a friend following in my other car behind me. We were just north of Hopland, between speed traps when a “fireball” appeared in the sky. Over the hills, east of 101 there was a ball of red light with darker and lighter hues swirling on it. It was the size of a grapefruit in my passenger side window. There wasn’t a tail or trail of any kind. But the object was on a path, a clear trajectory. I was wondering if our area would be demolished when this assumable meteorite impacted. There was no sign of impact. It just kept going north.
    When I arrived home, after an hour of driving mind blown, I asked my friend if they had seen the same thing, and they replied that they had. So I picked up the phone and called KPIX Chanel 5 newsroom. I asked if anyone had reported a meteorite crashing into Northern California that night. The person fielding calls at 11pm outright laughed at me. Astonished that no report had been made and that they were laughing at me, I told them, “You will!”
    That’s it. Mysterious “fireball” flies parallel to 101 over the Coastal Range mountains. But it wasn’t made by a human, and it couldn’t have disappeared if it were a meteorite the size of a basketball gym.

  4. That happened to my son who was three yrs old at the time he was recording on my cell phone at my moms living room window n recorded it I posted it to Facebook but lost my Facebook password n then I cannot find the viddeo of it til this day it was a round ball of light n he remembers it it knocked him down then retracted n it was gone

  5. Great story. But must we continue calling it the “Emerald Triangle,” even in cases which (supposedly) have nothing to do with weed? The cannabusiness is essentially toast and there’s an ever increasing exodus of green-rushers who’ve lost almost everything as a result of their delusions of ganja grandeur, fostered by this inflated emerald image. The forests have been covered with mountains of grow-trash, the streams sucked dry and the critters poisoned. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the healing powers of cannabis, but the“Emerald Triangle” is already an outdated and unbecoming moniker for this once great area. Oh, and it was aliens.

  6. I lived in Mendocino for 25 years. The summer of 2009 at my ranch was like an episode of Skinwalker Ranch. I saw many orbs and lights so bright you could not look at them. My livestock was mutilated but not killed. I could write a book but why bother. I just sound like a crazy person.

  7. Great report on collaborating what I observed at least 20 years ago over around Valley. The time was October, a cold damp night, approximately 10 to 11 p.m. 4,000 ft. elevation. a friend was visiting. I had gone to bed though my friend was still up and attending a “hobo fire pit”. He shouted to come outside. I did. To our amazement there was a commercial jet overhead, maybe at 25,000 feet being following maybe 500 feet from the aircraft’s tail section. The two objects of same size were bright glowing discs. Guessing by the tail size, maybe 20 feet in diameter. I grabbed my binoculars. As quickly as I focused upon these objects the two discs instantly flew up and off into space. So fast (yeah, in one second) that they left a a ghost image just as one observes when a mouse is moved across a sleeping computer screen. We were stunned. My weird thought is these things were not going to allow me to study them. My sense was they knew I was focusing as if I signaled a kind of “lock on” radar. Yeah, that is how it seemed.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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