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John and Frances Dream
ABOUT A WEEK after the incident near Faringdon, John was taken ill with influenza, and was lying in bed in the daytime, feeling, as he says, "pretty rough"; and in this state, which was drowsy (søvnig) without actually being asleep, he began to recall experiences relating to an actual entry into the flying saucer by all the family. He thought of it at the time as a dream, and always referred, afterwards, to this part of his recall as a 'dream'; but as it were in quotation marks, as if he were not convinced of its being a dream, but felt that he had to call it a dream because, at that stage, he was still reluctant to accept the entry into the flying saucer as real experience; though later on he became convinced of it, and now is unshakable in his conviction. The same is true of Frances, who also had a "dream' recall."
On several occasions, while he was describing this part of his recall to me, John laughed in a slightly embarrassed way, saying by way of qualification: "Well, of course, it was only a dream".
Now dreams can be very detailed; but there is always a recognisably dream-like quality about them, familiar to all of us. I will quote enough of the tape recording of John's account of his 'dream' recall to make it quite clear, I think, to the reader, that we are here dealing, not with a typical dream, but with impressions based on an actual memory. John, like all the adults, had a degree of amnesia about the entry into the flying saucer, which we now know was induced by the saucer people, to protect their visitors from the consequences of immediate publicity; they explained their purpose very clearly, as we shall see.
Amnesia can be relaxed by hypnosis, a technique which we used extensively in the later stages of the investigation; my suggestion is that, in his abnormal state of mind as an influenza patient, John slipped accidentally into a self-induced hypnotic trance. The hypnotist who later helped us with the case advises me that this is perfectly possible.
I will now give a summary of John's 'dream' recall. It is necessary to be aware, at this stage, that while there is a large area of overlapping agreement with the later, much fuller recall under regressive hypnosis, there are some discrepancies (uoverenstemmelser) between this 'dream' experience and the later hypnotic recall. As a matter of method, I always regard discrepancies as of particular importance; quite often they point the way to something highly significant: so I am never tempted to disregard them, and I shall bring them out clearly. The existence of a few discrepancies, on the other hand, does not in itself invalidate a statement; it indicates, quite often, that different parts of the experience are being described.
In his 'dream', John says that he and the others all got out of the car, and went up a sloping hazy (disig) beam of light into the flying saucer, entering through a doorway in the side of the ship. Through the doorway they found themselves in a corridor which extended to left and right, following the curve of the circular hull of the ship. The corridor was uniformly lit in a bright yellow colour. They turned to the left, where there were three doors to their right, leading into separate rooms. The two women, each carrying one of the children, were ahead of John in the corridor; John, obeying an inner compulsion (trang) in his mind, entered the first door, that nearest the entrance; and as he did so, he was aware that each of the women entered one of the remaining doors, each still carrying a child. (There is a discrepancy here, in that in the later, fuller recall under hypnotic regression, the two children both went with their mother Gloria, and Frances went in alone. Moreover, in the later account, the curving corridor was not entered directly from the outside, but was reached from the interior of the ship, which they had entered by another way.)
John says that he entered a darkened room, in which the only areas he could see clearly were a series of panels carrying instruments, extending round most of the walls. (This was not quite correct: the full recall describes instruments only on the wall opposite the chair, the side walls being blank.)
The instruments - meters with needles on a scale, switches, knobs, and small flashing coloured lights - were themselves illuminated, giving some general light over the floor; the panels had some thickness, standing a few inches out from the wall, presumably to allow room for circuitry, components etc. They extended from about table level up to an upper level about head-height from the floor, where the instrument panels terminated in a narrow horizontal shelf. The walls above this level, and the ceiling, were dark and obscure.
The room was roughly rectangular, its width being about ten to twelve feet, and its overall length about fifteen to eighteen feet. The right-hand far corner was dark and obscure from floor to ceiling; John had a feeling that someone was standing there, but could see no one.
In the middle of the floor, but nearer the door by which he entered, was a black-upholstered chair "like a dentist's chair", with arms and head-rest, the whole supported on a single stout metallic pedestal bolted to the floor. Something in his mind told him to sit on the chair; and he did so. John says that it was like a man's voice in his mind; he is clear that it was not a sound coming through his ears, but it had the quality of a sound, and he is sure that it was a man's voice and not a woman's voice.
(In the later, fuller recall under hypnosis, there were two people present who examined him medically; but they were both young women, clearly seen by John. A man had first ushered him into the room, who told him to wait for someone who would come to examine him; this man may well have told him to sit down, before the women came in.)
John, for some reason, associated the man's voice in his mind with the obscure corner on the right, and kept looking into this comer to try to identify the source of the voice; but he could see nothing.
