|The three women who were abducted near Stanford, Kentucky. Left to right: Louise Smith, Elaine Thomas, Mona Stafford. (credit: Jerome Clark)|
Original Report: January 6, 1976 was Mona Stafford's 36th birthday. To celebrate, she and her friends Louise Smith and Elaine Thomas decided to drive thirty-five miles from their home in Liberty, Kentucky, to have dinner at the Redwoods Restaurant, between Stanford and Lancaster, Kentucky. Louise Smith was driving them in her '67 Chevy Nova.
The three women had an enjoyable dinner together. None of them drank any alcoholic beverages with their meal. At about 11:15, the trio headed back home, expecting to be home by midnight. At Stanford, Kentucky, nine miles from Lancaster, they turned off Highway 27 and onto Highway 78 towards Hustonville.
Just outside Stanford, a curious thing happened. A bright red object appeared in the sky, which Mona Stafford at first thought was an airplane on fire. As the object descended from the right side of the road to a point ahead of them, they could see that it was not an airplane, but a huge object bigger than "two houses." The object stopped about a hundred yards ahead of them, stretching across the road on both sides. It rocked back and forth for a couple of seconds, and then moved off to the left.
They arrived at Louise Smith's trailer in Liberty at 1:25 am, almost an hour and a half late. They went inside to collect themselves and found that they each had a red mark like a burn on the backs of their necks, and they all had burning, irritated eyes. Louise Smith went into the bathroom and removed her watch to wash her face. She saw that the hands of her watch were spinning at a much higher than normal speed. When she splashed water on her face, she found that contact with water caused pain in her hands and face.
They went next door, to the home of Mr. Lowell Lee, and told him what had happened. He had them separately sketch the object they had seen. The sketches were extremely similar, if not identical. They called the police and the local navy office, but neither showed any interest in their story.
In the days that followed, Mona Stafford had more problems with her eyes than did the other two women, and she sought medical help for severe conjunctivitis. Louise Smith's pet parakeet was now inexplicably terrified of her and the bird died a couple of months later. Smith's car also began to develop mysterious electrical problems.
The navy office reportedly gave information about the story to the news media, and the story was soon in the newspapers. Hearing of the case, Jerry Black of MUFON set up an interview with the three women. J. Allen Hynek of CUFOS and Jim and Coral Lorenzen of APRO also investigated the case. The investigators found that other individuals had independently reported sightings of a UFO in the Casey and Lincoln counties that same night. Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle of the University of Wyoming heard of the case and flew in, and on March 7, 1976, he performed a preliminary hypnotic regression of the women.
In July of 1976, Lexington Police Department detective James Young separately gave the three women lie detector tests regarding their experience. They all passed with no problems. Later that evening and continuing into the next day, extensive hypnotic regression of the women was performed by R. Leo Sprinkle. These sessions were similar to the story of Betty and Barney Hill in that they revealed that during the period of missing time the three women were taken on board the object they had seen. While there they were medically examined by shadowy beings that they later identified as being similar to depictions of aliens. - www.ufoevidence.org
|Drawing of the UFO by Mona Stafford|
The Kentucky Abduction - APRO Bulletin, Vol. 25 No. 4 (Oct 1976)
The February first issue of the Kentucky Advocate, published at Danville, Kentucky, carried an article pertaining to UFO sightings in that general area, among which was the story told by Ms. Louise Smith, Ms. Mona Stafford and Mrs. Elaine Thomas about their drive home to Liberty from a late dinner at the Redwoods restaurant located five miles north of Stanford. The ladies said that at a point about one mile south of Stanford, they saw a huge disc-shaped object which was metallic gray with a white glowing dome. A row of red lights rotated around the middle and underneath were three or four red and yellow lights that burned steadily. A bluish beam of light issued from the bottom.
The newspaper did not carry a lot of detail but it was mentioned that when the women arrived home in Liberty, it was 1:25 a.m. Having left the restaurant at 11:15 p.m., they should have arrived home by midnight, indicating that there was a time loss of about one hour and 25 minutes.
