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Entry into the Spaceship
IT WAS APPARENT to me that a genuine CE4 had taken place; there were the dreams reported by John and Frances, and there was a loss of fifty-five minutes of time unaccounted for. There were Natasha's early dreams; her interview had of course not yet taken place - I have brought it in early in the book because it is non-hypnotic, and because it provides a good introduction - but there was already enough from Natasha to support the feeling we were all beginning to have, that the family had actually spent nearly an hour inside a flying saucer.
At this stage, however, John and Frances were still inclined not to attach much weight to the evidence from dreams; and Gloria was getting no recall at all of the spaceship interior. Throughout, Gloria's amnesia has been severe and persistent.
I therefore proposed to the adult witnesses that I should seek the advice and help of an experienced hypnotist. Fortunately, a very good one was available in Gloucester, conveniently near at hand - Geoffrey M'Cartney, who has a busy practice as hypnotherapist and consultant hypnotist. Geoff is a man of great experience and much professional skill; the investigation owes a great deal to his cooperation. He has worked extremely hard over the hypnotic sessions; people do not always realise that the strain on the hypnotist is much heavier than that on the patient; and some of our sessions were very long, sometimes as much as two and a quarter hours, needing stamina as well as unfailing patience.
At the same time, I must make it clear that we used regressive hypnosis, not as the sole channel of operation, but primarily as a means of breaking the amnesia, of starting the flow of memory, which, once begun in the hypnotist's consulting room, continued and developed in normal recall. It was our practice to follow up each hypnotic session, two or three evenings later, by a normal question-and-answer session without hypnosis; these 'recap' sessions, stimulated by the foregoing hypnotic session, were extremely fruitful; and in case any reader is impatient to tell me that it could all have come out of the mind of the hypnotist, I should point out that many of the most important pieces of information were obtained in normal recall, on occasions when the hypnotist was not present. Nevertheless, the use of regressive hypnosis was necessary to the investigation: perhaps, if we had had unlimited time and patience, we might possibly have managed without; but it was at the very least a great time-saver in turning on the taps of memory; and the use of regressive technique did a lot more than that: it enabled the witness to re-experience the adventure, taking each stage at leisure, so that, with skilled questioning, he or she was able to go back into time and have a second (or third, or fourth) look at each situation and describe it in detail, for the benefit of the investigator and his tape-recorder.
In giving the results of the witnesses' recall, whether under hypnosis or normally, I must necessarily condense a great deal, and present the reader with a consecutive narrative, as I have done, for example, in the prologue of this book; but I wish it to be understood by the reader that every word of this narrative is derived from statements made by witnesses, or is a clearly indicated necessary consequence of such statements. Whenever possible, I have quoted directly - through the full recall of John or Frances - from statements made by officers and technical personnel of the spaceship, speaking English. Verbatim quotations from spaceship people such as Anouxia, Uxiaulia and Serkilias are printed in italics; this device has been used only where we are sure that these were the actual words used, and not a paraphrase.
To give a full transcript throughout the investigation, covering more than seventy hours of recorded interview, would occupy several heavy volumes, and be very tedious for the reader. I will, nevertheless, continue to give enough selected and condensed transcript to let the witnesses speak for themselves, and allow the reader some insight into their personalities. The transcript material I use in this book has all been checked, and where necessary amended, by the witness concerned; Natasha's transcript material in the previous chapter was checked by her parents.
The distillation of readable narrative from a mass of recording tape, bringing together information on a given incident or topic from material often gathered from different sources and on different occasions, has presented me with a formidable task; in the later part of the book, I shall do my best to say what I think it all means, and how the story of the Janos people relates to and impinges upon our own terrestrial story. Nor must we shirk drawing moral and ethical conclusions from what we are able to learn about the Janos story: conclusions which will sometimes be uncomfortable.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the story, for the investigator-narrator, has been the entry into the spaceship of our family of five. No doubt because it was the first part of their adventure really to hit them as something totally outside their experience, all the witnesses show some confusion over the entry episode, and had difficulty in recalling it. Frances, in addition, has a clear but cryptic piece of recall which comes in sequence, in the right place to be an entry recall, but which stands on its own: we cannot see how it fits in, or relate it to any other incident.
She remembers that she was standing upright, her body being moved or carried by an external force. Her movement was complicated: she likened it to standing on an ascending escalator in a London tube station (subway to American readers) but with her body turned left so that she faced the left-hand wall, where in London a series of advertisements are generally displayed. She was aware, in a confused sort of way, of a series of visual patterns moving past her vision, down to the left; but too quickly to recall any detail. At the same time, the 'escalator' which carried her was not straight as in a subway station: she moved, right shoulder forward, along a spiral path - as if, she said, an escalator were also a spiral staircase. The 'picture' wall was the outer face of the spiral; her back was to the unseen centre. The whole movement was quick and confusing: she sensed that she made several turns of a fairly tight spiral; then the recall abruptly cut out, leaving her with nothing to relate it to. None of the other witnesses have any recollection, which in the least resembles it. We have no reason to relate it to the entry into the spaceship, except that, in hypnotic regression, it comes in the right place.
Frances does have, now, a fairly circumstantial recall of the entry sequence, which is in broad agreement with John's and Natasha's. In relating it here, I am combining information from all three.
As soon as John stopped the car the second time, it was surrounded by a white fog or mist. It seems likely that this was a genuine mist of water droplets - it certainly looked and behaved like one, eddying about with the slight air movements - but created by the spaceship immediately overhead, no doubt to obscure the scene from chance observers.
The spaceship was now low down overhead; we do not know if it was actually standing on its tripod undercarriage, straddling the road, or whether it was hovering stationary; either way the centre of the bowl-shaped hull was perhaps fifty feet above the roadway.
Although the Janos people regard these 'flying saucers' (as we call them) as 'small' ships, they are of considerable size; we finally estimated this one to have an overall diameter of about three hundred and fifty feet, the more deeply curved centre portion of the underside being perhaps two hundred feet across. It carried a crew of fifty-odd.
