; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Night of the Androids

The following odd recollection was forwarded to me today:

Hi Lon -

I want to share with your readers an odd experience I had as a teenager. To some, it will sound like a bad John Keel MIB story, but it is true and I am still somewhat at a loss to explain it.

It was the summer of 1973 and I was eighteen at the time. My cousin Tony and I were out late on a Friday night and we decided to get a six-pack of beer, sit on the front steps of the nearby elementary school, and quench our teenage, summertime thirst. We hadn't been there very long when we both heard the rumble of a very loud car approaching. As it came into view, we saw that it was a 1959 Cadillac convertible (the one with the huge fins). It was moving no more than about 10 miles an hour and it was apparent that the car had no muffler. We watched it as it passed, wondering why such an unusual, old car would be cruising through our neighborhood after midnight. The car disappeared up the street, however, and we soon turned our attention to other things.

After a while, we got tired of sitting so my cousin and I got up from the school steps and decided to walk. We rounded the side of the school building and found ourselves on a dark side street with no street lights and few houses. We hadn't gone very far when, again, we heard the sound of that loud engine. About a quarter of a mile up the street, a pair of headlights swung toward us. Both my cousin and I froze.

The side of the street on which we’d been walking was wooded so we slowly edged back into the tree line and waited. The car approached and, as it slowly passed us, we could see it contained a man driving, a woman next to him in the front passenger seat, and a small boy in the back seat. The street was dark but their faces were illuminated by the glow of the dashboard lights. My cousin and I agreed afterwards that none of the three moved the entire time we had them in sight. They said nothing, heads never moved, facial expressions didn't change - they were absolutely like manikins! The Cadillac disappeared down the street and we never saw it again.

Being teenagers out late, this freaked us out a bit. We decided that we’d had enough for one night so we headed for home. As we rounded the block, a police car approached us. The car stopped and the officer asked us what we were doing out so late. Then he asked us if we'd seen anything unusual. Of course, at this point, we spilled our whole story. He calmly explained that the car contained a family of bicycle thieves. Somewhat relieved, we continued home.

After a bit, I thought it seemed awfully convenient that the police officer pulled up when he did to offer a prosaic explanation for what had been a very weird experience. You have to wonder what kind of parent would take their kid out for a night of larceny. Yes, there are some really dysfunctional families out there but this just seemed too bizarre. It only occurred to me later that we had seen no bicycles in the car. The trunks on those Caddies are huge but I don't recall that the trunk lid was even ajar (at least not obviously so). So, if they were bicycle thieves, they must not have had any luck.

To this day, I remember how eerie it was to see these motionless people driving down that dark street. If they were looking for bikes, don't you think they would have been scanning yards to see if some kid left one on the front lawn? Instead, all three of those people sat bolt-upright, looking straight ahead. You would at least expect the kid to be moving around but, as long as we had them in sight, he never did.

My cousin and I still discuss the incident from time to time and we still don't quite know what to make of our Night of the Androids. - JH

NOTE: Wasn't the Ghostbusters Ecto I Car a 1959 Cadillac? Lon