During World War Two, which started when I was twelve years old, I heard that the Germans had a secret weapon which the Allied pilots called “Foo Fighters.” These were shiny metal discs about two ft. across that zoomed in at tremendous speed and then flew alongside the bombers. They never damaged the planes, so the pilots thought they were surveillance devices. After the war was over in 1945, it was learned that the German pilots had the same experience and thought the mysterious discs were Allied surveillance.
On June 24, 1947, when I was seventeen, a business man named Kenneth Arnold was flying his private plane near Mount Rainier when he saw a string of nine shiny metal discs flying over the mountain. He estimated their individual width to be 90 ft. and their speed 1200 mph. While describing them to the press, he used the term “flying saucers.” The name stuck. This was in the newspapers and on the radio. Several other observers, one being a United Airlines pilot and crew, reported the same sighting, corroborating his story.
Two weeks later on July 8th near Roswell, New Mexico, one of the newly dubbed “Flying Saucers” crashed during a lightning storm. The wreckage and dead bodies of strange gnome-like creatures were recovered. This was in the news for a very short time, but enough for me to hear about it. Then the story was changed and the report was that it was a weather balloon.
I heard no more UFO reports until 1966 when I read a two issue article in Look Magazine about Betty and Barney Hill, a couple who had been abducted by aliens, taken aboard a space craft and given physical examinations. They had been told (telepathically) by their abductors that they would not remember the incident. They didn’t remember, but there was unexplained missing time, and they both started having nightmares. Finally, five years later, these became so disturbing they decided to go to a psychiatrist. During separate, confidential hypnosis sessions both of them remembered their experience. They had been taken into separate rooms aboard the craft. Betty was unafraid, curious, and remembered what happened in detail. Barney was so terrified that he remembered little. Both of them, however, remembered what the creatures looked like, the interiors of the rooms, and that they were both examined. When I read this, I could not believe that these seemingly sane and stable people would lie. Nor did I think that Kenneth Arnold would lie, or the first reporters of the UFO crash at Roswell. Neither did I think they would all have similar hallucinations.
Then in the late ’70’s after I moved to Port Townsend, I read FIRE IN THE SKY, a book written by Travis Walton, a logger from Snowflake Arizona, who claimed that he had been abducted by aliens. Both the UFO and Travis’ encounter with it were witnessed by six other loggers in the crew. Travis disappeared for five days. There was an intensive search. Then he re-appeared in a distraught and dehydrated condition. He had lost ten pounds. This started one of the best documented investigations ever held about a UFO abduction. There is no point in repeating all the intricacies of the story; anyone can read the book. These men were not lying. The other six men had faced suspicion of murder when Travis could not be found. They had passed lie detector tests given by the nation’s top experts. They had faced ostracism by their friends and neighbors in their small town. When Travis re-appeared telling his incredible story, he passed the same tests and went through the same local rejection as the rest of the crew.
I talked to other people in Port Townsend about all I had read. Some were interested; most were not. My best friend, Gwen, was not interested, but still she did not think I was crazy. She was on the library board, and when the library decided to hold special classes on various subjects, taught by local volunteer experts, she suggested to me that I teach a class on UFO’s. I said I couldn’t possibly teach a class, because I didn’t know anything, but I would be willing to lead a research group. The idea was accepted, so I put a permanent free ad in the activities section of the town newspaper, which the newspaper offered free of charge.
We met once a week. There was good attendance right from the start. Over the years these meetings continued, there were forty seven different people who came to a meeting to tell of sightings. One of these was my current partner, Don, who saw seven in a row when he was in high school in Pacific Grove, California. Two others were to become my good friends, Shirley and Dave Bagley from Sequim.
We began each meeting with group discussion. This was when people told of their experiences. I gave book reports. I related sighting reports from MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) in Seattle. The rest of the time we watched videos. The owner of the video rental was interested in our group and kept getting new videos for us. At the end of the evening I checked out my books to anyone who wanted to read them. We had a “hard core” of about twelve people who came every week. We became a very tight knit group. The meetings continued until I left Port Townsend. Now there is another woman there, Maurene Morgan, who started another UFO group that has been going for a longer period of time and has an even bigger following.