Participation Mystique Number 3: Abductions

Participation Mystique: Number Three


Tales of Abduction: Number I

“And they descended upon earth to increase their ranks…..” Borgman

“The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.”

My first encounter with an abductee, though I didn’t know it at the time, was in Beavercreek when I was a small child. I lived in an idyllic 1950s community. It was one in transition from a predominantly German farming township to a suburban commuter neighborhood for Wright Patterson Air Force Base employees, civilian and military. Being close to Wright Patterson our population included many persons interested in space flight, in extraterrestrial phenomena, and in unidentified flying objects. Indeed we had many sightings of UFOs throughout the late 1940s and 1950s and these sightings were not questioned or thought the product of overactive imaginations. Equally unquestioned were   fireflies, the evilness of the Soviets, and the many electrocutions of men attempting to mount TV antennae on their houses. The later was, of course, later shown to be orchestrated by the government in order to thwart citizen attempts to communicate directly with Moscow via ham radios wired to these receivers not so cleverly disguised as innocent attempts to get a better picture.

We had our share of former Nazi German rocket scientists living in ranch style houses on cozy rural routes almost as innocent seeming as ours. And we had the pleasure of seeing experimental aircraft hovering over we tots in our school yards as we hefted ourselves around on oversized monkey bars and dropped knives from our nose tips in desperate games of mumbly-peg.

On one side of my house, and behind as well, were immigrants from Kentucky who crossed the river with hope on their backs and no jobs or money. They spoke with accents so thick we could hardly understand them and, with help of jokes learned from Grand Old Opry broadcasts, we made fun of them regularly. Over dinners of fried chicken. Over dinners of liver and onions. In the family room and along our tiled hallways. Their women children gave themselves home permanents and smelled always of some chemical and their boy children swung cats over their heads in grand circles, fists closed tightly around the tails, then released them flying into weed patches. In this way, we were told,  the Kentucky boys studied gravity and centrifugal force and the truth of the saying that cats have many lives.

My father’s accent was Southeastern Ohio with a bit of West Virginia and not nearly so thick. He had a job. We were superior beings.

Beyond those Kentucky houses and the high grass fields of butterflies and Queen Anne’s lace were the cornfields and the domain of Mrs. Miller’s Guernseys. They were a flaccid bunch that was easily called to the fence line when I mewled my imitation of a distressed calf. The field corn grew high throughout my small child summers and crisped itself golden in the fall. Our fir trees and floribundas ringed our small lot and sugar maples dotted the “front lawn” and grew healthy and stronger each year. It was a good patch and lovely life though hummed over each night by Strategic Air Command B-52 bombers.

Across the street to the right and beyond our mailboxes (In which arrived all wonders from the outside world: Do you think you can draw? Captain Video rings, Red Rider scarves) lived June Heinrich. She became a medical celebrity. But hers was no medical event.

One day my mother, still in her work clothes and looking very much like a nurse, made an announcement. She was seated with us all at her highly polished maple dining table and reaching for a second slice of the lemon meringue pie I had made that afternoon. She said, with little emotion, that June had been taken to hospital. She had “suffered a stroke,” mother said, as she licked some meringue from her upper lip. Between subsequent bites she said that June was not expected to survive and that she, mother, had been home for lunch when it happened. She’d seen the ambulance arrive and the stretcher load June into it. Mother rode a Honda scooter to work and because her place of work, a pediatrician’s office, was only about a mile away, she often took a midday meal in her own kitchen. There were, after all, no fast food takeaways in those days.

We children were not accustomed to a lot of death and illness, living as we were so far from our own aging relatives. We didn’t have much to say and didn’t know what to think. I know I, at least, did not want to have to see the presumably mourning dog and husband or try to think what to do in their presence.