In his 'dream' - but not in the later full recall - as soon as John had sat on the chair, it seemed to him that "something" came out from the wall on his right, and gripped him round the right leg, just below the knee. The grip was firm, but not uncomfortably tight. It was too dark to see much detail of what it was that gripped him, or what it was made of.
As soon as the thing had gripped his leg, a narrow beam of white light shot out from a source on the instrument panel directly in front of him, and shone on to his body. John says that where it struck his body, the circle of light was about an inch and a half across. The beam diverged only slightly as it came from its source, some ten to twelve feet away; it was almost a parallel beam, of a pure white colour.
The white beam scanned over him, starting on the left hand side, first slowly up the left arm and then down the left leg; then it moved across the chest and repeated the scanning movement, exactly the same, on the right hand side. John says the beam did not rise above shoulder level, and never shone directly into his eyes. He felt no warmth, tingling or other sensation in his arms and legs where the beam moved over him; it was just like a torch beam, nothing more that he could feel.
John said: "I got the feeling that the beam was sending out something - some form of power of some description - which was flowing through your body and then going back via the thing which was gripping you round the leg." If this subjective impression is well founded (and it may have been something that John was told), it would indicate that the thing which gripped his leg was probably some form of electrode contact, though one efficient enough to operate through clothing; John is quite clear, both in the 'dream' and in later recall, that he did not at any time undress: he was normally clothed throughout, and Frances agrees with this.
The business of the white scanning beam does not turn up again at any stage of the later investigation, either under hypnosis or otherwise. The clamp on John's leg does recur, though not exactly as he described it in the dream; and of course it may well be connected with the discoloured mark below the knee which all three adults developed after the incident.
Frances does not recall either a leg clamp or a white scanning beam; this does not, of course, prove that she did not experience them, because there are still parts of her recall which are hazy or patchy, as is also true of John.
In John's 'dream' sequence (but, again, not in any later recall), as soon as the white beam had completed its scanning movement over his limbs, it switched off; and at once the clamp around his right leg disengaged itself and retracted into the wall. He then got up from the chair and went out of the room by the same doorway he had entered by, coming into the corridor to find Gloria, Frances and the children emerging from the other doors. They all met together without speaking, and walked back along the corridor to the entrance door, returning to the car by way of the beam.
This return to the car direct from the medical rooms is completely at variance (stemmer ikke med…) with the later detailed recall, whether hypnotic or normal. In the later recall, both John and Frances first visited other parts of the ship; and the five eventually all met together in a room on an upper deck.
It is clear, also, that the business of the scanning beam could only have occupied a minute or two at most; whereas there was a lost fifty-five minutes to account for. The 'dentist's chair' does reappear in all subsequent recall, and the instrument panels: the scanning beam and the clamp could well have been part of a real experience; but the way in which John's 'dream' has the five come out of the spaceship after only a brief examination, by a door directly to the outside, and without meeting any of the ship's company face to face, cannot be reconciled (forlikes) with the full and detailed story as we now know it to have happened, and as it will be described in later parts of this book.
(It is perhaps worth noting that an ordinary vertical door opening directly to the outside would be a physical impossibility, because of the shape of the hull; moreover it would provide no airlock.)
It is difficult to understand how this major discrepancy arose: possibly John's mind was rationalising from the need to explain how they got out of the spaceship again. This is perhaps the most unsatisfactory 'loose end' of the whole enquiry.
One detail from John's 'dream' does give an exact correspondence with what was normally recalled later on: the shape of the doorways, which John described as like an ordinary doorway, except that the upper corners were rounded, and the top of the doorway was slightly arched (buet). On the other hand, there was a very odd feature about all the spaceship doorways, to which we shall refer later on; John's 'dream' does not mention this peculiarity.
Comparing John's 'dream' with his later, much fuller recall of the whole adventure, we have thus a mixture of things that fit and things that don't.
A few days later, Frances had a dream. This time, it behaved like an ordinary dream - it was at night, while she was sleeping. She was aware of John having had a 'dream', but only of the barest outline - he told her very little detail. Nevertheless, there are areas of agreement in detail between the two dreams. Frances explains that at that stage, the family did not think anything had really happened to them, beyond seeing a flying saucer with coloured lights, quite near to them; and they were inclined to joke about their dreams, rather than take them seriously. Frances, for instance, boasted jokingly to her brother John that her dreams were better than his: she saw men in her dream, whereas he had not seen anyone. Like most people, Frances and John were inclined to dismiss all dreams as being something unreal and fanciful, the work of an over-active imagination. They did not, at this time, believe that their dreams derived from memories of a real experience.
