We’ve all heard the stories: Someone is out in the middle of nowhere late at night when they spot strange lights in the sky. The next thing they know, they are on a table surrounded by shriveled gray beings that insist on inserting things into their butts. What is this? That episode of ‘The Golden Girls’ that was too “raw” to air? No! It is the so-called UFO phenomenon as it is perceived by most people in Western culture. Strangely, this is not at all how most encounters with UFOs usually – or ever – go. So what are we to expect from this psychosociological phenomenon? Despite stereotypes and media hype, these strange experiences are recorded differently around the world. Let’s take a look at the Top 5 reports of alleged encounters with the other-worldly in various cultures and see in what ways they differ, and in what ways they are eerily similar. Let’s start with one that most UFO fans are familiar with, and which fits the usual description of such encounters.
5. USA: The Travis Walton Experience
In November of 1975, Travis Walton was working on a small logging crew under contract to remove brush from a state forest in Arizona. His boss, Mike Rogers, was behind schedule to complete the contract on time, and so had his crew working overtime, often from 6 a.m. to nightfall. On one such night, the crew was in a truck driving back to their nearby town of Snowflake when they saw a light glowing from behind a hill. When they drove over to investigate, they saw a silvery disk hovering several feet off the ground. Travis jumped out of the truck and ran toward the disk, ignoring calls from his coworkers to get back in the truck. The disk started to make a sound like a “large turbine” and began to wobble in the air. As Walton started to back away, a blue-green beam shot out of the disk, knocking Walton to the ground, his arms and legs sprawled. The men in the truck then apparently fled the scene.
When they got to town, they alerted the authorities, saying only that one of their team had gone missing in the mountains. When police arrived, however, the men were “visibly distraught,” two of them weeping as they recounted the full story of what they claimed happened. The police on the scene said that if they were acting, they were “awfully good at it.” A search ensued immediately as police were worried that Walton, if left in the wilderness, could easily die of hypothermia. He had last been seen wearing only a T-shirt and jeans and it got extremely cold in the mountains at night. Despite the crew’s harrowing account, there was no physical evidence indicating anything unusual at the location they specified. Walton was missing for five days. The crew took and passed polygraph tests – all except for one man who did not complete the test. Walton’s mother, when told of the news, seemed remarkably calm, simply asking to hear the story again, and then asking if anyone else besides the police had been told. Some, including Sheriff Coplan who knew the family, attributed this to her tough nature resulting from raising six children on her own. However, as the days passed, she began to show emotion for her missing son.
Travis eventually reappeared five days later. His brother Duane took him to a “doctor” that was sponsored by a local UFO investigation group. Upon realizing the man was not an actual doctor but rather a hypnotherapist, Duane and Travis said they left the man’s office after only forty-five minutes. The hypnotherapist and the head of the UFO investigation group disagreed with this account, claiming that the two Waltons had been in their care for over two hours. When Walton did finally consult two physicians, they reported two strange findings: First, a red mark in the skin above Travis’s elbow indicative of a hypodermic needle (although it was not near a vein), and second, an unlikely lack of ketones in his urine. Had Travis been lost in the woods, his ketone levels would have risen as his body broke down fat to survive in the elements. Skeptics would claim this was evidence that Travis had been hiding in the home of an accomplice, perhaps his own mother. Other evidence was proposed by debunkers, such as the fact that NBC had aired a TV movie about the famous Betty and Barney Hill UFO abduction just weeks before Travis disappeared, although nothing in Travis’s account was similar to the Hill abduction. Travis claimed he never saw the movie. Also, some claimed that Rogers had concocted the story to get out of completing his forestry contract on time, but others say that this was not a big deal. Forestry contracts often went past the contract deadline for various reasons, and Rogers never tried to enact the “Act of God” clause to get out of it.
