Close Encounters Of The Third Kind: what was it about: an examination by GF Willmetts.

The United Nations Investigation Unit into Unidentified Flying Objects Phenomenon justified their cost with the discovery of the aircraft from the lost Flight 19 unit from 1945 in 1977. All the aircraft were found in the Sonoran Desert as good as new and haven’t aged in 33 years. A nearby native received an unexpected sunburn who observed their return.

French de facto leader Claude Larcombe, not being supplied with a translator he approved of, finally accepted one of the team there, cartographer David Laughlin, for this job. Quite why Laughlin wasn’t acquainted with earlier abductees considering he was with the project from the beginning is still unclear.

The progression to the 1925 missing ship SS Cotopaxi in the Gobi Desert, again with no crew, is also a sign of something going on and certainly represented a message. Both sets of vehicles were left outside of their natural environment but also not necessarily in places they would have been readily discovered. Then again, had both aeroplanes and ship been returned to their natural environments, unmanned, then I doubt if they would have been found. With Flight 19, it would certainly have crashed.

The more obvious signs were in India and Indianapolis, USA, although they were widely different. The former was to provide the five notes and the latter was done primarily to recruit more ‘volunteers’. With the secret nature of the UN group, there is no indication whether similar objectives were committed in other parts of the world once the co-ordinates were discovered. These extra-terrestrials appear to have made two assumptions: To make first contact with authorities and collect a specific set of ‘volunteers’ or ‘chosen’ who would pass their test. It’s unfortunate that we mistook these ‘chosen’ for interlopers and crazies than their actual purpose. We might well have any liaisons with these extra-terrestrials back a century. The selective of creative people might well have been to develop a proper communication language considering their use of sounds and lights. We may have lost an opportunity here. Now we have positively established real contact, we must establish proper contact with the next selection of ‘chosen’ and at least brief some of them in what we are interested in learning.

We also need to investigate what made these extra-terrestrials want to make proper contact at this time rather than continue their ‘normal’ procedure of abduction. If we see things more from their perspective next time, we might be better prepared. From their first selection to this selection, it is obvious that these extra-terrestrials are narrowing their choices.

Another problem is how come the extra-terrestrials aren’t aware that their intense lights give extreme sunburn to people. Jillian Guiler’s fear might well be founded for avoiding their own abduction. Would you want to intentionally ‘sunburn’ again?

It’s also interesting that it was on two occasions that they went after Cary Guiler. The first getting his attention with activating his toys and away from his home, the second specifically to abduct him. One has to wonder why he was selected and what was so special about him, other than living in an isolated area. There is some speculation that abducting someone now and return within a few weeks was to show that no harm comes to the people they select. It is recommended that the Guilers are watched at a discrete distance in case he reveals any other influences later. Had Jillian Guiler been taken as well, we might well have had someone old enough to describe what he saw. The young Guiler certainly wasn’t unhappy by his experience although unlike the dazed other abductees seemed willing to leave the mothership.

The ‘chosen’, apart from the Guilers, appears to be at random. Each focused to turning off any existing secondary power sources and inducing both a sound and image into their brains. The latter was discovered to be that of Devil’s Tower, Moorcroft, Wyoming. It is uncertain why they would later come back for Cary Guiler and not take him the first time. None of them would appear to be ‘crackpots’ or had a desire to chase UFOs until this happened to them. It is also uncertain why their treatment sunburnt several of them. You would have thought the safety of the ‘chosen’ would have been more paramount. Later information shows the extra-terrestrials to be pale skinned and might not tan and not realise the implication of their mild radiation.

Documentation regarding the other returned abductees should be read separately. With some coming from over 70 years back, there will be a lot of adjusting to the current time period. The general consensus is their confusion until their arrival although does not appear to be any form of brainwashing. As most were from the early part of the century where there was even little fiction depicting aliens let alone any of them reading it, one must wonder how far into denial they went and how these extra-terrestrials coped with them.

Even in the late 1970s, where written Science Fiction was more prevalent than film and TV series, even with first contact information, the number of readers and viewers per unit population was still relatively low. This might have contributed to the extra-terrestrials selecting a different way to select their ‘guests’ and from countries with technology more than those from the third world. The fact that our own selection of ten men and two women were left at the starting gate rather allowed on-board the mothership is rather telling. It is recommended that should another selection choice be made, we should ensure these ‘chosen’ be ready at the landing site. If we can add a few more to their number of our own choice, we may be privileged to have them accepted as well next time. The selection of artistic as opposed to scientific mind-sets appears to match their form of communication than anything they would wish to expand our scientific knowledge. I doubt if ‘chosen’ Roy Neary will know what the Curwen hand signs are let alone be able to use them.

The smaller UFOs sent to seek out their ‘chosen’ did not seem compatible to our electrical systems and appear to turn off the power grids wherever they flew, with a smaller red light/ball re-enabling behind them. Considering their passage passed two aircraft (see Air East 31 unofficial report), we are fortunate that their electrical systems were not also disengaged. This same red ball swept in after these smaller UFOs at the Dark Side Of The Moon tends to suggest they did not want any discontinuity of power supply at the base. Logistically, turning off the power might have been used to draw some attention to their activities but considering that they disrupted hospitals and probably air traffic, although didn’t disable, seems a bit reckless. We could make an entire article of the disruptive nature of their smaller craft and how they draw energy from around them.

