- Some readers have got on my case because they found my
book Shadow World to be in many ways too frightening. I have always advised
people that Shadow World is a cautionary book, a book that seeks to warn
everyone who will heed its admonitions that researching the paranormal
is serious business. Presently, when nearly every town with a population
of 500 or more has at least one group believing that they are prepared
to explore the unknown, it would be irresponsible for those of us who have
been in the field for decades not to post a few warning signs for those
who seek to venture where countless others fear to tread. Truly, it takes
more than watching a couple of specials on a cable channel and reading
a few books to become a paranormal or UFO researcher. It takes years of
studying the available literature, and, perhaps equally important studying
the wisdom and knowledge of others is to take the necessary time to know
oneself before one faces the inhabitants of Shadow World.
- Some years ago, a young man we shall call Bill told me
that he had assembled a dream team of individuals who he felt certain could
play hardball with any of the multidimensional entities that had visited
or invaded Earth's turf.
- Bill told me that he had seen a UFO when he was a college
junior at the University of Indiana at South Bend. Bill was a member of
an informal group that got together once a week to discuss politics, philosophy.
art, poetry, and things that went bump in the night. One night someone
had brought up the topic of UFOs, and that very evening, driving back to
their respective apartments, five of their number claimed to have witnessed
a low UFO overflight.
- Bill assured me that each of the five were all good students,
physically fit, nondrinkers, nondopers, and two of them were Viet Nam combat
veterans. Each of them prided himself on maintaining a cool, analytical
approach to all aspects of life, especially toward anything that smacked
of the occult or the bizarre. And yet each of them swore that he had seen
what was unmistakably an object in the sky that he could not identify as
a conventional aircraft, an ordinary celestial manifestation, a weather
balloon, a bird, or anything known that could have been flying above them.
- Four nights later, two of the five had seen another UFO.
- Then, on the next evening, Bill and the other two saw
a brightly glowing object overhead as they returned around one o'clock
from a movie.
- The five decided to form a splinter group in order to
discuss the UFO phenomenon. They were well aware that the main group of
culture vultures would mock them for their flying saucer experiences and
make light of the entire subject, so they would head for an all-night pancake
house to compare notes and thoughts on their subjective response while
undergoing the experience of encountering what appeared to be an unknown
- Bill said that it had not been long before the five of
them had a group sighting, and from that evening on they had taken to nightly
- "We all witnessed UFOs cavorting in the midnight
sky," he said. "On one occasion I stood within ten feet of two
nocturnal lights hovering silently in midair. Later, we heard rappings
in the dark, hollow voices, heavy breathing, and the crushing footsteps
of unseen entities.
- "Strangely enough," Bill said, smiling, "we
were able to maintain our cool toward all the phenomena occurring around
us. Maybe we got to thinking that we had been chosen for some special kind
of interaction. Perhaps, secretly, we were beginning to view ourselves
as masters of two worlds. I mean, we were all Dean's List students, all
athletic young men, normally balanced emotionally, mentally, sexually.
I guess we felt that modern Renaissance men such as ourselves could deal
rationally with such phenomena and stay in control of the situation."
- But then, Bill went on, the manifestations had become
violent. They had swept through one of the group's home one night, pounding
on the walls, yanking furiously at the bedposts, striking the startled
young man in the face, terrorizing his entire family. Some of the group
were followed by unmarked automobiles that seemed a bizarre mixture of
styles and models--phantom automobiles, if you will.
- Within the next few months, the number of harrowing incidents
had increased and had expanded to include strange, dark-clad, nocturnal
visitors in the apartments of several of the group members.
- Radio and television sets switched on by themselves.
Doors opened and closed-although, when tested, they.were found to have
remained locked. One of the group made the wild claim that he had been
teleported one night from his bedroom to the middle of a forest on the
outskirts of the city.
- "As preposterous as that sounds," Bill said,
"I'm sure that most of us accepted it as true. since we had all undergone
some incredible experiences. We had all lost our sense of perspective.
I began sleeping with the. light on and a .38 Special under my pillow.
Another of my friends invested heavily in weapons and began running with
a group that offered sacrifices to Odin. A third was 'born again' into
fundamental Christianity. The other two dropped out of college a month
before they would have graduated with honors."
- What did he think it had all meant?
- Bill considered the question carefully. "I've thought
a lot about that. I think the five of us had entered a kind of game, a
contest, a challenge, a testing experience. The trouble was, we just didn't
know all the rules.
