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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Slips in Time

In August of 1901, two Englishwomen, Annie Moberly and her colleague Dr. Eleanor Frances Jourdain, were on a trip visiting Paris. The first stop on their tour was the capital. After a short visit there, the two then went to Versailles. At Versailles, the women would have a remarkable experience which has become a timeless tale. The two women would later recount the following story. Blogger Naomi tells us the story:

The two Englishwomen visited the palace at Versailles, where after touring the building itself they descended the steps into the gardens, walking toward the Petit Trianon. There they turned off along a track and passed by some deserted farm buildings, in front of which there was an old plough. On the path stood two men in long green coats wearing three-cornered hats. Eleanor Jourdain asked them the way and they replied with dignified gestures, from which the two Englishwomen gathered that they should go straight on. They went on their way without giving another thought to the strangers' period costume, assuming it to be intended as a tourist attraction. They strolled up to an isolated cottage where a woman and a 12- or 13-year-old girl were standing at the doorway, both wearing white kerchiefs fastened under their bodices. As Eleanor Jourdain described the scene, the woman was standing at the top of the steps, holding a jug and leaning slightly forwards, while the girl stood beneath her, looking up at her and stretching out her empty hands.

"She might have been just going to take the jug or have just given it up. I remember that both seemed to pause for an instant, as in a motion picture," wrote Dr. Jourdain.

The two Oxford ladies went on their way and soon reached a pavilion that stood in the middle of an enclosure. The place had a god-forsaken air about it and the atmosphere was depressing and unpleasant.

A man was sitting outside the pavilion, his face repulsively disfigured by smallpox, wearing a coat and a straw hat. He seemed not to notice the two women; at any rate, he paid no attention to them.

Suddenly, a young man in a dark coat and buckle shoes appeared and ran past shouting something like, "You can't go through there." He pointed toward the right and added, "You'll find the house over there."

Although the Englishwomen spoke French they could only partly understand the man's speech. He bowed with a curious smile and disappeared. The sound of his hurrying footsteps hung in the air for a long time.

The Englishwomen walked on in silence and after a while reached a narrow, rustic bridge, which led over a ravine. A small waterfall made its way between stones and fern leaves, down a slope covered in vegetation. On the other side of the bridge, the path wound along the edge of a meadow surrounded by trees. Some way away stood a small country house with shuttered windows and with terraces on either side. A lady was sitting on the lawn with her back to the house. She held a large sheet of paper or cardboard in her hand and seemed to be working at or looking at a drawing. She was no longer in the bloom of youth but looked most attractive. She wore a summer dress with a long bodice and a very full, apparently short skirt, which was extremely unusual. She had a pale green fichu or kerchief draped around her shoulders, and a large white hat covered her fair hair.

At the end of the terraces was a second house. As the two women drew near, a door suddenly flew open and slammed shut again. A young man with the demeanor of a servant, but not wearing livery, came out. As the two Englishwomen thought they had trespassed on private property, they followed the man toward the Petit Trianon. Quite unexpectedly, from one moment to the next, they found themselves in the middle of a crowd--apparently a wedding party--all dressed in the fashions of 1901.

This account is a classic example of what is known as the time slip phenomenon. Simply defined, a time slip is an event where a persona is momentarily, and involuntarily, outside of the normal flow of time. They appear to have traveled either forward, or backwards, in time. Time slips stories have interested me for years. Although, I haven’t quite made up my mind as to what might be causing these events to occur. There seems to be some evidence that time may not be as linear as we perceive it. Is it possible that we can accidently travel through time? The following cases seem to make that suggestion.

Sir Victor Goddard’s Flight

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On the Uk Paranormal Events forum page, member Sir JGP relates the following tale involving RAF Air Marshal Sir Victor Goddard:

in 1935 Sir Victor Goddard who at the time was a Wing Commander in the British Air Force was flying back to Andover, England from Edinburgh, Scotland, he decided to fly over an abandoned airfield at Drem which is not to far from Edinburgh.  The old disused airfield looked battered, its runways were overgrown with foliage, the hangers were all falling down and once where planes stood ready for action was now a grazing area for cows.

Having flown over the old airbase Goddard continued on his way back to Andover, however not long into the continued flight he encountered a strange storm, he reported later that there were high winds and that the storm had strange brown-yellow clouds, the storm took him by surprise and he was unable avoid flying into the storm, he lost control of his plane which started to spiral towards the ground.

