11-minute reading time
B.J Booth. (2008). The Fayetteville, North Carolina Encounter, January 8, 2007. UFO Casebook.
[This article has been edited.]
On January 8, 2007, this baffling case in began in Fayetteville North Carolina, on the banks of Cape fear River.
The main witness in this case was Chris Bledsoe Sr. Bledsoe, a successful builder and commercial pilot, was well-liked and respected in his community. On the day of the strange events, he was fishing with four other men: Donnie Ackerman, Gene Robinson, David McDonald and Chris Bledsoe Jr… Ackerman, Robinson and McDonald worked for Bledsoe as framing subcontractors, and had just finished a large beach home and gotten paid the day of the encounter.
They invited Chris Sr. and Jr. to go fishing with them… They all rode to the fishing spot in Bledsoe’s four-door pickup truck because it was a four-wheel drive and could maneuver in the muddy banks of the river.
Bledsoe took a walk away from the fishing spot and spotted three UFOs. When he returned, he pointed out the objects to the other three men. They were frightened by the UFOs and quickly left the river, seeing the objects again as they left. After Bledsoe arrived home and went out into his nearby woods to find out why his dogs were barking.
Summary of credibility considerations
Because Bledsoe failed an initial polygraph test (discussed below), there is some uncertainty about this case. However, it the Bledsoe encounters is deemed a hoax, several important questions must be answered.
- Why did Bledsoe make up his story? Did you want to gain notoriety? Being a humble, low-key individual, the answer would be “No.” Did he think he could make money from a story? Possibly, but it appeared that he was well set financially.
- And if we assume his testimony was false, what about the testimony of a son? It could be possible that Bledsoe Junior made up the story so that his father would not seem to be a prankster.
- But if this is true, what about Bledsoe’s three fishing buddies – Ackerman, Robinson and McDonald? Could they have been part of the conspiracy? Possibly, but “Why?” They made no money from the testimony, unless Bledsoe paid them and if so, “Why?” The fact that the MUFON team had trouble finding them would seem to make a conspiracy highly doubtful. If they were involved in a hoax, they would been readily available to give testimony.
- If all five men involved made up this fantastic story, what about the regressive hypnosis? Although the process is considered less accurate by some researchers, is it possible that a person could fake his way through it? Could Dr. O’Connell, a veteran of some 250 such regressions, be fooled that easily?
- If the story is alive, how did Bledsoe get through the psychological testing? Can one fake their way through these tests also?
The heavens looked like the stars were moving around and the three of them came down over our heads and just landed on the other side of the river.
As the four men were fishing, Bledsoe decided to walk about 75 yards to the tree line. While he stood looking into the sky, he was surprised to see in the distance two orange lights. As he wondered at the two lights, soon the third zoomed into place on the left of the other two, in the “blink of an eye.”
Bledsoe would later remark that the objects had rapidly flown to their original position and then stopped dead, as if they had met a cushion of air. Excited and apprehensive about what he had seen, he hurried back to the riverbank to tell us three fishing partners.
3-4 hours seems like “20 minutes”
He thought, at the time, that he been gone about 20 minutes. This assumption would later be found to be faulty.
When Bledsoe pointed out the three orange lights to the other three, they turned their attention to the sky. As they watched the lights, they felt that they were “being invaded.” They saw all three objects slowly descend to the ground, appearing to land approximately 100 – 150 yards on the opposite side of the river. At least two of the men had seen flares before and stated that there was no way that the objects were flares. They watched the lights hover in virtually one place for up to 10 minutes.
They were mesmerized and frightened by what they saw. The scared men drop their fishing gear, ran to their truck and sped away. Several of the fishermen saw the lights again as they left the river.
A significant difference in the initial testimony given by the four men was the amount of time that it took Bledsoe to walk down the road and return to the fishing spot on the banks of Cape Fear. Bledsoe left when it was still light, but when he returned, it was totally dark. After Bledsoe had been gone long enough that the other three became worried about him, two of them jumped in their pickup truck and drove down the road where Bledsoe had walked, but found no sign of him. When he finally reappeared, they estimated that he had been gone three or four hours.