If its tripod straddled the roadway, the very size of the spaceship would make it unrecognisable as such by a passing motorist; it would look like a motorway bridge in a patch of mist, to anyone who did not know the details of the road well. Natasha did actually see (in a screen fed by a downward-viewing camera) two cars go by, soon after they entered the spaceship; so far from their drivers being frightened by the UFO, as she supposed, I think it likely that they did not see it, or registered it merely as a bridge in a patch of mist.(the pleiadian contacts in switzerland and south-america in the 70ths - had the equipment to make the ship invisible outside - by a magnetic screen, and they could also open the screen in any direction if they wanted. Read more on this in UFOCONTACTS FROM THE PLEIADES of w.stevens. R.Ø.rem.)
the ships in the Bogota-contact from 1973 was about of the size of this Janosship??
John got out of the car, leaving the headlights on 'dip' and the engine running. As he did so, several shadowy human figures appeared out of the mist, surrounding the car. They wore silver suits which gleamed where they caught the light from the car. Only the upper half of their bodies could be seen; no doubt the mist was settling more thickly on the roadway.
John stepped out into the road; he remembers some of the figures coming towards him and then passing him by, as they closed in on the car. (Later, he was able to remember the scene more clearly, and said there were seven of them altogether.)
Meanwhile, Frances had scrambled out across the driving seat, and joined John in the roadway. Seeing one of the silver figures approaching the rear right-hand passenger door she went to intervene, thinking the children might be frightened; but the silver-clad person reached in through the open driver's door, released the safety catch on the rear door, and opened it; the person, with Frances assisting, then helped Gloria to bring the children out. Neither John nor Frances experienced any apprehension; and the children were too sleepy to be worried. Gloria cannot remember this incident.
The five now stood in the roadway, beside the car, which was parked close in by a grassy bank. They could see the dull black bowl-shaped underside of the ship overhead, quite clearly; but only the centre part: the outer edges were lost in the mist. They did not see a tripod undercarriage; but if it was down, the mist would probably have obscured it, and the whole area was darkened by the ship's shadow. From where they stood, no lights could be seen on the hull - neither the original white and red navigation lights, nor the ring of coloured 'Christmas tree' lights.
Suddenly a bright, but not dazzling, white beam shone down from a point in the middle of the hull overhead. It made a bright circular patch on the roadway in front of them, about five feet in diameter. Soon the beam was adjusted, moving back towards them until they all stood within the beam. As this happened, Frances felt a lifting sensation, as if her body were trying to float up.
A few seconds later, they all started to float up off the ground, quite slowly, standing upright in a normal position, up towards the ship's hull overhead. It seemed quite a long way up. There was nothing under their feet; they are sure of this. (The details of this ascent do not quite tally with John's 'dream' account, in which he thought more of a sloping way, like an escalator, up a yellow beam. It may be that John, in his 'dream', was confusing separate parts of his actual experience; I have no doubt that the version of the ascent given above is the correct one.)
Just under the hull, they came to rest; Natasha says that they stood on a metal ledge, which felt 'wobbly'. The others remember waiting, but are not clear about the ledge or platform. I think it likely that this platform, on which they stood waiting for a door to open - this thought was clear in all their minds - was actually within the airlock, which they had already entered through the open outer hatchway; looking down, they would still see the roadway and the car, quite clearly. Natasha reports (though the others did not notice this) that she saw one of the silver-clad figures reach in through the open driver's door, and switch off the ignition and the lights. (Note the evidences of familiarity with normal car design; even the safety catch on the rear door was familiar.)
Presently, they saw the inner hatch doors sliding apart, over their heads; these are a pair of heavy metal rectangular shutters, placed horizontally, which slide apart leaving a big rectangular opening, about fifteen by twelve feet. The opening movement was smooth and fairly rapid.
Soon they found themselves floating up once more, through the inner hatchway; somehow they were moved forward, so that their feet rested on the solid deck. Frances noticed, out of the corner of her eye, the hatch doors closing quickly behind them.
They found themselves in the centre of a vast circular room; John, who is experienced with interior measurements, later estimated its overall diameter at 150 feet; from various other considerations, taken together, this cannot be far out. John at first thought of it as like an aircraft hangar, or a large indoor multi-storey car park - the latter analogy was suggested by the many cylindrical columns or pillars which rose from floor to ceiling.
The floor was mainly horizontal; but towards the outer perimeter, it curved gently up into a bowl-form, evidently to follow the curve of the outer hull. Indeed, this big circular room, which we came to call the 'engine room', must have occupied nearly all of the lower part of the spaceship hull, that part which is externally expressed as a bowl shape. There must, of course, have been a space between the flat deck and the outer hull, except peripherally; and later, John was taken down into this lower deck, the central part of which is occupied by the airlock. John's tour of the engine-room complex was so detailed that I will give it a chapter to itself.
In front of them, some distance away, was a balcony with a handrail, not right back against the outer wall, but corresponding to the circle where the floor began to curve up - the relations will be better understood by a study of the various diagrams of the engine room.
A sloping ramp, also with a handrail, led up to the balcony; the ramp and balcony formed an arc of a circle concentric with the outer wall, but smaller. There was a similar balcony and ramp diametrically opposite. Behind the balcony, there was a wall from floor to ceiling; there were doorways in it, both on the balcony level and at the main deck level. Thus at two sections of its circumference, they were unable to see all the way through to the curving floor and the outer wall. They did not, of course, take in all these details at once; but John's later conducted tour was most thorough, and they all returned to the engine room at the end of the visit.
A silver-clad figure met them at the entrance hatchway, and accompanied them to the foot of the ramp; it seemed "quite a distance". Arrived at the ramp, the figure indicated that they should step on to it; as they did so, the ramp surface began to move forward, so that they did not need to walk (we have such moving ramps, for example in airports; the only refinement here was the automatic start when a person stepped on).
On the balcony, waiting to receive them, were three or four other silver-suited men. Frances says their manner was exactly that of a host welcoming invited guests to his home. One of them made a short speech of welcome, in good clear English without any trace of foreign accent, though the phrasing is not quite idiomatic:
"Welcome to our ship. Please, you must not be afraid at all. We mean you no harm whatsoever. We are going to examine you first of all, to see if you are the same as us. Then we will answer any questions that you want to ask us; and we will show you over our ship; and when that is finished, we will replace you back in your car, exactly as if you had never stopped."
AFTER THIS, THE adults were taken to separate rooms, the children going with their mother.
