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Around a year ago I saw some spectacular things in the skies above me, on three separate occasions. I believe I was of sound mind and what I saw really did exist.

Given that what I saw was so out-landish, and that witness testimony is considered the lowest form of evidence in science, am I within my rights to say that what I saw was real?

I'm not saying it's Aliens, I'm saying I saw something in the sky that defied the laws of physics as I know them to be. Should I accept that on three separate occasions I was fooled? Or am I able to say that what I saw was more likely to have been real than not?

I feel like the experience was as real as waking up in the morning, but what arguments exist that I am more likely to have been wrong three times in a row, and what arguments exist that give weight to my experience being real?

I would love a for and against set of arguments, as I'm wrestling internally about it all...

My precise requirement is a set of arguments discussing the fallibility of memory, along with some examples, and also the alternative argument, how much weight can we give to our memory and under what circumstances can we say our memory was correct?

EDIT: As suggested by elliot I will attempt to argue both sides, true and false, myself, and that will hopefully shed some light.

A) It was True

i) Sighting 1.

I was sat outside star gazing, looking up at the sky on a somewhat clear night. Clouds were sparse, and the stars were clearly visible in the majority of the sky.

At an instant, I observed a pure white "meteor" streak directly down from the upper atmosphere, a brilliant white light travelling as fast any meteor I've seen, though in a direction that seemed to be vertically downwards. I observed it at approx 80degs to 45degs from horizon. It vanished when it reached what appeared to be cloud level. So far, I was thinking I'd witnessed a meteor.

A couple of seconds later, no more than 5 seconds, the white point of light re-appeared as it darted exactly 90 degrees from it's previous direction, to the right. The white streak (it was a point but moving very fast) appeared to slow slightly before vanishing once more at the edge of a cloud. That is the last I saw of it. It took a few minutes for me to realise the gravity of what I'd seen, and a couple of hours later I had a mental breakdown due to the fact my world view had been so abruptly altered.

ii) Sighting 2

A week or so after the first sighting, in the same place, I was again watching the sky. This time with more purpose, as I was actively hoping to see something again. (Note that I was doing it every night now, I didn't just see things on the nights I was looking, there were weeks where I saw nothing but planes and shooting stars.)

The sky was completely cloud covered to the left of me, and somewhat cloudy towards the horizon across the full 180degs of my vision. The sky to the right was completely clear, and again I could see the stars clearly.

I witnessed three green/cyan balls of light break from above the cloud cover into the clear sky, in triangle formation, heading south west at an extreme velocity. They curved left, changing their direction to the south (ish) while crossing the sky. They had appeared almost directly overhead, and were at the horizon to the south in around 5 to 10 seconds, I cannot be more accurate. They went behind the clouds near the southern horizon and I lost sight of them thereafter.

The green lights were what appeared to be glowing green balls of fire, with small trails as you would expect from a flame torch being swung around in the air, only these were green/cyan (single colour). They bobbed up and down, left and right, as they shot across the sky, just as a formation of jet-fighters would, the reaction speed of the supposed pilots only just keeping up with sheer speed of the craft in tight formation.

There was no sound observed other than nearby city road noise, I waited for the sonic boom, but nothing came.

iii) Sighting 3

Same place, roughly the same time again, a week or so later once again. More cloud cover this time, with only small breaks in the cloud. I could still see some stars in the breaks, though not nearly as clearly as before.

I was about to call my sister to describe what I'd seen the weeks before, and I was getting frustrated at the fact I couldn't seem to get a signal. I was still looking up at the sky as I had been every night from around 7 til 8 since the first incident.

The same three green lights appeared from behind broken cloud, almost directly above me, heading once again to the South West, coming from North East, this time headed in a straight line above me. They appeared to be much higher up this time, as they were visibly closer together and travelling at slightly slower speeds. I could not keep track of them for long, as the clouds were too dense, but I managed to track them between the breaks in the cloud for a short while as they travelled.

When they had clearly gone so far I couldn't see them any more, I was then able to get signal on my phone, and I rang my sister, and told her everything.

This is the last time I saw anything of note in the sky.

B) Is was False

i) Sighting 1

I was staring at the sky, and I observed a white meteor come directly vertically down. The meteor stopped burning at around cloud level.

I stared at the area for a few seconds, before having an eye-twitch that mocked the appearance of the same light moving to the right, but was in fact a star or plane light, and the movement was caused by my very own eye movement. The light being the same colour, and appearing in the same place, is not wholly coincidence, white lights are common, and I was looking at that exact area already so to have an eye twitch and see something in that direction is not implausible.

ii) Sighting 2

I was sat looking at the sky, same place, a week later. I had been watching UFO documentaries that week, because my first experience had shaken me up. I had been looking for similar events on camera in an attempt to explain what I'd seen.

I then witnessed three jet fighters in triangle formation, going at super sonic speeds, each with an extremely bright green light on the underside, which obscured my view of the actual outlines of the planes.

