What would you do if you saw a spaceship floating over your city? What would you do if you saw the shadow of one?

Would you stop what you were doing, take out your phone, and post the evidence to Snapchat? Would you yell at everyone around you, asking if they saw it? Would you look the other way, afraid of the religious implications? Or something else?

I was on Waterloo Road when I saw my first shadow. I don’t claim to know what caused the mysterious, fleeting darkness; I can only relay what happened, and let the people of Stockton come to their own conclusions.

For those Stocktonians who happen to live on the eastern outskirts of the city toward Linden, Waterloo Road is pretty familiar. It runs from Wilson Way toward the 99, ascending over the freeway, then descending through a myriad of fast food joints and gas stations, and onward into the boonies.

I was on my way home from class, passing through the fast food-topia, deep in thought and zoned in on the road when suddenly a huge, oval-shaped shadow the size of a car crossed the road directly in front of me. It happened so fast—if I hadn’t been staring directly at that spot, I’d have missed it.

Shadows_cris-min.png Illustration by Cristobal Rojas

At first I thought some sort of helicopter must have passed overhead, way too low to the ground, but when I craned my neck to look at the sky from behind my driver’s side window, there was nothing. Not cloud nor a passing bird. I looked toward the direction in which the shadow was headed. Nothing. Clear blue skies for as far as the eye could see.

I was surprised, and a bit confused. But it wasn’t like anything amazing had happened. Even if it was something interesting, like a UFO, what was I supposed to do? Pull over? Get out of my Camry, yelling at passing cars, “DID YOU SEE THAT?”

No, this was peak traffic time, and this section of Waterloo was particularly busy. You’d spend years of your life trying to make a left-hand turn. In the midst of all this chaos, there was no way anyone else saw that.

Intrigued, and determined to see if anyone else had had this experience with a shadow on the road, when I arrived home I surfed the internet for a good hour, switching up keywords and phrases, finding nothing but Tech N9ne lyrics:

“So we hop up in the whip and flee with the quick\ but the shadows make us swerve and we on the strip\ did you see the shit? (Ye I saw the shit)\ did you see the shit? (Ye I saw the shit)\ all agree that a shadow was crossin the street\ then immediately vanished and we need a hit”

As oddly relevant as the lyrics were (the song is literally called “Shadows on the Road”) they were pretty useless.

Finally, I found an article on a conspiracy website that gave an account of one of these shadows. The article also took the time to explain modern “cloaking” and “active camouflage,” which gave reasons as to how there could be a shadow on the road while thing creating said shadow could stay invisible to the naked eye.

But this article was obnoxiously pro-conspiracy and aliens. It was written by “Agent K” for christ’s sake. I wanted to find accounts from “normal” people who’d seen these shadows. Unfortunately, other than that one article, there were absolutely no other reports of anyone seeing them, not even a tweet or a Yahoo Answers entry.

I eventually concluded that the experience was an anomaly—if the internet didn’t have pages upon pages of information on it, I’d probably never see anything like that again, right?

Wrong. Not two months later, I saw a second shadow. Again on Waterloo Road, during peak traffic times.

Now, I’d like to note for all you normal folks who have better things to think about than conspiracy theories, it’s important that this section of the road is always busy as hell when this happens. Think about it: if a shadow like this occurred over an open country road with moderate traffic, or a city street with pedestrians on sidewalks, it’d have a good chance of being seen. But if it crosses an extremely busy street with no sidewalks, what chance does a cloaked craft’s shadow have of being spotted? Especially if it’s crossing the road at high speed?


The third time I saw a shadow was about six months later. This time the shadow was much further in front of my car, and it wasn’t crossing the road.

It was in the shape of a circle, but it was much smaller. As I drove toward it, I realized that the shadow was growing larger, and not just because I was getting closer—the shape was wobbling and enlarging, as if a circular object was plummeting to the ground. When it reached its largest size (i.e., was closest to the ground) it wobbled twice and then became very small again until it disappeared. In my mind’s eye I pictured an some poor extraterrestrial pilot losing control of its UFO and, at the very last second, pulling up on the lever before it made a silver pancake of my Toyota.

The fourth time I saw a shadow—yes, the fourth f*cking time. How was no one else seeing this??—I was driving through the Altamont. Apparently the aliens/government decided to move their cloaking operations elsewhere.

But this wasn’t like the shadows I’d seen on Waterloo. Oh no.

This thing was monolithic. Looking to be about 30 feet wide and 30 across, the huge shadow was slowly floating along over the bare, beige hills, not across traffic, but parallel to it. It seemed to be in no hurry at all—totally visible to all of us mortals on our way home from the Bay.

The sheer arrogance of this particular move struck me. At this point, I was literally flipping off the empty sky, cursing and yelling, “I CAN SEE YOU!”

You know, just so they knew they weren’t getting away with it.

As offended for humanity as I was, did I roll down my windows and yell at passing cars, asking—as Tech N9ne so eloquently did—if they, too, “saw the shit?” No, I did not. I had places to be, things to do. We all did. The commute was bad enough as it was without me causing a scene.

And that, my friends, is why this stuff will keep happening, and with greater frequency. Whether it’s an alien race planning to invade, a shady government-funded military operation or something else entirely, the ominous “they” aren’t even trying that hard to hide anymore. At least not physically.

As far as the internet goes, however, I’m pretty curious as to why, when information on the most obscure topics can be found on the World Wide Web, I couldn’t find more than a single mention of this phenomenon; I know that if I’ve seen four of these mysterious shadows (and my sister has also seen one), there have to be other people in this world who have also seen them … Is it possible that the ominous “they” employing some sort of search engine spider that eats up information peppered with certain keywords?

Shadows7-min.jpg CC Image courtesy of AK Rockefeller

If there are people out there who’ve seen these shadows or had any other similar experience in the Central Valley, you can email your experiences—or even better, evidence—to stocktonshadows@gmail.com. Google searches might be filtered, but that inbox isn’t.

If I had to guess, I think “they” are fully aware that we’re all chained to our agendas, glued to our smartphones, bound to our preconceptions about what the world is and isn’t… Honestly, what would we do if we saw a spaceship floating over our city? Would we do anything at all?

CC Licensed cover photo courtesy of Davide

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Placeholder.