4 - Take the
“From Bad Axe to
Bethesda the happy news comes in,” wrote an anonymous “Talk of
the Town” contributor in The New Yorker, April 9, 1966. “Flying
saucers! ... We read the official explanations with sheer
delight, marveling at their stupendous inadequacy. Marsh gas,
indeed! ... Our theory is that flying saucers are not of this
earth. The beings who control them are attempting to make
contact with man in the gentlest possible fashion ....“
Dr. Isaac Asimov, dean
of science writers, commented:
“I am told, though,
that so many people have seen objects that looked like
spaceships that ‘there must be something in it’ .... Maybe there
is, but think of all the people in the history of the world who
have seen ghosts and spirits and angels. It’s not what you see
that is suspect, but how you interpret what you see.“
At a scientific
convention held in Baltimore in 1966, Dr. Edward C. Walsh, executive
secretary of the National Aeronautics and Space Council, remarked:
“So many airline
pilots report seeing them, that’s why I take the train.“
Wherever you were in the
year 1966, you must have heard about the coming of the flying
saucers. The news media beat the story into a froth of ennui. The
newsstands were glutted with one-shot UFO magazines and quickie
paperbacks “rehashing the reported sightings from previous flap
years. Everywhere great crowds of people gathered on hilltops, in
swamps and cemeteries, and around reservoirs and gravel pits, their
eyes turned heavenward.
Saucer-hunting became a national sport,
rallying to the excited cry, “There goes one!“
That year I stood on hilltops and beaches with those crowds,
watching funny lights bob around in the night. But an uneasiness was
overtaking me; a dark suspicion that Dr. Asimov’s tongue-in-cheek
observation may have contained more truth than even he knew.
The Year of the Garuda was at hand. A dark force was closing over a
little town I had never even heard of: Point Pleasant, West
Virginia. In a matter of months I would be arriving there like some
black-suited exorcist, lugging my tattered briefcase, waving the
golden cross of science. My life would become intertwined with the
lives of the people of the Ohio valley.
In March 1966, a shapely housewife, whom I will call Mrs. Kelly
because she asked that her name be withheld, was waiting in her car
for her children near the Point Pleasant school when she saw an
unbelievable apparition low in the sky. It looked like a glistening
metal disk and was hovering directly above the school playground. A
doorlike aperture was open at its rim and there was a man standing
He was not standing in
the doorway, he was standing outside the object in midair! He wore a
silvery skin-tight costume and had very long silvery hair. He was
looking down into the school yard intently. She watched him for a
long moment until her children bounded up to the car. When she
looked again, the man and object were gone. She decided not to tell
anyone about this strange vision, attaching religious significance
That summer, Mrs. Mary Hyre was driving along the Ohio side of the
river when a sudden glint in the sky attracted her attention.
“At first I thought
it was a plane,” she recalled. “Then I got a better look at it.
It was perfectly round. I couldn’t make out what it was but I
didn’t give it any thought at the time.“
Another round object
chose to hover above Tiny’s restaurant just outside Point Pleasant
that summer, where it was seen by a number of customers including
the wife of a local police officer. Tiny’s stands on the corner of
the street where the McDaniels live. The McDaniel family would later
serve as the focus for many of the strange manifestations.
Not one person bothered to report a UFO sighting to the law or press
in Point Pleasant, although there were many such sightings all
People in distant Salt Lake City, Utah, weren’t so squeamish,
however. When a bird “about as big as a Piper Cub airplane” circled
that Mormon community on July 18, 1966, some people ran for cover
while others ran for their telephones.
Shortly after 2 P.M. on September 1, Mrs. James Ikart of Scott,
Mississippi, grabbed her phone to call the Delta Democrat Times
(Greenville). She and her neighbors were watching a whitish
man-shaped flying object.
“It got down pretty
low and then would go up,” Mrs. Ikart said. “I never saw
anything like it.“
John Hursh, a local
meteorologist, whipped out Standard Explanation No. 425.
somebody’s research balloon that’s gotten away,” he announced.
Whatever it was, it
bounced around Scott most of the afternoon.
