Thursday, January 20, 2011


As a science fiction fan and later as an SFR writer I’ve spent most of a long lifetime pondering the possibility of life on other planets. The idea that aliens using advanced technology would visit us here on Earth is hardly shocking or unbelievable. I find it credible enough to base a whole series of science fiction suspense novels on the premise.

And yet I found myself at a loss for words when I met someone recently who claimed to have direct experience of alien visitation. She’s seen the ships, she’s spoken with the aliens, she’s gone with them to visit other “dimensions”. She’s had more than one of these experiences since her childhood and she describes them as “overwhelmingly positive”.

This person, a friend of a friend, speaks of her special knowledge in a completely calm and rational tone. She can provide details. No matter how crazy the subject matter, she doesn’t appear to be crazy. And as I listen to her I feel like I’m a character in my own novel. The Mulder in me wants to believe, but my skeptical Scully stands with her arms folded waiting for something she can actually see with her own eyes.

Of course, my friend is not the only one who has had direct contact with these visitors from, um, elsewhere. (It’s not entirely clear to me whether they’re from other planets, alternate universes, other dimensions, the future, or, well, you see the problem.) There are many others who have had similar experiences. I was referred to the very busy website of the Paradigm Research Group (, an organization “dedicated to ending the government imposed truth embargo regarding an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race.” PRG Executive Director Steve Bassett leads an active lobbying effort using the Freedom of Information Act and other means to uncover what the government knows of alien activity on Earth. PRG calls their advocacy work “exopolitics.”

One of many interesting video clips on the site is the “Featured Case: Rendlsham Forest Incident”. In December, 1980, United States Air Force personnel at RAF Bentwaters air base in Suffolk, England encountered what appeared to be a craft of unknown origin in the woods just outside the base. They got close enough to touch it and make crude drawings of it, describing it as approximately triangular in shape, three meters on a side, dark metallic, pulsing with red and blue light. After a few minutes it shot straight into the air and disappeared. The same night, strange lights were seen in formation in the skies near the base, performing maneuvers that would have been impossible for conventional aircraft. The men in the search team on the ground saw these lights, as did others on the base. Personnel manning the air towers also report seeing something on radar earlier in the evening, before the sighting in the forest.

The Bentwaters incident might have been forgotten had it not been for the bureaucratic diligence of one Colonel Charles Halt, USAF, who was given the unenviable task of making sense of what went on that night. He’d been dragged out of a Christmas party into the woods to track the “thing”, no doubt to put a stop to the rumors that had been circulating around the base all week of “funny lights” and “little green men”. But he saw what he saw and he had to make a report. He sent it up the line to his superior officer.

The brass conferred and decided since the bugger had landed off base property that it was the Brits’ problem. They told Halt to write a memo and send it to the British Liaison. He did what he was told. Could he help it that the liaison was on vacation when the memo hit his desk? The memo went nowhere and the matter was buried for years until a FOIA request demanded information. Halt had kept an old onionskin of the original memo in his desk (the only remaining copy). He handed it over, along with his drawings of the craft.

Halt and all of the men who were with him that night in Rendlsham Forest are retired now and speaking freely of the incident. It makes for fascinating, if curious, watching. (Personally, I have to wonder what my fighter pilot brother knows about the incident. He was stationed at Bentwaters at the time, but he ain’t talking. Not surprising. The Shrader men make Robert DeNiro look like Chatty Cathy.)

The men in these videos were speaking publicly in September before the National Press Club in Washington. And yet I don’t remember seeing them on the nightly news or in the newspaper. It’s my friend’s contention that the powers that be control any news about alien visitation. “They” don’t want us to know. But conspiracy theories of that magnitude don’t hold much water in this day and age. “The press” is no longer the monolith it once was; secrets can’t be kept in the age of the blogosphere, though finding the truth is virtually impossible. Too much light is just as blinding as too little.

I think if the aliens want to make themselves known they’d better just land on the White House lawn in front of everybody. That would be a little hard to hide. But then, I also think we should be careful what we wish for. There’s no guarantee that advanced technology will mean evolved ethics, after all. If the human race is any model, we could be in big trouble.



  1. aGood article. I'm going to pop over to that website.

    Am I a "believer?" Not really, but as a long-time scifi fan, I want to be.

    I'm also of the Scully mode. If I can't see good, emperical evidence, it ain't there.

  2. Great article, Donna.

    I've got the whole Mulder-Scully thing going on, too. I'm not a skeptic. I'm not a believer. I'm open to proof or compelling evidence, but I don't spend my life seeking it out. I watch Ancient Aliens. Love it. But I'm not convinced aliens did all those incredible things so very long ago. Maybe we, as a species, have simply lost technology we once possessed.

    But as a writer, I do like to ask those intriguing "What ifs."

  3. Great article Donna!

    You made me question whether I would believe a person who told me the same thing.

    I'd like to believe that if aliens exist they'd be like some of the aliens in the SFR books I've read and the ones I'm writing, but I'm not so sure.

    Like Laurie, I do like asking "what if?"

  4. Funny, isn't it? As writers we live in our imaginations, but as people we all seem to hail from Missouri (the "show-me" state)!


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