So, you want to become a ufologist, dedicating your life to researching one of the most fascinating enigmas of our time. Then you are in for a life journey of a most unusual kind and I can guarantee that you will many times feel like a stranger in a strange land. I assume your ambition implies ”real research”, not just writing some post-modernist, mainstream academic monograph about myth and superstions in society. If you mean business with your endeavor the road ahead is that of the intellectual heretic and pathfinder.
If the first book on the subject you happen to find is The Edge of Reality by J. Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee a good idea is to listen to their introduction: ”The UFO phenomenon calls upon us to extend our imaginations as we never have before, to think things we have never dared think before – in short, to approach boldly the edge of our accepted reality and, by mentally battering at these forbidding boundaries, perhaps open up entirely new vistas. To many, such thinking is both frightening and a threat to their intellectual security.” (p. 1)
Often, when walking around in the AFU library and watching the thousands of books, magazines, clippings etc I wonder how I would react to all of this if I was a young, ambitious ufologist? The amount of documents today is gigantic and it must be quite frustrating to find out where to begin. In his third book, published in 1972, Tefaten är här (The Saucers Are Here) the grand old man and pioneer of Swedish ufology, K. Gösta Rehn, gave this advice to the new generation of young ufologists: "Concentrate on the close encounter cases". This is a message I have for many years tried to convey to new and old field investigators at the UFO-Sweden seminars, lectures, articles, blog and books. Forget the lights in the sky and the ”ordinary” UFO reports and go for the real enigma – close encounter and contact cases. Concentrate on making detailed , in-depth investigation and documentation of the most complicated and challenging encounters. Many times you will find wild and whacky individuals with various psychological problems, drug related or simply people with fantasy prone personalities. But you will also stumble upon really intriguing cases that will represent a definite challenge to your investigative efforts. I will present a few old cases of the type that you as a serious UFO researcher should follow-up.
One of three AFU libraries
A good example of how to proceed is No Return. The Gerry Irwing Story. UFO Abduction or Covert Operation? By David Booher. This is the story of the young soldier Gerry Irwin who stopped his car on a lonesome road in Utah, 1959, observing a blazing object, who he theought was a plane, seemingly about to crash nearby. He leaves a message in his car and decides to investigate. Gerry was later found by a local sheriff lying with head face down at the site.
While browsing through some older issues of Fate magazine I found an interesting early abduction report, closely resembling the Gerry Irwin case. It was published as a Report from the readers in vol. 25, no. 11, November 1972, pp. 160-161. The witness, Mimi Gorzelle, relates an experience from August 1967. She was driving on an unfamiliar, dark, lonely road in the middle of the night and suddenly notice a light swinging from side to side beckoning her to stop. She stops, expecting to find an accident. Leaving the car she find three other cars parked ahead. A man leaves one of the cars and another man is coming towards her, wearing a white coverall, like hospital orderlies. He takes her by the arm, leading her into the prairie, where she can see a spaceship.
Mimi observeres three men dressed in business suits also being escorted into the spacecraft, led by several men i white coveralls. Mimi and the other men are led up a staircase and into the craft. The men in white coveralls look alike, all in their 30`s and baldheaded. Mimi is not afraid, only curious. One of the spacemen tell her: "You will have no memory of anything you saw or experienced here. You will awaken with no memory of this experience." Her next memory is being led down the steps and escorted to the car, like the other men. She notice them drive away one by one and she also drive on home. "I awakened in the morning very muich aware of what I have related but with no knowledge of how I drove to that site or what else transpired in the spacecraft."
There are hundreds of these types of close encounters found in UFO literature and magazines including the report archives of UFO organisations, but very seldom investigated thoroughly. I found a good example in Ray Palmer´s Mystic Magazine no. 9, April 1955, originally documented by first generation ufologist Tom Comella.
One of the great mistakes of the scientifically oriented ufologists of the 1950s was to discard the classic contactees as frauds and impostors without in-depth investigation. In these type of close encounter cases appearances and first impressions can be very deceptive, in several ways. A good example is Florida contactee Lydia Stalnaker. The mainstream scientific ufologist who finds her ad in UFO report 1980 selling the Cross of Antron, would probably dismiss her as just another cultist. In this ad Stalnaker claims to have met people from another galaxy and given a mission by the spaceman Antron.
But when you take a second and deeper look into Stalnaker´s story you will find some very intriguing and disturbing details. These were presented by Judith and Alan Gansberg in Direct Encounters. Personal Histories of UFO Abductees (1980). The case was investigated by then APRO respresentative Dr. James Harder, University of California. On January 23, 1985 I wrote a letter to Dr. Harder to get more data on his study but unfortunately received no answer.
In August 1974 Lydia Stalnaker was driving north from Jacksonville, Florida when she saw a bright light coming out of the sky. She stopped the car at a parking area and got out to have a better look. Suddenly another car pulled into the area and a man that Stalnaker thought she vaguely knew joined her by the side of the road. They stared at the light hovering over some trees, assuming it was a helicopter and noticed it descending as if crashing behind the trees. They decided to drive toward the region to see if they could be of help.
”I asked the man if he had seen what I had seen… He said, ´Yes, and its right on time´. The man was short, less than five feet five inches, and had a dark, Italian or Jewish look… He coaxed me into his car, and we drove off to find the spot.”
When they got closer to the area of the assumed crash Stalnaker felt un uncomfortable sensation of being suffocated. ”Then it seemed like just a moment passed and we were heading back towards Jacksonville on another road. It was midnight and Stalnaker´s forehead was hurting and she felt nauseated. After this incident she was having frightening dreams of being on an operating table surrounded by people wearing masks, sticking painful needles in her sides. Eventually she sought professional help and was hypnotised. During hypnosis she recounted a classic abduction scenario. After the missing time incident Stalnaker developed telepathic and healing powers and received messages from the spaceman Antron.
What makes this case especially interesting is the physical meeting with the strange man in the parking area. Stalnaker tried to find him again but found out he had disappeared from the town. He had quit his job and no one new where he was. ”His employer said that the man had appeared in town one morning looking for work, but they did not know where he had come from.” I have not read of any ufologist who have followed up on these important clues. But this is the kind of data ufologists should look for.
To delve into these aspects of the UFO enigma the ufologist has to be both a meticulous, critical investigator and a detective. In-depth research of close encounter and contact cases of this type is time-consuming and can be quite unnerving as you will discover facts very difficult or impossible to publish. Ufology at this level is very far from writing reports of lights in the sky or being entertained by fake videos on YouTube. You have all the chances of entering Forbidden Science. But then remember the motto of Riley Crabb, the late director of Borderland Sciences Research Foundation: ”If I have one goal in life it is an uncompromising search for Truth, whatever that might be, and wherever it may lead.”