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The article below was published in the daily newspaper Tuscaloosa News, Tsucaloosa, South Carolina, on March 6, 1983.


Former UFO 'subject' recalls experiences


CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- For the past five years, life has been one frustration after another for Bill Hermann.

He feels the fear and terror that swept over him when he rode in a flying saucer and spoke to the saucer drivers should have been enough. He doesn't need the pervasive disbelief that surrounds him now.

Hermann, 30, a diesel mechanic by trade and church custodian of necessity, recently ruminated over what has happened since March 1978, when he rode his first UFO.

"I'd never been interested in science fiction. I thought that was all hogwash. Garbage. But I've had two contact experiences and 15 sightings of UFOs, and I've also investigated 40 sightings statewide."

Herman first saw the saucer hanging around his neighborhood in late 1977 and early '78, and he wasn't alarmed. At first, he thought it was some sort of military aircraft flying out of nearby Charleston Air Force Base.

When it flew low over his home in North Charleston one March evening, he went outside and walked toward it for a closer look.

"It dropped, and I was scared," he said in a hushed tone. "A green light came up around me. I was disoriented. At my feet there was an orange circle of light..."

When he became reoriented, he was on an examining table inside the UFO. He distinctly remembers the craft was a molded metal, two-decked contraption about 70 feet in diameter and 25 feet high. The inhabitants were about 4 1/2 feet tall, Hermann remembers, "and looked like human fetuses."

They spoke English with no accent and told him not to be afraid, but that didn't help much. "I had this horrible fear."

The UFO crew callously referred to him as a "subject" and said that he, along with certain other earthlings, had been chosen for their experiments. They anticipated his questions, and they spoke without moving their lips.

Hermann came to later that night in Summerville, nearly 20 miles away.

The second ride was something similar but much less scary.

"It was a 3 1/2 hour trip down to Florida and back. We flew above an orange grove and over the (Kennedy) space center. I remember looking down through some kind of monitor at the face of people looking up at us."

His visitors told him they were from Zeta Reticuli. ("There is such a star." says Lee Shapiro, director of the University of North Carolina's Morehead Planetarium.)

"That's a solar system 32 light years from here," Hermann said. "They said I'll see them again, but I haven't. Not that I am looking from them. December 1982 was my last sighting. But I won't be afraid next time."

Word of Hermann's visitors got around, as word of such things will, and in no time he'd made television and newspapers. That's when the real trouble started.

He began getting harassing letters and phone calls. Then threatening calls. "Some people fear the unknown. They think you're some kind of threat."

People began to follow him, he said, and the most threatening thing was when two men tried to run him off the road. He still doesn't know why.

The fact that he lost his job as a diesel mechanic was unrelated, he emphasized. "My company had to cut back because of the economy, and I was one of the several that got laid off."

One the positive side, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Wendelle Stevens of Tucson did report Hermann's encounters with the extraterrestrials in exhaustive details in a hardback book. Hermann says 5,000 copies of the $17 book have been sold.

So, Hermann counts his blessings. He has a job. The publicity has pretty much died down. Most people accept him. "I've gone through all kinds of medical batteries, and I don't have any radiation or side effects. And no implants, like one woman got."

He thinks his visitors are peaceful. Still, he would not advice anyone encountering extraterrestrials to run and tell the media about it.

"This has changed my life," Hermann said. "Nobody's said I'm a nut, but they look at me like I'm out in left field. Nobody calls me a liar, particularly after all those experts said I believe what happened to me. But nobody says that what happened actually happened, just that I believe it did.

"That's the sad drawback."

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