They headed as described in my True section, only this time at reasonable speeds, just faster than I had expected jets to be able to travel.

iii) Sighting 3

In a similar vein to sighting 2, only this time I will attempt to explain it in a different way;

I was sat in the same place, same time, etc. When three green lasers were pointed to the clouds from far away. The lasers changed their orientation in such a way as to mimic moving craft as the light reflected off particles/vapour in the upper atmosphere. The reason I didn't see the green spots at the lower cloud elevations was because the lasers were actually very far away from my location, and pointed at a very low angle such that the reflections at cloud level were not in my line of sight.

......

Well, those are my accounts of both sides, as honestly as I can make it. I hope this describes my dilemma, as I still feel strongly that I'm making excuses for the second line of reasoning... I'm hiding facts in order to make it possible that it was jets (the green flame-like trails), and lying to make it plausible it was lasers (it wasn't possibly lasers on sighting 2, and I witnessed the same craft in sighting 3).

I've tried to score my own accounts of the event, but I'm far too biased to give an honest review. When I try to ascribe a different explanation than UFOs, for example Jet Fighters, I find myself lying or ignoring what I saw.

For me, I think this answers it. But I am really keen to see what other people have to say about it.

How plausible are my accounts? Should I accept my inability to witness an event objectively? How many of my faculties can I truly rely on?

closed as off-topic by Not_Here, Conifold, christo183, Mark Andrews, Eliran Dec 1 '18 at 21:48

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "While this question may be related to philosophy or occur in a philosophical context, the question itself doesn't seem to be about philosophy, and is therefore not a good fit for our site." – Not_Here, Eliran
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • This question seems right now to be way better suited for the skeptic SE. There is a way you could rephrase this question to make it about the nature of truth, empirical evidence, etc. which does make it on topic here, but right now you're really just asking "can I say what I saw was real or not?" and that isn't a philosophical question, philosophy doesn't care about what you can or cannot say. It cares about what is real, what is truthful, and everything else in that realm, but that's different than what you're asking (as of how the question is written right now). – Not_Here Nov 29 '18 at 19:31
  • And you don't need to add a postscript advertising what type of answers you want or strawmanning what type of answers you expect. The entire format design of this site is set up to filter for quality answers. – Not_Here Nov 29 '18 at 19:32
  • @Not_Here Thanks, I'll try to be more clear about the precise question. – Dan Rayson Nov 29 '18 at 19:37
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    If you can not identify everything you see in the sky, you may call it a UFO and say it is true what you saw. You could not identify the ‘unidentified’ flying object. The unidentified status gives room for interpretations. – Ajagar Nov 29 '18 at 19:58
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    @Not_Here I don't think that I'm able to formulate a proper question here - I think you may have been right all along. – Dan Rayson Nov 29 '18 at 23:02
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If you reduce your statement to the known facts, of course there is nothing wrong with the statement.

"I saw something in the sky on three separate occasions."

"The thing or things was alive / mechanistic / inert and personal / impersonal."

"I did not know what the thing or things was / I did know what the thing or things was."

"The thing behaved in a spectacular fashion and I'm not aware of any widely-accepted explanation for it."

"The way in which the thing behaved was fast/slow, predictable/unpredictable, affected by the wind & rain / not affected by the wind & rain, etc."

"The thing approached from somewhere else and left in some direction / the thing appeared in location and disappeared without my knowing where it went / I didn't see where the thing came from or where it went."

  • I'm not sure what you're getting at? I didn't want to describe what I saw because frankly I couldn't describe it well enough to portray what I saw, and it would leave more questions than answers to other people reading it. I'm looking for reasons why I should or shouldn't believe that what I saw was real, not whether my interpretation is correct or not. Thanks for spending the time to respond though :) – Dan Rayson Nov 29 '18 at 19:21
  • It appears my question wasn't precise enough, I've updated accordingly. I hope this explains what I'm actually looking for a little better – Dan Rayson Nov 29 '18 at 19:41
  • +1. Seems to me just the right response - the question has to reduce in this kind of way if we're to make anything of it. – Geoffrey Thomas Nov 29 '18 at 19:51
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Historians sometimes make lists of the things they look for when they make a theory to cover the evidence. Here is one such list that I'm familiar with:

  • Explanatory power: the theory makes a satisfying explanation with few objections.

  • Explanatory scope: the theory makes a full explanation with few loose ends.

  • Plausible: the theory could be true.

  • Less ad-hoc: the theory doesn't require too many unlikely scenarios, coincidental occurrences, or extra explanations in order to make sense.

I suggest that you write down the entire account two ways, one with the first theory (it was real) and one with the second theory (it was not real). Read what you wrote over a few times, then rate the two eyewitness accounts in each of these four categories.

  • Your suggestion is exactly what I'll do, thank you! I will update my question. I'll add it as a post-script to my original question. This may take a while to write down... I want to be sure I'm honest and accurate. Thanks!! – Dan Rayson Nov 29 '18 at 21:24
  • I really struggled to actually do what you asked - I find myself far too biased to answer the questions honestly. – Dan Rayson Nov 29 '18 at 22:54
  • @DanRayson, have a friend (who won't embarrass you) do it! – elliot svensson Nov 30 '18 at 0:26

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