The Kentucky Advocate article was forwarded to APRO by Field Investigator Bill Terry but meanwhile he put in a telephone call and asked if we felt the case was good enough for him to make the necessary 60 mile trip to talk to the ladies. After he had read the pertinent information, Mrs. Lorenzen said she thought it would be well worth the trip. A few days later he called back and told Headquarters he thought it was a case of abduction, and that the usual hypnosis procedures should be utilized.
A call was put in to Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle, APRO's consultant in psychology and he was asked to travel to Liberty to interview the women and possibly use hypnotic procedures to relieve their anxiety and obtain any repressed information. Headquarters learned that his first free weekend for the trip would be the weekend of the 6th and 7th of March.
We will here relate the information obtained by our investigation and later explain why this report has not been published until now.
It is important to note that although Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Thomas had known each other for many years, and Mrs. Stafford had known Mrs. Thomas for some time, Mrs. Smith had only gotten acquainted with Mona a few weeks previously.
On the evening in question, Mrs. Smith left work at the usual time and went home. She is employed as an extension assistant for the Casey County Extension Office where her duties consist of visiting families in the county, counseling them in food perparation and preservation, nutrition and gardening. She fixed herself a sandwich and soup, which she ate, then got into her 1967 Chevrolet which she had just purchased that day and drove to a service station to get gas in preparation for the next day.
While at the service station, Mona Stafford, who was driving by, spotted Louise's car, pulled her car into the station, whereupon Mrs. Smith asked her if she would come home with her and help her put the collar on a jacket she was making, as she was having trouble fitting it. The two ladies, each in her own car, drove to the Smith trailer home and set about the task. At about 8 p.m., Mrs. Thomas dropped by and the three lapsed into conversation about their favorite subject: art. Mrs. Stafford had planned to go to her sister's home to have her hair done and at about 9 p.m. said she'd better call her sister because it was getting late and besides, it was her (Mona's) birthday.
When Mrs. Smith learned about the birthday, she suggested that they al! go over to the Redwoods for a late dinner and a sort of birthday celebration. Also, there was a painting on the wall of the restaurant which she had wanted to sketch. The restaurant, incidentally, is the only restaurant open at that time of night in that area.
The three drove the 29 miles to the restaurant, had their dinner and then pulled out sketch pads and went to work. A man at the restaurant asked Mrs. Smith to sketch him, which she did, and then she realized it was getting late, so the three paid their checks and left. Mrs. Smith drove, Mona sat in the middle of the front seat, with Mrs. Thomas on her right by the passenger window.
After Mona spotted the object, which was descending from their right to the left, she asked Louise to speed up as she thought it was a plane about to crash and she wanted to help any survivors. Mrs. Smith saw it clearly, but Mrs. Thomas didn't see it until it had stopped at treetop level at what they estimated to be one hundred yards ahead of them. All of the women said the object was huge, Louise describing it as "as big as a football field," while Mrs. Stafford said it was at least as large as two houses.
Mrs. Smith said that the object rocked gently for perhaps two seconds, at which time she estimated its size, for it extended beyond the edges of the road and over the fields on both sides. Then the thing moved across the road to their left, circling behind and above some houses, and then apparently came back to the highway and swung in behind the car.
At a point in their journey about a quarter of a mile beyond the houses, the inside of the car was lit up with a bluish light which came from behind. Mrs. Smith said that at first she thought it was a state trooper approaching from behind, but realized almost immediately that it wasn't. At this point Louise and Mona were near panic. The car began to pull to the left and Louise screamed at Mona to help her control it. The speedometer was registering 85 miles per hour and both Mona and Mrs. Thomas shouted at Mrs. Smith to slow down. Louise held her foot in the air to show them and said,"I don't have my foot on the accelerator and I can't stop it!" Mona reached over and grabbed the wheel and they fought the force together. Then, quite suddenly, the women experienced a burning sensation in their eyes and Louise later described an additional pain which seemed to "go right through the top of my head! It was almost unbearable!"