Frances found herself in a circular room; later she corrected this, saying it was more egg-shaped, with the narrow end of the egg in front of her. As in her dream, there was the black-upholstered 'dentist's chair' in the middle; banks of instruments lined the walls. Someone told her to sit down; so she sat on the 'dentist's chair'. She was not afraid; a voice in her mind told her that they would not hurt her: but she was worried because she did not know where John was.
Frances felt herself pressed down into the chair; she says that she was not held by anything, but it felt as if a heavy man were sitting on top of her; or, as she said later, more exactly as if her own weight had doubled. In the same way, her head was pressed back into the upholstered headrest. (In other contexts, we have learnt that the flying saucer people have complete control over gravitation; normally they use this control to obtain a lifting or hovering action, or a controlled ascent or descent: but presumably it could also be used to increase weight, doubtless in this case with the object of holding the 'patient' firmly in the examination chair, so that the body did not move about while readings were being taken; Frances felt at one point that she was told to sit still.)
At first, she was dazzled by an intense white light which filled the room, so that she could not see properly. It was, she said, like a car coming straight towards you at night when the headlamps are on high beam. It made her eyes water; she actually wept tears because of the brightness.
Then, abruptly, the light went out, leaving the room in semi-darkness; now, as soon as her vision adjusted to the gloom, she could see much better. The instrument panels carried many little domes, which kept flashing with light - red, green and white, in an irregular way; there seemed to be no pattern to it. It was these flashing lights which provided all the illumination there was.
Frances began to panic; not on her own account, but because she did not know where John was. The first time we took her through this sequence under hypnotic regression, she was clearly distressed: "I can't find John" she kept saying, over and over again. At this stage her amnesia was only just beginning to break down, and her memory was patchy and confused; later it became very clear. I think, on that first occasion, she confused the momentary panic in the examination room with an earlier moment of anxiety, while she was still in the car, and John got out and she lost sight of him briefly in the mist, while shadowy figures came around her.
As soon as she began to panic in the 'dentist's chair', a voice said in her mind: "You must be calm"; and a white glowing disc, with two blue lights in it, in the place of eyes if it had been a face, appeared right in front of her; it may have been a hologram, but from what happened to John it is more likely to have been a picture on a small screen which was swung down in front of her eyes.
Curiously, this apparition had a calming and reassuring effect on her mind, as no doubt was the intention. Under hypnosis, she first said it was a face; then, seeing it more clearly, she described it as above. No doubt it was a psychological symbol; possibly it suggested a mother's face as seen by a baby. Anyway, it worked: she calmed down, and the symbol vanished. A voice in her mind told her that John was in the next room, and that they would all be together again soon. The feeling of relief was very strong in her mind.
She now realised that there were two men in the room, fairly tall and of slim build, in the usual silver suits. At first they appeared not to take any notice of Frances, and kept their backs to her; in fact they were attending to the multiple banks of instruments, reading data and recording it on small handheld tablets with buttons - very like a pocket calculator but slightly larger; the finger action was essentially that of a person pressing buttons on a calculator.
Frances had a very definite feeling (perhaps someone said it to her) that it was the chair itself that was examining her; and that the technicians were merely recording "what the chair told them" through the instruments. She was also told, in some way that reached her mind as an idea, that the data were concerned with facts about her body - pulse, breathing and so on.
The Janos people seem greatly concerned about the physiological similarity between themselves and the terrestrial human race. The way I read it, in the light of what we now know about their Earth origin and their intention to return to Earth, they are anxious to know whether, in the many thousands of years since they left the Earth, their own physiology and ours have remained sufficiently alike for them to be able to live with us, on this planet. John was told: "We wish to examine you, to see if we can adapt".
Later, Frances was told that medically, they could find very little difference between them and us: only the pulse rate was a little higher in the Janos people in the ships; but they expected that, if they came to live on the Earth, this would adjust itself automatically, without their having to take any special measures to correct it. (This is reported speech; but like other reported quotations - as distinct from the italicised direct quotations - elsewhere in the book, it is close to the sense of the original.)
It seemed rather extraordinary that the spaceships should be fitted out with several medical rooms, each with its own technical staff, for the sole purpose - as we originally supposed - of conducting examinations of sample Earth people to check up on physiological similarity; it has since seemed to me more likely that these are the regular medical rooms provided for the welfare of the crew; and that the 'dentist's chair' and its associated instrumentation are able to carry out not only diagnosis but treatment as well. It is clear that the medical knowledge of the Janos people is extremely advanced, especially in the field of mental science; and this consideration alone should make us anxious to secure their help and teaching, in return for a place to live.
I asked Frances to tell me more about the coloured lights. She said they were little domes; the red ones were larger than the green and the white ones, about three inches in diameter and hemispherical in shape. The red colour was like that of the rear lights of a car; the green was a really bright lime green. The white and green domes were about one and three quarter inches in diameter. The lights would go on for a couple of seconds or so, then go out; a number of them would be on at the same time - perhaps two or three red ones at the same time, and a number of green and white ones. The lights were arranged in vertical rows; and there were no lights near the floor or near the ceiling; the instrument panels - there seemed to be a series of upright panels set close together, all around the walls - extended from about two feet to about six feet above the floor.
Frances says that at one point, one of the men pulled a long lever which was fixed close to the wall, pivoting from a point only a little above the floor. The lever was about three feet in length. The man gripped the lever at the top and pulled it forward until it made an angle of about 45 degrees from its original vertical position. At the top of the lever, there was a sprung hand-grip device, like the brake handle in a vintage car. Frances herself compared it to the long levers in an old-fashioned railway signal box, which she had once seen in a film.
She distinctly saw the man's hand grip and squeeze the handle at the top of the lever, before he was able to move it; she demonstrated the action to me. From the way Frances described the man bending his back and flexing his knees to move the lever (again she demonstrated the action), it seems that pulling the lever down called for considerable muscular effort. They operated the lever only once while Frances was there. It seems surprising that an electronic technology such as that of the Janos people should find it necessary to make use of a heavy mechanical lever of this size; with few exceptions, Janos seems to be characteristically a push-button technology. No doubt there was a reason for this exception.
