UFO Repeaters Continue to Photograph Unidentified Craft En Masse – No Explanation In Sight!

By Sean Casteel with Timothy Green Beckley

I have written here previously about the newly published book from Timothy Green Beckley’s Global Communications, “UFO Repeaters: Seeing Is Believing! The Camera Doesn’t Lie!” But there remain several exciting case histories in the book that deserve coverage.

The term “UFO Repeater” was coined early on in the history of the modern UFO era to describe individuals who seemed to have nonrandom UFO encounters and who had even established an ongoing “relationship” with the flying saucer occupants. Why these Repeaters were separated from the pack, so to speak, and granted a kind of cross-species friendship – as well as the invitation to repeatedly photograph the ships and some occupants – remains a big unknown. 

This is one of many mysteries the book “UFO Repeaters” presents to us, the UFO community. It includes the case histories of some specially selected shutterbugs PLUS many of the photographs the “chosen ones” were given to take. In every case, proof that the images were a simple matter of camera trickery has never been forthcoming and one can take the photos at face value in good conscience. None of the people behind the camera ever sought publicity, fame or money from the photos. All they wanted was to understand the mystery they found themselves bound up in. 


Ellen Crystall’s initial experience with UFOs happened in 1971, shortly after she had moved from her native New Jersey to Hollywood, California, to begin a career in music. On her very first day in her new apartment, some of the other residents informed her that UFOs appeared nightly and they made a habit of sitting outside to watch. Though Ellen considered herself to be a nominal believer in the phenomenon, she was nevertheless surprised to hear about real-world UFOs from her neighbors. 

Though many of Ellen Crystall’s photos may at first seem to be ill-defined, if you spend enough time looking you will find that the meandering lights take on a form and shape of their own. This is a picture of two alien beings standing in front of a portal that had been opened to either their home planet or another dimension.The ships did indeed show up on a regular basis, sometimes with as many as 30 objects moving in the nighttime sky. One night Ellen decided to go to a small hill about a mile from her apartment complex and try to photograph the ships. The UFOs dutifully appeared, and Ellen snapped off four shots and then another three from the same location the next night. Ellen writes that she quickly regretted not taking more photos; she had hesitated to take any at all because her neighbors had said the aliens might be offended. 

After Ellen had a frightening encounter with what seemed to be a low-flying ship chasing her down a Hollywood street, she flew home to New Jersey the next day and did not discuss her experiences with anyone. In spite of her terror, she continued to study the subject. When Ellen read an article in the now-defunct “OMNI Magazine” about UFOs, she contacted writer Harry Lebelson and told him about her California experiences and the photos she had taken. Lebelson invited her to accompany him to Pine Bush, a rural Orange County, New York, community nestled in the hills and valleys some 60 miles upstate from Manhattan. He said a couple who had frequent UFO sightings lived there and might have something in common with Ellen.

“Thus began my most intensive, revealing – and continuing – field study of UFOs through direct observation,” Ellen would later write in her book, “Invasion: They Come In Silence.” 

“And when I say ‘field,’ I mean precisely that. I was to find myself in various fields and farm pastures in pursuit of elusive, wily but seemingly playful UFOs – and in search of answers to some very serious questions,” she added.  

After that first visit to Pine Bush in July of 1980, Ellen would return there many times to photograph the ships. The UFO occupants always “greeted” her in their ambiguous but playful ways and obligingly let her take photos to her heart’s content. 

But when Ellen took her first roll of film from Pine Bush to a local Fotomat store, the pictures showed bizarre bursts of multicolored lights, and “sprays” of shooting discharges and splashes of different hues were all over the film. Where were the triangular ships she had seen so clearly? 

It would take two years before Ellen came to understand what had likely happened with the photos. 

“Photography is a ‘two-edged sword’ for UFOlogists,” she writes. “Everyone keeps hoping for a ‘definitive’ photo – the clear-cut ‘real’ picture of a craft in the sky. I understand and share those hopes, but I have to say, after my years of UFO photography and research, I’ve come up with some starting information.” 

In an effort to understand why the ships she had seen were not in the actual photos, she consulted several expert scientists. Scientists who specialized in radiation physics finally provided a possible answer. All film sold over the counter is sensitive to shortwave radiation that is outside of the visible spectrum of the naked human eye. She deduced that the sprays or bursts of light in the photos must be due to shortwave radiation between what she and the others had seen and the film’s level of sensitivity. Also, Ellen learned from textbooks on physics that any object surrounded by ultraviolet rays will, when photographed, be blurred on the film as well as show up as bluish, globule-type patterns of light.  

This explains why so many UFO photos are often disappointing flashes of light. Even other UFO Repeaters who seem chosen by the aliens to regularly take such photos are sometimes subject to these same limitations, and Ellen has done the field a service by helping to catalog some of the details of the radiation spectrum problem for the non-physicists in the UFO community. 

