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Courtney O'Hara (AP) Courtney O'Hara (AP)
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Keep your eyes peeled - we are not alone!

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Maine is the way life should be. We're known for fresh blueberries, 'Bah-Habah' and being a major vacation destination. But according to a group of UFO enthusiasts, Maine also ranks near the top nationally for sightings of glowing orbs, mystery craft and other phenomena in the skies.  

The Pine Tree State ranks fourth for sightings per capita, according to data from the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC), falling behind only Washington, Montana and Vermont. In the past 60 years there have been nearly 700 mysterious and unexplainable accounts reported. The Bangor area has been no exception. 

In 1999, according to NUFORC, a Bangor resident reported a 'bright light hovering in the sky that eventually closed into itself and took off at an incredible rate of speed.'

A college student residing in Old Town reported seeing a 'boomerang-shaped ship hover, then take off without making a sound' in 2003. 

A Hermon man witnessed a 'very clear, close triangle object with pulsing lights and no sound directly overhead' merely 100 yards away from his position in January of this year.

Emily Russell, 21, recalls an extraterrestrial experience the summer she moved back to Maine after college. 'I lived in Ellsworth, but was in Lee visiting a friend. We were walking through the woods to a gravel pit by Lee Academy. It was a clear, clear night and you could see the stars for miles. We got down out of the trees and sat down before going over and down the wall of the pit. We looked up and there was what we thought was a shooting star. We both pointed it out. Then it came shooting back up from where it had shot down. It stopped and went sideways in the sky, flashed once and shot sideways again. Then it was gone. There was no way this was a satellite or a shooting star. Satellites and slow and shooting stars don't go and then come back.'

Justin Andrews, 31, remembers his experience as a child as if it were yesterday. 'I was around 8 or 9, and we were in Wesley. I was in a back living room facing the woods over a field that was probably 150 yards long. There was nothing behind those trees for at least five to six miles. Through a picture window I saw three purplish bright lights hovering in the field for a good five minutes. They would move around and sometimes spin, but they were always in a triangular formation.' 

Before everyone runs and hides with their tinfoil hats and hoarded water (thank you, 'Signs'!), it's best to realize the data from NUFORC is far from scientific. First, people who report sightings are doing so of their own accord. Second, there are very few reports between the 1950s and the 1980s. Portland Press Harold's Matt Byrne points out that as technology advanced and camcorders, videotape and then digital photography became prevalent, the number of sightings increased rapidly. 

Ufologist Raymond Fowler of Kennebunk says many of the reports of lights in the sky are unreliable.

'About 80 to 90 percent are explainable as man-made objects and misinterpretations of natural phenomenon,' Fowler said. 'Just because you have UFO sightings doesn't mean you have something unidentified.' 

Fowler may be right, but he'll never convince the nearly 700 Mainers who have seen UFOs with their own eyes otherwise. 


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