An Interview with Nabil Shaban
British Actor who played Sil on BBC’s Doctor Who shares his innermost thoughts and experiences pertaining to UFOs and the Paranormal
by: Brent Raynes
NABIL SHABAN is a Jordanian born British actor and writer. He founded The Graeae, which is a theater group which promotes performers with disabilities. He has a son named Zenyel.
Nabil was, in the late seventies, a student at the University of Surrey and contributed to the Students' Union newspaper “Bare Facts." One of his most memorable television roles was that of the vile reptilian alien Sil in the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who. He played Sil in two serials: Vengeance on Varos (1985) and Mindwarp (1986). He has also appeared in several films, including Born of Fire (1983), City of Joy (1992), Derek Jarman's Wittgenstein (1993), Gaias børn (1998), and Children of Men (2006), and has also worked as part of the Crass Collective. In 2011, he played the Roman emperor Constantius II at the National Theater in Ibsen's Emperor and Galilean.
Nabil has books, films and music for sale at: www.sirius-pictures.co.uk.
See his videos on: YouTube
Also on Vimeo which contains his videos that YouTube has banned.
Download his music on iTunes.
Brent Raynes: As many devoted Doctor Who fans know, back around the mid-1980's you were in the series for awhile as a vile reptilian type alien called Sil, a representative of Galatron Mining Corporation on the planet Varos. I wonder if you may have auditioned for this part as for quite sometime, I believe, you have had an open mind about alternative versions of human history and the possibility of life beyond our world. Perhaps you were a bit drawn to this series?
Nabil Shaban: I was drawn to Doctor Who from “Day One”, when the TV series began in 1963. I was ten years old when I first saw the TV program. It was the second episode of Planet of the Daleks. I had missed both the first story, An Unearthly Child, and the first episode of the Dalek story because the children in my family group (I was an inmate in a special boarding school for disabled children) were banned from watching the much heralded and exciting new science fiction television show. You can imagine I was well pissed off with not being allowed to watch Doctor Who, especially as my friends from the other family groups were gloating so much about how brilliant and scary it was. However, by chance, me and my best pal, Stephen Hawkings (no, not the world famous physicist) were invited one Saturday afternoon, to have tea with our local G.P. and his family, and it turned out that his son had become a DW fan, and insisted on watching episode two, while we were there. The doctor apologized if it was a bit rude of them to be watching TV with guests present, but I assured him we didn’t mind, secretly overjoyed that I, at last, was going to view this notorious program. My pal, Stephen, nearly wrecked this illicit opportunity, when he was about to say “We are not allowed to watch Doctor Who”, but I succeeded in stopping him in time. Imagine how thrilled I was to see the Daleks for the first time, and hear their chilling electronic voices shriek “Exterminate”. I was instantly hooked and NOTHING was going to stop me from watching the following week’s episode and all subsequent adventures of the intrepid space and time explorer in his funny police-box. The following week when the woman in charge of my family group said we couldn’t watch Doctor Who, I warned her that I would tell the local G.P. that it was unfair that his son, who was the same age as us, could watch this program, when we couldn’t. I reminded her that it would make the institution look bad in the eyes of the town. The Children’s Home was very proud of its compassionate reputation, and so she quickly gave in to my demands, and I became a Doctor Who addict for the next twelve years, finally giving up on the show when I became a university student at the age of 25.
However, it was always a fantasy of mine to, one day, be involved in Who, either as a writer or as an actor. During the 1970s, I attempted to write Doctor Who scripts and outlines, but I lacked courage to send them to the BBC. Then when Roger Delgado, who played the first Master, died, I did have the temerity to write with the suggestion that since the Master was a Timelord and therefore capable of regeneration, the series could still retain the character with a different actor in the role, and I would make a perfect replacement. I was still a student at the time, and had only acted as an amateur, and being disabled as well, I never had a hope the Beeb would take my letter seriously, and of course, they didn’t. My next attempt to inveigle my way into Who was in 1981, when the BBC announced that they were looking for someone to replace Tom Baker as the new Doctor. I wrote to Jon Nathan Turner, and informed him (tongue firmly in cheek) that I would make the perfect Doctor Who. He wrote back saying the part was now cast, but he would keep me on file should something come up. Little did I imagine that “something” would come my way three years later, when I was offered the part of the deliciously evil Sil.
Looking back I realize I was very much drawn to Science Fiction stuff both on TV (such as “Stingray” and “Fireball XL5”, two children’s puppet TV series) and in comic strips (such as “Dan Dare” in the EAGLE comic magazine). Anything to do with “spacemen” as I called them as a child. Many years later, when I was in my late forties, my mother informed me for the first time, that when she used to visit me in the hospital around the time I was seven years old, I would complain that I couldn’t sleep at night because I was being visited by “spacemen” (or aliens as we would now call them). This story of hers about my early childhood encounters with extraterrestrials came as a complete surprise to me, as I had no conscious recollection of these nocturnal hauntings. And yet, here is an extraordinary coincidence. What she told me seemed to confirm something I had “recalled” a few months earlier when under hypnotic regression. I had previously requested to be hypnotized in order to recover certain information regarding a UFO incident in 1987 (or 1986), which had been “wiped”. I was uncertain as to the date (other than it was during the summer months) and whether it was 1986 or 1987. Also I had been nagged by the feeling that some “missing time” was involved, which if that was the case would suggest an “abduction scenario”. The incident didn’t just involve me, but also my former girlfriend and her eight year old daughter – all three of us were witnesses to the apparitions…but more of this UFO story later. Anyway, while under hypnosis I informed the UFO investigators that I first encountered strange flying orbs, which carried little aliens when I was a long-stay patient in a children’s hospital between the ages of 3 and 9 years old. I was really surprised that I was saying this as I had not had any previous memory of these experiences, and you can imagine my astonishment when later, my mother told me about my complaints regarding frequent night-time visitations by “little spacemen”.
So I would imagine my childhood fascination with science fiction, astronomy, the Universe, space travel, Martians, flying saucers, and TV series like Doctor Who, was sparked off, inspired by a subconscious memory of these “dreams”, “apparitions”, “encounters” with “spacemen”.
Brent Raynes: Though a noted and respected actor and writer, your attention has often been drawn into the subject of ufology and you've even worked with noted British ufologist Philip Mantle on the subject, and together you're both working on a fictional screenplay called Missing Time, which will be based on factual elements derived from real authenticated UFO encounter cases - cases that involved much high-strangeness, including alien beings.
Nabil Shaban: I met Philip Mantle in the early 1990s when I finally joined BUFORA – the British UFO Research Association. I had known of BUFORA’s existence since the late 1960s when I first began to take Ufology seriously, and was an avid reader of the Flying Saucer Review, Britain’s first and best UFO magazine. However, I was reluctant to join any UFO group, preferring to remain independent, and forming my own opinions as I personally evaluated reports and theories. Usually organizations and clubs and associations have a party line, and I didn’t want to have to compromise any conclusions with a bias towards someone else’s ideas. I wanted to keep an open mind to any possible explanation and approach. Also, I didn’t trust these UFO groups because I suspected that they would be heavily infiltrated by government / military agents, who would be seeking to misdirect and misinform serious research, lose evidence, send investigators off on wild goose chases, scatter red herrings, create in-fighting and sow petty internal rivalries and jealousies. Standard tricks of the secret security agencies when combating revolutionary groups. However, when I finally joined BUFORA, I realized one of the most effective ways of sabotaging serious UFO research was to ensure groups are maintained on an amateurish level…i.e., prevent the organization from becoming professional, with properly and scientifically trained investigators and researchers and analysts. I also noticed that whenever a particular individual was approaching a professional standard, systemizing the data and delivering impressive and logical findings, he or she died (usually from some kind of cancer or brain hemorrhage) or were seduced away by big bucks into being media spokespersons on all things UFO, which ends up trivializing Ufology, for the purposes of cheap mass entertainment. The American “secret” government (which is partly controlled by the Pentagon and such intelligence agencies as the CIA), the one which has never been elected by the US people, have constantly been a thorn in the side of serious UFO study, for the simple reason of preventing people from discovering the truth about the existence of these all-powerful “visitors”. The mainstream media and scientists are encouraged to rubbish, ridicule and debunk all suggestions or evidence that the flying saucers that are beyond human invention are real. So I kept a low profile, did my own quiet investigations, and had my own UFO encounters and discoveries, which I kept silent about.
