Thursday, February 12, 2009

From The Archives: There's a Stranger in Town

There's a Stranger in Town
By Scott Corrales (c) 1999

A man interviewed about the Great Northeastern Blackout in 1965, recalled walking through the streets of New York City during the event and feeling the eerieness of the situation. He told his interviewer: "I don't know, but that day I had the feeling there were ghosts walking among us."

While we shouldn't draw any deep conclusions from a poetic turn of phrase such as this one, this man's sentiment has been uttered by many others around the world in starkly different contrasts. The belief that not everyone sharing the daylight, waking world with us may belong to that world has played a significant role in many accounts of the paranormal. Some talk of ghosts; others of aliens; and still others of entities which while seemingly human, are not what they appear to be.

A Mockery of Humans?

British author Harold Wilkins mentioned a pair of truly enigmatic creatures in his book Flying Saucers on the Attack, one of ufology's early classics. In mid-February 1953, the administrator of a Los Angeles law firm dedicated to tracking missing persons stated that two weird-looking men, standing 6'2", who had been given temporary work by the firm's legal director, had vanished without a trace. The administrator went on to say that the emaciated pair, clad in ill-fitting clothes and with bluish-green complexions, also had prick ears of the sort seen on certain breeds of dogs.

On January 20, 1953, these two men were given an assignment to help in the tracing of missing persons. Their efficiency in this endeavor was such that the other tracers were astounded. The administrator also noted that on one occasion, one of the beings leaned over the top of a steel cabinet and scored an indentation at least a half inch deep on its surface, using his "oddly curved hand" to do so.

Wilkins' description of the entities doesn't stop there: both creatures had jointless hands and wrists of decidedly non-human curvature. The law firm thought it best to notify the FBI, but the strange pair had disappeared before the agents arrived on the scene. Aside from the testimony of the firm's administrator and legal director, the only evidence left behind by the creatures was the furrow in the steel filing cabinet, which was taken to a metallurgical chemist for analysis. The chemist's report stated that a pressure of at least two thousand pounds per square inch would have been necessary to produce such an indentation.

Paranormal investigator Peter Guttila, writing in Flying Saucers magazine (March 1971, Issue #72), discusses the thoroughly strange experience of an Californian ice-cream parlor employee who was visited by "a man who appeared out of nowhere" and asked for a frozen desert. The curious character had no idea of currency, what flavors were, not even what the word "sweet" meant. Thinking that he was dealing with a half-wit, the employee paid little attention until the stranger asked him to place his left hand on the counter. "When I did," Guttila quotes the unnamed attendant as saying, "he placed his left hand next to mine--he had only three fingers! He then put his right hand on the counter and it too had only three fingers."

Unable to find any trace of scar tissue or deformity, the frightened attendant leaped back; the stranger reportdly looked at him and said: "We are not quite like you," before proceeding to vanish into thin air.

The occultist Alex Saunders gave the term "mimics" to this thoroughly disturbing order of beings, associating them with the numerous creatures in the animal kingdom that imitate other, more dangerous animals to keep safe: certain insects, for example, resemble poisonous centipedes or scorpions, while other imitate their smell in order to go unnoticed. Saunders believed that there may be creatures living among us who have all the trademarks of being human yet are not so, and are not extraterrestrial, either. John Keel expressed the belief that the infamous Men-in-Black belonged to precisely such an order of beings in his book Our Haunted Planet (Fawcett, 1971).

Strangers on the Tracks

On May 5, 1988, the Spanish police received a frantic phone call from the railway authorities concerning the horrifying death of a young man who had been messily sliced in two by a RENFE train on the Santiago de Compostela to Madrid line, near the town of Boisaca. The police reported to the scene of the nightmarish event and in view of the fact that there were no identifying papers on the corpse, merely filed the case as another "missing persons" event. But there were many unusual details to the case which were to haunt the authorities for years come. Antolín Doval, head of the Technical Divison of the Police Department, discussed the case with researchers Lorenzo Fernández and Iker Jiménez in 1996, maintaing that his office had never again encountered a similar situation.