At one stage, while Frances was on it, the 'dentist's chair' changed its form into a horizontal couch, so that Frances found herself lying on her back looking up at the dark ceiling. At once she was almost blinded by a powerful white light beam which shone down, straight into her eyes; instinctively she shut her eyes tight, but she could still see the light through her closed eyelids. Soon it was switched off, and the room went dark again, to her great relief; and presently the chair went back into the sitting position.
I asked her: "Is it possible to say how long this went on -how long were you sitting in the chair?"
FRANCES: It definitely wasn't just a few minutes; it seemed more like twenty minutes.
FRANK: And all this time, the two men were working on the instruments?
FRANK: Did you get impatient?
FRANCES: I didn't get impatient; but I began to feel a bit - you know, when you sit in a chair in one position, for any length of time, it begins to irritate you and - I felt I wanted to get up and walk about, if only to have walked over to see what they were doing. I'm quite sure I would have made the effort to get up, if I hadn't been told to sit there.
FRANK: Had you any bodily sensations?
FRANCES: No; except I could feel my heart beating: I could feel a sort of 'thump, thump, thump'.
FRANK: Was your heart beating normally, or faster?
FRANCES: No, not fast; just normal. Because I thought to myself, well, there's nothing to worry about, because its quite regular, you know; I remember thinking that at the time.
I asked her to describe the two men and their clothing. She said that they were both very fair with blue eyes; the yellow-blond hair was cut very short, "like an American crew-cut". They were clean-shaven, without any facial hair other than the eyelashes and eyebrows, which were thin and not easily seen. The hair at the side of the temples had short 'sideboards', trimmed straight across. The ears were normal, perhaps a little on the large side. The men, she said, were about John's height (six feet) and of slim build, as John himself is.
They were clothed in a single all-over garment, shining like silver, with no division at the waist. The garment fitted the body closely, but was not tight. There was no helmet. Their shoes were black, with very thick white spongy soles, which compressed as they walked. At least one of them, that she saw closer, had a white disc on his chest, with some kind of device on it which at the time she could not remember clearly. Later, we had the details of the badge. Although many of the crew were later described as wearing belts, with the badge fixed to the belt, these two had no belt, and the badge was on the chest.
FRANK: The one that came closer to you: was there anything about his face that was in the least abnormal or unusual, apart from the ears?
FRANCES: No, I didn't feel so; he didn't look at all like we think of as a foreign-looking face; it was more like an English or American type of face. He didn't have very high cheekbones or anything like that.
FRANK: He was just like anybody you might meet in the street?
FRANCES: Yes; but sort of English or American, rather than Italian or Eskimo, you know.
FRANK: The hair again: it was really a close trim? It was cut short?
FRANCES: Like a 'short back and sides' that men used to have. He had a crew-cut, you know, straight back from his forehead.
FRANK: In other words, the hair stood straight up?
FRANK: Would you say the hands were gloved or bare?
FRANCES: Bare. [One of the officers was later described as wearing thin silver gloves.)
FRANK: And how did the uniform end at the neck?
FRANCES: It was a round neck; but it had another piece on it, like a -
FRANK: Like a collar?
FRANCES: Yes, but not rolled over. It was quite low down on his neck, and it had another piece, a thicker piece, on the edge of it. You know, when you have a round-necked jumper with a thicker piece at the neck opening; it was like that; only I've got an idea it was a different colour, that band.
FRANK: Thicker, was it? Did it stand out?
FRANCES: It seemed to be rolled out a little bit, yes; as if it was a bit thicker. And it seemed to be more white, the same as the background of the circle on his chest.
FRANK: But was there nothing corresponding to that at the wrists?
FRANCES: No; it just ended plain.
Eventually, one of the men came over to Frances and told her that her examination was complete, and that she could get up; they walked together to the door. It was then that she noticed how the thick spongy soles of his shoes compressed as he walked. At the door, he smiled at her as if saying goodbye; and she understood that she was to go by herself through the doorway. She was told that someone would meet her and take her along.
FRANK: When you say the man smiled, it was an absolutely normal smile? The way anybody might smile?
FRANCES: A very friendly smile, yes, as if we were friends; a friend's rather than a stranger's smile, you know. Really a smile of pleasure, to say thank you very much, goodbye.
The man who met her in the corridor was described by Frances as "a very big-built man", about six foot two or three inches tall. As far as she could tell, he appeared to be completely bald. His uniform had special markings: on each side of the chest, a white band started just below the shoulder line, and went straight down, tapering gradually to a point about elbow-height. She also noticed along each shoulder a line in the silver fabric which, to her, suggested a concealed zip fastener. He had a belt with a circular badge in the front, attached to the belt by an elaborate silver clasp; the belt itself was transversely ribbed, suggesting an elastic material, but it was not unduly tight.
The big man took her along a corridor which curved slowly to the right, following the circular shape of the ship's hull. That they were, in fact, just inside the hull is made clear by the fact that Frances saw, on her left, a row of circular portholes of thick glass; the corridor was lighted where they walked, and she could see only darkness through the portholes.
The corridor was of considerable length; and as they walked along without speech, Frances noticed that the lights in the ceiling, which came from recessed circular fittings about four inches in diameter, switched on automatically as they approached them; and looking back, she saw that, at a corresponding distance behind them, the lights were extinguished one by one. Thus the corridor was automatically illuminated whenever anyone was walking along it; but electricity was not needlessly consumed when the corridor was empty. Evidently there is a need to conserve energy in the spaceships.
They passed several doors on the right, then came to a door at which Frances was received by another man with different insignia, whom she recognised as one of those who welcomed them on the balcony - but not the one who made the speech. He was about John's height, and he had no belt; instead there was a plain white disc on his chest, about five and a half inches in diameter, with no design on it.
The big man left them; and Frances was taken by her new acquaintance into the room they had come to. It was quite a large room, of odd shape, basically four-sided: the door they entered by was in the middle of one longer wall which followed the slow curve of the corridor; the side walls were straight, perpendicular to the corridor wall and thus very slightly angled; and the opposite wall was curved much more sharply than the wall it faced.
Evidently this was a relaxation room used by the crew in their off-duty times: the lighting was subdued and restful. It reminded her of a cafe'; there were a dozen circular tables, each about four feet across, arranged informally as a grouping, not in rows. Round each table were four chairs. Both tables and chairs were supported by a single central column of bright metal, attached to the deck by a thick circular plate secured by octagonal bolt-heads. The seats of the chairs were black, a curving saddle with raised sides, to follow the shape of the body; some of the chairs, those backing on to the corridor wall, had a backrest in addition, also black and curved to fit the body.
