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UFOs in the daily Press:


The article below was published in the daily newspaper Charleston News and Courier, Charleston, South Carolina, USA, on November 17, 1979.



Charleston Resident Claims They've Paid Him A Visit

Staff Reporter

"Their skin was the color of a marshmallow. Their eyes were long and dark with a brown iris. Their heads looked like overgrown human fetuses with no ears or hair. I heard a voice telling me to have no fear."

The narrative is by William Herrmann, a North Charleston resident who maintains he has twice been taken aboard a craft from another world. True or not, Herrmann's tale is believed by some UFO investigators to be among the most documentable of all UFO abduction cases, and his story is attracting national attention.

Herrmann, a 27-year-old auto mechanic, is the subject of writeups in November's Omni magazine and in at least one current publication devoted to the study of UFOs. A Japanese film crew visited Herrmann recently to film a documentary film to include Herrmann and a book about his experiences is being planned.

Since reporting being abducted by a UFO near his mobile home off Dorchester Road March 18, 1978, Herrmann has undergone psychological stress evaluation, polygraph tests and interrogation under hypnosis. Investigators say the tests convinced them Herrmann believes he was actually aboard a UFO. The tests, however, are incapable of determining whether the encounter actually took place.

Herrmann's story is certainly one of the most bizarre in the history of reports on UFOs. Herrmann says his first meeting with aliens took place after he had seen a glowing disc on several occasions and photographed the disc on another occasion. Herrmann says he suddenly found himself in a Summerville field after spotting the UFO near his home. His memory of the abduction remained blank for a year, he says, and then on April 21 of this year a mysterious-looking metal bar, shaped like an ingot and bearing the letters "M A N" and some mysterious symbols, suddenly materialized in "a globe of blue-green light" in his bedroom. On a second trip aboard the alien's craft May 16, Herrmann says the bar was sent as a gift.

Omni magazine had a sample scraped from the bar and analyzed. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysis found the bar to be made of ordinary elements - a cast alloy of lead and 6 percent antimony -approximating the composition of lead pipes or grid from an auto battery. Herrmann maintains the aliens told him the bar is of a substance worthless to humans but of great value to the extraterrestrials.

Charles R. McQuiston of West Palm Beach remembers giving Herrmann a psychological stress evaluation test after he reported his first meeting with aliens. The test measures stress in speech patterns which would detect attempts at deception in a manner similar to that of a polygraph, McQuiston says.

"I don't remember any fraud" on Herrmann's part, McQuiston says of the test. "I didn't find anything wrong with his story at all. That's what he believes, and that's as far as I can go."

McQuiston says he performs PSE tests on hundreds of purported UFO sightees and contactees each year for magazines and UFO investigators. His machinery prints out a chart of changing speech patterns. A deliberate lie will result in "automatic nervous responses" which will affect elements of speech that can be detected by instruments, McQuiston says.

McQuiston says about one-half of the purported UFO stories he tests are classified "for no further consideration."

A New York physician and teacher of hypnosis therapy at Columbia University, Dr. Bernard Stern, questioned Herrmann under hypnosis and is also convinced Herrmann believes the meetings with aliens to be real, But Stern, who says he and his wife saw a whirling disc above the road of Florida several years ago, is not sure Herrmann's reported events actually happened.

Stern says he "regressed" Herrmann's mind to the time of the reported abduction. "Herrmann is honest. He honestly believes he was in a UFO."

But Stern says questioning under hypnosis "doesn't prove anything. It doesn't mean the abduction is so."

Stern says he thinks Herrmann may be able to "hypnotize himself" into believing his reported UFO encounters. "He is fantasizing but doesn't know it."

But Stern adds, "In all fairness to Herrmann, I didn't challenge him in great detail. I asked him to describe what he was seeing in the UFO and he gave a vague description." Stern also says Herrmann is the only reported UFO abductee he has questioned under hypnosis.

Stern's lack of faith in Herrmann's story, however, is not shared by Abcko Industries, a major film and record making firm headquartered in New York. Abkco is putting together plans for a film documentary on UFOs, and wants to include Herrmann.

Malcolm Clarke, who will direct the film, says the sheer numbers of persons with stories similar to Herrmann's which can't be disproven indicate "that some are telling the truth." It was Abkco that brought Herrmann to New York for the hypnosis tests, Clarke says.

