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    Alternate Realities Conference -- encounters with the bizarre

    By Hal McKenzie

    Part I

    The Alternate Realities Conference held June 27-29 at scenic Roan Mountain State Park near Elizabethton, TN, featured an array of fascinating speakers on paranormal subjects ranging from "ghosts, hauntings, UFOs, abductions and ancient earth mysteries," in the words of conference founder and director Stacey Allen McGee. The highlight of the conference was keynote speaker Travis Walton, whose alien abduction experience was made famous in the movie Fire in the Sky.

    Travis Walton
    Participants received an unexpected thrill from the report of a paranormal encounter a few miles away only days before the conference. A local woman called the phone number of the conference, which she had read about in her local Sunday paper, to report that she had seen a Bigfoot staring at her through the window of her trailer. Coincidentally, Sherry Lee Malin, a Bigfoot investigator, was speaking at the conference on her research in the mountains of Tennessee.

    McGee, who lives in nearby Unicoi, immediately took time off from conference preparations to investigate the sighting. On June 24, he found what appeared to be a print of the creature in the soft ground, a cast of which was displayed at the conference. It shows two indentations 16-17 inches apart, which could be toes and a heel, or could be knuckles and a knee as the creature kneeled, according to Malin.

    While McGee's expertise lies in UFOs, he owned up to his own experience with Bigfoot five years earlier. During solitary hikes through the woods that he loved, he often had the eerie feeling that someone was watching him. One winter, with snow on the ground, he followed a line of huge footprints that led to a still-steaming hole in the snow where a bipedal creature had just urinated.

    His most dramatic sighting convinces him that there might be something to the theory that Bigfoot may be extra-dimensional in nature. McGee said he was startled to see a huge, reddish-gray hairy hominid only 15 feet away striding through dry leaves and twigs -- but without making a sound. Thinking at first it was a friend playing a trick, he blurted out, "What are you doing?"

    The creature did not react or acknowledge his presence in any way as it disappeared into the trees, behaving as if he wasn't there. He said the encounter was so uncanny and unnerving that he did not go public with it until the woman's report inspired him to disclose it at the conference.

    Abductions, negative and positive

    Walton admitted to having similar reluctance in facing his encounter with the unknown, despite the world-wide publicity it generated. He still refuses to undergo hypnotic regression to recover his full memory of what happened or compare notes with other abductees.

    "It was so hard for me to face my own experience, I'm not about to face the experiences of others," he said. If he was ever abducted again, "I wouldn't tell anybody about it."

    Walton gave complete details of his abduction, illustrating it with slides from the book Fire In The Sky: The Walton Experience. Walton said the movie completely changed the facts of his experience, from the number of witnesses to the details of his encounter, but it did capture some of the emotional trauma he felt.

    Jeffrey Morgan Foss of Laconia, N.H., the opening speaker of the conference, had a more positive message to tell from his "45 years of peaceful contact" with the gray aliens. He said he had only one contact with a "belligerent" gray who tried to dominate his thinking with threats of suffering, but he rose above its influence.

    "We can take them on," he said of the hostile grays. "There are many more positive ones. They outnumber the negative ones They are on the side of protecting humans and the Earth environment."

    He said abductees, which he prefers to call "experiencers," are "explorers and ambassadors" towards alien races and that progress was being made in communicating "technical information" to benefit mankind. He said he himself had been given a "vision" of a scheme to preserve the earth's environment called the "conservation exchange," a way of "turning swords into plowshares."

    Foss illustrated his lecture with computer-drawn scenes of his encounters. He had done detailed research on an encounter from 1976, which he corroborated with police and eyewitness accounts of a brilliant globe that appeared at the same time and place he was taken.

    He said that in the last few years, after a triangular piece of skin was taken from his body in an apparent biopsy, his abduction memories, which had been suppressed, began to spontaneously recur in flashbacks dating from the time he was two years old.

    The grays told him "they are not only a genetic hub for man, but all kinds of beings," he said. Their ultimate purpose could be understood from a Bible passage in Ephesians that says "everything under the heavens will be gathered under one head."

    Foss said the aliens were "very close to becoming public," but were holding back because of the potential misuse of their technology as weapons. "It depends on whether the military will behave," he said. As for crop circles, he said they are "some kind of a hello" from the extraterrestrials.

    X-files, yesterday and today

    Earle T. Benezet, Kentucky state director of Mutual UFO Network, presented a Power Point presentation entitled "UFOs - Past, Present and Future," or "Yesterday's X-files." He showed 83 slides of cave paintings from 15,000 B.C., ancient Sumerian friezes, Medieval religious paintings and woodcuts depicting what are clearly UFOs, the same saucer or hat-shaped objects that are seen in contemporary photographs.

    Benezet said his interest in UFOs was sparked by a New York Times article from 1959 that said "intelligent signals" had been detected from the Bootes star system, but the article dropped from sight without follow-up. Recently, with the help of the Hubble telescope, astronomers detected the gravitational wobble that indicated the presence of a planet in that very star system, he said.

    He claimed NASA was covering up the presence of "city-wide" UFOs three miles in circumference, similar to the ones depicted in the movie Independence Day. Another cover-up occurred on May 9, 2001, when 21 former government workers from an "alphabet soup" of agencies including DOD, FAA, FBI, FEMA, etc. spoke at the National Press Club to announce what they called the "Disclosure Project." These men and women testified that retro-engineered alien technology made traditional polluting fossil fuels no longer needed, but that the oil companies "liked the money coming in just like it is" and were resistant to change.

    He said 275,000 people were ready to listen to the program on-line, but that jamming from dozens of Department of Defense web sites prevented the show from airing. "This is something the DOD doesn't want you to know," he said.

    The entire presentation can be downloaded by clicking on the UFO links on the Kentucky MUFON website.

    (Part II - More on the ARC speakers)