Ellen also writes that she once felt overcome with waves of love and compassion coming from the UFO occupants; this sense of a caring bond is another factor that unites many UFO Repeaters. Under regressive hypnosis, Ellen recalled a contact experience from early childhood that made her wonder if she was another alien abductee with a lifetime of encounters behind her. With or without conclusive photographic evidence, Ellen was undeniably caught up in the UFO phenomenon in a way that few others can claim to equal. 


Another female voice in the choir of Repeaters is Elizabeth Klara, who was born in 1910 in Mooi River, Natal, which was at

UFO Photographed Over South Africa By Elizabeth Klarer

the time a province of South Africa. Elizabeth was a well-respected member of high society in South Africa, and her husband was a major in the South African Air Force. Elizabeth herself worked for Air Force Intelligence. 

After reading about the experiences of legendary contactee George Adamski in the 1950s, Elizabeth recalled that she had been receiving occasional telepathic messages from a friendly space alien named “Akon” since her childhood. While her sudden return of memory has been mocked as “all-too-convenient,” it is nevertheless true that contactees and abductees often experience such recall after their memories have been “reactivated” by some triggering mechanism, such as reading Adamski’s books in Elizabeth’s case. 

Sometime around 1955, Elizabeth, using a Brownie Box Camera, took a series of photos – in the presence of two witnesses – of a metallic disc-shaped object slowly approaching in the darkening South African sky. Some of these photos are included in “UFO Repeaters,” and they are remarkably sharp. 

Elizabeth claimed to have been carried up to a mother ship and taken to the home planet of Akon, her childhood alien contact. She became pregnant after intercourse with Akon and gave birth to a son. Her son was unable to return to Earth with her and stayed behind to be raised and educated on the aliens’ planet. The entire process – the trip, lovemaking, pregnancy, delivery, and return voyage – is said to have required less than four months. 

While her Akon/pregnancy story was enthusiastically received in South Africa when she told the tale at lectures, most North American and European UFO researchers found it too farfetched to take seriously. It wasn’t until the 1980s and 90s that such stories became rather commonplace and the existence of an extraterrestrial genetics program that produced human/alien hybrid babies was firmly established as perhaps the primary alien motive for abducting humans in the first place. 


The photos of what could be alien spacecraft taken by Gulf Breeze, Florida, building contractor Ed Walters continue to be controversial. Photo analysis experts have examined the photos in minute detail, often using computer enhancement techniques and a darkroom method called “light blasting” that brings the sometimes hazy images into sharper focus. If Ed’s photos are real, they rank as some of the most dramatically clear UFO photos ever captured on film. 

UFO Repeater Ed Walters took “responsibility” for the UFOs that appeared over Gulf Breeze, Florida. It was November 1987, and Ed was sitting alone in his home office when he happened to glance out the window and saw an unusual light across the street that was partially obscured by a 30-foot pine tree in his front yard. Unable to see whatever was there clearly enough, Ed went to his front door and opened it. He saw a bluish-gray craft that was “right out of a Spielberg movie that had somehow escaped the film studio.” 

Ed saw the craft glowing and gliding along like a cloud in total silence. He realized this was no movie prop gone astray, and his first thought was to call the police. Thinking that no one would believe him without any proof, he went back inside and grabbed the old Polaroid camera he frequently used on his construction job sites. Ed took his first photo as the craft came from behind a small tree. He recalls that he felt a mind-numbing sense of shock and awe as he struggled with his camera. 

He was next rendered unable to move and was told, “We will not harm you. Calm down.” He remembers feeling like he was suspended four feet off the ground and then abruptly dropped back down on the pavement. Feeling confused and wondering if he was suffering some kind of hallucination, he saw his Polaroid photos scattered on the ground where they fell as he took them.

“There it was, on the film,” Ed would later write in his book “The Gulf Breeze Sightings.” “It hadn’t been my imagination or some sort of hallucination. What I had seen was real. It wasn’t a comforting thought.” 

For Ed, it was the beginning of a long ordeal for him and his family. He submitted the photos anonymously to the local newspaper, “The Gulf Breeze Sentinel,” hoping to find out if others had also seen the UFO. As his true identity began to emerge, the publicity the photos received would result in interest from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), who would conduct an official investigation and supply Ed with a special “tamper proof” camera in the hope of proving any future photos to be genuine. Well-known optical physicist Bruce Maccabee suggested that Ed also use a “stereo camera” setup to capture better quality photos that would prove the distances and sizes of the craft and thus silence the naysayers. 

An accusation surfaced that Ed had faked the photos using a model that was found in a home he and his family had vacated months before in an attempt to shield themselves from constant public scrutiny. MUFON again stepped in to investigate the charges and found that the alleged model did not correspond exactly to the ships in Ed’s photos. 