However, I decided to join BUFORA because I needed to find ways of gathering more information about my own UFO experiences, in particular one. I also wanted to receive some formal training in UFO investigation, and become a card-carrying investigator. Well, I met up with Philip, who was at the time BUFORA’s Director of Investigations, and in the course of our conversations, he told me he had written a novel about the alien abduction of a British family, which was based on his investigations into alleged “abduction” experiences. He knew I was in the entertainment industry as an actor and a writer, and wondered if I could advise him on getting his novel published. I read his book and thought it had great potential as at least a TV drama, if not, a major feature film. Anyway, after a few years, I kind of dropped out of the BUFORA scene, being rather disillusioned by their unprofessionalism and incompetence, and their inability to take our understanding of the UFO phenomena beyond what had already been surmised and speculated about for nearly 50 years. I don’t entirely blame the well-meaning enthusiastic people who give up their time working for Ufology for free, because I believe the association is deliberately sabotaged from within by government agent provokateurs. Also I was pissed off with the “alien autopsy film” bandwagon, and disappointed that so many Ufologists wanted to believe in the footage’s authenticity. When I first saw the footage, I immediately recognized it as a fake, and set about making a music video lampoon of the material, replicating the set. I made the music video “So You Want To Meet an Alien,” to include in my 1997 BBC TV documentary “The Alien Who Lived in the Sheds”, to highlight how easy it is to produce a fake “Roswell alien autopsy” footage. I lost touch with Philip Mantle, and didn’t renew my relationship him until about 2010, when I asked him if he would like to be a consultant and tutor in my proposed European School of UFO studies. At the same time, I asked him if he ever succeeded in getting his abduction novel published. He said no, and that the manuscript was still gathering dust on the bottom of his drawer. I asked him if he would like me to adapt it as a movie script, and then see if we can get it produced. He agreed, and so MISSING TIME screenplay was written.
Brent Raynes: You've also traveled to the American Southwest, to New Mexico's Roswell and hung out with Native Americans to learn what stories they may have had to share...about the Star Visitors? Where did all of this interest and curiosity about such things originate?
Nabil Shaban: Actually, it wasn’t Roswell in New Mexico where I traveled but Kingman in Arizona, the alleged location of another UFO crash in 1953. I’ve not yet visited Roswell…well, the town itself is not of interest to me but the actual crash sites 60 miles to the north-west of the town. I have interviewed on video the daughters and widow of Sergeant Melvin Brown, a US air force serviceman, based at the Roswell base in 1947, who told them that he had seen the debris of the flying saucer, and its bizarre-looking occupants. I was pretty impressed with the testimonies of the family members of Sgt. Brown, and am prepared to believe them when they describe what their father told them. Of course, I cannot know if Sgt. Brown was giving an accurate account of what he saw.
I visited Kingman with a film crew. We were making a documentary, “The Return of the Star People”. We had been filming in England, Ireland and Denmark, and the producer / director wanted to include a trip to Arizona and California, to interview Native Americans who believed that extraterrestrials had visited the planet in the past, had imparted knowledge, wisdom, culture, arts, crafts, skills, awareness, possibly religious beliefs to our ancient peoples, whether in the Americas, the Middle East, Ireland, Northern Europe, China, India, Australia, Africa, etc., and that they would be returning to save the planet should the caretaking we had been entrusted with had failed and we made a complete hash of our Mother Earth. The Native Americans call these “ancient astronauts” Star People, and I had been studying this ancient astronaut theory ever since I first read von Daniken’s seminal book “Chariots of the Gods” back in the early 1970s. Bente Milton, Danish film maker, knew of my interest in UFOs and this kind of knowledge and understanding, and of my sympathy for the question “Was God an Astronaut?”, and so asked me if I would host her documentary, “The Return of the Star People.” Naturally, I said yes, especially as I had already worked with her before, as presenter in her TV show, “Children of Gaia”. When I knew we would be driving past Kingman on our way to California, I suggested we stop off and try to interview some townspeople and ask them if they had any memories of the alleged 1953 UFO crash. My producer hadn’t known about the Kingman crash, but I convinced her that it was a real part of the UFO mythology, so we went to investigate. It was quite a shock to discover that no one we spoke to knew that there was a story of an apparent flying saucer crash. Even people who were old enough to have been residents of the town at the time, claimed they did not know what we were talking about. It was weird. I began to wonder if I was suffering from false memory syndrome, that there had never been a report of an unidentified flying object crashing into the hills just outside the town of Kingman in 1953. We went to a local internet café, and with relief I was able to show Bente the hundreds of pages on the Web all about the Kingman crash. Yet, we could find no one we could interview who knew anything about the incident. It was as if the whole town’s citizenry was in denial. I wondered if the US military had such a hold on the town, that no one dared spill the beans or even acknowledge the story’s very existence. Having watched so many Sci Fi films and TV, I even started to wonder if Kingman had been taken over by aliens from the day of the crash, that the townsfolk had had their bodies snatched, and that extraterrestrials disguised as humans were living and running the town. I did meet one man, a Heavy Metal dude, who admitted to knowing what I was talking about. He told me his parents were living in Kingman at the time of the incident and that they had told him about it. I asked if he would repeat his story on camera if I fetched the film crew, but no…he refused.
Yes, I did hang out with Native Americans in Arizona. And we talked about their beliefs regarding the Star People and their expected return, which some believe will be heralded by the appearance of “The Blue Star”, (also known as Kachina) in our skies. It has been speculated that this Blue Star is, in fact, an artificial “planet” (perhaps what some people believe is Niriru, Planet X, or the Tenth Planet), and is a planet-sized Mother space-craft, carrying ET colonists, seeking a new home on Earth. Whether they intend to share our world with us, or aim to conquer, occupy and dominate us, either as superior partners or Masters enslaving us. Or could their agenda be to steal our world from us, and ethnically cleanse / cull the human species entirely. Or are they intending on broadening and enhancing Earth as their private science laboratory for their own experiments and knowledge-building? These various scenarios are not necessarily ones that some of the Native Americans had discussed with me, but are suggested by considering whether the Star People will behave as the human species has behaved, whether as warriors and imperialist conquerors, scientists or simply farmers of inferior creatures for food throughout history.
Brent Raynes: Can you tell us about your own UFO sightings, which you touched upon in Facebook recently?
Nabil Shaban: My First "Close Encounter" (or so I thought at the time) was October 11th 1973...Chipping Norton, Oxon... I'm 20 years old, finishing my convalescence after a terrible car accident the previous summer of '72. I'd broken both my legs, my left arm and cut my head open. I was homeless at the time of the car crash, so when after two months I was discharged from hospital, my old school…Penhurst National Children's Home for the Disabled, in Chipping Norton, where my kid sister was still a pupil…said I could stay there until I'd got myself sorted…with accommodation…a job…college…whatever, I gratefully agreed.
So, I stayed at Penhurst for a year, living in the staff quarters, helping in the school library and doing odd jobs, like making pictorial displays of English History along the school corridor walls.
I'd been interested in the subject of UFOs since 1965, when I was 12 years old. Well, I was probably interested in "flying saucers", spaceships, Martians, astronomy long before then…but until 1965 I never considered the subject to be "Real", to be anything other than science fiction or fantasy……nothing more than fantastic stories in Doctor Who and Dan Dare.
Then I met a teacher of mathematics and science who changed my view of the sky and my life. But I will tell you about that shortly. However, from that day, I read all I could on the subject of UFOs...and yearned to see a flying saucer for myself. However, by 1973, I'd started to get frustrated and bored with the subject of UFOs. I'd read nearly everything available, subscribed to the best UFO magazine at the time, "Flying Saucer Review," but still felt no nearer to knowing what was the truth. Were these strange aerial phenomena, seemingly controlled by intelligent processes, consistently reported by hundreds, maybe thousands of people every year, all around the world, apparently rational and from all walks of life, from the armed services to the police, from doctors to dustbin men, from housewives to gardeners, visiting space vehicles from another world or hallucinations, misunderstandings or hoaxes, delusions or ghosts? By June of 73, I'd stopped compiling my UFO scrapbook, tempted to throw it on the fire, stopped reading reports of alleged sightings and was increasingly becoming a fanatical skeptic. Then, one morning four months later, I woke up thinking of UFOs. I hadn't looked at my UFO newspaper clipping collection for months. That day, I decided to do so…just to see if I could rekindle my interest. That day was October the 11th, 1973...two days before the start of the Yom Kippur War...something was in the air.
