Alternate Perceptions Magazine, June 2021
Remembering Bobby Lake-Thom, a revered Medicine Man
by: Brent Raynes
Bobby Lake-Thom, the author of Native Healer, Spirits of the Earth, and Call of the Great Spirit, was a revered medicine man. He was of Karuk, Seneca, and Cherokee ancestry. Known by many as Medicine Grizzlybear Lake, he was also a former college professor of Native American Studies and Indian Education Programs at several different universities. He was a man who had walked in both worlds, that of the Native American medicine man and a man of mainstream academia. A college professor no less. Seldom do both worlds come together, but for him they did.
However, becoming a believer in the UFO phenomenon was a wild card that totally blindsided him in the beginning. In a prepared report, that he initially shared back around the mid-1980s with my friends Aileen Garoutte and Dan Edwards, the founders and directors of the former UFO Contact Center International, he wrote: “I would like to share a transpersonal and cultural experience which happened to me in March 1975 on the northwestern coast of California. Even with the passing of time it is still difficult to relate this incredible experience because of the potential ridicule attached to it and due to the profound psychological effect it has had upon my personal life. What follows is therefore a brief account of this experience instead of a detailed report and analysis.
“During the late part of winter 1974, I began to have a series of unusual dreams about silver-colored eagles. From out of the void and darkness of the dream state suddenly emerged four eagles. Each eagle came in from a different cardinal point at approximately the same time and correspondingly formed a circular flying pattern. After flying in a circle for a considerable amount of time, they then departed and eventually flew out of sight. I had the same dream on three separate occasions but on the fourth occasion the content of the dream changed. There was a dark void, then suddenly a strong humming noise, then the appearance of each eagle as it emerged from the east, the south, the north, and the west. They all flew in a circle but began to change form. In the place of the eagles appeared four silver-colored discs. The four silver discs then merged into one very large silver-colored flying saucer. All of the dreams were accompanied by a tremendous humming sound, and although I was asleep in each situation, I would feel my entire body vibrate to the point that it became unbearable. I would awake from the dreams shaking, exhausted, bewildered, and dizzy.” That last dream had really disturbed him. In February 1975, he met with a Seneca medicine man and shared the dreams with him. The medicine man doctored him in the traditional Native ways and explained to him that he had been experiencing a kind of shamanic vision and that in the near future Bobby Lake would be taken up in a flying saucer by the “ancient ones.” The medicine man went on to add how various Indian people had had such experiences.
“As a college professor, and as a half-breed, assimilated Indian, I could not help but to laugh in his face,” Bobbly Lake wrote. “’You’ve got to be joking,’ I reacted. ‘Flying Saucers, beings from outer space, and UFOs spiritual?’”
The medicine man, though clearly insulted by the sharp and emotional reaction from Bobby Lake, continued to explain it to him and then doctored him in a sacred sweat lodge ceremony, explaining how the sweat would help prepare him “for the possibility of UFO contact in the future.”
Bobby Lake explains how he put it all out of his mind, but shortly afterwards, not long after his March 6th birthday, the dreams began again, and again he became very disturbed and upset over them. “I was scared, confused, and apprehensive; and actually dreaded sleep,” he noted. Then one night he found himself standing next to his bed and felt compelled, for some unknown reason, to walk towards a front room of his home.
Then it happened.
“….I heard a voice say, ‘You are one of us and you have much to learn. Come forward, my son, it is time to go.’ Outside the large window hovered a huge, silver disc-shaped vehicle approximately forty-five feet in diameter. Soft blue lights pulsated on it in a hypnotic fashion. I felt as though I was in a trance. …In the next instant, a beam of white light hit me, and I unexpectedly found myself transported into another room. As I looked around in bewilderment, I could see only flashing colors of red, blue, green, violet, and gold. The entire room pulsated with vibration and a profound humming sound.
“I tried looking around. I remember seeing scientific and computer equipment which appeared to be built into the walls. The room where I stood was circular, the floor was inlaid with geometric patterns and designs, and off in the distance I could vaguely see four people sitting behind a convex table. I felt dazzled, nauseated, afraid, but also fascinated with the surrounding atmosphere.