It should be noted that both places where Flight 41 and SS Cotopaxi were deposited were largely free of electrical devices. The fact that the Dark Side Of The Moon wasn’t tends to suggest that they adjusted their equipment to reduce interference. The appearance in India to transmit the 5 tones is significant but puzzling. Why choose somewhere on the other side of the planet than in America where they were going to land itself other than the limited lack of electrical equipment? The same also applies with the later abduction of Barry Guiler. The report from his mother, Jillian Guiler, suggests a determined approach by any means possible. Had the investigating officers noted her hearing the 5 tones on the telephone, we could have made a decision to bring her in than leave her to her own devices.

After the India visitation, the unit broadcast to space of the 5 tones received co-ordinates back that the now translator David Laughlin deduce were Earth co-ordinates that were determined to belonging to the Devil’s Tower in Moorcroft, Wyoming. To maintain security, 300 square miles were cleared of 50,000 people by the suggestion of a dangerous nerve gas leak from a derailed train.

It should be noted that these co-ordinates were sent from a minimum of 7 parsecs away. The presumption that this was from the actual mothership is only a supposition. Considering the mothership has been in Earth’s atmosphere at least three known times during this period, it is more likely that a relay system was set up to send the signal at the appropriate time. There is also the possibility that this mothership may only be one of many.

The ‘chosen’ up to this time were drawing their own images of the Devil’s Tower and either recognised it from personal knowledge or from the TV reports. Individually, they decided that they were being called there irrespective of the danger the announced hazard on television. Neither they nor the unit were given any date for the rendezvous. Claude Larcombe determined that the site would be hidden from the Moon and the extra-terrestrials would be choosing one of the nights of new moon when our own satellite would not show in the sky. No doubt the ‘chosen’ would have waited until something happened.

Of the twelve ‘chosen’ who tried to breech the security net, only Roy Neary had a preference for sculpture than drawing. As a group, many were elderly and only one older teen. Roy Neary, Jillian Guiler and Larry Butler, the three who fled from the helicopter, were in their mid-30s and healthy enough to flee and not believe the gas warning.

One cannot condemn Major Walsh, who was responsible for area security, to remove civilians from the area, despite Larcombe’s counter-argument that these people had been invited. Likewise, Walsh’s authority to dust the mountainside with the sleep gas EZ-4, as used to convince people of the nerve gas incident. Considering that only Neary and Guiler reached the ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’, one has to assume Butler succumbed to the gas. His body has yet to be recovered. It is believed that when the smaller UFOs departed with the arrival of the mothership, that they also retrieved him.

The docking of the mothership was more unexpected as it came up and over Devil’s Tower than directly from above and then rotated to land. Both subjective as it never touched the ground. It also meant that the team on the ‘Light Side Of The Moon’ had the first opportunity to see the vessel. Its size dwarfed the Devil’s Tower at something more than 500 feet tall. It is believed that the smaller UFOs acted as a distraction for its arrival and grand entrance. Observers hint that these extra-terrestrials were aware of our more xenophobic early Science Fiction films and awe is better than gunfire. The fact that there was no military nor armaments on the ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ but only civilian under instruction from Larcombe was to represent our peaceful nature. This mothership clearly showed we are mere primitives compared to these space-farers.

The filmed footage of the ‘conversation’ with the mothership looked at later examination far too slowly and then far too fast. We were more like a hesitant child looking for the right keys and then frustratingly getting faster waiting for a response. From there, it moved quickly to computers to keep up and learn the tonal language. We might have done better to communicate at a slower pace and used musically gifted to translate as well as the computers. No other message was contained. It is believed that as a first lesson, mankind is still not quite ready for them yet.

One message was very clear. The return of Flight 41’s aircraft and the SS Cotopaxi was we were likely to expect the crews for them both. It was a bigger surprise that so many other abductees were returned as well and would be seen as a peaceful gesture. The abduction of Barry Guiler as the last ‘unofficial’ abductee and returned so promptly should be seen as further conclusive proof that they wished no harm. Guiler’s young age might also have worked against him being a suitable communicator. Again, it has been speculated that had his mother, Jillian Guiler, also been taken that she might have been able to have verbalised what he saw. The list of returnees should be seen elsewhere and special attention should be taken in adjusting them to current Earth customs. With their apparent lack of aging, introductions to their families should be reviewed individually and with caution. We also need to reserve judgement as to where they have been.

It is from here that we had our close encounter of the third kind and meeting actual extra-terrestrial species. Three of them. The first was a very tall gangly one with extremely long limbs. He/it/her only remained briefly. It is speculated that Earth gravity might have too much.

