Mysteries & Paranormal /

SHANE CASHMAN: The Aliens Are Not Here to Save Us 

The first time they visited Bill Wiand, he was a child, and they carried him through his bedroom window and into the night sky.

He remembers flying over his town. He saw the river and the rooftops. He saw the boats at dock and the mountain peaks. The trees appeared to glow, and he ran his fingers through the leaves.

This started in the early 1950s in Peekskill, New York. The town’s about an hour north of New York City and sits at the edge of the Hudson River. There were six kids in the family, but he was the only one, as far as he knows, who was visited by the beings. He didn’t know then to call them “aliens” or “extraterrestrials.” But he knew the visitors were not human. They were small. The child’s size or smaller.

When Bill confessed to his mother that he’d been taken by the beings, she told the boy it was probably nightmares caused by his frequent reading of “Rip Van Winkle” — Washington Irving’s short story about a man who has too much to drink, falls asleep, meets some strange, small beings in elaborate clothes at the top of a mountain, and then he wakes up two decades later to an unrecognizable world. In 1798, during the yellow fever outbreak, Irving took his family out of Manhattan and stayed in Tarrytown, New York. This visit, and other visits he took along the Hudson River, would give him the inspiration to write stories like “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow happen to be right next to Peekskill — Bill’s hometown.

As a child, he knew what he experienced was far more real than a nightmare. He felt it in his bones — that he’d been removed from his room against his will. There was no mistaking the feeling of lost time and memory. It did not feel like sleep or dreams. It felt undeniable, but even then he knew that as soon as he verbalized it, it only made him sound crazy. The boy told him himself that maybe there was a reason Irving wrote Rip Van Winkle — a reason outside just that of imagination. Maybe, he thought, Irving was also visited by the same beings 150 years earlier. That was the best way for the child to make sense of his mother telling him that whatever he encountered must’ve been a symptom of an overactive imagination.

They returned for the boy often — emerging through a shield of light in the yard. He remembers disappearing into the night, then reappearing in his bed with fragments of memories. He remembers how their skulls were shaped differently. He would later see a cover of Whitley Strieber’s book, “Communion: A True Story” and immediately recognize the image of the alien on the book as the aliens who visited him. This is the classic, by now cliché, image of the little green man with a large, hairless, light bulb-like head and oversized almond shaped-eyes. But this would not be the only type of alien he’d meet. There were more. There were short aliens and tall aliens; blue aliens and grey aliens.


Bill learned pretty early on not to tell people about his strange visitations. People would just laugh it off. They’d say he couldn’t distinguish dreams from reality. His mind must be playing tricks on him. He was crazy. But if only young Bill had known that at the same time he’d been getting visited as a child, one of the biggest television stars in the country, Jackie Gleason of “Honeymooners” fame, was building flying-saucer-shaped houses in the very same town, maybe he would’ve felt a little less alone. Gleason, too, was positive there were aliens and they were visiting people. Gleason’s ex-wife, Beverly McKittrick, went so far as to say that President Nixon, a good friend of Gleason’s, once took him to the Homestead Air Force Base to show him the remains of extraterrestrials. According to her, Gleason apparently said that the dead aliens had been “lying on four separate tables. They were tiny — only about two feet tall — with small, bald heads and disproportionally large ears. They must have been dead for some time because they’d been embalmed.”

It’s a strange coincidence that a boy who was visited by beings he could not explain — entities that he had no language to make sense of — was, at the same time, living in a town with a mega-famous man who was obsessed with the very same visitors from another realm.

Bill was only 17 when he lost his mother, and he’d lose his father in an accident a few years later. Soon after he’d spend a year in Vietnam during the war.

But the visitations never stopped.

However, he doesn’t refer to himself as an abductee. He calls himself, and anyone else who might’ve been in the company of aliens, an experiencer. He’s experienced these encounters so many times that he can’t tell you how many times he’s been taken — too many to count.

He believes the aliens have the ability to manipulate your memory — possibly as an attempt to keep their secrets secret. Bill has had this conversation with many other experiencers and they have come to a consensus that the aliens have a way to cloud or erase the memory of anyone they take. Bill calls it “shadowing the memory.” If you practice trying to remember, he says, fragments of memory might come back, but sometimes there are things you do not want to remember.