Meanwhile, the UFOs continued to make themselves apparent to Ed, putting Ed in the category of UFO Repeaters who have an ongoing photographic “relationship” with the ships. Several of Ed’s photos are included in “UFO Repeaters.” 

“I can’t believe that Ed Walters was a phony,” Tim Beckley comments in the new book. “I don’t for one second think that he stuck a model into the walls of his attic so that someone would find it later and he would have the last laugh. He just wasn’t that sort of guy. And, besides, others did see the UFOs in close proximity to where Ed lived. He caused quite a hubbub for a number of years.” 


Woonsocket, Rhode Island’s Joe Ferriere is another case of a UFO Repeater who reports positive encounters with the UFO occupants that began in childhood.  

The late WOON Radio talk show host, Joe Ferriere, holds a strip of film showing some pretty weird heavenly strangers in the sky. He had the uncanny ability to show up where UFOs were being seen. This cigar-shaped object hovered over a wooded area just outside of Cumberland, Rhode Island.“I am approximately four years old,” Joe recalled. “This memory is so clear, even though most people cannot remember that far back. It’s precise, but it’s short. It’s just a brief glimpse. I am sitting in the backyard and I am playing in a sandbox with my little pail and my little shovel when all of a sudden I am aware of the presence of a huge silver colored – I want to call it a rocket ship. It looked like something out of a Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon movie. It had no wings. It was enormous and very, very low to the ground. I was a little bit afraid of it, but then I noticed that there were a lot of windows on this thing and that there were people smiling and waving and apparently having a great old time. I called to my grandmother to come out and see it, but by that time it was gone.” 

Joe has a second childhood memory from a few years later, this time of a group of UFOs that overflew his schoolyard and were seen by his schoolmates as well. He recalls even the teachers pointing at the UFOs as they passed through the sky. When Joe told his grandfather what had happened, the old man replied that there was life on other planets and someday Joe would meet them. His grandfather seemed to be speaking from personal knowledge, which demonstrates the familiar pattern of UFO and other sorts of paranormal experiences running along family lines. 

In 1962, when Joe was an adult and working at a dye factory, he observed, along with three coworkers, a fleet of silent UFOs flying in a V-formation. This sighting triggered a compulsive urge in Joe to study the subject of UFOs, and he began to search for people who could give him answers, including UFOlogist Tim Beckley. 

A few years later, Joe sighted a tube- or cigar-shaped ship at a moment when he had his camera handy; he began to take his first of what would come to be many UFO photos. After he had taken a couple of shots, a door fell open in the craft, expelling a spherical object from within. He was undecided about which object he should follow when the small sphere moved away swiftly. He then took two more photos of the larger object. 

“No one can doubt that these are wonderful pictures of an unknown craft,” writes Beckley about his old friend Joe. “And Joe has taken others in the Woonsocket area, including spherical blasts of light in the sky as well as a top-shaped UFO. He has also had his share of strange experiences that would seem to indicate even more that he was ‘hand-selected’ to get the word out. I know there are many other photos that Joe took that I hope will surface eventually.”

Some of Joe’s remarkable photos are – you guessed it! – reprinted in “UFO Repeaters.”  


Mexico and South America are not without their fair share of repeat UFO witnesses. The flying saucer occupants seem to be just as interested in our neighbors to the south, and a multitude of still and camera images from the region bear that out. 

Perhaps the most heralded Mexican contactee of the 1950s was taxi driver Salvador Villanueva. In late August 1953, Salvador was trying to repair his broken down cab out in the country near Ciudad Valles. He was joined unexpectedly by two pleasant looking men, 4.5 feet tall, wearing one-piece gray corduroy garments that covered even their feet and wide shiny belts. They had metal collars and small, black, shiny boxes on the back of their necks. They carried football-type helmets under their arms. As it was raining, Salvador invited them to take shelter in his cab. The two visitors accepted his offer, and a strange conversation ensued that lasted all night.

The visitors told Salvador they were from another planet, which Salvador scarcely believed. But he agreed to accompany them to their craft. He noticed that the mud puddles did not wet their feet and that their belts glowed whenever the mud was repelled. The UFO looked like two soup plates joined at the rim, with a shallow dome with portholes, and rested on three spheres. Salvador was invited in, but he refused. Glowing white, the vessel zigzagged upwards and then shot off vertically with only a faint whistling sound. A 40-foot circle of broken bushes was later found at the site. 

Because of the novelty of the incident, Salvador was propelled into the media spotlight in a country only just becoming aware of OVNIs, the Mexican acronym for UFOs. 

Hispanic UFO researcher Scott Corrales contributes a chapter to “UFO Repeaters” in which he discusses the UFO phenomenon as it impacts the lives of everyday people in the Latin regions of the Western Hemisphere. Those people often do “repeat business” with the aliens, who cross all borders as they “contact their own.” 