"Scientifically speaking, his story seems to stand up. His experience seems to be interesting and unusual."

Clarke says Abkco is putting together a film on UFO experiences "on a global scale. The point is there are a number of people like Herrmann."

Also standing behind Herrmann is retired Air Force Col. Wendelle C. Stevens of Tucson, now an investigator for Aerial Phenomena Research Organization. Stevens says he spent 11 days here investigating Herrmann's first encounter story, which he labels "a classic" It really happened. "I have a lot of data to support it."

Stevens says he has testimony from a number of Charleston-area residents who have reportedly seen a UFO similar to the one Herrmann claims to have boarded, including sightings on the same night as Herrmann reported his encounters.

APRO has conducted tests on the metal bar Herrmann says materialized in his home and has sent Herrmann's UFO photos to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena for enhancement and computer evaluation. Stevens believes the color photos, which include a shot of a UFO trailing an Air Force jet near Charleston Air Force Base, are genuine.

Stevens says studies of the markings on the bar, which he says appear to be molded in the metal, have determined some of the symbols to be a map of the star group Reticulum, from which Herrmann says the aliens told him they came.

The star group is visible only from the Southern Hemisphere, and the star map puts the star in a configuration never seen from Earth, Stevens says. "Only one star chart shows such a projection, and the chart is in Hungary and printed in Hungarian. Most people have never heard of the chart, and there is no way Herrmann could have ever seen it. The chart is only known to highly advanced astronomers."

An astronomy book identifies Reticulum as a faint constellation in the Southern Hemisphere. Herrmann says the aliens are from a world with twin suns. The Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Space identifies Zeta Reticuli (in Reticulum) "as a widely separated pair of stars similar to the sun, about 30 light years from Earth."

Stevens says he knows other cases where UFO occupants have given Earth residents objects similar to Herrmann's bar. "It's a form of recognition, given only to a few Earth people, for having overcome the trauma and maintaining communication."

Another mystery associated with the Herrmann case is also under investigation by Stevens. Since he allegedly encountered the UFO occupants, Herrmann says he has felt a compulsion to write, from right to left, pages of a script of a language unknown to Herrmann or Stevens. Stevens says an International Business Machines Corp. design engineer examined some of the script and says it may represent a formula for "accelerating matter to a dematerialized state."

Herrmann says he has just finished writing about three pages of the script when he felt his home shake, saw his lights flicker and go out and saw "a globe of blue-green light" begin to grow on his desk. "I was so frightened I couldn't look at it. When the glow subsided I saw the bar lying on the edge of the desk. I thought it would be hot but it felt cold.

He called Stevens right away. Stevens remembers Herrmann "was genuinely frightened. His teeth were chattering."

Herrmann says he was told by aliens on his second encounter with them that the bar "was a gift for me signifying they were thankful for and appreciative of the way I handled the situation" after the earlier abduction.

The second encounter was a voluntary one, he says, which came the months after the bar appeared in his home. He climbed aboard the UFO after feeling an urge to go to a spot where the UFO met him, he says.

The first encounter wasn't remembered until months after it happened, he says. He had gone out to a field to get a better look at a UFO after spotting it from his home and the next thing he remembers was finding himself in a strange area with a UFO whirring away above him.

Terrified, he flagged down an auto and found that he was in a wooded clearing near Bacons Bridge Road near Summerville. It was several hours later than he thought it should be.

Later, Herrmann says, he recalled what happened during the several hours he could not account for.

While watching the UFO from some railroad tracks, the UFO suddenly zoomed toward him, and projected a blinding beam of aquamarine light at him.

"I tried to run, but my legs wouldn't move, I was like I was paralyzed. I couldn't yell. I thought Oh God, I'm going to die."

Later, he says he was "on this low examination table only 2 feet above the floor." Three strange-looking being watched him.

The aliens told him there are three races of intelligent beings from space that visit Earth and conduct experiments and observe life here.

Herrmann says his life has changed greatly since he spoke about his UFO encounters, although he denies he is seeking personal publicity. Life will probably never be the same for him again. He says he was told on his second meeting with the aliens that they would return for him again.

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