After lunch that day, I decided to stay behind in the family unit called Grenfell rather than return to the school buildings to work in the library, to help a member of staff, Sylvia, with the dish washing up. As I sat by the kitchen sink, drying the crockery and cutlery, I looked out of the window. It was a clear blue sky apart from a solitary white cloud in the bottom right corner of my visual field. Suddenly, in the top left corner of the sky, I saw what looked like a silvery flying disc, hurtling diagonally downwards towards the cloud. I called to Sylvia to quickly come over and look. She did and was astonished at what she saw. "What on earth is it?" she exclaimed.
"I don't know", I replied, "but it doesn't look like an aeroplane or bird, does it?"
"No, what can it be?"
"Let’s keep watching it. It’s heading down into the cloud and it will have to change direction if it is to avoid hitting the ground. Wait and see what it does when it comes out the other side of the cloud, then we can decide if it's a plane because it will turn and we may be able to see it's wings." The flying object entered the cloud...but no matter how long we waited, we didn't see it emerge out the other side as it should if it was a conventional terrestrial aircraft. Sylvia and I were left none the wiser. Several days later, I was telling someone about this strange aerial object and Sylvia walked past and I called her over, "Hey Sylvia, you remember that thing we saw the other day?"
"Oh, you mean the flying saucer?" she replied. I was amazed to hear her so matter-of-factly describe it as such. Sylvia was a no-nonsense mature spinster, a devout Christian, not prone to flights of fancy, not overly imaginative, not interested in sci-fi as I am. What impressed me was the fact that I would not have so liberally called it a flying saucer, which, many of my friends would say, was uncharacteristic of me, even though that was what the object looked like...and yet this rational, sensible older woman had no qualms, no problem with speaking candidly of what she saw.
The day Sylvia and I saw the "flying saucer" turned out to be the day of a worldwide UFO flap, especially in the United States. That evening, we turned on the television and on a children's news program, "John Craven's News Round", came numerous reports of UFOs being sighted. For me, that was confirmation that Sylvia and I were privy to an extraordinary phenomenon which had paranormal implications. The fact that I woke up thinking of UFOs, then witnessed one with another person at midday, finally hearing that in the evening that thousands of other people had seen similar objects that day. Yes, something cosmic was definitely happening and it seemed to synchronize with the Arab-Israeli conflict. Were ETs coming to watch the war?
November 1973 - Coventry
About a month after my first UFO sighting in 1973 in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, I moved to Coventry in Warwickshire, to start a two year Ordinary National Diploma course in Business studies. I'd become a full-time student at Hereward College, a residential college of further education for disabled adults.
One evening that November 1973, after the day's classes and lectures, I was leaving the boys' accommodation block C, going outside and heading towards the main building housing the dining hall, for the evening meal. Suddenly, a thought struck me. "Look behind you" it said. I turned and looked back at the dark night sky and saw a green light flying horizontally from the right to the left. The light, which was steady, non-flashing, seemed to be the size of a star. I heard no noise I could associate with the unidentified flying object. As the object seemed to reach about a third to halfway of my visual field, I suddenly thought "it's going to change colour." It did. It went from being green to orange. There was no change in its flight pattern, continuing in a straight line, and it didn't seem to slow down. When it went past the halfway point to a final third of my visual field, again a sudden thought impressed itself upon me - "it's going to disappear." And it did - in a brilliant white flash. What is most interesting about this UFO sighting was the apparent precognitive elements that synchronized with the experience, strongly suggesting that these anomalous flying phenomena contain a paranormal nature, even if of extra-terrestrial or ultra-dimensional origin. The contents of my mind are somehow connected to the visual experience of a UFO.
UFO June 26th, 1980 Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. 10.30 pm Travelling back from Convention Center to Tache Hall in Handi-Cab with Jag and others from cast. I was seated at the back of minibus, and saw behind tall buildings a moving red light low in the sky. Then I realized it was not high from the skyscrapers, and that left to right below the red light, a cluster of white lights in quarter circle slowly revolved around it. In the bank of lights I had the impression that a word or words were inscribed but could not make them out. "Awake" (or "Wake Up" ????) The craft circled the buildings and was crossing over the road behind us. Then our vehicle went around a bend, and it passed out of my sight. Before it had disappeared from view I tried to point it out to others but only Jag saw it. He was frightened and told me it was like the one he had seen two nights previous from the bus. He had also dreamed about them just before we left USA. In the dream, there was one and then the sky was full. He felt Peace because he knew it was the Second Coming. I found the fact that he had had a dream of this UFO before we saw it very intriguing, especially as I had had a dream a week before, where Jag and I were about to be killed by two assassins (Men in Black?) for knowing too much. In fact, weirder still, back in England, on 2nd July, a week after we saw the UFO in Canada, I found that morning someone had smeared blood on my car windscreen.
22nd September 1982 London
that evening…. Because I didn't keep my mouth shut, THEY came into the prison cell (There were Three of them. Black shrouded shadows - reminding me of the Ring Wraiths in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings") rushing through the door on my left and as they passed through, it swirled like a vortex, spiraling shut, like a camera's iris, extinguishing the light from the corridor. I looked in horror, helpless as I saw the light diminish, swallowed up by the veil of darkness. Wrapping me in a towel of blackness, one of them swiftly moved to the right side of my bed. Then I became paralyzed and a tremendous pressure downloaded into my chest which began to vibrate rapidly and I heard this sound of gas escaping at a rapid and forceful rate. With my mouth wide open I realized it was the sound of my breath being sucked out of me, my life-force exiting out between my lips, causing them to "blow raspberries" non-stop. The very essence of my Being was being vacuumed out and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I tried to call out but no words would sound. In the end, I remembered the "Magic Plea" which had saved me in the past…and I silently cried out the immortal words of Redemption - "HELP ME". That worked. "Someone" turned off the taps….. and my life stopped leaving me. The Black Shrouded Figure on my right, quickly swept away from my bed, taking with him his two shadow companions, and they rushed out of the room, through the swirling unseen vortex on my left, returning in its place the once absent door, now opening onto the corridor full of comforting light.
Wolves and the Green UFO 1987
Strange to say I don’t know when in 1987, except it was the Summer, because I have been keeping a diary since January 1980, and yet there is no entry referring to this extraordinary experience. I'm pretty sure it was on Friday, 10th July 1987, myself (34), my girlfriend, Tina (31) and her daughter, Madeleine (8) encountered a pack of black wolves and a neon green spherical UFO. I arrived at this date by deduction. First I found an entry in the 1987 diary where I have been diagnosed as 3 months pregnant! This was in a dream but the fact was I had been trying to give Tina a baby for nearly a year. Somehow I felt the dream was really trying to tell me that it was Tina who was 3 months pregnant and I was not the father. The source of the pregnancy, I suspected, lay in the UFO encounter. So going backwards from the date of the dream - 25 September - I reckoned the incident occurred around June / July, which would fit in with Madeleine's school holidays. Looking in the diary, I found that we had gone to a Leaving Party for Sylvia at Penhurst, Chipping Norton, and that we had given Michael Bailey a lift. After the function, we would have returned him to his home in Chalgrove and then on to Aldershot (where I live) via Henley. A route I don't normally take but I wanted to show Tina something of the south Oxfordshire countryside, plus the river Thames town of Henley which held such fond childhood memories for me. If I am correct that the UFO sighting occurred on the same day as attending Sylvia's last day in the children's home, then this is a weird coincidence because it was with the same Sylvia with whom I saw my first UFO, fourteen years previous, on October 11, 1973.
So what happened on July 10 1987?
After having dropped Michael off at his home, it was rapidly approaching dusk and we continued southeast towards Henley. Was it Patemore Lane we drove down?
As we approached a wooded area at the bottom of a hill, Tina, sitting next to me in the front passenger seat, started to play up in an agitated manner. She kept reaching for the door handle and looking around in a semi-panic. "Stop the car. I've got to get out. Let me out. Stop the car."
