As a child I remember watching the moths bounce off my grandparent’s kitchen window at night. They hit the window with such rapid succession it sounded like raindrops on the roof. Besides moon and starlight the only outside light was provided by the neighboring farmhouses’ security lights that dotted the countryside. This was the early to mid-1960s and their one bedroom farmhouse was complete with a coal burning stove, running water in the kitchen, and a two-hole outhouse in the backyard.
The major holidays attracted all the family members including aunts, uncles, and cousins you almost forgot about. Can you imagine putting 20-30 people in a house that small? That’s why once dinner was over and the table was being cleared most of us escaped from the house like rats from a sinking ship. Once outside, activities were limited. Grandpa could show you the new tools he bought, you could roam through the abandoned chicken coop, go through the barn attic, and then there were the woods.
Grandma loved to fish and invited me to go along. There was one condition; I had to spend the night sleeping on the couch in the living room and get up at 5 a.m. Sounds simple enough, except I think that everyone remembers what it’s like sleeping in a strange house for the first time. I heard creeps, crackles, and then the constant ticking of the grandfather clock all night long. But why were there sounds of moths hitting the kitchen window? The room lights were out. I couldn’t see anything at the kitchen window and was almost afraid to look at the nearer living room window. Finally I built up the courage to look at the window and nothing was there except the faint moonlight. For some reason, call it a sixth sense, I still felt something was out there. Whatever it was, it was just out of sight, completely devoid of emotion and waiting.
I may have slept sometime that night from sheer exhaustion, but to be honest I’m not sure. This simple event could be attributed to a child’s paranoia of the unknown. The unfamiliar surroundings combined with a child’s imagination let his emotions run wild. Classify this as case closed and quit wasting my time. Normally I would agree except this is the earliest episode I could recall during a series of three regressions conducted the last year.
Here I am, 60 years old and submitting myself to regressions and the possible ridicule from my peers. I’m not a logger, nor part of a couple traveling near Lincoln, New Hampshire. I see myself as a professional, somewhat well-educated with a master’s in education who’s entering the golden years of his life. Thirty-plus years in education, well respected by my graduates, and now I’m chasing fragmented memories of a white owl. Why the transition from moths to a white owl? Memories of an encounter with an owl are responsible for my series of regressions; the moth is me being drawn to the flame.
Flame is normally associated with fire, a state of combustion, or possibly a sweetheart. In my case the flame is this moth I’m attracted to is like no other you have ever seen. The flame in my regressions is short, gray, and has large black eyes that seem like they absorb all light. While a fire can dance into different shapes, this flame may have the unique ability to morph into completely different personas of reality in my mind.
The series of regressions began by a passing comment I made to friend. Besides an association with MUFON I am co-director of the Cleveland Ufology Project with Aaron Clark. During one of our conversations I mentioned a childhood encounter with a large white owl. I told Aaron what was so unusual about the encounter was how intent my friend Roy was about what we saw. So the readers of this story don’t feel left out, let me repeat what I told Aaron.
The setting is a few miles outside Inman, South Carolina, around 1967 to 1968. The county road we lived on was bordered by peach orchards, kudzu vines, and a spattering of houses and mobile homes. We lived in one of these mobile homes while my friend Roy lived in an old farmhouse on the other side of the road. Being such a rural area there was not a whole lot for two teenagers to do other than ride bikes, walk through the woods and go hunting. It was on one of our hunting expeditions for big game by the name of Maytag and Frigidaire that we had an encounter. You see we normally shot more abandoned appliances left in the peach orchards than we did any animals.
It was on one of these excursions that we left Roy’s in the afternoon and went to the woods behind his house. As we walked into the woods nothing seemed unusual. There was the normal activity of squirrels and birds flitting between the tree branches. But as we got deeper into the woods Roy began to get a little bit more edgy and nervous. Roy was two years my senior, had hunted the woods for a number of years and even though we were armed with rifles his nervousness continued to increase. Roy asked me if I noticed anything unusual about the woods. Nothing was unusual to me except the fact I didn’t see squirrels are birds or hear any noises associated with their movement. Roy said that was exactly it. All the animal life had seemed to part as if on cue. This is when Roy began to tell me about some mysterious creature called the “swamp willy.”
The swamp willy had a somewhat Bigfoot-like description and had been rumored to wander these woods. When it came around everything would go quiet as if in fear for its existence. I wasn’t sure what to make of Roy’s story. Was he trying to be scared as if telling a campfire story? It was at this point that I looked up to see a white object, shiny in appearance and approximately the size of the sun moving just above the treetops. Roy picked up his pace and made the decision to get out of the woods as fast as possible. Instead of heading directly back towards our homes he went the opposite direction to the nearest county road. All of his body language was now telling me this was no campfire story. Roy wanted out of the woods as fast as possible. It was on exiting the woods that he mentioned the large white owl that we had seen.
We - what did he mean by we? I barely remembered anything about the owl other than the fact it was extremely large and had been in front of us. It was right after I’d seen the object floating above the treetops and he’d made the decision to run for the woods. As we walked back the longer route home Roy talked of the large white owl. I kept trying to replay the scene over and over in my mind to no avail. I remembered the silver white object floating above the trees, then running from the woods.
Was there really a creature called the swamp willy that justified his terror? That I’ll never know, but idle curiosity did peak my interest to see if there were any reports of unusual creatures in the region. I did find a report from August of 1993 in which the witness reported a terrifying experience with a large hairy creature in the woods near his home. I was surprised to see his home was not just near mine, it was on the same road. That’s the story as I remember it.
What piqued Aaron’s interest in my story was the encounter with the white owl. There had been reports of individuals in abduction cases who reported seeing a large white owl. Why an owl? It could be that the entity plants the seed of a less threatening persona in the abductee’s mind. That image needs an association with certain characteristics of the entity. What I remember of the incident was the eyes. They were dark, unblinking, emotionless and with the ability to peer into my soul.
It was a day or two later I received an email from Cassandra Kletch. Cass has conducted regressions over the past I’m not sure how many years. I just know she has been performing them longer than the six years I’ve done investigations. In the email Cass informed me Aaron reached out to her and thought I may like to try regression. After a little hesitation I agreed. My reason for the hesitation was not this event or the one at my grandmothers. Over a period from the early to mid-60s extending to about 1971, I had numerous periods of sleep paralysis, apprehension that something was observing me or coming for me, and a nervous condition prompting a six-year battle with ulcers that nearly took my life.
Often I’ve wondered what attracted me to ufology. I started reading about the subject in the late 1960s and that tattered copy of Frank Edwards Flying Saucers: Serious Business is probably someplace in my attic. My passion, or better yet obsession with the subject led to me join MUFON and advance from Field Investigator to State Director and STAR Team Member. I can’t count the number of nights I’ve stayed up either doing cases or reviewing them while I lay in bed. There is also my sixth sense that seems to come alive when talking to certain witnesses. When reviewing cases with a small percentage of witnesses I begin to visualize what is in the witnesses’ mind before they speak. It’s like we have a connection that goes beyond words. Maybe that unseen link is what draws this moth to the flame.