There were about twenty people in the room, sitting round the tables, mostly just talking; but some had drinks in clear tumblers, rather like a whisky tumbler in shape - that is, not tall but rather squat. There was a panel let into the side wall; while Frances was in the room, one or two people went to it to get a drink; in the panel, to the right-hand side, were several push-buttons to select the drink required, and below the panel was a recessed shelf for the tumblers to stand on while they filled.
She was given a seat at a table near the door, facing the corridor wall, where there was a large screen let into the wall. Her companion sat down; and two other men sat at the remaining places at the table, but they were not introduced to her, nor did they take any part - as far as she remembers - in the long talk which followed, between Frances and her new acquaintance.
Several of the people at the nearer tables smiled at her in a friendly way; but no one spoke to her except the man with the large white disc on his chest.
What Frances Was Told
THE MAN WITH the large white disc on his chest began by asking Frances her name. Then he said: "My name is Uxiaulia" - and he spelt it for her; a succession of letters appeared in her visual mind, one at a time, as dark capital letters on a light ground, with a timing of rather less than one second apart - UXIAULIA. He pronounced it carefully for her, making her repeat it until she got it right; it is pronounced as 'Youksia-oolia', with two equal stresses.
He said: "I am a top explorer pilot; I am from Janos" - and again he spelled it out for her, JANOS, and taught her to pronounce it, as 'Jane-oss', the first syllable stressed. He encouraged Frances to ask questions.
Frances asked: "Where is your planet?" and he replied:
"Further away than you have ever dreamed of'.
To the question, "How far away is it?" he answered:
"Several thousand light years". (our galaxy is about 100 thousand lightyears in diameter. R.Ø.rem.)
Then Frances asked how long they had been travelling, and got the surprising answer: "For two of your years".
When I first heard this answer, in a hypnotic session, I was puzzled and disappointed; for a travel time of two years would put Janos within the solar system, where we know very well there is no such planet.
Then I remembered that this would not necessarily be so if their velocity of travel had been so high as to approach at all closely to the speed of light. Relativity theory tells us that, under these conditions, there are two ways of measuring time, or rather two points of view from which to measure it: from the external point of view of an observer not moving at high speed (of course nothing in the universe is ever really at rest; but relative to a speeding starship, an observer sitting on a planet is not moving very quickly), or from the internal or subjective point of view of an observer riding in the starship. (well-from my research they travel in inter-dimentional gateways entering at given elevation where they must raise the frequenzy of the ship/passengers to a given level, to come in resonnance with those gateways/corridors - and so they move through them in a nearly timeless way-rø)
At moderate speeds, time will flow much as it does for us; but if one is travelling at a speed close to the speed of light, one's own subjective time slows down quite a lot; if one could ever perform the impossible, and equal the speed of light, one's subjective time would come to a standstill. There is always some slowing of time for any body in motion; and all astronomical bodies are always in motion, so no one ever has quite the right time - it is always a bit slow. But it is only when velocitics get near to the speed of light that the difference becomes noticeable. If a ship can travel really close to the speed of light, the difference in the rate of flow of time can become large; so that, as in the example given us by the Janos people, a journey which according to clocks and calendars on Janos or on Earth takes several thousand years could be travelled in only two Earth years, according to clocks and calendars inside the spaceship. Everything inside the ship would go by ship's time, including living processes; the people in the ship would end the journey only two years older than when they set out, thousands of years earlier by planet-time.
The Janos people are fond of a joke; so it may have been with a twinkle in his eye that Uxiaulia now put a question to Frances: "How old do you think I am?"
Frances, surprised, said: "Oh, about thirty, I suppose" -going by his looks and physical condition, though there is some indication that the Janos people do in any case keep their youth longer than we are yet able to, though we have made a lot of progress in that direction in the last few centuries.
Uxiaulia laughed at this, and said: "I am really a very old man. We are all very old, because we have travelled so far" - he emphasised 'very'. But he went on to explain that they had aged only two Earth years during the journey; so that, although the events which drove them from Janos happened thousands of years ago, it does not seem so long ago to them.
Uxiaulia said he would show Frances a film to explain what happened; why they had to leave Janos: he indicated the screen in front of her. The subdued lighting made it easy to see the pictures: all too easy, with the crystal-clear realism that is characteristic of Janos screen technology.
We have already heard of this film in the Prologue. As Frances re-experienced the film under hypnotic regression, her distress was sharply evident to myself and to the hypnotist. I think there is no doubt that, while Frances was herself greatly distressed by what she saw in the film - for she is a person endowed with much sympathy in the literal sense -she was also picking up the more personal distress of Uxiaulia by a kind of mental link-up.
So that the reader shall understand how this terrible story hit Frances, I will quote directly from a transcript of part of the hypnotic session of 5th March 1979. Frances is in deep trance: Geoff M'Cartney, the hypnotist, has taken her back in time to the exact point at which Uxiaulia switches on the film, as he and Frances sit at a table in the cafe-like room in the spaceship.
GEOFF: Where are you, Frances? What's happening?
FRANCES: [in distress] Looking at a screen . . . people .
GEOFF: Can you describe them to me? What's bothering you?
FRANCES: [in severe distress, her breathing laboured] They're sick.
GEOFF: What's wrong? Can you tell me?
FRANCES: They look like Oxfam people. [I think she is remembering a picture of lepers in an advanced stage of the disease. What she is seeing in the film is the part where people on Janos are slowly dying of radiation sickness.]
GEOFF: Where are they? What sort of background are they in?
FRANCES: [still in great distress) He said: 'My people . . . my people . . . my people . . . they are dying. . .' Something crashed into them. From the sky. Their houses are on fire. People screaming. Rocks . . . meteorites. Dust. The dust made them sick: it's radiation. They had to leave them behind because they were too sick. I don't know . . Ruins . . . [a long silence].
GEOFF: What's happening?
FRANCES: [easier] We were arguing. I said they should stay and help them. They said it was the only way they could survive. I said they should help. They said they must live so that the same thing doesn't happen again. He said they're all dead now; they are not suffering any more. I said I'd rather have died with them. He said: 'Not everyone looks at it like that; we had to survive, to make sure it does not happen again'.
