From Childhood to Woodlands to Contact to S.P.A.C.E.
By Harold Egeln
UFOs over Washington D.C. and Occupants in France
As a child, I read a lot about all the flying saucer sightings then frequently in the newspapers and on TV news programs. On a boat trip up the Hudson River to Bear Mountain for an outing with my family, I read a front page Newark Star Ledger newspaper article about a hoaxed UFO landing on Route 17 in Bergen County, N.J. where monkeys who had their hair shaved off were reported as “space aliens.” I vividly remember the many news reports, in papers and on TV, about the nationwide excitement about the UFOs over Washington, DC on two weekends in July 1952, and the many news reports of UFO occupants landing all over France in late 1954, as well as scientists tracking two mystery satellites orbiting the Earth back then, three years before Sputnik I. The subject fascinated me, and would lead to my interest in becoming an astronomer as an adult.
It was at camp in northwest New Jersey when I had just turned 12 when I and a large group of children saw two flying saucers. They were lit up like white orbs, flying one behind the other high over the camp in the daylight sky. A counselor dismissed the UFO sighting, which he saw, but I and other children knew better. Still, we remained silent.
This sighting occurred just after an announcement by President Eisenhower regarding our plans for the nation’s first Earth space satellite named Project Vanguard.
In the seventh grade, I wrote my first short story as a class assignment. It was a mystical story of people witnessing strange globes of light over the waters by a shoreline, and the story so impressed my teacher, she encouraged me to write more. My teacher’s sister went on to marry the actor Ralph Bellamy.
Astronomy Interests and Two Sightings
By that time in my life, I had a toy telescope I used to scan the night skies from my bedroom window near a stream that went by our housing project in Irvington. I also had a toy home planetarium my parents bought me as birthday and Christmas gifts. They also bought me astronomy and space books, and even a few UFO books such as “Inside the Space Ships” by George Adamski (1955), “Flying Saucers on the Attack” by Harold T. Wilkins (1954), “The Case for UFO’s” by Morris K. Jessup (1955), and “Is Another World Watching? The Riddle of Flying Saucers” by Gerald Heard (1951).
That spring, when I was 13 and in eighth grade, I had two UFO sightings: one of a wobbling, glowing disc, and the other that appeared to be a streaking meteor until it abruptly stopped, made a sharp right angle turn and sped off to the west. [Sketches of these can be viewed at Egeln’s site.]
When younger classmates in the school yard asked me about my latest astronomy observations, as they wanted to know what specific stars and planets I studied. It was then that I told them of my two UFO sightings. The principal found out about this due to the obvious fact that the UFO sightings caused a lot of interest among other students. I was then summoned to his office, which he locked me inside of alone until my mother arrived. The principal then held an emergency assembly and told the students that UFOs are misinterpretations of known and natural objects, and that we should ignore UFO reports.
Punishment for UFO and Astronomy Interests
In punishment for my UFO and astronomy interests that attracted the intense curiosity of other students, I was suspended from school until graduation day, two months later, and sent to a school counselor who suggested that my parents get rid of my space and UFO books, along with my telescope and portable toy planetarium, which they did. The counselor also told me to give up my ambition to be a professional astronomer. In high school some students bullied me, as they did when I was in grade school, but this time I was ridiculed and called “the Martian.” With the advent of the Space Age, the pressure on my astronomy, space exploration and UFO interests eased up over time and my parents came to appreciate my intense interest in these areas.
Knowledge Beyond the “Appropriate” Age
A school district test found that I was already working at a tenth grade level in the fifth grade. The bullying and other unpleasantries may have all been avoided if I had been allowed to advance after fifth grade, skipping four grades to the tenth grade. If concerns about my social development had not scrubbed the academic jump, I would have been completing high school at age 13, when I had the two UFO sightings. I would have then been ready for college at age 14 to prepare for an astronomy career. My career ambition and choice was to be a professional astronomer, with a special focus on the search for life and intelligence beyond Earth. I also wanted to write books about these subjects, but unfortunately, that never happened.
This traumatic incident which isolated me from others would guide me as an adult in providing a safe place called S,P,A,C,E, for other UFO encounter witnesses and the search for otherworldly life here on Earth.