Goddard managed to get the plane under control narrowly avoiding a crash, Once he got his bearings again he realised that they were heading back the way they had come and towards the Drem airfield again, as he approached the old airfield the storm suddenly vanished and Goddard's plane emerged into brilliant sunshine.  

This time as they flew over the airfield, he noticed how different it looked, the hangers that moments before had been falling down now looked brand new, there were four planes parked on the ground, three of which he recognised as biplanes but the fourth was a monoplane, in 1935 the RAF had not yet acquired a monoplane, the planes were all painted in an unfamiliar yellow, the runways were clear of foliage and he noticed mechanics dressed in blue overalls walking around, He thought it strange that none of the people on the ground appeared to notice him flying over.

Conscious of his fuel level he set course back to Andover, but once again encountered the strange storm this time though he was aware he was approaching it and was ready for it, he made it through the storm
without losing control of the aircraft and made his way safely back to Andover.

The intriguing epilogue to this tale is that it wasn’t until 1939, some 4 yrs after the incident, that the RAF painted their planes yellow, started using the monoplane of the type that Goddard had seen, and the mechanics had their uniforms switched to blue.

The cafe that wasn’t there

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Blogger Naomi at the Time Slips Account blog recounts another interesting, almost classic, time slip tale of a woman who visited an antique looking coffee shop. Wishing to bring her husband to this coffee shop on their next trip into town, she discovered it had been closed for years. From the blog:

On the morning of 18th June 1968, and elderly lady, Mrs Charlotte Warburton, went shopping with her husband in the town. They decided to go their separate ways for a while and to meet up later. That morning, unable for find a particular brand of coffee from her usual grocer she went into a supermarket in Calverley Road. As she entered the shop she saw a small café through an entrance in the left-hand wall. She had never before realised that there was a café there. It was rather old-fashioned with wood panelled walls. There were no windows and the room was lit by a number of electric bulbs with frosted shades

There was at the time, she thought, nothing especially odd about the scene. 'Two woman in rather long dresses were sitting at one table and about half a dozen men, all in dark lounge suits, were sitting at the other tables further back in the room,' she said. 'All the people seemed to be drinking coffee and chatting ... a normal sight for a country town at eleven o'clock in the morning.'

When they came to Tunbridge Wells on their next shopping expedition Mrs Warburton decided to take her husband to the café. Or rather, she hoped to take his [sic] there. But, of course, they never did find the place though they searched the street up and down. No, they were told in the supermarket, there was no café there. She must be in the wrong building. It was then that they learned about the Kosmos Kinema which had stood on the site of the supermarket.

They were directed to the Tunbridge Wells Constitutional Club, where the steward told them that at one time the Constitutional Club had owned the premises adjoining the Kosmos, which was now incorporated into the supermarket.

The club had had an assembly room in those days and to the rear a small bar with tables for refreshments. Mrs Warburton's description tallied exactly with the club's old refreshment room.

The bar, the cinema and the assembly room had all vanished years ago, Mrs Warburton was told.

This kind of scenario is a classic example of a time slip. It even has the return visit to the location which is no longer there. It’s possible that the woman had simply gone back to the wrong cafe, that perhaps the one she visited still existed on another street. Still, her description did seem to match exactly with the refreshment room which had not existed for years.

Highway to the Past

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The following story comes by way of Stephen Wagner at paranormal.about.com. He relates an account of two gentlemen who were making their way on Highway 167. Here is their story:

In October, 1969, a man identified only as L.C. and his business associate, Charlie, were driving north from Abbeville, Louisiana toward Lafayette on Highway 167. As they were driving along the nearly empty road, they began to overtake what appeared to be an antique car traveling very slowly. The two men were impressed by the mint condition of the nearly 30-year-old car - it looked virtually new - and puzzled by its bright orange license plate on which was stamped only "1940."

They figured, however, that the car had been part of some antique auto show. As they passed the slow-moving vehicle, they slowed their car to get a good look at the old model. The driver of the old car was a young woman dressed in vintage 1940s clothing, and her passenger was a small child likewise dressed. The woman seemed panicked and confused. L.C. asked if she needed help and, through her rolled up window, indicated "yes."

L.C. motioned for her to pull off to the side of the road. The businessmen pulled ahead of the old car and turned onto the shoulder of the road. When they got out... the old car had vanished without a trace. There were no turnoffs or anywhere else the vehicle could have gone. Moments later, another car pulled up to the businessmen and, quite puzzled, said he had seen their car pull off to the side... and the old car simply vanish into thin air.