In fact, Frances was under a misapprehension (misoppfatning): she thought at first they had abandoned the dying people to their fate; whereas, as she learned in a later regression, going through the experience a second time, they did everything they could for the sick people, short of themselves becoming contaminated; and the fleet did not leave its orbit around Janos until the last of the radiation victims was dead.
The reference to 'meteorites' also calls for explanation. Uxiaulia, trying to explain the falling rocks to Frances, first called them 'boulders'; then, sensing this to be inadequate, he seemed to be casting around in his mind for a stronger word that Frances would know: 'meteorites': but Frances understood that they were not actually meteorites - this was merely a word he used by way of illustration. In fact, there are good reasons why they could not have been meteorites: because of its high velocity, a meteorite 'as big as a house' would explode on impact with enormous violence, blowing a crater miles across; whereas these rocks merely fell and bounced, leaving a land surface densely covered with rocks of all sizes, piled one on another, but with no suggestion of cratering. This was clearly shown in a film seen by John.
FRANCES: [continuing] They've got special dried food. They have to mix it with liquid. They've got a whole ship full of it. They've got a lot left. [Frances had the impression, as she explained later, that they were anxious that we should not think they were in urgent need of supplies; their need is for a planetary home. Sadly, it seems likely that the migration fleet was provisioned for a much larger number of people than eventually left Janos; so they have a surplus, and the big ships are not as full as they were planned to be.]
GEOFF: Why are they travelling? Why are you on board?
FRANCES: They wanted to see what sort of people we are. Want to see if they could live here. They can't go back . .
GEOFF: What else can you see on that screen?
FRANCES: We haven't been looking at the screen; it upset me too much, so he turned it off.
GEOFF: What is he telling you about?
FRANCES: He told me what happened: they left; they need somewhere to live; they can't float around in space forever. They want to come here; but they don't want to cause trouble. They've been talking to different people to see what ordinary people are like. They wanted to see if we are medically the same as they are. There seems to be very little difference. They want to come and live here; but they are trying to make sure they can do it without causing any war. They said there can't be a war; they've had too much trouble. They would rather die than cause any war.
GEOFF: Why do they think it might cause a war?
FRANCES: Because people want to use their knowledge to control other people. [This seems a fair summary of the reported motivation of American and Russian military leaders, regarding information about UFOs.]
GEOFF: Have they said where they are going to stay, or what they are going to do?
FRANCES: They think they could come in very small groups now; but they want to stay together. There are enough of them to fill one of our large cities.
GEOFF: Is this an advance party?
FRANCES: They are people that have been chosen to make the first contacts.
GEOFF: Do you know where the other ships are?
FRANCES: In space, waiting.
Uxiaulia showed Frances other, more cheerful, films, of what life was like on Janos before the disaster. One of these sequences was of a lakeside barbecue party at dusk. He also showed her, on the same screen, a still photograph of his wife and two children, in front of their house; they were killed in the rockfall. One of the first rocks came straight down on the house, while he was away. Perhaps he had taken the photograph himself.
They sat for a long time, looking at pictures and talking about them. Much of the background story, of what happened on Janos, already told in the Prologue, comes out of this conversation, and we need not repeat it now. At one point, Uxiaulia, remembering his duties as host, asked Frances if she would like to be shown round the ship, and began to tell her how they stored energy in the bottom of the ship - in this context, Frances, under hypnosis, brought out with great emphasis the words STATIC ELECTRICITY. It is, of course, possible to store energy in this form; but terrestrial engineers would have difficulty in storing enough static to be of much practical use.
Frances declined the conducted tour, saying that she would really much rather just sit and talk. She herself was not very interested in machinery, except her own car - and she broke off to tell Uxiaulia that she was worried about her battery, because John had left the lights on. Uxiaulia told her at once that she had no need to worry, because they had turned them off. This agrees with Natasha's observation.
Frances went on to say that her brother John was very interested in machinery; at this, Uxiaulia smiled and said: "That is being taken care of'.
The lakeside barbecue scene - evidently a favourite recollection of their lost home - yielded much detail. We have noticed elsewhere the incredible realism and sharpness of definition in Janos screen pictures: presumably they are electronically generated; but they are very much clearer than our television pictures, and our witnesses have several times remarked that the pictures are so vivid and real that they feel that they themselves are actually present in the scene, and are experiencing reality. This is how they report events seen in a film. There is a full three-dimensional stereo effect, which of course helps realism. On the other hand, they do not always use sound, except where it is relevant.
The scene is at twilight in the evening, on the shores of a lake. Here and there are 'trees' bearing large yellow fruits, rather like a melon. They are not true trees, as we understand the word, since there is no trunk or bole; several main branches come directly from the ground. The foliage suggests a rubber tree; the leaves are the conventional leaf shape with a midrib and a slight point, but distinctly fleshy, and a deep bottle-green in colour. Coloured electric lights are fixed here and there to the higher branches, giving the scene a dim romantic illumination; though Frances says the pictures showed that some light - a very soft light like starlight, perhaps - was coming from the sky above.
The barbecue stove itself was a rectangular metal box, dark-coloured, about three feet high and eighteen inches square on plan. Towards the bottom of each face was a series of horizontal ventilating slots, to allow air intake. The heat was smokeless, and there was nothing to indicate how it was produced; there were no visible electrical leads. On the square open top, several long metal skewers lay across the box; each held a series of lumps of dark-coloured flesh cooking in the heat. Uxiaulia told her, about the 'meat' as he called it: "We get them from the rivers".
A man, who wore only swim trunks, sensibly, because the job was a warm one, kept turning the skewers; as he did so, from time to time he poured an oily liquid over the food from a small frying pan, just an ordinary frying pan, which he balanced on one corner of the box, to keep it hot.
Several couples or small groups of people sat around on the ground, eating, talking and generally having fun. Frances says they ate the kebabs with their fingers; but she was not sure if they would do so at home: after all, this was only a picnic. Other people strolled about in company.
