Become a Fan
View this Article
Written for Continuum Magazine: Many Paths, One Voice (and originally for The Cape Paper), this is an autobiographical article concerning what it was like for Sara to grow up with a UFO veteran. Humorous AND informative, readers ought to find this fascinating.
Is there anyone out there as lucky as I who can say they are the offspring of a UFO seeker? I never thought my first professional article would be about aliens. But in retrospect I must say it only makes sense. Coming from a father who has investigated strange aerial phenomena since he saw an unidentified flying object in Michigan as a teenager, I have grown up forming my own opinions about what happens before, during, and after an alien abduction. It has been a normal (if I may say normal) part of my growing up.
One of the best aspects of my visits with my alien-inclined dad was hearing about the latest UFO case he had taken an interest in. “Can we listen to the hypnosis tape where the woman talks about the aliens inserting something into her nose?” I would ask with pleasure. “Certainly, Sara,” he would answer in a good-natured tone, content to share all of his evidence with someone unbiased. When I came home once from my dad’s at the age of twelve, I was eager to tell my best friend about the woman who had a metal object stuck into her nose by aliens. All she did was giggle hysterically at me (as was often the case with this particular friend). The next day at school my friend exclaimed to everyone, “Sara’s father studies aliens!” She followed this announcement with elf-like giggles, and our guiltily interested confidante looked at me sympathetically. Though my father, Walter Webb, worked as a manager at the planetarium at Boston’s Museum of Science for some 32 years and wrote more than one hundred star lectures during his time there, it is his UFO talks that shall always remain the thing in my life involving him that is the most fascinating to me.
As a natural progression of events in his life, he came out with a book in 1994 on his most investigated case. It was called “Encounter at Buff Ledge”, and it involved two teenage camp counselors in Vermont during late summer 1968. How wonderful it was to see the case of “Michael” and “Janet”, which I was well acquainted with from our talks, in book form! I was fascinated by the whole scenario: young woman and young man are at end of dock; bright UFO approaches and hovers before them; alien beings with large eyes make telepathic contact with the two teenagers; the two are taken aboard. When it’s over, they return exhausted to their cabins with no memory of abduction. Later, the witnesses, now adults who haven’t kept in touch since the incident (not even once), are separately hypnotized and remember essentially the same incident with strikingly similar details.
Renowned UFO investigator and author Budd Hopkins (the guy who wrote the book “Intruders”) has said of the story: “(It) is critically important because of the way in which two witnesses separately corroborate one another’s bizarre yet inescapably credible abduction accounts.” Taking into consideration the fact that my dad is a major truth hound (you can take my word for it), these factors impress me enough so that there’s no inclination for questioning.
I shall ask you now to read a passage from my father’s book and then decide for yourself if the scenario is possible. This is the described scene inside the space ship, along with Michael’s real-life comments under hypnosis:
As Michael looked below him, he said he could see two entities examining Janet on the far side of the lower level... (she) was still clad in her swimsuit.... ML: They seem to be taking some skin...scraping with a little knife...Putting what they took from Janet’s body under glass...and then the glass disappears inside something back into the wall. (pg. 100)
Michael then adds that they took fluids from her mouth and vagina. It sounds like a visit to the doctor’s office. UFO skeptics, how is it possible that in this gigantic universe not one other life form exists that is more intelligent than us? It is probably reasonable to say that someday we will have the knowledge to put together a silent and efficient craft which can fly us anywhere in the universe, and that we surely will be checking out our neighbors. Why then can’t it be that other races may have beat us to it? Don’t be surprised that when the day comes for us to check them out, we may discover them coming our way while we’re going theirs. UFO abductions are at least possible.
I’d like to discuss my father’s reaction to a certain movie called “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. Dad’s critical analysis was as follows: “It portrays a gentle look at aliens and I like that. The aliens in it are similar to the grays (short, gray-bodied aliens) described by true abductees.”
I am not trying to turn this article into a movie review because if I were, sanity would surely be at stake here for shoving the over-played flick down everyone’s throat yet again. I am merely trying to give those of you out there who believe in the possibility of aliens coming to earth to investigate us an encouraging vision of what they might be like. For those who are frightened by aliens, go out and rent the movie (unless of course you’ve already seen it 8 billion times).