So what did Travis claim he saw after his alleged abduction? Travis claims that after he was hit by the beam of light, he awoke on an inclined hospital bed. The air was heavy and wet around him, and he was surrounded by strange beings in orange biohazard-type suits. He said their eyes were exceptionally large, and mostly brown (as opposed to the black most abductees report), showing only a little bit of white. He said their noses and mouths looked very small, but that may have been because their eyes were so large in comparison. He claims he jumped out of the bed and grabbed a glass tube from a nearby table and tried to break it to fashion a weapon, but the tube was unbreakable. Instead, he used it to threaten the beings, and they left him alone in the room. He ventured out on his own and found his way into a large, circular room occupied by a single high-backed chair. He sat in the chair and played with a sort of control stick, which caused the room to light up with a pattern of stars, similar to a planetarium. When he moved the stick, the stars would move. He then says he noticed what looked like a rectangular doorway. When he walked over to it, he encountered a tall man with “golden eyes.” The man wore a glass space helmet on his head. He didn’t respond to Travis’s questions, only gestured for Travis to follow him. He led Travis down a ramp, exiting the disk and walking out into a large hangar area with other disk-shaped objects within its high walls. He was led into a room with two other golden-eyed beings – two men and one woman. The woman put something like an oxygen mask over Travis’s face, and he blacked out, only to wake up outside a gas station on the outskirts of Snowflake. A silver disk hung in the air over the road nearby, and when he saw it, it shot off and vanished. He called his brother-in-law from the payphone at the gas station, and soon was back home to tell his bizarre story.
The whole thing became a book, which then became a movie called “Fire in the Sky” which met with moderate success, yet told a completely different account of what Travis claims he experienced.
4. China: The Strange Case of Meng Zhao Guo
China has had more than its share of UFOs and extraterrestrials (or waixingren as they are called in China) appearing in the local lore. Even Sun Shili, a retired Chinese foreign ministry official, claims that these waixingren walk among us here on Earth. Many Chinese scientists are said to agree with him. Meng Zhao Guo may also agree with him after his alleged encounter, which shares two very similar traits to that of Travis Walton: First, Meng was working in the mountains on a logging crew when his encounter occurred, and secondly, he was also hit by a beam of light. However, unlike Travis Walton’s story, Meng’s gets kind of sexy – in that he claims he had sex with a ten-foot-tall female alien with six fingers and braided leg fur. Despite her large size and extra fingers, Meng said the alien “looked completely like a human.” Meng also said this was the first and only time he broke his marital vows to his wife, but she was apparently cool about it. “I told my wife all about it afterwards” he said. “She wasn’t too angry.”
Meng’s erotic encounter took place in June of 1994 when he and two other workers at the Red Flag Logging Camp noticed something unusual in the sky over Phoenix Mountain. In 2003, he met with Zhang JingPing, a UFO researcher based out of Beijing, and agreed to hypnosis and a lie detector test to be administered by police psychologists in Beijing. The results were that Meng was telling the truth. Zhang also noted Meng’s scars, which he said were not indicative of any normal injuries or surgeries. Obviously, they could only have been caused by getting freaky with a ten-foot-tall alien with six fingers (allegedly).
Meng had very little formal education, despite having spent most of his life in the Wuchang province. Wuchang was one of three cities that merged into modern-day Wuhan, the capitol of the Hubei province of China. He says he had never heard of UFOs or anything related to that sort of tale prior to his own experience.
After his encounter, Meng claimed that the oversized aliens continued to harass him (apparently word had gotten out in the Big ‘n’ Tall Lady Alien circles that Meng was a love machine). He also claimed that on the 17th of July of the same year, the aliens abducted him again and took him to Jupiter, which they claimed was their home world. Although most UFO buffs in China believe the initial encounter may have actually happened, no one believed Meng’s subsequent stories, choosing instead to believe that he was just milking it for publicity.