In this case it sounds more like the driver from the 1940’s had the time slip and had found herself temporarily in the future.

Conclusions

Time slips are fascinating pieces of paranormal literature. They seem to suggest that time may not exist in quite the way we perceive it.  By what mechanism are these people slipping through time? In Goddard’s case, there is mention of a “strange storm”, but the others make no mention of anything out of the ordinary. Except for the experience itself. I’m left with so many questions after reading accounts like those listed above.

But there’s one which sticks out in my mind the most. Are their reciprocal time slip accounts? For instance in the case of the woman driving with the young child on Highway 167, did she later go home and tell her husband about the two men in a strange looking vehicle she saw? Or with the Englishwomen at Versailles. Are there reports from the time they were supposed to have visited of people seeing strange-garbed women speaking english?

I’m interested to hear what you readers have to say. Be sure to comment below and tell me your thoughts!

Sources and additional readings:

If you wish to read more accounts of time slips, I recommend you check out the following sites.




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Haunted Dolls

Few things in the world of the paranormal creep me out more than haunted dolls. Granted, giant killer rabbits are actually my number one fear, but haunted dolls are a close second. Maybe it’s their lifeless eyes. Perhaps it’s their creepy little hands. Whatever it is, whenever I read stories of haunted dolls I get the Heebie-jeebies. So I thought I would share my anxiety with you guys as we explore some of the more famous, or notorious, cases of haunted dolls. Perhaps this will be a cathartic experience for me? At the very least, it’s a chance to share some creepy stories. I leave it to you to decide the validity of these accounts as always.

Robert the Doll

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Any discussion of haunted dolls is almost required to mention the most famous example in the United States; Robert the Doll. In the late 19th century, a wealthy family, surnamed Otto, moved with their children to Key West Florida. Their youngest child, named Robert Eugene Otto, was born in 1900. He was better known by his nickname, ‘Gene’. Gene serves as the focus of our tale.  The story goes that this family had many servants who looked after the house and the children. Mr. and Mrs. Otto were said to have been abusive towards the servants, particularly a Bahamian girl who was alleged to practice all manner of dark arts including Voodoo. For Gene’s 6th birthday, this Bahamian girl is said to have hand-made the doll pictured above and given it as a gift. After she placed a curse upon the doll as retribution for his parents mistreatment of her. Gene dubbed the doll “Robert” and began carrying the doll around with him wherever he went.  

It was said that Gene would often be found talking with Robert. Far stranger than this, his parents were supposed to have heard Gene’s voice and another slightly different voice answering. This was believed to have been Gene playing pretend. Or was it? Not long after receiving the doll, Gene began waking up in the middle of the night, screaming in fright. His parents would rush into Gene’s room in order to check on their son. They would generally discover all of the furniture in his room had been turned over and the room was in disarray.  Robert the Doll was said to have been at the foot of Gene’s bed, sitting upright. The parents naturally accused Gene of messing up his room, Gene maintained his innocence. He claimed that it was Robert the Doll who was making a mess of the bedroom.

This would became a pattern throughout Gene’s childhood. Whenever something bad was done around the house, Robert was to blame. As Gene grew, his relationship with Robert never changed. When his parents passed away, Gene was left his childhood home in Key West. Gene moved back into this house with his wife Annette. By this time, or perhaps a bit before, Gene had become known locally as an artist. In reality both he and his wife were involved in the Key West art movement; he as an artist/painter and her as a jazz musician.

Even as an adult, Gene was said to keep Robert around as a constant companion, much to the consternation of his wife. Gene was also said work alone on his paintings with Robert as his sole companion. It’s not hard to imagine that the relationship between Gene and Robert was a source of conflict between Gene and Annette. Annette reportedly felt uneasy around Robert. Really, who could blame her?

Eventually Annette would have enough of Robert. She put her foot down, Robert was to be resigned to the attic, in his own “room”. They lived this way for a time. After a number of years, Gene began to complain saying that Robert was mad. Robert didn’t like being in the attic, Gene would tell Annette. He should have his own room. The guest room overlooking the street was the perfect place.  

