If you don’t live smack dab in the middle of the United States, you may or may not be aware of our current mystery drone situation. It started shortly before Christmas in Colorado, and has progressively worked it’s way into Nebraska, Kansas, and Wyoming (they’re probably in other states too, but these are the three I currently know of). Every night people are reporting seeing very large drones, usually in groups (the drones, not the people), zipping through the skies, hovering over towns and farms. Honestly, the whole thing sounds like the paranoid ravings of someone who is on a really bad drug trip.
Up until this week, I’d shrugged off the reports, because as previously stated, it sounds crazy. At the beginning of the week, a friend of mine, who lives in the middle of the state, posted video to Facebook of a drone over her home. And since I know she’s not high, I realized there might be some credibility to the massive pile of drone sighting reports. Tuesday, another friend added me to a group on Facebook dedicated to sharing eyewitness accounts, theories, and humor. I would say 92% of the group is made up of genuinely curious, amused people. The remaining 8% are seriously paranoid and get mad when jokes are made because the situation is clearly not being approached with enough seriousness. By this point, I’m in two of these drone groups, and both have turned into a serious dumpster fire of insanity. I’m only staying because I’m equal parts amused and terrified by people’s response to the mystery.
The drones made it to Omaha on Wednesday. I got home from work, right at 2200 (10 pm) and as I was getting out of my car, I noticed lights in the sky rapidly headed my direction. I ran to the backyard to get a better view. Soon enough, something flying too low to be a plane and too quiet to be a helicopter passed by, almost immediately followed by another.
I couldn’t make out anything more than the lights on the bottom. Was way too dark to make out the size, but based on placement of lights, was definitely larger than a drone you’d buy off the shelf.
There was something a bit eerie about the whole thing. I’m used to planes flying overhead, and at least once a year Able-1 (the police helicopter) buzzes over my neighborhood. Those are explained things. I see and/or hear them, and I know what they are. Unlike those things, the drones genuinely are a mystery.
Why do they only fly at night? Why hasn’t anyone come forward and explained their presence? Why so many?
I’ve read a ton of theories at this point that range from plausible to completely ridiculous. Here are a few:
-They’re documenting wildlife migration patterns. I don’t really buy this because I’ve not seen a good explanation for why they’d only be out at night.
-They’re coming to take away all the guns. I don’t even understand how this would work. Maybe they’re scanning for guns? Another one that I’ve not seen a viable explanation for.
-They’re mapping the Ogallala Aquifer. I’m a bit intrigued by this. The drones have been spotted flying grid patterns and they’ve been flying over the aquifer, so I guess that’s possible. (For those who don’t know, the Ogallala Aquifer is a giant body of water under several states here in the middle of the country. Google it, it’s pretty interesting.)
-Tracking the weather patterns. Unless they’re getting sucked up in a tornado, I’m not sure what they’d be tracking that satellite and radar can’t. I’m not completely discounting this one, but I do feel it needs a better explanation.
-It’s the government/military. This, friends, is the most likely.
Personally, I think it’s the military doing training, learning to fly drones at night. So far, it’s the only theory I’ve heard that has a valid reason for them only being out at night.
Whatever the truth, I’ll be surprised if we ever get an actual answer to this mystery. I anticipate that soon the drones will disappear, and it will become a story that turns into an urban legend. It’ll get exaggerated, and in fifty years kids will be telling stories about the alien drone invasion that their grandparents fought off single handed with a fire truck full of Head and Shoulders. No matter what, it’s made for an interesting start to the year.
(And kudos to everyone who gets the Head and Shoulders reference.)