Normally I would have complied with her wishes. I would see this as some game of hers and stop the car, let her out and then drive off, pretending to abandon her in the middle of nowhere. Of course, I would return within minutes to pick her up. We often indulged in this kind of tomfoolery but on this occasion, I felt it would be unwise to let Tina out of the car or even stop it for one second. I didn't know why but my instinct was warning me that it was not safe to play our usual game. I turned to tell Tina, "No, I don't think it would be a good idea," when I saw them. Beyond her left shoulder, in a field sloping down...wolves. No. Impossible, not in England, in the 20th century. I must be seeing things. A trick of the light. I shook my head to shake off the apparent hallucination. Tina continued to demand that we stop the car and let her out, at which point her 8 year old daughter, Madeleine, sitting behind her on the back seat, emphatically said "No Mum, there are wolves out there."
I swung round to look at the girl in astonishment. "What did you say, Maddy?"
"Mum can't get out because of the wolves."
"You saw them, too."
"Yes, a pack of black wolves running down the hill, chasing us. We mustn't stop the car."
"Don't worry. We won't."
By now, we were nearly entering the wood. If the wolves really existed, we could probably expect to meet them at the bottom of the hill amongst the trees. As I turned to look where I was driving, I suddenly spotted it. Just above the tree line, a neon green sphere slowly moving, almost hovering, from right to left.
"Can you see that?" I asked everyone in the car.
"Yes," said Tina in wonder, "What is it?"
"I don't know. Can you see it Mad?"
"Yes. A green ball flying."
"Is it a UFO?" Tina asked
"Strictly speaking, yes, because none of us can identify it."
Several years later, I had a nagging feeling that “missing time” might have been involved. There was a feeling we had gotten back to my place much later than it should have taken us. And I was annoyed with myself that I had not written it in my diary. How could I have forgotten to note down such amazing apparitions.
Reading several books about occult Britain, and studying road maps, I concluded we were traveling on the B480 when we had the Wolves / Green UFO experience. More clues - the B480 crosses the Ridgeway / Icknield Way which is a prehistoric road that runs across England from the Wash to Wiltshire. It is said to be haunted at Twilight (it was twilight when we had our encounter) by Roman Legionaries, BLACK DOGS or the Wild Hunt, and perhaps Boadicea's charioteers who galloped along it on their way to sack St. Albans in AD 61. The part of the Way that runs east of Watlington and skirts Swyncombe Downs was believed to lead directly to the World's End, and from there to Hell.
Andy Collins wrote in "The Second Coming" that just prior to the Great Storm of "Black Friday" 16 Oct 1987, "Sensitive individuals across the country had experienced hideous nightmares and waking visions concerning frightful wolves, crone-like hags and a form of Hekate - the classical dark goddess known as Lykaina, the She-wolf.”
A few years later I wrote in a diary - “What did Whitley Streiber say about wolves and UFOs? They seem connected.”
About two and a half years after the 1987 “black wolves and Green UFO” encounter, I finally succeeded in giving Tina a baby, a boy born on 26th January 1990 (a fellow Aquarian). Somehow, I had a feeling our child was sacred, a gift of the Gods (or aliens) which is why I agreed with Tina’s name suggestion of “Zen” for the boy…but I wanted to make the name a two syllable word, so, suggested the suffix “el”, meaning “Lord” (“El” was the name of the supreme Sky God in ancient Sumerian/Hebrew mythology). Thus, he was named “Zenyel”, and because I had a feeling his creation was connected to the joint UFO experience of Tina and me in 1987, I wondered if we would receive a confirmation of Zen’s cosmic status, by us seeing another UFO. Sure enough, nearly two months after our boy was born, we both saw a UFO near Tina’s house in south London.
This was the diary entry for the day.
Sunday, 18th March 1990, Morden, South London.
“At about 12.15 noon today – I was looking out of the window in Tina’s house when I saw a UFO! It was like a silver inflated balloon – in fact at first I thought it was – but it was traveling too fast for a breeze to send it so speedily – and besides there was hardly any wind. It was spherical and metallic in look and traveled horizontally from left to right. It was totally noiseless. I called Tina to look and luckily she was in time to see it. She thought she could see strange wings on top and bottom of the sphere. We rushed outside to get a better look but there was only a few seconds left before we lost sight of it. Afterwards I cursed myself. I had on my lap a small camera, and it didn’t occur to me to use it until it was too late – I was so caught up by it. I also had a video camera nearby which I didn’t think of using until it had gone. I was such a fool. What a golden opportunity missed.”
1998, December 20th, Sunday (2nd day of Ramadan)- Amman, Jordan.
I was staying in my Mother’s apartment in Amman, Jordan. She had gone out to the Mosque, but had left me food for breakfast as she knew I wasn’t a Muslim.
Diary entry 09:53: "an Arab-sounding woman called my name ‘NABIL.’ It was faint as if it was outside the door in the corridor. I tried to open the front door but it was locked. So it couldn't have been my mother calling." I told my Mother when she returned later at sundown, but she didn’t know what I was talking about. Later in the afternoon, I saw a green light drop slowly from the sky. I mentioned it to my brother, Ahmed, but he suggested it was a meteorite. I said "Right, probably". But was it an omen? (Seven weeks later King Hussein died)
Brent Raynes: I understand that you do feel that the UFO experience however may be a bit more complex and mysterious than mainstream ufology generally portrays it to be. Often witnesses to UFO sightings, particularly the close encounters, report sudden psychic shifts in their lives and they find various sorts of paranormal events manifesting around them. In a brief exchange with you earlier, I understand that something similar may have happened to you as well?
Nabil Shaban: It was a revelation to me when I had my October 1973 UFO sighting that there was a psychic component to the experience. It was then that I realized the phenomenon was more than simply “nuts and bolts” traveling vehicles from outer space. I realized that one cannot compare what many may describe as “flying saucers” with such earthly spacecraft like Apollo 11 or the Space Shuttle. I woke up that morning of 11th October with the desire to look at my scrapbook on UFOs. I hadn’t thought about UFOs for at least six months. In fact, I had been getting bored with the subject. It seemed a dead end topic, unless of course, you were one of the “lucky ones” to have had a first-hand direct experience of these extraordinary mysterious craft. You can read all you like, but because the subject matter is not examined in a proper scientific manner, the data is rarely centralized, systematized and analyzed with findings made available to both serious Ufologists and the general public, and so you are unlikely to get very far in arriving at any truth or facts or understanding, regarding the UFO puzzle. So, I was surprised to wake up with the word UFO spontaneously popping into my head, and an intuition that I should spend the day reading and thinking about the subject. I spent the morning looking at my UFO scrapbook which contained newspaper clippings I had collected during the early 1970s, re-invigorating my fascination. Then that lunchtime, while helping a member of the Home’s care-staff where I was temporarily staying with the washing of dishes, I saw a flying object that looked exactly like a flying saucer…not an aeroplane, not a bird, not a balloon, but a silver discoid shaped craft. I pointed it out to the carer, and to my relief she saw it, and exclaimed in astonishment at it, wondering what it was. Later, she described it as a “flying saucer”, which is what it looked like to me, but I was glad that this mature responsible well-respected woman, devout Methodist Christian had said it, not me. The fact that we saw a UFO on the same day as I awoke thinking about UFOs intrigued me, and got me thinking that either I had had a premonition…or “they,” i.e., the controllers of these weird flying vehicles, had planted the thought in my head, with the intention of preparing me for seeing a UFO. Consequently, it occurred to me, like a thunderbolt, that the UFO phenomenon had a psychic component. This was 1973, and I was only 20 years of age. Finally, on that day, I was reassured that I was not imagining things or that I was going potty, when I saw on the television evening news that people were reporting sightings of UFOs in both the UK and the USA. I wondered if these witnesses had also had premonitions or prior UFO thoughts. The other interesting aspect of this UFO flap of October 11th 1973, was that it came two days before the start of the Yom Kippur War on the 13th, between the Jews and the Arabs in the Middle East.