The fat dog, some kind of over-indulged Cocker Spaniel mix, and jolly beer drinking and otherwise hedonistic spouse were in fact at loose ends in their neat little house down the neat little lane through neat little gardens that surrounded them. They ate TV dinners, and ambled silently together down that neat little lane to collect milk from the box or to see if there were mail. His name, the spouse’s, was Connie. No doubt, I came to believe, short for the more Germanic Conrad. That was surely his given name. Connie even had a decidedly German accent that I thought nothing of at the time.

Months passed as June with her Mamie Eisenhower bangs, now shorn and shaved, lay in some Dayton Hospital, or so we were all told. She could not be visited, we were told. I was delighted with this news. Surgeons, we were told, had somehow split her brain in twain. It was a miracle, doctors reported. She lived. And within the year, she was returned to dog and spouse.

She never spoke a noun again. Of course not. These had all been drained from her, sucked from her, extracted, and recorded by, and for the edification of, her abductors.

The story untold at the time was that June had been found in the forest behind her house. Connie and the dog had traced her there after an absence of at least eight hours. The dog, otherwise unaware that she was not in the house, missed its dinner. Connie himself, reclined in his chair, beer in hand, and reading the Dayton Daily News, began to wonder about his sauerbraten. It had been cooking in a low oven all day and was surely ready to be served.

The two, man and beast,  lumbered to the garden thinking she’d gone off to pick some vegetables. She was not there but they did smell an unusual burnt odor coming from beyond. It was the smell of charred grasses. They followed the smell and the trampled pathway that led to the woods back beyond the field. June’s steps were easy to follow. There were the crushed weeds but also snagged bits of threads from her garments. The dog was wary and nervous. It urinated incessantly and once even vomited.

The woods was a large one, never cut. It was an eastern hardwood forest composed of beeches, maples, oaks and hickory. We neighborhood children had worn paths throughout the forest floor and made lookouts in snags. We had made rings of logs and stones and fire pits around which we told stories. Thus dog and man followed these paths and the clear, blackened, still smoking footprints laid down by June, their mistress.

She had been set down gently it would seem in a rock ring near the center of the forest. Connie dare not move her, so dog stood watch, licking at her face and cheeks, while Connie ran for help. She lived, but barely.

What happened next? Connie apparently called a prearranged contact at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

When a voice answer, Connie said simply, “She’s down.”

The contact knew what this meant and sent a team disguised as Sloan Kettering Hospital orderlies and doctors to Hanes Road.

What Doris Patterson saw, as did any curious Kentuckians peering from their picture windows, was an ambulance. Not a daily happening in the rural community. But not so out of the ordinary.

All they were told, when they asked Connie, was that June had had a stroke.

Casseroles arrived. Pots of soup. Pies. Banana bread. Connie was taken care of by the women of the community who understood that a man would starve to death without a woman in the house.

And then the many reports and postings to “reputable” medical journals. June Heinrich, medical miracle.

She came home minus her nouns and with no recollection of the hours she’d been on board an alien spaceship operating with the full knowledge and cooperation of the United States Air Force. Connie, who was of course one of the German rocket scientists brought to Wright Patterson after World War II had cooperated with the abduction and with the cover up. He had cultivated June’s verbal skills over the years, buying her dictionaries and challenging her to crossword puzzles and games of Scrabble. He had prepped her and managed her as surely as if she were a white rat in a lab.

My mother, who slowly pieced together the story during long conversations with June in following years, secured her notes deep in the velvet lining of her Doctor Zhivago jewelry box. The conversations were, of course, long because June had no nouns. But after many cups of Lipton tea and many plates of tongue loosening rum balls, mother got the story.

Mother’s notes are not easy to decipher:

“…..took (meaningful look)….flew….sucked (grimace)….tossed…green….pinhead….”

It all made sense.

About Llyn De Danaan

LLyn De Danaan is an anthropologist and author. She writes fiction and nonfiction. Katie Gale: A Coast Salish Woman's Life on Oyster Bay was published by the University of Nebraska Press. She is currently a speaker for Humanities Washington.
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