|Publisher:||Origin Press CA|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.65(d)|
About the Author
Phil Krapf is a journalist and freelance writer who worked as an editor on the metro copy desk of the Los Angeles Times, where he shared in a Pulitzer Prize in 1992. He is the author of The Challenge of Contact and Meetings with Paul. He lives in San Ramon, California.
Read an Excerpt
The Unthinkable Occurs
I awoke with a start and found the bedroom bathed in a bluish, iridescent light. At first, I thought that I had fallen asleep with the TV on. I groped for the remote control on the nightstand. The lighted dial on the bedside digital clock radio read 2:32 A.M. It was early Wednesday, June 11, 1997.
I turned to aim the remote at the TV set, but the screen was dark. A small, cold shiver of apprehension raced down my spine as I tried to identify and comprehend the source of the eerie light.
Since I consider myself an extremely rational person and am as devoid of superstitious beliefs as humanly possible, my racing mind was searching for a logical explanation. At the same time, the light slowly began to pulsate and shimmer, changing alternately to a slightly darker shade of blue and then brightening to a lighter shade of blue-white.
I reached for my glasses on the nightstand and then turned my attention to the bedroom window, thinking that perhaps the strange light was coming from there. But the drapes were tightly drawn. No, this light definitely had to be originating from inside the room, and I was more mystified than fearful.
I swung out of bed and headed for the doorway and the wall switch that controls the bedroom light. But I got no more than two or three steps before the pulsating bluish-white light, which had washed the room in a subdued floodlight fashion, suddenly narrowed into a tightly concentrated spotlight beam. And it was focused directly on me!
Gravity seemed to take a holiday. I could feel no weight on my bare feet against the carpeted floor. My brain was still dealing with this when I suddenly began to rise like a pea being sucked up into a drinking straw. Only in this case, the "drinking straw" was the beam of light, and I was the "pea."
Under ordinary circumstances, I think that the normal human reaction would be to scream out in abject animal terror. But before my autonomic nervous system could even trigger such a response, I was overwhelmed by a sense of peace and tranquillity. I didn't have time to analyze it because the sensation of rising seemed to last no more than a second or two.
As I would learn later, the beam of light itself, the "drinking straw" in which I was firmly enclosed, caressed me as I traveled along its length, and actually triggered the calming effect that enveloped me.
Just as quickly as it had started, the journey ended. I don't think that more than two seconds had passed between the time the light first focused on me and the time that I found myself in a very large room facing the strangest creatures I had ever seen. Deep down, I suppose, I knew what had happened to me, but my psyche was still trying to deny it. There probably aren't many people who haven't heard or read about the tales of alien abductions that have been circulating on television shows, in magazines, and even in bestselling books for years. I didn't personally know anyone who believed the stories, although I was aware that there were vast numbers of people convinced of their authenticity. I was not one of them.
But no amount of denial was going to alter the fact that I had been abducted, I was on a spacecraft, and I was among extraterrestrials. There was no other explanation, except that I might be dreaming, but I knew that this was no dreamor nightmare. This was real. Every concept that I had held regarding so-called alien abductions went out the window. I thought at the time that no person had ever been as wrong about this subject as I had been. The stories that I had so cavalierly dismissed in the past as the delusions of troubled people were actually true, it appeared.
In the past, whenever I had given even passing attention to these tales, I thought that such an experience would not be survivable, that the human mind would simply snap at the shock and immediately plunge into an abyss of insanity.
The fact that I was completely at peace and devoid of any fear seemed to belie the reality. The strongest emotion I felt at the time, to be honest, was one of unbridled curiosity.
I was standing among a group of three alien beings, and I was still cloaked in the beam of light that apparently had transported me. But now I could see the source of the beama small disk, about three inches in diameter, that was attached to the ceiling on a swivel. At my side was what appeared to be a padded clinical table, similar to what one would find in a chiropractor's office or in an examination room in the typical American medical office.
The creatures themselves were very uniform in height, ranging from about five feet two inches to perhaps five feet four. They were quite slender by human standards and had dark eyes that shone out from slanted openings that were not much more than slits.
Their noses were very small, almost nonexistent, with two tiny black dots that appeared to be nostrils. Similarly, their mouths were not more than slits either, with thin lips that hardly had any definition. I saw no indication of teeth. The ears were slightly larger than human ones in proportion to their size, and they were somewhat pointed. They reminded me of the ears of the fictional Mr. Spock of the Star Trek TV series. I could discern no body hair.
There was an interesting range in the creatures' skin coloringalmost a multiracial element. But unlike the different races on Earth with their distinct facial characteristicssuch as lip thickness and nose and eye shapestheir features were uniform. Skin color ranged from grayish-white with a barely perceptible greenish tint, to a muted tan with the same greenish tinge.
