Last week, Zach Tuggle, a reporter with the Mansfield News Journal, our sister paper, wrote about the rise in UFO sightings in Ohio.
Ohio ranks eighth in the country with 4,110 reported UFO sightings, according to a study published by Outforia, an organization which keeps track of such things.
California leads the nation in sightings, with 15,072, followed by Florida with 7,513 cases.
(I'll let you insert your own wisecrack here.)
I love these stories.
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For one, like Bigfoot sightings, they serve as a diversion, no matter how temporary, from those stories which overwhelm the senses and make us feel helpless, even as we feel guilt for our compassion fatigue.
Who among us would ever have thought that after surviving a pandemic, we'd be seeing the kind of World-War II-era atrocities committed against children and other innocent civilians in Yemen, Syria, and Bucha, Ukraine?
Secondly, we Buckeyes know that Ohio — not North Carolina — is first in flight, having produced Orrville and Wilbur Wright, Eddie Rickenbacker, John Glenn, Neal Armstrong, Gene Kranz, the legendary lead flight director for the Apollo 13 mission, and Judith Resnick; people who changed the world by defying gravity and what humankind thought was possible.
Ohio also is home to a NASA research facility, and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where some conspiracy theorists believe aliens are being kept like freeze pops after crashing in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947.
So, perhaps it's no wonder that Ohio consistently ranks in the top 10 of UFO sightings, according to MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network.
What's intriguing is that more incidents are being reported by pilots and police officers; people who have too much to lose to cry wolf.
According to Tuggle's report, the most famous UFO sighting in Ohio took place over the rolling hills of Richland and Ashland counties on Oct. 18, 1973.
That seems like an awful lot of trouble, traversing across the universe just to check out the Mansfield Reformatory and Mohican State Park.
However, if you're planning to take over the Earth, you could do worse than Ohio when it comes to housing costs.
Entertaining the possibility of UFOs sounds wacky until you remember that a shocking number of Americans believe the 2020 election was stolen, that John F. Kennedy Jr. will be on the 2024 ticket, that Vladimir Putin is just misunderstood, and that America is run by a secret cabal of baby-blood drinking, Satan-worshipping pedophiles.
And Jews. Of course.
Prior to the Pentagon's landmark 2021 report on UFOs, the Pew Research Center published a survey that found that 65% of people surveyed believe that life exists on other planets.
Perhaps it will take a saucer drive-by over a halftime show at an Ohio State home game against Michigan. Who wouldn't want to see the Best Damn Band in the Land?
Maybe the aliens' reasons for doing a drive-by are totally self-serving. Just as with life on Earth, everything in the universe is connected in ways we have yet to fully understand. Perhaps it's why they never land, just hover ... with the doors locked.
But you would think that by now, our otherworldly visitors have seen quite enough.
Then again, who can blame them for swooping down to get a better look at Big Butter Jesus?
Charita M. Goshay is a Canton Repository staff writer and a member of the editorial board. Reach her at 330-580-8313 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @cgoshayREP
This article originally appeared on The Repository: Ohio a hotspot for UFOs? Who knew?