Ladies, gentlemen, children, gather around. On this Halloween night I shall recount you a creepy, but true story from long ago when I was but a lad. A tale of something I saw high in the crisp winter sky long long ago. Or should I say, something that saw me?
It all began when I was seven years old. In 1997 lived with my mother alone in an old house in a quiet neighborhood, high on a hill over looking my town. I remember it, two floors, tan and brown. In the back some bushes that were home to a mockingbird family I was fond of, and a dogwood tree I used to climb. The living room was my play area, the bathroom to its left, and a flight of stairs leading up to the third floor where mine and mom's bedrooms were separated by a small hallway with the catbox at one end.
I remember many good times, watching Sailor Moon as a kid in wonder of a beautiful girl from a strange land. I remember my toys ad the adventures I made up with them. I remember the time I, being a foolish kid, threw half of them two stories out the window crashing into the yard below.
Alas. That is not what our story is about. It merely sets the scene.
One crisp October night I awoke at 2AM from my bed and had to go to the bathroom. To get there I had to go downstairs, past the window in the playroom. A normal occurrence except for that night. As I passed the playroom window I glanced out and noticed a blood red sky surrounding a massive swirling purple and blue eye peering into my window.
I recoiled in fear then, being as rational as a seven year old could be, tried to wipe away the hallucination I was obviously seeing in my cold sleepy state. As I began to head for the bathroom the eye appeared to hover larger in the sky. I ran for the bathroom and closed the door. After finishing I poured some cold water on my face and tried to head back upstairs. I caught a quick glance of the eye right outside my window and bolted for the stairs into my room and cowered under the blankets until exhaustion finally returned me to sleep.
The next day I tried to explain what I saw to my mother, but she wouldn't believe me. We looked, there was nothing out there as the sun set and it was time for me to go to bed. I thought perhaps it had all been a terrible nightmare, shook it off and went to bed.
The next few days were uneventful. I slept through the night and spent my days without incident. Then a week later I woke up in the middle of the night and had to go again. As I came downstairs and passed the window there it was again. THE EYE! Staring at me menacingly from the heavens I ran back upstairs and tried to wake mom, to show her but couldn't.
I was overcome with fear. As the fear and my desire to go got the better of me I resolved to relieve myself in the catbox for fear of going downstairs and seeing it again. The sound of me knocking on the door frantically wasn't enough to wake her. My screams of terror weren't enough to wake her. But the sound of a copious amount of liquid hitting wet sand woke my mother and she opened the door to find what I'd done. She yelled at me and demanded an explanation for my insane behavior. I apologized profusely and led her downstairs to see the problem. Sure enough there it was hovering in the sky. She yawned and complained that it was just my imagination then led me back upstairs to bed.
I didn't use the catbox again, but for a month every time I went to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night I was confronted by the eye staring at me, and I would return to be terrified every time. It began to haunt my waking mind. I drew pictures of a huge scorpion like alien hovering over our house just out of sight. I feared going outside. I didn't know what to do. No one believed me!
After two weeks of closing my eyes and running back and forth every time I got up at night, I forgot. I looked out the window. The sky was a deep blood red. The tree in the back was framed in silhouette against the sky, the lights of the town shone on the horizon far below. And the eye was gone.
We moved away shortly thereafter and I thought I could leave it all behind. But it still haunts me sometimes. Even now it chills me to the core to think about it. I still fear looking up at the sky at night sometimes. But life went on for me, the drawings were lost, my memories slowly faded and were replaced by many more adventures.
Then one night I was reading about nebulas in a science book and there it was. NGC 7293. The Helix Nebula, aka the Eye of God or the Celestial Eye.
It is located 695 lightyears away from earth in the constellation Aquarius. "It is visible with the naked eye on very dark nights with no light pollution and appears to be about the size of the full moon."
That's great. Finally an explanation after all those years, right?
Except for three problems:
1. My town was notoriously brightly lit at night to the extent that the sky would glow above it at night sometimes.
2. What I saw was significantly larger than the full moon, appearing to be the size of a basketball in width.
And 3. My old house didn't face the right direction to see the constellation of Aquarius.