Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]
FRIENDS IN THE VAST CREATION:
AN ACCOUNT OF THE SALTER UFO ENCOUNTERS OF
MARCH, 1988: THEIR BACKGROUND, DEVELOPMENT, AND RAMIFICATIONS
By John R. Salter, Jr.
Copyright 1989 by John R. Salter, Jr.
When I think, as I so frequently do, of that night of March 20, 1988--the strange night of the UFO encounter and interception of my then almost 23 year old graduate student son, John III, and myself--I have only positive feelings (as does he) about the not-so-different from us people from afar whom we met and with whom we spent well over an hour. Still continuing recall images and sequences which have come to both of us, slowly and persistently through the fabric of induced (but obviously only intentionally temporary) amnesia, consistently point to good motives and beneficial actions. The physiological changes, more than a dozen, which have occurred in me--beginning since the encounter and still continuing--are witness to this.
There was no conscious sense of expectancy when we left Grand Forks, North Dakota on Sunday morning, March 20th, in my 1987 red Ford pickup. A light snow disappeared after we'd gone 30 miles but the cloudy sky continued. We were pointed toward Mississippi, and ultimately New Orleans at which I was scheduled to give a paper, "Civil Rights and Self-Defense," at the annual Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association gathering, a commitment made the previous August. Other activities were scheduled in Mississippi. None of this even remotely touched on UFOs and neither my son nor I (although we accepted the reality of these things and assumed their friendly extraterrestrial origins) had spent much time at all thinking about any of this. We had certainly read virtually nothing on the subject.
In retrospect--even very early post-encounter retrospect--it was clear that the route I had picked some days before for the first day of our junket was certainly not logical. I projected Grand Forks to the Twin Cities to Rochester (Minn.) and then to LaCrosse (Wisc.), Dubuque (Ia.), and the Bettendorf/Davenport (Ia.) area for the night. We had neither the time nor the special interest in the often rugged, frequently wooded, and generally lonely southwestern Wisconsin Mississippi River hill country that would justify that substantially out-of-the-way segment. Near the Twin Cities, John III spelled me off on driving. I looked at the road maps and, suddenly, noted the illogic of proceeding to LaCrosse and down to Dubuque (the roads between those two towns being narrow and winding); conversely, it obviously made much better sense to proceed from the forthcoming Rochester area down to Waterloo, Iowa, and double-highway, and then to Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and an hour of interstate into Davenport. Reasonably, I moved to make this practical change. And then, welling up into my mind like a great wave of nostalgia from the past, came Kookaburra, the Australian lullaby:
Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Merry, merry king of the bush is he.
Laugh, Kookaburra; laugh, Kookaburra
Gay your life must be.
The significance is this: An active organizer in
social justice endeavors since the mid-1950s, starting with civil rights and
militant trade unionism in the Southwest where I grew up, I spent a long
period (beginning almost immediately after my marriage (to Eldri) in 1961)
and extending to the latter part of the 60s decade, in the Deep South as a
key organizer in the Southern Civil Rights Movement. During the
academic term, 1968-69, we were glad to spend a pleasant recuperative year
at Coe College, Cedar Rapids, where I taught sociology before going on to
Chicago and four years of rough-and-tough community organizing on the
South/Southwest Side. During that year at Coe, we often drove up to Waterloo
to the K-Mart--myself, Eldri, and our two thus-far children, Maria and John
III. On the way back, we would always sing Kookaburra and remembered
those times fondly--along with many other happy occasions. From Chicago, I
occasionally got over to Cedar Rapids and Iowa City to give talks and, in
1973, we moved to Iowa City where I was attached for almost four years as a
professor in the Graduate Program in Urban and Regional Planning at the
University of Iowa. I (and our family) often got to Cedar Rapids and,
sometimes, in and around Waterloo a number of times after the Coe sojourn.
We never thought poignantly of Kookaburra, though sometimes in the
years since we would sing it. Now, in the afternoon of a late March day, 20
years after the Cedar Rapids experience, the plaintive Australian lullaby
rose up--an extraordinary wave of sweet, nostalgic wine. It was simply
overwhelming. In no way could I steer into those incredibly sweet and
emotional waters: no swing down to Waterloo and beyond. We continued to
Rochester and then to LaCrosse. (If, as I'm quite certain, Kookaburra
was drawn somehow from my psyche by an external force and
magnified--intensively magnified--it was certainly a far more sensitively
pleasant means of dissuasion than, say, a conjured up vision of our pickup
colliding with a Semi on the outskirts of Waterloo. We now sing
Kookaburra regularly with our nine year old daughter, Josie).
