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Carl Higdon's close encounter of the 3rd kind, 1974:

The report:

On October 25, 1974, oil worker Carl Higdon, 41, took a day off from work and went hunting elk in the northern area of the Medicine Bow National Park, near Rawlings, Wyoming. He parked his truck in a clearing, and soon spotted a group of five elks, so he raised his rifle, took careful aim and fired at the biggest one, a beautiful male.

At this moment, the abnormal starts.

As the bullet left the barrel of the gun, he could hear no detonation. All sounds vanish, no cracks, no birds, no insect sounds could be heard anymore. Higdon sees the bullet slowly go out of the rifle, it seemed to be moving very slowly. It floated slowly out and fell to the ground at about fifty feet away.

Higdon picked up the bullet and looking at it closely, he noticed that the lead part has disappeared, only the cooper envelope remains, deformed or melted. He put it in his pocket and walks a few steps, while the area is still completely silent.

He felt a tingling sensation all over his body. From his left, he heard someone approaching who he thought might be another hunter. He turned and saw a humanoid entity over six feet tall standing nearby. The entity wore a black jumpsuit with a wide belt, upon which was a six-pointed star and a yellow emblem. The entity had bristle-like, straight hair standing straight out from his yellowish head, which was topped by two 20 centimeters horns - or antennas - at the forehead, small eyes, no eyebrows or chin, no neck, bow-legged, long-armed, and with a rod-like manipulator instead of one hand, and no hand at all at the end of the other arms who stopped at the wrist.

The alien being was looking at him.

It then approached Higdon and asked in English:

"How are you?"

"I'm fine," answered Higdon.

"Are you hungry?" said the being who then somehow makes a small box appear and floats through the air towards Higdon, who opens it, discovers round pills in it, swallows one and puts the box in his pocket.

Researchers have wondered if perhaps the entity felt that Higdon would not be hunting unless he needed food.

The being then asked: "Do you want to come with us?" He points at a cubic object a few meters away, who height is about two meters.

Higdon has no opportunity to answer, The entity pointed at Higdon, who felt paralyzed and found himself aboard some room, much larger than what could have been expected by looking at the cubic object. Inside, he saw five elk which were frozen in a compartment beside him. Another humanoid puts some sort of helmet equipped with wires on Higdon's head, and "the cube takes off."

He was learned that "our planet is located at 163.000 light-miles from the Earth." Higdon immediately understood that there was something obviously odd with the "light-miles" measurement, and told about this oddity to the police later. He was sure that he remembered correctly that the beings said "light-miles."

He was then shown the planet that the aliens come from, probably from some imaging capacity of the helmet the beings put on his head. He saw a tall, Seattle space-needle-type building and a type of sunlight which was very intense and made his eyes water. The entities told him that our sun does the same thing to their eyes.

The next thing Higdon remembers is being back in the park, about 21/2hours having elapsed since the first sight of the entity. He was cold, disoriented, and nearly hysterical. His truck was not where he had left it; he found it about three miles away, stuck in a mud hole. He was actually so shocked that he entered the truck without even realizing that it was his own. How could he? The truck was not at where he left it. There are voices in the truck coming out from the CB radio. So he sent out a distress call over the CB radio, and the Sheriff picked him up at midnight. A search party of policemen found Higdon in hid truck in the middle of a deep ravine. The place is so muddy that the police has the biggest difficulties to reach the truck by foot. Later they needed to use wooden logs to get the truck out of this place. They were all totally stunned as they could not understand how the truck have been put there, un the middle of a real lake of mud. It was those policemen reports that alerted the local press and then the ufologists about the case.

By now, Higdon was in a state of panic and near nervous exhaustion, shouting, "They took my elk!" They took him to the hospital and checked him over; oddly, his blood tests showed a very rich supply of vitamins - those food pellets must have been nutritive.

Later investigation found that Higdon’s wife and two others had seen a red-green-white flashing light moving back and forth across this area.

The case was very thoroughly investigated. A lot of the first investigation was done by Dr. Leo Sprinkle, Professor of Psychology at the University of Wyoming, who investigated for APRO and MUFON. Also Rick Kenyon and Robert Nantkes, MUFON field investigators, and Frank Bourke, National Star, participated in the interviews and researches. And the policemen were also involved.


A police expert took a close look at the bullet that Higdon had picked up and still had in his pocket. He wrote: "it looks as if it has been turned inside out by a superhuman being!" The bullet was also examined by an APRO consultant specialized in metals, who was just as puzzled. He could not find an explanation for the changes in the bullet's shape.