Frances was in normal health, and had been asleep, she says, for two or three hours. She half-woke, aware that she had been dreaming of going into the spaceship; and she told herself, as she turned over, that she must be sure to remember this dream, to tell John about it in the morning. Then, of course, she fell asleep again. Fortunately she did remember, on waking in the morning, quite a lot of detail; though she thinks there was a further part to her dream which she lost.
Frances told me about her dream much later; we had been discussing how they got into the spaceship, which at that stage was not clear:
FRANK: It seems most likely that you would go in together. Now, John's 'dream' version does see you all together; and he's got a most detailed description of exactly how you were all arranged, with John there, and you there on his right inthe front, and Gloria in the middle behind you; you were carrying one of the children and Gloria was carrying another one, although he was not sure which was which. And that's how he sees you going up.
FRANCES: The dream I had was exactly the same in that aspect. It seemed to be like on an escalator (rulletrapp); and I was standing slightly behind John, but more or less next to him, on his right hand side; and Gloria was just behind me, almost like a step lower if you were on an escalator; and she had Tanya, and I had Natasha.
FRANK: You were carrying Natasha?
FRANCES: Yes. And when I told John this, he seemed to think it was more than coincidence. Because although I knew about his dream, he hadn't - he just told me that we had all gone up together; he'd never told any of us in what order we were.
FRANK: The arrangement?
FRANCES: Yes. And he hadn't said who held Natasha and who held Tanya; but when I told him, he said that was exactly as he had dreamed it.
FRANK: Now, can you follow that further on, your dream sequence?
FRANCES: Well, as far as the dream went, it's just that we went up, and it was like going up an escalator, except that it was misty. We went through an opening in the bottom of the spaceship; and we seemed to be in a round room: we just seemed to come up through the floor. And there was a balcony going all the way round [this is not quite correct; the balcony was in two sections, each quite short] and I could see men on the balcony. The next thing I knew, we were going up another - well, it seemed to be like a slope that was moving, rather than an escalator.
FRANK: A ramp?
FRANCES: Yes; but it seemed to be moving.
FRANK: But did you - you didn't have to walk; it carried you up?
FRANCES: No; we just stood on it, and we went up. When we stepped on it, it moved.
FRANK: So, let's go back a bit. In your dream, you felt you came in -
FRANCES: - from underneath. If you had a bowl shape, and at the bottom of it a trapdoor opened, and we seemed to come through that.
FRANK: Right in the middle?
FRANCES: Right in the centre.
FRANK: What gave you the feeling of a bowl shape?
FRANCES: Well, it seemed to be flat on the bottom, and we came up through the flat bit, in the bottom. It seemed to be flat all around us; but it curved up to where the balcony was. [She is describing the 'engine room' of the spaceship, as we later came to know it; this is a big circular room with a floor which curves gently up towards its outer edge, doubtless following the curve of the saucer-shaped hull. As far as we know, the way up through the centre of the circular floor, through the airlock, is the only entrance to the spaceship.]
FRANK: Could you describe where you came in?
FRANCES: Well, it seemed to be a sort of opening here, which- I had a feeling in the dream - it was like two pieces ofmetal that opened up, and we came through here. And thenI don't know where our feet were, but it seemed to close under us like that [a gesture of two things coming together rather quickly, in a horizontal plane].
FRANK: You had a feeling of sliding doors moving apart?
FRANCES: Sliding doors, two; yes.
FRANK: And you went up?
FRANK: And then it closed. Was it a quick movcment?
FRANCES: Yes; but not too quick to see. We were in the centre of a circle; the walls curved like this. And there was the ramp that we went up, to the balcony.
FRANK: Did the balcony have railings?
FRANCES: Well, it had a handrail on the top, like that; but below, I'm not sure if it was filled in completely, or barred. There were people here, two or three. And someone took us from where we came in, to the ramp - it was quite a long way - and pointed to it, for us to go up. We went up, and the two men were there, and some others on the other side. As we stepped on to the balcony, the men drew back to give us room. I put Natasha down, because she was getting heavy to carry - and I don't remember any more. But I feel there was more, that it went on; but that's all I can remember.
FRANK: And the people you saw: can you say what they looked like?
FRANCES: No, I couldn't distinguish them at all, except that I knew they were in close-fitting suits; and they seemed to be silver in the dream: but that's all I could say.
Natasha also had dreams. From time to time, during the weeks following their adventure, Natasha would come into her parents' bedroom in the early morning, saying she dreamed she was in the spaceship; that she was in a room by herself, and many of the spaceship people came in to look at her. She said she didn't like them, because their eyes were "funny" - though she did not explain exactly what she meant by that.
