Southern Sightings



Clayton Bodily pulled his station wagon to the side of the road. His wife leaned forward in the passenger seat, eyes wide. Four children pressed little face to the windows of the car. It was 1967. It was autumn. It was dark. The family was on their way home from a late Sunday service in Nashville, TN. What they saw that night would stay with them for the rest of their lives— a silver, bullet-shaped object rushing across the sky, flames trailing behind it. The craft was low-flying, heading closer. It had no wings and made almost no noise. Windows patterned the object’s slick, metallic sides. “I don’t remember us being afraid,” recalled Celina Kramer. She had been 12 at the time. “We had just never seen anything like it.” Her elder sister, perhaps from blinking and squinting and staring so hard, lost one of her new contacts. This resulted in a smallscale panic, everyone inside the car searching for the lens as the craft sped past and vanished. The Bodily family decided not to tell anyone about their experience, fearing scandal if the neighbors ound out. Imagine their shock when in the morning they awoke to the word “UFO” printed on the front page of the paper. Sightings had come in not only from all over the state, but from all over the entire Southeast. Pilots had seen it. Air traffic control operators in Knoxville had seen it. The Federal Aviation Agency in Memphis cried meteor, but no one else seemed to agree. Only one thing is certain about the event—the Bodilys would never forget it. The newspaper clipping they saved holds a sacred place in the family scrapbook to this day. And just in case you were wondering, as the article in the Nashville Tennessean made certain to note, large-scale hallucinations were surely an impossibility. All the liquor stores that night had been closed.

J. Kasper Kramer lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she is a freelance writer and teaches college composition. Her work can be found in The Rumpus, The Coachella Review, and The Chattanoogan. When she’s not curled up with a book, her passions include gaming and researching movies for her podcast. She is represented by Yishai Seidman. You can find her online at and on Twitter @JKasperKramer.

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