All of these beings wore flowing robelike garments in various pastel shades. I did not know at the time, of course, if this was their ordinary clothing or perhaps a uniform. It might have been professional garb, much like the surgical gowns worn by human medical doctors at a hospital.
As I said, the room was large, rectangular in shape, and perhaps 600 feet by 400 feet, measuring about 20 feet from floor to ceiling. It was brilliantly lit and reminded me of a hospital ward, but the biggest one I had ever seen, with hundreds of tables identical to the one at which I stood.
The tables were neatly arranged in rows, spaced about 10 to 15 feet apart, stretching from wall to wall in all four directions. Above each table attached to the ceiling was a disk from which the beam of light that had enveloped me originated. Clustered around the tables were teams of three to five extraterrestrial (E.T.) creatures.
Although I could not see details of the far reaches of the room, I noticed that the majority of the tables around me were occupied by very ordinary human beings. Most of them were reclining in various postures, some on their sides, and others in the prone and supine positions as the E.T.'s bent over them in what appeared to be close scrutiny.
A few, however, were standing beside the tables. At first, I assumed that, like me, they had just arrived.
I noticed that a couple of peoplea black man (normally I would refer to him as an African American, but I had no way of knowing if he was an American, an African, a Jamaican or whatever) of about 25 or 30 and a Caucasian teenage girlappeared to be engaged in quiet conversation with the aliens who clustered around them.
A muted noise filled the room. There was something about it that was at once slightly familiar, yet frustratingly just out of my grasp of identification. And, paradoxically, it was like nothing I had ever heard before. Then I seized upon it the buzz of a large audience during intermission conversation. But the sounds were totally beyond those of any foreign language I had ever heard. The E.T.'s standing around the tables were involved in hundreds of conversations as the teams studied their subjects.
The light that held me in its focus suddenly flickered and went out.
One of the three creatures in my cluster took a step toward me and said, "I am Gwantelmipsa."
At least that's what it sounded like to my ear. I have spelled it phonetically here, or as close to it as I possibly can, but a case could be made for spelling it in a number of other variations, such as Guandalmepsa or Kwantalmipsa. The snippets of conversations that I caught from the E.T.'s at several nearby tables made me wonder if some of the sounds might even be beyond duplication by human vocal cords. Transliteration, if it ever occurred, was certainly going to be interesting, I thought.
If the E.T. who spoke to me was any indication, at least one of them seemed to be able to speak English. Maybe all of them could, for that matter. If that turned out to be correct, I thought, they probably would be able to speak other Earth languages as well. That initial assessment turned out to be absolutely true.
I stared dumbly at this being who had introduced himself to me, not quite knowing how to respond. He couldn't help but notice my discomfort.
"But you will call me Gus," he continued, pointing to a name tag on his robe below the right shoulder. Sure enough, the tag had "Gus" printed on it. Then I noticed that all of the extraterrestrials seemed to be wearing name tags "I know it is impossible for you to address me by my true name, so I and all of my colleagues have taken names that are familiar to your tongue."
"Hello," I replied. "I'm Phil." I know it sounds absurd, but it was all I could muster at the moment. The appropriate response to meeting an extraterrestrial being had not been formalized in the book of etiquette yet, as far as I knew. The moment was beyond surreal.
Only minutes before, I had been the consummate skeptic and cynic who would immediately label anyone who claimed to be abducted by space aliens as a certifiable nut case and a candidate for a rubber room. Yet, here I was, matter-of-factly, calmly, facing a being from another world and introducing myself in much the same way that I would present myself to someone I had just met at a cocktail party.
It occurred to me that my sensibilities, my consciousness, probably had been altered. Otherwise, how could I reconcile my actual demeanor with the uncontrolled reaction that, by all human standards, would be normal under such circumstances?
Why was I accepting this unbelievable, unimaginable scenario with such equanimity? Drugs administered surreptitiously? As a function of the light that had brought me aboard? Intellectually, I knew that I should be experiencing nightmarish terror, yet I felt none. My mind should be in denial, threatening to push me over the brink of insanity, refusing to accept this reality so willingly, so calmly. After all, my whole belief system was being turned upside-down.
One minute I was peacefully asleep in my own bed, and the next I was on a spaceshipI assumed so, anyway. I couldn't imagine where else I could besurrounded by alien beings.
I wasn't going to be missed for a while, because for one of the few times in more than 30 years of married life, I had been alone in my bed. My wife was spending a few nights with her elderly mother, who lives about three miles away and who had recently gone through some serious surgery.
Second, for the past few months I had been leaving on two- and three-day trips to roam small towns of California in search of a possible retirement site. I had just returned from one such excursion to Siskiyou County in the northernmost part of the state where I had explored the towns of Yreka, Etna, Fort Jones, Weed, and a few other quaint little places nestled against the backdrop of the imposing snow-capped Mt. Shasta.