Tim Beckley writes warmly of visiting his old friend Arthur Shuttlewood, who ran a newspaper in the small British hamlet of Warminster, England, located not far from Stonehenge. Beckley was in the UK to deliver a lecture on UFOs at the House of Lords and had taken a detour to what was long heralded as a flying saucer and paranormal hotspot. 

Literally thousands of witnesses from all over the world besieged Cradle Hill in the sleepy little community of Warminster, England, to bear witness to someunusual celestial sights that defied explanation. Artistic impression of a gigantic crossed-shaped mothership by Carol Ann Rodriguez. The Warminster “Thing” started it all when a woman on the way to church was pressed to the ground by a high-pitched whining sound as a UFO stood motionless in the sky.

While on a sky-watch in Warminster one night, Beckley and Shuttlewood blinked a flashlight on and off at what they took to be a UFO in the sky. Every time they blinked at it, the ship would appear to swing back and forth like a pendulum. To this day, Beckley wonders if he had made genuine contact with a UFO that night.

But the UFO Repeater that Beckley chooses to emphasize in the new book is the late Bryce Bond, a radio deejay who ended up having several encounters in Warminster over a period of days. Bryce had come to interview Shuttlewood for broadcast back in the U.S. and was surprised to see how “blasé” Shuttlewood was about the frequent sightings. Bryce would later tell the story in a book called “UFOs: Keys To Inner Perfection,” which is also available from Global Communications.  

Bryce writes that: “Arthur then said quietly, ‘I’m very glad you’re here tonight, Bryce. There in front of us is a UFO. Notice the triangle shape and colored lights going around? That is a very good sign.’ It then started to lift off in a weird pattern – then just disappeared. I was flabbergasted! It was so close. While describing that one on tape for American listeners, another one popped up about 25 degrees along the horizon. This one was a very brilliant white, while the other was a blaze of colored lights. This was the highlight of my British trip: a close sighting; yet I honestly felt spiritually close to the lights in the field.” 

That same night, Bryce telepathically “reached out” and asked the higher intelligence to make contact again. There followed a missing time experience, after which he heard the sound of a crop circle being made in a nearby wheat field. Bryce would have many more experiences of direct contact with the Space Brothers and came to feel he had been charged with the mission of explaining their good intentions for mankind. He even quit his radio job to devote himself to spreading the word full time. 


Continuing in this international vein, we come to Italian cases where people have had repeated contact with the UFO friendshipUFOphenomenon. 

The name Antonio Urzi has become quite well known among UFOlogists for his ongoing ability to capture video images of UFOs from his home in Cinisello Balsamo. The craft he has photographed run the gamut from singular balls of light to swarms of spherical, luminous objects that resemble “flotillas” or small fleets. Antonio has also recorded images of structured metallic discs pivoting and standing still in the air and dome-shaped craft silently hovering, rotating and shining until they disappear to the naked eye. 

A journalist named Maurizio Baiata has written extensively about Antonio and says he can vouch for Antonio’s sincerity. The debunkers of Antonio’s videos generally harp on the fact that he has simply produced too many of them to be credible and that they are “too good to be true.” But Baiata points out that in several instances the sighting and Antonio’s ability to film the event took place in the presence of other witnesses, to include professional camera operators from the most important Italian TV networks. 

There is also the famous Friendship case of 1956 that took place in Pescara, Italy. It is claimed that human-looking aliens engineered a mass contact event involving more than 100 people who were eager to learn their highly advanced extraterrestrial ways. The aliens spoke perfect Italian and said they were a confederation of different people from throughout the known universe. As is often the case with Space Brother-type aliens, they said they came in peace to attempt to prevent Earth from succumbing to its own increasingly evil tendencies. 

The aliens said they kept themselves hidden from the world’s general population because the masses were not ready for this kind of direct contact. They had been on Earth for many years but had lived on secret bases around the world and in some cases had established human identities, living among us unnoticed. 

Another Italian who believes in kindly, blessed aliens is Giorgio Bongiovanni, a stigmatic who is continually suffering the wounds of Christ as they spontaneously erupt on his body. Giorgio’s first stigmata happened in 1989, when a luminous being appeared and told him the universe is abundant with intelligent life and that men are visiting Earth in highly advanced disc-shaped spacecraft. His stigmata are intended for the faithful to have a sign they can believe in during the traumatic Earth changes to come. 


Another contactee that Tim Beckley counts among his friends is fellow New Yorker Marc Brinkerhoff. 

Marc, for his part, counts the aliens among his friends as well. As is frequently the case among UFO Repeaters, the UFO occupants established a bond with Marc that began in his childhood. At age five, Marc saw a large, silvery sphere, “like the metal ball in a pinball machine,” that was utterly silent. He remembers “receiving a feeling of great love from it.” 

Marc began regularly photographing UFOs in the 1970s and has been doing so ever since. He adamantly believes the Space Brothers have kindly intentions for the human race and will never stage a mass landing in an effort to conquer the planet. 