He likens it to an operating table. Right before they give you the anesthesia, he says, you look around and you see people in masks, you hear funny sounds, you hear people talking, and then you slowly drift away, and sometimes you might be able to still hear the people talking.

He remembers a small alien placing a device on his forehead and everything changed. The light changed around him. It felt as though he was being scanned: “It really is like anesthesia,” he said.” “Only … it’s electronic.”

One time, he was at a convention in Vermont. He was staying in a college dorm. He laid down to sleep, and then he heard this horrible noise. It sounded like a freight train moving through his head. He compares the sound to the way a lot of music was phased back in the 1960s — meaning the sound was made to travel from speaker to speaker. He remembers hearing the sound and saying, “Not now, please not now” — as if pleading with the aliens to just leave him alone for once. But he couldn’t move. And then, as was typical of his experiences, he was suddenly someplace different. He felt them observing him. They were studying the back of his head.

They began to crack open his skull. Surgically, not barbarically.

He can’t remember who they were, or what they were. But he remembers the way his body was able to switch between the dorm room and the alien operating table. There was a party at the dorm, so he could hear the music seeping through to whatever fold in space he was occupying with the aliens.

When he finally returned, the party music was louder; he awoke in the dorm room, and immediately felt the back of his head. He was okay. He wasn’t bleeding. He didn’t lose any hair. He doesn’t know what happened, but the physical sensations lingered; a sort of phantom pain where he believes his skull had been opened.

There is no way to know for sure what they did. Did they implant something? Did they remove something?

I asked Bill if he’s ever had the chance to reach out and touch one of the aliens.

He said there was one alien with long spiny fingers who had placed its hand on him and it hurt. It was a dull pain. The alien did it a few times, and eventually Bill asked him, “Why are you doing that?” And the alien communicated with him telepathically, “Because I can.” They had been standing in a room with other people while the alien jabbed him. He remembers the alien looking mean — mean, but not evil — a distinction that is important for Bill.

“He was more like a bully,” Bill said. “You could sense his energy. And at the end of the whole experience, he held out his hand. He was holding something that looked like a giant pearl. It was shiny. It was bright. It glowed. And the alien said, ‘This is what you need.’”

He did not touch the pearl. The alien merely held it there for Bill to observe.

“I have no idea what it means,” Bill said, still baffled from the experience. It could be that the alien was trying to impart wisdom — or perhaps the pearl was a metaphor, a symbol of something the alien wished humans to discover within themselves rather than, say, something that should stay buried in the oceans.

He’s also not entirely sure that he’s actually met the aliens themselves. Rather, he thinks it’s possible he’s only met their avatars or the organic beings that have been bred only for space travel.


Another experiencer once told Bill that the aliens they met have flexible bones like a catfish. Bill thinks it’s likely the aliens have devised a way to create organic beings to send through space-time to do their observations — a way for the actual aliens to remain safe from the troubles of interstellar space travel.

He tends to think this is possible because he has observed some of the aliens behave as if they are part of a hive mind. “They didn’t think independently,” he said. He can recall images from his experiences where he’s seen the aliens float through hallways, or pass through walls like ghosts, in formation akin to the way birds flock.

“When they’re doing medical exams on you, they don’t speak,” Bill said. He explained that you hear them telepathically and their language becomes a part of your thoughts, passing through your brain as they work on you.

Bill thinks it’s likely they may not even be from our dimension. Perhaps they’ve discovered a way to fold time and space and sneak through to our side to study us.

“Or,” he said, “it’s just as likely they could be from the future.” He knows some people who believe that the aliens are really just us, but a million years from now, traveling back in time to study us, warn us, or destroy us. But he imagines humanity a million years from now and how they’d probably have lost all emotion as they’ve become more technologically advanced. This makes sense to him because most of the aliens he’s encountered are emotionless.

Even though Bill’s been abducted by aliens countless times, he’s still something of a skeptic. He’s careful to say, “if you believe in aliens” when he speaks to people about his experiences. He’s not the caricature man waving his arms madly, screaming it’s the “War of the Worlds.” Rather, he is a considerate person to whom you’d never suspect anything of the sort has ever happened. You can meet some people on the streets and they are wide-eyed and frantic about their supposed communiqué with demons or aliens. But Bill is 75 now, has a loving wife, and is concerned about all the typical earthly problems most of us face today from taxes to gas prices to social media. He’s with it and he can talk about pop culture for hours without ever discussing his experiences with the aliens. It’s Bill’s totally nonchalant attitude about what he’s gone through that makes him all the more believable. Or, it’s possible, he’s just a really good actor. I can’t confirm whether or not he’s been taken by aliens, but I can confirm that I believe that he believes he has.