Previously he suffered from a persistent and painful case of kidney stones and a lung problem which was a sequel of a tuberculosis he had years ago. Both of these were healed after his encounter. This is certainly the sort of evidence that cannot be hoaxed.

The position of the car in the middle of a muddy sector not reachable by a car is of course a third convincing evidence that the case is not a hoax and may have objectively happen as Higdon said.

Hypnotic regression

I probably need to specify that I have more than vague doubts about the validity of what surfaces under hypnotic regression. I feel that there is no certainty that the witness recalls real events or totally imaginative events or terribly distorted events when submitted to this technique. Many researchers, particularly those who support the "psychosocial hypothesis" (whatever this may really mean) have sometimes ignored the border between conscious memories and memories that surfaced after hypnotic regression sessions when they speculate their interpretations on such cases.

In Higdon's case, it must be remembered that he did remember all of the above events without any hypnotic regression. By all means, what follows is what surfaced when he underwent this technique.

When Dr. Leo Sprinkle used time-regression hypnosis on Higdon, he found out more about his experience. Higdon was able to recall that other human beings were present on the alien's home planet and they were acting as though they belonged there. He said that the aliens had come to Earth to hunt and fish for food.

Higdon believes that he would have been used for some type of medical experiment involving human reproduction but the alien told him that he does not meet certain conditions for that. Oddly and coincidentally, Higdon had had a vasectomy performed a few years before the abduction and was therefore useless for any "breeding program" that his captors appeared to be pursuing.

Hypnotic regression and psychological tests were conducted again a few years later, in September 1978, by two specialists: Dr. Greenberg, scientific consultant for LAPD, and Dr. Sidney Walter, which, among other functions, was a consultant at the FDA and expert at the federal Social Affairs Department. Both of them have found him sincere. His reaction during hypnosis when he remembers having been exposed to a very bright light was dubbed as indicating that "he has really been exposed to this harsh light."

Tests were also done using a PSE (Psychological Stress Evaluator) device, which is a more sophisticated lie detector device, after which the expert concluded "I am forced to admit that something utterly fantastic did happen in this man's life: the test proves it beyond doubt."

Notes by Jerome Clark regarding several early abductions accounts:


Tall humanoid, in black suit & black shoes;
bow-legged; 'slanted head and no chin', thin
hair 'stood straight up on his head'

At that time there were precious few alleged abductions generally known among ufologists: Antonio Villas Boas (1957), the Hills (*1961), Herb Schirmer (*1967 - more an invitation than an abduction, and with strong contactee overtones), Jose Antonio da Silva (1969), Hodges & Rodriguez (1971, another case with shades of contacteeism), Hickson & Parker (*1973; later claims by Hickson put him in the contactee bracket), Pat Roach ("Patty Price") (1973), Carl Higdon (1974), the "Avis" family (1974), Charles Moody (1975 - which was breaking almost simultaneously with the Larson case), David Stephens (1975; not investigated until December that year) and Travis Walton (*1975 - which made international news a few weeks before Larson was investigated in person) constitute a fairly complete list, and I am not sure that news of the Avis case had reached the USA by autumn 1975. Most featured missing time, all began with a UFO sighting, and seven of these 12 are multiple-witness events. At least four (starred) were widely publicized outside the UFO literature. Leaving aside other divergences, the disparity between the entities reported is extraordinary: (...)

Notes in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, a peer reviewed scientific publication specialized in scientific research on anomalous topics such as UFOs:


0130 Source:
Close Encounters, April 1978
National Enquirer, Oct. 24, 1978

Carl Higdon was hunting in the Medicine Bow National Forest when he was abducted by small beings. He was taken on board and given a medical exam. When he was taken back, he saw five other humans on the return trip. His truck was found in an inaccessible area. Afterwards he was dazed, ill, and confused. He was hospitalized for three days.


Time loss
Skin burned - reddened
Muscle and back aches
Eyes irritated
Eyes light sensitive
Cold feeling

Tim Beckley, ufologist:

Back some 15 or more years ago I did a lengthy investigation of a case involving the hunter Carl Higdon of Wyoming. He was out hunting one afternoon when he saw a group of elk; shot at the animal and the bullet came out in slow motion; the bullet hit some sort of invisible force field and was found later twisted and bent out of shape. Carl went onboard the craft and the elk were inside a separate compartment. Funny thing was that the craft looked much smaller from the outside than when he was in it. It went to their base or planet was examined and returned. His truck had been moved to a different spot by the ETs and the sheriff had to come and get it towed out by building a series of logs since it was in such a marshy area. Higdon was blinded, was wandering around in a daze. He was taken to the hospital and it was found that scar tissue was removed from his lung.

My 20,000 word report was printed in UFO REPORT and made the front cover of the STAR. Higdon's story was also investigated by Dr. Sprinkle. It is probably the best in my years of investigation.


Is it magic, as in fairy tales magic?

Researchers and authors who support a so-called "psychosocial" hypothesis (whatever this means, since there is no experiment to prove or disprove it it is not an hypothesis but a theory - and it seems to concentrate one finding analogies with other phenomena without addressing the extraterrestrial specifics or the nature of the mechanism that allegedly lures the witness into reporting ET encounters supposedly "similar" to ancient fairy tales) have obviously pointed at some features of that case in support of their theory (although it does not explain anything but is a mere description, I used the word theory here instead of the rather impolite "speculation" wording).

A first point is that they presented the location as "an enchanted wood" or "magical forest" supposedly similar to enchanted woods in ancient fairy tales. But if Higdon did not report an alien encounter but a car crash or some other event with no extraterrestrial a single aspect to it, it would only have been a wood just like any other wood. The "enchanted" aspect cannot reasonably be pointed at as some sort of pre-condition of the premises. The wood is not "enchanted," there are actually no enchanted woods except in some fairy tales, or, if there are, there is not the single evidence of it. Only the events that happen in the wood are unusual, or strange, or unbelievable - rather than "enchanted." Some have managed to introduce a sort of "middle-age" atmos by indicating that elk hunting in the forest has a "medieval" feeling. This seems rather like an ad hoc digression, as elk hunting in that forest is nothing out of the ordinary and sociologically a common practice there. Of course this kind of added imagery is only done by some researchers to reinforce their argument that close encounters of the 3rd kind reports in the US in the seventies are a modern version of old tales.

It seems to me that there is a rather dubious play at work among certain researchers when it comes to this notion of a "magic" atmosphere in such cases. They seem to understand the situation like this: the witness enters a sector where time is distorted, where everything is silent, where bullets fly slowly and so on; then, because of the strangeness of the location, an alien being is imagined, and an imagined alien abduction story develops. But what created these special conditions?

If the steps of the experience are put in a more "traditional" extra-terrestrial encounter perspective, it seems there is simply more sense and less additive enigma to it. In a clearing in a wood, an extra-terrestrial craft is landed, and the occupant is around. Animals are silent, or even affected by the presence of the craft which has a distortion effect on the location: time may be affected, anything may be affected. The alien craft is certainly not something as benign as a landed plane. It is something very advanced that has to be able to "do something" to time and space, otherwise, straightforward and easy interstellar travel would not be possible at all. In fact, one can safely assume that the craft is so advanced that to us human it appears totally magical and hard to describe and even hard to perceive. In fact, it would be a good evidence that the craft is not extraterrestrial if it had been possible to describe and perceive it without any strangeness in the description and the perception and if the craft had not had any strange effect on the environment. The witness enters the clearing and is affected. Not the other way round.

Then, evidence of the presence of something of a totally non-earthly technology reveal themselves: the bullet slows down in the middle of the air and is completely deformed; only the cooper parts are left, the lead part is gone. If the whole story was the stuff dreams are made of, the bullet, after being recovered, would have been a normal and intact bullet. Or it would have been lost. Not so. The altered bullet was still altered when APRO ufologists had it examined. I fail to see which sort of psychosocial phenomenon would be at work to achieve this. Of course one may suggest that Higdon or the ufologist hoaxed this tiny piece of evidence, but there are reason that we will see that point out at the utter impossibility for anyone to have hoaxed other aspects of the case.

In one presentation of the case in the context of some "psychosocial" discussion of alien encounters, dealing precisely with the Higdon case, I even found the strange reasoning that the "high strangeness of the premises is a subjective phenomenon," with the reasoning that "if it was an objective data, it would be perceived by everyone." Strange reasoning indeed: Carl Higdon was alone in this experience; how could anyone else have determined if other experiencers would have lived the same phenomenon of no phenomenon or a less stranger phenomenon? The Higdon case thus does not at all illustrate that the high strangeness of the phenomenon is subjective, except that in any context, an experience of an isolated experiencer with no other witness may of course not be called "objective" simply because there are no outside observers at all. The example that would support this would be examples where at least one experiencer has a high strangeness experience while another experiencer at the same time and the same place would describe a different experience such as an experience without any strangeness. But, precisely, the number of high strangeness cases where people experience the high strangeness while other people at the same time and place report no strangeness at all are in a neglectable number in comparison with the number of experiences of high strangeness where all the experiencers live the same experience.

The device that the alien pointed at the end of one of his arm has been compared to "a magic wand," again to parallel the account with fairy tales. Maybe this argument is not as strong as it appears: it seems to me that any pointing technological apparatus with capacities to perform a distant action can be compared to a magic wand just a little too easily. It would then be also legitimate to claim that a gun or a sword can establish the analogy between a sword fight or a police arrest with fairy tales. Using anti-analogies may just be used as easily to dismiss and fairy tale connection; for example, the being is described as having no hands at the end of his arms. Isn't this something unreported in fairy lore?

Another distortion I found in the "psychosocial hypothesis" literature is that of the elk changing into the alien. The intention of the distortion is to demonstrate the notion that in many CEIII cases, there is first the encounter of an animal, and that afterwards, the witness sees that the animal is really an alien being. This is sometimes considered a clue that witnesses mistake animals for extraterrestrial beings, and sometimes in a more sophisticated twist, as a clue that the aliens lures the witness senses so that they see an animal instead of their real appearance. The Higdon case was included as an example of this. This is of course erroneous, since the elk was shot at by Higdon in one direction, while he then hears someone approaching "from his left" who he first thought was another hunter (which indicates that the location is probably usually frequented by hunters, by the way) and this someone was the alien. It takes some desire to make a point to change this into an example of "an elk that then becomes an alien." The point is even more irrelevant if one remembers that Higdon saw both the extraterrestrial beings and captured of killed elks inside the alien craft.

Not the stuff dreams are made of

Fairy tales, vampire and ghost stories do not offer the kind of physical aspects we have in this case. But they are strange and this case has also strange aspects. In the vision of the psychosocial theoricians, strangeness in encounters of alien beings and in fairy lore is pointed at as an indication that the same psychosocial phenomenon is the source of both tales of fairies and dwarves and tales of encounters with alien beings. The idea is that the alien encounters stories are not of actual extraterrestrial beings, but the modern version of the old tales, where the technological and extraterrestrial aspect is only a fabrication by the witness's imagination haunted by science fiction imagery. Modern reports are not of fairies, dwarves, ghosts and other ancient mythical creatures because they are ridiculous in a modern perspective, whereas spaceships and extraterrestrial have a more respectable realistic and modern aspect.

The idea seems attractive at first sight. But a first problem is that it explains nothing in any of the cases such as Carl Higdon's experience. What cured his kidney and is lungs problem? If we were to accept that accounts of fairies curing sickness were also true, and we have no MD reports for that, how did it work? No psychosocial theory offers a rational explanation for that. I also fail to see what psychosocial effect may cause a vehicle to be transported in an inaccessible area. True, old tales can be found where a person or an object suddenly finds itself somehow transported in another place in some astonishing manner, but, if we were to accept these accounts as true stories (which they were generally not meant to be), and if we admit without the least evidence that the transportation really happened, how did it work? It seems that we are supposed to believe that fairies do exist, or to believe without any evidence that strange phenomenon does happen since ages.

Soon it appears that the tenants of what is dubbed the psychosocial hypothesis have a double approach, or tend to present two approaches in a rather undecided manner. Some reason that the strangeness is just the same in modern CEIII accounts and in fairy lore, so, because fairies do not exist, CEIII encounters are not real. I submit this does not work in the example of Carl Higdon's encounters because there are three different sort of evidence, the bullet, the trick being deposed in the muddy area, and the solving of two medical issues, and also because all the psychological tests were passed, which all indicate that something physical did happen. The second approach is that extraordinary events narrated in old tales are to be taken as true events, so are CEIII encounters, and thus, both characters in fairy tales and witness of CEIII did really experience something real and out of the ordinary, but nor fairies neither extraterrestrial beings, something else instead. Listed, are "an intelligence that controls humanity since ages," or "beings which do not belong to our physical universe" or "an intelligence from within our own planet such as in the Gaia hypothesis" and the like. I fail to see any rationality here; it seems that an out of the ordinary theory, the theory that sometimes Earth is visited by extraterrestrial being, is replaced by much more extraordinary theorizations.

After all, almost everyone in the scientific community and the broad public seems to agree that we are probably not the only intelligent life form in the universe, and that probably other intelligent life form may have developed a technology, some of them being more advanced than ours. Yet, the larger part of the scientific community who has never ever dared to have a look at the UFO dossier claims that those probable other civilizations have not visited the Earth, ever. The general public comes up with the notion that UFOs and their occupants are from "another dimension," which 1- does not make UFOs and their occupants any less extraterrestrial, on the contrary and 2- is a naïve interpretation of what a dimension is, that is, not another physical universe in itself but an additional dimension of our universe. Other claim that UFO occupants, when they communicate that they are beings from another planet, are telling lies. An easy call: if the phenomenon is lying, then any explanation on wishes to defend is validated.

Science fiction:

Finally, the argument that Science Fiction has created the UFO phenomenon, as a modern mythology, is not that obvious when applied to the Higdon case. Does the craft Higdon described match descriptions in SF? Well, if one takes all the descriptions of extraterrestrial crafts in the DF literature, surely some description can be listed, that more or less roughly match the craft Higdon described. But how many SF extraterrestrial craft description do not match this encounter or any encounter? How many SF described extraterrestrial craft have never been described? How many different shapes, characteristics, colors in SF, and how many in CE cases? It has been suggested that UFO design evolves with the years, and precedes only by little the evolution of human aeronautics; but where is the actual experimental aircraft that should now have appeared to match this 1974 case?

Moreover, Science Fiction has described things to come that came, and things to come that did not, or not yet. Submarines took part of Science Fiction plots. Does this mean that submarine are just a modern mythology? A huge quantity of SF novels have described how we would be using flying cars by now. But it did not happen, there is no flying car traffic in our cities, cars are still stuck on the road. Only some SF predictions seems to occur, so, could this be simply because SF predicted so many things that of course some part of it had to occur, and other parts not, and no definite lesson can be drawn, unless one filters carefully what fits in one's theory?

Did SF predict anything near Higdon's encounter? How do we reconcile the notion of some researcher that the encounter is absurd (the pills, the "163.000 light-miles," the car found in the muddy area) with the fact that science fiction tried to put forth "realistic" encounters?

This strangeness and that strangeness

Anything far advanced will appear as strange, absurd, magic:

The most important point to me is that anything far advanced will appear as strange, absurd, magic to the witness. Carl Higdon had no chance to describe, understand, perceive and interpret what happened to him, if it indeed was an encounter with an extraterrestrial craft and its occupant. He was bound to hear absurdities (are you hungry?), describe a craft which has impossible properties (larger inside that as seen from the outside), and so on.


Let us read this other account of another close encounter of the third kind:

"In broad daylight, during a hunting party, several witnesses have encountered what they first thought was some sort of animal. However, as the animal closed in, they noted that the noise made by the animal did not correspond to any known animal: it was much louder and very different, and it stopped only when the animal stopped at some distance from the witnesses. A this point, it was obvious that this large unknown animal has never been observed anywhere in the past by any of the witnesses, and did not resemble in any way any known animal."

"This animal was obviously female: a moment after it stopped, it opened four of its flanks and gave birth to some sort of men, four of them. Seem from a distance, they seemed ordinary men, however, as they came in the direction of the group of witnesses, it became obvious that they were not at all ordinary men: they were able to put their hands into their skins and out of it at any time, without hurting themselves, no trace of blood was seen when the took their hands out of their skin. The witnesses entered a state of nervous shock when they realized that."

"When the witnesses reported these events, they were mocked and ridiculed. Many called them either idiots or liars. It must be said that they seemed sincerely disturbed by a real and frightening experience, but no hard evidence was handed as proof that anything real happened. Later however, other witnesses told of similar sightings, although no hard evidence surfaced yet, it seems that some new phenomenon may really exist, which is probably of an entirely psychological nature."

This report is simply a reformulation of events that really did occur and relates to an encounter between human beings and beings from another world. The witnesses were members of remote Papuan tribes who met beings from another world, that is, human beings from Australia, explorers who arrived in a remote area of that country in a Land Rover. The animal is the Land Rover, their ability to put their hands into their skin without any hurt is the witnesses interpretation of the explorers putting hands in their pockets.

It is only expectable that spacecraft from other worlds, their occupants and their behaviour appear to have absurd aspects and illogical behaviour when seen.

Sources references:

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