“UFO Repeaters” includes many of Marc’s photos as well as a detailed chronology of his many loving encounters with the Space Brothers, from childhood to the present. He can seemingly summon the ships at will sometimes and frequently photographs them from his apartment window. 


The UFO hotspot known as Sedona, Arizona, is another scene of Tim Beckley’s intrepid adventuring. He visited a local resident there named Tom Dongo, a veteran of the paranormal who conducts jeep tours of the area and has had a long history of UFO encounters with many photos to show for it, some of which are included in the new book.

But why Tom Dongo, you ask?

“A hundred times I have said – why me?” Tom said in an interview with Beckley. “This stuff has been going on for over 25 years now, and I have written six popular books regarding many of these inexplicable occurrences. Why is it that I have such strange paranormal happenings around me, sometimes on a continuous basis? I don’t understand it. I don’t have a clue. I have had many borderline-psychotic explanations from, usually, well-meaning people as to the reason behind this activity. Maybe I will never know why.” 

If you’re someone who has worked past “borderline-psychotic explanations,” you will no doubt be fascinated by reading more of Tom’s story and seeing some of his photos. 


Another international case that has attracted much attention recently are the photos taken by a night watchman in the town of Kumburgaz, located on the coast of Turkey. The late UFOlogist Dr. Roger Leir was a prominent advocate of the case before his death, having been on the scene of one of the Turkey sightings. 

But it is the aforementioned Turkish security guard, Yalcin Yalman who has provided the most direct evidence. On several occasions between 2007 and 2009, Yalman scanned the heavens – apparently knowing when the objects were going to appear – and videotaped UFOs in flight over the sea on the coast of Marmara. Yalman was able to film many such video segments, some during the day while accompanied by witnesses with whom he spoke while he was filming. 

An expert video analyst named Mario Valdez of Santiago, Chile, was brought in by Turkey’s National Council for the Study of Science and Technology to study the footage. Valdez concluded that, “The objects in the footage have the structure of a specific material that is definitely not made up by any kind of computer animation, balloon, prop, model or special effects used for simulation in a studio.” 


Aussie Rob Hartland says he has taken more than 20,000 digital photographs of the daytime sky in his Perth home, and a small percentage of them reveal possible extraterrestrial spacecraft when enlarged. His photos received media coverage in both his hometown newspaper, “Perth Now,” on April 27, 2013, and on the “Open Minds” website here in the U.S. two days later. 

“It began when he was taking photos of clouds to test out a new camera,” the Perth newspaper reported. “He noticed a ‘smudge’ that, when enlarged and enhanced, ‘had some structure to it, suggesting it could be some sort of craft in the sky.’ He says since then he has identified a dozen different UFOs, including round, square and saucer-shaped craft, posting the photos on his website – wispyclouds.net – for extraterrestrial buffs and skeptics to ponder.”

Hartland explained some of his methodology, saying that he usually focuses the camera on the edges of mid- to high-altitude clouds. 

“I take about 30 shots at a time,” he told the Aussie paper. “In ten to fifteen minutes, I’ll take 300 to 400 images. Then I connect the camera to the computer. I zoom in and enhance any little thing I note on the images and you get these craft in anywhere from two percent to twenty percent of the shots. 

“Some of them appear to have transparent canopies,” Hartland continued, “and in some shots it looks like there could be occupants inside. I always say ‘could’ rather than ‘is.’ There is always doubt. But UFO stands for ‘unidentified flying object,’ and, as far as I’m concerned, these aren’t identified. It’s possible some are manmade, but I don’t think they all are. There’s no way it is a bird or insect or plane. They look totally different and these craft move much faster.”

Hartland began taking his photos in November 2012 using a new Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100 camera. According to Jackson Flindell, the picture editor of another Aussie paper, “The Sunday Times,” Hartland’s images “did not appear to have been tampered with, but dust on a digital camera’s image sensor could cause anomalies in digital photographs, while powerful magnification could also distort images in some cases.”

Hartland holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and said he had no history of mental illness or drug abuse. He insists that he never alters his photos, though he acknowledged many people would find his claims hard to believe. As is frequently the case with individuals who are able to repeatedly photograph UFOs, Hartland’s initial photos were captured quite accidentally. But a routine eventually developed in which the ships seem to “obligingly” show up as he photographs the clouds around his home. 


At the risk of “repeating” myself, I heartily recommend the newly released “UFO Repeaters: Seeing Is Believing! The Camera Doesn’t Lie!” if only for the sheer fascination the reader will inevitably find in looking at the book’s more than a hundred photos. If one can put aside the essentially irresolvable issues of “authenticity” and still manage to take the photos at face value in the absence of complete endorsement by the so-called scientifically debunking “experts,” the book offers a treasure trove of exciting shots of UFOs that are beautifully reproduced.  