According to Bill and many people he knows who are deeply invested in alien contact with humanity, it’s possible that the government knows of at least fifty different types of aliens. They believe they have been here a long time. They believe the government has worked alongside them to help develop certain technology.

I’ve always been suspicious of the fact that our government has not been forthcoming about all the ways in which they may or may not have communicated with extraterrestrials. My suspicions probably started in fifth grade. I was the only civilian kid going to school on a military base. My best friend’s father was in the Navy. Pretty high up in command. He’d been privy to information, I’m sure, that others would not have access to. This was a very serious man. My friend said that one night his father had a bit too much to drink, and he started talking about aliens. It wasn’t so much talking as it was maybe lamenting. As if he’d needed to say these things out loud to get it out of his system. The man said the aliens and the government had been working together. There were a few details about the aliens that his father mentioned that I’ve never forgotten. He said they were tall, grey, and had an extra joint in their long arms. At the time, I never heard of the Greys — an alien species that many believe are here among us. Eventually, however, I’d learn about the Greys, one of the most iconic aliens in ufology. It is a Grey that Bill speaks of meeting and also the type of alien depicted on Whitley Strieber’s book cover. The Greys are also connected to various theories about how the military industrial complex may or may not have been gifted tech by the alien species.

Concerning my friend’s father, I think it’s possible he actually knew about aliens working in tandem with government officials. It’s also possible that his father had seen something that wasn’t the full truth. I can’t help but think about the author Annie Jacobsen, who claimed on “The Joe Rogan Experience” that a government official confessed to her that our government was trying to surgically alter handicapped children into alien-like creatures in 1951. I should also note that maybe my friend’s father was just drunk and talking nonsense. But, to be honest, that possibility seems the least likely.

The idea of military abductions, also known as MILABS, also comes up when discussing these types of experiences. Essentially, some believe that the military can and does abduct individuals to perform tests using top-secret technology. There are those who believe that the advanced technology is man-made, but kept secret. And there are others who believe it’s recovered alien technology. Others might say the aliens have given certain governments this technology as a result of some sort of treaty.

“Supposedly,” Bill told me, “the abductions started back in the 1940s and 50s because President Eisenhower signed that agreement with two groups of aliens. The small Gray and the Nordic ones that looked like humans with long hair.”

The agreement Bill’s referring to is known as the Greada Treaty — an alleged agreement that humans and aliens would not meddle in each other’s business. Some believe it was in this rumored treaty that the aliens also agreed to share technology in exchange for the ability to abduct humans for observation. They say this is part of the Majestic 12, a secret government organization that studied UFOs. It’s further believed that the treaty said the aliens must give all names of the abducted to the Majestic 12. In 1984, the FBI reviewed what were supposedly leaked documents concerning the Majestic 12 and called it all “completely bogus.” Take that as you’d like, depending on how keen you are to believe anything our government agencies pass off as truth.

Bill said as far as he knows the treaty was supposed to last 50 years. He believes that’s one reason why abduction rates started to fall off in the 1990s.

When Bill returned from Vietnam, he took a job fixing Apple computers for Eastman Kodak, a big corporation. His job sent him out on the road all throughout New York’s Hudson Valley. He visited different homes every day, repairing computers with warranties.

There was something about him that made people confess to him their own encounters with aliens or UFOs. He would never initiate the conversations about aliens, but for whatever reason, many people felt compelled to tell him about their strange interactions with aliens or ghosts as he fixed their computers. He felt as though he had UFO written across his forehead.

One day, Bill was driving on Route 52 between Ellenville and Pine Bush when he noticed triangle shapes in the sky. The shapes were people jumping off the face of the Shawangunk Mountain and hang-gliding.

He pulled over and watched the triangles drift in the sunlight. It wasn’t long after that that he and his wife, Susan, were learning how to hang-glide.

“The experience was exhilarating to say the least,” Susan said. “The freedom of flight was better than any drug at the time.”

Susan told me that they were familiar with the UFO phenomenon while living in Pearl River, New York. She was the first person Bill confessed his alien encounters with — and who took his stories seriously.