It was in this room where Robert would come to rest for the remainder of Gene’s life. As time wore on, Annette and Gene’s marriage slowly began to unravel. Gene would scream and shout at his wife. At the end of these episodes, Gene would apologize and blame the behavior on Robert. By the 1970’s Gene became ill and locked himself away with Robert in Robert’s “room”. Gene finally passed away in 1972, with Robert by his side. Annette sold the house and left not too long after Gene’s death. She left Robert behind and never looked back.

A few years later, a new family moved into the house. After they were there for only a  few weeks, the stumbled across Robert. Robert had apparently been “buried” beneath a number of boxes in the basement. The couple who moved into this home had a little girl who fell in love with Robert immediately. She soon added him to her large doll collection and all seemed well. Until, much like Gene so many years before her, she started waking up screaming in the middle of the night. The girl told her parents that she had seen Robert running around her bedroom and that it was trying to harm her. The family eventually got rid of Robert the Doll by donating him to a local museum where he resides to this day.

A blogger by the name of Timothy Clax did a great write-up of this case. Clax has the following to say about Robert’s current residence, the Martello Museum:

Robert is still at the museum, in his little sailor suit, holding a little stuffed lion that he,  appears to be attached too. Employees always remember to introduce new recruits of the museum to Robert. Some visitors laugh at the stupidity of being afraid of a stupid doll, but many change their mind....when they see Robert's angry look staring back at them.

Others try to take pictures of Robert in his case, and there cameras will not turn on. They replace the batteries thinking that was the solution, but the new batteries are not working either! When they leave the museum, there cameras turn on and the batteries fully charged.

One male visitor, who didn't believe the curse was true, videotaped his entire day at the museum. When they got to the area were Robert was, the sound on the camera turned off and couldn't be turned back on! He turned around to talk to an employee close by, and the sound on the camera was turned up all the way. Blaring in his ears.

There are a number of websites devoted to this case. If you’re feeling brave enough, you can even spend the night with Robert. I’ll personally be sitting out on that one. What are we to make of this tale? I honestly can say. The psych student in me thinks that perhaps it was Gene who had the issues rather than did Robert the Doll. It is interesting that the little girl would report the same kind of strange behavior from Robert that Gene had done. Assuming she had never heard the stories I have to wonder how she would have come up with similar stories.

Further reading on Robert the Doll:




Annabelle

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Our next example of a haunted doll was made famous last year on the big screen. The Conjuring, a story based on the files of demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, opened with a 10 or 15 minute scene involving a haunted doll named Annabelle. In typical Hollywood fashion, the producers of the film decided to hollywood-ify the doll to make it scarier. I’d argue the original Raggedy Ann doll was plenty creepy as it was. In fact, the doll from the film looks a little silly in my opinion.

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In 1970 a woman was searching for a birthday present for her daughter, Donna, who was a nursing student at the time.Donna lived in an apartment with a roommate named Annie who was also a nursing student. Donna was apparently happy with the present and placed it in her room as a decorations. The Warren’s website tells us what happened next:

With in that time both Donna and Angie noticed that there appeared to be something very strange and creepy about the doll. The doll apparently moved on its own, relatively unnoticeable movements at first, like a change in position, but as time passed the movement became more noticeable. Donna and Angie would come home to find the doll in a completely different room from which they had left it . 

Sometimes the doll would be found crossed legged on the couch with its arms folded , other times it was found upright, standing on its feet, leaning against a chair in the dining room. Several times Donna, placing the doll on the couch before leaving for work, would return home to find the doll back in her room on the bed with the door closed.  

I’m going to be honest, if I was having these experiences I probably wouldn’t have kept the doll for much longer. Present or not. Although I suppose it’s possible that Donna and Annie simply rationalized the experiences away. It would probably be easier to assume that they had moved the doll and just forgotten about it. Rather than the doll acting under it’s own volition. The doll’s activity persisted and began to manifest in new, and in my opinion much creepier, ways. From the Warren’s website:

About a month into their experiences Donna and Angie began to find penciled messages on parchment paper that read "Help Us" and "Help Lou". The hand writing looked to belong to that of a small child.

As if that weren’t bad enough, the Warren’s website relates another event which seem to have been the final straw for the girls:

One night Donna came home to find the doll had moved again, this time it was on her bed. Donna had come to find that this was typical of the doll but some how she knew this time it was different, something wasn't right. A sense of fear came over her when she inspected the doll and saw what looked like blood drops on the back of its hands and its chest. Seemingly, from no where, a liquidy red substance had appeared on the doll.

