Aside from the novels and short story collection on this site I am writing another series of short stories primarily based in Northeastern Ontario. A few of the stories stray from the subject and locale entering the realm of Science Fiction, adventure romance, mystery and the UFO debate that rages unabated on social media.
As an introduction to my soon to be published short stories titled FROM WHERE RIVERS FLOW NORTH, I will post some of the stories letting the posting remain on this site for a few days. Readers will be able to purchase or borrow the entire low cost e-book version on Kindle or Kobo or on this webpage once the book is published in 2015.
Author Robert J "Bob" Gordon.
Another short story slated for publication in my From Where Rivers Flow North short story collection appears now on this site. One notation is that the items in this article are non fiction and derived for the most part from personal experience.
UFOS AND OTHER TRIVIA
By Robert J. Gordon
Were they UFO sightings, something supernatural from beyond the realm of understanding, a trick of the subconscious, a desire to find something that doesn’t really relate to this world, or experiences most people have during a lifetime? I don’t know but as a writer and published novelist, I want to relate some out-of-the-ordinary experiences and ramble on about what I believe
First, an explanation that writing these incidents is based solely on my own experience. Maybe some background should be included. So in good health (as far as I know), retired and comfortable with my life I live more in fear of a changing future than dying. I lived a life of experience, mostly gratifying and successful. My wife of over 40 years and the love of my life and I are not rich, but comfortable with our own home, some savings and a fair pension.
Enough about the personal. When I was about 5 years old, I remember having my first recollection of a strange happening while recovering from, or suffering with a bout of scarlet fever. My father and older sister stayed with relatives because I was ‘quarantined’ and only my mother could be near enough to nurse me back to health. What happened in my memory could be a reaction to the illness I suppose. I remember seeing the image of several large rolling cubes much like huge marshmallows. They frightened me but I don’t know whether I saw the illusion while looking out the window and experiencing the phenomenon as a figment of imagination or if the sight was reaction to some prescribed medication. I only know that I still remember the experience more than seven decades later.
A second early life experience happened during early school age less than 7 years old. I remember looking out the living room window and seeing what appeared to be a man dressed in a dark armor suit like today’s astronaut garb only dark and metallic in color rather than the light shades worn by astronauts. He, she or it had a mask on that resembled a gas mask with a round metal circle covering what would be a man’s face and mouth area. It just moved around on the street close to our house and there appeared to be a great deal of commotion that I couldn’t see or distinguish. When I told my mother about the incident, she said a small unusual earthquake or rare tremor in our part of Northern Ontario scaring me probably had something to do with the experience. Everyone in Sudbury experienced regular scheduled blasts just after noon and 5 pm from the INCO open pit in those days together with underground mining blasts that were felt in sections of the city. Therefore, in retrospect the earthquake explanation wasn’t valid. However, if my mother thought the tremor explanation caused an illusion, as a child I would accept it as true. I just wonder why the picture of the man in the weird suit remained as a memory over the years.
For the next thirty to forty years like most young adults, life was too busy to be bothered with wondering about strange happenings. There was school, girlfriends, parties, career building, wanderlust, relationships, marriage, a child, and just living that took precedence.
In the late 1960’s and most of the 1970’s more unexplained incidents began to happen that can't be ignored. After 1948 when a flying saucer report over the rocky mountains was publicized, I began to read media reports about saucers, disks, cigar shaped vehicles, white lights and all the other experiences people claimed to experience all over the world. Whether those reports influenced some experiences is anyone’s guess. To us it seemed anything but figments of our imagination, but with the passing years, a person sometimes wonders if they really did experience the things that were happening at the time.
During the 1960’s working as field manager for an accounting firm with offices across the province and later as a government employee I spent considerable time travelling the highways. During those years, I followed several white lights that sometimes disappeared with lighting speed. At other times, an object in the sky would have a circle of rotating multicolored lights. When the sighting displayed white and red lights I realized the lights were an aircraft. Alone in a car travelling several hundred miles at a time, often after dark, I supposed there was speculation about the lights being on a spacecraft from somewhere in the universe. Some might suggest the numerous sightings might be especially true for a person with an imagination vivid enough to write with several fiction novels published by reputable publishers. I never doubted the lights were not common or considered any of them an illusion. At times I surmised the lights were attached to recently built communication towers or a reflection from a nearby source that either bounced off low clouds or were simply unexplainable re-creations of known images. However, some of the incidents happened in the company of others and even several people, so having them classified as imaginary is not a reasonable explanation.