“As I looked through a transparent window I saw us leaving Trinidad head, while the distance between the vehicle and the ocean grew at an alarming rate. Evidently, we were leaving the earth! Torn between panic and curiosity, I watched the land and ocean spread farther in length and depth. I also noticed a peculiar bubble of blue light, almost translucent, cover an area in diameter from Crescent City to Eureka. It radiated all the way past the Hoopa Indian Reservation up to the Mount Shasta region. “As we ascended higher into the cosmos I could see numerous geographical areas on our continent which had a similar blue-glow emanating from the land: there was one located in the Dakota region, another around the New York-Pennsylvania-Great Lakes, a very large glow emanating from the Four Corners area of Arizona-New Mexico, and still another was located somewhere above Vancouver, Canada. Since we were traveling so fast, I could barely get a glimpse of the other ‘blue glow sections’ in central Mexico, and various parts of South America. The strongest one, however, seemed to radiate from off the eastern coastline somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. “I gradually built up enough courage to ask the occupants of this craft what the blue glow sections indicated. They replied that such areas were ‘power centers’ – spiritual high energy fields that could be seen radiating from earth to beings in outer space. The power centers were some sort of landmarks. …I was then ordered to have a seat and ‘prepare for my indoctrination.’ The chair and the table where I sat were transparent. I was somewhat reluctant to sit down because the almost invisible appearance of this unique furniture seemed uncanny. It was solid and yet not solid. It had form but it was not like our earth furniture. I believe it was a substance of energy designed to simulate matter.
“Directly in front of me, approximately thirty feet away, was another large table. I could barely see the four human-like beings because they were shadowed by radiant colors. The one person in the middle told me to look at the ‘screen’ on my right, then my ‘lessons’ began. What I saw and learned during that period was incredible. “I could not help but weep as I slowly watched the future events pass across the screen. Why, I asked myself, will all this occur? Is there no way to avoid it? Is all this a terrible dream, or am I actually perceiving a reality?
“The ‘screen’ went off and with tears in my eyes I turned toward the ‘beings’ in front of me. ‘Why,’ I asked, ‘am I to be shown all this?’ “’You have been chosen to tell the world,’ a strong voice replied. ‘But why me? I am nobody. I can’t tell anyone this message! People will laugh at me, they will ridicule me,’ I responded.
“’Since you have been chosen for this task, you have no choice in the matter. Be strong my son, do not fear, for we will support you,’ came the reply.
“I sat there, in this mysterious and magical dream world – a lonely, confused, sad and fearful person. Gradually, I mustered up enough courage to ask more questions. “’If you people are real, show yourselves to me. Who are you, where do you come from, what proof can you provide that this is not all just a dream?’
“The atmosphere began to clear and suddenly I saw four old Indian men sitting there. They were beautiful and full of power. The first one on my left had shoulder length greyish-black hair. He was bare-chested, except for an abalone necklace hanging around his neck. The second grandfather had shorter hair, just below his eyes, parted in the middle, and it was pure white. He wore a velvet-looking shirt and a large turquoise stone necklace. The third elderly man looked the oldest, with very long silver-grey hair hanging past his ribe cage. He wore a silver-colored medallion draped from his neck. It was a perfect circle with a cross in the center. On his arms were silver arm bands and painted on his face and chest were designs of lightning. In his hands he held silver colored, spotted eagle feathers. The fourth person was much lighter skinned than the other three. His hair was shoulder length, predominantly black, with touches of silver streaking through the center. It looked as though a bearskin hide was wrapped around his shoulders and a very large bear claw/bear tooth necklace hung from his neck.
“’What in the world are Indians doing in a flying saucer!?’ I exclaimed. ‘Who are you, spirits; or are you just figments of my imagination?’
“The oldest man in the center remarked that: ‘We are your grandfathers. We are the North, East, South and West as far as you are concerned. We are real, and what we have shared with you is real. In time you will find out that your people have always known about flying saucers and outer space. We come from a planet far beyond the Sun past your Universe. Many of us also live within the center of your planet earth. And still others live in another dimension which is side by side with your physical world as you know it. You may call it the spiritual. These two dimensions, the physical and the spiritual world actually make one world. All things are both physical and spiritual. There is no separation, except in your own mind, because you have been taught to perceive it separately by the White race. But in reality there is no separation between the physical and spiritual, matter and energy, life and death. All are one in time and space.’