Three thousand years ago a small group of brilliant men investigated
and solved the mystery of unidentified flying objects. Since then a
great many others have approached the same mystery from different
perspectives and solved it over and over again. Unfortunately, their
staggering solutions were obfuscated by intellectual extrapolations
and the ponderous terminology of philosophy and theology.
Few modern UFO
enthusiasts have the educational background to understand such
literature. They choose, as an alternative, to deal with the
phenomenon on a materialistic level, assuming that the presence of
unlikely objects and entities in our atmosphere is evidence of some
Xenophanes, one of the first great philosophers (sixth century
B.C.), observed that the Ethiopians thought their gods were black
and snub-nosed like themselves. Today many of us no longer believe
in direct visits with our God, so we have shaped a new mythology
based upon the belief in spacemen carved in our own image. When the
ancients sighted giant, shambling bipeds covered with hair, their
eyes blazing like fierce coals, they assumed they were confronting
demons. Early investigators eventually concluded that such demons
did not really exist, even though they often left footprints behind
and caused physical damage.
They coined the word
khimaira (chimera) to describe them. Others noted that the eerie
aerial lights changed colors up and down the visual spectrum and the
word specter was born. Several times each year tall, hairy creatures
with red eyes are still seen throughout the United States and, in
fact, throughout the world. Like many forms of chimeras, they are
usually accompanied by the smell of rotten eggs—hydrogen sulfide.
The “fire and brimstone”
of the ancients. The same odor frequently surrounds the fabled
flying saucers and their space-suited pilots.
Seeing a spaceman disembark from a flying saucer is no more
remarkable than seeing an angel descend in a luminous cloud (and
angels are still reported hundreds of tunes each year). The report
of a nine-foot-tall humanoid strolling down the main street of
Buffalo Mills, Pennsylvania, on August 19, 1973, was no more
outlandish than the dinosaurs who appear from time to time to
terrify witnesses and baffle police posses. In 1969 there were
dinosaur reports in Texas. In 1970 the police in Italy scoured a
mountain range after several witnesses reported seeing a saurian.
To the regret of the true believers, the majority of the witnesses
to chimerical events were alone at the time of their experience.
While the amateur investigators tend to Concentrate on the very
subjective descriptions of the observers, I probed deeper and
studied the witnesses themselves. Many, I found, suffered certain
medical symptoms such as temporary amnesia, severe headaches,
muscular spasms, excessive thirst and other effects, all of which
have been observed throughout history in religious miracles (the
appearances of religious apparitions), demonology, occult phenomena,
and contacts with fairies.
All of these
manifestations clearly share a common source or cause. While
chimeras can come in all sizes and shapes, ranging from twenty-foot
giants to animated tin cans only a few inches in height, the most
fascinating type is one who has appeared in almost every country on
earth. In other ages he was regarded as the devil incarnate. He
dressed in black and rode a black horse. Later he arrived in black horse-drawn carriages, even in hearses. Today he steps out of flying
saucers in remote farm fields.
He is built exactly like
us, stands from five feet six inches to six feet tall, looks very
human but has high cheekbones, unusually long fingers, and an
Oriental cast to his features. His complexion is olive or reddish.
He speaks every language, sometimes mechanically as if he is
reciting a memorized speech, sometimes fluently. He has trouble
breathing, often wheezing and gasping between words. Like our
dinosaurs and hairy bipeds, he often leaves a few footprints behind
... footprints which suddenly end as if he had vanished into thin
I have been chasing these critters for twenty-five years and have
traveled from Tibet, the land of the Abominable Snowman, to West
Virginia, home of the strangest unknown “Bird.” In the course of all
these adventures and frenetic activities I have come to reject
outright the popular extraterrestrial hypothesis.
My long and very expensive excursions into the borderland where the
real and unreal merge have failed to produce any evidence of any
kind to support the idea that we are entertaining shy strangers from
some other galaxy. Rather, I have come to realize that we have been
observing complex forces which have always been an essential part of
our immediate environment. Instead of thinking in terms of
extraterrestrials, I have adopted the concept of ultraterrestrials—beings
and forces which coexist with us but are on another time frame; that
is, they operate outside the limits of our space-time continuum yet
have the ability to cross over into our reality.