All a photo debunker can say, at best, is that a given photo hasn’t been tampered with and must therefore be labeled as an “unknown.” But the reader may more likely happily make the leap of faith that the various “chosen” photographers have captured genuine images of alien hardware in flight – ships that are playfully posing for their “own” and whose reality is taken for granted as being quite definitely “known.”

And reading the many case histories in the book that involve the aliens befriending some few mortals among us may offer the kind of reassurance that any UFO believer would want: the aliens are not only here, they seem to really like some of us!

         Sean Casteel

Sean Casteel


The Bell Witch – Poltergeist Activity and the UFO Phenomenon

By Sean Casteel

That poltergeist activity often follows in the wake of a UFO encounter is a generally recognized fact and has been documented frequently by researchers of alien abduction and other paranormal investigators. Whatever the source of the energy is that drives a “noisy ghost,” UFO witnesses seem to possess it in abundance. 

There is even a scene in Steven Spielberg’s classic 1977 UFO movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” in which actress Melinda Dillon is laid siege by various household objects moving of their own accord and creating a frightening sense of chaos that precedes the abduction of her young son by the aliens. It is sometimes argued that many kinds of paranormal events – including Near Death Experiences and hauntings – form a kind of supernatural continuum and are all manifestations of the flying saucer occupants operating from various planes outside our everyday reality. 

Objects were seen floating in the air — common at both poltergeist infestations and UFO encounters. 

If such is the case, then it behooves us to study subjects like poltergeist hauntings in the hope

of better understanding how the different aspects of UFOlogy form a cohesive whole. The new release from the publishing house Global Communications called “The Bell Witch Project” does just that when it examines an early 19th century poltergeist haunting that received wide publicity in the U.S. and remains a controversial case to this day. The new book is part of the “Very Strange People” series that also includes a volume on “Mad” Mollie Fancher, a celebrated “fasting girl” who claimed to live for 51 years without ingesting a single morsel of food. 


The uniquely American story of the Bell Witch haunting, in which a ghost took up residence in the home of a Kentucky farming family in 1817, began when

John Bell, the head of the family, was out walking through his cornfield. He sighted a strange, doglike creature in the distance that suddenly

disappeared. Around the same time, Bell’s son and daughter were walking through an orchard when they noticed an old woman walking beside them. When the daughter spoke to the old woman, the old woman simply disappeared. 

These sightings were followed by strange, inexplicable noises in and around the Bell house, such as knocking sounds on doors and windows, wings flapping against the roof and animals fighting and scratching. As the noises became more intense, the family tried desperately to find the source but found nothing. Then bed coverings began slipping off the beds as if being pulled by someone. Sometimes one could hear noises like lips smacking and gulping. The Bell household became a noisy nightmare. 

One night the spirit began to talk, introducing itself with hysterical, mocking laughter. When asked its name, the spirit answered “Kate.” The spirit began to speak incessantly, arguing theology, teasing and tormenting, spreading gossip and singing loudly. She seemed to know intimate details about everyone and took great delight in being able to pester the household at will. 

The poltergeist claimed to have been conjured by the deceased spirit of a woman named Kate Batts, whose invalid husband had been cheated in a slave deal with John Bell. There are historical records to the effect that Bell had been convicted of the crime of usury, or charging excessive interest, in the deal. On her deathbed, Kate Batts swore she would haunt Bell and his descendants. 

The spirit abused John Bell in many ways. She threw furniture and dishes at him, pulled his nose, yanked his hair and poked needles into him. She yelled at night to keep him from sleeping and snatched the food from his mouth at mealtime, all in the effort to vent her anger and hatred. 

No one ever saw Kate/the Bell Witch, but every visitor to the Bell home could hear her all too well. Future president Andrew Jackson, who at the time was a general in the Tennessee militia, once visited the Bell home, curious to see if the widely circulating stories were true. “I’d rather fight the British in New Orleans than have to fight the Bell Witch,” Jackson is alleged to have said after spending the night in the Bell home. 

John Bell died in 1820, weak and exhausted by years of physical abuse from the Bell Witch. At his funeral, attended by hundreds of friends and curiosity seekers, Kate laughed and mocked the family, singing loudly and joyously in her triumph. Kate stayed on the Bell property for another year and then departed. She returned briefly seven years later. The remaining members of the Bell family either died or moved away but, to this day, strange lights and ghostly apparitions have been seen in the area. Some believe that John Bell’s restless ghost still wanders the land he once owned and farmed. 


Medium and UFO observer Shawn Robbins adds to the knowledge of the “Bell Witch” poltergeist by traveling back to the time of the event under the direction of the original “ghost hunter,” Hans Holzer.

“The Bell Witch Project” also offers the perspective of present day psychic Shawn Robbins, a protégé of the late ghost hunter, Hans Holzer. Hans often relied on Shawn’s psychic abilities in order to facilitate contact with spirits from the other side since he possessed few such powers himself. In the book’s opening chapter, Shawn talks about the day Hans invited her over to try to establish a “remote-viewing” link to the Bell Witch house. After Hans put Shawn into a hypnotically-induced, trancelike state, she revealed aspects of the story previously unknown.