A month later, in November 1973, another UFO sighting strongly reinforced my suspicion that UFOs are in part related to the psychic dimension, i.e., that whatever is behind the phenomenon has direct telepathic access to our brains. I was at a different location to the October sighting, having moved to Coventry to take up a course in business studies at a residential college for disabled students (Hereward college of Further Education). It was evening, and I was setting out for the dining hall from my accommodation. Suddenly a thought occurred to me to turn around and look at the sky behind me. I did. And I saw a green light traveling horizontally from right to left of my visual field. Then I thought it is going to change colour. It did. The UFO went from green to orange, without seeming to change speed or direction. Then it occurred to me it was going to vanish instantaneously. The flying object immediately, after I had the thought, disappeared in a white flash. What I saw may have been a meteor, but what makes the sighting extraordinary is the fact that I correctly anticipated both its arrival and its various stages. Did I know these things because an intelligence connected to the UFO was speaking telepathically to me? Whatever the truth, the actual experience made me think again about the possibility that the UFO phenomenon is part physical and part metaphysical, and operates on the percipient’s state of consciousness at a level that bypasses the conventionally accepted normal five sensory routes. This does not suggest that the experience does not have an external source, and is wholly produced from internal stimulants, but that the transmission utilizes more sensory pathways than we are normally aware of. The controllers give us access to the UFO phenomena by opening up more doors of perception than we normally have the keys to unlock….though I suspect meditational practices, dream states and certain natural “hallucinogenic” substances have the ability to breach masking veils or widen our normal receptivities to para-wavelength spectrums.
The question as to whether my initial exposure to UFO phenomena resulted in an unexpected psychic shift in my life, may be a “chicken and egg” issue. There is a view that psychic shifts are often precipitated by trauma. Understandably, an encounter, especially a close one, with a UFO or an apparent extraterrestrial would be traumatic, particularly if the “experiencer” was either an “unbeliever” or had never considered such things were possible, and did not fit in with their world view. One could expect a dramatic psychic shift. But there are other more common place traumas which could produce psychic shifts such as life threatening experiences, e.g., being shot at and being almost fatally wounded, or road traffic accidents, plane or train crashes, drowning, or any other near death experiences. It has often been reported that such traumas can lead to profound psychic shifts. In my case, just over a year (August 1972) before my first (consciously aware) UFO encounter, I had had a terrible car accident which nearly killed me. And a year before that I nearly died from drowning. Both times, I experienced a pleasant and non-frightening seductive awareness of imminent death. I found myself looking forward to dying and discovering the truth of what life after death would be like. In both cases, I was in no doubt that my personality and consciousness would persist after my physical entity ceased to function. And I did not have this belief for religious reasons either. I had given up on Christianity by the time I was 14 years old.
So the question is, were the trauma of these two near death experiences responsible for opening me up to psychic consciousness and so be able to perceive UFOs and other subsequent paranormal events, or was it the October 1973 UFO encounter that subsequently gave me additional psychic awareness and abilities? Well, if I look at my life, I think the 1973 UFO sightings were probably the product of a consciousness already psychically shifted, possibly as a result of earlier traumas. The fact that I seemed to have a premonition of UFOs before I actually saw one, suggests I was already psychically connected to a parallel reality. Later, I discovered through talking with old friends that 1973 was not the first year in which I witnessed UFOs. I had completely forgotten that a group of us lads had seen a UFO around 1971. Two of my pals, who were co-witnesses, had to remind me in 1995. In addition, under regression hypnosis in 1996, and subsequent discussions with my mother in 1999, I learned that I had experienced UFOs, floating balls of light, and “spacemen” as a young child of about seven years old. Apparently, I had complained to my mum that I could not sleep at night because of “spacemen” visiting me. I have no memory of this. From this new information, I wondered if the so-called psychic shift, if there was such a thing, had occurred much earlier, pre- seven years old, and possibly precipitated by even earlier trauma. The fact is my early life was one long series of physical traumas, beginning with my birth. I was born with a congenital bone disorder, called osteogenesis imperfect, otherwise known as “brittle bones”, which meant that my arms and legs and ribs fractured very easily. When I was born, I emerged into the world, screaming in agony, with multiple fractures. A start to life could not be more traumatic. Was this painful, terrifying birth of my physical body also the birth of my psychic tuning?
By the time I was 7 or 8 I already had morbid thoughts of martyrdom, self-sacrifice for the general good. My favorite heroes were Joan of Arc, missionaries who gave up their lives in darkest Africa and the jungles of Amazonia, and persecuted prophets. When I was 9, I was having Apocalyptic nightmares of the end of the world, and waking with the feeling that I was called upon to warn humanity and save the world. Where did all these feelings come from at such an early age? True, living in Christian country such as 1950s and early 60s England, I was heavily exposed to nuclear holocaust and Biblical Armageddonist propaganda, but so were all my childhood peers, and they did not seem to suffer the same fears, and take them so seriously. I have often wondered whether my alleged childhood nocturnal encounters with “spacemen” were the cause of these feelings that I had glimpsed the End of the World, and that I had been selected to be a prophet of doom, with the mission to warn erring humanity to mend their ways before it was too late.
From my studies of people who claim to have been abducted by “aliens” (aka extra-terrestrials) or angels or faeries, I have noted that many abductees come away from the experience, feeling an intense need to better humanity, and try to divert it from its headlong rush to global disaster. It appears that direct communications with, or exposure to “higher beings” provided them with, what I call the “Aquarian Consciousness” or transformed them into Aquarian type personalities. Well, being born on February 12th, I was already Aquarius, plus my great grandmother was a midwife who seemed to employ “shamanic” techniques when delivering babies, so maybe I didn’t need traumas or to be abducted by aliens to acquire a radical or paranormal shift in psychic consciousness. Perhaps, to a degree, I had inherited some of it from my “shamanic” midwife great grandmother. I am told that her greater success in delivering live births compared to the other local midwives was due to the claim she made that as the new baby’s soul arrived to enter the body, she would go into a trance, so she could see the soul, and the Angel of Death, personified by an Old Hag, who would arrive to attempt to snatch the child’s soul, and prevent it being born into this world. My great grandma would grab the baby’s soul and wrestle it from the Angel of Death’s grasp, and throw it into the womb, and so the child would be born alive.
Returning to the apparent effect on my state of consciousness as a result of my “remembered” initial UFO encounter of 1973, when I realized there was a “psychic element” to UFO sightings, my interest in flying saucers and spaceships from other worlds broadened into investigating paranormal phenomena and psychical research. I became interested in telepathy, psycho-kinesis, clairvoyance, precognition, apparitions, ghosts, fairies, demons, djinns, even anomalous beasts such as the Loch Ness monster and the Yeti, as I suspected that they were all related in some super-dimensional way. If I studied the paranormal and the supernatural, then maybe I could get closer to understanding the UFO enigma. If the controllers of the UFOs were employing telepathy to communicate with me, and even inducing my sense organs to perceive their presence, then they were not only more advanced than us technologically, but were more super advanced than us in manipulating matter through telepathic thought processes. They had reached a higher level of consciousness and control where they could shape and bend our reality itself. I began to speculate that my studies, investigations, researches would lead me to conclude that the forces behind the UFO phenomena were / are Masters of the SpaceTime Continuum.
The very first time I became aware of the “psychic” or “magical” universe around me, was probably in 1965, which coincided with the year I first heard from an adult of the idea that flying saucers visiting us from other planets was true. I was twelve years old at the time, living in a special residential school for disabled kids. I hadn’t lived with my parents since I was 3 in 1956. Although I was born in Jordan in the Middle East, because I had severe physical handicaps, it was decided by King Hussein, the then monarch of that country, that since there was nothing that could be done for me, I should be sent to England for medical treatment. I am told the king arranged and financed my trip to England. Upon arrival, I was immediately put in the care of the British authorities, and I became a ward of the state, and a long stay patient in a children’s hospital in south London. Why King Hussein should personally intervene and send me to England to be cared for remains a mystery to me. What was I to the Jordanian Royal Family? It is a question many others have asked. Some have even speculated that there was a relationship…either because my father may have been to the same school or college as the King, or a closer blood connection. I don’t know. Sure, as a kid I fantasized that I was the real heir to the Jordanian throne, that Hussein was an imposter, and I had been disinherited because I was born a cripple, and Jordan’s ruling elite didn’t want a deformed disabled person for their monarch, so short of having me quietly bumped off, which would have been the case in a more primitive and less humane age, I was dispatched to England, where Hussein had special diplomatic relations with, and had been trained as a military officer. However, none of this has much relevance to my first awareness of the spooky in 1965, other than as an explanation as to why I was a resident and citizen of the UK.
