There was a peculiar "phenomenon" in the sky the other day. There was cloud and no sun and against this sky full of cloud was what, from a distance, appeared to be a strange weather event. Or was it something else? It was darker than much of the cloud, a steely-grey apparition that swooped and swirled as though it were a giant kite. It took some time to realise, especially as there was no noise, that it was birds - hundreds of them. I should have realised immediately, as this mass movement is not unusual. I had to conclude, though, that I had never seen this from such a distance or against a sky that was much the same colour. Had it been blue, the apparition would have been more immediately obvious.
This odd event was something that could lead to the drawing of a wrong conclusion. It was a ghostly formation floating over Albufera. Ghosts in the sky. The human condition, despite the sophistication it has now acquired, is still inclined to superstition, to interpretations of "signs", to a craving for the supernatural or just the downright weird. Humans love ghost stories. They also love UFOs. Somewhere out there ... cue the music to "The X Files".
This sophistication is such that there are scientists who believe we are all part of a gigantic computer simulation. It requires massive sophistication to be able to even articulate this proposition with any degree of plausibility. If this is the case, then somewhere out there is an über-intelligent race which, God knows how long ago (and maybe we shouldn't rule God out in being behind the simulation), set the simulation up. This race fed all the required information into its Matrix-style machinery, pressed the button and bingo!
The simulation proposition is, in a sense, the ultimate conspiracy theory. And this is something else humans love. Some of them at any rate. What is not being told or explained? What is being covered up? What is the truth? "The truth is out there" and Mulder and Scully went in search of it.
Does this fabulously intelligent race ever come to take a look at closer hand at its creation? You would think not. Why would it, when it is presumably watching anyway? If not, then what is the race that we see in the skies? Some other intelligence from space? It's out there. Somewhere. And it has occasionally passed over Mallorca. Oh yes it has.
The Ministry of Defence has recently declassified its X files. Spain doesn't have a UFO, it has an OVNI - "objeto volador no identificado" - and the ministry has kept a record of the sightings of OVNIs. It has now declassified the documents, though they are only for between 1962 and 1995. What are they not telling us about the last 20 years?
The first sighting contained in 80 reports and on 1,900 pages was in San Javier in Murcia. The final one, over the period declassified, was in a place in Seville called Morón: I'm saying nothing. And then we have the ones over Mallorca and the Balearics. There are four X files for the islands. The first was Soller in July 1972. The second is for Menorca in October 1978. Then there were two within eight days in February 1979. The first has an unspecified location - it was over the sea somewhere - while the second was in Andratx.
There have supposedly been other sightings in the past twenty years - the ones the ministry isn't telling us about. And Soller would seem to be a hotspot for alien activity. Perhaps it has something to do with the Hidden Valley. What better place for alien craft to land than there? If you're from Soller, can you really be sure about that bloke at the bar? They're here, you know.
Not so far from Soller, as in the Gorg Blau reservoir, seekers of the truth that is out there once upon a time used to gather in great number. In the 1970s they would drive into the mountains and come together, as though mysteriously drawn in a way that Richard Dreyfuss had been. At night they would wait for the tune to be played or to observe evidence of strange phenomena which might confirm that Mallorca, and more specifically the Tramuntana mountains, was some form of Bermuda Triangle.
Meteorites have been the explanation for certain sightings, but there are others for which explanations are less clear or non-existent. When pilots in Menorca in 1978 reported lights, they were said to have come from two high-speed military fighters, but neither Palma nor Barcelona control towers could confirm their presence. Then there was the incident with the unspecified location when a ship spotted lights and picked up echoes on its radar. There is still no explanation.
Odd things can be witnessed in the sky. The mind can play tricks. But does it always?