Creature in the Woods
Bledsoe told me that when he had been gone for a time, Junior went to look for him. Bledsoe Senior describe the events in his own words:
He walked from the fishing spot looking for me. I wanted to find him. I walked about 75 yards south to the tree line. I was calling for him and there was no answer. When I stepped into the woods about ten feet calling him, he stood up from under some low bushes he had been hiding in. He grabbed me crying. A 17-year-old, 6 foot three tall, big boy. He asked me: “Dad, where you been?” He continued, “I been hiding here for a long time. There were two creatures walking around looking for me. I could not move when they looked at me. I was so scared. They were picking up bottles and other trash on the ground all the time staying within 20 feet of me, watching me.”
What was told on tape to MUFON was that two of the other guys reported seeing the same creature, but they only saw the red eyes walking within the wood line in the direction my son went.
When the five of us left in my truck, two of the guys in the backseat saw something. They reported to MUFON that as we were speeding away from the river, they saw a glowing creature running on all fours, chasing the truck.
Still unsettled by what he had seen, Bledsoe arrived home. After time, he heard his dogs barking in the backyard, obviously upset by something.
“My dogs went nuts!” Bledsoe remarked.
One of his dogs, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, sped into the forest with the others following. Bledsoe was right on their trail.
After tramping through the woods in search of his dogs for a time, he came upon a sight that was beyond belief. Right before him stood a creature!
Bledsoe was frozen in his tracks. The being appeared to be the size of a child and was only 3-4 feet from him.
Bledsoe stated that, had he leaned over, he could have touched it with his hand. The being was only about three feet tall as indicated from his description, and its appearance was “like you have been dipped in glass.” The being had red eyes.
As he stared at the being, Bledsoe felt a sense of “Here I am, if you want me.” He told MUFON investigators that the being was like “a child, a little person.” In a moment, the other dogs arrived on the scene and the being was nowhere to be seen. Bledsoe said that his Chesapeake’s hair stood up for the back of his neck to the rear end.
The MUFON investigators (international director James Carrion, along with Rich Lang, Steve McGee, Norman Gagnon on and Tim McHush) were very impressed with Bledsoe’s account of what he had seen that night. They felt that he was being honest with them, even though his story seemed bizarre. Wanting to corroborate his story, they next turned to his son, Chris Bledsoe Jr.
Junior stated that while he was in the backyard of the Bledsoe house, he saw “two red orbs” floating through the woods. He claimed that he saw a number of small beings emerge from the woods near the house.
There was a concern by investigators of stew how much of what Junior said was true, and that his devotion to his father had caused him to create a story to validate Senior’s story. MUFON would now find Ackerman, Robinson and McDonald, and take their testimony.
The Three Fisherman
The three fishermen related their stories to investigators, indicating that Bledsoe Sr. had indeed left them, walking down the road for short distance, had been gone three or four hours and returned, excitingly pointing out the three orange objects in the sky. They indicated that two of them had driven down the same road Sr. had walked down, saw him nowhere, and returned to their fishing spot.
They each described their sighting of the lights in a very similar fashion, and ruled out the possibility that the objects could have been any kind of conventional object, including flares. They also described their sighting of the strange, oblong shaped object. They all indicated that at the time of the sighting, there was a total silence in the area.
The MUFON team was very impressed with Bledsoe Sr. and the fishing companions’ testimony, and felt that the next step in their pursuit of the truth should be to have Bledsoe Sr. undergo regressive hypnosis, which often times can unlock hidden memories. The session took place on July 14, 2008. The regression was led by Dr. Michael O’Connell, a Harvard graduate and veteran of some 250 regressions. MUFON take the session.
Bledsoe’s Psychological Condition
It is important to note that during his visits with MUFON, Bledsoe Sr. had, on a number of occasions, admitted that he had trouble believing what he had seen himself. Facts that he could not recall had caused him confusion and extremely bad headaches. He attempted to remember more of his encounter, but was unable to accomplish this by himself. This may have had an effect on the subsequent polygraph examination. He wanted to unlock these lost memories, and was a willing participant of any and all techniques that might be beneficial to this end.
At one point during the program, Bledsoe’s wife of many years and the mother of their four children, Yvonne, discussed what the ordeal had done to their family life. Family members had rejected Bledsoe’s story initially, thinking it too fantastic to be true. For this very reason, Bledsoe did not reveal details of his encounter to others for quite some time, fearing ridicule. But, in time, he felt that unless he recovered the missing elements of the event, he would lose his mind.