In other accounts, Meng is said to have claimed that his alien copulation took place while “floating above his sleeping wife and daughter.” Freaky. The scar he suffered is said to be on his thigh. When the aliens returned to abduct him again, he is said to have claimed that he levitated through a wall to board the alien spaceship. He was told he could not see his alien mistress again, but that on a distant planet, his alien love child would be born in 60 years.
Today in China, there is a growing interest in UFOs, and many Western tourists have reported that Chinese citizens will approach them and ask them if they have seen any UFOs in their countries. Sadly, despite the Meng case being the most famous account of an alleged alien abduction in China, not many other details have been released. Perhaps now, however, the aliens have learned that Wuchang Clans ain’t nothin’ to f*** with. (Sorry, I could not resist).
3. Russia: Hill 611.
Most Americans are familiar with the story of the alleged Roswell UFO crash of 1945. Similarly, in Russia, a few privileged people are aware of a similar event that occurred on the romantically Russian-named Hill 611, located in the extreme east of Vladivostok. This crash was reported to have involved a “flying sphere” that crashed into the hill in 1986. Although most of the object disintegrated on impact, specialists from the Academy of Sciences were able to recover some debris.
On January 29th, at around 8:00 p.m., residents of the small town of Dalnegorsk reported seeing a red ball about half the size of the full moon. It flew silently and slowly (around 15 meters per second, or 34 mph) over the ground. As it approached Hill 611, it tried to ascend but crashed into the hill. Eyewitness accounts of the crash differ, with some saying the sphere vanished after a brilliant flash, and others saying that it yawed unsteadily, emitting an array of bright lights before it finally hit the earth. Three days after the crash, a team of ufologists led by Valery Dvuzhilny climbed the hill and found a crash site a few meters in diameter. The area looked as though it had been exposed to high levels of heat, with the rocks baked to a shiny black, and there were the remnants of a burnt tree in the center of the site. Strange beads and bits of tear-drop-shaped metal were found scattered around the site, along with a strange mesh-like material. The beads and drops were analyzed, and said to contain mostly lead, silicon, and iron, although some of the drops also contained bismuth and rare earth elements. Some of the rocks at the crash site were covered with drops of silvery lead which was determined to be of a different variety than the local lead. The radiation levels of the grounds around the site were normal, although when the team took pictures using two different cameras, all of the pictures developed blank.
Years later, a TV special on the incident concluded through “scientific testimony” that the materials found at the crash site were not of man-made origin but were from “somewhere else.”
Since this account is even shorter than the Meng case and doesn’t have all the exciting trappings of alien erotica, I will also relate a famous mystery that occurred in Russia which many have attributed to possible alien involvement. The now-famous and creepy story is known as the Dyatlov Pass incident. It took place in January of 1959, when nine young students and a ski instructor from the Ural Polytechnic Institute went on a skiing expedition in the Ural Mountains. None of them ever returned. Their bodies were recovered a month later, and some of them showed very unusual injuries. Five of them were found frozen to death outside the tattered remains of their tent. The others were found buried in the snow in a clearing further from the camp. One had a crushed skull, and another was missing her tongue. The evidence at the scene indicated that they had fled in sudden terror, leaving key survival equipment – including coats and boots – behind. The official cause of death was a “compelling unknown force.” Strangely, soon after, the entire case was filed away as ‘Top Secret.’
The ski team was scheduled to arrive in Vizhai on February 11th and send telegrams home to their families to let them know their trek had been a success. By February 19th, when no telegrams arrived, concerned families demanded the Ural Polytechnic Institute send out a search party, which they did. Soon concern was at such a heightened state that the Soviet military got involved, combing the Ural region with helicopters and foot soldiers. It was these soldiers that eventually made the grim discoveries.
