Reality Checking—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, May 2021
ParaUFOlogy: A Weird Road Less Travelled
by: Brent Raynes
Duane and Ramona Hibner about to check out a small cave for Bigfoot traces
August 10th, 1975. It was a busy summer. I was burning up the roads from Maine to Florida in my green 4-door AMC Hornet. Once again, I rolled into the small town of Brooksville, Florida, where my friends Ramona and Duane Hibner had taken up residence because it was a hotbed of anomalous activity – UFOs, Bigfoots, ghosts, poltergiests – a perfect example of what John Keel had come to call a “window” – an area that seemed rife with high-strange encounters.
Ramona and Duane had been particularly drawn to this region because of the ongoing reports of Bigfoot, although they were well aware of the other anomalous activity that had been associated with the area going back to March 2, 1965, when a gentleman named John Reeves really put this place on the map. He claimed to have encountered a humanoid figure who approached Reeves, and who while facing him briefly held a small square object up to its chin, followed by a bright flash of light [Reeves would wonder if his picture had been taken], after which the being would soon climb aboard a dull, silvery-gray saucer-shaped craft approximately 30 feet in diameter sitting on the ground nearby and hastily retreat skyward for parts unknown.
So while this couple had set themselves up in this area to investigate reported Bigfoot encounters, they were well aware [and may I emphasize very, very well aware] of the other anomalies. During my visit, I was brought up to speed on a number of peculiar episodes that they had experienced. Duane had recently seen the apparition of a tall thin man, who appeared to be in his 40s, with dark brown hair, seen on two occasions. Several times, often in the daylight, he had recently seen a woman in a white gown, like a wedding dress with a white veil. Often, he would first catch her out of his peripheral vision, at which time he could see that she was looking directly at him. But when he would turn to look back at her she would turn and move away, soon vanishing into thin air.
This reminded Ramona of an experience she had had years earlier. It happened while she was pregnant. She was laying on her back in bed one day while also praying. Her mother was in a nearby room. Suddenly, Ramona felt like someone had brushed her hair back from her forehead. Her eyes had been closed. “Mother, is that you?” she asked. Her mother, still in another room, hollered back: “No, what’s the matter?” At that point, Ramona opened her eyes, and said she saw a woman with long black hair dressed in a long white gown [no veil], standing by her bed, with a “warm and gentle expression” on her face. Back in October 2019, while attending Nashville’s first Strange Realities conference, I was listening to a speaker named Timothy Renner, a folklorist, author and artist from York County, Pennsylvania, whose talk on Bigfoot and various other high-strangeness soon had me racking my brain to remember any similar details that I may have come upon in the past. It felt strangely familiar but after half a century in the field I needed to prime my memory a bit. One of the things that stood out in prominence was these “woman in white” cases.
A few months later, I interviewed Tim in a follow-up about his Bigfoot investigations. He was recalling the time he spoke to a man who claimed he had seen two Bigfoots on the other side of a pond on his property. After getting a good description, Tim then asked him what else odd might have been going on. “Oh well, my house is haunted,” the man replied. He asked if Tim wanted to see some pictures! “Absolutely,” Tim replied. “The interesting thing about them is he kept saying, ‘I think I’m being haunted by bikers. Look at these guys. They’re big hairy guys.’ And when he showed me the pictures of them, they didn’t look like bikers. They looked like Sasquatches! They were very big. Big eyes. He said, ‘Look, he’s wearing sunglasses.’ They looked like big hazy ghostly pictures of Sasquatches. He said, ‘I have another one. A spirit manifested in my mirror. I took a picture.’ He showed me a picture of what looked like a woman in a wedding dress. A woman in white and without knowing anything about it he sort of presented this woman in white spirit.” “I was on another investigation in Maryland and again waited till they told me all the Bigfoot stories and at the end of the day I said, ‘Okay, what else weird?’ and they started telling me stories of UFOs and said their house was haunted and this woman said, again without knowing anything about this: ‘One night my husband said he saw a woman in a white dress walk up our driveway and disappear.’”
One Bigfoot site Tim investigated was less than half a mile from a pond that legend told of a ghostly woman in white who had drowned her baby. In his research of folkloric accounts, Tim has found a good deal of woman in white descriptions in various parts of the world, like the European legend of the Frau Perchta witch, also called the Christmas “belly slitter.” According to the legend, after cutting her human victims open she’d sew up inside of them rusty nails and dirt, Tim adding how she had “a horde of wildmen that followed her” and was also associated with will-o-the-wisp orbs associated with the souls of children. Tim furthermore stated, “Many, many folkloric wildmen across the world have wives or female counterparts that were either white in color or were ghostly white apparitions.”
