I graduated from college and took a job as a software engineer at an aerospace company in Southern California, where I lived for the next 33 years. The disturbing dreams of lights and objects in the sky on the farm continued for several more years, then gradually faded and finally ceased, much to my relief. On many mornings I suffered paralysis when I entered a light sleep state. On some mornings, after a good night of sleep I would awake very tired and with muscle aches, as if I had been doing strenuous activity during the night. The paralysis may have been a condition called sleep paralysis, but that and the tiredness are also characteristics of nighttime encounters.
I continued to read books on UFOs, and my interests expanded to include paranormal phenomena, eastern religions, and reincarnation. I had a great curiosity about the unknown, and had an innate feeling that conventional religion did not have the answers. It is another characteristic of some abductees to develop an interest in religions and the paranormal at a fairly young age.
There were no new strange events except for one episode that left me very confused and uncertain as to what happened. I don't recall when this happened, except that I was in my early thirties.
A confused day
I took a few days of vacation from work and was considering taking a road trip the next day, but what happened led me to stay home. My memory of that day was very hazy and confused. I only remembered waking late in the morning feeling very sluggish and bad, and after only a short while I saw that it was dark outside. I was very disoriented, and went back to bed. The following day I could not remember anything that I had done that day. There seemed to be a whole afternoon of missing time, but I was not certain of that. About that time, I recalled a dream-like scene in which I was in my living room looking at a strange, thin figure that did not look quite human, paused as it was bending over my coffee table and looking at me in surprise, as if it was startled that I was conscious of it. I do not know if this was an actual dream, or if it was connected to the lost day.
I had no idea what happened. It was like I had been drugged, but I have never taken recreational drugs and drinking has never been a habit, so substance abuse cannot explain any of my experiences.
In addition to reading books on UFOs, I listened to radio talk shows that occasionally discussed UFOs and other non-mainstream topics. One show in particular had an unexpected connection to an event that became known as the Travis Walton affair.
The Travis Walton Affair
One evening in October, 1975 I was listening to a talk show on Los Angeles radio station KFI, when a caller announced that he was calling from Snowflake, Arizona, and said that there would soon be an event that would make people believe in UFOs. The caller spoke in a dramatic voice that did not sound like a typical caller. The host, Ron McCoy, had fun with the call and tried to get the caller to reveal more information, but he only repeated what he had said. The call was a hit with callers and was the topic of conversation for the rest of the show. Discussion of the call continued in following nights, and finally Ron announced that the caller would be welcome to call again. The caller did call the show again a week or two later. I did not hear this call, but I turned on the show afterward and listened to the buzz and growing speculation as to whether something would actually happen. Then, several nights later, a story hit the national news that a crew of forestry workers encountered a hovering UFO while leaving from work in the national forest near Snowflake, and that one of the men, Travis Walton, approached the craft and was struck by a beam of light that knocked him unconscious. The rest of the crew fled in the truck in fear, and when they returned a short time later, both Travis and the caft were gone. Travis and the crew all lived in Snowflake.
The event occurred on Wednesday, November 5, and I first heard the news story on Friday night. Walton's disappearance stayed in the news over the weekend. I eagerly anticipated the return of McCoy's show on Monday night, sure that this story would be the topic of conversation, but when the time arrived I was disappointed that instead of McCoy's show, the station ran a boring show on community affairs, without any explanation. A similar show was on the next night. McCoy's show returned on Wednesday or Thursday night, but he made no mention of the news story or the mysterious caller that had drawn so much attention, and took no calls on the topic. It was clear that the station wanted no further involvement with the events in Arizona. Nearly a week after Walton disappeared, another story broke that he mysteriously reappeared late at night on a highway near Heber, Arizona, but no one knew where he had been. So far as I heard, McCoy never mentioned the case on his show.
It was obvious that there was something fishy about the whole incident. Besides the calls to KFI that predicted the event, I found it unusual that a UFO-related story would be so prominently featured in the national news when the media's usual practice was to ignore UFO stories altogether. It was the only time I can remember that a UFO-related story led the national news and remained there for days afterward. I suspected that the story had been planted and managed in order to keep it in the spotlight. I came to the conclusion that the whole thing had to be an elaborate hoax that was executed with significant resources, including links to the media, which could only have been orchestrated from a high level. This had to be the case, despite the fact that Travis and the witnesses all passed polygraph tests, though Travis failed an initial polygraph test, which was suppressed at the time. That is not to say that the witnesses were in on the hoax, but most likely were innocent victims. Controversy and skepticism swirled around the case during the investigation and lingered for years after.
The 1993 film Fire in the Sky was based on Travis Walton's book about his experience, The Walton Experience. On March 20, the film's screenwriter Tracy Torme and Travis Walton were guests on a talk show on Los Angeles radio station KABC. I decided to call in and express my doubts about the event, and I was introduced as a skeptic. When I described the phone calls to KFI in 1975, Torme flatly denied that the calls had ever happened. He said that he had checked with the talk show host (McCoy) who said that there were no such calls, and implied that I must have read spurious reports that appeared in the newspaper (I had not). I thought, welcome to the world of coverups.
