With the glut of UFO stories flooding the forum lately I thought I would share three of mine. I am an amateur astronomer and an avid astrophotographer; night sky phenomenon are not usually mysteries to me. 1) It was a cold winter night, and I was set up in a rural peach farm far form light pollution. While taking a long exposure photograph, I laid back and stared up. I was trying to catch satellites out of the corner of my eye so I could watch them. While following one, I caught a bright one off to the side (about twice the brightness of the satellite I was watching). I seemed to grow dimmer once I looked at it, and then actually faded into nothing. I had never seen a satellite do this, certainly not one so bright! At first I was overcome with the feeling that I had seen something truly special. It was only in retrospect that I realized my cognitive bias. Firstly, I had seen it out of the corner of my eye, so the brightness was exaggerated as compared to what I was viewing. So my comparison of brightness was really quite invalid. Secondly , as it faded to nothing, it could've simply fallen out of sunlight or perhaps by looking at it, my eyes adjusted to the relative brightness and it drifted behind a high altitude cloud (hard to see even on good nights). Ultimately, I discounted it as being nothing other than a satellite despite the fact that I (an avid observer) had another satellite to compare it to and would've reported it as something exceptional. The reason I mention it is because the memory is so vivid. The event alone almost seems important to me, as a result, I feel the need to make it seem more important. The idea that it was just a satellite almost seems unfair since my heightened emotional state "couldn't be due to a satellite." Still, reality is reality. 2) I was in Vermont with some family friends, and we had driven to a nearby town for dinner. On our way back we decided to drive down a few back-roads and enjoy the peaceful summer night. As far as we could tell, there were no man-made lights anywhere around. A thick fog set in on us as we crested a steep hill, my friend Art and I were observing the fog as suddenly an incredibly bright red light in the sky illuminated the entire interior of the car. The road was flooded with red light and the fog made it impossible to see anything. The driver stopped the car for safety reasons. The light suddenly turned off and by comparison we were in total darkness and could see nothing. At first everything was silent. The driver was the first to mutter an obscenity. Then the light came back on, even stronger than before and it seemed like everything was bathed in a red light. And it faded out again. It look a solid 7 or 8 seconds for us to realize that we had stumbled upon a radio tower and this was the warning beacon for aircraft. We had seen nothing leading up to it because of the thick forest, the steep hill, and the dense fog (cloud) which wasn't present at lower altitudes. By any measure the moment was intense. We all experienced the same moment of cognitive dissonance where our brains completely failed to integrate this new data into our picture of reality. I recall my heart essentially stopping the second time the light came on. My fight-or-flight response was triggered so heavily that I distinctly remember the feeling of being "caught," as though something had sprung a trap and caught me. 3) This one is probably the best since it most closely matches the experience of others as an unexplainable aerial phenomenon which has the behavior of a plane but doesn't appear to be one. I was driving down the highway at night and saw a distinct plane shape off to my right. It was marked by 5 white lights that I could clearly see. They seemed to make out the shape of a cheese wedge with a 6th light being obscured by object. I assumed it was a large slow moving plane. The odd thing was that it was so slow moving that I was able to pass it completely. This didn't fit into my world view of a "plane." So I got off at the next exit (it was still visible) and backtracked. I lost sight of it and thought it had probably disappeared. When I turned around to get back to the highway, I spotted it "over a field" (I use quotes because it's likely that it was much farther away than I thought). It was now turned up on its side. I still don't know what it was for sure. But my best guess is that it was a large refueling plane and that I had sorely misjudged it's location initially; if thats' the case, then my first hunch was probably correct. If you simply assume you saw something incorrectly, or that you interpreted it incorrectly, you can slowly piece together a plausible situation. I would certainly say that I'm more likely to make a mistake in my perception than that I would see something truly unexplainable. --- Anyway, I hope that sharing some of my stories will help other people recognize how easily they can be fooled. There's nothing to be ashamed of, we all love being fooled; that's why we go to magic shows! Still, mystery and uncertainty are fun. you just have to be sure not to lose your objectivity.