It was at this point in their experiences that Donna and Angie sought for help. Not knowing what else to do, they turned to a medium. The Warren’s website tells us:

Not knowing where to turn they contacted a medium and a seance was held. Donna was then introduced to the spirit of Annabelle Higgins. The medium related the story of Annabelle to both Donna and Angie. Annabelle was a young girl that resided on the property before the apartments were built, they were "happy times". She was a young girl of only seven years old when her lifeless body was found in the field upon which the apartment complex now stands.

The spirit related to the medium that she felt comfort with Donna and Angie and wanted to stay with them and be loved. Feeling compassion for Annabelle and her story Donna gave her permission to inhabit the doll and stay with them.

A friend of the girls, named Lou, had been with them since the doll arrived. From the beginning Lou had been against Donna keeping the doll, believing it to be evil. Lou had his own experiences in the apartment, though honestly to me they sound like examples of the “old hag” syndrome. The Warren’s website relates Lou’s experiences:

Lou awoke one night from a deep sleep and in panic. Once again he had a recurring bad dream. Only this time somehow, something seemed different. It was as though he was awake but couldn't move. He looked around the room but couldn't discern anything out of the ordinary and then it happened. Looking down toward his feet he saw the doll, Annabelle.

It began to slowly glide up his leg, moved over his chest and then stopped. Within seconds the doll was strangling him. Paralyzed and gasping for breath Lou, at the point of asphyxiation, blacked out. Lou awoke the next morning, certain it wasn't a dream, Lou was determined to rid himself of that doll and the spirit that possessed it.

At this point, Donna decided that they must not be dealing with a human spirit. Instead, “Annabelle” must have been a demonic entity of some kind. Enter the Warrens. Donna contacted an Episcopal Priest who in turn notified the Warrens of the activity. Ed and Lorraine were very interested in working on the case and agreed to assist Donna and her friends in ridding themselves of Annabelle.

Ed and Lorraine were also convinced that what was occurring in this situation was the beginning stages of demonic possession. Accordingly, the website states:

This spirit manipulated the doll and created the illusion of it being alive in order to get recognition. Truly, the spirit was not looking to stay attached to the doll, it was looking to posses a human host.

The spirit or in this case an inhuman demonic spirit, was essentially in the infestation stage of the phenomenon. It first began moving the doll around the apartment by means of teleportation to arouse the occupants curiosity in hopes that they would give it recognition.Then predictably the mistake of bringing a medium into the apartment to communicate with it.

The inhuman spirit now able to communicate through the medium, preyed on the girls emotional vulnerabilities by pretending to be a rather harmless, lost young girl with which during the seance, was allowed permission from Donna to haunt the apartment. Insofar as demonic is a negative spirit, it then set about causing patently negative phenomena to occur; it aroused fear through the weird movements of that doll, it brought about the materialization of disturbing handwritten notes, the symbolic drops of blood on the doll, and ultimately it even attacked Lou leaving behind the symbolic mark of the beast.

The next stage of the infestation phenomenon would have been complete human possession. Had these experiences lasted another 2 or 3 more weeks the spirit would have completely possessed, if not harmed or killed one or all of the occupants in the house.

Satisfied with their explanation of the phenomenon, Ed decided that it would be best to have the Exorcism Rite performed in order to cleanse the house of the activity. The priest who performed the ritual, Father Cooke, didn’t seem all too eager to exorcise an apartment. Upon the insistence of Ed and Lorraine, he relented and exorcised the ladies apartment. Donna insisted that Ed and Lorraine take the doll with them. That seems to have been the end of Donna, Angie, and Lou’s troubles. Though, apparently, Annabelle continued to lash out at the Warrens. You can read more about that at the Warren’s site.

What in the world are we to make of this story? Annabelle certainly produced far more activity than Robert the Doll did. Yet he’s the one with the museum! Where’s the justice in that? Seriously though, the Annabelle story is interesting and very creepy. I don’t know that I’m as convinced as the Warrens were that they were dealing with a demonic spirit. But to be fair, I didn’t investigate the doll so who am I to say?

A Haunted Doll of Your Own

If the two stories above weren’t enough to convince that haunted dolls are not great items to own, you can purchase one of your very own! First up is the Haunted Dolls Paranormal Research Group. The group, based out of England, says that they “offer free help and advice to people worried about unexplained activity in their home or workplace.” On top of this, the group offers the chance for you to own a piece of their paranormal collection. Here is one of the dolls that they have available for sale at the moment:

Spirited Doll Julia


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From the website:

Very active lady, In her 40's. Fond of classical music and singing. Very laid back. Would suit a variety of homes as is very adaptable and friendly.