The first incident could have been a trick of the subconscious, or attributed to imagination. It happened ‘playing’ with an Ouija board at our kitchen table while living in an isolated rural region near the city. It was a location, near a large inland lake where many of the incidents took place. The Ouija board incident was eerie, frightening, and to this day beyond rational explanation. We were playing with questions about happenings that would occur in the future and the board or our inner desires began to spell quotations such as we would not have more children. The board also stated or warned that the future would be tumultuous at times; self-satisfying overall and there would be big changes in our life. I then challenged the Ouija board to let me communicate with deceased relatives. I felt we contacted my father but only after an experience haunting me to this day. Mentally entering the realm of what appeared to be an afterlife, the left side of a path or entrance channel had a number of black clad images appearing to want to do me harm. How or why I couldn’t determine. On the other side of the path or channel leading towards a bright friendly area in the distance stood some white clad images seemingly there to protect me while communicating through the board. For a while, how long neither of us could ever establish, I was in communication with a man named Samuel Ralph Harlow. He gave me a mini course on the skills and mindset needed to write books, novels, essays, columns, on every subject that came into my head or that caught my interest through reading, research, or everyday contact. Over the next thirty years, I wrote and found publishers for novels, short stories and wrote a weekly column and a great many other stories and articles published while a community newspaper editor and publisher.
During the weird unbelievable Ouija board contact, the Harlow entity indicated he was a recently deceased published author. Never before hearing anything about the man, I later decided to research the name through the local public library leading to a referral to international library archives. To my amazement, I discovered the man existed exactly as related during the séance. The card sent to the local library from the archives was as follows: Harlow, Samuel Ralph, 1885- A life after death. (1st ed.) Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1961. 264 p 22cm. 1. Psychical research. 2. Future life 1. Title. BF1031.H26 133.07 61-6508 Library of Congress (61k30). To this day I believe the man or entity I contacted that evening in some manner guided my writing career for the past quarter century or more. I am not aware of the reason the event took place. I only know the experience was real and the ghostly dark figures were extremely frightening. For that reason, I never returned to the Ouija board although I still have the original board.
A short time later, between 1968 and 1974 we experienced a series of unusual happenings that in some cases were unidentified flying object (UFO) sightings. I am not a believer in anything unproven, or scientifically illogically. Therefore, regardless of the following experiences I am not a firm UFO or irrational happenings believer. I personally consider there is an explanation for most unusual phenomena although some things experienced and told by reliable witnesses seem to defy logical explanation. The first incident took place while I was at our rural house while my wife was on the road coming home from work in the city. It was really her sighting and much like some incidents described in John Robert Columbo’s book ‘True Canadian UFO Stories’ published by Key Porter Books in 2004, she described the incident as follows. “Driving over a hill before crossing the small lake bridge the sky lit up in a cavalcade of colour like a sun inside a sun, inside a sun with reds, yellows, and many other colours. It was after sunset so I was not seeing the sun setting. Suddenly the car engine stalled and restarted by itself a few moments later.”
At the time I was home setting the table for dinner when the room suddenly became exceedingly bright from an outside source. The telephone began to ring with an incessant uninterrupted ring for more than 10 seconds. Stepping outside to look for the source of sudden light, I found most of our neighbors looking skyward for the source of the brightness. My wife drove into the yard moments later to explain her experience. We never discovered what made the car lose power and restart.
The next incident was mystifying and apparently frightening to some of our neighbours. Sitting watching television one evening a knock at the door was a neighbor living near the lake asking me to come down to the north shore road where a strange beeping noise attracted a group of neighbors living in our remote neighborhood. Driving the half-mile or so to the road where everyone was gathered, a sonar type regular beep seemed to be coming from above an isolated hill top covered with forty to fifty foot pine trees overlooking the lake. A few of the men carried high powered hunting rifles while others explained that two men supposedly from a local university were previously at the sight and left quickly apparently concerned there was danger with the strange evenly timed beeps. Curious about the origin of the beeping sound, I drove back to our home to retrieve a powerful flashlight and portable tape recorder. When I got back into the car, our collie/retriever jumped into the car’s back seat for the ride. I felt the dog might be of some comfort to my wife while I tramped through the bush in the dark to the top of the hill where the sound appeared to originate. Arriving back near the source of the sound, I found all of the neighbors disappeared when the beeping noise began following me to the top of the hill where our house was located; everyone apparently felt it was time to leave. I admit noticing while getting into the car with the dog that that the sound was clear and seemed amplified from our driveway.
Driving back to where my wife was waiting I called for the dog to follow me into the bush but she refused to get out of the car. With a powerful flashlight in one hand and starting the tape recorder I began walking through the underbrush. My wife tried to get the dog to follow me but with fur standing on end, regardless of how much she urged, the dog refused to leave the car. I was surprised the dog hadn’t come along because she rarely missed a chance to follow me through the bush. I surmised she probably stayed to keep my wife company.