(Later on in the investigation, when the grown-ups were beginning to remember with the aid of hypnotic regression, they also had some difficulty at first in seeing the eyes of people: at first they were seen as just a dark space, not seeing the eyes at all; later this became a dark ring round the eyes, as if they were tired" said Frances; and later still, the eyes were seen quite normally and without any darkness, as pale blue eyes, but otherwise no different from ours.)
Although at that stage Natasha found these dreams worrying, she later became clearer and much happier about the whole experience; by the time I questioned her, she was entirely normal in her reactions to the spaceship people, and was not in the least 'put off' by her recollections of them. On one later occasion, when she happened to enter the bathroom where her mother was shampooing her hair, and (upon advice) had covered her hair with aluminium kitchen foil to prevent it drying too quickly, Natasha laughed and said:
"Mummy, you look just like one of the spaceship people" (many of them wore a close-fitting silver helmet, continuous with the suit, which covered the head entirely, coming up under the chin, showing only the face - the kind known as a 'balaclava' helmet).
There was therefore enough to suggest that something more had happened to them, beyond the mere sighting of a flying saucer; though the family were reluctant to follow these leads to their logical conclusion. They had, nevertheless, a strong feeling that there was more to the affair than the 'cover story' had revealed; and they had a strong desire to find out more, if they could get someone to help them. They had mentioned their adventure, as far as they remembered it, only to family and a few close friends; but no one was able to advise them. Finally they went to the public library, which gave them the telephone number of the 'UFO hotline' for Southern England, as noted at the end of this book.
Ken Phillips, who has that number, passed the enquiry on to Jenny Randles, Secretary of UFOIN, who telephoned me, asking if I would like to take on the investigation, saying that it looked, from what she had been told, as if it had all the marks of a classic CE4 - a 'close encounter of the fourth kind', technical jargon for an encounter in which Earth people actually enter a flying saucer or spaceship, and have some personal contact with the crew. Such are still rare, though they are increasing in number.
I had a first general meeting with the three adults, who told me what I have related in chapter I. Soon afterwards, John, Frances and I went by car to Faringdon, and drove twice slowly along the route which they should normally have taken, paying close attention to detail in the section with which the story is concerned.
The 'house that wasn't there' was still invisible and, indeed, non-existent; and we could not find any trace of anything which could account for the strange, interminable, narrow, closely-hedged lane. (Very much later in the investigation, we did find what we think is the physical basis of this part of the story; I will describe this when we come to it.)
THE ELDER CHILD, Natasha, was still only five years old at the time of the close encounter; but for a combination of reasons she is a particularly valuable witness. She is not old enough to dissemble convincingly, if one may be permitted a somewhat cynical observation about the human race; and though, like other people of any age, she is capable of romancing and embroidering the truth, it is immediately apparent to anyone who knows her, when this is happening. You can, so to speak, see the wheels going round in her mind. She can, of course, be mistaken; but so can any adult witness.
On the positive side, Natasha is an unusually bright child and very observant; and she has a good memory for detail. Her greatest advantage, in this investigation, is that she has had very little amnesia: she explains this by saying that, before they left the spaceship, the grown-ups were given a fizzy drink in a glass, "to help them to forget". This was later confirmed by Frances under hypnosis. Natasha refused the drink, and her memory is clear; it has, however, come back in stages, in a way characteristic of a person recovering from a slight amnesia.
I interviewed Natasha, by then aged six, on 21 February 1979, in the presence of her parents. Her younger sister Tanya, aged three at the time of the close encounter, sat beside her; and I noticed that, whenever Natasha hesitated over an answer to my questions, Tanya whispered in her ear and prompted her. It was quite clear to me, in fact, that Tanya, despite her extreme youth, understood all the questions, and knew the answers to them. (Since that time, Tanya has demonstrated that she had a very good recollection of the incident.)
I think we often under-estimate young children; many people dismiss children's evidence as unreliable, saying in effect: "Oh, well, it's only a child; you can't take any notice of that." In my own experience, young children are more reliable, as witnesses, than most adults; and I think most people with legal experience would say the same. Children are, of course, limited by what they know: an adult may be able to give much more information about a given incident than a child could, because the adult has a much wider background of knowledge to relate the experience to; by the same token, an adult is more prone to be misled by his own preconceptions.
In this instance, Natasha's evidence was clear and unequivocal, and was of great value to the investigation. In particular, she sorted out a confusion over the stopping of the car, by stating categorically that 'Daddy' (John) had stopped twice: that the first time, "he got out to look at the flying saucer; then, because Mummy was frightened, he got back in and he drived on"; but that a little further on, he stopped again, because the spaceship was right over the car, low down; and this time they all got out, and they 'floated' up into the spaceship, up a beam of light. At this stage of the investigation, none of the adults had realised that the car stopped twice; and it cleared away a difficulty.
