Albert had been out on a date and at that time he and his family lived on the Old Pearl Hill. This is the hill south of Pearl, IL. It's a bunch of fairly flat farms with surrounding trees and a big old sand ditch.
On the way home from his date a glowing bright white craft landed in the road in front of him. His car died and he had to slam on his breaks to keep from hitting the thing.
He was frightened not knowing what was going on or what the intentions of the beings inside the craft might be. Just as quickly as it had come it flew away. His car started and he went on home. The thing that caught everyone's attention was he never missed a day of school unless something really bad had happened and everyone knew it. The follow day however he did show up and that's when he told his story to his then best friend. In no time we all knew about it.
This was a young man who would rather have died than told a lie and this story was so far out there he just knew no one would believe him. The truth however is we all knew he was as honest as a person could be. If he said something you best believe it. The fact we got the story from his best friend back then was something else. You see most of us knew David H. was ah, well let's just say he wasn't quite as honest as Albert. The question that came to mind was David playing us, had he made up this story?
There wasn't many of us back then who would confront Albert to ask him if the story was true. Years later however he was working as a police officer in a town not far from Pearl and I called him. I asked him about the UFO and the first thing he said was "how do you know about that?"
I told him he wasn't the only one who had seen or had a close encounter with that UFO. Yes he said the story is true.
The Fish Market in Pearl
I ran with a rough crowd back then and you would find some of them working at Nelson's floating fish market.
Have you ever watched professional fish cleaners at work? The Shank's brothers were amazing. They cleaned fish so fast if you blink you miss it. Yes they frequently smelled like fish.
"Rabbit" Shanks lived in a little house at the fish market. He was the night security and he opened the place in the morning and locked it up at night. You could usually find him and most of his brothers there at quitting time. A perfect place to meet on Friday and Saturday night for a round of cold brews.
I drove my 1970 Charger R/T down there, met up with Bim and his crew and we were knocking down a few cold ones while beating the mosquitos off with the other hand.
I was walking around in the parking lot of the fish market when I noticed a brilliant white light coming down the river. My first thought was it was a barge light, but barge lights, if they are on they swing from one side of the river to the other searching, and this one wasn't.
Seeing the light coming our way and being curious I asked Bim what that was.
"Oh? That's our UFO." Bim answered.
"You're what?" I asked.
"Sure, it will come down the river, go up over the rail road bridge here.... " He pointed at the RR bridge. "Then it will turn, go up over the power tower on the mine hill there. " Again he pointed. "Then it will hover there for a bit before it crosses town to the south west and then will turn south again and leave."
We watched and I couldn't believe my eyes, the UFO came up over the RR bridge right beside us then turned and went up over the power tower above the quarry hill.
I must have been out of my mind about then because I jumped in my Charger with my friends joining me and we raced up the road, made a right then a left and cut up a dirt farm road to the top of the hill as fast as I could safely go. Just as we got there the UFO was leaving the power tower and heading across Pearl toward the south west.
I turned around went back down the steep dirt road, made a mad dash to the Gasville Hill road that comes up in the middle of Old Pearl. When we got there we thought we saw it but then there was nothing. I pulled up to the road that turned right heading north back toward Pearl but I was moving very slow. Finally we got out and stood there in the night looking around for the UFO, but we saw nothing for a bit.
"There it is!" Bim pointed.
We all turned to see it hovering about a half mile from us glowing brilliant over some trees. They were watching us, messing with us. They could blink in and out at will. Then as we watched it began moving south again and we watched until it was out of sight.
Bim explained the UFO was a regular and what nights and between what times they usually saw it. I began showing up down there more often to watch the UFO and occasionally we chased it in my Charger.
Sure we got real close to it a few times and I'm saying like within a half mile or less a few times. The night Butch and I saw it however we were not chasing it, we were pulled over stopped beside the highway just watching. And what happened ? It flew right up to us and hovered a few yards away.
You hear the UFO witnesses describing their UFO sighting and most of them are lucky to have been within 10 miles of the "light." Most of the time you can't tell if it's an aircraft or the Goodyear blimp. When a person stands within 20-30 steps of a hovering UFO that's 10 feet above the ground now that's a real UFO close encounter.
Leslie "Butch" Allen and Albert Cloniger were outstanding people. Honest hard working people who any town or city could be proud of. If they say they saw a UFO you can believe it.
Any serious UFO investigators can still talk with people who knew about or saw this UFO. Michael "Bim" Shanks died of a heart attack in 2012. Leslie "Butch" Allen is still in the area. Danny Baldwin is still somewhere not far from the Milton, IL area at the last report I had on him. He was with us on some of those UFO chases.
I'm fairly sure that Bev Shanks saw it and she still lives in Pearl. I think Renee Guthery saw it and she still lives in Pearl.
I've met more than a few who have one or another mindset that such things do not or can't possibly exist.
I was taught several things that were wrong from a young age and I realize that's why many people choose to belive incorrectly. I was raised in a haunted house yet I was told that ghosts do not exist and that all things paranormal were of the devil. I don't think my dad or those who taught me to believe things that were not true did it on purpose, they were simply misinformed. They were taught something that wasn't factual and they in turn taught the same flawed information to others.
There's no place in the bible that says ghosts do not exist. In fact the bible speaks of spirits of various kinds regularly. If you were raised in a haunted house, doors opening and closing and footsteps heard regularly when there was no one there then you know spirits do exist.
The best way for someone to know for a fact what exists out there in the ether is to either have the ability to see spirits or go OBE and walk among them, as I have done.
The preacher can't explain why there are ghosts today therefor they must not exist.
There are those who choose not to believe in such things for one reason or another and maybe they were taught that when they were little. Many people who are highly religious and refused to challenge what they are taught prefer to believe that we are the only "intelligent" beings Creator God ever created. If that's true then UFOs and alien beings can't possibly exist.
If however the the Creation Story in the bible was taken from someone else's account of creation, oh let's say the book of Enoch and if some of the terms used were for the sake of humans being able to understand then we should consider the Earth was not made in 6 literal days but was made in 6 ages. God being eternal as been in the creation business far longer than we could ever comprehend. Creation therefore is just as old as God and had no beginning and will have no ending. God didn't just wake up one day and decided to start making things. God has always been making things. Who and what God is is beyond our ability to comprehend.
If these things are true then we can consider that we are not the only creatures God has ever made. We are not the smartest and we are not alone in the Galaxy.
Some people can't believe in something if they can't see it. Some people choose not to believe in some things for other reasons. My dad saw the UFO Butch and I saw and said it had to be a helicopter simply because he had been taught such things do not exist. Therefore he needed another explanation for what he had seen and though I had stood within a few steps of the flying saucer he chose not to believe his own son and preferred to believe something that was not true for many years after. Later he learned that some of his friends that he had grown up with had also seen it as well as other types of UFOs they had seen flying up and down the ILL river valley. Then he finally accepted the possibility that such things could exist.