We were at LaCrosse late that afternoon: fully awake, vigorous, well-fed (thanks to McDonald's), myself driving--and we left on combined highways 14 and 61, a narrow road. Our firm and clear intention was to keep on 61 when the roads forked at the small town of Readstown: at that point 61 proceeded to Dubuque and 14 to Madison. All of this was "new country" to us. Neither John III nor I have many memories at all of what happened the remainder of that late afternoon and early evening. Initially, of course, it was still quite light and the cloudy sky had broken somewhat. I clearly recall, as we topped out on one large hill two or three miles beyond LaCrosse and I looked westward/southwestward to the far horizon and the late afternoon sky, feeling an odd and intense twinge of expectant anxiety which registered quickly and then passed.
Although in retrospect, some time later, we felt we might have remembered a few landmarks after the large hill, a visit to the scene by me and my daughter Josie in early June, 1989, indicated that John III and I had been under very pervasive "mind control" characterized, among other things, by amnesia, for the next more than 60 miles. In the June, 1989 junket, I saw nothing beyond the large hill that I recognized--everything was "new"--even though there were quaint towns, unique hill formations, and Indian and other place names that would have definitely registered. (In checking with John III, now in California, no landmarks that I indicated were remembered by him.) Among other things, we did not recall Readstown and the much advertised forking of the roads with highways 14 and 61 very conspicuously parting company. Inexplicably, by conventional yardsticks, John III and I took Highway 14--much lonelier than 61--and thus went off course, southeast (although the two routes remain close together in that general area).
Sunset in that region on March 20 was about 6:13 p.m. It was twilight and about 6:25 p.m. when we came to the stretch of four-lane on Highway 14. (Turning out to be a very short stretch, this begins 68 miles or so from "inside" the LaCrosse setting and ends two miles before Richland Center, Wisconsin.) Here the amnesia lifted (we would say, in retrospect, to give us a clear geographical point for future reference) and later both John III and I vividly recalled the wider road. (I remembered it very clearly in June, 1989.) We expressed hope to one another that it would continue and regretted when, after two miles, it ended. I recall saying, "I'm slowing down a little and turning on the lights." At that point, the curtain of amnesia (but not unconsciousness) descended on each of us. When I think about what came immediately after that, I sometimes get waves of strange, "electrical-like" sensations--vibrant chills--throughout my body. John III talks of "spooky feelings."
And this was the point of interception and close encounter--very close!
Then I was aware that I was driving at a normal speed and was going down a very steep hill by the highway. Quickly and smoothly my consciousness expanded--an awakening awareness--to include the bright lights of the pickup, the pitch-dark night, and the sounds of the engine and the tires. For a moment, a very sharp and clear moment, it was a summer night in 1957 when I, 23 years old, was driving in the isolated Arizona country somewhere around the little cow town of Mayer. My second thought was, "This was just like that time, then." It was about 7:45 p.m. Neither John III, whose amnesia lifted at the same time as mine, nor I had any particular sense of interruption; the interception and resumption had been accomplished with only a ripple of transition, if even that. (Later we realized that, at the point we'd "come out of it," we were in the immediate area where the physical interception had occurred.) On 14, we reached the outskirts of Richland Center and passed through that small town. (In June, 1989, I realized that, although I had that March night noted the outskirts of Richland Center and a long line of buildings on the other side of it, I had no recollection of passing through the business district. In checking with John III, I learned that he, too, had no recollection of the "downtown" section of the community. We both feel that double-amnesia was once again and briefly induced in order that we, still somewhat somnambulistic, pass through the business section without stopping and perhaps attracting negative attention.) On the other side of Richland Center and immediately beyond, I saw a series of signs indicating Madison, before grasping their significance; checking our map, we realized we had been on the wrong highway since far-away Readstown. The loss of time was utterly bewildering. From Richland Center to Dubuque is about 85 miles, including the back-on-course routes; we were in the Iowa town at 9:30 p.m., pushing on to Bettendorf for the night. We slept well and breakfasted at Peoria, Illinois.