I had told my wife, when she left for her mother's house, that I might take off to check out some towns in the Monterey Bay area, about 300 miles up the coast from Los Angeles. So she wouldn't give much thought to not finding me home if she happened to call or drop by. She might wonder why I hadn't left a note, which I usually did, but that wouldn't really arouse any suspicions on her part.
Deep in my bones I felt that I was not in danger. Besides, my curiosity was growing stronger by the moment, and I actually started getting excited about the exhilarating experiences that might await me (the effect of the drugs, or the light again?). Imagine how stimulating a tour of the ship would be. What would it be like to peer out of one of the several portholes that I saw to look down upon the blue Earth below?
However, I had no idea what our proximity to Earth was. Perhaps we were so far out into space that my home planet was not even visible. No matter. In that case, I would be content to gaze upon the galaxies blazing in glory against the blackness of the universe. This was an adventure of unparalleled proportions, and I was building a hunger to absorb every delicious, titillating moment of it.
Maybe these creatures would grant me some of these privileges in exchange for my cooperation. Of course, I was being naive. I had no bargaining chips. Cooperation wasn't a matter of choice. I was their prisoner. I had been abducted, kidnapped. Nevertheless, I thought, if given the choice, I would gladly yield to an examination in exchange for a tour of the ship. And that's probably all they wanted from me anyhow, because an examination, lasting from several minutes to several hours, was the common thread that tied together all of the abduction stories I'd heard about.
It was apparent that hundreds of such examinations were going on at this very second in the cavernous room. In the first exciting moments of my arrival, as I gazed about in awe, drinking in the wonders of this extraterrestrial laboratory, I was so preoccupied with the experience that I didn't give much thought to the actual exams themselves.
But now I took notice of a large monitor attached to the head of each table. It was not unlike a big-picture, high-resolution color television screen. Although I could make out the details of what was displayed on only a few of the closest ones to me, it was obvious that each work station was engaged in the study of a small part of the human anatomy.
On the screen directly behind me at the head of the table where a bearded young man with a full head of hair lay, I saw an exploded view of what appeared to be a human hair follicle. Three E.T.'s were intently bent over the man and were using a variety of instruments, as well as their long, thin fingers, to explore the beard and the hair on his head.
On my right, a similar cluster of cosmic visitors was probing the ear of a female with Asian facial characteristics. The screen at the head of her table contained a very complex picture of the outer and inner details of what appeared to be the human auditory system.
All of the humans on the tables, as far as I could tell, were dressed in gowns similar to those worn by hospital patients.
I caught a brief glimpse of a very fat personI couldn't tell if it was male or femalelying in the prone position one table ahead and to the left of where I stood. The person's gown was open in the back, and the buttocks were clearly visible and spread by a retractor device. The screen attached to that table contained a full-color graphic depiction of a human anus in an exploded view.
The extremely personal nature of some of the examinations bothered me. If this were a clinic on Earth, I'm sure more attention would have been paid to the simple concepts of human dignity and the right of privacyeven in the most primitive cultures. But we were on a spaceship and not on Earth, I told myself, and perhaps there just wasn't room for such accommodations. Or, the extraterrestrials themselves simply did not share my standards in this regard.
I presumed that I was going to be examined on the table at which we stood, and I was hoping that the scrutiny I received was going to be of a less intimate variety. It also occurred to me at the same moment that I was dressed only in my underweara T-shirt and jockey shorts.
Gus seemed to anticipate my thoughts as I gazed around at the other people on tables. But instead of a gown like the ones the humans were wearing, he handed me a robe identical to the ones that he and the other aliens wore, and I quickly stepped into it. I also was supplied with a pair of very ordinary slippers, although they were the softest and most comfortable ones that I had ever worn.
Absentmindedly, I ran a hand over the table by which I stood.
"No, no," Gus said. "No examination for you. Come with me."
I heard perfect English, but I didn't see his lips move. It was as though the words, perfectly enunciated, came directly from his throat, much as a parrot can mimic human speech without the use of tongue or lips.
He turned and began walking away, followed by two associates. There must have been a slight hesitation on my part, because a fourth E.T. applied a gentle nudge to my shoulder with its left hand, indicating that I should follow. We wended our way between the tables and passed through a doorway that slid open as we approached. We walked wordlessly along a well-lit corridor, the three aliens a few steps in front of me, and the fourth a step or two behind me. We passed several other extraterrestrials, who seemed to take no notice of, or interest in, me.
They had a strange walk. Rather than a slight bobbing up and down, typical of the walk of most humans, the aliens seemed to glide along smoothly, almost as though they were on wheels rather than legs, with no discernible vertical movement of the body as they stepped from one leg to the other. I didn't know if it was normal to their species' form of locomotion, or if it was an adaptation to space flight.