A great strain had been put on the Bledsoe marriage, but his wife was sure that they would come through it as a family, and that the years they’d been together would not be lost.
The Regressive Hypnosis
During the regression, Bledsoe uncovered a number of pertinent and important facts.
When asked why he was chosen by the aliens, he stated that they were his “guardian angels,” and came to him when he was sad. The small alien being seen by Bledsoe and his son were children of the taller beings. Bledsoe added that the children were playing in the woods.
He also revealed that the aliens had been in his house. During his ordeal, he kept telling his captors he wanted only to go home. MUFON investigators were very pleased with the results of the regression and felt that they were involved in a case for the ages. Before accepting the case as 100% authentic, however, they wanted to make sure that Bledsoe did not have any psychological problems. To this end, they employed the services of Debbie Gioia, a psychiatric social worker.
After interviewing Bledsoe and administering a number of psychological tests, Gioia was convinced that Bledsoe was sound of mind and had no psychological problems that would have caused him to make up his story or perpetuate a hoax. The MUFON team was relieved, although they were already convinced that Bledsoe was telling them the truth. Gioia’s findings only confirmed their beliefs.
The Failed Polygraph Examination
Could this case become a classic alien encounter and abduction? All of the evidence at this point indicated “yes.” However, there was one more hurdle for Bledsoe Sr. to jump over: the polygraph examination. This should be a no-brainer, but to complete the puzzle, Bledsoe was given the polygraph by retired FBI analyst Bob Drdak.
The questions that were asked were simple ones, all relating to parts of the case already covered. The MUFON team was very confident that Bledsoe would come through the test with flying colors. This was not to be.
According to Drdak, Bledsoe showed deception on some of his answers.
In doing research on polygraphs and their operators, I came across some very interesting details the might shed some light on the use and credibility of the tests.
Because it is considered a controversial procedure, polygraph test results cannot be used in court cases unless both parties agree to its admission. There are many different views concerning polygraph results, both pro and con. There have even been cases where a failed lie detector test led to the conviction and imprisonment of a murder suspect, only to have the suspect subsequently found to be innocent and released. It is mainly the use of the polygraph to convict innocent individuals that cause many people to put little, if any, trust in the polygraph examination.
The MUFON team was certainly concerned with the results of Bledsoe’s results. They decided to go to him and tell him point blank that the test implied the was being deceptive on some of his answers. Bledsoe took the assertions calmly and stated that regardless of what the machine said, he had told the investigators the truth. Bledsoe’s earlier concerns about believing his own eyes could have caused him undo nervousness during the test, and account for his failures.
I discussed this very problem with a well-read UFO Casebook reader. I would like to include his thoughts on the failed polygraph:
I found the hypnosis versus polygraph results puzzling also. But I am struck by how often I have read about “family” sightings where there is a reluctance to acknowledge what happened that seems to go beyond embarrassment or fear of ridicule, into an induced “wall” of anxiety and pain preventing the subject from being discussed.
I recall reading about children who grow up and suddenly remember an event that involved the whole family, and while their parents tacitly confirm it, they refuse adamantly to discuss it, almost as if they feel severe emotional distress when they attempt to.
Surely this suggests that sometimes human witnesses (or better- victims?) are psychologically manipulated by UFOs to inhibit them from recounting the incident, at least in a credible, coherent fashion. And couldn’t that inhibition conceivably manifest itself as an untruthfulness to a polygraph operator who is looking to make a simple truth/lie call?
I recall the Fayetteville witness saying on several occasions that he sometimes doubted the truth of what he was saying himself. He seemed deeply conflicted. It would be easy to assume that this was because he had fabricated the whole thing, but then how to explain the other three witnesses?
— Ray Van Dune
In 1975, one of the most celebrated UFO abduction cases took place. It became the subject of the movie, “Fire in the Sky,” with Dr. D. B. Sweeney portraying the role of Travis Walton. Walton tells us that when he was subjected to his polygraph, he failed. Yet, since that time, Walton has passed many other polygraphs. It was assumed that Walton’s test was given too soon, when he was still unsure of what happened and was still coming to terms with his abduction. This could also be the case for Bledsoe.