“I immediately encountered the ethereal spirit, Kate Batts,” Shawn writes, “who had a distraught and distressed look on her face. She quickly pointed to her belly and said, ‘It is not my child.’

“‘Who then?’ I asked. ‘The slave Wilbur,’ she replied. I asked Kate why this was important. She answered, ‘I was raped.’ At that very moment I knew this was the information that Hans sought and had eluded so many others. In further conversations with the Bell Witch, Kate revealed to me she carried the child for seven months and gave birth to it prematurely. The male child died a few hours later. When her husband saw the baby was not his, he immediately went into shock and accused Kate of having an affair.”

The relationship between Kate Batts and her husband Frederick was never the same afterward. Frederick never forgave what he took to be her adulterous union with a slave, and Kate never forgave herself for never telling Frederick she was raped. 

When Shawn awakened from her trance, Hans wrote down everything she said and later used the material on the Bell Witch in one of his many books. The idea that Kate Batts was raped by a slave adds credibility to the notion of her anger and desire for vengeance and its expression from beyond the grave. 


New England Vampire Panic

           New England Vampire Panic

“The Bell Witch Project” also covers other forms of paranormal strangeness, including legends of vampires and spectral invaders. Noted author and talk show host Paul Eno – www.behindtheparanormal.com  – has collected many a weird tale over the years, including – surprisingly enough – real life vampires in early America. 

“Each of our six New England states has had vampire cases,” Paul writes. “Several of the more striking incidents occurred in eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island in the period between roughly 1770 and 1900. Belief in vampires, in one form or another, has filtered down from the remote past.”

Eno tells the story of the Brown family of Rhode Island. Mary Brown, the mother, died of consumption on December 8, 1883, leaving her husband to care for their one son and several daughters. Six months later, the oldest daughter, 20-year-old Mary, died of the same disease. Edwin, the son, contracted consumption and relocated to Colorado, hoping to recover in a different climate. Declining rapidly, Edwin returned to Rhode Island, only to find that his 19-year-old sister Mercy had the disease and was in even worse shape than he. 

As Edwin battled for his life, Mercy died in January of 1892. Twelve members of the Brown family conferred on what could be done for Edwin, who, given his former strength and health, should not be wasting away. They concluded unanimously that a vampire must be draining the life out of him – a vampire that likely resided in the grave of one of the three deceased family members. 

“So, on a cold March day in 1892,” Eno recounts, “a grim assembly arrived at the Chestnut Hill   Cemetery in Exeter. The remains of Mrs. Brown and Mary, buried for years, proved to be only skeletons. But in Mercy’s grave was a startling find. Not only did the body look in the pink of health, with blood in the heart and arteries, but it had turned over partway in the coffin. The vampire hunters cut the girl’s heart from her body and burned it on a rock that still can be seen not far from the grave.” 

The ashes of the heart were gathered up, to be dissolved in medicine in the hope of curing Edwin. The grotesque remedy did Edwin no good; he died shortly thereafter. 

Paul Eno has another interesting story to tell in “The Bell Witch Project.” In

The Spectre Leaguers

                 The Spectre Leaguers

an apparent invasion by an army of ghosts or demons took place. It started at the home of Ebenezer Babson, who, along with his family, on a nightly basis, heard strange noises outside their home “as if some persons were running hither and thither about the house,” Eno writes. Returning home late one night, Babson saw two figures emerge from his front door. After his family told him no one had been there, Babson grabbed his gun and gave chase. The two figures fled into a swamp and one was heard to say, “The man of the house is now come, else we might have taken the house.”

In the days that followed there were other similar local incidents of phantom figures who were immune to bullets and spoke in an incomprehensible language. More of these specters appeared both by day and night, dressed in white and carrying “bright guns,” though they acted more like hooligans than soldiers. Some believed the Devil was loose in Cape Ann. Whoever the phantoms were, they grew more emboldened every day.

“They threw stones, beat upon barns with clubs, and otherwise acted more in the spirit of diabolical revelry than as actuated by any deadlier purpose,” wrote 17th century historian and witch hunter Cotton Mather. “They moved about the swamps without leaving any tracks like ordinary beings. It was evident that such beings as these were must be fought with other weapons besides matchlocks and broadswords; consequently, a strange fear fell on the Cape.”

The residents of Cape Ann called upon the nearby town of Ipswich for help, and Ipswich sent 60 men to do battle with the “Powers of Darkness.” The demonic hooligans were not impressed and treated the mortal combatants with open contempt. Once it was settled that the “insults” proceeded from specters and not human beings, the incidents ended as suddenly as they began.