Julia could be yours for the low, low price of £55.00. If you’re in the market for a wider variety of paranormal dolls, AJ’s Haunted Doll Shop is your destination. Everything from haunted clown dolls to spirit children can be yours, for a reasonable price of course. It’s a bit of an understatement to say that I’m skeptical of these items and their validity. Of course, if I ever have the disposable income I’ll certainly try to pick one of these up.
Haunted dolls, while being super creepy and keeping me up at night, exist in that fringe part of the paranormal for me. I’m not entirely sure what to make of these stories. With Robert the Doll it would be easy to explain that as a combination of a child with an overactive imagination and an obsessive / anti-social personality disorder. Of course, I never meet Gene so all I can do is go based off of the accounts of his actions in childhood and later in adulthood.
Annabelle on the other hand is a bit of a different beast. If we assume that Donna, Angie, and Lou are telling the truth about the activity which they experienced, it’s a lot harder to chalk up handwritten messages as being indicative of an “overactive imagination”.  
At the end of the day all I can do is keep an open-mind about these kinds of stories. Haunted dolls will probably always creep me out. Yet they also fascinate me. Who knows? Maybe one of these days I’ll break down and buy one of my very own.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Abduction of Pier Fortunato Zanfretta

The alien abduction phenomena is a tricky, tricky, thing. There are a variety of different proposed explanations for alien abductions. Many feel that they are completely fabricated events within the person's subconscious. Others are convinced that abductions represent a systematic biological program which is being performed by extraterrestrials in order to produce a race of alien-human hybrids.  Some believed that these experiences stem from sleep paralysis. Still others see it is as some kind of demonic activity meant to deceive and lead people from the path of righteousness.  I haven’t decided where I land on the topic yet.

Today I wish to take a look at an interesting abduction case which isn’t discussed too often. As an added bonus, at least in my mind, it doesn’t involve those pesky Greys. On the night of December 6, 1978 security guard Pier Fortunato Zanfretta was out patrolling his route around Torriglia, a village near Genoa, Italy. An Italian journalist named Rino di Stefano, who has done an extensive amount of research into the case firsthand, tells the following version of events which befell Zanfretta that fateful night:

As Zanfretta approached a client's uninhabited country-house (called "Our Home" by the owner, Dr. Ettore Righi), in the area of Marzano, his patrol car, a Fiat 126, mysteriously stopped dead. The car engine, lights and radio all failed seemingly for no reason. At the same moment he saw four strange lights moving about in the garden of the house and stepped outside of his car to investigate with gun and flashlight in hand.At first he thought that burglars were behind the house. So he walked through the open gate and crept along a wall in an attempt to surprise them. Feeling himself touched from behind, the security guard whirled around and saw something that filled him with terror: only inches away stood what he called: "An enormous green, ugly and frightful creature, with undulating skin, no less than ten feet tall". When he directed the beam of his flashlight on the being's face, he was so frightened that he dropped it, but quickly it up again and run away. While running, he became aware of a large and very bright light behind him. Turning around, he saw a huge, flat triangular form which was blinding in its brilliance.

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At this point, I have to commend Zanfretta for keeping his senses about him and getting the hell out of the area. I’d like to think I would maybe stick around and check the situation out some more. Of course I’ve never come face to face with a 10ft tall anything. So who knows how I would actually react. Getting back to the account, Stefano continues:

Zanfretta shielded himself from the light with his arm. This thing which he assured was a flying saucer, ascended from the back of the house. It was bigger than the house itself, and produced a hissing sound. Later, Zanfretta said that he felt an intense heat. He made it back to his car and tried to call his security company's operations center in Genoa. It was 12:15 A.M. Carlo Toccalino, the radio operator, has testified that Zanfretta was speaking in an excited and disconnected way. He kept saying: "My God, are they ugly!". The operator then asked if "they" were human and if they were assaulting him. The answer was: "No, they aren't men, they aren't men". At that point, the communication were abruptly broken off

The radio operator called the chief of the security force and two other security guards were sent out to look for Zanfretta. Arriving at 1:15 am the two guards found Zanfretta lying on the ground apparently frightened and near hysterical. Stefano says:

When he saw them, he jumped up, gun and flashlight at the ready. Eyes bulging, Zanfretta didn't seem to recognize them, nor to understand when they told him to lower his weapon. The other patrolmen rushed and disarmed him. To their surprise, his clothes felt warm even though the December night air was quite cold.