“I neither believed nor disbelieved in the UFO phenomenon,” she said. “I was a disinterested third party, but Bill was my husband and I believed in what he shared with me. We were avid police and fire scanner listeners and spent many hours listening to the UFO reports that came in on a regular basis. Calls about UFOs flying into the Franklin Lakes, New Jersey area; the reports in Stony Point/Haverstraw; reports over the power plant in Buchanan; so on and so forth.”


Bill’s need to hang-glide might stem from his visitations with the aliens. It’s as if he’s been trying to find a way to recreate the experience of flying. Or, maybe, he sees hang-gliding as a way to be closer to the sky, and whatever might be hiding within it. Regardless, he and his wife became thrill seekers and loved the joy of flying off mountaintops so much that they bought a house in Pine Bush, the little town at the foot of the mountain.

At that time, they were not aware that they had moved to a massive UFO hot spot. Some locals in the valley call it the Roswell of New York. There was never a UFO crash in the area that we know of, but the hamlet has become a mecca for alien enthusiasts because of the outrageous number of sightings in the area.

Soon after Bill and Susan moved into town, Bill had opened up the local paper and happened to find a strange advertisement. It said: Have you ever seen a UFO?

It was an ad for a local UFO support group — The United Friends Observer Society, aka The UFO Society.

He cut it out of the paper and pasted it on his desk. He did not jump at the chance to belong to the group. He left the clipping there on his desk until it started to turn yellow. He kept it like a reminder that he wasn’t alone. It took some time, but eventually he decided to join the group. They would sit and talk about all the strange things that had happened to them. There were about 60 people involved at first and as the group began to grow it went from being held in a house in town to being hosted in the local Knights of Columbus.

A man came in once who said he also grew up in Peekskill like Bill. He had recounted a similar experience to Bill’s earliest abduction. This man also saw a bright light in the yard before he remembers getting lifted out of his bed and flying above the town.

When I asked Bill why he thinks Pine Bush happens to be a place with so many sightings, he said it’s because of the energy of the area that attracts the aliens. It’s the tall mountain ridges, quartz, and iron ore. Many locals believe Pine Bush falls along the ley lines — the straight lines of energy that connect sacred landmarks across the Earth like the Pyramids and Stonehenge. But some believe there are sacred places all over the world that might not be as prominent, but just as sacred and powerful. Like Pine Bush.

Bill believes the sightings must have something to do with the energy of the area, the very earth itself.

I grew up about thirty minutes from Pine Bush. My own fascination with the town started in my early twenties when I dated a woman from the area. Until then, I hadn’t known about the town being a hotspot for UFO sightings. I didn’t realize there was any group of people who’d had similar experiences with what they believed to be aliens or UFOs. But my girlfriend at the time had an almost debilitating fear of aliens. More specifically, she was afraid of being abducted. It’s tough to say whether her fear stemmed from the stories passed around her town or whether it was a fear borne out of the ultimate unknown, but when you spend time in Pine Bush, and become aware of the sightings, it is hard not to think that there is something just above the clouds observing you, waiting to take you.

Once you know about the mythology of Pine Bush, it’s nearly impossible not to imagine a UFO rising from behind the rolling hills, the cornfields, or the Shawangunk Mountain.

A good deal of sightings have been reported on Searsville Road, a narrow country road with silos and pastures on either side that offers large views of the night sky unspoiled by light pollution. When you drive up Searsville Road it feels like a ramp that connects the sky to the ground.


Sightings in Pine Bush date back to 1908. People have reported columns of fire and black discs rising from a local cemetery. There have been reports of a large black square hovering over the town. People claim to have seen very tall aliens emerge from the forest at night. It’s so prevalent that the diner in town is called the Flying Saucer. When you see the diner with its typical shiny, silver exterior, it makes every other run-of-the-mill diner also appear to be a spacecraft that’s landed in a parking lot. I guess they’ve all just been hiding in plain sight. Except this diner in Pine Bush is the only diner I’ve ever seen with a large UFO above the entrance.

The stories about UFOs started to make people from all over visit the town just to stare at the sky. It’s not rare to find a stranger pulled over on the side of the road at night, looking at the sky, hoping to see something.

Ten years ago, Pine Bush decided it might be a good idea to capitalize on the alien tourism. Bill and Susan Wiand helped create and plan the inaugural UFO Fair with the help of a local realtor by the name of Sy Mujovic.