We left that city shortly after 10 a.m., March 21st, on a double highway going east. I was driving. The day was clear and there was no wind. At 10:14 a.m., there was no traffic right around or ahead of us in either direction. And it was then that we both saw a bright, expanding light coming directly toward and above us; immediately we realized it was an incredibly bright object, glowing with an extraordinary shimmering silveriness. (The closest analogy I can make is the glowing coals of an oak fire, moving back and forth.) It was about two-thirds the size of the full double highway and, when about 200 yards from us, swerved slightly and rose over the pickup at an angle. We could now make out its saucer-like form and, I think, a slight dome. Then, with incredible speed, it was gone. At that point, John III and I had three simultaneous thoughts: This was a deliberate appearance for us and for us alone; this was quite friendly; and this somehow explained the strange occurrences of the previous night. I then had another thought: I remembered the 1961 interception of Betty and Barney Hill, an interracial couple (he black and she white but with some Indian ancestry and both much involved in civil rights and related activities), in New Hampshire. I had heard of this situation in the mid-60s, when it became well publicized. I recalled, too, that Mrs. Hill especially had had a positive, essentially friendly view of the UFO humanoid people. Mr. Hill died many years ago but Betty Hill continues quite active on social justice fronts and maintains a strong interest in UFO-related matters. I have had an excellently helpful correspondence with this extraordinary person, beginning early in the fall, 1988. In August, 1989, Eldri and I and Josie spent an excellent week with Mrs. Hill in New Hampshire and, among other things, observed a number of UFOs at night with her. (On the way back to North Dakota, we visited the Richland Center setting and the location of our encounter.)
The remainder of our trip south, while quite interesting and productive, did not involve anything related to UFOs. (Later in the day, March 21st, John III realized he'd lost his sunglasses, couldn't remember having them in the motel, and we searched the pickup fruitlessly.) But the strange events of March 20/21 were always no further than once removed in our thinking, and were frequently to the fore. Back in Grand Forks, I finished the University of North Dakota academic year in conventional fashion, assuming the chair of our Indian Studies Department. (Just before the trip, I'd received the prestigious UND Award for Student Advising; soon after the trip, the American Indian students honored me with a very special ceremony at the annual pow-wow.) I began doing some reading on UFO topics and I affiliated myself with the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON)--one of the several quite reputable UFO research organizations. (In September, 1988, I became its State Director for North Dakota. Thus, I became acquainted with Kevin Henke, a young scientist at the University of North Dakota and a MUFON member who has become an excellent friend and whose sharply critical mind has been of great help to me.) John III received his M.A. at UND and accepted an important position in Northern California, directing a grassroots Indian education program. He and his wife moved there two months after the encounters. (In the fall of 1989, his program was designated as the best of its kind in the state.) In mid-June, 1988, I sensed a strong, growing stirring within me vis-a-vis the experiences of late March--and especially the "missing time" period. I began to put together a series of detailed little reports, outlining the development, locale, and times of the encounters and our general thoughts, preliminary conclusions, and what we were convinced was a mutually friendly atmosphere at all points. But, when it came to events immediately following the four-lane stretch in southwestern Wisconsin, I hit a block (as did John III with whom I stayed in close touch via A.T. & T.). Then, in late June, 1988, my recall suddenly began.
Invariably, as they've developed, my recall vignettes--images and sequences--have come first as vivid dreams in the early morning hours, then recede back temporarily into unconsciousness before emerging the following late morning or afternoon as clear flashbacks laced with a sharp memory of the earlier dream or dreams. (John III's recall began in November, 1988, tends to come just as he's slipping off to sleep, and meshes with mine.) In both cases, the recall is our seeing things with our eyes--precisely as we saw them that night in Wisconsin. Although this process is still continuing, steadily and deliberately, enough has come thus far to establish the context, the basic components and participants, the points of primary focus, and the ethos. Here, with recall arranged, is the basic linear progress of our March 20th encounter:
As the four-lane ended and total amnesia (but not unconsciousness) enveloped us, we are gently but firmly forced off the highway onto a very narrow and extremely rough road. In June, 1989, we determined, on the basis of recall and contemporary observation, that this is the Pier Spring Road, about a mile or so in length. This starts a very short distance after the end of the four-lane. As one goes down Highway 14, it is a sharp right turn off one's right lane. We parked the pickup near the "upper," far end of this winding, timbered road.