The second species was more abundant. About 4 feet tall, with bulbous heads and large eyes. Their phalanges or fingers were at least double the length of their palms. By this time, Roy Neary was kitted out in our red uniform and added to our candidates. Of all of them, only he was of interest to them. It is believed the number of them would have been about 5 to each ‘chosen’. Larcombe’s earlier protests that these people should have attended should now be heeded in any further contact. Certainly our own selection should include artistically inclined people. We may see sending our own people as the means to discover more about these extra-terrestrials but, equally, their interest in us should be fulfilled as well.

The third species and only representative who addressed us than the volunteer team was of a similar height to the second species but had a longer head and approached the landing unit alone. Whether his position was captain or diplomat is hard to say. We can only speculate that whoever is in charge would at least want to meet us.

Larcombe initiated the Curwen hand signs equivalent of the 5 tone greeting but without either the chords or lights, it is not certain as it was understood, especially as this extra-terrestrial also imitated Larcombe’s smile. We will have to consider that their own language is as alien to us as ours is to them or they would surely have mastered ours in the time they had the abductees. It has been speculated that their lack of aging might also mean they had these people for a much shorter period than the time on Earth. If their mothership is capable of exceeding the speed of light or deferring it in some way, it might have only been a much shorter interval. They might only have had time to learn something of our co-ordinate system and learnt enough to impose a message in their ‘chosen’ to select candidates who could be taught their language. As such, their batch of abductees might not have taught them much beyond them being sentient and some technological tools. They, in turn, might not have learnt anything at all.

This visit less than a couple hours before the mothership departed, whether it was deemed a success or failure, depends on whose point-of-view we take. For us, it was the failure to provide the ‘chosen’ they had asked for with the exception of Roy Neary and that was through his own determination. Had he and Mrs Guiler had also succumbed to the sleep gas we would have had no one to offer awake. We can only speculate on the extra-terrestrial view if that had happened.

In many respects, the human contact of this meeting should be viewed as a failure and some things need to be reviewed for next time. The biggest of these is not heeding Larcombe and presenting the ‘chosen’ as requested amongst our volunteers. A valuable opportunity was lost. We have however been given access to their chord language and should maintain satellite coverage where the co-ordinates were received should they send further messages. Hopefully, we should be able to return a message in the language they have given us.

As the ‘visit’ has still been given a top secret security clearance, it is unlikely how the ‘chosen’ were selected should become common knowledge. As such, records should be checked for all the ‘chosen’ to see what happened to them and copies of any sketches, paintings and models copied or taken. Should they attempt a similar message scheme again, this will affirm the right people from cranks, mischievous and infiltrators. This message should also be informed to other members of the UN Security Council should they select a different country next time.

Should or when the extra-terrestrials return, it is unlikely that the same chosen would be selected a second time. The ages of many of them would prohibit that and they would be aware of the aging process.

Whether a second selection of ‘chosen’ be given, it is also unknown whether they will be imparted with the same location or a different one, contrary to military advice, should be given access to the next landing site. Such co-operation might mean a better acceptance for our own selection be added next time. Please also ensure that there is equality in numbers. The last team had two women to ten men. Although the original returnees also had a disproportionate ratio of men to women, it also appears that no relationships grew and no off-spring. None of them appear to know what happened on-board or how long they were away. As this mothership appears to be able to travel at trans-light speed, this should not be surprising.

The sampling these extra-terrestrials took extends over a very long time interval and appears to be a practiced art and returning them unharmed. If we are to develop such communication then we should correspond to their wishes in future.

These extra-terrestrials have been very careful. As a gesture of goodwill, they returned all of Flight 41’s aircraft and the SS Cotopaxi from 1925 as well as their crews and other people over the years. We can hardly criticise them for this. If we had been in a similar situation, we would probably have taken samples to examine as well. All were kept fit and well and no extreme medical examination or device implants were found. Had they appeared in an earlier time, especially in the height of the Cold War, we might have had problems should the information have been leaked to the Russians. As it is, through the United Nations unit, those involved with the Security Council have been informed but other countries will be on a need to know basis for the time being.

No one has questioned why these extra-terrestrials chose the USA and not some other nation. The fact that the SS Cotopaxi was deposited in the Gobi Desert suggests that they have no concept of national territory. This should be remembered should these extra-terrestrials choose a different nation next time. They have no bias and nothing should be inferred should they choose, say, Russia next time.

There is no knowledge as to what the recent guest, Roy Neary, will tell them. He certainly won’t be able to communicate with them in their native language and it seems unlikely they will learn English. I doubt if these extra-terrestrials are interested in our weapon capacity, judging by the size of their mothership and their ability to turn off our electrical systems, I don’t think they would see us as a menace. We are as far behind them scientifically as we are advanced from earliest mankind. In that respect, it would also be wise not to provoke them neither.

What they want if and when they return is debatable. They may wish to have more volunteers of an artistic nature and we should encourage more people in that pursuit to extend the possible choices. This may well have been the message they want to convoy.

We should certainly try to maintain some sort of peaceful world when they visit again. Hopefully, next time we will get what they want first rather than what we would want.

© GF Willmetts 2017

Here’s to a return visit.



Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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