Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Owls Are Not What They've Seen


 During my Operation Trojan Horse re-read I kept seeing the year of my birth- 1966- recur throughout the text. It was a busy year for UFOlogists in general but for Keel especially, since it brought him to Point Pleasant, WV to investigate the Mothman drama, with its attendant aftershocks like the saucer flap and the MIB invasion. 

1966 was a fascinating year in many ways- absolutely pivotal in a Secret Sun context, really. It saw the first landing of a spacecraft on another planet's surface (the Soviet Venera 3), the maiden flight of Skunkworks' SR-71, the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in China (which eliminationist ideologues like PZ Myers' wretched minions would desperately love to reenact in America) and the first craft to enter lunar orbit (the Soviet Luna 10).

Villas Boas, writ large

1966 also saw the premieres of Star Trek, Batman, The Monkees, Dark Shadows, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas on TV, the first "new Doctor" (Patrick Troughton), the creation of Anton LaVey's Church of Satan (and the production and subsequent theft of Kenneth Anger's original Lucifer Rising, or so the story goes) and Timothy Leary's League of Spiritual Discovery, the peak of the original Hippie movement in San Francisco (marked by Ken Kesey's Acid Tests at the Fillmore and Grace Slick's recruitment to the Jefferson Airplane) and the rise of The Pink Floyd as "the soundtrack of the counterculture" in London. Not to be outdone, the US Gov't outlawed the use and distribution of LSD in 1966 as well.

The Secret Sun's sizable UK contingent surely remembers 1966 was also the first and last time England won the World Cup. 1966 saw the release of "Good Vibrations," "Eight Miles High" (and "Mr. Spaceman," to boot), Pet Sounds and Revolver, as well as the recording of The Doors and Sgt. Pepper.

Jack Kirby was absolutely on fire in 1966; that year saw the debuts of the Silver Surfer and Galactus in Fantastic Four and Ego the Living Planet and the High Evolutionary in Thor as well as the Thor/Hercules replay of the Eleusinian Mystery and the "Cosmic Cube" Alchemical drama in Captain America (which was later adapted in the 2011 film). 

It also saw the last Spider-Man and Doctor Strange stories Steve Ditko would ever draw and the last James Bond 007 stories Ian Fleming would ever publish. 

You get the picture. Feel free to add your own 1966 milestones in the comments section, but the point is that it seemed to be a peak year in many ways. I'm sorry I was too young to experience it properly. 

But there was another bit of high weirdness in 1966 that I wrote about here a while back, and I wanted to revisit it with my Trojan Horse re-read still fresh in my mind:

Here's just a small sampling of the owl imagery I grew up surrounded by. That's me, in a corner of the dining room, probably sometime around 1972 or 1973. Most of the imagery was in the living room- there was a kind of alcove set into the wall that my dad used as a bar and then my mother used as a kind of shrine, with all kinds of owl figurines there. Later we put the TV there.
Now, I have no reason at all to believe that my mother was an alien abductee, but there is one particular story I remember her telling me... She said that just before I was born she put my sister down for naps and then would often take one herself. But she would have this recurring nightmare that a "witch" was on the porch and was trying to come into the house while my mother was asleep on the sofa.
That was the same exact spot I had the leprechaun hallucination you're all so sick of hearing about.
The typical anxiety of an expectant mother? Probably. But the recurring nature of the nightmare is a bit curious. 

I also remembered another nightmare my mother told me she had before I was born: she was on a plane with my sister (who was about 2 at the time). But they were standing, not sitting, for some reason. Suddenly a door opened in the floor and my mother watched in horror as my sister was pulled through it and fell through the clouds. Stressful thing, motherhood. 

 Also curious is the fact that -- as I mentioned-- this was the same exact spot where I had my own encounter with high weirdness, though not the first-- or the last-- such encounter. 

It's also the same spot featured in a nightmare that I'm only 99.9% certain was a dream and not a confused memory of a poltergeist encounter (or should I say another encounter):
It's 9 o'clock at night. My mother tells me she has to run down to Weymouth Landing to the store. I ask here to take me with her, because I'm afraid to be home alone. She gets irritated and tells me she won't be long. She leaves and I sit in the kitchen alone. Then a knock comes at the back door but I don't see anyone there. I'm scared shitless. It comes again. I sit there terrified. Again. And then it stops. Then all at once all of the doors and drawers in the house begin opening and closing by themselves, violently and rapidly.
That one still gives me chills, most of all because it was so un-dreamlike. 

But there's another puzzle piece to the story, one that I caught a glimpse of Trojan Horse and then corroborated in Passport to Magonia: There was a major UFO flap in eastern Massachusetts in the Spring of 1966. 

From the NICAP site

March 29, 1966; Haverhill-Merrimac, MA 9:15 p.m. EST. About 15-20 miles southwest of Hampton, New Hampshire, several professional people including a deputy sheriff and a teacher saw a pulsating luminous white object moving back and forth. 

March 30, 1966; Rehoboth, MA 8:00 p.m. EST. Three separate groups of witnesses had a series of sightings over a period of nearly two hours, including an object with amber body lights that passed over a car and hovered just off the road. 

April 12, 1966; Dorchester, MA 
7:45 p.m. EST. Witnesses reported a low-flying oval object with dome on top and colored lights around its perimeter, circling over a schoolhouse and bobbing up and down. Coincident power failure (EM effects) in nearby Roxbury. 

April 12, 1966; Brockton, MA 
1 0:00 p.m. EST. An elongated elliptical (or cigar-like) object with a bright red-orange light at each end was seen hovering off Route 24. 

April 16, 1966; Sherborn, MA 7:55 p.m. EST. An elongated elliptical object with bright red light on each end and blue lights along its perimeter was seen hovering off Route 16. 