Natasha said that a 'lady' called Akilias took Gloria and the children to a room, where many of the spaceship people came in to look at the children; then Akilias took her to another room, where she was shown pictures on a television screen of a flying saucer landing on a planet. She refers to the flying saucer as having a retractable undercarriage: "It had got legs; and they could pull them in when they didn't want them". (This tallies (stemmer) with some reports published elsewhere.)
On a later occasion, Natasha enlarged on and corrected her statement, saying that she now remembered that her mother (Gloria) and the two children were first taken by the lady to a room where there was a black couch (sofa) (this could have been the usual examination chair laid flat, as we know from the other accounts).
She says that her mother was made to lie on the couch; and that clamps, with wires trailing from them, were attached to her mother's legs below the knee. Natasha says that she saw no more of her mother's examination; because Akilias said she would take Natasha to another room to show her some pictures. Tanya began to follow them out; but Akilias stopped her, saying: "Not Tanya; she is too young: but you are just the right age to see them". So Tanya remained with her mother. Natasha says that when she left the room, her mother seemed to be asleep on the couch.
I will return later to the matter of what pictures Natasha saw on the screen; they raise some problems of great difficulty, and may be very important.
Because it may interest the reader, I will now give a somewhat condensed transcription from the tape recording of the original interview of 21 February 1979. It should be stated here that, up to the date of this interview, the parents had purposely avoided saying anything about the flying saucer incident in the presence of either of the children, for fear of disturbing them - quite unnecessarily, as it turned out. It was the fact that Natasha, unprompted, began talking to her parents in a quite natural way about the spaceship, and seemed quite calm and unworried about it, that persuaded the parents that it might be a good thing to suggest that I should interview her; when the proposal was put to Natasha, that Frank should ask her some questions about the flying saucer, she seemed quite keen (begeistret) on the idea. She turned out to be an excellent witness, within the limits of her powers of expression; at first she was rather shy, but soon gained confidence:
FRANK: Now, Natasha, I want you to think about when you were in the car, and you first saw the light. Maybe you were asleep at first; but when you woke up, and you heard people talking about something in the sky - do you remember that, when you saw a light?
NATASHA: A light came down, and we were sitting in the car, and we got out of the car, and you were in the light, and you go up into the spaceship.
FRANK: Yes. Now, can we take it slowly; because I want to understand everything that happened. You say Daddy got out of the car first. [Natasha nods agreement.] And then what was the next thing that happened?
NATASHA: Mummy said get back in.
FRANK: Right; and what did he do?
NATASHA: He got back in.
Picture of the people involved: back left: GLORIA right - FRANCES. JOHN in the middle and left front TANIA and NATASHA right
FRANK: And what did he do when he got back in the car: did he drive along, or did he stop where he was?
NATASHA: He drived along; then he stopped.
FRANK: You are sure? Did he drive far before he stopped again?
NATASHA: No; not very far.
FRANK: And what happened: did you all get out?
NATASHA: Just Daddy got out with Frances.
FRANK: Can you remember: did Frances get out Daddy's side of the car; or did she get out her side and go round? Did you notice?
NATASHA: The same way as Daddy. [Later, Frances confirmed this.]
FRANK: So what about you and Tanya; what did you do?
NATASHA: We got out in a minute, we did.
FRANK: You got out after them? Now, you were in the back, with Mummy and Tanya; Mummy was in the middle - is that right?
FRANK: And where were you sitting?
NATASHA: I was sitting the side where the flying saucer was.
FRANK: Could you see the flying saucer through the window? What did it look like?
NATASHA: It was shaped like a saucer shape.
FRANK: Like a real saucer, you mean?
NATASHA: Yes. The windows were straight like that [she held her hands apart to indicate a horizontal line] and got squares on, and people in them.
FRANK: I see. Now, this is how you remember it then at the beginning, is it, with windows? Did you say they were square windows?
NATASHA: Yes; cause there's big shape, with lines across, and down.
FRANK: And did you say you saw people in the windows?
FRANK: And you saw them looking through the windows? Do you think they were looking at you?
NATASHA: Don't know.
Insert picture janos4.jpg - NATASHA shows the drawing she made of the ship
FRANK: Were they looking down at you?
FRANK: And then you said in a minute, you and Mummy and Tanya all got out?
FRANK: Now when you got out, where was the flying saucer then?
NATASHA: It had moved over our car.
FRANK: Now just a minute: when you were still sitting in the car, looking at it through the window, which way were you looking?
NATASHA: That way. [She points to her right.]
FRANK: Out of the window to the right; was it behind the trees?
