Utahns Abducted by Aliens | Cover Story | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Utahns Abducted by Aliens 

Touched by an Alien: Some Utahns claim their encounters with extraterrestrials are too close for comfort.

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“When you are an abductee,” MUFON’s Douglass says, “they are coming for you many times, and they will keep coming for you. If you could say, ‘I’d like for this to stop,’ their response would be, ‘It’s not going to stop.’ They aren’t going to encounter you in your normal state of mind. They capture you and subdue you, and you can’t resist. Then they take your memory away.”

She says such experiences start in childhood and keep going. “They are just using you for some purpose and you don’t have a choice about that. This extraterrestrial life is intent on doing things here on its own terms and doesn’t care if we would want to sit down and speak rationally with it.”

Ron Johnson remembers little of an experience in 1971, when he was driving north on Wyoming 89, 12 miles north of Evanston, at 11 p.m. After buying gas and a microwave burrito, he drove along the road as it veered back into Utah. “I was driving along when, all of a sudden, there was a big massive light—so bright I couldn’t even see where I was going and could hardly see inside the truck. After the light flash, Johnson’s next memory is of sitting inside his truck while it was parked at the side of the road. Another hypnotherapy session with Spendlove brought back a memory of seeing a spacecraft during the incident.

Glenys Moore, now living in Ogden, shares a similar experience from a year ago when she initially thought she saw two stars in the sky that she hadn’t seen before. “Then, a vibrant, silvery blue light soared toward the rear of my truck. A big ball of bluish light swooped down over my truck with breakneck speed. It was so bright that it lit up the inside of my truck and the surrounding area.” She says the light proceeded down the highway to where the two “stars” were. “It came into that light and then they all shot off in the blink of an eye.” Moore says her legs “turned to rubber bands,” and she had to let her friend drive afterward.

Spendlove says that people who have extraterrestrial experiences often come back with a broader understanding of the universe. “It profoundly affects their views in that they are more spiritual and less into organized religions,” says Spendlove.

Anderson says that an extraterrestrial or interdimensional encounter “gives you a whole new outlook on everything you thought you knew and believed. You are questioning everything. Nothing is as real as it seems on this planet. The things going on interdimensionally with humans have other implications.”

He says that following an extraterrestrial experience, some people feel like they are walking between two worlds. “In a way, it’s like being James Bond. You know the extraterrestrial experiences are real, but then you have to put that aside and go to work and live your everyday life.”

Some abductees also return physically changed. Like the crescent mark on Anderson’s son’s leg, Spendlove adds that scoop marks, bruises or two “snake bite” marks on ankles have been observed. “Sometimes [abductees] are put back in bed with someone else’s nightclothes on,” she explains. She has heard of one account where many people in a single neighborhood were taken at night, and another where two boys were taken and returned to each other’s homes.

She adds that it is common for abductees to have more than one extraterrestrial experience. Some have a family history where multiple generations of people have had extraterrestrial experiences. Why would aliens choose to take more than one member of the same family? “There are lots of things you could learn by studying a family,” she says. “In some families, people don’t mind discussing it because they have lived with it for so long.”

Spendlove says that it is the aliens’ choice to abduct a particular individual and that those who want—or seek—to have this experience strike her as childish. On the other hand, Spendlove says, because of her own longtime interest she wouldn’t mind if an extraterrestrial experience were in her future. She says interest in extraterrestrial experiences abounds because “many people feel that there is more to life than what is on this planet.”

After hypnotherapy, Spendlove’s patients feel a sense of relief in learning what happened to them. “They are grateful to know that there are beings from other worlds visiting us and that they have had an opportunity to be touched. It’s a spiritual awakening. There is something outside of church that interacts with beings not on the Earth.”

Such experiences, Spendlove says, are life changing because people realize that “what they see in their 3-D world is a limited view of the world.” Extraterrestrial experiences resemble near-death experiences in that they carry the message that that life is eternal; people who have had such experiences are not afraid to die.

To people who feel that they are privileged by having such extraterrestrial experiences, Douglass says, “We all want to know about extraterrestrial life, but we don’t want to be captured by it. If you are in the grips of something like this, you might as well make it into a positive thing in your mind. You don’t have a choice, therefore, your mind has got to tell you it is all for the best.”