Mujovic will tell you he’s seen a UFO in Pine Bush. The moment forever altered the way he viewed the sky. It was in the summer of 2000. He was nineteen. He and his brother just bought little gasoline powered remote control cars. They went to the high school to test them out. It was about 2 pm, and the sky was perfectly blue. And then something flew right over them.

“It was so fast,” he said. “It was like a small, white point.” He said it was a flat, two-dimensional shape and it took what felt like a second for it to fly across the sky and over the high school. It was completely silent.

“I know a lot of people say, ‘Oh, you know, maybe it’s military stuff. And that’s very possible,” he said. “But there are some things that just seem so inhuman. It’s hard to believe that anyone on Earth could make what we saw.”

I asked him why he thinks Pine Bush might draw in so many UFO sightings.

“They come here for a reason,” he said. “My theory is they come here because it’s one of their access points. Maybe this place is like a magnet.” he said. “They know us so well. They study us. I believe they are harmless. They know what we’re doing.”

“You don’t have any fear knowing that?” I asked.

“I am not afraid of aliens at all,” he said. “If I saw one, I would love to pull one in for marketing … so we can keep promoting Pine Bush.”

“Was there any pushback from the town when you guys told them you wanted to have an annual UFO fest on Main Street?”

“There were residents in the community that opposed it because they thought it was dark — not for kids,” he said. “But it turned out to be really fun for the kids.”

At that time, Susan Wiand was also part of the Chamber of Commerce. So Susan and Mujovic bounced around some ideas about bringing tourism into town. In the beginning, the Chamber of Commerce was hesitant.

Mujovic said, “We know that Pine Bush has UFO Alien history, so why not use that and make it fun? There’s a witch town in Salem, Massachusetts. They get thousands of visitors every year. When I first came to this town, it was pretty stale. It was just the one block country town with not much going on. Now we bring a lot of UFO-loving fans here.”

I’d be lying if I said it didn’t cross my mind that maybe all these people say they have stories just in an attempt to boost tourism. But I’ve spoken to a lot of people who have no desire to have their name in a story; people who could care less about local tourist attractions, but who share similar stories of something inhuman hurtling through the sky above Pine Bush and the surrounding areas.

Aside from the first COVID lockdown, The UFO Fair takes place at the beginning of every fall for the last ten years.

The 2021 festival was a mix of gimmick, roadside attraction, carnival, legitimate professionals, and UFO hunters.

Tents lined Main Street. There were women in aluminum dresses and green alien masks with antennas. You could buy tubes of popcorn, Star Wars action figures, and space rocks. A husband and wife walked around pulling a wagon painted like the Mars Rover with an alien seated on the top. Another person had fashioned himself a lightsaber out of a long fluorescent bulb. Another alien rode a Segway through the crowd blasting a robotic message on repeat that said: “You. Are. An. Enemy. Of. The. State.” There were aliens with afros and aliens in bikinis smoking cigarettes and taking selfies. A man walked by in a red velvet jacket with a green painted lizard face.

My 5-year-old son tagged along to see the fest and he looked around calmly at the scene, then said to me: “I really like this monster party.”

I looked around and saw people putting on surgical masks for COVID before entering an open side tent and thought, Maybe we are the aliens. Seeing people outside in their mandate-masks surrounded by people in alien masks made the whole place seem like we’re on another planet. As if a surgical mask would keep these people safe from the dangerous, alien atmosphere that we suddenly found ourselves in.

Denelle Wendt-Ramalho came to the fest to see what type of information she might be able to gather on aliens — specifically, the Greys. She is a paranormal investigator. She told me that last August she started investigating sightings at an old correctional facility. She was there one night in the dark — so as to not scare away anything with flashlights. It was darker than dark. She couldn’t even see her hand in front of her face when she saw a dark gray figure begin to emerge from behind a doorway. First she saw the hand, and then the arm, then the shoulder and the head. She couldn’t make out detailed features. But the being was about seven feet tall, she said, and extremely skinny. She said a scream leapt out of her. She couldn’t contain it. It was a primal reaction. After she calmed down, she thought it was odd that she could see the being so clearly even though it was so dark.

“The best way I can describe it,” Wendt-Ramalho said, “was that it was an alien. After that, I was just like, ‘I need to see this again.’”

I asked if she’s returned to the facility to see if she might get another look at the alien.

“I’ve been looking for him ever since,” she said.