It was around this time that I was corresponding with UFO contactee George Adamski in California, asking him questions and encouraging him. He encouraged me, through a typewritten letter and postcard, to keep seeking the truth, as that was most important. However, with the advent of the Space Age and the launches of the first Earth satellites (Sputnik, Explorer, Vanguard), time were a’ changing. I kept a low-profile on the UFO subject until the 1980’s, but kept track of UFO and space exploration news by collecting many hundreds of newspaper clippings.
I related to Adamski my sighting I had around the age of 14. This involved the three men dressed in ski-like suits and with longish hair (pre-Beatles) who stepped out of a van similar to a Volkswagen “bus.” They exited through sliding doors in the middle of an intersection of two main streets in Irvington, NJ.
I thought of Adamski’s descriptions of the space people he knew about. I do not remember where they went, all moving in a line, or what happened to the van. This left me with a deeply puzzled feeling. Adamski replied that he could not, of course, confirm what I saw since he was not there. A sensible reply.
At age 16, as I walked near the Garden State Parkway in Irvington during the daytime, just by chance I saw an elongated, transparent UFO with a blue tip at its tapered front. The craft zipped through the sky at breakneck speed without making a sound. It was around that time that I joined NICAP, the National Investigation Committee for Aerial Phenomena. I began receiving their newsletters and filing my reports on NICAP forms regarding my UFO sightings I had up to that point in time. I was also an avid listener to the now legendary Long John Nebel Show, then on WOR AM radio from midnight to 5 a.m. I heard all the people he had on his program from the UFO community during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. I also listened to the weekly radio news programs on UFOs by broadcast journalist Frank Edwards who was also an author of UFO books.
In late December 1956, I had my first unexpected, unsought “ghost” sighting. While in the motorcade with my family for the funeral of my paternal grandfather, I looked out at the depressing cemetery scene as we were driven on. Over a grave I saw a whitish opaque female figure flying gracefully skyward from a grave. Startled, I kept my mouth shut about the incident. As a teenager and into my 20’s I also had vivid and lucid dreams about a suggested earlier forgotten Earth high civilization, peaceful and contemplative in its ways, and its beautiful sea ships that had both wind and solar power sails, and whose inhabitants had very distinctive ethnic features that remain unforgettably haunting.
Mysterious Retrograde Satellite
In August 1960, I witnessed, with other kids, the much reported retrograde mystery space satellite orbiting the Earth. It moved in an east to west direction at 25,000 mph, glowing bright red in the twilight sky over Irvington, and contrary to all Earth-launched satellites that orbited west to east or north and south at 18,000 mph. Countless numbers people worldwide witnessed this mystery satellite which was also tracked by astronomers. It appeared early in 1960 and vanished that autumn.
At age 17, in bed late at night, I felt movement at the end of my bed which awakened me. At the left end edge of my bed sat a deeply black humanoid figure looking at me. I do not remember what happened afterwards, although I think it suddenly vanished.
Mantid Beings or Insects?
As a 22-year-old drafted Army soldier stationed at Fort Dix, NJ I was awaiting the results on my conscientious objector application as well as facing possible court-martial for my protest against the Vietnam War. Fortunately, I had the support of my congressman, Rep. Peter Rodino, who headed the President Nixon impeachment panel, as well as the Rev, Norman Vincent Peale of Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan. I was on night CQ duty, when I noticed a straight line of praying mantises walking from outside which then walked through the entrance hall. They then climbed onto my table. That, I thought, was unusual. It would be later in my life before I learned about the giant praying mantis reports by UFO abductees.
Another time while at Fort Dix, I was sleepless so I walked out of the barracks and onto a road where I gazed at the beautiful star-studded night sky. A peaceful meditative state came over me and I felt that I was lifted gently upward. I then soared through the cosmos on some sort of invisible spaceship, only to return back in a daze, much like the lucid dream I had when I was 10 years old. I felt that something or someone was interested in my peace action and my refusal to be trained for war…
Continue reading Harold Egeln’s ET encounters and his life as a Peace Activist and Activist for ET Contact experiencers at S.P.A.C.E. CONTACT.
This article is published with the expressed written permission of Harold Egeln for publication on The Alien Jigsaw: alienjigsaw.com