By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News
Posted 1/27/15 (Tue)
Sometimes in our lives we run across something that seens a little strange to us. We marvel at it for a moment then move on.
Then, there are the times in which really weird things occur, things that we see and find difficult to explain and if we tell someone else, they think we’ve lost our minds.
I’d bet that most of us have had these strange encounters that have no scientific or mathematical explanation.
I’ve seen a number of unusual things in my life, but in analyzing what happened, can most often come to a logical conclusion.
• One of the strangest situations occurred to me on July 22, 1994. I had just returned home from National Guard annual training and was aware that Comet Shoemaker-Levy had collided with Jupiter on July 16.
I took the telescope out in the back yard and among one of the worst swarms of mosquitoes I’ve ever encountered, looked at Jupiter.
What I saw literally scared the dickens out of me. The lower right quadrant of Jupiter, as seen in view, was black and for those of us who have seen Jupiter through a telescope or in pictures, black has never been its color.
There was obviously a big, black blotch on the face of one-fourth of the planet created by the impact of the comet. It truly was scary.
Shoemaker-Levy had caused a disruption in the balance of the solar system and I was able to see the result of that impact.
• When I was in high school, a couple of friends and I were returning from a bowling outing in Linton.
As we left Linton for the 15-mile drive north, a bright light in the sky followed us all the way to Hazelton and moved above us almost exactly parallel with the road.
Airplanes don’t follow that path and although that was our first assumption, there was no sound from this brilliant light that was traveling at about 1,000 feet.
When we approached Hazelton, the light was suddenly gone. I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t the driver, we all saw it in 1976 and to this day the three of us can’t explain what it was.
• In August 1998, the Langdon American Legion hired me to take aerial photographs of the baseball park during the state Legion tournament. Local pilot John Boe took me up in his plane and buzzed around the ball park several times. When I said I had enough, he straightened the aircraft and flew across the international boundary. When he turned it around and got back into U.S. airspace he handed me the controls and said, “here, you fly the plane back to Langdon, so I did, but when I saw the runway approaching, he took the controls back and landed the plane safely.
• In January 1993, we were in Panama with the National Guard and one night several of us went into the small, nearby community of Plaza de Caison.
At one point, a teenage boy rode up to our group on a horse and dismounted. He was rattling off something in Spanish and of course, none of us spoke Spanish.
I took an alternative approach to the miscommunication. I handed the young man my 35-mm camera and he handed the reins of his horse to me.
I mounted the horse and rode around Caison for about 15 minutes. When I came back, he was still there with a smile on his face and so was my camera. I think he just wanted to interract with the Americans.
• In May 2005, the Minot Daily News sent me to Regina to cover Queen Elizabeth opening the Saskatchewan Centennial.
Turns out, I was the only U.S. news reporter there and was able to witness, and photograph, Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Paul Martin and Premier Lorne Calvert all on the same stage at the same time with security so lax the queen also walked among us in the crowd of about 30,000.
• While in college in Bismarck, myself and a couple of girls, one who is now married to my brother, were driving down Main Avenue and saw a body in the street in front of what is now the Peacock Alley restaurant.
We stopped, got out and as I checked, he had a pulse. The police were arriving at about the same time. It turns out this man about 40 was the victim of a hit and run and lay in the street as cars drove past.
•When I was a kid, the house I lived in had exceptional FM radio reception. But on one occasion, TV was the topic. The signal was on channel 2, but it wasn’t KXMA in Dickinson. After watching long enough to get the call letters, discovered it was CFAC in Calgary, Alberta, nearly 900 miles away.