10 - Purple Lights and April Foolishness

“My phones have gone crazy,” Mary Hyre noted, “even my unlisted numbers. Strangers call me at all hours of the day and night. Sometimes I get funny beeping sounds. Did you ever hear about anything like that?“

I had to admit I had. However, it had become my policy to say very little about these matters to anyone, even close friends. After Mary and I had concluded our interview with Charles Hern and his wife in Ohio, Mr. Hern had escorted us to the door and remarked,

“You know, we’ve told you about everything we’ve seen ..; and you haven’t told us a damned thing!“

I was so taciturn that the UFO buffs had surrounded me with an aura of mystery (they tend to surround everything with mystery). James Moseley, editor of Saucer News (now defunct), once told Gray Barker,

“He gives you the impression of not only knowing as much as we about flying saucers—but actually knowing a lot more—a lot that he is not telling.“

The truth was more mundane than the mysterious. I was keeping many of my findings a secret to prevent pranksters from setting up hoaxes (many of those findings are being revealed here for the first time). I maintained a “low profile” to curb rumors and prevent possible panic in the areas I was visiting. I avoided personal publicity, unlike most of the other self-styled UFO investigators who spent most of their time staging press conferences and building up scrapbooks. Finally, some of the things I was studying seemed so absurd on the surface—especially to the hardcore believers in extraterrestrial visitants—that revealing them would only produce more gossip, controversy, and nonsense.

Dan Drasin and Don Estrella expressed growing amazement—and some fear—as they traveled with me up and down the valley, listening to my strange questions and the even stranger answers we were getting from witnesses. A young woman in Point Pleasant was having telephone problems. Every night when she returned home from work at 5 o’clock her phone would ring and a man’s voice would speak to her in a rapid-fire language she could not understand. “It sounds something like Spanish ... yet I don’t think it is Spanish,” she complained. She protested to the phone company, but they insisted they could find nothing wrong with her line.

We visited her home and I examined her phone in a manner that had become routine for me. I took it apart. Drasin and Estrella watched me silently with a “he’s really gone bananas” expression. What did telephones have to do with flying saucers?

When you unscrew modern telephone earpieces you will often find a small piece of cotton which serves as a cushion for the magnet and diaphragm. You shouldn’t find anything else. But when I opened this woman’s handset I was startled to find a tiny sliver of wood. She said no one, not even the repairmen, had ever opened up her phone before. The wooden object looked like a piece of matchstick, sharpened at one end and lightly coated with a substance that looked like graphite.


Later I showed it to telephone engineers and they said they’d never seen anything like it before. I put it in a plastic box and stored it away. Years later while visiting a magic store in New York (sleight of hand is one of my hobbies), I glanced at a display of practical jokes and discovered a cellophane package filled with similar sticks. Cigarette loads! Somehow an explosive cigarette load had gotten into that Point Pleasant telephone! Who put it there, when, how, and why must remain mysteries.

Soon after my investigation, the woman’s phone calls ceased. Maybe I exorcised the phone by removing the stick.

Another family was having telephone problems, and many other troubles besides, on the Camp Conley Road on the southern edge of the TNT area. The woman in Point Pleasant who suffered the calls from a bizarre metallic voice speaking in an incomprehensible language was their daughter-in-law.

“It didn’t take us long to learn that when our TV started acting up it was a sure sign that one of those lights was passing over,” James Lilly, a no-nonsense riverboat captain, told us. “I didn’t think much of all the flying saucer talk until I started seeing them myself. You’ve got to believe your own eyes.“

At first the Lillys kept their sightings to themselves. But gradually rumors began to circulate and carloads of people gathered on Camp Conley Road every night to watch the space people fly by.