Some were eating the melon-like fruits: of course they were not really melons; that was what Frances compared them to. They were large egg-shaped fruits, with a skin of a dull mustard-yellow colour; there was a great pile of them on a big shallow bowl, about three feet across, of a dull metal that looked like pewter. These yellow fruits seemed to be popular.
Some of the men wore swim trunks; others had something like a track suit - one of these, a red suit, had a white stripe down each outer side of the sleeves, and also of the legs. It had a broad waist band joining the top to the trousers.
Most of the women wore full-length skirts, nearly to the ground, with a long-sleeved, round-necked bodice. The material was filmy(halvt gjennomsiktig), like a chiffon or a fine nylon: most had white as the background colour; variation was obtained by coloured patterns printed on the skirt material, the bodice being plain.
The skirt, in all examples seen, was draped in a series of overlapping folds, cascading down the left side, secured by a metal clasp on the right hip. (Clearly we are dealing with a fashion.)
The printed pattern was made by a loose, open repetition of a large abstract floral motif: Frances says it was not really a flower - just the minimum conception of a flower, expressed in a few curved lines. The metallic-looking clasp was shaped to echo the same abstract floral form.
All the women Frances saw on the lake shore, in the fairly restricted area covered by the camera, wore dresses which were variants on this theme; one woman, quite near the camera, wore a striking ensemble (slående antrekk) in black and white: the bodice was black; and the skirt, with the usual cascade of drapes down the left side, was white, with black floral motifs; the clasp also was black. Her head was covered with something, also black, which Frances could not quite make out the details of. One is tempted to wonder whether the black head-covering, with the use of black elsewhere in place of a colour, may have been a sign of mourning; but really we have no evidence for this.
On the lake itself, the background to the barbecue scene, Frances saw two boats go by. These were quite small, perhaps eighteen to twenty feet in length, holding a crew of two, both seated amidships, one behind the other. They were driven by engines powerful enough to raise a considerable bow wave, with the usual patterns of ripples fanning out towards the shore. The bows, instead of rising forward out of the water, as with nearly all Earth boats, sloped down forward into the water. The stern, on the other hand, showed its underside clear of the water; under the overhanging stern, the water was turbulent as if driven by a propeller or other device having a similar effect.
The midships section was open, with seats for the crew; but the bow and stern sections were closed in above: a low windscreen, curved and raked, rose up at the front of the open midships section. The effect was not unlike that of a sports car, translated into boat terms.
Towards the bows of each boat was fixed a short staff flying a pennant flag, a triangle about twice as long as its hoist. The ground colour of the flag was deep blue; upon this background was a white disc, almost touching the hoist and the other two sides of the triangle; upon the disc was a device of a narrow deep blue line looped over itself, with a circular spot in the same deep blue over the point at which the looped line crosses over itself.
Each of the two boats carried a similar pennant, with one small difference: that on the nearer boat ended normally in a single point; but the other pennant ended in a double-pointed fishtail. The two pennants fluttered briskly in the breeze created by the boats' speed.
The nearer boat's hull was painted a pale blue; the one further from the camera was bright red. The inside of the open midships section, where the people sat, was white.
The two people in the nearer boat were dressed alike, in a red track-suit, as far as the upper body could be seen. A woman was in front, apparently at the controls; a man was the passenger behind her. Women and men on Janos, even when dressed alike, were readily distinguishable (lett å skille); all the women wore their hair fairly long, in the same 'page-boy' style already seen in a few women in the spaceship - though the majority in ship's uniform wore helmets: whereas the men all had their hair very short and neatly trimmed.
All the people in the lakeside scene appeared to be enjoying themselves; there was an atmosphere of relaxation and happiness.
Other dress details are given by Frances from the still photograph, shown on the same screen as the films, of the young wife and children of Uxiaulia in front of their house.
The girl, about five years old, was dressed in workmanlike red dungarees over a long-sleeved white jumper with a high round neck; the straps of the dungarees were secured, in front of each shoulder, by a white circular button or buckle.
The little girl had curly yellowy-flaxen hair; most of the hair was brushed out free, but on each side of the head, a bunch of hair was secured by a circular red hair-slide or grip, so that the two bunches stood out to the sides.
The boy (about three years old by his appearance) was dressed in the same way as his sister, except that his dungarees were pale blue. Both the children wore white shoes; the shoes were not open sandals, but covered the foot completely: Frances could not quite make out how they were fastened.
The mother (Uxiaulia gave her name as Vurna,*( *pronounced Voorna) and her age as twenty-three - whether this means Earth years or Janos years, we do not know) was dressed in the same way as her children, in red dungarees over a white jumper; but her sleeves were shorter, ending above the elbow; and her shoes were red. Her fair hair was cut to about chin level, and was curled under at the ends.
The house and garden in the photograph are of interest. The house was seen cornerwise. It was of simple construction: a rectangular symmetrical plan with a simple pitched roof, the ridge parallel to the house frontage as usual. The front wall had a central doorway, with a window at each side. The doorway was an arched opening in the wall of the house; the impression was that it was just an opening, leading to an internal porch, with doubtless an inner door not seen.
The two windows were alike: each consisted of a large rectangular sheet of glass or other transparent material, curved into a bow, which projected from the line of the wall. Frances could not see into the house interior.
The walls gave Frances the impression of being made of wood: certainly they were constructed of horizontal planks of some wood-like material, finished white, with the joints quite apparent.
The end wall was blind, also of white horizontal planks; attached to the roof gable was a bargeboard, decorated by a series of rectangular recesses carved into the timber. There was a carved boss or finial at the junction of ridge and gable.
The roof was covered with square grey tiles; but instead of overlapping as our tiles do on a roof, these squares all lay in the same plane, with no overlap. Evidently the joints, which again were quite apparent, were waterproof enough to keep out the rain. There was no chimney or ridge vent of any kind.Surrounding the garden was a low white fence consisting of short posts with a single horizontal rail half-way up them. The small 'garden' itself would not score many points in an English village. The surface of the ground was covered by a fine white sand, from which, here and there, bunches of spear-like grass blades emerged, of the usual deep bottle-green of the Janos foliage. There was just one flowering shrub seen in the picture; some of the flowers were red, and others pink. The shrub stood close to one corner of the house.
Frances remarked that in a similar photograph of an English house, you would expect to see in the background some other houses, perhaps a tree or so, and very probably a road with cars. In this picture, she was not aware of any background.