Then we are standing, John III and I, not far from the passenger side of the pickup which is parked on the level stretch of the Pier Spring Road, under some trees. It is almost dark. Completely at ease, I can see two or three small humanoid figures climbing up on the back bumper, looking at our gear in the back of the truck. Up closer, they are four to four and one-half feet tall, thin bodies and thin limbs--but comparatively large heads and conspicuously large, quasi-slanted eyes. There are several of these small people--perhaps six or seven--and a taller humanoid figure, almost as tall as I (six feet) and not as proportionately thin as the others. His features are more, as we would use the term, "human"--and he may well be a mixed-blood. Whatever clothing type they're wearing, it's tightly fitting and, to us at this point in recall, non-descript. Our communication with them is more than thought-impressionistic; it's telepathically specific. John III sits down. Three of the small humanoids gather around, viewing him with as much fascination as he does them. Everyone is very pleasant. The tall humanoid is attached to us in a special fashion and is obviously our key liaison. Now we are walking through the darkening woods, up a ravine and over a small ridge, to the UFO which is in a rather secluded clearing, some distance from the pickup. I stumble and fall backward but am immediately cushioned by a (telekinetic?) force. Very, very gently, several of the humanoids reach for me and pull me to my feet.
Throughout this entire, still continuing recall process of mine is the clear, persistent definite sense of a brightly lighted room--a kind of white light--and a deep-blue glowing panel. An implant is placed very carefully up into my right nostril and well beyond. There is a strong sense that the last time this happened to me was a long time ago, when I was John III's age, in 1957. There is now an injection into my neck, at the thyroid area; and then an injection into my upper, central chest (thymus gland). John III's face is scanned very thoroughly with a "flash-light" type instrument whose head is so soft that it melds into the contours of his face; special attention is given to his chin and jaw area.
Then we are out in the open again. The feeling is downright powerful that the meeting has gone very well indeed from everyone's standpoint. Our tall humanoid friend walks with me back through the woods to the pickup. He is carrying some sort of light, obviously for our benefit. John III is slightly ahead of us. I believe the smaller humanoids have remained with the UFO. John III goes into the passenger side of the pickup, closing the door. I feel an extremely strong, poignant sense of farewell toward the tall figure, sensing equally strong reciprocity. (His emotional and intellectual reactions are like ours: sharp intelligence, good-natured, smiled a great deal, eager, very interested in things and sad--very sad--at parting. Basically, I think all of this holds true for the smaller people.) The tall figure and I tell each other (and John III is included) that we will see one another again in another place, in another time. Now, John III and I are by ourselves in the pickup. We wait. Very shortly from his window, John III watches the UFO rise and, brightly lighted, move diagonally up into the dark clouds and beyond. We drive a short distance to the end of the Pier Spring Road and take Country Road ZZ, well paved and very steep, back to highway 14 and on to Richland Center.
The still continuing results of my implant and injections (although initially their presence was not known to me in the fully conscious sense) began to emerge in some cases as early as May, 1988. (John III has had none of these.) By June and July, other manifestations were present. My head hair, fingernails, and toenails are growing two to three times their normal rate; eyebrows have become very thick; and fine body hair has developed all over my previously almost hairless arms, legs, stomach and chest. Cuts and scratches clot immediately and heal very, very rapidly. (A denture placed in 1984 resulted in almost daily blood until shortly after the encounter--four years later!--when the situation healed and remained so.) Some little age spots have shrunk or disappeared and the few wrinkles in my face have faded away for the most part. My skin tone is generally much clearer. Blood is much closer to the surface all over my body--indicating even better circulation than formerly. For the first time in my life, my beard is very heavy, very thick, and quite dark. My immunity is heightened; flu bugs may touch me but don't dig deeply in and the few colds I may now get are very insignificant and short-lived. My energy level is up and my sleep needs, never really substantial, are down. Although not in any sense a "craving," my protein needs are very heavy and, in May, 1989, I began taking eight amino acid supplements per day--which has returned to normal my burgeoning meat consumption! An auto wreck in Mississippi in 1963 left some residual disfigurement on the right side of my face, but by spring, 1989, this had faded completely into normalcy. I smoked for 40 years and very heavily for the last 35, four packs of cigarettes a day (often unfiltered) and then, for the last 21 years, a pound of pipe tobacco a week. In the spring of 1989, my pipe smoking slacked off to some extent; in mid-May, I realized I had gone almost 24 hours without smoking--and I then stopped completely and permanently, doing so without one single physical or psychological twinge! My psychic sensitivities are sharpened and there are increased telekinetic episodes, especially around electrical equipment. I have a mild aversion to sunlight and increased sensitivity to lights in general, now preferring cloudy weather and darkish offices. My left foot and leg coordinate and walk a little differently, initially running down my left boot heels; there are no walking problems now since I've learned to let it happen smoothly and naturally. Occasionally, a red welt appears on the lower right side of my neck, in the thyroid area; and a brown, circular spot about a half inch in diameter and with a round point-mark in its precise center surfaces on my upper chest over my thymus gland region.