MUFON has a local membership organization called Mutual Utah UFO Network (MUUFON). According to Douglass, the group of citizen investigators looks into local UFO sightings and events. MUUFON meetings are held monthly in Spendlove’s suburban West Valley City home. With attendees seated around card tables, the mood is one of acceptance. The discussion ranges from Bigfoot to UFOs at Area 51 in Nevada to paranormal investigations in Tooele. No one offers skeptical criticisms, but the questions fly fast and furious. Do Bigfoot creatures sometimes have white fur? Is it possible to drive to Area 51?

In an event Douglass herself investigated, a man was driving in Cisco, Utah, on U.S. 50 at 2 a.m. He saw an amber disc rotating counterclockwise. It came up from behind the hill and rose 200 feet, and his car stalled. “It came to a stop in the middle of a two-lane road,” says Douglass. “The last thing he remembered hearing on the radio was the time, 2:08 a.m., on KSL Radio in Salt Lake City.” The man’s next awareness was that he was leaning out the window, watching something move across the sky to the northwest. “He tried to start his car, and it died, because the clutch was still engaged. The radio was playing and the announcer said it was 2:44 a.m.”

After years of such experiences that have included sightings, dreams and actual abductions, Johnson now feels more comfortable discussing his extraterrestrial experiences than in years past. “Years ago, I wouldn’t tell anybody. I’d just clam up,” he recalls. “But I find that it’s not so traumatic now.”

Moore, who holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology, finds it refreshing to discuss her experiences after years of silence. “The silence comes from fear that people will say we have lost our minds.”

Some would argue that it is the mind that is playing tricks on them. “I don’t think that most people who report abduction experiences are dishonest or crazy. Most of them have likely had very real—or at least realistic—experiences,” says Patrick Orlob, president of Salt Lake City Skeptics. Orlob feels that such people are more likely to have experienced a phenomenon such as sleep paralysis, a hallucinatory, semiconscious state where one’s body is immobilized. In this state, the brain can create visceral hallucinations. “In the Middle Ages, sleep paralysis might have been accompanied by terrifying visions of cloven-hoofed demons, vampires or succubi,” says Orlob. “Today, we see skinny gray aliens because that’s what our brains, in a way, expect to see when in these kinds of conditions.”

For Orlob, it’s about plausibility. He asks, “What’s more likely? That someone experienced a visceral, realistic hallucination under a well-understood and not-uncommon neurological state, or that a race of humanoid beings traveled thousands of light years with technology we can’t imagine, picking up the occasional random person and performing experiments for no apparent reason?”

Does he feel that it’s possible that alien abductions actually occur? “Sure. But until we have evidence that cannot be reconciled with Earth-bound, well-understood explanations, it’s not reasonable to conclude that aliens are responsible for these events.”

Indeed, there are those who say that extraterrestrial encounters are impossible. “We don’t find any more evidence of alien abduction or extraterrestrial beings than we do supernatural gods or deity,” says Joel Layton, president and director of Atheists of Utah. He recalls the Carl Sagan quote: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." In the case of extraterrestrial encounters, he says, “We feel that the evidence just isn’t there.”

In 2008, for the first time, Johnson was willing to discuss finding tangible physical evidence of alien encounters following several instances of sexual relations with extraterrestrials that occurred over many years. He describes lying on a table having intimate encounters with scrawny-looking, near-anorexic aliens with large eyes. For him, it felt like having sex with a mannequin. “They had no life to them.”

He says he always awoke with a green residue–the color of lime sherbet and texture of Karo syrup—in his underwear. He says he encountered a young man from England at a UFO conference in Laughlin, Nev., who had similar experiences. Recalling his many encounters, Johnson wishes that “whatever the aliens want to do with me, I wish they would let me know what it is.”

Do aliens ever keep people permanently? “We would never know,” says Douglass. “I don’t know of any abductees who have vanished. But there are a lot of missing people. We don’t know where they go. If abductees are taken and kept, the aliens are perfectly capable of doing it.” 

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About The Author

Carolyn Campbell

Carolyn Campbell

Campbell has been writing for City Weekly since the 1980s. Her insightful pieces have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists chapters in Utah and Colorado.

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