Wendt-Ramalho looked at some paintings of Frankenstein and an octopus pulling a ship down into the sea before heading over to the main tent to hear the next speaker discuss aliens.

A few tents down the street, there was a photo booth for people to take a picture of themselves getting “abducted.” A long line of people waited. I think many people lately are looking for a chance to be truly abducted by aliens. I am sure there are many of us who are beginning to see earth and humanity as becoming increasingly impossible; that there’s got to be a better place than this. For some of the people at the fest, it almost seemed like coming there was like going to church; a need to congregate with others who believe. I think a place like this also makes outsiders feel like they have a home.

Humans are always begging for answers, and whether or not some might be put off by all the extraterrestrial imagery I witnessed others who had visited not just to have an alien head painted on their kid’s face, but who were sensibly seeking answers and a sense of community. The speaker in the big tent in the middle of Main Street spoke to a large crowd. It made me think of the old church revivals where people would flock to the tents and witness divinity.

The man spoke into the microphone, evangelizing the UFOs: “This is happening in your backyard!” he screamed.

Even though Bill and his wife, Susan, had a hand in starting the festival with Mujovic, I was curious how Bill really felt about it after seeing the way the festival turns aliens into a commodity. I wondered what it was like for someone who claims to have had multiple encounters to live in a town that converts itself into a type of Roswell cosplay event every year. He’s happy to see the way it’s brought in people to the usually slow-going town, but he can’t help but criticize some of the ways in which UFO information is spread at the fest. There is a UFO museum now on Main Street — a point of contention amongst some locals because, I gather, it was built with taxpayer money. Bill has donated a lot of his own library and photos to the museum, but I think there’s a part of him that might cringe a bit at the abduction table that parents can prop their kids up onto to recreate their very own abduction scenario at the end of the tour. It’s not that he’s ashamed of abductions, but maybe that there’s a sense of trivializing something that he’s come to see as an ultra-spiritual and important part of his life.

To me, though, it almost seems like the fest has become a day in which the aliens, if they are here, can walk amongst us in plain sight. It’s as though Bill helped create a day that made it easy for them to go unnoticed and participate in human life without having to abduct us. Maybe the aliens are cosplaying us as much as we’re cosplaying as them.

I asked Bill if he really thinks they live among us.

“I think they may show up in some farmland, a small community like Pine Bush. I think some of them do look like us. But there is no definite answer. It’s just what you believe. And sometimes your belief system can be so strong that you can change your surroundings, you can change the universe. If they are here, and if some of them do look like us, they may not have the same internal organs we have.”

“You don’t fear them at all?” I asked.

“I’m not afraid of them,” he said. “They’re not building an army to take over the world. I think what they’re doing is watching. They might be in contact with the other side, where they came from, as they are in contact with us.”

What he worries about the most is how the government’s going to respond should the aliens truly reveal themselves. Will the government choose to lock down everything? COVID clued him into the way our government might treat an alien arrival.

“If the aliens do appear and say, ‘Take me to your leader?’ Who do you think they should go to? If you were asked who’s in charge, who would you say?”

That question might’ve always applied, but now, more than ever, it seems extra prescient. Countries around the world are divided in terms of truth and law. Authorities are contested. If I were the aliens, I’d start local first, like Bill said. Go to the country, where it’s easier to be human or alien.

“I feel that they are here,” he said. “But if there are aliens, if there are UFOs, they’re not going to come here to save us.”

I’m inclined to believe him. They have had plenty of opportunities to save us. They could’ve prevented any number of catastrophes, but instead they just watch. If they are here, their commitment to voyeurism exceeds their will to intervene.

I asked him when was the last time he had been visited. Bill said it’s been a while — or they’ve just improved their ability of removing memories.

“I know other people who have said that they’ve seen spaceships in the area,” he said. “I know others who say they’re still being contacted, but it’s just via telepathy.”

Regardless, he believes aliens are mostly good.

I asked him why people always seem to think aliens are smarter than humans.

“One of the things we talk about during the abduction experience is that since these beings have such great technology, they must be much more advanced than we are,” he said. “They must be better than we are. But that doesn’t always prove true. Their ethics and their morals may be on a different page.”

“Why do you think you’ve been taken so many times,” I asked.

“Well, that’s the big question: why me? Is it a blood type? Is it a spiritual connection? Can they read the subtle energy of a person?”