The night was bright so making my way through the tangle of underbrush to the hilltop was easier than expected. Huffing and puffing a little from exertion with the tape recording the trek, I arrived at the base of the tree and looked up to see a pale outline of something dark above the trees with dull rotating multi-colored lights. I flashed my powerful battery operated lantern skyward and the sound moved without hesitation from above the tree to an adjoining hill about a quarter of a mile away. There wasn’t any movement or sound, simply the change of location. I still have tape recording of the sound.
A co-worker was a ranking officer with the Canadian militia reserves at the time and I asked him to contact the North Bay NORAD base to find if the military might be interested in the tape. He said they would take the tape but would not be return it or report the results of unusual activity in the sky that night to anyone. I still have the tape.
That appeared to end our encounters of the late 1960’s and early 1970s until more incidents occurred in the mid 1970 during the reporting of a number of sightings in local newspapers. The first of those was while visiting with a friend I worked with in government. We were returning from a visit to relatives at a local lake near the road to Manitoulin Island. While rounding a curve on highway 68 (now highway 6) a gigantic bright flash scared everyone in the car. We all witnessed the flash that appeared to come from above the road. Aside from the momentary flash, nothing more happened. However, a short time later a flying disk with rotating lights followed a young woman driving on the same stretch of highway. Turning off at the first intersecting roadway where people were living farther down to road, the disk followed her for a short distance until the motor of her car failed. Leaving the car, she ran for a couple of kilometers to the tourist resort on the lakeshore at the end of the road. My family owned the resort and took her into the house to calm down before driving her back to the abandoned car that started immediately. She then drove the short distance to her parent’s home.
The next incident was another ‘wonder what it is’ situation. I was returning from a meeting in Wikwimekong on Manitoulin Island along Highway 68 (6). Leaving Manitowaning something with flashing or rotating coloured lights appeared to be pacing my car from just above the horizon. It travelled at the same speed as the car discounting the possibility of an aircraft. The UFO paced my progress for almost thirty kilometers until I approached the town of Little Current. It then disappeared until after I crossed the bridge leaving the island. At that point, a silver object shaped like the NATO insignia observed in most publications zoomed under the bridge and through the channel between Manitoulin and Lacloche Island before disappearing at an amazingly high rate of sped.
My wife and I were together when the next occurrence took place. I was at home watching the 1974 Ontario provincial election results while she was visiting a neighbor two doors away. The television picture suddenly broke up similar to when large cloudbanks interfere with satellite television pictures during inclement weather. However, this happened long before many homes installed satellite dishes. The weather was clear and the night sky filled with stars. My wife rushed into the house saying she saw a disk flying over the houses at the end of the street across the road probably over the golf course. She explained the sighting was a large disk with lights that seemed to be rotating. The fully visible vehicle of some kind travelled parallel to the local river. We both rushed outside into the car driving in the direction the UFO went and turning onto a secondary looking for any sign of the flying disk. We travelled the dark road for a few kilometers without any light to encumber the view of the sky. We soon came to a light plane airport used by a local pilot at the time. Not finding any trace of the disk, we got out of the car to scan the sky from the pitch-black area. As we looked around the starry sky there was a blinding flash best described as similar to the bright flash created by an arc-welding machine. It happened at a high altitude and was gone almost as soon as it happened.
One especially hot night while we were swimming with our sons at the public dock near our lakeside home I saw a series of lights dancing between a cluster of four stars high in the heavens that defied logical explanation. Aside from that observation, I can only recount one more incident of unexplained happenings. That happened in late 1974 on Highway 17 near Nairn Center while driving home from a meeting in Sudbury. My employer had just given me a brand new 1974 Chevrolet to drive while performing my duties. I crossed a railway overpass before turning onto a straight stretch of highway where I could see traffic coming and going in every direction from that point. Checking to make certain there wasn’t any traffic in view and finding the stretch of road deserted, I decided to push the car accelerator to the floor to discover the new vehicle’s top speed. With the speedometer edging 160 kilometers an hour, I panicked after glancing into the rear vision mirror to see two bright lights appearing to be directly behind the car. Although in retrospect realizing the lights appeared too high to be on a police vehicle, I figured I was getting a ticket for excessive speed. Pulling onto the shoulder of the road after carefully slowing the car and waited. a few seconds I was astounded to find I was alone on the highway. Glancing in all the mirrors. Not another set of vehicle lights were anywhere in sight. Getting out of the car I looked around at the sky and along the horizon for anything out of the ordinary then drove home wondering what had happened.
In the past decade or so it wasn't difficult to follow UFO, scientific reports, and publicized people experiences with the unexplained. Those reports can be found in newspapers, on television news and even more wide spread on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to mention a couple. There is evidence many of the issues surrounding the UFO and strange sightings reports will be even greater news in the near future as scientists begin to ponder and explore such items as a parallel universe, revisions to the big bang theory as the beginning of the universe and ultimately life on earth. The idea that we do not even exist but are part of an application by some advanced something that controls our very being has been advanced in one scientific community. The future should be interesting to observe.
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