The next sensation was that of some force pulling the car backward. Also, they got the feeling that the car was going over a series of "speed bumps" (raised ridges in a road which are meant to keep the speed of automobiles to a minimum). Mrs. Thomas began urging Louise to stop so that she could get a good look at the object, but Mona and Louise were too terrified. Elaine had only had a glimpse of the object as it had circled to their left and around behind him and was later to comment about the object's beauty. "I can't describe it," she said, "I've never seen red that beautiful. 1 wanted to get out and look at it."
Then, the women said, they saw a strange, wide, lighted road stretching as far as they could see ahead of them. At the same moment Mona noted a red light come on on the instrument panel which indicated that the engine had stalled, despite the sensation that they were moving very fast.
At what seemed to be a split second later the women saw a street light ahead and realized that they were coming into HustonviHe, a full eight miles beyond where they had encountered the strange aircraft. They wondered among themselves how they had gotten there so fast, then became quiet while they proceeded on into Liberty.
When they arrived at Mrs. Smith's trailer, they ail went inside. Mrs. Smith went into the bathroom, took off her glasses and splashed water on her face, whereupon her hands and face began to burn with searing pain. All three had a red mark on the backs of their necks, measuring about three inches long and one inch wide, with clearly defined edges, giving the appearance of a new burn before it blisters. Louise and Elaine's marks were centrally located between the bases of their skulls and the top of the back, whereas Mona's was located to the ieft, behind her ear. They could not account for the marks, which disappeared two days later. All three were experiencing burning and tearing of their eyes, but Mona Stafford had a much more severe case of conjunctiveitis (an inflammation of the conjunctiva membrane of the eyes).
Prior to washing her hands, Louise had taken off her watch and was startled to see that the hands of her watch were moving at an accelerated rate of speed, the minute hand moving at the speed of a second hand, and the hour hand was moving also. Upon experiencing the pain of the water on her hands and face she forgot about the phenomena of the watch and does not recall when it returned to normal or when she reset it.
Concluding that something was wrong, the three ladies went next door to the home of Mr. Lowell Lee, and told him what they had seen. He asked them to go into separate rooms and sketch the object and when finished, he found the resulting sketches to be almost identical.
Although all the women had trouble with their eyes, only Mona Stafford sought medical help, as her problem was so severe. The doctor who examined her found no explanation for the pain and tearing but gave her some eye drops which helped very little.
Bill Terry found out that all three of the women enjoy good reputations. Mrs. Smith, 44, is a tall, thin woman of 44 years who was widowed when a young woman and brought up her son and daughter by herself. She has two grandchildren and busies herself in her spare time with painting and sketching and gospel singing. She performs around Casey county with the Jubilee Echoes, consisting of herself, a 14-year-old boy singer and a bassist who is a police lieutenant in Danville. She is a lifelong member of the Baptist church and attends services regularly at the Poplar Springs Baptist Church in Liberty. Inquiries to such people as police personnel, her minister and employer, elicited only good comments. Several weeks after her experience she had lost 28Vi of her normal weight of 125Vi pounds.
Mona Stafford is 35, the former owner of an arts and crafts shop in Liberty and currently unumployed except for secretarial work which she does for her father, who owns a mobile trailer park. She was once married but has been divorced since 1970 and lives in a trailer home parked near her parents' home. She is a devout Christian, a member of the Hilltop Church of Christ near Liberty. She also lost weight amounting to 17 pounds but at this writing had regained 7.
Elaine Thomas is a 48 year-old-housewife who has lived in Casey County, Kentucky all of her life. She and her husband Otis live several miles out of Liberty. They have a grown daughter and three grandchildren. Mrs. Thomas is also a lifelong churchgoer and is a member of the Contown Church of Christ.