In the earlier part of 1957, although deeply involved in good causes, I was having some difficulty in determining just what I wanted primarily to do with my life (portions of which had already been quite interesting). Then, at some point in the summer, my focus sharpened into its permanently fixed commitment to social justice pursuits. My health became notably great. (For example, an effort to kill me via a rigged auto wreck in Jackson, Mississippi on June 18, 1963, left me seriously injured with many broken bones in my face and some elsewhere. I was operated on extensively that night and faced a substantial stay in the hospital. Three days later, so much of me had healed so quickly that I was out of the hospital and back in the arena--to the great surprise of my physicians and the great displeasure of the white Citizens Council and the Jackson police.) In the wake of the March, 1988 encounter, my normally good health has been boosted very significantly and I feel strong creative urges, constructive restlessness, and a major recharging of my social justice commitment. John III is doing many positive things in his California Indian educational work and is also writing genuinely excellent fiction. Two other interesting physical things have taken place: A watch, purchased by me in 1984, has been quite satisfactory but lacked any luminosity. I often expressed disappointment that this was so but, soon after the March, 1988 events, noticed the hands glowing. Although this lasts only a few hours at most before requiring new exposure to light, it has persisted dependably enough. In another situation, John III's sunglasses, lost as nearly as we can tell at the time of the evening encounter, surfaced in mid-December, 1988, behind the pickup seat. We had been behind that seat for one reason or another at least 100 times since spring, 1988--including every morning since well before Thanksgiving, since that's where we keep the windshield frost scraper/snow brush. In fact, the glasses were sitting casually on top of the much used frost-scraper brush! The lenses were not al all dusty. During a subsequent (February, 1989) visit to Grand Forks, John III positively identified the glasses as his. The pickup, incidentally, is kept locked at all times when not in use.
And a few suggestive but speculative things: In the summer of 1941, we were living temporarily on a Kansas farm--where I saw something big and strange over the nearby Smoky Hill River woods. It disappeared almost as soon as I saw it but, for long afterward, even after we had moved to a nearby small town, I viewed that stretch of river woods with considerable apprehension. At some point around then, I developed an odd scar above my kneecap, an unlikely place for an injury (there have been reports of small flesh samples taken by UFO visitors from small children at about that age). In that general time period, I drew a picture (which I still have) of an "alien looking" person (large head, slanted eyes, no ears or hair) holding a human being. Only a few years after that, I developed a really very sophisticated interest in astronomy and chemistry. Strange things, difficult to delineate with precision, took place near Flagstaff, Arizona on Woody Mountain, one night in August, 1952, where I was a U.S. Forest Service fire lookout and asleep in my cabin at the base of the fire tower. Early the next morning, haunted by feelings of great "strangeness" (unusual for an 18 year old), I noticed a rock, two feet or so in diameter, which appeared to have moved 15 feet up the slope of the mountain, quite close to the base of the tower. It had rained briefly though heavily at some point that night and there was no particular "sign" on the ground. Unlike my encounter of 1957 and the events of March, 1988, all of which are very definite and tangible indeed, these earlier situations are, as I've said, speculative.