“We’ve seen all kinds of things,” Mrs. Lilly said. “Blue lights, green ones, red ones, things that change color. Some of them have been so low that we thought we could see diamond-shaped windows in them. And none of them make any noise at all.“

Automobiles near the Lilly home began to stall inexplicably. And the Lillys’ little ranch house became haunted soon after the lights started their nightly fly-overs. Kitchen cabinet doors slammed in the middle of the night. Once their living room door, which they locked with both a chain and snaplock at night, was standing ajar when they got up in the morning.


They heard loud metallic sounds,

“like a pan falling,” and Mrs. Lilly heard “a baby crying.”


“It sounded so plain,” she said, “that I looked around the house even though I knew there was no baby here. It seemed to come from the living room ... only a few feet away from me.“

One of my sillier-sounding questions is:

“Did you ever dream there was a stranger in the house in the middle of the night?”

When I directed this question at the Lillys, Jackie Lilly urged her quiet sixteen-year-old daughter, Linda, to tell about the “nightmare” she had had that March.


She was reluctant to discuss it, but with a little coaching from the sidelines she explained how she woke up one night and saw a large figure towering over her bed.

“It was a man,” she said. “A big man. Very broad. I couldn’t see his face very well but I could see that he was grinning at me.“

“Jim was working on the river that night,” Mrs. Lilly added. “And Linda woke me up with a terrible scream. She cried out there was a man in her room. I told her she was dreaming. But she screamed again.“

“He walked around the bed and stood right over me,” Linda declared. “I screamed again and hid under the covers. When I looked up again, he was gone.“

“She came running into my room,” Mrs. Lilly said, “She cried, There is a man in my room! There is!’ She’s refused to sleep alone ever since.“

When I asked for a description of the stranger, Linda said she thought he had been wearing a “checkered shirt.“

Bedroom phantoms in checkered shirts are old hat to investigators of psychic phenomena. I have come upon this again and again. So often that I have written long articles about it. In some cases these ghosts-in-plaid are accompanied by the odor of hydrogen sulfide and sudden chills or sudden blasts of heat, while other episodes are probably purely hypnopompic. That is, they are the residue of dreams which overlap briefly into the waking state ... a phenomenon well-known in psychiatry and parapsychology.

I once enjoyed a hypnopompic experience myself. In the winter of 1960-61 I contracted walking pneumonia ... and I walked with it until I dropped. Early one morning while I was still quite sick and my system was laden with antibiotics and drugs I woke up and saw a large black form hovering at the foot of my bed.


It wasn’t a man in a checkered shut but was roughly the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle.

“What do you know? I’m having an hallucination,” I told myself as I lifted my head and studied the apparition.

The blob slowly receded, growing smaller and smaller until it disappeared. The experience was never repeated.

Drasin and Estrella returned to New York City in late March while I decided to remain on in Point Pleasant. Dan was convinced that something exceptional was happening in the Ohio valley and he planned to collect a camera crew and return. We had seen a number of odd aerial lights but the oddest of all was so bewildering I didn’t even bother to take notes.

We were standing on a hilltop outside of Point Pleasant one night when Mrs. Hyre called our attention to a bright red light slowly moving toward us. It had the shimmering, prismatic appearance of the classic UFO light and Dan, who was a student pilot, agreed it wasn’t a plane. No normal wing lights or taillights were visible. The sky was crystal-clear and there was only one small cloud overhead. The light moved very slowly and appeared to be at a low altitude. There was no sound whatsoever.

We watched as the light slowly approached the little cloud and disappeared into it, or over it. Then we waited for it to reappear. Seconds ticked into minutes.
The light did not come out from behind the cloud.

“Maybe it went straight up,“ Mary suggested.

Suddenly there was the distinctive drone of an airplane engine and the obvious silhouette of a small plane emerged from the cloud, wing and taillights flashing. It buzzed off at an altitude of three or four thousand feet And we laughed at ourselves, momentarily convinced that our UFO had just been an airplane.

However, the more I thought about the incident the more incredible it seemed. We should have been able to see the plane’s silhouette clearly before it entered the cloud, and it should not have taken so long to pass through such a small cloud. Something was definitely out of kilter.

