PJ's Personal Archives

Close Up UFO

It was 1973, and I was eight years old, living with my mother in Ventura, California. Dad had remarried and lived across town. Mom, who'd spent her life raising kids instead of getting job skills, was on welfare about the minute she and dad divorced, and she and I were very poor; we lived an amazing number of places in one year, even in a tent at a park for awhile, and at the homes of a lot of different people. During one period we had a normal home, an apartment, living with this man who had a job working for the City Street Dept. I was wild, and usually outside playing until well after dark.

Mother had been diagnosed as having terminal cancer, and she had a difficult time dealing with it, as anybody would I suppose. She drank a great deal. I was often alone; she'd be in Mexico, looking for miracle drugs, or I'd come home and a neighbor would say that she'd been taken away in the ambulance again. Most often, she'd be at a bar somewhere. I felt so sorry for her, but I had no idea she was going to die, not back then; nobody thought to tell me that, and I was pretty shocked that she didn't get better.

My best friend was Gina. She lived a few doors away, and we were inseparable. One quiet night, I'm pretty sure it was Autumn, Gina was staying the night with me, as mom was gone again. Though it was school time, we were often unsupervised, and out until late; Gina's mother was pretty relaxed about that sort of thing, as long as we stayed nearby.

So that particular night it was dark when I remembered I'd left my pearl ring outside, on the far side of the swimming pool. Mom's boyfriend had bought it for me at a Sea park, and I'd hung it on a faucet to keep from losing it while swimming. My back sliding glass door faced the community pool of our apartments, reachable just down the few wooden steps of our porch, and the light inside the pool gave a nice glow to the whole enclosed area in the evening. Gina and I walked around to the far side to get my ring, chatting about mundane things, not paying attention to much. I picked up the ring and we began back.

And this big round thing appeared. It didn't seem to go from one place to another, it seemed to just flat out materialize in thin air. The part nearest me was barely above the other end of the pool, and the whole thing was just a little above the roof of the two story apartments that surrounded the pool. It was large, I'd say about a 35 foot diameter; it was roundish, not quite a perfect ball, just a little bit shorter in top to-bottom length than side to-side length. It was a dark orange red, and it was a light, or was lit, or was giving off light: I could see no features, there was just this big glowing red-orange globe hanging in the air where a second before there had been nothing.

Gina and I were motionless as we stared up at it in frozen awe.

It almost seemed to "breathe;" it got larger and smaller, expanding and contracting quickly. There was a hum I could hear, and feel inside my head like a fuzz, and the hum changed pitch with the shape change, as if the movement were creating it, and the sound moved inside my head to match. It made my head feel even fuzzier, as if I were gradually becoming part of it and I was changing size too.

Behind the pool was a car lot with dogs guarding it, which were oddly quiet. You'd think, being such an outgoing kid, I would have been excitable, but I was quiet too, I just stared at it. I simply couldn't move, and knew I couldn't without even trying. Even my mind was slightly numb, and getting moreso by the second. From the periphery of my vision I knew that Gina was standing beside me, trapped in the same sort of shock.

The next thing I remember, and it's a very, very dim memory, is of Gina and I in the house, crying, closing windows and curtains.


The next morning I'd all but forgotten about it. It was more like a dream, a bit in the "back of my mind." I don't remember whether Gina had gone home that night or not, only that despite how amazing it was, Gina and I didn't even think to mention it the next morning while walking to school. But Alan, a kid in my schoolroom, was a cop's son. (Interesting that he's the only kid's name I remember from that school year.) And the next morning he rushes in and shouts that his father said there had been all kinds of calls the night before to the cops from locals saying they'd seen "a UFO." I was interested. Was that what it was?

A crowd of kids gathered around him, and a few shouted, I saw that! There were all kinds of silly descriptions, and though I was usually boisterous, I was hesitant to add mine, or to join the conversation; I stood by, unusually quiet. None of the kids making so much noise had a description like mine, and I concluded that they were probably making it up.

I don't know that this is relevant to anything, but for trivia, I should mention that the pitch change that accompanied the red thing, it was just a tad slower, and a similar pitch interval (not the same sound or tone, just the same interval) to what I now know to be an old British police siren. (They're a bit different from American sirens.) A breathy, buzzy kind of sound, though. The size change was physically impossible as far as I know, it even looked impossible then, and this might be part of why I so completely forgot about it. And I've no memory of the light of the object lighting up the pool area with its glowing dark red-orange; it sort of "kept its light to itself" somehow.

