A flying saucer hovers over downtown Ithaca*. Have we been visited by aliens? Hillary Clinton is going to find out. (N. Drake) Photograph by Nadia Drake
In the spring of 1999, a UFO flew over downtown Ithaca. I was standing on the roof of a house near the Cornell University campus and managed to snap a few characteristically crappy pictures of the alien object, which vaguely resembled a flying saucer wearing a top hat.
It hovered above the Ithaca Commons for a minute before turning east and soaring over the Cornell University clock tower. As it flew, the craft made a sound that resembled bacon sizzling in a frying pan. Then, just as quickly as it had appeared on that sunny Saturday afternoon, the UFO vanished. The whole encounter lasted maybe a few minutes.
I would later learn that it wasn’t the first time Ithaca had been visited by a UFO. In fact, sightings were pretty common in the area during the latter half of the 20th century—just as they are in some UFO hotspots around the world, like Area 51 in Nevada, the Welsh Triangle, and Wycliffe Well, Australia. Witnesses tend to use similar language when describing spacecraft shapes, ...