The foregoing information indicated to APRO's staff that the women were of good reputation, sincere, honest, and had no motivation to concoct a story so we proceeded with the investigation. It is at this juncture that we will explain the tardiness of the publication of this case. Bill Terry met Dr. Sprinkle upon his arrival and the two proceeded to Mrs. Smith's home. They were met with a conglommeration of investigators from CUFOS and MUFON, who felt that they were "first" on the case and that APRO should not be allowed to enter. (They had preceded Mr. Terry to the Liberty site by only one day). Sprinkle, being a gentleman and a scholar did not want to intrude, and it was finally decided to call APRO Headquarters for an opinion. Mr. Lorenzen talked to Len Stringfield of CUFOS and MUFON who wanted to use the services of Dr. Sprinkle but did not want the report to be sent to APRO. Mrs. Lorenzen pointed out that she had written a book (Encounters with UFO Occupants) specifically so that the proceeds would furnish APRO with the wherewithal to conduct such investigations, and that not only was APRO's money (air fare and expenses for Dr. Sprinkle) wasted, but Dr. Sprinkle's time away from his family was wasted as well.
It was finally decided that Dr. Sprinkle would conduct the hypnotic sessions but that there would have to be a mutual agreement concerning the release of the story. Also, during meetings before Sprinkle's arrival, some representative of MUFON or CUFOS had told Mrs. Smith (she doesn't recall who) that the ladies should be careful about having anything to do with APRO because "they would call in the National Enquirer" and they would receive much unwanted publicity. Later, in a letter from Jerry Black, a MUFON investigator and, consequently, a CUFOS investigator, suggested that the ladies contact the National Enquirer about their experience, which was a surprise considering their reluctance to have anything to do with that paper if APRO was on the case.
THE A.P.R.O. BULLETIN
At any rate, it was for this reason, after the waste of several huhdred dollars, APRO was unable to complete the case. Then, after the National Enquirer contacted the ladies, Dr. Sprinkle, because of his participation in the "Blue Ribbon Panel" of National Enquirer experts, was called upon to go back to Liberty and regress the women.
His report of the weekend of March 6 and 7 is quite sketchy except for his characterization of the three women as reliable, sincere, etc., because Saturday was largely wasted in quibbling about who should have "control of the case." Incidentally, the MUFON people wanted to make use of Sprinkle's expertise, "as long as he was there." But they admitted they neither had the consultants nor the funds to send in someone expert in hypnotic techniques to carry out the trance sessions.
On the 23rd of July, under the National Enquirer's aegis, a polygraph test was conducted on the three ladies, and James C. Young reported, in each case, that it was his opinion, based upon the polygraph examinations, thai: the ladies believed they were telling the truth to the listed questions.
In his report, Mr. Young made the following pertinent observation: "Prior to the examination of these three persons it was determined by the polygraphist that these persons had been previously interviewed by Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle and the above-mentioned members of the Mutual UFO Network. How much or how little these previous interviews played a part upon what these persons now believe about this alleged encounter cannot be determined by the polygraphist. I cannot discount the fact that previous interviews with these persons could influence their personal beliefs as to whether or not this alleged encounter did or did not occur."
Mr. Young makes a very good point, that being that interviewers showing sketches of UFO types to a witness before they make their own renderings of what they saw, is highly suggestive, as is the display of any drawings of occupants. This apparently was done by MUFON representatives prior to the polygraph test or the trance hypnosis carried out by Dr. Sprinkle on the next day, the 24th of July. APRO has a complete transcript of the trance sessions which have been examined by the staff. While Robert Pratt of the Enquirer, and Dr. Sprinkle, who has had extensive experience in this phase of UFO research, were careful not to lead the subjects, some very suggestive or leading questions were asked by Mr. Stringfield and Mr. Black of MUFON. It is just such errors that the skeptics will leap upon in attempts to discredit the investigative procedures or reliability of witness testimony in such cases.
We would like very much to quote in polygraph tests and the hypnotic trance sessions, but space will not allow us to do so. Therefore, we summarize Dr. Sprinkle's findings from the hypnotic sessions.
". . .Mrs. Smith suffered much as she relived the experience. The behaviors, e.g., weeping, moaning, tossing her head, shuddering, and shaking, etc., were evident to those of us who observed her. especially as she seemed to "relive" an experience of a fluid material covering her face. Her smile, and evident relief in "seeing the street light" at the end of her hour and one-half loss-of-time experience was dramatic and indicated that she was "safe" in the car, once again, and returning home with her friends." Sprinkle then goes on to recount Louise's claim that her pet parakeet, who, according to her claims and the claims of others who observed the bird, refused to have anything to do with her after the UFO experience. Others could approach the bird and it would not react wildly; however, whenever Louise came close to the bird, the bird would flutter and move away from her. The bird died within weeks after the UFO experience.