This other world is not
a place, however as Mars or Andromeda are places, but is a state of
The UFO phenomenon itself is only one trivial fragment of a much
larger phenomenon. It can be divided into two main parts.
and most important part consists of the mysterious aerial lights
which appear to have an intelligence of their own. They have been
observed throughout history. Often they project powerful
searchlight-like beams toward the ground. Persons caught in these
beams undergo remarkable changes of personality.
Their IQ sky-rockets,
they change their jobs, divorce their wives, and in any number of
well-documented instances they suddenly rise above their previous
mediocre lives and become out-standing statesmen, scientists, poets
and writers, even soldiers. In religious lore, being belted by one
of these light beams causes “mystical illumination.” When Saul, a
Jewish tent-maker, was zapped by one of these beams on the road to
Damascus it blinded him for three days and he was converted to
Christianity on the spot and became St. Paul.
The second part of the
phenomenon consists of the cover or camouflage for the first part,
the “meandering nocturnal lights” as the air force has labeled them.
If these lights appeared in cycles, year after year, century after
century without any accompanying explanatory manifestations they
would cause much greater fear and concern. But explanatory
manifestations have accompanied them always, and these
manifestations have always been adjusted to the psychology and
beliefs of each particular period in time.
saucer/extraterrestrial visitants are not real in the sense that a
747 airliner is real. They are transmogrifications of energy under
the control of some unknown extra-dimensional intelligence. This
intelligence controls important events by manipulating specific
human beings through the phenomenon of mystical illumination.
Our religions are based
upon our longtime awareness of this intelligence and our struggle to
reduce it to humanly acceptable terms.
The ancient Ethiopians viewed their gods as black, snub-nosed
entities. The Greeks and Romans populated their mountaintops with
longhaired, handsome gods and goddesses. The Indians of South
America worshiped bearded gods who traveled the night skies in
luminous discs of light, as did the ancient Egyptians. But religious
views were modified in the nineteenth century with the coming of the
Industrial Age. The lights were still there but a new frame of
reference was needed to cover their activities.
Somebody somewhere does not want us to understand the true nature of
this phenomenon and its true purpose. For years the UFO enthusiasts
believed the U.S. Air Force was the culprit and that government
agents were tapping the phones of teen-agers and little old ladies,
tampering with their mail, and following them around in black
Cadillacs. I wish the answer was that simple.
We have been victimized by this phenomenon, not just since 1947 but
since ever! It is the foundation of all our religious and occult
beliefs, of our philosophies, and our cultures. The ancient Chinese
marked out the routes of the lights in the sky (LITS) and called
them “dragon tracks” because, apparently, fearsome dragons appeared
along with the mysterious lights. In a later age, these became fairy
lights and were associated with the little people who actually
plagued whole generations not only in Europe but also in North
America ... for the American Indians were telling stories about the
little people long before the Europeans arrived here.
During the witchcraft craze a few hundred years ago, people really
thought they saw witches flying through the air ... with lanterns
hanging from the front of the brooms. The vampire legends of middle
Europe are almost identical to the modern UFO lore. As late as the
nineteenth century the devil existed as a physical personage to many
If you saw a strange light in the sky in 1475 you knew it had to be
a witch on a broom because you had heard of others who had seen
witches on brooms skirting the tree-tops. Now in 1975 you might
decide it is attached to a spacecraft from some other planet. This
conclusion is not a qualified deduction on your part. It is the
result of years of propaganda and even brainwashing. If you are
under thirty, you grew up on a diet of comic books, motion pictures,
and television programs which educated you to believe in the
A small knot of nuts has
talked to you year after year on interview programs, telling you how
the sinister air force has been keeping the truth about flying
saucers from the public; that truth being that UFOs are the product
of a superior intelligence with an advanced technology, and that the
flying saucers have come to save us from ourselves.
The gods of ancient
Greece are among us again, in a new guise but still handing out the
old line. Believe.
Belief is the enemy.