Linda Sigman, who claims when she was 16 she observed a very large winged black figure [estimated at 10 foot in length] flying through the air close to a UFO she and a boyfriend were watching at close-range on the evening of April 18, 1967, on a hilltop in Mason, West Virginia [only 13 miles driving distance to Point Pleasant]. In my interview with her she also recalled how when she was three-years-old she was alone playing outside when she noticed a black haired woman in a white dress standing beside her. The mysterious woman instructed her to follow her to the backyard. There she told the little girl to look down at the ground. She did and was puzzled when she saw tunnels underneath the ground, like she had X-ray vision or something. The beautiful woman then told her that one day when she was older she’d understand. Years later, when she was about 14, there was a bad rainstorm. Part of the river back in front of the house had collapsed and there was severe flooding, taking out part of a railroad track and trees. Soon afterwards, authorities arrived and informed the family that the damage happened because there had been so much rain water that had filled up in old coal mine tunnels under their backyard!
In their book Where the Footprints End, Vol. 1, Tim Renner and co-author Joshua Cutchin point out how Bigfoot has often been associated with subterranean sites, with caves and mines. But it doesn’t end there. “Moreover, mines are regarded as the domain of faeries throughout the world, from Cornish Knockers and German Kobolds to the Mondong, diminative aboriginal spirits believed to haunt Australian ochre mines,” Cutchin wrote. 
In Anthony Peake’s The Hidden Universe: An Investigation into Non-Human Intelligences   he touches upon the archetypal Marian apparitions that have long figured so prominently in Catholic tradition and beyond. Here if you take a moment and blur the lines a little, you’ll begin to take notice of similar parallels and crossover events and manifestations. “Many encounters with religious figures such as the Blessed Virgin Mary also take place in caves or grottoes,” Peake wrote. “We also know from historical reports that elementals such as the Irish Tuatha De Danann were banished to live in the ‘hollow hills,’ another underground, chthonic place of darkness. This underground of elemental entities is yet another cultural universal, found across most cultures across the globe. Like shamanism itself, the belief seems to be hardwired into human belief systems.”
Meanwhile, back in early 1974, Ramona and Duane really began to initiate some serious investigative work on a ranch in Brooksville. They took me there on one visit in October and shared with me what they had learned. For example, on February 15, 1974, around 10 p.m., Ramona was walking through a wooded area near a small pond when she saw a 7-8 foot tall dark brown haired muscular figure with long arms and legs walking nearby. She said she got a sideview where she could see how the “back of the skull was flat” and its head was pointed. A 19 inch long 5-toed footprint would later be found. A month afterwards, on March 11th, at about 9:45 p.m., Ramona and Duane both observed several of these creatures with short light and dark hair on their bodies kneeling on their hands and knees at a garbage pile. Making “smacking, sucking sounds” and “chatter and clicks,” these creatures were described as having pointed heads and pointed ears, leathery looking faces with fangs, sunken eye sockets, with what looked like frail looking long arms.
At this same ranch, around 11 p.m. one night around August, Duane was out in the driveway when he said that a silent roughly 100-foot diameter craft with what looked like large 20-foot wide square illuminated windows, flew slowly overhead an estimated 60 feet above the ground. In addition, Ramona drove me over nearby Route 491, a two-lane paved road, out in an isolated area, where one night a “big ball of light” seemed to touch down on the road about 200 feet ahead of her vehicle, and then immediately shot straight back up into the sky.
Ramona and Duane even stumbled upon cryptid cases that Keel himself might have taken notice of with a gasp of surprise. In the nearby community of Nobleton, about a 12-mile drive from Brooksville, in May 1977, this couple had reports of flying “silver disks,” as well as a 7-foot-tall red eyed lizard like creature with a long tail crossing a road, bird-like creatures with up to 15-20 foot wingspans and “skin like leather” flying as if in slow motion and…oh yes…Bigfoot was reported too!
Even on my 1975 visit with them, Duane would share how during the third week of May, around 3 a.m., responding to a commotion outside, he left the house with his flashlight shining down on the ground, so that he wouldn’t trip over anything, when suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, he noticed a light colored thing descending from the air. It came within about 20 feet of the ground and had an estimated 20-foot wingspan! Becoming aware of his presence apparently, the creature soared off in another direction. About a week prior something had been killing 2 or 3 of their ducks every night. After that night they had no more ducks being killed.
Ramona’s 3 a.m. bedroom invader
I first met Ramona a couple of years earlier in 1973. I was in the Navy then and my ship, a destroyer escort [USS Paul, DE-1080] was homeported in Mayport, Florida. I remembered how the year before I had briefly corresponded with Ramona [her last name then Clark]. She described having had a close encounter with a classic domed disc-shaped UFO near the Mayport Naval Base, along with her 13-year-old son and her husband, on July 29, 1967, after which within 3 or 4 days their home erupted with poltergeist activity and beginning on August 11th entity activity, with balls of light and humanoid apparitional figures in their bedrooms, and how the bedroom episodes always seemed to happen around 3 a.m.
As Ramona had initially written me from a PO Box in Jacksonville Beach, I tried to locate her there, several miles away, but was soon to discover she lived in residential base housing just a short walking distance from my ship. Her husband was also in the Navy.
1973 turned out to be a big year for UFOs. The newspapers, radio and TV were full of stories. I got to investigate some of the stories firsthand with Ramona and I even flew out to New Orleans to meet a researcher she put me in touch with who kindly drove me over to Pascagoula, Mississippi, to meet Calvin Parker and Charles Hickson only 10 days after their international headline making account of being taken aboard a small hovering oval-shaped craft by very strange looking pale, wrinkled, roughly humanoid looking beings with lobster-like claws.