In the last several years, a number of people who have had UFO encounter experiences, and some UFO researchers, have painted a bleak and oft-frightening picture of "alien motivations"--raising the possibility of genetic experiments and the like. Other people who have had this experience, such as myself and John III and Betty Hill, and a number of other researchers, take a friendly and positive view of all of this. I think, among other things, that we need to look at the socio-cultural backgrounds of the people involved in the encounters. Urban people--especially urban women--who live, understandably, in perennial fear of theft, rape, or other attack, are much more likely, I should think, to view a close encounter with UFO people as frightening and negative than are, say, rural people or part-Indian travelers on many frontiers like John III and myself and Betty Hill (or racially and culturally open minded people generally) who welcome new, unusual experiences, new friends, new challenges. With no false modesty, I certainly view my life, especially from 1957 onward, as having been a quite positive one to date: effective social justice organizing in many hard-core settings and much productive teaching and writing. I was pleasantly surprised in mid-January, 1989, to receive three awards for my social justice work (both contemporary and historic): one, presented by the general commanding Grand Forks Air Force Base; another from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The "big" one was given by the North Dakota Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission--its 1989 award--and was presented to me by Governor George Sinner. In late spring, 1989, I was elected president of the UND chapter of the North Dakota Higher Education Association (NEA) and, in the fall of 1989, I was voted chair of the UND Honors Program Committee.
As I've said, almost to the point of redundancy, we see all of this as being very friendly. I do have several basic, concluding thoughts: I believe the number of direct physical encounters with the "alien" humanoids is not nearly as great as some people are presently saying. I see these as rare but not super-rare. I believe these encounters are specifically selective (anything except random) and, as such, necessitate among other things a good deal of careful planning and maneuvering by the humanoids. I do believe that, across the Creation, there are certain universals: e.g., principles of logic, scientific methodology, and the concerns of bureaucrats about cost and time factors. It probably took several days and a good many humanoid-hours to set up and implement the 1 1/2 hour meeting with John III and myself on March 20, 1988. I believe these are extra-terrestrial persons similar to ourselves and perhaps even related in some intriguing fashion or at least the results of a parallel evolutionary course. They are solid and physical and "all-around" tangible entities, sharply intelligent (as one would assume trained astronauts and scientists and perhaps even professors to he), and their range of emotions is comparable to ours. I categorically do not see them as angels/devils/psychic manifestations.
Their actions (motivations and effects and related factors) are quite positive. While I think it's possible that there may be some "experimentation" involved, I think this is ethically and honorably done--and to good ends. However, I believe the basic thrusts focus on helping some of us (directly) "keep on keeping on" in the business of edging humanity closer and closer to the Sun--figuratively speaking and sensitizing humanity with respect to the relatively nearby presence of other forms of intelligent life.
New as I consciously am to the UFO situation, it may seem more than a little presumptuous for me to, (paraphrasing, I believe, Koestler's Ivanov in Darkness at Noon), point out that there are some strange terrestrial birds in the trees of "ufology." Without getting shrill about it and recognizing that there can be "reasonable differences of opinion between reasonable people" (as I was reminded occasionally a long time ago and still am from time to time), I do believe that the "gloom and doom" people in UFO research are often either downright paranoid, motivated by commercial considerations, or ideologically endeavoring to resurrect a new version of the Red Scare (but I don't think they'll be able to do that).
I do very strongly believe, and now I'm drawing on cogent impressions existing above and below the water levels of my mind, that the people from afar that John III and I met (and the many other humanoids who look in on our struggling and so very often courageously valiant Earthly turf and drama), have good motives, very good ones, and the unfolding results of all of this--individually if our people can keep an open mind, and certainly with respect to the long-term perspective and future of human society--are and will be deeply beneficial through the many, many ages to come.
Note by JRS (October, 1990): Recall by summer, 1990, makes it clear that the 1952 and 1941 encounters are also definite.
Further note (September, 1991): It became clear by spring, 1991, that John III has grown more than 1 1/2" taller since the March, 1988 encounter. He had stopped growing several years before that when he was about 19 years old.
(1) See John R. Salter, Jr., Jackson, Mississippi: An
American Chronicle of Struggle & Schism, (Melbourne, Florida: Robert E.
Krieger Publishing Company, 1987).
(2) An odd thing occurred at a Mobil station at LaCrosse. Just as we were climbing into the pickup after gassing up, a strange looking little man, bundled in a coat and with a "Greek Fisherman's" cap, rushed, in stumbling fashion, from the station office to his Volvo. His eyes blocked briefly but intently with mine. As we left the station on a little intra-LaCrosse freeway, he followed us; I slowed substantially but he declined to pass. He remained behind us until we took the 14/61 turnoff. In the aftermath of the encounters, our minds were drawn repeatedly to this seemingly insignificant episode.