Later, I began to study the mystery airplanes and phantom helicopters that have appeared all over the world, and several reports of UFOs that seemingly turned into conventional airplane configurations surfaced.


One of the most recent comes from Canada where a group of out-doorsmen on the Cowichan River in British Columbia watched a low-flying object in October 1973. (1)

“It didn’t make a sound and it was something we had never seen before,” one of the witnesses reported. “There were three red lights rotating around the top part and there were blinking red lights going in the opposite direction around the middle part. There was another light at the very top—a red flashing one.

“Then, from the bottom, a white light shone out like a spotlight. It moved its beam up the river as if it was looking for something. By this time we were all pretty scared. We thought sure the others at the camp must have seen it, too, but afterward they said they hadn’t seen a thing.“

[1] John Magor, ed., Canadian UFO Report, No. 16, Box 758, Duncan, B.C., Canada. There was a bend in the river between us so I couldn’t say for sure whether they did or not.


The witnesses claimed they got a good look at the thing, that it was circular, about eighty feet in diameter, hovering about two hundred feet in the air, and had been in view for a full fifteen minutes.

How did it depart?

“Well, if we told people about this, they’d think we were crazy,” the witness said. “But all of a sudden it looked as if it had turned into an airplane. It made a noise like a plane and it looked like a plane, only all the lights went out except for a little red one. It went right past us and disappeared over the trees.“

Throughout West Virginia I had heard stories of large, gray, unmarked airplanes hedgehopping the treacherous hills. I knew the air national guard kept some cargo planes at the Charleston airport and that some training flights involved hedgehopping to keep below radar beams. But none of the flights reported to me proved to be the work of the national guard.

Drasin and Estrella had hardly started out for New York when all hell began to break loose. Late on the afternoon of March 31, a workman in the Point Pleasant lumber yard saw a glowing object hovering over the home of Mrs. Doris Deweese. Shortly afterward, Mrs. Deweese watched a luminous object zip across the sky and crash into a small shack on a neighboring hillside. The shack housed the transmitter for Sheriff Johnson’s police, radio. It started to burn.

What followed was straight out of the Keystone Kops. The police and fire department rushed to the snow-covered hill and bogged down on the mushy dirt road. There was much frantic scurrying and cursing as the men battled the blaze. Part of the hillside was badly scorched. The transmitter inside the shack was not affected by the fire but it was burned out, as if it had been struck by lightning. So in the critical days that followed, the sheriffs department was without its main transmitter.

I was disenchanted with the TNT area because of the crowds that were now streaming back there nightly to watch for the newest sensation—flying saucers. I started searching for a private place where I could carry out my observations quietly. Don, Dan, Mary, and myself had interviewed a number of people in the little community of Gallipolis Ferry, a couple of miles south of Point Pleasant on Route 2, and I had been impressed by their testimony.


House lights frequently dimmed there and television sets often acted up late at night. Great blobs of light had been seen on top of the wooded hills in the sparsely settled animal preserve called the Chief Cornstalk Hunting Grounds just south of the village.


One resident was having trouble with poltergeist phenomenon ... lights moving through his house, rappings on the doors and windows, the sounds of babies crying and “women screaming,” telephones malfunctioning—the works. Rolfe Lee, a farmer with a big spread in the area, confessed that he had seen so many UFOs over his land that he didn’t pay attention to them anymore.

Officer Harold Harmon and I slipped away to Gallipolis Ferry on the night of March 31 while nearly everyone else headed for the TNT area. We soon saw a number of bright starlike objects which flitted about the sky with rapid zigzag movements. Two local teen-agers were sitting on a nearby hilltop next to a roaring bonfire, hoping to lure the UFOs down. I called up to them and asked them to put the fire out, knowing that bright lights tended to repel rather than attract the objects.