- "Modern society doesn't prepare us to play those
kind of games. Modern society doesn't tell its kids that there is another
reality around them. Our educators have ignored the individual mystical
experience and the other dimensions that can open up to those who enter
altered states of consciousness--whether it be through drugs or through
accidentally stumbling into the twilight zones."
- Is humankind involved in some kind of continuing interaction
with the "Other"? Is it the same ancient intelligence that continually
tests us, or do new teams come to play the reality game with us?
- "I had the feeling," Bill recalled, "that
my friends and I were dealing with some kind of energy. At first I thought
it was something from outer space, some alien world. But I've thought about
our experiences a great deal, and I believe that we had somehow activated
some energy that is a part of this planet. I think we might have triggered
some kind of archetypal pattern with our minds. Maybe that's what magicians
have tried to do since Cro-Magnon days--interact with and control that
energy with their minds."
- Henry Lazarus (The names of the individuals in the next
case study are pseudonyms--for what will become obvious reasons.) taught
physics in a small Midwestern college, and, in spite of his initial resistance
to the UFO enigma, he found that he was becoming totally enthralled by
those men and women who had immersed themselves in a field of research
that challenged the scientific paradigm of the twentieth century.
- During summer break, Lazarus flew to New York to proselytize
UFOs to his old friend Benjamin Chiang, an university professor of physics.
Chiang had always been one of the most open-minded individuals whom Lazarus
had ever encountered, and his response to Lazarus' presentation of the
subject had been customarily direct. Instead of relying upon secondary
reports, why did they not travel to a scene of alleged UFO activity and
collect their own primary data?
- Lazarus was pleased with his friend's reasonable suggestion,
and he was excited by the proximity to such an area of alleged phenomena.
One of the speakers at a UFO conference had told him of a small town not
far from Springfield, Massachusetts, where it was claimed that UFO manifestations
could be observed almost nightly. The town was situated on the Connecticut
River in the Holyoke Mountain Ridge.
- Chiang had only an early morning class on Wednesday,
the next day. They could be on the road long before noon, and after about
a four-hour drive arrive on the scene in plenty of time to witness whatever
activity the UFOnauts might have in store for them. Since his first class
on Thursday was not until late in the afternoon, they could afford the
time to stay overnight if necessary.
- Chiang asked if Henry would mind if he asked a friend
of his, a very skeptical, hard-nosed professor of biology, to accompany
them if his schedule were compatible with such an expedition. In true scientific
spirit, Lazarus welcomed a closed mind as a kind of control.
- Two hours on the road, Henry had begun to regret extending
his permission to invite Dr. Philip Reisman along on the excursion. Reisman
was more than a skeptic, he was a cynic.
- By three that afternoon, with only a couple of comfort
stops, they had found their UFO harbor. As was to be expected, it looked
just like any number of small New England river towns in the bright sun
of a summer's day.
- Henry remembered that his informant had said that there
was a woman at a small local museum who had become an authority on the
UFOs and the creature sightings that had been made in the area over the
past twenty years.
- The local UFO expert was a jolly, round-faced woman in
her fifties, whose name was Mary Higgins, and being a widow with a very
limited social life, she unhesitatingly accepted their invitation to dinner
in exchange for her guiding them to one of the more favored UFO-spotting
- Mrs. Higgins seemed only mildly impressed by their academic
credentials. She had, within the prior four months, brought two astronomers,
a magazine writer, an Air Force officer, a documentary filmmaker, and an
author of books on the paranormal to the same site to which she would guide
them that evening.
- Mary Higgins proved to be a delightful raconteur over
dinner at the charming riverfront restaurant. She told them that the phenomenon
often left scorched circles in the farmers' fields.
- At least half a dozen men and women claimed to have been
taken on board the craft, and they all described the UFOnauts as being
no more than five feet tall with large heads, big eyes with catlike pupils,
hardly any noses to speak of, just a couple of slits for mouths, and pointed
- No, she answered Phil Reisman's jibe, they were not green-skinned,
but they had been wearing green-colored, one-piece jumpsuits.