He can’t help but think of all the times he was abducted as a child.

“It’s really tough,” he said, “because the parent can’t stop the abductions, they have no control. It really frightens the child. It can make them very, very angry. If they happen to seek professional help, they might get put on medication. And that’s just a Band-Aid.”

“[My experiences] brought me a lot of joy,” he said, as if he’d never want to undo all the things he believes happened to him.

There’s a chance that maybe we are here to help the aliens. Maybe it’s not always nefarious. It’s possible that we can offer them something that we can not understand.

Bill told me that he believes he was once taken into an alien spacecraft. He could see farmland through windows. He was surrounded by little Grey aliens. He remembers being asked to go up to an older Grey. He remembers the energy of this particular Grey, telling him, maybe through body language, that this Grey was much older than the others and sick. He remembers being asked if he could perform an energy healing process — like Reiki — on the Grey. He was instructed to place his hands on either side of the Grey’s head to channel the energy, his hands hovering just over the Grey’s skin, just inches from actual contact.

“I remember knowing that that’s what I was supposed to do,” he told me. “And what happened was, I made him awake again. I believe he was the conduit for all the Greys in that ship.”

He’s reluctant to say the Greys have a master or a programmer, but he believes the Grey he was asked to help heal had emotions — unlike any other Grey he can remember encountering. He remembers feeling a sense of joy from all of the Greys in the ship because they were connected again.

“Is this the strangest time you’ve experienced so far?” I asked him.

“I think the craziest time was in the 60’s. Vietnam. Free love. Jim Jones with the Kool Aid. Kansas State. Now, yes, we’ve gone through a couple things similar to that with the riots, but it’s still sitting in the cities waiting to boil up again.”

I disagree with him, but it might also be because he was a young man in the 60s watching his world mutate into something dark, and I am a younger man now witnessing my world mutate into something I only feared could happen. Both times seem to have their equal amounts of darkness, however. That is undeniable.

“The physical world is changing,” Bill said. “The energy is changing. There are a lot of subtle energies out there that affect us and affect the atmosphere. Our place in the universe is changing. They’re talking about the planet going from a 3D existence to the possibility of five or six dimensions. People will not be the same.”

That feels more accurate to me. Whether it’s watching something like the Metaverse begin to take hold in the mainstream consciousness or witnessing the decay of objective reality, humans are in a state of absolute flux. We are on the cusp of something dark and strange and probably irreversible. Humans are always in a state of change, sure, but look around and tell me you don’t feel like everything’s gone exceptionally mad.

Nevertheless, Bill seems pretty hopeful. I think he thinks that some kind of new, big hope will come in the form of aliens finally revealing themselves. The problem will be distinguishing the real aliens from the fake, possibly government-made, aliens.

Now, Bill runs the UFO Society, although he will tell you he is just the facilitator.

“I open the door, I make the coffee, and we sit and talk.”

He knows that some of the people tell fabricated stories. He calls them “wannabes.” But no one is ever shunned for exaggerating or telling outright lies. It’s important to him that everyone who shows up feels comfortable enough to share their experience — no matter how crazy it might sound to others.

The UFO Society meetings were on hiatus because Pine Bush did not allow any meetings in the buildings owned by the town because of COVID restrictions, and the UFO Society had been at the whim of their access to the Knights of Columbus. Plus, people were also suddenly reluctant to venture out into the world.

When they finally had their first meeting back, one guy came rushing in with a story. He was driving and saw a light. He got out of his car and watched it mutate into a dark disk along the horizon.

It was just Bill and the man sharing stories — reconnecting after being apart for so long. It was beginning to feel like the world was really shifting into something nefarious. But the man seemed thankful to share some coffee with Bill and confess the ways in which the sky seemed like a portal to so many things we might not ever fully understand.

If you spend too much time in Pine Bush, every cul-de-sac might start to look like a UFO landing pad. The church steeples look like antennas. There must be things hidden in the silos and the cornfields. The clouds look suspicious. The gray Amazon delivery trucks could be the CIA in disguise.

In the weeks since the UFO Festival ended, there are still aliens in the storefronts and hand painted UFOs and woodcut extraterrestrials waving at you as you enter town, which is gearing up for the annual Harvest Festival. But after speaking with so many people who claim to have encountered aliens or UFOs, you might begin to wonder what or who exactly is being harvested in this town.

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