“The first UFOs sightings in the area date back to the 1920s. Fearing that they would be called insane, people kept these observations a secret for decades. “The vast majority of them never talked about what they saw.”
“There was a bigger story going on next to the UFO story. The rapid pace of industrialization in the 1960s and early 1970s left people unable to subsist on agriculture and forced them to move to cities to find work. Some small towns lost about half their population. A complete lifestyle disappeared in just a few years. Those who have experienced it describe it as a painful and uncertain time. Not surprisingly, seeing UFOs at this time was an embodiment of the fear of the future and the unknown. “I wanted to show these concepts by photographing abandoned and isolated houses.”
“I remember waking up one night and seeing that the room was flooded with lovely lights,” one of the interviewees told me. I knew it was the work of strangers, but I was not afraid. “I knew they did not want to hurt me.” Although some of the locals I spoke of their experience with fear and caution decades later, others said seeing those lights gave them hope.
“The title I chose for the photo book: Something like Celestial Fire is taken from a quote from my grandfather’s book about seeing signs of aliens. In her book, one night, an older woman on a cold winter night sees something in the sky that is burning like a forest. She describes that those lights were not of this world and that what she saw was “something like heavenly fire.” “The small town that is my hometown, both in the past and today, is a city with religious beliefs, and I think that quote is a good title for book photos.”
I have kept the story vague, and I hope that everyone who sees these photos will be able to understand the reality of this small town and its great secret.”