By the summer of 1965, my father, mother, two sisters and brother were living in London, England. I, however, was staying in the school sixty-six miles or so to the north-west, in Oxfordshire, in a small market town called Chipping Norton, which, though unknown to me at the time, was the site of a mass UFO event in 1610. There is to be found a contemporary account of this incredible sighting of multiple apparitions in the sky, in a rare old broadside manuscript in the British Museum in London.
‘STRANGE and Wonderful News from Chipping Norton, in the County of Oxon, of certain dreadful Apparitions which were seen in the air on the 26th July, 1610, at Half an Hour after Nine o’clock at Noon, and continued till Eleven, in which Time was seen Appearances of several flaming Swords, strange Motions of the superior Orbs; with the unusual Sparkling of the Stars, with their dreadful Continuations: With the Account of the Opening of the Heavens, and strange Appearances therein disclosing themselves, with several other prodigious Circumstances not heard of in any Age, to the great Amazement of the Beholders, as it was Communicated in a Letter to one Mr. Colley, living in West Smithfield, and attested by Thomas Brown, Elizabeth Greenaway, and Anne Gutheridge. Who were Spectators of the Dreadful Apparitions: And if any one would be further satisfied of the Truth of this Relation, let them repair to Mr. Nightingale’s, at the Bear Inn, in West Smithfield, and they may be satisfied. ‘There issued great sheets of flame, or glances of lightning, without thunder. There were strange alternations of the stars. In the western part of the heavens, the skies opened, and a perfect flaming sword pointed to the east. It was of prodigious size, and twirled round and round. The golden stars seemed all in clusters, as if set in battle array. Hot flashes descended and ran along the ground. The skies unfolded, and another sword, in appearance five yards long, and of a bloody color, appeared, the stars swiftly shooting round about it in an unwonted manner.’
Chipping Norton, affectionately known by locals as “Chippy”, is one of several towns and villages in a hilly area known as the Cotswolds, and had a minor reputation of being a UFO and hauntings hotspot.
Interestingly, I personally know of two other reports of UFOs seen over Chipping Norton, in fact, around the same time I saw mine in 1973, and by people who were located in the same children’s institution, Penhurst Special School for the Handicapped. Two adults (one was a former girlfriend) witnessed a huge glowing disc hovering over the school one night. And not long after I and a member of the care staff saw our midday flying saucer, my sister, who was nine years old at the time, along with 7 other children and 2 adult care staff saw out of the dining room window a large cigar shaped craft high in the sky, and many smaller circular craft flying around it. I have spoken to several of the witnesses, children and adults, who confirm the accounts.
Just a few miles from Chipping Norton is an ancient megalithic sacred site of a ring of standing stones known as the Rollright Stones, and it is regarded as a zone of power, where ley lines intersect. When I went on school outings to this site for picnics, I did not know any of this, other than a legend told of the stones that they had once been an army of knights and soldiers led by a king, marching to invade and conquer neighboring kingdoms. However, the king had been waylaid by a witch, who informed the king that he would only succeed in conquering all his enemies, and become High King of England if from the top of a certain hill he could see seven kingdoms. If he failed to do so, he and his men would be turned into stone. The king was not worried about this because he knew that the said hill was at the intersection of the seven kingdoms, and climbed the hill, confident that he would soon be monarch of all England. When he got to the top, he started to count the kingdoms he could see and name but as he named the fifth kingdom, a thick fog was conjured up by the witch, who then asked the king to speak honestly of how many kingdoms could he now see. He had no choice but to say none, whereupon he and all his men were turned into stone by the tricky witch. As a child, I was told that the stone circle never had the same number of stones from one year to the next because the witch still haunted the place and was regularly turning visitors who lingered beyond sunset into stone. After a while, some of the stones would disintegrate and turn into bats, owls, serpents, toads, and that was why people when trying to count the number of stones in the ring, could never agree on the correct number. As a 12 year old boy, I found this story both thrilling and scary, and when we had a picnic at the stone circle one Saturday in August 1965, I kept looking nervously up in the trees, expecting to see the wicked witch hiding in the top most branches. At that time, I had just been told my father was very ill, and that he was suffering from cancer of the blood, leukemia. No one had told me he was not expected to live long. As the picnic drew to a close, and we were expecting our transport to return to take us back to the boarding school, I went to the middle of the Rollright Stones circle, and looked to the west at the setting sun. Suddenly, a strong wind whipped up, I shivered and looked nervously up again in the surrounding trees, and thought the witch may have arrived to turn anyone who was still present at twilight, into stone. I started to wonder why the transport hadn’t yet arrived, and an uneasy feeling began to grip me. Something was wrong, and I became quite frightened. I asked a member of staff who had accompanied us on the picnic, “Where is Mr. Hughes?” (our Principal) Why hasn’t he come back with the coach?” She shrugged her shoulders, and did look a bit worried. “I don’t know,” she said. “It is most unusual for him to be late.” Then to all our relief we heard the motor of a vehicle pull up near the stones, and then saw Mr. Hughes walking towards us. We were not going to be turned into stones after all. When we got back to the school, and as I got out of the coach, Mr. Hughes stopped me, and explained that the reason he was late was because as he was about to drive off to pick us up, his secretary rushed out to tell him he was wanted on the telephone. It was the hospital where my father was a patient. They had bad news. My father had died that afternoon.
Suddenly, I had an explanation for my intense feelings of unease. I concluded that I had felt my father’s passing away, and realized that Rollright Stones was some sort of amplifier of psychic signals, and that my father was trying to say goodbye to me. Of course, at that age, I wouldn’t have used such words but I intuitively linked the haunted site with strange and uncanny powers of communication.
1965 was not only a turning point for me because of my father’s death but also because it was the year I became seriously interested in the subject of UFOs. Up until then, I assumed like most people that spaceships from other planets, Martians, alien monsters, etc., were purely science fiction and comics. I had never met an adult who didn’t think flying saucers were stories to thrill and terrify children or cinema audiences. Then, one day, not long after my father died, I met a young teacher of science and mathematics. Although our school was very elementary in what it taught us disabled kids, I had a thirst for knowledge, and if I came across an adult with knowledge of science and history, subjects we were deprived of, I would attach myself to that person if they were willing to entertain a spotty kid like me for an afternoon, and bombard them with questions. This young man was very amenable to chat with me for several hours about science and astronomy, which were popular subjects with me. And then finally, I plucked up the courage to ask him a question which had been burning in my head for many years, mainly because I wanted to believe there was more to life on earth. I was already becoming disillusioned with the religious faith of Christianity. The story of Christ was diminishing rapidly in my mind to the status of a fairy tale. "Do you think there is life on other planets?" I asked the young math teacher. "Of course," he replied, "it's only logical. The universe is vast and it contains more solar systems and galaxies than there are grains of sand in every desert of the world. There could be at least a thousand billion galaxies. If only 10 percent of the galaxies contain solar systems like ours…and if only 10 percent of those solar systems contain one planet like ours then we are still talking about ten billion planets that have life forms similar to Earth…and if our biological and intellectual evolution has only reached halfway of all possible development…because it is unlikely that us, humans have reached the peak of our development…then that could mean that 50% of the civilized planets are behind us and 50% are more advanced than us…which would mean there has to be 5 thousand million planets with life-forms more intelligent, civilized and technologically advanced than us…"
"Does that mean that some will have more advanced rockets, spaceships than us?" I asked excitedly, happy to have found an educated adult who took my interests seriously.
"Without a doubt. Even if some are only fifty years in advance of us, they will have discovered new fuels of propulsion, new metal alloys and other materials currently unknown to us. Also the more advanced they are along the evolutionary scale, they are more likely to have discovered new laws of nature, of physics, new systems of mathematics which will allow them to travel in ways we can only dream of and at speeds faster than the speed of light. The sheer volume of stars out there makes what I say inevitable."
"Do you think that if such highly advanced spacecraft exist, some of them have already been to our planet? Have we been visited…are we being visited by ‘little green men’ from outer space? I mean, do you think Flying Saucers are real?"
I expected him to reply like all the other adults I had asked this question of…namely, of course, they are not real, they are just figments of the imagination, inventions to spice up science fiction fairy tales….but no, he didn’t give the usual orthodox answer.
“Oh yes, they are real,” he replied. “Flying saucers from another world exist.” I was amazed. A teacher of science and math, possibly the most highly respected kind of teacher I could imagine, was telling me that he believed in flying saucers and aliens, something adults would normally poo poo. “But how do you know flying saucers exist?” I asked skeptically. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Because I have seen them with my own two eyes. On two separate occasions.” Well, that blew me away. “What? Tell me about them. What were they like? Were they really flying saucers? Where did you see them? When?” The young teacher laughed at my rush of impatient questions.