Harmon fiddled vainly with his police radio. He could get nothing but static. Later I learned that all the police forces for miles in both directions had constant trouble with their radios that week. Heavy magnetic interference totally disrupted communications among law authorities while the UFOs carried out their mysterious missions. The destruction of Sheriff Johnson’s transmitter was just one small part of the scenario. Telephones, too, went bonkers that week. It seemed as if half the phones in the valley were either out of order altogether, or were dogged with crazy beeps and buzzes.

Accompanied by the two teen-agers, I left Harmon and hiked into the nearby hills in the total blackness. As my eyes became acclimated to the night I began to distinguish a number of vague purple shapes hovering over a woods on Rolfe Lee’s property. At first I thought they might be stars low in the sky, gleaming through the natural haze. But when I flashed my six-celled light at one of these purple blobs it suddenly and jerkily moved to one side, as if it were jumping out of my light beam. Fascinated, I repeated the experiment several times. Then I tried flashing the light at obvious stars to see if this wasn’t just some trick of my eyesight. The stars didn’t move, naturally.

We sat on the hilltop studying the purple blobs for several minutes when suddenly the whole forest in the valley below lit up and glowed with a bright, eerie purple light. There were no houses or roads down there. It would have been a long hike in the dark and the boys were reluctant to join me, so we just sat and stared at the glowing forest until the light faded.

The next night, Saturday, April 1, Mary Hyre and I drove up Five Mile Creek Road below Gallipolis Ferry until we reached a hilltop which commanded a view of the hills and valleys I had visited the night before. There was a single farmhouse on the hill and the people who lived there went to bed at 9:30 each night, being early risers. So the whole area was silent, deserted, and without lights throughout the night.

A few minutes after we arrived, Mary pointed out a small reddish light low on a steep wooded hill south of our position. It appeared to be blinking on and off, and bobbing up and down in a manner quite different from any of the stars on the horizon. While we watched breathlessly, barely speaking, it slowly circled the distant fields and woods and crossed in front of us, edging closer and closer.


The farmhouse was about seventy-five feet in front of us. The object now appeared to be square or rectangular. It could not be mistaken for a star. It vanished momentarily behind some trees north of the farmhouse and when it reappeared it was much closer. Now we could make out a dark form. The red glow seemed to be a window. It hovered about fifty feet off the ground. I thought I could see a shadowy human figure in the “window” but Mary thought it was some kind of partition.


This was the only point on which we disagreed.

We sat transfixed for several minutes, fully expecting the object to land directly in front of us and ask to be taken to our leader. I finally got out of the car and flashed my powerful beam directly at the object. It responded instantly, quickly shooting straight up into the sky, the red light going out completely.

“I guess I blew it,” I groaned.

But there would be other nights and more funny lights.

The following night we returned to the same hilltop. The brilliant night sky was filled with stars ... and things not on my star map. We could easily recognize the UFOs because they were brighter and more brilliantly colored than normal stars. Some were red flashers, some were cold purple blobs, and some were multi colored. Mrs. Hyre confirmed that they jumped out of the way of my flashlight.


I picked out an especially large object and flashed:

 -.././.../-.-././-./-. (“descend”).

Mary gasped as it began to lose altitude.

“It looks like it’s going down a flight of stairs,” she noted.

We were watching the famous “falling leaf motion" which has been described by many UFO witnesses.

About 12:30 A.M. Mrs. Hyre decided to call it a night. She drove off leaving me alone in my car sitting, like an idiot, waiting for something to happen. And it did. One hour later, at 1:35 A.M. on April 3, 1967, I had my best sighting. A clearly defined circular object suddenly zipped down from the sky and passed parallel to my car. It was so colorful that it is burned into my memory.


The greenish upper surface was topped by a bright red light. There were reddish “portholes” or circular lights around the rim. The colors were so brilliant they were almost unearthly. It disappeared behind some trees to my left. I felt it was very close ... perhaps only a few hundred feet from my car. Although it had been in full view for several seconds I never even thought of picking up the movie camera on the seat beside me.

