COARSEGOLD, Calif. — Paula Glick, a resident of Coarsegold, Calif., the mother of seven children and two playful Dobermans, sits on her couch with dozens of photographs spread over her coffee table.
“Let’s say I’m your sister,” Glick says. “I’m reporting to you that I think, possibly, the government has a covert operation on the American public and, possibly, beyond. This may be an international thing. This might be a NATO group effort. Australia and Canada have also complained.”
Tossing her long, brown hair over her shoulder, she picks some photographs from the coffee table and begins flipping through the stack. She always keeps her camera near, ready to snap another shot of the strange trails in the sky. She has been watching them for more than a year.
David C. Oglesby, a Clovis World War II veteran, first witnessed the phenomenon two months ago. It was just after sundown and before dark when Oglesby looked at the sky over his home and discovered 11 white trails, dissipating slowly.
Pictures of ‘chemtrails’ taken in July at Yosemite National Park. Photos by Jenny Galasso.
“The trails formed a grid pattern,” Oglesby says. “Some stretched from horizon to horizon; some began abruptly and others ended abruptly. They hung in the air for an extended period of time and gradually widened into wispy clouds, resembling spider webs. I counted at least 11 different trails.”
Valley residents from Clovis to Oakhurst have witnessed the trails — but they are not alone.
“There are 39 different states where they have been observed,” Oglesby says. “Consulting the Internet, I find that similar occurrences are happening in other places with much the same patterns.”
Contrails, or white trails of condensed water vapor that sometimes form in the wake of an aircraft, are nothing new to Oglesby, who grew up across from Carsweld Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas.
“The explanation that comes to mind is that these were vapor trails from high-flying aircraft, but anyone familiar with aircraft knows that not to be the case. The action observed was not how vapor trails act,” Oglesby says.
Contrails will dissipate quickly, disappearing entirely. But these trails, often called chemtrails, linger for hours, Oglesby and Glick concur.
Coarsegold resident Gene Shimer, a retired sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, served four years as a radar technician during the Korean War. He does not believe the trails over his home are normal contrails.
Pictures taken in April in Coarsegold, Calif. They show sheer wind factor affecting haze that is one to eight hours old. Photos by Paula Glick.
“If they’re dumping a water-based substance from that height,” Shimer says, “it will freeze, and it would turn white, even if it had some dye coloring in it. As it drops down it is absorbed, so you would see, ultimately, nothing or a faint color of what it was to begin with. But this stuff stays there as a white material. The atmosphere does not absorb it. It does not break down. It spreads out and forms these clouds. If you wait long enough, it precipitates out so you don’t see it anymore and it thins out as it comes closer to the ground.”
Glick heard about the trails three years ago from her father, Shimer. She was living in Ventura County at the time.
“I was talking to my dad and he said, ‘They’re gridding us up here,’” Glick says. “I thought, ‘Yeah, right dad. Sure they are.’ I didn’t believe him.”
Glick had never seen the phenomenon in Southern California.
“I always looked up and I only saw what you would consider normal activity — jet liners taking people, normal commercial flights.”
But after four months of living in Coarsegold, she no longer doubted her father, she said.
“I had to watch them do it,” Glick says. “And as I watched them everyday doing it, it became apparent that we were being sprayed. And so I had to believe. I saw what was normal and I saw what was abnormal.”
Pictures show old trails turning into white haze, while newer trails are still in grid formation. Bottom right shows jet laying new trail. Photos by Paula Glick.
One morning, about two years ago, Shimer spotted a long, thin string resembling a spider web floating in the sky, he said. It was about 20 feet in length and could only be seen in the reflection of the sun. He looked up, saw trails, and then saw something that appeared to be a glob of foam falling from the sky.
“It came floating down, free-floating,” Shimer says. “I caught it with a spatula, scooped it off the ground, and I watched it as it shrank. It was about the size of my fist when it first started. It looked like a cross between soap bubbles and cotton candy.”
He placed the substance in a plastic bag and kept it. It is now about the size of his thumbnail, he says. It has hardened, now appearing to be made of plastic. He did not have it lab tested. He doesn’t have enough faith in any lab to give them his only sample, he says. He believes it is probably polymer, a naturally occurring or synthetic substance consisting of simple molecules chained together to produce a more complex molecule with different physical properties, according to Webster’s New World Dictionary Third Edition.
“There’s little gods up there looking down on us and they’re trying to pull
strings,” Shimer says cryptically, “and if you follow those strings, they’ll be traced
to the government.”
“Other people have seen the same thing and had it lab tested,” Shimer says, referring to numerous Internet sites. “It was a polymer. About 10 years ago, it was a big thing in the medical field that they discovered they could grow viruses in polymer. They could control it in the lab and contain it in polymer.”
Holly McKimson, an Oakhurst, Calif., artist and writer, sees the trails over her home several times a week.
“I’ve watched how you can have a clear day to start out with and all of a sudden the chemtrails start and then you have a haze,” she says. “It would be so easy to put something in the air and have it carry down.”
Shimer contacted the Military Operation Control at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, the nearest base to Madera County. The base controls all military operations in Central California. Shimer spoke with an Air Force colonel, but cannot remember his name. Shimer told the colonel that there were three planes flying over his home at that very moment, and wanted to know what aircraft were flying in Foothill Grid 1 and 2.
“I said, ‘What would you say if I said there are three aircraft up there right now.’ I said, ‘Are they there?’ He said, ‘No. They are not there.’”
Shimer consulted Navy operations, he says. There were no operations at all. He called the flight-control office at Fresno Yosemite International Airport, but there were no flight plans.
Coarsegold resident Ira Plumber, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, regularly watches the sky over his home. Several times a week, he witnesses planes emitting significant trails that do not appear to be normal contrails, he says.
Not all theories cast the hypothetical government spraying as negative. It is possible the spraying is being done to reduce global warming, Plumber says, using a volcano eruption as illustration. When a volcano erupts, particles in the air mix in the upper atmosphere and cool. Summers are always cooler after major eruptions, he says. The pilots — or those in charge of them — may be attempting to synthetically reproduce the natural occurrence to cool the atmosphere.
“Whatever it is, they should tell us about it,” Plumber says. But he is not ready to accuse the government of a conspiracy.
“I know a lot of people have a lot theories,” Plumber says. “It may be this, it may be that, but I don’t have any evidence of any of that. I do think it is a little extraordinary. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if there was something but we need evidence. In my experience in research and development, I have to go with the hard evidence. We need more than just a bunch of opinions from people.”
Oglesby agrees with Plumber’s assessment.
“There is no doubt a logical explanation,” Oglesby says. “I just wish we could find it. But the only person who knows what’s happening is the person who’s doing it. I’m not a paranoid old man. I may be an old man — I’m 80 — but I’m not paranoid.”
Lance Lindsay is a freelance reporter based in Madera County, California.