“I was on a camping holiday last year in the north-west of England, the Lake District. I have always enjoyed looking up at the night sky, locating the stars and planets, watching out for shooting stars. Like you, I am keen on astronomy. Well, one night I was star-gazing when I spotted a large point of light flying rapidly across the sky. At first I assumed it was a high altitude aeroplane until it suddenly changed direction at a sharp angle, and then, incredibly broke into five points of light, each flying in separate directions. These points of light zig-zagged around for a while, and then all came together, and seemed to rejoin as one flying object, which then shot upwards at even greater speed until completely vanishing in the far distance. What I saw was utterly impossible for anything we humans have. Neither can it be explained by natural phenomena that we know of. The only possible normal explanation would be that I was either drunk or suffered from hallucinations. I can tell you neither is true, but you don’t have to believe me if you don’t want to. It doesn’t matter whether you do, because what you believe will not change what I saw.”
I nodded in agreement. He was right. What anyone says will never change what he knows to be true and he doesn’t need anyone to believe him.
“Did you tell anyone about these amazing flying lights?”
“Apart from my girlfriend, you are the first person I have ever told.” I glowed with pride that he should entrust me, a mere 12 year old boy, with such a secret. “You said you saw these flying objects on two occasions? Was the second time the same as what you just told me?”
“No, the second time was completely different, and very scary. It was the next night. I was again looking up at the sky around midnight, hoping to see the same display of weird lights. After about half an hour, not seeing anything unusual, I decided to turn it in and head for my tent, when I felt a tremendous pressure bearing down on me. I looked up and saw a large green crescent shaped object hovering above me. When I say green, I mean it was like a green light but crescent shaped, so, it was reflecting an eerie green glow from it.”
“How high above you was it?”
“Probably about 100 feet.”
“What noise did it make?”
“That was what was uncanny. It was completely silent. But I could feel pressure on my skin, my head and on my eardrums. There probably was sound but it was probably subsonic, very low frequency. My stomach felt very queasy.”
“Did you think it might have been the Moon, in its crescent phase?”
The teacher laughed. “Contrary to popular myth, the Moon is not made of green cheese. No, it was too big and close to be the Moon, even under strange atmospheric conditions. Anyway, the UFO…
“UFO. Unidentified Flying Object. That’s what these unusual unknown flying objects are called. People who study these things don’t like to use words like “flying saucers”, because that is explaining something when in truth, no one knows any explanation.”
“I see. So, I should call them UFOs?”
“Of course, if they are objects which are flying and you cannot identify them. It’s the only sensible, logical thing to call them…until you have more information as to what they are and where they come from.”
“What happened to this green UFO?” I asked, eager to return to his story. “It didn’t stay long hovering above me, and slowly moved away, still making no sound I could hear. Then, when it was quite a distance from me, it suddenly disappeared from view at a great speed.”
I was so amazed by this teacher’s story. It completely changed my life, and I decided I wanted to be a UFO investigator. The first thing I did to begin pursuing this ambition was look in the town’s public library for books on UFOs. I knew nothing and felt I needed to do some catching up. I was disappointed to find that the library only had one book on the subject – “Anatomy of a Phenomena” by Jacques Vallee. I didn’t know at the time what a classic this scholarly book would turn out to be. I devoured it from cover to cover, though most of it I couldn’t really understand. It all seemed rather technical for my untutored mind, but what I did absorb from it was the vital need to treat the phenomenon like any scientific investigation, gather all the data and analyze it systematically and statistically - search for patterns. Since the US cult TV series "X-Files" began in 1990, I have always found Fox Mulder's poster which cries out “I WANT TO BELIEVE” very irritating, and pretty childish. I don't want to believe...I want to know.
Over the years of studying Ufology, and on account of my personal experiences, I have developed the suspicion that one sees UFOs because they choose at that moment to be witnessed. I also think as a result of my own experiences of witnessing UFOs, as I have said, that there is a psychic element involved in the UFO encounter. For example, one of my co-witnesses had a prior dream of the same object we saw together, the night before. Understandably, he was pretty shocked and shaken on seeing the UFO after having first dreamed of it. At least on three occasions I had a premonition of seeing a UFO before seeing it that day, and twice there were other witnesses to the bizarre aerial traffic, and neither were aware that I was anticipating a sighting. I have to say, if I had never witnessed UFOs (from the early 1970s onwards), by now I would be a skeptic (but never a debunker), and would have got bored with the subject long ago, because I pride myself on being a rationalist seeker after truth, and not someone who wants to believe because I need comforting fairy tales...this also goes for religion, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Paganism, whatever.
Brent Raynes: I find that it is this psychic element that is so unique and fascinating about the enigma of UFOs. Have you had other psychic type impressions/experiences in your life outside of the UFO syndrome? I would suspect that you have, and it's this sensitivity and proneness to psi that may be an overlooked factor in the UFO equation.
Nabil Shaban: As I said, I didn't really become aware of psychic type abilities (psi) until after my first UFO experience...but subsequently, I have noticed some in non-UFO situations. After the 1973 episodes where I seemed to anticipate UFOs, nothing psychically interesting occurred until five years later in 1978, when I was an undergraduate at Surrey University, studying for a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, Philosophy and Sociology. It was a science degree because the emphasis was strictly on experimental and research work, and empiricism. My final year research dissertation was completely off the wall, as far as my tutors were concerned – investigating the feasibility of Astrology as a useful tool for measuring Personality. They only agreed to allow me this unorthodox subject matter because I had convinced them that various highly respected psychologists had pursued research in astrology, and had arrived at interesting positive results. Unfortunately, my results were mainly inconclusive but with a suggestion that there may be a celestial factor in predisposing individuals to certain astrological types, which may become more evident with a much larger sample than 12, which was all I could muster via my advertisement for volunteers.
1978 was a very strange year for me. I was heading towards a nervous breakdown. I was absent from most classes. I wasn’t writing and submitting assignments. I had more or less “dropped out” without actually making it official. I was chasing after reports of “aliens” lurking and hiding in isolated sheds in the local woods nearby. Actually, I later made a TV documentary in 1997, for the BBC on this story of “The Alien Who Lived in the Sheds”. 1978 was a UFO flap year in the UK. 1978 was the year I first begin to experiment with drugs. I was a late starter at the age of 25. As I never smoke, I would ingest cannabis to get high. Most of the time, it was not a positive experience since the marijuana tends to accentuate whatever psychological state you happen to be in, and since I was becoming mentally fucked up and paranoid, the marijuana just made me feel worse. So, I didn’t do it too much, my mind wasn’t happy enough for it, at the time. However, I had been studying psychic research (my philosophy professor was considered an authority on the paranormal and its implications for society), and I had discovered a book in the university library on ESP experiments with subjects on LSD and Psilocybin. When one evening, a fellow student friend arrived with an Autumn crop of “Magic Mushrooms”, and offered to make us all a Magic Hallucinogenic Brew, I said yes, as I had an idea to try out an experiment in telepathy. By the next morning, I had proven to myself, and to unwitting subject, that telepathy was a fact, that it worked.
What follows is a paper I wrote in 2000, entitled “LOVE AND TELEPATHY”, describing both the 1978 and another anecdotal experiment in 1995.
“During the winter of 95, I was on a theatrical tour of England and Scotland. I was starring as Volpone, a lecherous old con artist, in a new adaptation of Ben Johnson’s play. (You probably know Ben Johnson was a contemporary of Shakespeare). Our theater company, Graeae, had created a radical version which was entitled FLESH FLY. The poster was a colour photo of me, semi-nude in kinky bondage gear and a gag-ball in my mouth, suspended from the ceiling. People who came to see the show often complained of being disappointed that I didn’t actually appear on stage as depicted in the poster. I guess it was just a cheap advertising gimmick....not my idea, I hasten to add...but I did enjoy going along with it.
All the actors in the production had a disability....Graeae, which I created with a friend in 1979, is a theater company of disabled performers. Although I left the company in 1981, I occassionally return to do the odd production. FLESH FLY was the last show I did with them.