She formed the impression, in fact - perhaps from what she was told - that the house was close by the place where the film was made of the lakeside barbecue; the film may well have been an amateur one, shot by Uxiaulia himself with his own cine-camera, or whatever is their technical equivalent. She was not aware of any sound with the barbecue film.
It occurred to her - and again, this could have been an idea given to her - that this house was no more than a beach-hut, for week-ends or holidays; however, we have no certainty about this: the house, though modest, would have been adequate for a couple with two young children, especially if the husband were away a good deal.
It was, in fact, the tufts of grass poking up through the sand that gave Frances the impression of a seaside or lakeside dwelling; she said it was like you see sometimes by the sea.
One thing struck me as odd, in relation to the Janos people's highly-developed technology: this was the extreme simplicity of their colour schemes; they seemed to use very few colours. Their clothing, on Janos, was simple and practical, except for the rather elaborate gowns worn by many of the women for an evening social occasion. We notice, however, that a woman in a boat wore a track-suit like a man's.
Despite their advanced technology and generous leisure (fritid) time, the Janos people do not give us the impression of going in for sophisticated luxury. Frances had noticed that several of the women she saw in the cafe-like room wore make-up to darken their eyelashes; this was one of the few examples seen of what may be called vanity (forfenglighet). Incidentally, eye cosmetics are one of the very oldest of all technological developments in Earth's history; some scientists think that the discovery of metals, copper especially, happened accidentally in the course of manufacturing eye pigments, back in the neolithic; and that this was the forerunner of the bronze age.
One isolated point which will interest many readers: Frances, thinking of the wolf-dog mentioned in the Prologue, asked Uxiaulia whether the Janos people kept pets.
"No", he replied; "we do not keep animals as pets indoors, as you do" - and something in his expression told Frances that he thought it a rather odd thing to do. "We have animals for food" he went on; "we do eat some meat; but mostly we eat the things that grow". Frances was not able to say, whether he meant by this that they grew crops, or that they depended on things which grew naturally, such as the melon-like fruit.
At one stage in the film - she is not sure exactly where it fits in - she was on a hillside, in daylight, looking across a small valley to a hillside opposite. Filling the valley, and spreading up the opposite hill, were many of the 'bungalows' - single storey houses - similar to the one in the photograph. From her elevated viewpoint, Frances was mainly conscious of the pattern made by many roofs; she was not aware of roads or traffic.
Indeed, it is quite possible that Janos did not need access roads, if their transport was off the ground, as we have seen in some examples. Uxiaulia remarked at one point: "Our transport is different from yours; our cars float above the ground".
Uxiaulia and Frances talked for a long time, probably getting on for half an hour. Their talk might have gone on longer; but a woman with long hair came in and spoke to Uxiaulia in their own language. She said something also to Frances in English, which unfortunately she cannot remember. The woman's hair was brushed out free, and was shoulder-length, curling (krøller) under at the ends; one or two other women sitting in the room had the same hair-style, and in the lakeside film, Frances had seen it as the normal style for women.
The woman and Uxiaulia exchanged a few sentences in their speech, which seems rapid to our witnesses; and they laughed together. Uxiaulia turned to Frances and explained that they had been saying that "looking at you people and the planet, it is like stepping back into one of our own history books: to us, you are living history". And they laughed again.
Uxiaulia went on to say: "I must go now: someone is coming, and we have to move the ship. Every second we remain on the ground increases the risk of discovery. We shall not be going far; we shall set you down as soon as we can". And he and the woman hurried away.
Frances had understood that what was coming was a car; she said that somehow she knew that a car was unexpected in the place where they were standing on the ground, and took the ship people by surprise; afterwards she thought that, since the neighbourhood has much empty, unused ground with just an occasional rough track, seldom used, the ship had been set down in such a lonely spot where they were not likely to be disturbed: possibly a courting couple had driven their car, in search of a quiet place, along a track not normally used by traffic; or it could have been a police car on the prowl.
Most of the people in the room also left, until only some half a dozen remained. The 'big' man who had previously escorted Frances now came in, and indicated that she should follow him; they went along the corridor, still in the same direction. While walking along, Frances suddenly lost her balance and her feet left the deck; the man took hold of her and set her on her feet again, and they went on, the man walking behind Frances and keeping her steady with his right hand on her right shoulder and his left hand on her left hip; in this way they were able to make progress.
Frances could feel the ship rise up, and hear the deep humming note of the power generators below, low down in the hull; what caused her difficulty in balance was that a nullgravity field was in force throughout the ship, during the lift-off; later, in normal flight, gravity was restored. John had a similar experience, as we shall see, though it could not haven been at the same time; it seems that the ship was lifted twice to avoid discovery.
They came to a room where Gloria and the children were waiting. Natasha said: "Oh, here's Auntie Frances", and the two women smiled; but nothing was said between them about their separate experiences. They settled down to wait for John; "Trust John to keep us hanging about", remarked his wife.
While waiting, they looked about them; the room was a fairly big one, of a curved shape: in the centre was a luminous cylinder which extended from floor to ceiling; it gave them a lot of difficulty trying to understand what it was. It did not seem to be quite like a solid thing; almost it gave them the feeling of a cylindrical beam of light, of uniform brightness from top to bottom, though as a whole it varied, being sometimes bright, sometimes dim. They could not see through it; and Frances was inclined to interpret it as a translucent cylinder illuminated from within. Later they understood its use, but not how it worked; it was a lift or elevator, but on a principle unknown on Earth.
There were some tables in the room, with chairs fixed by them; of course loose furniture is out of the question in a spaceship, as in an ordinary seagoing ship, and everything is bolted to the deck. A few people were sitting down. Two of the occupied tables had boards on them with buttons; the people were engaged in pressing the buttons in a rapid sequence, no doubt recording data of some kind, or making a calculation.
Set into one wall was a television-type screen, with three vertical bright lines on it, and short transverse lines of different lengths, set across the vertical lines: the whole pattern moved slowly down. This was evidently a repeater of a similar screen with identical patterns on it, which John was shown in the engine room, and was told it was concerned with the ship's altitude.
While Frances, Gloria, Natasha and Tanya are waiting for John to reappear, we will go back and pick up his story, from when he was taken for his medical examination.
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