April 17, 1966; Danvers, MA 
7:15 p.m. EST. Several groups of witnesses reported an elliptical object with rotating white lights around its perimeter. 

April 17, 1966; Peabody, MA
 7:30-7:45 p.m. EST. Fifteen minutes later 5 miles south of Danvers, a series of sightings was reported by independent witnesses. 

April 17, 1966; Wakefield, MA 
8:30 p.m. EST. About 9 miles southwest of Peabody, witnesses reported an oval object making a humming sound. 

April 18, 1966; Peabody, MA
 7:15 p.m. EST. Several witnesses reported an oval object with blue glow, reddish-green flashing lights on each end. The object hovered, and sped back and forth several times.

April 19, 1966; Sharon, MA
 12:15 a.m. EST. Citizens and police called to the scene to investigate saw an oval or egg-shaped object with a glowing rim that looked like lighted windows, and a steady red light on each end. The object hovered, then disappeared when an aircraft approached, reappearing after it left. 

April 19, 1966; Peabody, MA 
12:00 p.m. EST. On the north-northeast side of the Boston metroplex, witnesses reported an oval object with red, green, and white body lights, oscillating up and down when in motion. 

April 19, 1966; Bellingham, MA
 10:00 p.m. EST. Two hours later about 80 miles east-northeast of Hartford, an elongated elliptical object with bright red lights on each end flew low, hovered, and made a hissing sound when moving. A separate report was received of a "piercing, humming object" two hours earlier at Stoughton. 

April 19, 1966; Quincy, MA
 11:45 p.m. EST. Several persons saw a large disc-shaped object accompanied by two smaller discs that flashed red and white lights, hovered and swung back and forth like a pendulum. 

April 22, 1966; Halifax, MA Time not reported. About 60 miles south of Beverly, three women saw a round object with colored blinking body lights pace above and ahead of heir car. A low humming sound was heard. (NICAP report form.) 

April 22, 1966; Springfield, MA Time not reported. About 110 miles west-southwest of Beverly, a teacher and a boy saw a dome-shaped object with three lights on its underside hover, then accelerate away. 

April 22, 1966; Beverly, MA 9:00 p.m. EST. Police and citizens saw three oval or elliptical objects flashing blue, green, red, and white lights circling low over the local high school. A humming sound was heard. 

April 22, 1966; Beverly, MA 9-9:45 p.m. Witnesses including 2 policemen spread over a distance of saw a platter shaped object the size of a large automobile, with 3 red-green-white lights, no sound, hover over Beverly High School then depart to the SW. A 

April 22, 1966; Wenham, MA 9:30 p.m. EST. Several witnesses at a college saw an orange circular object approach to within 600 feet at about 100 feet altitude. The object made a right angle turn and moved out of sight behind trees. 

April 23, 1966; Randolph, MA 8:40 p.m. EDT. Police and others in a rural lake area sighted an "elongated egg-shaped" (elliptical) object with white lights around its perimeter, colored flashing lights on its underside. 

April 23/24,1966; Dorchester, MA 10:30 p.m. EST. Members of a family about 13 miles north of Randolph, Mass., saw a disc with dome on top and blinking red lights around the edge, and a brilliant yellow light on top of the dome, bobbing up and down as it moved. The yellow light blinked or flashed alternately with the red lights. The object stopped, hovering over a building. 

April 24, 1966; Dorchester, MA 5:00 a.m. EDT. The same family as in the previous entry saw an identical oval or discoid object with dome and yellow light on top and red lights around the edge. flashing in the same pattern as the night before. The object emitted a humming sound and "weird, whirring, mechanical noises" as it bobbed around apparently close to the building. An explosive sound was heard, the windows rattled and furniture shook, and the lights went out. The family German shepherd dog whined and scratched at the door (animal reaction). The start of a power failure, which affected about 2,500 homes in the area, was officially timed at 4:57 a.m. 

April 24, 1966; Ashby, MA (BBU) 6:10 p.m. 2 men saw a silent object with a bright blue light on top dive within 100 ft of their car, then suddenly accelerate, and was lost to sight toward Mt. Watatic. 

May 1, 1966; Watertown, MA 10:00 p.m. EDT. Four witnesses saw an oval object with bright rotating red, green, and white lights pass over the Watertown Arsenal. 

June 11, 1966; Westport, MA 3:45 a.m. EDT. A disc shaped like two plates one on top of the other, with a dome on top, white, yellow, blue, and green flashing lights around the circumference (body lights), buzzed over a car and hovered ahead over the road. 

There may be more but you get the picture. There were scattered sightings later in the year but the bulk of them were concentrated in the Spring. Note the instances of power outages as well as all of the multi-witness sightings. Something was definitely going on in the skies over suburban Boston in 1966. 

Now this is all pretty stunning because I never remember hearing about a single UFO sighting when I was growing up there. There are UFO hotspots to be sure, but I never thought of Massachusetts as one of them. I remember a lot of ghost sightings and other general weirdness, but I can't remember hearing any UFO stories at all. 

This is particularly curious given that there was a Naval Air Base near my house and you figure just plain mistaken identity would play a part in local lore. But this stuff from 1966 is a total shock to me.

Either way, it can't help but make me wonder about those nightmares, never mind the parade of weirdness I have more tangible files of pertaining to that area.

I've told you about Braintree being the Twin Peaks of the South Shore (even if none of the NICAP reports came from Braintree proper) and I meant it. Note that- like school shooter Amy Bishop-- Mark Zuckerberg's new wife herself hails from the 'Tree. 

I can't help but think of Braintree native Steven Ivens, better known as the missing FBI agent from the Hollywood field office. They said he went up into the mountains over Burbank and disappeared-- did he find the Black Lodge there? Or had he found it already in his old hometown?