Strange, I thought, that I should take notice of such a minor detail, when there are so many other remarkable sights that are infinitely more significant. As it turned out, their way of walking was just one of the millions of tiny bits of information that would flow into my brain and be stored there with little or no cognitive effort on my part. I was a sponge soaking up minutiae. (At presentseveral weeks after my experiencemy memory banks are overflowing with minor details and events that I never gave any thought to at the moment I was absorbing them.)
Our party turned off the corridor and through another sliding doorway into a room filled with an elaborate array of gauges, dials, monitors, and blinking lights on panels that covered all four walls from about waist level to the eye level of the E.T.'s. There was a small raised platform in the middle of the room where three aliens stood attending a bank of instruments.
Gus stopped, and the other E.T.'s in our party moved to his side in close formation, with their shoulders touching. A slight nudge on my arm from the extraterrestrial who was bringing up the rear also positioned me in the formation. Gus directed some incomprehensible speech to the crew members on the stage, and instantaneously we were in another room.
There was no sensation of being transported, although that's exactly what had happened, as I would learn from experience. It was as though the room that we had been inthe transporter room, as it weresimply evaporated, to be replaced by the new room in which we now stood. The process occurred so quickly as to create the illusion that the room itself had actually gone through the transformation.
If I hadn't known better, I would have sworn that we were now in the boardroom of any ordinary American corporationalbeit it a very futuristic one. But it did have a large rectangular conference table of very highly polished woodor what seemed liked wood, perhaps mahoganysurrounded by 12 cushioned chairs in a pleasant pastel-blue color, five on each side and one on either end. There were several portholes in one of the walls, but from where I was standing I couldn't tell what they looked out upon. All I saw was the blackness of night.
I was directed to one of the end chairs while Gus seated himself at the other end of the table. The E.T.'s in our party took their places in the chairs at the sides, and they were joined by others who entered the room and took seats, occupying all of them.
Gus was the first to speak.
"I think it is important to put your mind at ease," he said. "Yes, you are on a spaceship. Yes, the stories of so-called alien abductions that have been circulating among your people for 50 years or so are true for the most part. Yes, we are from another world. The name of our planet would translate into English as Verdant. We come in peace, and no harm will come to you. In the tens of thousands of encounters that we have had with people from Earth, not one has ever been harmed, intentionally or unintentionally."
This was among the first of many conversations I would have with the extraterrestrials during the course of the 72 hours I spent aboard the ship. To put it in the time flame of my home, I was there 21 1/2 hours on Wednesday, June 11; the full 24 hours on Thursday; another full 24 hours on Friday; and finally, the first 2 1/2 hours of Saturday morning. Of course, there is no night or day in space, so I kept track of the days by estimating the hours that I had been aboard.
I did not take notes during my three days on the ship, having neither a pen and notebook nor a tape recorder. But that poses no problem. The Verdants bestowed upon me a special gift that allows me to quote conversations and recall the events that transpired with great accuracy. (I will deal with this phenomenon in a later chapter.)
For the most part, I will confine myself to a narrative account and rely heavily on paraphrasing. However, there are times when a more accurate picture of a conversation can be painted with the use of quotes to capture the drama, the nuances, and the significance of an event. In such cases, the actual words spoken can tell the story better than a simple, straightforward account.
One such incident where I think it is absolutely necessary to quote the speaker word for wordbecause the words were so provocative, so stunningoccurred when I found myself alone in a small lounge area with a particular female star traveler named "Gina."
We were having a quiet conversation during which I was trying to get her to describe life on her home planet. But she had a persistent and compelling curiosity about the sex habits of humans. She kept turning the conversation in that direction no matter how much I tried to change the subject and get her to talk about herself.
Suddenly, in the middle of this conversation, she stood up, let her robe slip to the floor, and stood naked in front of me. I cannot imagine that I will ever forget the exact words she spoke to me at that moment.
"Do you want to do it?" she asked.
But that's another story, which I'll elaborate on in a subsequent chapter.
Table of Contents
|Chapter 1: The Unthinkable Occurs||1|
|Chapter 2: Orientation and Indoctrination||17|
|Chapter 3: Why Pick on Me?||23|
|Chapter 4: Just Like Home||37|
|Chapter 5: Our Distant Neighbors||41|
|Chapter 6: A View of the Cosmos||53|
|Chapter 7: On with the Tour||69|
|Chapter 8: The Verdant "War" Machine||73|
|Chapter 9: The Magical Thumb||81|
|Chapter 10: The World to Come||91|
|Chapter 11: Indecent Proposal||97|
|Chapter 12: Who Is Gina?||107|
|Chapter 13: Duty Roster||115|
|Chapter 14: The Face of God||122|
|Chapter 15: Welcome Back||129|
|Chapter 16: A Meeting with an Ambassador||133|
|About the Author||203|