- All in all, the little New England river town and its
surrounding environs seemed like a perfectly mixed cauldron of continually
bubbling paranormal phenomena. For at least the last forty years--and before
that if the old-timers could be believed--there had been regular manifestations
of UFOs, Big Foot, Cat People, Giant Birdmen, ghosts, phantoms, and poltergeist
- Mrs. Higgins favored the theory that she lived in what
some paranormal researchers termed a "window area," a portal
between dimensions of reality. A place where, in what seemed to be cyclical
patterns, mysterious phenomena continued to appear, then disappear. More
aware intelligences, she speculated, such as the UFOnauts, made use of
such window areas to enter and to leave our Space·Time continuum.
- Philip Reisman stated his opinion that it all sounded
dangerously akin to madness to his way of thinking.
- That night at the very stroke of twelve, as beautifully
choreographed as if George Pal, Ray Harryhausen, Willis O'Brien, Rick Baker,
or any other of the great Hollywood special effects masters were producing
live-action theater, a glowing UFO appeared above the clump of trees before
which Chiang had parked his Volvo.
- Lazarus felt fully alive for the first time in his life.
Chiang was chortling with excitement. Mary Higgins was staring smugly at
Philip Reisman, who was saying absolutely nothing, who seemed totally transfixed
by the scene before him.
- The Volvo could not contain them. Lazarus flung open
the door as if he were his Biblical namesake throwing back the stone before
his tomb. Chiang was already racing across the open meadow that lay before
the grove in which the UFO appeared to have settled.
- "Don't rush it, boys," Mary Higgins warned
them. "Don't get too close. Give it a minute."
- Reisman shouted at them to come back, to be careful.
When they were about halfway across the meadow, two balls of greenish light
moved out from the grove and came toward Chiang and Lazarus. The two physicists
slowed their pace and looked curiously at the lights hovering above them.
- Mrs. Higgins had stepped out of the car, and she was
yelling at them that they were being monitored. Chiang and Lazarus felt
that she might be correct.
- And as they stood there, not wanting to offend or to
transgress any rules they could not hope to comprehend, they heard the
crushing footsteps of unseen entities moving in the grove ahead of them.
To their right, they heard what seemed to be heavy breathing. To their
left, the mumble of hollow, alien voices.
- Chiang lifted his arms and shouted into the darkness
that he was a man of goodwill and peace. Motivated by his friend's example,
Lazarus did the same.
- At that moment, the harsh, blaring, horribly discordant
sound of the car horn shattered the almost reverential attitude of the
two scientists toward the promise that lay beyond them in the grove of
trees. The sound of the horn became the shriek of a frightened, demented
beast, and it seemed to echo around them in a hundred variations of disharmony.
- From the very first note of the metallic scream, every
aspect of the UFO manifestation seemed to shrink back, as if the footsteps,
the lights, the breathing, the voices were but multiple probings of a single
entity--an entity that had now begun to retreat, to withdraw, like a wild
thing startled by the blare of a hunter's trumpet.
- In the matter of a very few seconds, all facets of the
phenomena had seemingly been pulled back to the grove, and Chiang and Lazarus
stood in the center of the meadow in anguish, as the UFO shot up into the
night sky at a rate of speed that they could not comprehend in terms of
the science which they understood. They felt alone, disappointed, like
two small children who had only caught a glimpse of Santa's boot as the
gift-laden elf disappeared up the chimney.
- When they returned to the Volvo, they demanded to know
why Dr. Reisman had pressed on the horn. His reply was barely distinguishable
through his frightened, chattering teeth, but it had something to do with
saving them from being taken into a spaceship and chopped up for food.
- Mrs. Higgins' face in the light from the headlamps bore
an expression composed of nearly equal parts of contempt and pity for the
- "It's scared away now," she told Chiang and
Lazarus. "You might just as well call it a night."
- They drove Mary Higgins back into town and thanked her
for her graciousness and her tolerance.
- When they went in search of a motel that might still
be open, Philip Reisman insisted that they return at once to New York City.
Lazarus and Chiang acquiesced, since another day spent with the man would
have been intolerable to both of them.
- They were not five miles out of town when Reisman; who
was sitting in the backseat, began to shout that they were being followed
by two glowing green lights.
- When Chiang gJanced in the rearview mirror, he was excited
to see that Reisman was correct.
- Lazarus clutched his friend's shoulder and together,
almost as one, they uttered a shared wish that they might have another
opportunity for interaction with the UFO occupants.
- But then the lights whooshed by them, one on either side,
and vanished into the darkness.
- By the time Chiang and Lazarus dropped Reisman off at
his apartment a few minutes before dawn, the man was nearly hysterical.