NATASHA: Yes; it started landing there.
FRANK: It started going down? Did it go up as well as down?
FRANK: As well as down? Did you see it go like that, up and down?
FRANK: Did it have lights at that time? [Natasha nods.] What sort of lights?
NATASHA: All different coloured round; and when the next one goes, the other one stops. [?]
FRANK: You mean there was a row of lights, coloured lights, like the lights on a Christmas tree?
FRANK: And you say it went round? Did it go round that way -to left - or that way - to right?
NATASHA: That way. [She moves her hand from left to right.]
FRANK: From left to right. So when you and Mummy and Tanya got out of the car, were you being carried, or were you standing by yourself?
NATASHA: Standing by myself.
FRANK: Could you still see the lights, the coloured lights?
picture from a UFO movie
FRANK: You could? Now, what happened next?
NATASHA: Then the lights stopped, and. .
FRANK: The little coloured lights stopped?
NATASHA: Yes. And a bright light came down, brighter than the other one, on us; and. . . we went in the spaceship.
FRANK: Now, this bright light: where did it come from? What part of the spaceship?
NATASHA: In the middle of a little hole.
FRANK: Where: at the side?
NATASHA: No, not at the side; in the middle of the spaceship.
FRANK: You mean underneath?
FRANK: What coloured light was it?
NATASHA: It was a bright white one, too bright for my eyes.
FRANK: Did it make you blink, like that?
FRANK: And did it shine right on you?
picture made for illustrating a norwegian contactcase
FRANK: And it shone on all of you as you stood there on the road? [She nods.] Before you went up into the spaceship, did you see anyone else about, any other people? I mean, apart from your own family?
NATASHA: Only one. [John later, in regressive hypnosis, counted seven silver-suited spaceship people on the ground, around the car.]
FRANK: On the ground, while you were standing by the car? Somebody came down, you think? But only one? Was it a man?
NATASHA: It was a lady.
FRANK: How do you know it was a lady?
NATASHA: I seed lady eyes.
FRANK: And how was this lady dressed?
NATASHA: She had a gold suit, with a gold belt, a gold helmet.
GLORIA: It might be silver when she says gold. [Natasha is not always clear about the difference between silver and gold, her parents told me afterwards; but one must remember that gold suits have been reported in other UFO incidents.]
FRANK: Was it shiny?
FRANK: And this was on the ground, before you went in?
FRANK: Did she speak to you?
FRANK: How did you know that you had to go up into the spaceship? Did she show you?
JOHN: What did she have in her hand?
NATASHA: She had one of those things that they open the doors and shut them.
JOHN: What did it look like?
NATASHA: It's black, with red buttons.
FRANK: How big was it?
NATASHA: That big. [Indicating about three by one and a half inches.]
FRANK: And did she press the buttons?
FRANK: And what happened?
NATASHA: And then we went up in the spaceship.
FRANK: What did it feel like when you were going up?
NATASHA: It made me feel dizzy.
FRANK: But were you standing up as you went?
FRANK: Like going up a lift in a shop: is that what it felt like?
FRANK: Now, this light that came down: was that still shining on you all the time?
FRANK: What colour did you say it was?
NATASHA: It was a white one.
JOHN: Didn't you say we went up, and then we stood on a little ledge (hylle), just before the doors opened?
NATASHA: Yes; and then up to the middle. We stepped on a stair in the middle.
FRANK: When you got part way up, you stepped on to something?
FRANK: On to a ledge?
FRANK: Was it a ledge big enough to hold all of you, all the people?
NATASHA: [very positively] Yes.
FRANK: So it was quite a big ledge. What did it feel like, to stand on? Did it feel steady; or was it wobbly?
FRANK: Was there anything to get hold of, like railings or anything?
NATASHA: No. (We thought later that this may have been a platform within the airlock, where they waited for the inner hatch to open.]
FRANK: How did you get into the spaceship?
NATASHA: Well, the door opened, and we went through a passage way; cause the lady took us there, and we got in the ship - it's a funny ship, kind of funny.
FRANK: You say a door opened?
FRANK: What kind of a door was it: was it just an ordinary door?
NATASHA: It was a square door; and it opened by the top.
JOHN: Did it slide, or did it open?
NATASHA: It slided.
FRANK: Which way did it slide?
NATASHA: It slided that way; and the other one slided that way. [She indicated left and right with her hands.]
FRANK: There were two doors?
FRANK: So it was square when it was open? Right?
FRANK: Was it a big door?
NATASHA: [very positively] Yes.
FRANK: I mean a very big door?
NATASHA: Yes. [The hatchway was about fifteen by twelve feet.]
FRANK: What did you see when you got through to the inside?