On that fateful night in 1988, the train's engineer had settled down for the otherwise routine intercity run, when he saw a figure running out of the woods toward the rails, taking one last look at the mammoth locomotive that would soon become his last sight. Bringing the train to a halt, the engineer leaped from the locomotive into the darkness toward where the figure had last been seen. Any hopes he may have kindled in his breast were dashed upon witnessing the torn, mangled body.

Forensic analysis would later prove that the man was wearing clothing several sizes too large for him and carried a small amount of currency on him. The instant verdict was that the man had been a vagabond who committed suicide by staring down the shining light of the "Midnight Special" that the old American bluesmen would sing about.

The experts also became aware of a number of oddities: the victim's head was overly large and his teeth were prominent and sharp. Also noteworthy were his ears, which were cocked forward and lacked any of the folds of a normal human ear. Local residents denied having ever seen the strange-looking man, and no one came forward to identify the remains. He was not featured in any existing missing persons dossier, either.

However, some people claimed having seen the man frantically building a series of concentric rings with small stones not far from the train tracks, as if trying to leave behind a message that will forever remain a mystery.

A 16th Century Riddle

Many of us have wished, at times, for a supernatural assistant well-disposed toward us to aid us in overcoming life's problems, or why not, even gaining an edge over our fellow men. While some may reply that our "guardian angels" neatly fulfill this role, others have had dealings with much more tangible entities who have furthered their careers on earth.

The 16th century, aside from being an age of military and intelelctual expansion, also served as the age for some of the most enigmatic personalities that have graced this millenium: perhaps one of the least remembered ones of their number is Doctor Torralba.

Torralba was a physician to the Spanish Court in the 1500's who was endowed with a very unusual "companion" or counselor who gave him strict advice on how to live his life. This invisible companion, known only as "Zequiel", was similar in many respects to the secret advisor or daimon that inspired Socrates in ancient Greece. "Zequiel"'s physical description, given by Dr. Torralba to those wishing to know more about this unusual character, closely matched that of Adamski's "Venusians" -- tall, fair and slender.

Dr. Torralba told courtiers that he had inherited his otherworldly protector from a friar of the Dominican Order in Rome, who was visited by the entity on "certain phases of the moon". The friar had asked Zequiel if he would mind taking Torralba under his protection, to which the fair, blue-eyed entity agreed. From that moment on, Torralba was favored with superhuman wisdom, as were those friends of his who made requests of "Zequiel", as in the case of an Italian nobleman, Carmelo Ruffini, who asked for a sure-fire method for winning games of chance; although "Zequiel" was at first hesitant, he gave the nobleman a formula based on kabbalistic symbols which earned the gambler the sum of one hundred ducats--a veritable fortune in those days.

But Torralba got much more than he bargained for on May 6, 1527, when his companion transported him "through the air, guided by a ball of fire" from Spain to Rome in a single night to witness a terrible sight: the beheading of Charles of Bourbon, Marshal of France, and the Pope being imprisoned in Castel Sant Angelo during the Sack of Rome. Upon his return to Spain from this otherworldly journey, the doctor could not contain himself and told everyone about the sad scene of destruction he'd witnessed thanks to "Zequiel".

The Inquisition took an interest in these affairs and Torralba was sentenced to prison for three years and later tortured. He was released from prison a broken man; his powerful friends and clients deserted him. His dealings with the unusual character who had aided him so much had come to an end.

Was Zequiel what occultists term a familiar spirit? Was he the inspiration for the character of Mephistopheles in "Faust"? Was he one of many similar entities who are substantial, appear able to live among humans, but belong to a different order of being? There are no satisfactory answers to any of these questions.

Strangers from Saucers?