Mona Stafford. . ."responded well to the hypnotic suggestions and she was able to describe impressions which led her to believe that she had been taken out of the car, and that she was alone on a white table or bed. she saw a large "eye" which seemed to be observing her. She felt as if a bright white light was shining on her and that there was "power" or energy which transfixed her and held her to the table or bed. She experienced a variety of physiological reactions, including the impressions that her right arm was pinned or fastened; her left leg forced back under her, with pain to the ankle and foot; pressure on the fingers of the left hand, as if they were forced or squeezed in some way; a feeling of being examined by four or five short humanoids who sat around in "surgical masks" and "surgical garments" while observing her. At one point, she sensed that she was either experiencing out-of-the body travel, or else she was waiting outside of a large room in which she could view another person, probably a woman, lying on a white bed or observation table. She perceived a long tunnel, or a view of the sky, as if she had been transported to an area inside a large mountain or volcano. Although, she wept and moaned and experienced a great deal of fatigue as a result of the "reliving" of the experience, she felt better the next day; she expressed the belief to me that she now had a better understanding of what happened during the loss-of-time experience.
. . . "Mrs. Thomas had been rather quiet during the initial interview in March, 1976, although it was obvious that she is perceptive and aware of other people's attitudes and feelings. Like the
others, she has lost weight, but she has also experienced some personality changes. She dresses a bit more colorfully now, and she is more willing to talk and to share her ideas with others. She, too, experienced a similar reaction during the hypnotic techniques: she apparently was responding well to suggestions to go deeper; when she "relived" the UFO experience, she experienced a great deal of emotional reaction. Her main impression was that she was taken away from her two friends, and that she was placed in a "chamber" with a window on the side. She seemed to recall figures which moved back and forth in front of the window of the chamber as if she were being observed. Her impression was that the observers were four-foot-tall humanoids, with dark eyes, and grey skin. One disturbing aspect of the experience was the memory that she had some kind of contraption or "covering" that was placed around her neck; whenever she tried to speak, or think, the contraption or "covering" was tightened, and she experienced a choking sensation during these moments. At first, Mrs. Thomas interpreted the memories as indication that she was being choked by hands or that she was being prevented from calling out to her friends; later, however, she came to the tentative conclusion that an experiment was being conducted, and the experiment was to learn more about her intellectual and emotional processes. She recalled a "bullet-shaped" object, about an inch and one haif in diameter, being placed on her left chest; she previously had experienced pain and a red spot at that location.
". . .During the polygraph examination, and during the initial hypnotic sessions, each UFO witness was interviewed separately from the other witnesses. After the initial description of impressions, the women were invited to attend the additional hypnosis sessions, so thai each woman could observe the reaction of the other two women. During these sessions, there was much emotional reaction, which seemed to arise from two conditions: the compassion of the witnesses for their friend, who was "reliving" the experience and releasing emotional reactions to the experience; also, it seems as if the description by one witness would "trigger" a memory on the part of another witness, even if the experiences seemed to be "similar" or "different."
"Certain similarities were observed: a feeling of anxiety on the part of each witness regarding a specific aspect of the experience. For Ms. Smith, it was the "wall" and the "gate" beyond which she was afraid to "move psychologically"; for
Ms. Stafford it was the "eye" which she observed and the impression that something evil or bad would be learned if she allowed the eye to "control" her; for Ms. Thomas, it was the "blackness" which seemed to be the feared condition or cause for anxiety. Each woman seemed to experience the impression that she had been taken out of the car and placed elsewhere without her friends and without verbal communication. For Ms. Smith, the lack of verbal communication was most distressing; although she had the feeling of "mental communication" that she would be returned after the "experiment."