NATASHA: Well, I saw a great big screen, and some people; and I saw our car in it. And the road; and some more cars going by.
FRANK: Did you see these straight away, as soon as you got in; or did you see something else first?
NATASHA: I saw them straight away
JOHN: Before Daddy went off, and Frances went off; we were still all there, were we?
FRANK: What sort of a screen was it - like a television?
NATASHA: It's a big screen, bigger than our television; it didn't have wood round it, but it was a big screen.
FRANK: Was it in the wall?
FRANK: Not in a box?
FRANK: And what did you see in the picture?
NATASHA: The car; and some more cars going by.
FRANK: When you saw them, were you looking down at them?
NATASHA: Yes; looking down.
FRANK: From above?
FRANK: So you saw your own car - Frances's car?
FRANK: And you saw other cars going by?
FRANK: Your car was standing by the road?
FRANK: Were the lights on?
NATASHA: No. Cause the lady had turned them off, cause Daddy left them on when he got out; and both those cars went rushing cause they were scared of the flying saucer. They saw a light.
FRANK: So you saw all this from inside the flying saucer, on the screen?
FRANK: What sort of a room was it, that you were in, when you first came into the flying saucer?
NATASHA: There was a lift where you walked on; and if you want to go up, we went up and we looked around there [actually a moving ramp leading to a balcony].
FRANK: You said there was a lift; where was it in the room -somewhere at the side, in a corner, or did you have to go through a door to it?
NATASHA: Through a door to it. [This was a real up-and-down lift or elevator; it comes later than the ramp.]
FRANK: Was it just like an ordinary lift, like you have in a shop?
NATASHA: It was different.
FRANK: What was different?
NATASHA: It didn't have carpet [in fact, it didn't have a floor either]. It didn't have presses; cause the lady had it: she pressed it.
FRANK: You mean it didn't have buttons to press?
(today she would probably compared it to the distance/remote-controller of TVs - but these were still rare in the 70ths. R.Ø.remark.)
FRANK: So what did the lady do?
NATASHA: Well, she had that black thing; but when she pressed the button twice, we went down and where the room we was going in.
FRANK: Suppose that was the thing - this is a bit too big [a cassette case], it wasn't quite as big as that, you said. Now can you hold it in your hand as if you were the lady, and show me what she did?
NATASHA: Well, she pressed the button there, twice.
FRANK: The same button?
NATASHA: Yes; and the door opened; and we went down [more probably up] into the room what we had to sit in. They took Daddy into another room, and took Frances into another room, and we were together with our Mummy.
FRANK: Now before, you told us you were sitting in a chair, and Mummy was sitting in a chair beside you.
FRANK: And Mummy was holding Tanya.
FRANK: So what were the chairs like that you sat on?
NATASHA: A kind of black - black ones.
FRANK: Like this chair?
NATASHA: No; but they had long things and round on the bottom, like that.
FRANK: How many legs did it have?
NATASHA: It had none legs; it had a round metal, like a pole.
FRANK: And the pole was fixed to the floor, was it?
FRANK: What was there to fix it to the floor?
NATASHA: Something round. There was two round things, and it could be tightened by something. [Presumably a central column, secured to the deck by a circular base-plate with bolt-heads tightened by a spanner: more probably there were three bolt-heads; this would then agree closely with Frances's description, which Natasha had not heard.]
FRANK: Now the part you sat on: what shape was it?
NATASHA: Well, it was o-shaped like that. [Hand gestures indicating a curved surface with raised sides; this also agrees.]
FRANK: Did you see other people sitting on chairs like that?
FRANK: Many people?
FRANK: Were they men or ladies?
NATASHA: Some of them were men, and some of them were ladies.
JOHN: Didn't you say some arms came out of the chair and went back?
FRANK: Can you tell me about the arms coming out of the chair: what was it like?
NATASHA: Well, on the sides, where you're sitting, they came up slowly together, like that. [She indicates by hand gestures two things arching over to meet in the middle.]
FRANK: Did they come around you?
FRANK: What were the arms like, black or shiny?
FRANK: And did they join in front?
FRANK: So where did it hold you?
NATASHA: The tummy.
FRANK: So why do you think they did that?
NATASHA: I don't know; to stop you falling out, I think.
FRANK: Did you feel any movement?
FRANK: What moved, exactly? [She hesitates.] Natasha, have you ever been in an aeroplane?
FRANK: Well, when the aeroplane goes up into the sky, you feel it go up, don't you? Was it like that?
FRANK: You felt the flying saucer go up in the air, did you? Was it the same sort of feeling?
FRANK: When you are in the aeroplane, they tell you to fasten something so that you don't fall out of your chair -a belt.