In his book La Quinta Columna ("the Fifth Column") Spanish researcher Juan José Benítez mentions another roadside encounter, this one in November of 1974 outside Huesca, Spain. It involved a couple who stopped their car to have a bizarre conversation with a pointy-faced, all-too-human ufonaut, who asked a surprising question of the motorists: could they lend him a monkey wrench? A semi-spherical UFO with alternating red, yellow and white lights hovered in the background, and the driver wondered what good would a wrench do aboard such a vehicle. The ufonaut introduced himself as "Dr. Flor, from Barcelona". Subsequent investigation by the researcher proved that there was indeed a "Dr. Flor" living in Barcelona, but the distinguished physician did not in the least bit resemble the sharp-chinned, frightening UFO occupant, nor was the real Dr. Flor in the least bit interested in the UFO phenomenon.

On May 5, 1959, a boat sailed out of the Dominican Republic carrying 45 year old television producer and director Freddy Miller and his passengers (two women and two children) and disappeared without a trace. Thirteen years later, on September 22, 1973, insurance salesman Virgilio Gómez was driving along the highway to service a new account when he saw a person waving him down by the roadside. According to Gómez, a man in a green outfit informed him that he was Freddy Miller, adding that he had "supposedly" drowned along with some other people, but that he had in fact been rescued by a modern device, "a module known to people as a UFO".

The witness remarked that his alien interlocutor had a disgusting grayish-yellow skin tone that he found repulsive, spoke in a thick, deliberate voice and was virtually hairless. The entity's body was covered by a form-fitting green coverall without zippers or pockets. Gómez was shown a strange, half-concealed vehicle in the woods by the roadside, causing him to realize that the situation was no joke.

Upon returning home that evening, Gómez told his wife and relatives about "Freddy Miller" and his experience that morning. Santo Domingo's major newspapers and periodicals would soon feature the case.

But what about "Freddy Miller" himself? Photos of the missing sportsman and TV personality show a balding, bespectacled older man which in no way resembled the being who spoke to Virgilio Gómez. In spite of his exposure to television, the real Freddy Miller had no significant knowledge of radio technology -- the reason given by the alleged alien for the Venusians interest in resurrecting him. Does this case, along with the preceding encounter with "Dr. Flor", hint at the possible existence of creatures bent not only on posing as extraterrestrial visitors, but posing as humans?

Another case--mired controversy over the past ten years-- took place at the coastal community of Conil in the south of Spain, and involving the materialization of two large, brilliant figures that turned into human beings before the eyes of frightened teenage witnesses. According to their testimony, the pseudo-humans were a male and female, dressed in street clothes appropriate for the time and place. They calmly walked along the beach and vanished into a crowd, while a UFO display filled the heavens above. The witnesses stuck around to see them return hours later, capturing their curious manner of walking with on Super-8 film. The trail of footprints left by the male and female led straight into the water. This incident, dubbed "the infiltrators" or "the Conil humanoids" has been re-opened several times since it occured in 1989, and a number of researchers have interviewed the witnesses over the years as well as police officers and government functionaries. This high-strangeness event does not stand all alone: researcher Manuel Carballal has uncovered a similar case involving "humanoids emerging from the sea" at the northern Spanish beach of Sada. During this incident, a married couple walking along the beach at night was startled by the emergence of two "strange humanoids" emerging from the sea. "As in the Conil case," Carballal explains, " they were clad in long tunics and carried bags into which something was being poured."


The UFO phenomenon is sufficiently complicated without the unneccesary addition of cases involving aliens that morph into human beings, and this is more than likely the reason why cases like Conil and Sada are thrust to the very bottom of the researcher's in-box. What are we to make of these incidents? Some, like Gordon Creighton, might suggest that the paranormal entities known to the Middle Eastern societies as "Jinn" delight in impersonating humans and astonishing them with such displays. Others, like the late Luis Anglada Font, suggested that hummans were being abducted by non-human forces in order to breed an "invasion force" that would be fully human and acclimated to the alien's home planet. He suggested that not all the force would consist of conscripts--some would be youthful volunteers, who, attracted by the prospect of adventure, would choose to throw their lot in with the putative aliens.