The weather of late December of 1973 had turned Seattle into a bleak, quasi-frozen mess. Well over six inches of snowfall had accumulated in the previous week and at this point what started out as a charming winter landscape of fresh, fluffy snow had been churned into a mushy, dirty inconvenience by both positively sure
REPTILIANS, ALIEN TYPES, REPTOIDS, DRACO
Encounter with an Owl on the way to Fort Casey, Whidbey Island, 1976
This page was first posted on April 9, 2013
(c) Ken Bakeman 2013
This account is a short version of what happened to me in 1976, during the late fall months while I was living alone in a small beach cabin on Whidbey Island. I was twenty-two years old at the time. The full breadth of the experience is rather sweeping, ranging from a voice speaking to me over an unplugged, small radio -- scaring the hell out of me -- to a large owl landing on the spare tire mounted in front of my 1968 VW van, to the final stages which involved what amounted to a SWAT team of MiBs, very intimidating sorts, to say the least. What I'm providing at this stage are the basics relating mostly to the owl encounter. 1976 was a year when I was having a period of a lot of unusual experiences. For me these episodes seem to wax and wain and at the time the strange things were going full blast.
As stated above, I've had a lot of odd experiences, including 'UFOs' and 'aliens' but this particular experience was different from those in many respects. This is hard to put into words, but it was as though my point of view -- my perception -- and possibly even physical location, was phasing in and out of the 'normal' world and a tangential or adjacent realm of 'high strangeness'. It was on the verge between the usual and the weird, I suppose. This was an extremely upsetting experience for me as it happened, but much in contrast to the way I felt in the midst of the strange events I had an almost euphoric feeling when I was driving back home to the cozy little beach cottage. I recall telling myself as I drove back home that I need to remember this. I repeated this phrase like a mantra but by the time I got back onto the highway heading south I couldn't exactly remember what it was that I needed to remember. By the time I got back home I had completely forgotten all about what had taken place, and picked up the paperback book I had been previously enjoying, continuing to read it as though nothing whatsoever had interrupted the normal flow of my life.
The way this incident started was when the small clock radio next to the rocking chair I was sitting in blurted out my name. In a booming, baritone voice it called my name, "Ken!". At the time I was reading a book, sitting by the fireplace with a nice roaring fire and my sometimes faithful canine sidekick, Puckok, resting near my feet. I rocketed out of the chair and stared at that little radio. My heart was pounding and I was shocked by what had just happened. The radio wasn't turned on at the time and after calming down some I decided to unplug it. Back in the rocking chair, I resumed reading, trying to ignore what was obviously a very strange occurrence but about a minute later that damn radio called my name again. I was totally freaked out at this point and for some reason asked, "Is this God?" I don't know why I asked that because at the time I was somewhere between an agnostic and an atheist. Right after I asked my question I heard barely muffled laughing. It was like someone was having a good time messing with me, but I wasn't at all happy about what was going on.
After the laughter ended, in a serious tone of voice I heard a command to drive to Fort Casey. I was appalled by what was happening to me and could only stammer out a reply of "Why?" The reaction to this was a repetition of the first command, but in a more God-like manner. I couldn't believe that I was having a conversation with an unplugged little clock radio but it was happening nevertheless. My next effort was to plead for sympathy saying -- and this was true -- that I couldn't spare the money for gas to make the trip (about 50 miles to and from). And why should I, anyway? That little radio persisted in broadcasting its command, except the voice changed to a different tone, one with a sing-song, relaxing effect. I eventually caved in and agreed to go to Fort Casey. Just for the record, Fort Casey on Whidbey Island was built in the late nineteenth century as one of three forts to guard the entrance to Admiralty Inlet to Puget Sound. This fort was obsolete as soon as it was completed and today is a state park. There is an eerie ambience to this fort, but that is probably best left for a later discussion.
After driving north along Route 525, looking at the steadily dipping needle on my gas tank gauge with increasing concern, I took the turnoff onto Route 20 heading to Fort Casey. In a short time I reached a turn in the road in what looked like a wetlands area around this juncture. Coming to a stop, my mind had somehow become completely absorbed by a very emotional concern about the human intrusion into this natural scene. I don't know why I was worrying about the environment so much because just minutes earlier my main concern was running out of gas. While poised at this point in the road I was ready to make a right-hand turn when a large owl came down from seemingly out of nowhere and landed smack-dab on the spare tire mounted on the front of my VW van. It had positioned itself face forward and stared through the windshield, into my eyes. I was nearly in a state of shock over this and didn't know how to respond. Actually, I was afraid. This owl was a big bird, close to two feet tall seated. Its plumage was mottled with brownish-black, gray and white colors. The two tufts of feathers coming to a point stuck out of the top of its head identified this creature -- it was a Great Horned Owl.
