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Classic Mysteries—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, January 2023

How a UFO experiencer claimed his life became a living hell

by: Brent Raynes

It was February 2, 1988. Aileen Edwards, director of the UFO Contact Center International out of Seattle, Washington, along with a colleague Jim Van Avery, a UFOCCI Associate Director, recorded a phone conversation with a man named Mark (full name withheld but on file) who lived in a rural region in South Carolina. UFO researcher Bob Gribble, a Seattle firefighter from 1974 till 1994 ran the National UFO Reporting Center’s telephone hotline for anyone wishing to call in a UFO report, and it was he who provided Mark’s contact information. Bob had established a highly successful program, Aileen had even served as a volunteer to answer phone calls, and soon calls were coming in from police stations, military bases, and airports across the country. Even the FAA was telling their pilots that they could call him if they had a sighting. Today online, it’s run by one Peter Davenport (https://nuforc.org).

For Mark, the incident in question had occurred slightly over a decade earlier. 1977 to be precise. He was twenty at the time, still living with his parents. It was stated that those who knew him said he was bright, energetic, a talented musician, and of perfectly sound mind. “I was sitting on the corner of my bed,” he recalled. “I kept hearing this humming. It seemed like it was coming through the ceiling of my room. This real deep hum. …It got louder and louder, so I looked out the window and looked up at the sky. It was a clear night. It was about 2:30 – 3:00 in the morning. And I was reading, trying to keep quiet because my father was supposed to get up about 4 in the morning, to go welding in Atlanta. He’s a welder and he was going to go to work in Atlanta, so I didn’t want to wake him up. And I saw this thing. …All I could see was the bottom of it. …It looked like – you’ve seen this TV show Battlestar Galactica? …I knew right when I saw it that it was some kind of highly advanced technology – some type of spacecraft – and I just sat there and looked up at it.” He claimed the bottom was covered with “all kinds of strange little rectangles.”

He felt as though “three standard vans” could have fit inside of it. “Well, the next thing I know I’m out in the yard watching this thing drift away,” he continued. “And I couldn’t remember going outside. I’m outside in my underwear and I thought well, I better get back in the house before my parents wake up and catch me out here. So, I went back in.”

“I was sitting back in my room, and I noticed that I had grass all over my ankles, from staying out in the yard, or walking out in the yard or however I got out there. And then there was this bright flash of light at the bottom of this thing. Then I remembered being inside of it. It never touched the ground.”

Aileen remarked, “So you remember being inside of it, on your own?”

“I never saw any beings or robots or anything,” Mark replied. “I was in this room, and it was a small room. Round or oval shaped and I was on a table. Right at first, I thought, ‘My God, this is the end of time. I’m the chosen sacrifice for a black mass or something. Thoughts like that were rambling through my mind. The table in this room felt like some kind of hard rubber. I was laying on my back. Nothing on but my underwear and I was surrounded by this kind of a hazy dark blue light.”

He claimed that after noticing that the table seemed like hard rubber that it was like a “telepathic type message” or something informed him that it wasn’t rubber. “And it began to shape itself to the contours of my body,” he explained. “This further hindered me from moving. I was paralyzed yet I still had my physical sensation of having legs and arms. I just couldn’t move. Then this thing came down out of the light from the ceiling….it looked like the lid of a casket…And on the inside of it it had what looked like little glass transistors and little electronic parts, and this thing came down and it came down almost right on top of me. I thought this thing is going to crush me on this table. It’s going to squash me like a bug. I just couldn’t move. It stopped about 9 inches from my face and this little thing came out of this thing and it went and it covered my nose, my upper lip and my forehead, and then there was another device that came out of the same thing and it was like a cup kind of like half of a set of headphones and it covered my left ear, and I thought great, they’re going to say something. They’re going to tell me what the hells going on. And I felt this kind of like a mechanical feeling in my nose from this device on my forehead in my nose and I lost my hearing in my left ear.”

Asked if he got his hearing back, he replied that he did, but that he had a lot of trouble with that ear and the left side of his head. Then he added: “I went to a dental surgeon to have some wisdom teeth cut out and this guy was not only a dental surgeon, but he did plastic surgery. Everything. He does nose jobs, ears, and face lifts. So, he was examining my X-rays of my teeth and was examining my face and jaw and everything. And he said, “Ah, how long ago did you have the surgery done on your nose?” I said, “I’ve never had any kind of surgery. I’ve never even had stitches. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He said, “The interior of your nose has been just masterly done. Very excellent surgery has been performed on your nose. …He wanted to know if I had sinus problems as a child to have some type of operation on my sinuses or nasal passages.” Mark said no. “He said, ‘Well, feel of your nose. On the left side of your nose the cartilage is carefully separated into two halves, and you’ve got a concave and a convex side to the membranes separating the nostrils. Whoever did this, it was very complicated surgery.’ He was scaring the daylights out of me. I just told him, ‘Look, I’ve never had any kind of surgery done and he just laughed and didn’t say anything else.”

Mark didn’t tell the dental surgeon about his strange experience and memories. He remarked to the two ufologists on the phone, “That’s what got me into all the trouble anyway.” What trouble?

Mark explained: “I told my parents about that night and a couple of days later they told me we’re going to take you to a doctor. I said, ‘What’s wrong? I feel just fine.’ They wanted me to talk to this army psychiatrist. My father was in the military, and I told him about it. I just said, ‘What the hell. I’ll tell this guy and let’s see what he thinks. I mean, UFOs aren’t anything new. People have seen them for thousands of years, all the way back to the stone age I guess.”

So how did the psychiatric interview go? “He folds his hands, (then) picks up a pencil and starts tapping the desk with it. Then he looks straight at me and says, ‘Some things can’t be explained, but you need help.’ So, I said, ‘What kind of help do you propose I need?’ He says, ‘I want you to go down to the state asylum for about a month for surveillance.’ So they put me away in the nut house and got me on all kinds of drugs and tranquilizers and stuff. All against my will. …My whole life has just been a big mess since it happened.”

Asked what made him phone Bob Gribble, Mark began by saying that lately he’d been having problems with his nose and left ear. Then he recalled how after returning to his bedroom he heard his mom and dad in the kitchen. From his bedroom there was that “blinding flash of light.” He recalled: “I was just standing in front of the window, and I said damn, what was that? I couldn’t see. I was blinded by it. I was going to go out of my room and go in the bathroom and looked at my eyes. …When I opened my bedroom door, I heard my parents in the living room or in the kitchen in the front part of the house. I just kept the door cracked and I was listening to my parents. My father said, ‘Well, Jean go over in the corner of the living room and see if the lamp blew out. …She says, ‘No, the lamps not even plugged in.’ And she says, ‘That was the brightest flash of light I’ve ever seen. It even lit up the kitchen.’ My father was sitting at the table, and he said, ‘I looked out across the road and it just lit up the whole countryside when it flashed. See if a storm is coming up.’ So, my mother went outside on the front porch, and she came back in and said, ‘No, the sky is clear. There’s not a cloud in the sky.’ So, my father says, ‘Well, it’s probably just heat lightning or something like that.’ So, she starts fixing his breakfast and they didn’t say any more about it. He went on to work I’d say about 4:30 in the morning. …My mother went back to bed. So, I got up and went in the bathroom to look at my eyes. My entire body was pink like sunburn, and I developed a rash all over.”

Next Mark visited his mother’s bedroom. She was surprised to see him and wondered why he was up so early. He used the excuse that he had awakened because he had heard them making noise. Then his mother told him that he should have been up earlier and seen the “real bright flash of light” that she and his father had seen. He replied that he knew about it, and that, “It came from some kind of spaceship.” Startled she replied, “What?” Mark responded, “I’m serious.” She told him he had to be kidding her, but again he said he wasn’t. Then she noticed his face. “It’s like a sunburn,” he said he told her. “That light that shined on me did that. The light hit me directly. Right between the eyes…Light or spotlight or whatever it was. It hit me right on the face through my bedroom window, as I was gazing up at this thing.”

Next is the part where a couple days later the parents took their son to the Army psychiatrist. The doctor asked the parents, “Your son says that he’s not making up the story. That he sincerely believes with all honesty that it actually happened, and he says that you two are witnesses to some kind of brilliant flash of light as this object departed. Is that true? Did you witness any kind of strange light or anything like that?”

“Both my parents became real nervous, as if they were going to get accused of being insane along with me. But my mother kind of stood up a little bit. She said, ‘There was a big bright flash of light and we don’t know what caused that, but our son said it came from the bottom of some kind of spacecraft.’ And that was unacceptable to them and unacceptable to the doctor.”

Reviewing the case with Aileen Edwards, a UFO researcher named Martin Cannon wrote of the aftermath of Mark’s visit with the Army psychiatrist for a magazine article: “Over the course of ten years, they have acquiesced and abetted in the ruination of their son’s life. He has been in and out of institutions throughout that time, for no other reason than his refusal to retract his story. Worse, he is required to be injected with an anti-psychotic drug once a week. ‘If I don’t show up at the clinic,’ says Mark, ‘they call the Sheriff’s Department and have me arrested.’ The drug is a neuroleptic, which, according to the journal Human Behavior (The Hidden Cost of Mind Medicines, May 1978) often induces a form of brain damage called tardive dyskinesia. ‘It’s taken along with some tablets,’ Mark explains, ‘because if you take the injection without the tablets, which are kind of an antidote, you can go into extreme convulsions, and I’ve already experienced that.’”

Aileen did her best to help Mark, to get the word out, and do whatever she and her organization could do to help. She brought the case to the attention of congressmen, columnists, doctors and the ACLU. Whitley Strieber even sent her a $500 check to help out. Psychologist Dr. Jean Mundy of East Hampton, New York weighed in. “Aileen, I know that what Mark says about the spacecraft experience is IDENTICAL in all major details with many other witnesses who have had the same abduction experience. …One abductee, by the way, is a big time Washington D.C. lawyer. His boss told him he would be fired if he let anyone know about his UFO experience. He told his story only using an alias. So, it goes.”

Tuesday, February 20, 2024