FRANK: But this wasn't a belt; it was a silver thing, was it?
NATASHA: Yes . . . There was a lady looking after us; and the lady had a thing and she pressed it.
FRANK: So you were in a room, and a lady was looking after you. What did she do?
NATASHA: She talked to us.
FRANK: What did she say to you?
NATASHA: She said she was going to fasten the metal things round us. She said we might be going up in a minute.
FRANK: Did she say why you were going to go up?
FRANK: Now somewhere - was it in that room? - somebody showed you a television with pictures on it.
NATASHA: It was next door.
FRANK: Another room? So when did you go into that other room?
NATASHA: When it was flying - the flying saucer was flying. She took off the belts and took us to a screen. [Later she said only she herself was taken.]
FRANK: In the same room?
NATASHA: Different room.
FRANK: You went into a different room where there was a screen. Was it like this, in a box; or was it on the wall?
NATASHA: On the wall.
FRANK: A big one, bigger than this? [indicating the domestic television].
FRANK: What pictures did you see?
NATASHA: I saw there was the same flying saucer; what a flying saucer looked like.
FRANK: You mean you saw a flying saucer in the picture, like the one you were in?
JOHN: She said the other day, she saw a planet which got closer; and then she saw other flying saucers sat on the planet. [It emerged from further remarks of Natasha, on a later occasion, that she saw a film of some length, showing several different planets, with flying saucers landed or flying over them. Those landed had their tripod under-carriages down; she saw one retract its undercarriage on lift-off.]
We may note here an interesting remark made by Natasha in mid-August 1979. She had been chattering quite a bit to her parents about the flying saucer; John asked her: "Would you mind meeting the flying saucer people again?"
Natasha was, by this time, quite unafraid of the spaceship people; so her parents were surprised when the question brought an unmistakable flicker of fear to her expression; she answered:
"Well, it would be all right if it was them; but it might be one of the others."
When they asked what she meant by this, Natasha answered:
"Like some of them we saw on the planets - some of them are monsters."
At first she would not enlarge on what kind of monster, beyond saying that they were 'hairy'. Later, when she was more used to the idea, she lost her nervousness of the monsters, and told her parents that on one of the planets she had seen (of course it could have been a place on Janos), there had been a stream flowing between muddy banks; and beside the stream were several 'men' - like ordinary men but very big and strong, and naked.
Their bodies were entirely covered with long smooth shiny black hair, which covered the face also except around the eyes; the hands and feet, also, were bare, and seemed 'whitish' - of course this may have been dried mud, for the hairy folk were in and out of the water. She saw one of the men stoop down and scoop up water in his cupped palms, to drink.
Natasha said the people lived under the ground: the film went on to show her the interior of a cave or large burrow, where a family of them, men, women and children, were living. They had nothing in the cave, except that they slept on very rough straw mattresses.
There is a strong resemblance between Natasha's hairy men and the 'sasquatch' tradition among American Indians, which has recognised UFO associations. I shall discuss this more fully in Chapter I 3.
I have hesitated to include this incident of the hairy folk in my published account, since it depends on the unsupported evidence of a child who, at the time of the encounter, was only five years old; however, I am encouraged to do so, particularly by Frances, whose considered opinion, knowing the child well, is that she did not, and indeed could not have made it up.
This is also Frances's opinion concerning a further account of the 'monster' pictures, which Natasha gave me herself on a later occasion: after seeing the film of the naked hairy people, Akilias showed her a series of still photographs, not moving pictures, on the same screen.
There were four that Natasha remembered: Akilias told her that they were inhabitants of other planets, which her people had visited; and she taught Natasha to say the names of them: SAUNUS, VONASON, FAUN and PHUSANTHEAS.
When her parents were writing the names down to tell me, they began to write the last one 'Fusantheas'; but Natasha corrected them, saying: no, it begins with a 'P'. None of the family were aware that this gives the word a distinctly Greek flavour.
The actual appearance of the four alien types, of which Natasha later made sketches, is rather puzzling; and I do not wish to attach too much weight to them; because, while being clearly not human, they do conform loosely to the general 'humanoid' pattern. I feel that Natasha, in common with most other people, was being influenced by the feeling that 'monsters' from outer space ought to conform to the humanoid arrangement of head, body, eyes, mouth, arms, legs and so on. I may be doing her an injustice; but it is for this reason that I refrain from publishing the sketches, other than that of Phusantheas.
Akilias told her that, of the four, only Phusantheas was friendly; the other three were unfriendly, and Faun is shown carrying a 'gun'. It is of interest that of the four, Phusantheas is the only one which is at all human-looking; it is represented as a small, goblin-like man with large ears, and green all over. A 'little green man'?