In the years after the film's release, skepticism gradually melted away, and the Travis Walton affair became firmly entrenched in UFO lore. Today, UFO books and TV shows that mention the incident accept it as genuine, yet I remain skeptical.
Age 37, The Turning Point
UFOs continued to be my most compelling interest, though I did not speak of it to anyone. Yet, I did not think of our childhood sightings as meaningful events like the ones I read about. I did not feel that such things could happen to us. It was a peculiar dichotomy between my thinking and my emotions. I still felt that these experiences should remain private. It was as if I had been told, "Don't be concerned about these things. They are not important." My attitude began to change when I began to read about alien abductions, which ultimately had a profound effect on the way I thought about UFOs and our childhood experiences.
The turning point came in 1983 when I read the book Missing Time, by Budd Hopkins. No previous book looked into abductions with the depth and scope of this book. Hopkins used hypnosis to investigate cases in which witnesses had alien encounters. Often, witnesses initially remembered a strange experience that under hypnosis turned out to be just the beginning of an encounter with alien beings. The witnesses were placed in an altered state of consciousness, in which they were physically and mentally controlled. They often were given false memories, called screen memories, which masked the actual event, and were made to forget the encounter. The screen memories, missing time, and mind control all seemed familiar to me, and appeared to match puzzling aspects of our childhood experiences. I gradually came to consider whether the experiences we had on the farm, which I had thought were random and unrelated, could actually be due to encounters of the kind Hopkins described.
In 1987 I decided to investigate further and began to make a list of our childhood experiences and see if they formed a pattern. Some events were hazy in my memory, and I thought that there must be some I had forgotten, so I set out to recover my past. I began combing through it, trying to remember anything unusual that happened on the farm. Over several years I used meditation, auto-suggestion and self-hypnosis to delve into my subconscious and recover memories, with good result. I was successful in recalling many related events as well as some I hadn't thought were related, but which my subconscious associated with the related events. I also made an effort to retrieve memories that were blocked, if there were any, but I did not come up with anything. If any blocks existed, they were still firmly in place. Hoping to recover additional memories, I went to a professional hypnotist, but the attempt at hypnosis was unsuccessful. All of my efforts had the good effect of opening my awareness. For the first time I felt free to think more directly about our experiences and to talk about them with family members and others. I began to accept the possibility, logically and emotionally, that we had interactions with alien beings, but I did not assume that this was true for I did not have a direct memory of any such event, which was the proof I needed. Though alien encounters was the only explanation I had found for our experiences, I realized that there could be others.
I continued to read books and attended UFO conferences and lectures, including many organized by the local chapter of MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network. It seemed that strange events were securely in my past, but there was to be one further event.
The figure on my sundeck
One morning in July, 1993 I awoke around 10 a.m. after a poor night's sleep. I could not go back to sleep, so I got up. I was unusually tired, both physically and mentally, and I just plopped down on the floor in front of the TV. A game show was on which I had no interest in, but I did not have the energy to change the channel, and I just stared at the screen. My mind was completely blank and seemed incapable of holding a single thought. Suddenly, a small movement to my left caught my eye. I turned my head and looked to the sliding glass door by the dining area which looked out on my second floor sundeck. The drapes were closed over the door, but the fabric had a loose weave through which I could easily see outside. At first everything looked normal ... but something wasn't quite right. Then I noticed a faint, transparent figure on the landing at the top of the stairs. I thought, "Oh, that must just be an illusion because I am tired, or possibly it is caused by the drapes," and I turned back to the TV. A few seconds later I looked to the window again not expecting to see the figure, but it was still there. It didn't seem to be an illusion, but I didn't want to think about it, and was about to dismiss it when I noticed that my cat, which had come to sit by my left side, was focusing its attention directly at the window. I looked at the figure more closely. It wasn't like a person, but had a vaguely human form. It stood six to seven feet tall, with shoulders that flared widely on both sides, had a dome-like head, and its body tapered downward. It stood completely rigid and motionless, facing directly toward me, and I thought that it resembled a robot or some inanimate object. As I continued to look at it, after a few seconds I sensed a faint crackling sound, like static electricity, and a second later it faded away.
I was curious but didn't want to move, but after a minute I decided to go out on the deck and take a look. I walked out to a cloudless blue sky and brilliant sunlight, with no air movement at all. I looked around and saw nothing out of the ordinary, but I was immediately aware of something that was unusual - absolute silence. There was no sound of any kind, except the sound of the TV through the open door behind me. I lived in a large condominium complex, and there were always sounds - cars, people, birds, wind in the trees, and the ever present sound of traffic on the freeway less than a mile away - but now there was nothing. It was as if a blanket had been thrown over the entire neighborhood. I was unnerved, and spoke to make sure that I could hear my own voice. The cat emerged and casually walked to the center of the deck, sat, looked up and around in all directions, and yawned. No people were about and nothing was moving - it was as if everyone had disappeared - and I suddenly felt very alone. The sound of the TV now was very inviting and I walked back into the house, which felt like a safe haven. But after another minute my curiosity was fully aroused. I was aware that something abnormal was occurring, so I walked back out on the sundeck and decided to stay there until something happened. Someone had to appear sooner or later. The silence and stillness continued for several more minutes. Then, all at once the normal sounds returned and the air began to move, as if the blanket had suddenly been lifted. Several minutes later a car drove by and a person appeared on the sidewalk, and everything returned to normal. I decided to go out, partly to reassure myself that the world was still there. I showered, and half an hour later I walked downstairs to the car. Down the alley between buildings a group of teenagers stood in a circle, looking grim, by an open garage door that blared loud music. I wondered if they had noticed anything unusual, but I didn't think to speak to them until I had already left.