“I later awoke in my bedroom at daybreak, excited and afraid I noticed something peculiar: My feet were wet with dew and mud. I traced my own tracks through the front room, down the apartment steps, and into the meadow. There was a very large circular indent amongst the flowers. I began to tremble with fright. Was this just a dream or did it really happen? Suddenly, I heard an eagle scream over my head, a silver-spotted eagle flying in a circle, until he disappeared out of sight. As I started back to the apartment I found four large eagle feathers, and I cried.
“I told my wife what happened but she didn’t believe me. I was so shook up from the entire affair that I couldn’t eat, sleep, have sex or even work. I seriously contemplated psychiatric analysis and treatment. ‘I can’t do this. I won’t do this, everyone will think I am crazy,’ I thought in sheer desperation. So I went to visit our local Indian doctor (shaman) who lives up on a mountaintop within the reservation. It took me two hours of nervous driving to get there. As I pulled up to his old, run down house, I saw him standing outside staring up at the sky. Above him were four silver disc-shaped objects. ‘Please help me,’ I cried out. ‘I think I am going crazy.’ He consented and proceeded to doctor me for three nights. He listened very intently to my experience, and then confirmed that it was real. He said I would continue to be sick, unless I did as I was instructed by the four grandfathers who were in the UFO.”’
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- After an interview I did with Bobby Lake-Thom posted in the February 2018 edition of this magazine, which dealt with what we should be doing to preserve spiritual balance and harmony in our world, Bobby sent me an autographed copy of his book Spirits of the Earth: A Guide to Native American Nature Symbols, Stories, and Ceremonies. I was deeply honored. He added: “I appreciate all the good work you have been trying to do for so many different topics and subjects over the years, creating and spreading awareness. In the Spirit of the Mother Earth and Our Ancestors, may your blessings be!”
Here is a link to our 2018 interview
Bobby and I discussed doing a follow-up interview. He wanted me to first read this book that he had sent me so that I would be more familiar with areas that he felt important for myself and our readers to be made more aware of, to help preserve key ancient teachings, insights, and ways – that we lived in critical times wherein such knowledge and awareness is very much needed. Sadly, thinking I had more time to do this than I really did, and distracted by other assignments, I eventually tried reaching out to Bobby to follow-up on this idea, but got no response.
On Monday morning, February 22, 2021, Joan and I were on an out-of-town trip when in a plowed field to our right off of highway 64, a short distance outside of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, a lone bald eagle could be seen. It looked like it was pawing at the ground. We hadn’t seen an eagle out in the wild for over two decades. Synchronistically, after returning home I noticed on Facebook my friend Tanya Touchstone had written: “Omg! Got home from work a bit ago and not one, not two, not THREE, but FOUR eagles flying in circle, 3 times, over my house, and then flew off. Amazing! My Indian friends would tell you that’s a very good sign. I’ve never seen an eagle over here!”
Soon I wrote to her about it and she added, “I have NEVER seen an eagle in my neighborhood area before, and I’ve lived there for 12 years!”
Tanya has been deeply involved with Native Americans for years. In the April 2020 issue, you can read of her incredible experience of seeing “flashes of light or orbs” followed by a brilliant and blinding supernatural manifestations of light while attending a Lakota Lowampi ceremony. [http://www.apmagazine.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1469&Itemid=53]. For the last few years, we’ve shared some intriguing synchronicities, like apparent psychic messages connected with spirits of the deceased, including, in one instance, dream interactions close to the same time involving each of our deceased mothers.
Thus considering the eagles over Tanya’s home, four flying around in a circle, and my sighting the same day, both extremely rare sightings, and certainly synchronistic, and Bobby Lake-Thom’s four eagles/UFO experience just shared, I decided to see if the reason I hadn’t heard from him was because he had passed on from this world. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the case, as I found a post on a site called Go Wild Institute, that was dated April 13, 2020: “My Teacher Bobby Lake-Thom (A.K.A Medicine Grizzly Bear) died this year. He was one of the last great Medicine Men in North America.”
Picking up Bobby’s book Spirits of the Earth and looking up eagle, I came across the following: “If I see an Eagle sitting in a tree, on a telephone pole, or alongside the road while I am traveling, I know it is telling me that I will encounter a spiritual person up ahead, such as a medicine man or a ceremonial leader.”
I hate that we never got together to do that follow-up interview.