I had three interesting physical reactions to this sighting.

  1. First of all, although I am used to prowling graveyards and TNT areas alone late at night, I was scared to death. My first thought was to start the car and get the hell out of there. But I managed to brace myself. I did lock the car doors.

  2. Second, while I was watching the object I thought I heard a sizzling or hissing sound. Later I realized I couldn’t be sure if the sound had been real.

  3. Third, the next morning my eyes were sore and reddened. They felt like they were full of sand. I had a mild case of conjunctivitis and it persisted for several days.

In my notebook I scribbled,

“2 A.M., drove to turnaround point [a driveway by a barn down the road], turned and returned to original parking position ... unable to see anything in ravine ... no lights or signs of activity ... still scared... not anxious to get out of car...“

Another note reads, “No sign of moon which was supposed to rise at 1:59 A.M.“

This referred to something that had happened the night before. After the object with the reddish “window” had disappeared, Mary and I sat in the darkness for a long time when suddenly a great glowing object appeared behind some trees on a distant hill. It was red and large and we both thought we could see a human figure moving about on the hill. We really thought something had landed there.


After a few minutes the object slowly rose upward and to our mutual embarrassment we saw that it was the moon. I had never seen a moonrise exactly like that one so I decided to deliberately watch the moon the following evening. I checked the papers for the time the moon was supposed to come up. But it never did.

That night, as I said, was cloudless and star-filled but the moon never appeared. I stayed in the area until 3:30 A.M. and the moon was still conspicuously absent when I left.

The night after that the moon appeared right on schedule.

Sheriff Johnson, Deputy Halstead, Mary Hyre, and I went back to Five Mile Creek Road the next afternoon to look for my saucer. Deputy Halstead carried a Geiger counter. As Johnson followed my car up the hill he was startled when his car radio suddenly sprang to life, emitting police calls from the adjoining county. The amazing thing was that his radio was turned off at the time! It had to be turned on with a key and the key was not even in the lock!

We searched for scorched marks, broken tree limbs, radioactivity, anything that could have provided evidence of my sighting. But as Halstead and I clambered around the ravine I was chagrined to find that my estimates must have been way off. The object must have been further away from me than I thought, and therefore it had to be bigger than I thought (I estimated it was only fifteen or twenty feet in diameter).

In my favor was the fact that there were widespread UFO sightings on the nights of April 2-3. South of Charleston, West Virginia, a large group of people, including several state police officers, watched a formation of fifteen lights maneuver over a forest and descend.

Every night I went to the hill at Five Mile Creek Road, sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by a few others. And every night I saw a variety of strange aerial objects. Only two airplanes passed over on a regular schedule, one at 11 P.M. and another at 2 A.M. Each night from three to eight unidentified “stars” appeared.


They were always in the same position at the beginning of each evening and a casual observer would automatically conclude they were really just stars. However, on overcast nights these unidentifieds would be the only “stars” in the sky, meaning they were below the clouds. While the rest of the night sky slowly rotated, these phony stars would remain in their fixed positions, sometimes for hours, before they would begin to move. Then they would travel in any direction, up, down, clockwise, etc.

They had a number of curious traits. When a plane would fly over they would suddenly dim or go out altogether. As soon as the plane was gone they would flare up again.

It was always impossible to judge their size, altitude, or distance. Sometimes I thought they were relatively close only to find they were actually miles away, traversing the river. Boatmen on the river were obviously watching them also.

Occasionally a searchlight from a riverboat would suddenly shoot into the sky, aimed straight at an object I was watching, and the object would skitter out of the way.

I doubted that these funny lights were spaceships from Andromeda and I made a strenuous effort to find rational explanations. Dr. Donald Menzel, a Harvard astronomer, advocates an air inversion theory, contending that these lights are ordinary lights reflecting off layers of warm or cold air and producing a mirage effect. This theory wasn’t workable on Five Mile Creek Road simply because there weren’t enough light sources. A large radio antenna some miles down the river did produce some interesting effects. When there was a haze the flashing red lights on the antenna were an eerie sight from my hill and never failed to excite first-time visitors to my lookout post.

