Embarrassing! It is one word but it applies so succinctly to my reaction to a complete inability to assist one family which had observed multiple UFOs near Fort Lee, Virginia in February of 1999. After experiencing an enormous number of run-ins with UFOs and other unknowns, I decided to join a prestigious organization dedicated to studying the UFO phenomenon. This organization just happened to be MUFON, the Mutual Unidentified Flying Object(s) Network. Accolades abound concerning its no nonsense approach to investigating UFO sightings and potential abductions. Nancy and I joined this organization to learn what UFO sightings were being reported in Virginia. Being a member was a real eye opener. My assistance in talking to four members of one Hopewell family brought on a sense of embarrassment about something I thought I had acquired some knowledge about – my constant contact with the unknown.
In a big way, I was wrong. No one can relive someone else’s experiences because everyone reacts differently to life’s bumps, bruises, and bashes. What often frightens most individuals will thrill and excite a few brave souls. When I was asked to be a regional director for Central Virginia’s MUFON, I accepted. Nancy and I together attended state meetings of MUFON and one International MUFON Conference held in 1998 in Washington D.C., in a hotel across the street from the Reagan International Airport. At the International Conference, we heard dozens of stories about alien encounters and other strange accounts divulged by ordinary people and victims of abductions who had come from all over the world. I believed all of my personal encounters, in total, with the unknowns along with hearing countless stories through the MUFON grapevine had provided me with the necessary tools and in-depth understanding to assist other individuals in fitting together the pieces of their encounters. However, I was not prepared to deal with the consequences of emotional turmoil and pain incurred by individuals unable to deal with the aftermath of their alien encounters. To my dismay, MUFON did not have a plan of action to help these individuals who had their normal lives twisted and ruptured by facing the unknown. In one case dealing with a “newly twisted and ruptured” family living in Hopewell, Virginia, I recognized my weaknesses and was abhorred to discover MUFON’s reaction was no better than what could be expected from a cold heartless governmental agency.
I was approached by Rick, the State Director for MUFON, who asked if I would join him and Westy, the western regional director, to interview members of a Hopewell family which had a recent encounter involving multiple UFOs. At the outset of this investigation, I was ecstatic with anticipation of meeting other “Hopewellians” who had seen aliens or alien ships. I was going back to my hometown where most of my childhood encounters had occurred, and I would be talking to other people who might have had experiences similar to what I endured as a youngster. Complications developed quickly when I realized I was not invited to the initial interviews with each family member and this was the family’s second (gentle) interrogation. I surmised that the MUFON team had missed something during the first interviews. The team most likely thought by having an ex-Hopewell native with them during a second meeting with the family might expose something new - maybe an unusual angle they had missed previously. They were right.
(For the sake of the family’s privacy, I have changed names and excluded names whenever possible.) When Rick, Westy, and I arrived at the home of this family, everything seemed normal at first. Mrs. Oaker welcomed us in at the front door and Mr. Oaker stayed his distance. He remained in the kitchen while we interviewed each family member separately in their living room. Three children and their mother were the individuals involved in the encounter with multiple alien ships. Mrs. Oaker was friendly and explained that one of her sons did not wish to participate in the interviewing process. According to her, he had been affected negatively by the encounter which she thought had caused him to argue frequently and aggressively with his brother and sister. I asked her to tell him I knew what he was going through because I had similar encounters during the entire time I lived in Hopewell. Mrs. Oaker went to his bedroom and I heard an almost audible conversation. For a while, he refused to show himself.
Rick began the interviews and I followed them up with spontaneous questioning based on what I had heard, and more importantly, on what I had not heard. We talked with the mother first followed by the daughter and one son. As always each told a different story, but this was exactly what I expected. Mrs. Oaker stated they were riding down reformatory road near the Petersburg Federal Reformatory on their way to buy clothes from a Peebles department store in Colonial Heights. She indicated as they approached a sharp curve on the road, a gigantic craft, possibly a saucer shaped floating vehicle, seemed to rise from the horizon. It moved parallel to the road at a slow pace just above the tree tops. To get a better view, Mrs. Oaker drove a couple hundred yards and turned right onto a road which led to a government housing complex where guards and their families lived. The giant ship floated above the trees and some of the houses. Mrs. Oaker exclaimed her amazement that quite a few people were in the yards and on the porches, but they did not indicate in anyway, by pointing, jumping up and down, or screaming they had seen the huge UFO floating above them. Mrs. Oaker and her two children agreed to everything up to this point. Their stories almost sounded like separate encounters after the point in their stories where Mrs. Oaker firmly testified she had parked her car.
Mrs. Oaker claimed no one left the car but she thought someone had rolled down a window. Both son and daughter disagreed with her saying all four had opened the car doors and proceeded to leave the car behind them as they approached the gigantic craft. Mrs. Oaker showed some surprise when she realized differences existed between her story and those of her children. When I asked how many UFO vessels they were able to see and their approximate size, the mother affirmed that there was one huge craft which was hundreds of feet across. Floating near it was one small white cylinder somewhere between 20 to 30 feet in length. Her children disagreed with their mother and with each other on whether there were three or four smaller white UFOs hovering near the larger UFO. All three agreed however that the dark UFO was hundreds of feet across.
At this stage of the interviews, I realized I had to ask a critical question. I really hated to ask it because disagreement already prospered in the Oaker household and tension had risen between mother and children. So, I took a back door approach.
I asked, “Were you able to get your shopping done at Peebles?”
Mrs. Oaker’s face became pale as she answered, “No, by the time we got there, they were starting to close.”
I asked, “Did you leave with plenty of time for shopping?”
Mrs. Oaker eyebrows raised and she replied, “It was Sunday and the store closed earlier than normal, but we left home with about 2 ½ hours left before the store closed.”
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