Eno offers the theory that the Cape Ann demon invasion had much to do with stirring people up about the paranormal and contributed to the witch hysteria in Salem and Danvers that would begin in earnest that same year.


The monstrous Rolling Heads of Native American lore are almost too horrifying for the movies, though it would be just the sort of thing current CGI technology could do a good job with. There are several different versions of this story, but they all center on man-eating monsters who appear as an undead, disembodied head with long, tangled hair. The heads roll along the ground chasing humans to kill and devour.

Rolling Heads are created when victims of particularly violent murders rise from the dead to seek revenge. In most stories, this takes the form of an angry man who murders his unfaithful wife, although in some versions the victim is killed for witchcraft or violating some taboo. The story is sometimes made more gruesome by the addition of forced cannibalism, such as feeding the flesh of the mother to her unsuspecting children or feeding the wife part of her own meat as she lays dying.

Eventually the series of evil acts leads the Rolling Head to rise from the victim’s grave and take revenge on the killer. It then proceeds to terrorize its own children and/or the neighboring people until someone manages to destroy it. Some say that Rolling Heads can only be killed by drowning, while others say this is accomplished with magical powers or by causing the heads to fall off cliffs or into pits.



                            Sleepy Hollow

Never being one to take the easy path, intrepid adventurer, writer and publisher Timothy Green Beckley shares his accounts of visiting Sleepy Hollow, New York, the home of the Headless Horseman, and Jerome, Arizona, a sleepy former mining town made alive by the continual presence of spectral prospectors and tragically wronged ladies of the evening.

As Beckley pondered the fact that Sleepy Hollow had been overflown by UFOs repeatedly in the famous Hudson Valley flap of the 1980s, his traveling companion, a woman named simply Circe, cracked open their copy of Washington Irving’s famous story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and read: “A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land and to pervade the very atmosphere. Certain it is, the place still continues under the sway of some witching power that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given to all kinds of marvelous beliefs, are subject to trances and visions, and frequently see strange sights and hear voices and music in the air. Stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country.”

That last sentence, about the frequency of stars shooting and meteors glaring, seems to offer a clue that Sleepy Hollow was a UFO hotspot even centuries ago when Irving first wrote about the bewitched New York hamlet. It serves as an excellent example of the paranormal continuum that connects ghosts and UFOs and other mysterious phenomena.

Meanwhile, in the aforementioned Wild West tourist locale, Jerome, Arizona, prostitution was never formally legal but it was tolerated by city lawmakers and essentially flourished. Jerome even had its own Red Light District known as Husband’s Alley.

According to tour guide Ron Roope, “The women of the night often underwent cruel hardships at the hands of their clients. There were beatings, stabbings and strangulation. There was also the specter of alcoholism and opium addiction, to say nothing of disease. Sammie Dean is probably the most famous case of a lady of the night who was murdered under horrendous circumstances.”

The story goes that Sammie was murdered in 1931 by the son of the mayor of Jerome when she refused his offer of marriage as he wined and dined her at an upscale restaurant. The next morning she was found brutally strangled to death. No charges were ever pressed, but the mayor’s son left town shortly after the incident. The spirits of Sammie and other lesser-known “sporting gals” can be seen and heard wandering the streets by the town’s community center, which has been tagged “Spook Hall.”


Publisher, researcher and co-host of the “Unraveling The Secrets” podcast Tim Beckley has long been pushing the connection between the paranormal and UFOs.

“I have discovered that there are many similarities,” Beckley said, “between what happens in a séance room and what happens at a UFO landing site. Objects move, people levitate, mysterious orbs appear to dance around, and sometimes the primary observer will start to channel the occupants of the craft they have seen. There is a certain ‘dark side’ of UFOlogy which encompasses what I call the ‘fear factor.’ Many UFO percipients tend to keep silent about what transpires in the aftermath of their encounter. They feel that seeing a UFO is strange enough, so why add to the ‘believability’ and trauma of the episode in question? Even physical trace investigator Ted Phillips, who was a close associate of the late Dr. J. Allen Hynek, started out believing in the ET Hypothesis for the origin of UFOs but now concedes – mainly because of his research into the ongoing phenomena surrounding Marley Woods – that there is a paranormal aspect to UFOs that serious ‘nuts-and-bolts’ researchers have long overlooked.”


With the foregoing (and many other) bizarre narratives on offer, the profusely illustrated “The Bell Witch Project” is essential reading for those interested in supernatural Americana. From 19th century poltergeist hauntings to New England vampires to man-eating Rolling Heads, stories abound that will surprise and terrify and which most likely have escaped your notice until now. When we think of the hardy pioneers who settled this country, we should also consider the frightening paranormal encounters that came with the territory. Our forebears not only fought Indians and British and French armies but also strange interlopers from the unknown who sometimes came to vent the rage of hell itself on hapless farmers and ordinary folks of all stripes.

         Sean Casteel

           Sean Casteel