Three or four days after my monumental UFO sighting I was sitting in Mary’s office when she became very thoughtful.

“You know, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you,” she began hesitantly. “I don’t know why, but it always seems to slip my mind. That night that I left you early ... the night you saw that colored disc ... when I got to Route 2 and started for Point Pleasant I saw a big globe of light on the river. I couldn’t figure out what it was ... but I didn’t stop. The funny thing is, I forgot it completely. I didn’t remember it until a day or so afterward. Then I forgot it again. I can’t understand it. I’ve always had a very good memory.“

Lacunal amnesia, loss of the memory of specific incidents or moments in time, is a common part of the phenomenon.


In December 1967 Faye Carpenter, Connie’s mother, had a more baffling attack of amnesia. The night that “Jack Brown” visited Connie (Chapter Two), Mrs. Carpenter had opened the door for him. He was in his shirt-sleeves, no jacket or coat although it was extremely cold. She was not going to let him in ... but she did. And she had absolutely no memory of his visit afterward even though she had been present when he talked with Connie, Keith, and Larry.

In the days following Mr. Brown’s visit, a poltergeist settled in the Carpenter household. Securely fastened pictures fell off the walls. Small objects disappeared from shelves and reappeared in unlikely places. The manifestations lasted about two weeks.

During her news-gathering rounds, Mary Hyre was approached by a professional woman in Gallipolis, Ohio, the town directly across the river from Gallipolis Ferry, West Virginia. She said she heard I was in the area and she wanted to talk to me. My motel, the Blue Fountain, was on the outskirts of Gallipolis so I arranged a meeting with the lady. She held a very responsible job and insisted on anonymity, as so many witnesses do, so I will call her Mrs. Bryant.

We met in a private office in a major company in Gallipolis. Mrs. Bryant was a reserved, well-spoken middle-aged woman who looked slightly fatigued from overwork.

She was very secretive and suspicious at first, but after I showed her my parcel of credentials she relaxed somewhat. It was obvious she had been through a great deal and she was concerned I would not believe her. She had gone to the local authorities, she said, and they had laughed at her.


I assured her that I wouldn’t laugh, that I was accustomed to hearing incredible stories from credible people.

“Last November ... I think it was the second or third,” she began, “I was out behind this building, getting ready to go home. It was seven or eight o’clock. Suddenly there was a little flash, like a camera flash gun going off, directly above me ... and then I saw a thing ... some kind of flying machine. I couldn’t move. I guess I was frozen with fright. This thing landed right there in the parking lot not twenty feet away from me. It was like a big cylinder. Anyway, it didn’t make the slightest bit of noise. It just drifted down and stopped. Like I say, I couldn’t move. I guess I started praying. Then two men came out of it and they walked over to me.“

She studied me anxiously as if expecting me to laugh.

“What did they look like?” I asked.


“They were just normal-sized, normal-looking men, but their skins were a funny color ... dark, like maybe they were heavily tanned. The light was pretty bad there so I couldn’t see them all that well.“

“Were they Negroes?“

“No. No, they didn’t have Negroid features. Their faces seemed kind of pointed. You know, pointed noses, pointed chins, high cheekbones. There was a kind of evil look about them. I was afraid I was going to get robbed or attacked.“

“How were they dressed?” I leaned back and lit my pipe.

“As near as I could tell, they were wearing some kind of coveralls, something like a uniform. Then they started talking to me.“

She kept watching me, reluctant to continue.

“What did they have to say?” I prompted, trying to avoid leading questions.