He had cowered in a corner of the backseat most of the way home, his teeth
chattering. He had shouted out a dozen times that monsters lurked at the
side of the highway.
- When they walked into Chiang's apartment thirty minutes
later, the telephone was ringing.
- It was Reisman, babbling into the receiver about something
pounding on his walls.
- Ben was about to tell him to take some tranquilizers
and to go to sleep when a remarkable thing occurred. A mysterious pounding
began on the walls of his own apartment.
- At this point, Reisman screamed that a dark, hooded figure
had appeared in a corner of his bedroom.
- Almost as soon as Chiang repeated for Lazarus' benefit
what the man had said, the two of them were gasping at the materialization
of a dark, hooded figure in a corner of Ben's living room.
- Before either of them could assimilate that phenomenon,
the radio unit in the stereo console clicked on, and some unseen agency
moved the dial from station to station. Three books were made airborne
from the shelf where they had rested. The refrigerator door popped open.
All the water faucets in the kitchen and the bathroom were turned to full
- The weird, pointless manifestations disrupted both apartments
for about two hours after they had begun.
- "We had undergone quite an initiation that night,"
Henry Lazarus told me later. "And the phenomena continued, even at
long distance. I would be in Houston talking to Ben back east in New York,
and he would say, 'Hey, there's that dark hooded figure standing in the
corner again,' and, son of a gun, if I wouldn't see a similar figure standing
inside my closet door or over in a corner of my bedroom."
- Henry Lazarus continued his speculation about what they
had witnessed: "We feel that there had been a genuine UFO landing
near that village at some undetermined time in the past. It was quite likely
witnessed by one or more townspeople. This incident became so important
to the psyches of the men and women in that rather remote area that their
collective energy began to affect the X-Force in such a way that a phantom
was created by the conduit of their group mind.
- "The more energy they invested in the archetype
of the UFO experience, the more solid and material it became.
- "The more material it became, the more people who
witnessed it coming into being, the stronger the phantom of the real UFO
- "There is, we have discovered, a reflexive, imitative
aspect of the X-Force. Again, that is why the manipulator of the Unknown
Energy must always strive for balance. If you are at the level of awareness
that envisions monsters, you may quite likely fashion them."
- Then had it been Reisman's fearful response that had
triggered certain negative patterns into which the Unknown Force could
flow and express itself?
- "Yes," Lazarus agreed. "Just remember
that with the Unknown Energy, the pattern is everything. Just as with the
Hieronymous machine the molecular pattern captured on film emulsion can
stand for a man, a woman, or an orchard as they actually are. The symbol
becomes the object."
- So once Reisman had become "spooked," he set
a whole ghostly repertoire into action--the poundings on the wall, the
hooded figures, the poltergeistic activity.
- "That's right," Chiang told me. "And he
transmitted these images to us according to the same law of patterns which
exists in the Unknown Force. That is why we must seek to make ourselves
pure sending and receiving sets for the energy. We must not permit ourselves
to become negative."
- What had happened to Dr. Reisman, the cynical biologist
who had his perimeters of reality so broadly stretched/or him?
- "I regret to say," Chiang sighed deeply, "that
Philip Reisman's life became a tragedy. A rigidly closed mind did not serve
him well. It is best to be at least somewhat open to all aspects of existence,
so that when you come face to face with something that has not previously
been a part of your reality, you can deal with it without shattering into
mental and emotional fragments.
- "Dr. Reisman had to resign his post with the university.
He became a 'born again' Christian and walked the streets of the city distributing
fundamental Christian literature. The last we heard of him, he was living
in a commune in Maine, attempting to chant the nature spirits into helping
him grow giant vegetables."
- When I asked Bill how such intelligent, resourceful young
men had lost control of their experimentation with the visitors from Shadow
World, he answered, frankly, "We had no idea just how deadly serious
the game could become. It really is a game for wizards, not for smart-ass
college students who believe their brilliant intellects and their physics
books can provide an answer for everything."
- But why, I sought to dig deeper, had they ended up paranoid,
frightened, or confused?
- ""Because we weren't magicians, obviously,"
- And as we have further seen in the experiences of Lazarus,
Chiang, and Reisman, it is not just "smart-ass college students"
who discover that they are not ready to enter a game for wizards. A number
of college professors and scientists have made the same mistake, sometimes
to their great physical and psychological detriment.