(3) The short stretch of four-lane is indicated in some quite recent road atlases and maps (such as our contemporary Mobil Wisconsin road map) but not in others.
(4) See the very well done book on the Hills' experience: The Interrupted Journey by John Fuller (New York: Dial Press, 1966 and various other editions) and also a fascinating compendium of articles dealing with the "star map" shown Betty Hill by the cordial captain of the UFO: "The Zeta Reticuli Incident," (edited by Terence Dickinson, (Milwaukee: Astro-Media Corporation (publishers of Astronomy), 1976
(5) Of particular value has been Thomas E. Bullard's massive two volume work: UFO Abductions: The Measure of a Mystery (Washington, D.C., Fund for UFO Research, 1987) and Richard Hall's Uninvited Guests--A Documented History OF UFO Sightings, Alien Encounters, & Coverups (Santa Fe: Aurora Press, 1988). Both men have since provided me with some excellent insights through correspondence.
(6) At all points in our joint March 20, 1988 experience, John III and I were "hit" simultaneously by amnesia and "came out" simultaneously. But, in the aftermath that night, he was groggier somewhat longer than I and his recall took longer to commence and has proceeded at a slower pace. It appears that he was "hit harder" than I. He is a little shorter than I am and much lighter and, on the surface, would be perceived as a less formidable "problem." Why, then, was he more profoundly affected by this (in part, at least) tranquilizing process? Was it because he is lighter and younger? A possible explanation, not known to me until August, 1989 (when he told me) is that John III was carrying a .22 automatic pistol on his person that night. We were on our way to, among other places, Mississippi--where memories are long. I had my unloaded .357 revolver, holstered and in a case on the pickup seat. The cartridges were in the glove compartment. Privately, John III had decided this was a too cumbersome proposition; hence, his on-person and loaded automatic. Could the humanoids have been aware he was carrying a weapon?
(7) On the March 20, 1988 trek from a few miles south of LaCrosse to the short stretch of four-lane where the double amnesia lifted briefly, all conscious recollection was blocked. But, almost a year later, in early March, 1989, an odd composite blur--almost an abstraction--began to emerge into my consciousness in a not unpleasantly sharp and forceful fashion with an implication of significance. It is a blend of road signs/markers and its emergence is accompanied by a strong sense that "we should have gone on the other road but we could not help ourselves." After our visits to the general area in early June, 1989 and mid-August, 1989, I'm convinced of that which I instinctively felt when this first surfaced in early March, 1989: It's a composite of road signs/markers from the critical Readstown junction (14/61) where highways 14 and 61 part company and where John III and I "inexplicably" took 14 and thus went to our destiny! When this composite/blur initially surfaced, I had the strong feeling that I should write up our encounter experience and this is what I did in my mid-March, 1989 paper--which I distributed widely and which has been well received. In late May, 1989, the composite/blur arose again--accompanied by the strong feeling that I should return to the site of the experience, and this is what Josie and I indeed did. At a number of subsequent points, the emergence of this has obviously been a trigger/signal for intensive and specifically delineated UFO interest/activity on my part.
(8) On May 13, 1989, I took my 1987 Ford F-150 pickup in for its first real maintenance (16,165 miles) since its purchase two years before and, with the exception of routine oil/lube jobs, the first maintenance of any kind since before our March, 1988 trip to the Deep South. The service person at Hansen Ford (Grand Forks) suggested that, in addition to the tune-up and related matters, a full alignment job be done and I agreed. Two very interesting things surfaced: (1) Although normally the right front wheel is supposed to be higher and the left front wheel lower, my pickup had things reversed. Computer measurement indicated my right wheel was .5 and the left 1.0; (2) The left rear rim was bent. The Ford people found this inexplicable--since we drive the pickup with great care and it's virtually never off a paved road. We could recall no conventional situation where this could have occurred.
(9) The 1957 encounter, which began to surface in the context of the March, 1988 experience, took place in late May of that year (summer in Arizona!) while I was returning to my home town of Flagstaff from a quick trip to Phoenix. The experience is definite; the details still remain somewhat murky. The humanoids involved are of the same basic racial group as those in March, 1988. The business of somewhat darker eyebrows and beard, heightened immunity, much energy, at least some aversion to sunlight and something of a preference for cloudy and dampish weather, all came after the May, 1957 experience and then, slowly, faded in the mid and late 1970s into the 1980s--until after March 20, 1988, when all of this bounced back more noticeably than ever before, plus much more. As long as I can recall, I've had some psychic abilities which have been noticed, over the years, by family and friends. There was some sharpening of these after May, 1957; there was no decline in the 1970s and 1980s; and there has been an increase since March, 1988.