“Well, it was all pretty silly. They just wanted to know my name, where I was from, what I did for a living, things like that, sometimes it was hard to understand them. Their voices were sort of singsongy and high-pitched. It was like listening to a phonograph record played at the wrong speed. And they kept asking me for the time. They asked ‘What is your time?’ two or three times. Finally they just walked back to the thing and it took off. Then I could move again. I was scared out of my wits but I decided not to tell anyone. Then a couple of days later I heard about a man up near Parkersburg who had the same thing happen to him.“

“His name is Woodrow Derenberger,” I volunteered. “Have you met him?“

“No. I just heard something about him on the radio.” She paused and moistened her thin lips. “I wonder ... did he ever see those men again?“

“He says he did.“

She looked relieved.

“Well, I saw them again. I saw them in broad daylight. Walking right down the main street in Gallipolis. This time they were dressed in normal clothes. They looked like anybody. They sort of nodded to me when they passed me. I got scared all over again. Real scared. That’s when I went to the police and told them what I saw. They laughed at me and said I was probably just imagining things.”

She paused again and shook her head sadly.

“You see, I’ve been to the police before .. . about my cattle rustlers. I guess they think I’m some kind of a nut. I went to the FBI, too. They came out to my place but said they couldn’t find anything. After that somebody tapped my telephone. Maybe it was the FBI.“

I was scribbling in my pocket notebook. A year or two earlier I would have classified Mrs. Bryant as a paranoid-schizophrenic. But she didn’t seem like a common run-of-the-mill nut.

She and her two teen-aged children lived on a farm outside of Gallipolis. She kept cows there and beginning in 1963-64 she started to have trouble with cattle rustlers who butchered the animals in the field.

“Whoever they were,” she observed, “they didn’t seem to want the choice cuts. They just took the brains, eyeballs, udders, and organs that—you know—we’d normally throw away.“

Had she ever caught the culprits in the act?

“Several times,” she said. “I’d see them out in the field and go after them with a shotgun. But they always got away. They’re tall men and they wear white coveralls ... which is kind of stupid because they really stand out in the dark. And they can certainly run and jump. I’ve seen them leap over high fences from a standing start.“

Her home burned to the ground during that period and she built a new one-story ranch house on the same site. One night when she was alone in the new house, she said, she woke up and found herself unable to move. She felt a wave of almost overpowering heat as she heard the kitchen door open. She had double-locked it before going to bed. While she lay there helplessly, she said she saw a tall figure walk through the kitchen and apparently go out another locked door on the other side. After it left, she was able to move.

Other strange sounds pervaded the house, she claimed. She and her children often heard heavy footsteps on the roof and loud metallic clangs.

After interviewing her, I drove out alone to her house to talk to her children. The Bryant farm was quite isolated on a hilly back road. The house stood on a knoll overlooking the surrounding fields. Her teen-aged son was a down-to-earth boy, used to the responsibilities of being the man in the family. He confirmed his mother’s stories about the rustlers and added some interesting details. He pointed out some nearby trees.


One night, he said, as he and his mother were walking up the road they saw a large glowing object hovering directly above the trees. “She was scared real bad,” he noted. Their telephone often went dead for no reason. Other times they got calls that just consisted of strange beeping sounds and “electronic music.”


He also mentioned the big gray “flying boxcars” that often flew over the area at treetop level.

“It’s a wonder they don’t crash,” he said. “If they flew any lower they’d have to put their wheels down.“

When I examined the kitchen of the little house I found that the locked door through which the nocturnal phantom had supposedly exited led to nowhere. There were no steps outside, just a very steep drop of about ten feet to the ground.

Later I checked with the local police about rumors of disappearing dogs and cattle in the area, and I brought up Mrs. Bryant’s name.

“That poor woman,” I was told.


“She’s always seeing things. Just a couple of months back she came in here with some story about spacemen walking around Gallipolis. Before that it was cattle rustlers.“

So Mrs. Bryant still sits on her farm, watching the strange lights in her fields, and when her phone rings she waits a long time before she picks it up.

Back to Contents