"Differences were noted in that each woman seemed to have a somewhat different kind of "examination," and in a different "location." Ms. Smith did not have a clear impression of the location, although she did recall a feeling of lying down and being examined; Ms. Stafford had the impression of being in a "volcano or mountainside," with a room in which a bright Sight was shining on a white table with white clothed persons or humanoids sitting around and observing her; Mrs. Thomas recalled impressions of being in the dark chamber with grey light permitting a view of the humanoids who were apparently observing her."
In his conclusive paragraphs Dr. Sprinkle reports:
"In my opinion, each woman is describing a "real" experience, and they are using their intelligence and perceptivity as accurately as possible in order to describe the impressions which they obtained during the hypnotic regressions session. Although there is uncertainty about their impressions, especially in regard to how each person could be transported out of the car and relocated in the car, the im pressions during the "loss of time" experience are similar to those of other UFO witnesses who apparently have experienced an abduction and examination during their UFO sighting.
"Although it is not possible to claim absolutely that a physical examination and abduction has taken place, I believe that the tentative hypothesis of abduction and examination is the best hypothesis to explain the apparent loss-of-time experience, the apparent physical and emotional reactions of the witnesses to the UFO sighting: the anxiety and the reactions of the witnesses to their experiences which have occurred after their UFO sighting. An interesting subsequent event is the concern of the women that they were "re-experiencing" the physical symptoms which had been experienced for several days following the January 1976 sightings. . . .When I called them on July 26th, the women said that they were re-experiencing some of the same kinds of symptoms, e.g., fatigue, listlessness, sensitivity to skin, burning feeling on the face and eyes, fluid discharge, etc.
"I tried to reassure the ladies that it is not an uncommon experience in hypnotic regression that persons — after "reliving" earlier emotional experiences — may re-experience some of the symptoms which accompany those emotional reactions.
"In my opinion, the UFO experiences of these women are a good example of the type of apparent abduction and examination which seems to be occurring to more UFO witnesses. I believe that the investigation could be continued with the hopes of obtaining further information about their experiences. However, the present evidence suggests to me that the women have cooperated sincerely and openly in describing their reactions to their UFO sighting and loss-of-time experience, and the polygraph examination and hypnotic regression sessions have been useful in uncovering their impressions of the UFO sighting and subsequent events.
"I believe the case is a good example of UFO experiences, because of the number and character of the witnesses. . . and because of the results of further investigation through polygraph examinations and hypnotic regression sessions."
Dr. Sprinkle alludes to "subsequent events." Conversations with Mrs. Smith since the regressive hypnotic sessions took place yielded two very interesting bits of information: Mrs. Stafford had been having trouble sleeping, would not stay home, and would go to her parents' home or that of a friend, and curl up on the floor to sleep. She also has said repeatedly that she would not live "to see another birthday." Hopefully this is only a fear and not a portent of things to come.
Also, in the fall of 1976, Mrs. Smith was overcome by an inexplicable urge to go back to the scene of the original sighting. On August 1 she did return to ihfi.site-, got out of her tar, and "heard" the words: "feel of your hands."When she did so, she realized that three rings, which she habitually wore, a small gold ring, a pearl ring, and a gold ring with onyx and a small diamond, were gone. On the 26th of September, Mrs. Smith walked out onto the stoop of her trailer home and found the onyx and diamond ring lying there. For some inexplicable reason, she scooped up the ring, walked to the creek which runs by her home, and threw it into the water.
This, then, is the entire story of the Kentucky abduction. At last contact with Mrs. Lorenzen by telephone, Mrs. Smith intimated that she was beginning to have recall of the whole experience, and asked that Mrs. Lorenzen not divulge the details as she was writing a book about the experience. We appreciate Mrs. Smith's desires, and will not comment on further information learned from her until such time as the book is published.
However, we laud these ladies for their bravery; theirs is a very interesting and hair-raising experience and we feel sympathy for them in that their greatest ordeal may well still lie ahead: the attacks of the skeptics. - APRO Bulletin, Vol. 25 No. 4 - October 1976
"The Kentucky Abduction." International UFO Reporter - March 1977
APRO Bulletin, Vol. 25 No. 4 - October 1976