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The Italian police were said to have launched an investigation almost immediately following these events. During their investigation, they found that nearly 52 people admitting to seeing strange lights in the vicinity of Zanfretta’s encounter at around the same time it was alleged to have occurred. Stefano tells us the following in regards to the investigation:

Antonio Nucchi, the commandant of the Torriglia station, has stated that he was every confidence in the testimony given by Zanfretta. In fact, he has known the security guard for many years and, when I asked him what he thought about him, he answered: "I can state with certainty that he is a clear thinking man with no strange fantasies in his head. When we went to investigate the scene the next day, he almost didn't want to come, he was so scared. Only something exceptional could have frightened him so."

Per Stefano’s insistence, Zanfretta agreed to undergo hypnosis. According to an Above Top Secret thread:

Zanfretta agreed to be hypnotized by Dr. Mauro Moretti, a psychotherapist and member of the Italian Association of Medical Hypnosis, in Genoa on December 23. During that occasion Zanfretta said that he was abducted by "monsters about 10 feet tall, with hairy green skin, yellow triangular eyes and red veins across the forehead" who brought him to a hot, luminous place where they interrogated and examined him.

During the same session, Zanfretta also indicated that the creatures came from the "third galaxy" and that "they want to talk with us and that they will soon return in larger numbers." The aliens did not speak Italian to the guard, but used a "luminous device" to translate what they were saying.

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To my surprise, Zanfretta was back to work only a few weeks after the event. I have to admit, I would probably use this encounter as an excuse for a vacation, but “to each his own” I suppose. Zanfretta may have later regretted this decision to return to work as these creatures from the “third galaxy” were not evidently not finished with him yet. According to Stefano:

At 11:45 PM on that night [December 23rd], Zanfretta was at work as usual, driving a Fiat 127 inside the Bargagli tunnel, near the Scoffera Pass. Suddenly he lost control of the car. On the radio, he reported that the Fiat turned on its own and came out of the tunnel. Terrified, Zanfretta tried to work the brakes and steering wheel, but the car continued on its own along the steep road uphill.

Speaking with the radio operator, the guard said that he was having difficulty with the patrol car, and couldn't see well because of the very thick fog. After going for about a mile, the car finally come to an abrupt stop, throwing Zanfretta's head against the steering wheel. He called the radio operator and this time, in a very controlled voice, said: "The car has stopped. I saw a bright light. Now I am getting out." Zanfretta and his car were found at 1:10 AM by other guards.

The first to see Zanfretta was sergeant Emanuele Travenzoli. Zanfretta was in a field near the road. His clothes were warm and dry, and so was his head, despite the rain. The man was very scared, he was shaking and crying. "They say I must leave with them. What about my children? I don't want to, I don't want to...". Again the Carabinieri were called.

During their investigation they found that, though the car had been in the cold and rain for a long time, the roof of the Fiat was as hot as if it had spent an entire day in the sun. The interior of the car was also said to be as hot as an oven.

All around the car were disproportionately large footprints. As measured by the Carabinieri, the tracks proved were 20 inches long by 8 inches wide, with a distinct empty spot between sole and heel.

In addition, the Carabinieri found that Zanfretta's gun, a Smith & Wesson 38 Special, had been fired five times. But the guard couldn't recall at whom he had fired the weapon.

Zanfretta would go on to have many other abductions and encounters with various “extraterrestrial” denizens, far too many to name here. Instead I invite those curious to learn more to check out the links below. Zanfretta seemed to not be too bothered by the actual encounters themselves, frightening as they may have been. Instead the majority of stress and negativity Zanfretta received was from earthly sources. After Zanfretta’s story got out, he received constant harassment via telephone. People calling him crazy or phony. However Zanfretta always maintained that the events he recalled were real and had truly happened to him.

What are we to make of Zanfretta’s account? According to all who knew him, he was a reliable, stand up guy. Co-workers described him as honest and most seemed to believe that something strange happened to him, if not necessarily an abduction. He never seemed to have profited from these experiences, although he did appear on television and Stefano would eventually write a book detailing Zanfretta’s reports. I’m reserving my judgement on this case for now. I will say that I do believe Zanfretta had a genuine experience. What that experience involved remains a mystery.

Additional Reading: