The following is a guest post by Sonja Natasha.
I accepted the opportunity to review Somewhere in the Skies by Ryan Sprague as someone who is neither a skeptic nor a believer. I had familiarized myself with some of the more popular UFO sightings, had on again off again planned a UFO inspired road trip, and kept half an eye on the Storm Area 51 event from last year. In my fairly tepid pokings at the extraterrestrial beyond a science fiction novel, I had not read very many personal accounts of UFO sightings or abductions, which was one of the main reasons I wanted to review Somewhere in the Skies.
I was not disappointed.
Reading this felt very much like sitting down with the author in one’s living room. The writing style is conversational, though because I was reading it from the page, I was sometimes pulled out by the occasional cliche which would have passed unnoticed in an actual dialogue. Sprague’s deference and empathy for his own experience along with those whom he interviewed is clear and evident from the very first page. I believe this empathy and deference extends to those who may find themselves reading his work, whether they be experiencers themselves, someone who may be questioning something odd they saw, or even skeptics.
Sprague’s text is a compilation of various interviews with those who describe out-of-this-world experiences from lights that defy Earth’s known laws of physics to abductions. A small word of warning here. Though Sprague, as I said before, conveys these stories with the utmost of respect, deference, and empathy, I found myself troubled with consistent themes of consent and autonomy that threaded throughout these abduction stories. If these themes are particularly triggering for you, please proceed with caution.
Beside the personal narratives relayed in each chapter were accounts of how to study these phenomena with physical and tangible results, even touching on various methods of research and how those methods were met within the community (to the surprise of no one, not everyone will agree which methods are best). I don’t envy the challenge to prove these and future events. Many stories reported phones not working, camera batteries dying, etc. and that does not even account for the ridicule that some said they faced, though that seems to be diminishing.
Though I wouldn’t describe myself as a “skeptic” per se, I also appreciated that at no point during the reading of this text did I feel that Sprague was trying to convince me of something I should believe in. If anything, Sprague continuously reiterated over and over that the person who experienced their experience was the most important figure of the story, and each narrative describes how the person affected was changed–in a way, it was more affirming their experience and less using it as proof that UFOs exist for the skeptic. I also appreciated Sprague’s de-emphasis of the answer to what happened or the solution of why it happened or the explanation as to how it happened. Though one of the recurring questions Sprague asks is, “Why you?”, the question is always posed more as an opportunity for the experiencer to continue sharing with the one who is asking.
For a text that describes the stories of those who experienced the extraterrestrial, it takes great effort to highlight humanity–both in those who are sharing and those who are reading about their experiences. Michael’s story in chapter 11 particularly emphasized that message:
“I’m not sure someone from another planet or galaxy is coming to save us. After all, it’s our mess and we made it. [. . .] There’s too much here on Earth to learn and to grow from. I can see a new world being born, but the choice is ours and the hour is getting late. I am encouraged with the changes that have come along globally after the murder of Brother George Floyd. We need a revolution and it will be a revolution of consciousness.”
The message I took away from Somewhere in the Skies is yes, look out there to the beyond, but look to our hearts as well.
Whether you are a believer, a skeptic, or somewhere in the middle, I do believe this book has something to offer everyone, either as a re-affirmation that you are not alone or even as a reminder to be kind to yourself and to others. Buy it here now.