Jim Weiner will be talking about his abduction experience from 2:30 to 4 p.m. PST on Thursday at the Aquarius Casino Resort, 1900 Casino Drive, during the 17th Annual UFO Congress and Film Festival. One of the largest gatherings of its kind in the world, the congress will go through March 1. On Thursday, Weiner and Charlie Foltz will be part of an afternoon session that includes two other presentations and costs $30 to attend. For more information, call 303-651-7136. JEFF MANGUM/The Daily News
LAUGHLIN - The water was still and reflected the night stars like a giant mirror.
It was August 1976, and four college students had set out into the Maine wilderness for a fishing trip on a lake surrounded by dense forest.
Then one of them spotted a white, round sphere hovering above the water, its surface moving like boiling oatmeal.
“What's the big deal?” one of them thought. “It's just the moon.”
But his thought was quickly dismissed.
Three decades later, telling his story during the International UFO Congress Convention, Foltz still gets goosebumps on his arms when he talks about that night. After dozens of TV appearances and lectures, he says it's still painful to remember.
The sphere moved across the shoreline and lit up the trees below, he continued, nearing toward them with a white and yellow light.
Foltz shined his flashlight in its direction and the sphere came to a stop. Then it shone a beam down to earth and began moving toward the group again. They paddled furiously toward the shoreline, where their campfire served as a beacon.
He picked up his flashlight again. The sphere moved away, then ascended up and away at a 45 degree angle in silence. The campfire, built to last about four hours, had burned down completely after a half hour of fishing. It left the group wondering about the three and a half hours of unaccounted time, but Foltz didn't think about it much.
They fell exhausted into their tents to sleep, too tired to talk about what they'd seen. It was the last time they saw the sphere that would haunt them for decades.
Two years later, Jim Weiner had developed epilepsy. He began having nightmares. And although he didn't know it then, his brother more than 100 miles away - who'd also been on the fishing trip - saw the same faces in his disturbed sleep.
The nightmares involved the group, “strange beings or creatures,” and experiences of exams, pokes and prods as they lay unable to move on a table.
A decade later, Weiner says he met a UFO investigator who referred to him by a psychologist from the team of doctors that treated him for epilepsy.
The investigator interviewed their old college buddies, Maine park rangers and Air Force personnel. Then he put all four of them - separately - under hypnosis. Foltz says memories came forward he didn't know existed.
He once thought UFO buffs were “a few fries short of a Happy Meal,” but even after his memories returned he remained skeptical. Maybe it was a brain tumor, he thought, or some type of disorder.
All four thought there must be something wrong with them and that only crazy people had such stories. All four had recalled the same experience, Foltz said, but it took a few years for them to become comfortable with the idea.
“Then you come to a point where you have to accept them,” Foltz said. “It's much like a rape victim that shuts out the attack because they were helpless to prevent it.”
Foltz decided what they'd seen was important and had to be shared with others.
Although the UFO debate is more mainstream now than in was in the 1990s, Foltz says he still comes across a wide variety of reactions as an “abductee” - from the adoration of those excited to meet the people who'd met their “space brothers,” to ridicule and “outright derision.”
“I believe in skepticism,” Foltz said. “However, you meet people whose minds are about as open as a block of wood.”
But although they may have difficulties, and telling their story is still hard, Weiner and Foltz say they keep going to help other “abductees.”
“We feel we're helping people who've gone through the same thing we have and have no recourse or support group,” Foltz said. “(To let them know) there are people out there who'll listen to their stories.”
Mohave Daily News