The tent had been ripped in half, and all of the camper’s gear had been left behind. Around the tent, the footprints of eight people could be seen—some bare, some in socks, and one wearing only one shoe. About 1,500 feet from the tent, the footprints were covered in snow. Nearby, however, the soldiers found the frozen, half-naked bodies of two of the men near an extinguished campfire beneath an old pine tree. Why had they not gone back to the tent to retrieve their clothes? Even weirder, the soldiers noted that the branches of the tree had been broken off up to fifteen feet above. My first guess, as I am sure yours would be, was that the men had been breaking off the branches for firewood. The soldiers, however, claim that they broke the branches off in a frenzy, shredding their hands to bloody pulps. 900 feet away, the bodies of the others were found, one clutching a birch tree branch in one hand and holding up another frozen hand as if warding off some unknown attacker. A girl was found with her tongue missing, although accounts vary as to whether it had been cut or bitten out.
Even stranger, later analysis of the tent material indicated that it had been ripped from the inside. Damage to the bodies was said to be equivalent to that suffered in a car crash. The crushed-in skull had been hit with a heavy object, and other victims had crushed ribs. No animal tracks were found nearby… in fact, no tracks other than those of the campers were anywhere to be found. There is one cryptic phrase that was found written in one of the camper’s journals: “We now know the snowmen exist.” Of course, this could have been written as a joke, as at the time, a popular activity among students was to create their own newspapers as a rebellious act against the state-run media. To this day no one knows what really happened out there in the Russian wilderness. Theories include hostile local tribes, a top-secret military exercise, and –
2. Malaysia: Mini-Alien Invasion
After that creepy Russian account, you may welcome a tale of the more… campy variety of alien encounters, what with the multi-colored tunics and ray-guns and little green men. Well, we need look no further than Malaysia! And the little green men were really little – no more than six inches (15.2 cm) high. “Why heck” you might be thinking, “That’s not scary! I’d like to capture one of those and put it in a mayonnaise jar! He’d be great for show-and-tell!” Yes, he would be – if it weren’t for the fully-functioning ray-gun he toted. Let’s look at the “facts.”
From the 1970s up into the mid-80s, reports of tiny alien invaders were popping up all over the little South-East Asian country. They arrived in tiny little spaceships, no more than 3 feet (91.4 cm) wide. Aside from the larger eye-to-head size proportion common to most aliens, some of these little doo-dads also sported two antennae atop their heads! Adorable. So adorable, in fact, that no one seemed to mind that their favorite places to explore seemed to be children’s playgrounds. No one minded, that is, until the devious little suckers brought out their ray guns.
One case occurred on school grounds in Johor Bahru in 1969. A group of schoolboys ran into their headmaster’s office to report seeing a small flying saucer in a small wooded area near the playground. They claimed they saw six little beings, all wearing red suits, milling around on the forest floor. As soon as they spotted the boys observing their activities, they scrambled and hid in a hollow beneath a tree root and their “spaceship” vanished into thin air. A search of the area in question turned up nothing unusual – except for a small burn mark about the size of a dinner plate where the spaceship had allegedly landed to recover its crew.
A similar sighting occurred near a middle school in Bukit Mertajam, where a group of children reported seeing a small spaceship land and a tiny ramp emerge. Then five 3-inch tall humanoids marched in “military fashion” down the plank. Four wore matching blue uniforms while the fifth, who seemed to be the leader, wore a yellow tunic and a helmet with spikes on top. They ignored the children and proceeded to climb a nearby tree to erect some sort of aerial device. One of the children apparently decided the little buggers would make cool pets and went to capture the leader. The little aliens had other plans, however, and opened fire with their tiny ray-guns, the beams from which stung and burned the children, who promptly ran away. One of the boys exhibited small burns on his thigh, presumably a result from the tiny laser blasts. Remarkably, very few details such as specific names, are available. Chroniclers of these occurrences claim that this is due to the lack of accurate record keeping by Malaysian authorities at the time.
1. Australia: Aliens from another dimension?
The Dandenong foothills, near Belgrave, Victoria, were the scene of one of the strangest UFO encounters on the books. It involved a woman by the name of Kelly Cahill and her family, and she would later describe her alien tormentor as one with no color… and no soul.