I know, none of it makes sense.

That was in Autumn of 1973. I completely forgot about it.

(And I never did find the pearl ring I'd had in my hand when it appeared.)

I'd guess about three years later, age 11 or 12 or so, I was living with my father and my first stepmother on the other side of town. I hadn't seen Gina since awhile after the incident; I'd moved away when mom got too sick, and when I was 9 she had died. But who should come walking through my apartment complex but Gina! Her mother was visiting a friend nearby. We were amazed to find each other again, and sat in the playground and talked for hours. She had finally perfected the "shoulder shimmy" dance move, and had an astonishing figure for her young age -- I remembering being suitably impressed, and we laughed and had lots of fun talking again. At one point, she suddenly stiffened and exclaimed, "Oh my God, remember that thing we saw? I'd forgot all about it till just now!" And I remembered like a flash, and we both exclaimed, "Yeah, wow!"

And then I completely forgot about it again.

Four or five years later I was living with a friend's family. I can't remember who it was watching some UFO special on TV. I wasn't bothering; I was disinterested in anything to do with the subject. Intellectually it was alright, and I loved science fiction, but I just couldn't seem to get myself to read or watch anything related to UFOs. Star Trek was wonderful, but anything that even suggested the subject was "real" instead of creative fiction, I avoided, and even the term "UFO" made me want to walk the other way. So I was doing laundry instead. Coming in from the garage and the clothes dryer, I stopped in the doorway of the family room to let the door shut against me, so it wouldn't slam. I just happened to be facing, and so looking right at, the TV.

There was what appeared to be a videotape being shown. As far as I could tell in the first two seconds, it was pretty unreliable, you could barely see the thing. It was some dark object, apparently filmed during daylight or dusk. I was just beginning to smile and roll my eyes and make some joke when something about the object arrested my attention, and as I simply froze and gaped at it, the narrator said something to the effect that it appeared to change size. The sight of it changing, larger then smaller and back again, even so dimly, suddenly made me feel like a balloon was opening and bursting inside my chest; the explanation made me gasp, and I quietly dropped the laundry basket in shock. Standing there, all the memories came rushing back at me, all at once, as vividly as if they had just happened.

I stood there in the doorway for a minute kind of shell shocked, not seeing or hearing anything else. First by the memory. But then, more so, by the fact that I had completely forgotten about it, twice. For some reason that immediately bothered me.

I went into the bedroom, sat down and thought about it for awhile, replaying the newly-discovered yet vivid memories in my head. I was frustrated that I couldn't remember how Gina and I got from the other side of the pool into the house. Did the object leave? Did we get bored of it? No idea. I remember standing there frozen, is all. It seemed like I would have screamed, or there would be some other prominent (and probably amusing) memory of our reaction. I figured I could have "spaced out" the maybe 11 seconds it would have taken to break out of the stasis-shock and get to the point where my (abruptly dim and dreamy) memory picks up, but I didn't know why I couldn't remember, considering how vivid and linear the rest of the memory was. How long, I wondered, had we stood there?


In retrospect I'm able to see that within a month or two of that memory at age 15 or 16, I developed an almost obsessive interest in things like psi, psychology and hypnosis. I still had a major "disinterest" in the subject of UFOs. I plunged into reading hypnosis and psychology texts, studying theology and cults and work done on psi talents and other things that seemed unrelated... but now I'm not so sure about that.

A few years ago, when I was in the Mesmer Society out in North Hollywood, a few folks asked me to come to MUFON meetings and similar clubs to work as a hypnotist for regressions with people of "alien abductions." I just laughed. I had to refuse, even though friends like E. and R. were involved in the field, and they're obviously intelligent, far more than average.

But I suspected that "alien abduction" stories were more about the hypnotist's interest than the subject's anyway. I refused to have anything to do with it.

And yet, I remember that from age 17 or so, I'd gotten the idea that I'd like to be hypnotically regressed to remember more about what happened in the event with Gina. But despite this, and despite eventually being surrounded by hypnotists who would love to do such a regression, I've just never gotten around to it. Every time I had the perfect chance, I forgot. Sometimes, rarely but it's happened, friends have had discussions about the subject, and I go home and realize that in the midst of that, I never mentioned the experience at age eight, or other things... oddly enough, I'd just completely forgotten about them.

I never saw Gina again. I don't even know her last name. Too bad. It would be interesting to ask if she remembers.


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