The sighting of the large, luminous “cloud” of plasma, or whatever it was, from 1981, has stayed with me vividly for all of this time. I was fourteen then, I’m forty five now. That’s thirty years plus one. When I was twenty one, I had the object’s secondary shape – the “L” or boomerang shape it changed into when I wasn’t looking – tattooed onto my right shoulder. At the time, I’d thought of it as a mark by which to identify myself. I had some idea that there would be others who’d seen the same thing, and that we were supposed to find each other. Though the available lore of UFO sightings is full of boomerang- or triangle-shaped craft, I’ve never heard of anyone else who’s seen this particular, two dimensional shape. Maybe all sorts of people have, but I haven’t found or heard from them. The Phoenix Lights come close, but there are essential differences. A woman I dated for a while claimed to have seen the same thing exactly, but as she proved to be a near-pathological liar, I’m not inclined to believe her about this now. I instinctually didn’t believe her at the time. I think of it now as a mark that, though its ink has faded, is mine alone; like a brand. Or no – exactly that. It is a brand, in every sense of the word.
I’ve often wondered if there was anything more to the experience than what I remembered of it. My strange-seeming reaction of so mild a curiosity, soon followed by easy sleep, is consistent with so many abductees’ reports (though I really don’t think that word – abductee – at all applies to me) of relative disinterest and loss of consciousness under similar conditions – which when examined through hypnosis or other means sometimes reveals a much more extensive experience that had been, through trauma or design, occluded. At the time that I tried this experiment, hypnosis had not yet fallen into quite the current disfavor that it suffers among pundits as a reliable tool for encounter recollection, though I had my own doubts because I knew myself; I knew how badly I wanted to find something – some kernel of significant meaning. I knew how empty I felt at the time, and how something like this – an as-yet undiscovered encounter with living mystery in my past – could lend a compensatory weight to what at the time seemed an otherwise bland and disappointing life. Also I didn’t believe that I could be very deeply hypnotized. Certainly not enough to uncover anything truly shocking. Yet I was regularly seeing a psychologist at a nearby community center, for a vastly reduced rate, throughout much of late 2004 and early 2005, mostly for issues of depression and to deal with the series of significantly traumatic, though entirely ordinary, events I’d recently been through. Having barely any income, the arrangement was about as good as I could hope for, though I can’t say I exactly had the greatest rapport with my therapist. He often stifled yawns while we met, and we never much connected on any significant level. Apparently, I was just boring. But I didn’t feel that I had many options and couldn’t do much shopping around. Under these maybe less than dynamic circumstances I asked him once if he could do a hypnosis session with me, such a thing being part of his repertoire, specifically to see if there were anything more to be found within the experience, which I had told him about. One thing very much in his favor, and which I have to respect, was that he seemed unbiased toward the encounter phenomenon in general, and to my request in particular.
I don’t remember all the stages of the procedure, yet I do recall some of its results. I can’t exactly trust that they are genuine memories of anything, but they are at least in some regards interesting.
Put back into the scene of the sighting, as a fourteen-year-old on Whidbey Island alone in the night, I saw, and quite spontaneously, an image of something advancing towards me across the floor from the wide windows through which I’d seen the “cloud”, a shape like a shadow, a sharp-edged triangle shadow, its apex stretching slowly over the orange shag carpet (which I had, up till then, forgotten once covered the floor) but rather than dark, as a normal shadow would be dark, this shadow was light. In recollection, the image gets jumbled, and I don’t clearly recall if it was really a shadow made of light, or rather a cast of illumination that was somehow, paradoxically dark. Either way, I know that what I saw was the inverse of what it was supposed to be, like a photographic negative, at least in the context of what I referred to it as. I’d retreated deeper into the house and away from the windows, but the shadow/light thing advanced so that it would inevitably, eventually reach me. There was nothing more to the “memory” than this image, which as I say, I do not trust. It could so very likely be my own invention.
The other thing to come out of this hypnosis session was a sort of “summary of intent”, which was basically a statement: the being or intelligence responsible for what I’d seen that night had not physically done anything to me, it/I said, but it had reached me at the level of the unconscious, where it connected with and had a certain influence within my mind. In a sense, it had become me. This explanation – which was only a thought, though one that appeared with a certain propulsive force – satisfied me, at least in some degree, because I’d felt for a long time that something like this was the case. Was I simply supplying myself with the explanation that I needed, pretending it to be an “alien” voice in my mind? Maybe. In a way, such a distinction didn’t matter, not to me. I’d long felt myself to be a human with a partly not-human mind. If this were factually true, to get confirmation from my own imagination would be logically consistent, since that is where the other resides. Of course, that is a long ways off from proving anything. Yet I can say that if it is not valid as objective “fact”, it is true as an element of the myth of my life, in the shifty way a dream is true, as unelaborated text, the story of which I’m constructed and am at once constructing into. So long as the myth remains authentic at the level of an inner truth (whatever that may be: an image, an impulse, a means by which to relate to experience as empirically felt) and does not interfere too drastically with my ability to function in the world, whose business is it anyhow but mine?