The people of the Middle Ages were as convinced of the reality of
the little people and their underground palaces as you might be of
an extraterrestrial civilization with gleaming cities of glass on
some far-off planet. One hundred years from now the phenomenon may
be playing some new game with us. The whole interplanetary bag may
be forgotten. But those lights—and that damnable procession of
strange critters and nine-foot humanoids— will still be marching in
Isolated individuals on
lonely back roads will still be getting caught in sudden beams of
energy from the sky, then shuck their families, quit their jobs, and
rocket into notoriety or plunge into the hell of insanity and
toward New Cumberland, we saw a light hovering near a
hillside,“ John Vujnovic, an attorney from Weirton, West
Virginia, said, describing his experience on the evening of
October 7, 1966. “The light started coming toward the car and I
guess my son was frightened and I slowed the car so that we were
a good distance behind the object.
“The object had an outer circular light that glowed, but there
was no sound at all. I stopped the car for a better look and the
thing started coming down over the highway. I think it was about
four hundred feet in the air.“
Mr. Vujnovic was driving
south on State Route 66 from Chester, West Virginia, to Weirton in
the northernmost tip of the state. His was one of the first
important sightings in West Virginia that October ... a month that
would produce sensational incidents all up and down the eastern
“At one time, it
looked as if there were windows in the craft and after it got
past we could see a revolving light. The outer glow of the light
made a fast-flickering type of light as the object was
disappeared as Mr. Vujnovic went on his way.
In the weeks that followed, the lights and some dark objects of
awesome size were seen from one end of the state to another. In
Sistersville, a town mentioned in the 1897 “airship” reports, local
UFO fans organized an informal warning system, calling each other on
party lines to announce curtly, “UFO—northeast,” etc. The town’s
newspaper did not bother to publish a single report.
Every night at approximately 8 P.M. one of these brilliant flashing
lights would cruise majestically over the Ohio River, traversing
Point Pleasant from north to south. Those who bothered to notice it
at all assumed it was an airplane.
Mrs. Kelly, the lady who had seen the longhaired man standing in the
sky seven months earlier, lived in a house on the edge of a deep
gully. She and her children were seeing blinding globes of light
traveling close to the ground along that gully nightly. And her
telephone was behaving strangely, ringing when there was no one on
the line, and sometimes emitting beeps like Morse code.
Early in November, an elderly man walked into Mary Hyre’s newspaper
“I’ve just got to tell somebody,” he began nervously.
story he unfolded seemed totally unbelievable to Mrs. Hyre, who knew
nothing of UFOs at the time, but she knew the man and was impressed
by his sincerity.
On November 2, 1966, he said, he and another workman were driving
home to Point Pleasant from their job near Marietta, Ohio, on
Interstate 77. As they neared Parkersburg, West Virginia, an
elongated object appeared low in the sky and descended directly in
front of them. They stopped their car and a man emerged from the
object and walked over to them. He looked like a normal man and was
He wore a black coat and
kept his arms folded with his hands out of sight under his armpits.
The witness rolled his window down and there was a very brief
conversation. The stranger asked the pair who they were, where they
were from, where they were going, and what time was it? Then he
strolled back to the dark cylinder and it rose quickly into the
chill, drizzling sky.
The two men had a strong emotional reaction to the seemingly
pointless encounter. They debated whether they should tell anybody,
deciding against it. But the Point Pleasant resident found himself
suffering from from insomnia. And when he finally slept he had
strange nightmares. He started to hit the bottle, something very
unusual for him.
Mrs. Hyre listened to his story, nonplused, and made a few notes. A
day or so later the man’s son called on her and asked her not to
print the story. Several weeks later she repeated the story to me
and we called the man on her office phone.
He verified the details
and then said,
use my name. I don’t want to get involved in this thing. That
scientist fellow told me—“
“What scientist?” I asked.
“A couple of weeks after this thing happened, a scientist from
Ohio came to see us. He told us it would be better if we forgot
the whole thing.“
“How did he hear about it? How did he find you?“
“Damned if I know.“
“Did he identify himself?“
“Sure ... but I can’t remember his name. But he seemed to know
what he was talking about.“
I couldn’t get much else
out of him.
I would have ignored the whole story except for one
jarring fact. The same thing had happened that same night on the
same road to another West Virginian. Unlike the two Point Pleasant
residents, he had gone to the police with his story.
A press conference was
held and he was catapulted into the never-never land of the UFO
contactees, the center of one of the biggest UFO stories of 1966.