Worried about blocking traffic, I stole a quick look at my rear view mirror and saw that a new model black BMW was positioned just behind me. Another vehicle was behind this car. It was hard to see which model it was just by the small view I got from the rear view mirror but from the side mirror I thought that it was a black Suburban. I recall thinking that it was unusual that the people behind me weren't honking their car horns or just driving around. I even rolled down my window and motioned with my arm for them to go by. But they didn't budge. There was an unusual stillness to this scene: it didn't feel normal. It was as though the surrounding environment had undergone some kind of modulation into a supernatural, highly focused and extremely detail-rich setting. My attention quickly returned to the owl which was still perched on the spare tire and staring at me. It moved its head just slightly from left to right, then back and forth again and my eyes followed its eyes. At this point I was transfixed and effectively glued to the seat of the van in a motionless position, gazing into the eyes of this owl.
In this state of having my vision locked with that of the owl I noticed some movements from my peripheral vision. There were other creatures showing up. First came a rabbit which hopped out from the bushes in the wetland area on the left side of me. It ventured onto the road and I was worried that it might get squished by a passing car. After this single rabbit, dozens more followed and formed a group near their companion. I couldn't believe what was happening but had no choice but to sit still in my van and witness something extremely strange going on. Next came wetland and shore birds of different shapes and sizes. Like with the rabbits, one appeared and positioned itself near my van and then dozens followed. One heron, then others followed the smaller birds and stood in front of my van. Then came turtles, followed by countless garter snakes and then deer which walked right up next to my driver's window and stared at me with their huge eyes. Other animals appeared but I wasn't able to keep track of it all. Except I did notice the skunks, which caused me some alarm. My previous concerns about running out of gas had by this point turned into an overwhelmingly intense emotional connection with all of these creatures.
Some time passed with this array of wildlife situated around my VW van, maybe a few seconds or minutes; it's hard to tell because the normal flow of time seems to have been altered. There was a quiet, somber tone to this assembly. It felt sad. Suddenly breaking the cohesion of this weird conclave of species, a murder of crows intruded into the scene. They came in from the right side of my van and didn't land but flew around in tight circles and made a raucous distraction. The other animals, including the owl quickly disbanded, presumably returning to their homes in and around the wetlands. The crows persisted in making their obnoxious calls and flew in a dense swirl in front of my van. They seemed angry and upset by what had just transpired. My previous state, something of a deep meditative communion with nature, had been shattered. Eventually this bombardment of crows began to dissipate. What I recall was that they didn't just fly away but that their forms became smaller and less defined. They looked more like bats than crows at this stage and then seemed to just vanish into thin air.
It took me a few moments to pull my mind back to 'normal' reality. Taking a look at my rear view mirror I saw that there were no vehicles behind me now. Trying to shake off the rather shattering impact of this experience, I finally managed to put my van into gear, make a right turn and head to Fort Casey.
PART 1: THE OWL THAT LANDED IN FRONT OF MY VAN'S WINDSHIELD
At this time in my life I was building harpsichords and had two expensive instruments up for sale. This left me on a very limited budget until a sale was closed. Even if I wanted drugs or alcohol, which I didn't (except maybe for some beer) I couldn't afford them anyway. My point here is that this very strange experience wasn't the product of psychotropic substances that I knowingly used, although it surely seems extremely 'trippy', even by my own standards which are rather generous. In fact, I was embarrassed to post this account because of the obviously absurd and, by 'normal' standards, impossible nature of it. But in my opinion it is exactly the case that by withholding and suppressing memories of strange occurrences -- no matter how extreme they appear -- that consensus reality is maintained, continuing to lock human consciousness into a very constrained ontological cage.
This encounter with a Great Horned Owl and an ensemble of other creatures was, actually, just the beginning of what took place on that fall day in 1976 -- it got stranger from there on. I feel like this was a well crafted suite of ontologically exotic plays, as it were. It was grand theater for the pleasure of the 'Others' and the initial act of this drama, the owl encounter, was only an overture to what was to come. Eventually I'll get around to detailing this -- this will be in book 2 of The Verges -- but below I list the main events that followed.
PART 4: MiB SWAT TEAM IN THE AFTERMATH
PART 2: RETURN OF THE SPIRIT CHIEF