It was August, 1993, when Mrs. Cahill was returning from a visit to a family friend, along with her husband and three children. Her husband was driving, and the kids were nodding off in the back seat. It was soon after midnight when the Cahills noticed a circular craft hovering over the road. It had multicolored lights glowing underneath, and windows all around it. Kelly told her husband that she thought she could see people moving around inside the object through the windows. Then she noticed that they weren’t people. She started to scream, telling her husband to drive around the object and get them out of there. Suddenly, the craft disappeared in an intensely bright flash, and they found themselves alone once again on the deserted road. Kelley later said she kept asking her husband, “What are you going to do?” and “What happened? Did I black out?” Her husband remained silent and quietly drove the family home.
Soon after, Kelly kept smelling an obnoxious odor “like vomit” but could not locate the source. She soon pieced together on her own recollection that they had somehow lost nearly two hours of time on their drive home that night. Two hours, as any ufologist will tell you, is the standard amount of missing time associated with most alien abduction scenarios. She also noticed a tiny, triangular mark above her naval. In the weeks that followed, Kelly suffered from minor health problems, including a urinary tract infection. She also reported frequent stomach pain.
Over the next two days, she gradually remembered the harrowing details of the family’s experience. She said that they had encountered the UFO again after it had disappeared that night. Further down the road, they had seen it hovering in a gully. In a “trance-like state” she sat quietly as her husband drove over to the area and stopped the car. They each got out of the vehicle and began walking toward the craft, which she described as being very large – around 150 feet (46 m) in diameter. As they got closer, they could make out something moving in the field around the craft. She could see several dark creatures, humanoid in shape, about seven feet (2 m) tall. And when she said they were dark, she meant dark. She said they were completely devoid of color, except for a large pair of glowing red eyes. Other than those eyes, it was as though light did not exist in them. She described them as having “no soul.”
She got a sense from them that they were evil. As they watched the aliens move about the ground, she was aware that they were not the only witnesses there. Another car was parked on the other side of the craft. She could see the aliens were moving in groups, and one group floated over to the other car. Another group soon surrounded her and her husband and led them into the craft. Then she blacked out and awoke back in the car. Later, she would claim to recall one of the dark entities hovering over her nude body like it was kissing her naval, and she would say that she got a distinct feeling from them that they were “intruding on our dimension.” They were taking up space, but reflecting no light.
Soon after her story was made public, people claiming to be the witnesses from the other car came forward and described the same details – including details like the nude examination that were not made public. Coincidence? Probably. More likely, however, I would suggest that the Cahill’s story is actually very similar to many alien abduction accounts, including the famous Betty and Barney Hill story referred to earlier. It is therefore possible that the other witnesses simply filled in the missing information with common traits of other such encounters. Either that, or….
While these stories may be interesting, they are a mere speck of the entire canon of ufological accounts of bizarre encounters with strange beings. There are stories about aliens of all shapes and sizes, from little hairy trolls to large, blonde Nordics. There are spooky “black-eyed children” and reptilian lizard people, and even an account of aliens that made pancakes for a Wisconsin chicken farmer. And – of course – there are the ever-popular “grays.” Are all of these stories fake? Some of them do offer some compelling physical evidence, while others just make us laugh. Some scare the crap out of us (like that Russian story… sure, it may not have been aliens, but really – WTF?!) All told, they represent an interesting reflection of human psychology and culture. And who knows? Maybe some of them even offer a glimpse into one of humankind’s greatest questions: Are we alone? I, for one, sure hope not. If we are, then we have some serious psychological problems.
I am an American expat that has been living overseas since 2007. Most of that time has been spent in East Asia as I lived in Korea until 2012. Currently I reside in the Sultanate of Oman. I enjoy traveling, and I always bring a towel, but ultimately I hope to return home to Pittsburgh. So if you hear of any jobs...
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