Those of us who live on Cape Cod know who “us” is only too well. We know that when we go to the grocery store, we will probably know - or be related to - at least one person there. We know the importance of what aliens probably refer to in their language as “the telepathic reassurance” phase of abduction - when their human study is placed on the examination table to be prodded like piece of meat (a.k.a. Janet on the examination table) and then “told” telepathically that all is well and fine. Real-life aliens are here for unknown purposes. Some abductees speak of sampling of their reproductive systems possibly to learn about our genetic functions. At the same time they are probably learning about our social functions. Also included in abductee testimonies are sudden absences of babies during pregnancy only to remember later in hypnosis that they were lead to their babies onboard an alien craft and observed while holding them. Perhaps they want to learn about what they had lost over years of brain development: love. Surely this makes a little sense - if Cape Cod gossip gets potentially uncomfortable, there is always a nurturing friend somewhere to soften things. We have learned that love is beneficial in keeping our society unified and able to pull together for the good of the whole.
Now for people’s reactions when I tell them today (as opposed to when I was twelve) that my dad is an investigator of strange flying objects. It has been surprising. While some have simply stared, with a faint smile on their lips, thinking back to a childhood sci-fi fantasy or just thinking they hadn’t heard me right, many have said they have seen UFO’s themselves. There are two friends of mine who do not know each other. Granted it is amazing that in a place like this they can’t have met at least once, but that is not the point. The first friend was living almost right on Follins Pond here in South Dennis. She had been in the living room one night and suddenly a bright light appeared across the water. “What is that?” she shrieked She got up and went to the door to get a better look. Sure enough, there was a very bright disc-shaped object on the other side of the water rising slowly off the shoreline. It hovered for a few seconds then took off faster than the speed of light. All of this without a sound! The other friend of mine was at an army base in Germany, and there were several bright, unidentified objects in the sky for at least ten minutes, the length of time allowing for multiple witnesses!
So don’t knock UFO’s till you’ve seen one. Or, more appropriately, don’t think only of UFO tabloid stories when you think of UFO’s. It’s easy to forsake the possibility of an alien craft when a paper claims that Elvis has been seen inside it. But take into account the many witnesses who don’t know each other and who have seen strange happenings in the sky.
Growing up with UFO’s in my life, real or imagined, has been rewarding. I know that miraculous things can happen in life at any given point. Road trips appeal to me for this reason. Through my dad’s curiosity, so too has my own blossomed. Although some of you are UFO skeptics, there are just as many out there who prefer to believe with me that there are beings from neighboring planets striving to learn about whom they share their universe with.
Walter N. WebbAfter his own UFO sighting in 1951, Walter Webb has associated himself with UFO’s for fifty years. During this span of time, he was responsible for working under four of our country’s UFO organizations, either as astronomy advisor or senior research associate. Professionally, he spent 32 years at the Charles Hayden Planetarium in Boston as assistant director and senior lecturer. Prior to this, he was mentored under J. Allen Hynek (who pioneered the Center for UFO Studies), while tracking satellites at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory from ‘57-’58. Webb has interviewed hundreds of UFO witnesses, and was the first investigator on the notorious Barney and Betty Hill New Hampshire case. He was hired in 1995 by The UFO Research Coalition. One result was the very first published Coalition report, Webb’s Final Report on the America West Airline Case, May 25-26, 1995. He wrote his book Encounter at Buff Ledge: A UFO Case History based on his research reflecting what many have deemed the most thoroughly investigated multiple-witness abduction case, most unique for the fact that neither witness communicated with the other post-event. He has lectured on the Buff Ledge case at the MUFON International UFO Symposiums in Lincoln and Seattle (1988 and 1995), among other lectures. Other involvement includes a Discovery Canada special interview, and acting as adviser for Arts and Entertainment television programs, as well as for a Reader’s Digest special. He has appeared in the MPI Home Video Contact UFO: Alien Abductions. Walter Webb’s awards include the 1996 Isabel L. Davis Memorial Award by the Fund for UFO Research, and the honor of being first Senior Research Associate for the Center for UFO Studies.