I learned a great deal from Ramona. To this day, I still mull over in my mind the various things she shared with me. “During my numerous investigations of varied phenomena, it was apparent that there were members in each family situation that had psychic abilities other than the person who was involved in an encounter,” she once shared. “My eldest brother, his middle daughter and I appear to be the only ones in my family who are psychic (my brother is very psychic). We all three look exactly alike! It is very hard to find a difference in my niece and I. We look and act just as twins would. We all three have had the same health problems, etc.”
“In some of the cases we studied usually a sister, mother or grandmother had psychic abilities. Usually only one male member of the family had it. Sometimes it was a child.”
“Odd as it may seem, it was usually someone with hair coloring that was dark and who had olive complexion. As is true within my own family the female members were more dominant personalities! The male members aren’t passive or meek but allow the women to take the lead. Both of my grandmothers were very dominant figures within the family as a whole. This strong willed, determined to survive against all odds has been passed on to the younger women in our family, as I am sure it has been for hundreds of years among mountain bred women. Though most I have met are very passive, shy and backwards.” I shared with Barbara A. Fisher of Athens, Ohio, the host of 6 Degrees of John Keel, both a researcher and experiencer herself, Ramona’s statement on family psychic dynamics and genetics. “I do believe that some of this is genetic,” Barbara stated. “There is some predilection or affinity for contact with the Other that runs in family lines.” In her own family she noted how “the psychic stuff runs on both sides of my family. In my experience there isn’t a ‘look’ that goes with the psychic genes. That’s what I’ll call them. There’s no consistent physical ’type.’” She described to me the different physical traits in her family, the various skin complexions and hair and eye coloring.
In the meantime, Athens sounds like one of those “window” areas John Keel wrote so much about, and why not. Athens, Ohio is only about 38 driving miles from Point Pleasant, West Virginia, which played center stage to Keel’s Mothman Prophecies, and remember the reporter Mary Hyre worked for The Athens Messenger. Barbara and others in Athens have many bewildering tales of high-strangeness.
“One night a friend and I were sitting on this hill overlooking my house. She was smoking a cigarette and I was watching three female looking entities dancing around the three apple trees that stood about twenty feet from the little house. I didn’t say anything to her about them. I seldom do when I’m with people because I don’t want to influence what they see if they see anything. They looked like they were spinning around and dancing in flowing dresses. The light they were made of was sparkly, kind of gold white. They seemed to have long hair or veils that flew as they leaped and danced.”
“Finally, she speaks up. ‘So, uh, do you see anything down there?’ I said, ‘Like what?’ She said, ‘Oh, three ladies dancing around those trees – kinda spinning?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ And she said, ‘Why didn’t you say anything?’ And I said, ‘Because I didn’t know if you could see them.’ And she said, ‘Oh. Damn. Well, I can. So this shit happens out here a lot?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ She was like, “Damn. You need to move.’”
On another occasion, Barbara describes how she and a friend named Dave, who she said was very psychic, were one night watching a group of small balls of light approaching them up a hill. These lights had been flashing on and off. One of them came within an estimated two and a half feet from them and when it flashed back on at that distance something incredible happened. “It turned on and it looked like a naked little lady with moth wings and it looked right at us,” Barbara told me. “All but posed. Just looked at us to make sure we got this great look and then turned off and became a ball of orange light again and zipped off towards the woods.”
So many times, and for so many years, researchers and students of so many different fields and disciplines have broken these various inexplicable accounts down into different branches of study and “understanding” when it could be that these things we’ve long treated individually, in separate categories, could instead be somehow interconnected, over a vast spectrum of interrelated phenomena?
Typically, over the years, the psychical researcher, the parapsychologist, ignores things like UFOs and cryptids. The cryptozoologist typically ignores the UFOs and psychic phenomena. The “nuts and bolts” ufologist ignores the psychic, apparitional and cryptid data. Such researchers are guilty of misjudging these phenomena based simply upon their surface appearances and how they fail to conform to their preconceived beliefs and expectations. But, as the old saying goes, looks can be deceiving. These phenomena cry out for a far more penetrating and extensive examination.
Gradually I feel as if a shift is occurring and there is a growing realization of how seriously we need an expanded multidisciplinary perspective and approach to be applied to our continuing study of these perplexing anomalies.
Increased openness, cooperation, and objectivity are the order of the day.
1. Where the Footprints End: High Strangeness and the Bigfoot Phenomenon, Volume One [2020), by Joshua Cutchin and Timothy Renner.
2. The Hidden Universe: An Investigation Into Non-Human Intelligences by Anthony Peake. .
What’s Up Next?
Nancy du Tertre, author of How To Talk To An Alien (2015), has agreed to an interview with us soon. She has been studying psychokinesis, learning from American scientists, and has returned from two weeks training at a Russian institute in St. Petersburg, and is going to give us the inside scoop. There will also be “an alien” twist to this story.
Standby for this and more thought-provoking stories coming up in the near future.