(10) Almost from the moment of the March, 1988 encounter, I have had no hesitation in talking openly about the experience, its ramifications, and my positive perceptions of it. I have encountered little open skepticism and, although initially there was some fear by several older persons, this appears to have passed. Almost all younger people (under 35), and virtually all Indians regardless of age, have been very open minded and quite receptive--and many older non-Indians have, too. Regional newspaper and television interviews with me have been thoughtful, nicely done, and well received. UND Honors students have asked me to teach a three semester hour credit course on UFOs in 1990-91 and I have agreed. Only two colleagues, neither of whom at all doubts the reality of my UFO experiences, have suggested that I not draw attention to the episodes in order to ensure my continued credibility on other fronts. I answered them, reiterating my response to a television interviewer a short time later: "If I had worried about what other people thought, I would never have had the experiences I've had or accomplished the things I've accomplished."
WRAP-UP COMMENTS -- FOR THE MOMENT [HUNTER GRAY / HUNTER BEAR] DECEMBER 2 2008
After I completed this Account, a great deal more, of course, happened. Among all of That were such matters as my Great UFO course at the University of North Dakota. And then, drawing from many obvious ill motives, the fast growing and pervasive hostility toward me in certain administrative and faculty quarters -- though never from my vast array of always very supportive students and friends. [See the immediately preceding page, UFOs, ETs, and Close Extraterrestrial Encounters: Some Personal Reflections by Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]
In addition to my life-long social justice activities and activist writing, I spent several years carefully recording in writing everything that I could regarding our ET encounters and their meaning, deep and high. And I corresponded with a great many people, nationally and globally. Those ET materials make up a very substantial collection which exists both in my direct possession -- and in my Collected Papers at State Historical Society of Wisconsin and Mississippi Department of Archives and History. In addition, I did several hundred radio and television interviews far and away, a fair number with print media, a major national television film presentation, and spoke numerous times on the ET topic at many gatherings both small and large all over this country.
And I have found most people to be quite receptive.
And then there was another -- another -- ET encounter. This was late at night in 1997. And again, this involved both myself and John III -- the first time we had driven extensively together since the 1988 episode. We were returning to North Dakota from Idaho where I had just purchased our present home.
I present Shawn Casteel's words in his fine write-up: "Interview with John Hunter Gray" [UFO Magazine, September 2000] -- discussed on the preceding page of our website. One result of this particular experience especially caught his eye:
"In July of 1997, a few years after leaving his teaching post, Gray and his son John III, had a second close encounter together, this time just east of Billings, Montana.
"As always, it was friendly, " Gray said. The aliens apparently took the opportunity to administer a "booster shot." Gray feels that "the numerous and consistently positive physiological changes which occurred following the 1988 experiences still continue right along -- but appear to have been enhanced to some extent by the 1997 encounter."
However, the more recent encounter did create one new and startling physiological change in Gray, a change that necessitated a new pair of boots. "After the Montana encounter, my feet -- for many years size 13-D -- grew suddenly over the late summer and fall of 1997 to size 14."
[In 1989, a year or so after the '88 encounter, my feet had slowly began to grow from size 12-D to size 13-D where they remained for years.]
By 2004, my feet had grown to size 16 and, in 2005, came close to size 17.
Then, at least for the time being, they've stopped growing -- with my left foot a size 17 and the right one nearly so.
In 1990, a leading ET researcher, Thomas E. Bullard of Indiana University, very kindly sent me -- as a most welcome gift -- his massive two volume set, UFO Abductions: A Measure of a Mystery [Fund for UFO Research]. This is truly a great lode of rich ore.
In his inscription to me, he wrote these fine words: "For John Salter / with respect for your courage / with best wishes on your continuing journey of discovery."
Life for me has always been "a journey of discovery" -- a continuing Adventure, sometimes on tough trail, but always replete with bright visionary vistas, challenging rivers to cross, shining mountains to climb.
I always keep going -- fighting on.
In the mountains of Eastern Idaho