Industry - Former naval intelligence crypto-tech Brad Luker is a down-to-earth kind of guy. At 40, he's a father and a husband, works as a power plant operator, and walks the straight and narrow. He doesn't believe in Bigfoot, aliens or the Loch Ness monster.
So when he saw strange bright lights in the sky above him Tuesday night, he assumed it was a helicopter, or maybe a small plane. Only when he opened the door to his truck, expecting to hear the whir of chopper blades above him, did he start to wonder what the craft could be.
"It was really bizarre," he said. "I've never seen anything like it."
"I do a lot of camping, and I've seen all the basic stuff (in the sky)," he said. Most strange things in the sky are high up in the air, he said. "This was way, way down here."
It was so low to the ground, and so brightly lit, at first he thought there must be something going on at the Industry town hall. "I thought 'wow, that's kinda neat,'" Luker said.
As he got closer, though, Luker realized the lights were coming from something about 300 feet above him. That was when he pulled over, and opened his door. It sounded like a quiet jet engine. Luker was mystified, and a little nervous.
A woman driving in an SUV behind him saw it, too, Luker said. He never got her name, and wishes now that he had. She said she thought it looked like an aircraft trying to land on the road, Luker said.
"I know the Navy has some real funky special top-secret aircraft out there," he said. "That's the only thing I could think that it could be."
Then it stopped - right above his head, for a few seconds. "That's when it really freaked me out," he said. He'd have thought it was a spaceship, he said, except he doesn't believe in spaceships.
It could be a UFO, Leland Bechtel, former director of Maine's chapter of the Mutual UFO Network (or MUFON), said Thursday.
"There has been a lot of activity there in the past," Bechtel said. He did an investigation in Farmington a few years ago, he said. Three college students - all very respectable - saw something somewhat similar to what Luker saw. "This thing came directly over them, and stopped, with a powerful floodlight right down on them."
Police said it might be a helicopter, Bechtel said. But most people can tell when they're seeing a helicopter, and when they're not.
Could what Luker saw be a UFO? "It certainly has earmarks of being an unidentified flying object," Bechtel said. "And we don't know what they are. We don't know where they come from."
Bechtel, like Luker, is a well-respected man. He taught psychology at Bates College in Lewiston for years and only became involved in the world of UFOs by accident, after he began hearing stories of sighting by people he considered sane, and credible.
"I've investigated scores of reported sightings in Maine," he said, "by some of the finest, most respectable people that I've met, and they're not kidding, and they're not deluded."
He's not sure what they are, nor convinced they're from outer space. "I'm open to all possibilities," he said. "I think it just stands to reason that some of the sightings have been experimental aircraft of our own government. But there are plenty of others that do not appear, to me, to be anything that we have developed."
"I started very skeptical. I'm not skeptical anymore," Bechtel said. "I just have questions, rather than answers. But I do feel certain there is reality there that needs to be investigated."
Luker, too, has no answers. "I talked to the police and (the dispatcher) said even if the military was flying some special mission, they wouldn't tell us anyway. I felt kinda foolish." Calls to Brunswick Naval Air Station were not returned Friday.
Dispatchers in Franklin, Androscoggin, Oxford, Somerset and Kennebec counties said they received no calls about strange objects in the sky Tuesday night.
"I assumed if I saw it, a couple other people might see it," Luker said. "As I drove away I was thinking hey, maybe they gave me some sort of special intelligence," he joked. "I told my wife I wished they gave me the Powerball numbers." He laughed.
In the end, Luker said, he thinks it was probably a military plane. "But I don't know why they would fly it that low, and I don't know why they would be out in Industry, Maine," he said. "It really doesn't make sense. But that's the only thing I can think of, because I really don't believe in spaceships, or anything like that."