In the following eight years that I lived in the house, I stood on the sundeck many times, at all hours of the day and night, and listened. There was never another time of absolute silence, or anything close to it. Even in the stillest moments, I could hear many sounds. Abnormal silence has been reported in many UFO encounters. I now wonder at the degree of fatigue that I felt that morning. I was more tired, both physically and mentally, than I had been the night before. Did I have an encounter during the night, and was it related to the figure?
There were several occurrences of unexplained marks on my body during these years. Several times while showering in the morning I found what looked and felt like a needle mark on the side of my thigh. One morning while sitting at my desk at work I discovered two skin protuberances, similar to skin tags, above my eyebrows, that had appeared overnight. They were perfectly symmetrical, just to the outside of the center of each eye. I kept touching them absent-mindedly until they began to bleed. Wondering what had caused them, I imagined electrodes placed at these positions, perhaps in a kind of helmet, that fed electric current through my skin. The protuberances gradually went away, but small bumps persisted for several years. These marks were not typical of alien encounters, but seemed more human-related.
In 2001 I retired from my job and moved back to the farm in North Carolina where I grew up. There have been no encounter events or any UFO-related dreams, but there have been one puzzling event and several unexplained marks and wounds on my body.
The pink triangle
In January, 2009 I visited my dermatologist for a routine examination, during which he found a pink triangular mark on the back of my left shoulder. He said that he had never seen anything like it and did not know what had caused it. Upon examining it with a magnifier, he said that it looked as though it was formed by burst capillaries. The most puzzling thing was its triangular shape. The long side was a centimeter in length and the edges appeared to be straight to the naked eye, but under the magnifier did not. He concluded that I must have bumped into something, for lack of a better explanation.
The hole in my arm
In February, 2009 I was working at my computer when I suddenly felt a sensation on my left arm. I looked down and saw a trickle of blood running from a wound on my forearm. The wound was a perfectly circular hole 1 millimeter in diameter that extended through the skin layers and looked as if it had been cut out with a tiny cookie cutter. There was no pain at all. A few days later it formed a circular scab with a light-colored rim around it, and it healed quickly, leaving no mark. I have no idea how I received the wound.
One day in the spring of 2010 I was hauling fallen limbs on a wagon that I pulled with my lawn tractor. I was driving along the edge of the orchard when suddenly my vision went from normal sharpness to blurry in less than a second. I stopped and felt for my glasses, which I had been wearing, but they were not there. I had not felt them fall off, but assumed that I must have dropped them. I searched everywhere I had been and eventually called my sister and her husband to help, but we never found them. It was as if they disappeared from my face as I was driving.
The scoop mark
Around August, 2010 I discovered a wound above my right buttock which I assumed was an insect or spider bite that I received while sleeping. I could not see it, but felt a depression, or pit, instead of a bump like other bites. I thought nothing of it and assumed that it would heal in a few days ... but it didn't. It was still there several months later, unchanged. There was no inflammation, but it was sometimes painful to the touch. Still, I never gave it much thought, but only wondered why it didn't heal. Oddly, I didn't think to ask my dermatologist about it during a visit. Finally, after six months it formed a scab, then healed quickly. It was only then that it dawned on me that it probably wasn't a bite, but seemed more like a scoop mark where tissue had been removed.
Wounds on my shin
One evening in January, 2011 as I sat in my recliner I felt soreness on my right shin. Upon examining it I saw a triangular-shaped wound six inches below my knee where the skin was removed, which looked like an abrasion except for its unusual shape. The triangle was one centimeter tall and 0.6 centimeter at the base, with the vertex pointing up. It was a dark reddish color that did not look fresh, though I had not noticed it before. I was puzzled as to how I could have received such a wound without noticing, for being bumped or scraped there would have been very painful. Two nights before I had noticed a smaller wound the same color but roughly oval in shape 2 1/2 inches lower on my shin, which was not sore at all. I then remembered that several months before I had discovered two similar wounds on my shin, which I had thought little about. These were smaller and irregular, the same dark reddish color, but not painful. Like the later wounds, the smaller wound had appeared first, then later the larger wound appeared above it. I did not know how I got any of these wounds.
The hole in my arm, the missing glasses, and the wounds apparently happened in the middle of the day when I was awake, without my being aware of it. The hole was particularly mysterious, for I knew I could not have caused it. I wondered if I had missing seconds or minutes during which these events happened. Abductees often find scoop marks on their bodies, and triangular wounds and marks have been reported.