A production assistant on the show was a woman called Teresa. Her boyfriend was acting in the play with me. After a week or so, I noticed that Teresa was paying a lot of attention towards me. I had a feeling she was somehow attracted to me. She was always making me coffee, sitting next to me in the bar....then when we stayed in hotels with indoor swimming pools, she would volunteer to teach me how to swim, she would ask to go in the sauna with me and often ask me to go shopping or to the cinema with her. All the time, I was feeling a bit awkward because I could see that her boyfriend was getting quite stressed by our friendship. I was determined to keep the relationship platonic. I didn’t want to hurt my colleague and I didn’t want to jeopardize the play. I try to stick to my rule never mix business with pleasure....I try not to get sexually or emotionally involved with people I am currently working with. But....I still couldn’t help falling in love with Teresa and desiring her. However, I kept these feelings and yearnings to myself.....except.....
One day, when we were in Aberdeen, Scotland....it was now January 96.....I was driving through the city to the theater. It was the afternoon and we had a performance that evening. I was thinking intently about Teresa....wanting her badly, wishing that I could have a relationship with her without having to hurt anyone...I wanted her to somehow “feel” my love, know that I was thinking about her. As I drove I kept thinking her name, pouring all my emotion into a mental image of her.
I was convinced she would be aware of my sendings.....because I had been successful before with another woman I had been madly in love with several years previously. I mean, I had managed to send a telepathic message to a fellow student when I was at the university. At the time, I was having a bad trip with a load of magic mushrooms I’d taken. I was feeling very sad, alone, depressed, paranoid and I was desperate for the love of a woman. There was this Pakistani girl (her name was Bangla) I had fallen in love with. We were friends and she had told me she was psychic. She had once heard her father’s voice calling her name in her room when they were thousands of miles apart. Minutes afterwards the phone rang and it was her father asking if she was alright....he had had a feeling she was in deep trouble and she was. Since I knew she was psychic....and I knew that certain hallucinogenic substances can enhance telepathic abilities because there had been successful ESP experiments with people on LSD and magic mushrooms....plus - it was well-attested that love as energy was a powerful booster to psychic transmission...I concluded that with all these conditions present, if I tried to communicate to Bangla, there was a high probability it would work. So, I kept calling “Bangla” in my mind, calling her name over and over again, pleading with her to come to me. It was 3 o’clock in the morning.....well, she didn’t come when I mentally called for her.....so I eventually went to my room and crashed out. Then at nine in the morning there was a knock on my door and in walked Bangla. She looked at me strangely....deep concern was etched across her face. She asked me if I was alright. I said “yeah, fine, thanks.” She sat down on my bed and kept staring at me. She asked again if I was okay because she thought I looked a complete mess. Had I been drinking heavily? Was I suffering from a hangover? I said No but I had spent the night tripping out on magic mushrooms and now I’m just coming down to earth, chilling out, man. Everything is fine, I feel cool.
She laughed and then frowned and shook her head. “Something weird happened last night” she said.
“Yeah - well, actually it was this morning, early this morning. I was still up at my desk, trying to finish this essay which I have to hand in today” she said, still staring hard at me, but mainly out of the corner of her eye.
“Yeah, did you get the essay written?”
“No, because what happened really disturbed me...I haven’t been able to concentrate since.”
“What was it that freaked you out?” I asked, intrigued.
“As I said I was writing at the desk....when I heard a voice in the room....behind me.”
“You heard a voice?”
“Yes....right in the middle of my room, behind my back. It kept calling my name - Bangla, Bangla, Bangla....” she said.
“That’s amazing,” I exclaimed “What time was this?”
“I don’t know exactly. Around three o’clock, I think.”
“That is fantastic!” I then proceeded to tell her of my attempts to psychically transmit a plea for help to her. “And that was about three this morning” I added.
“Yes, I thought it was you. The voice was like yours except it was more childlike....it sounded like you was a child in trouble. But it was definitely your voice. That’s why I thought I’d better come and see if you were alright.”
That was one of the most important experiences of my life. It was proof of paranormal abilities, of being able to use them at will. I realized it was totally possible to develop and exploit the latent skills of telepathic communication.
However, I chose never to try it again .....until that day in Aberdeen, 7 or 8 years later. This time without the narcotic boost of magic mushrooms....just LOVE. I concentrated hard on Teresa.
Well, eventually I reached the theater and went to the dressing room and got ready for the evening show. I saw Teresa before the show but she didn’t say much except that there was a party after the show in the bar. I’m a bit of an introvert and I don’t drink alcohol (I stopped back in ‘82 when I could see the writing on the wall warning me not to go the way of the likes of Richard Burton and Oliver Reed....not that as an actor I was in their league but I could have been as a drinker), so I don’t normally socialize after a performance. I usually prefer to go straight back to the hotel room and read a book. I’m so boring, aren’t I....?
This night, however, I decided to be different. I like to be unpredictable. I surprised everyone by appearing at the party. Teresa was particularly pleased when someone told her I was around, hiding in a corner. She sought me out and asked if she could sit in the empty chair next to me. I was overjoyed. “Yeah, of course” I said.
“You saved it for me, then?” she asked mischievously.
“Nah, you must be joking. There’s this tall leggy blond, I’ve got my eye on.” I lied. “Can’t you see... her name is carved on the back of the seat.”
“Well, I’d better not hang around then. Don’t want to ruin your chances, eh?” she said, grinning, giving me a sharp dig in the ribs.
“Nah, it’s alright....she won’t mind you having the seat for five minutes. She’s not the possessive type.”
Suddenly, there’s a serious expression on Teresa’s face. “Are you really reserving this chair for someone?”
“Nah, just joking.”
“Because I’ve got to tell you about something that happened this afternoon. Something really weird.”
“Oh? What was that, then?” I asked, intrigued.
“You don’t mind me telling you about it? I know you like to be left alone after a performance. I’m not disturbing you, am I?”
“No, of course not. What was the really weird thing that happened?”
“Well, I was in your dressing-room, gathering your costume together to put it in the washing machine and have it ironed before this evening’s show.”
“About what time this afternoon?” I asked
“Hmm....something like two-thirty.”
“Oh right”, my mind was racing....I had a feeling I knew what was coming next.
“Well, you know on the back of the dressing room door, there’s this full length mirror?” Teresa says, watching me intently.
“Well, as I picked up your washing, I turned and looked at my reflection in the mirror...and this bit is really weird....I swear it happened. It was as clear as I see you now.”
“I saw my reflection and then suddenly, my head disappeared and was replaced by YOURS. Your head was on my body. You looked straight at me and smiled. Then your head disappeared and mine came back.”
“You are joking?”
“No..... I knew you wouldn’t believe me.” Teresa sounded depressed.
“No, I do. It’s just... I’m amazed. So..I mean...did you just imagine my head on your neck? Was it an image you superimposed in your mind’s eye?”
“No. I had nothing to do with it. It just happened. One minute I saw my face in the mirror…and the next I saw yours. It was a real reflection. It wasn’t like a hallucination.”
“How did you feel when you saw me in the mirror?”
“I was shocked at first. But I felt calm. Seeing you didn’t worry me....except....”
“Well, I’m just left wondering what did it mean? Why do you think it happened?”
“Got no idea,” I lied. I was too embarrassed, too scared to tell her that I might have put the image in the mirror. It would have meant declaring my love for her. And I couldn’t possibly do that. I couldn’t rock her boat. “It’s all very strange,” I said quietly. I really wanted to tell her that she saw me because we loved and wanted each other...that there was a special psychic connection between us.....but I felt it would have been irresponsible of me to do so....and besides, I might have been mistaken. And I didn’t want to upset my fellow thespian. I didn’t want him to be heartbroken if I ended up taking his girl.
I couldn’t look at Teresa as I denied knowing why she saw me in the mirror. As she got up to rejoin her friends, she asked more emphatically, “Why have you gotten into my head?”
“I don’t know. Do you know?”
“Perhaps it’s best not to know,” she said walking away.
“You could be right, there.” I said feeling both sad and elated. Sad because it was a cop out....an easy retreat....we were both aware of something extraordinary happening between us but neither were prepared to admit it and take the consequences. Elated because I was privileged to witness another example of the paranormal power of love.”
Editor’s Note: This concludes Part 1 of this fascinating interview feature with Nabil Shaban. Part 2 and then Part 3 shall follow in the next upcoming issues.