Apr 20

Strange Lights In Washington

A listener writes “It was Fall of 1976 in Tacoma and I was a sophomore in high school. I have an old buddy Nick and we’ve been friends since we were 10 and remain good friends to this day. Anyway, in North Tacoma there are quite a few ravines, that we called gulches, that cut through the neighborhoods leading down to Commencement Bay.

Nick’s house was a about half a block from the side of one of these larger gulches and we often went down into it to hang out in the summer or after school while growing up. We had a few campsites we had set up in different areas of the gulch and knew our way around the whole area.

We’d take BB guns and shoot at robins and sparrows (rarely hitting one) and basically just trekked around in our own little adventure land. As it was the 70s, not many people ventured into these gulches aside from kids and we rarely (if ever) saw anyone else. Today the main ravines have trail systems and have been set up like urban nature hikes for the Tacoma populace.

Anyway, I hearken back to the fall of 1976 and I was a sophomore in high school. Four guys (including Nick) and three girls joined us for a small party in the gulch. We went to our high camp which was the one closest to Nick’s house near the top of the gulch.

We had managed to procure a case of Rainier and had somehow talked three freshmen girls into joining us. These were heady times indeed and the prospect of having girls join the party was beyond our wildest dreams…We had just settled in talking about what high school was like and what the freshmen girls could expect for the coming year, since we boys were “experienced” sophomores, when we noticed small lights floating down the bottom path of the ravine. From our vantage point at the top, it was probably 50 yards to the base of the ravine and then another 30 yards or so up the trail when we first noticed the lights. They looked to be softball sizes with a faint blue tinge to them. We called out to them a few times thinking they were people with flashlights walking on the bottom of the gulch but there was no response. My buddy Nick and I decided we’d go down and investigate since we knew the gulch so well and wanted to show the ladies how “brave” we were.

As we headed down we could still see the “lights” gliding along silently. When we got down to the bottom path one light shot off behind a large log on the side of the trail, another went up the other side of the gulch straight through the underbrush and the last one shot up towards our side of gulch but back in the direction it had come. Again, we heard no noise of anyone tromping up the ravine in any direction and when we went to check out what might be behind the log, there was nothing there. We were perplexed but went back to our little party and nothing further happened. Talking about it with Nick later (and it’s come up more than once) we still haven’t been able to sort out what they could have been with any logical explanation.”

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