The authenticity of UFO cases is usually judged by the respectability of it's reporters, especially those dealing with abductions. That being the case, the report of an extraordinary series of events from three women from Stanford, Kentucky is highly regarded. It would be on January 6, 1976, that Mona Stafford, Louise Smith, and Elaine Thomas would have a terrifying experience of the first kind.
The added strength of a well-conducted investigation makes this one of the most quoted events in UFO annals world-wide. This report would include not only abduction, but physical evidence, animal reaction, and electro-magnetic effects. Not only was this case fully reported and researched, it was followed up on; determining the long-range effects on the health and lives of these three well-regarded women.
January 6 was Mona Stafford's 36th birthday. She was joined by her best friends, Louise Smith and Elaine Thomas to celebrate the event, and just have a friendly dinner together. The three friends took their dinner plans to the Redwood restaurant, which was located south of Lancaster, Kentucky on U.S. 27, thirty-five miles from their hometown of Liberty. As the three finished their dinner, they started what they thought would be a nice, pleasant drive back to their houses. Little did they know what lay in store for them in what would be a night they would never..could never forget. As their journey began, it was 38 degrees, with a south wind of 15 mph, and a visibility of 15 miles.
Leaving the Redwood eatery at 11:15 P.M., the three women were in a jovial mood as Louise Smith sat behind the wheel of her 1967 Chevy Nova. It should be noted that none of the three had any beer or liquor to drink that night, or any other night for that matter. Leaving Stanford, and heading for Hustonville on Highway 78, the three suddenly see a "bright, red" object in the clear, night sky. The sighting frightened Mona first, who thought it was an airplane which was on fire, and heading for a crash landing. As the glowing object came closer, Smith lost control of the automobile...
The little Chevy was now going 85 mph, a speed never traveled before by Smith. In a panic, she cries, "I can't hold the car on the road." Mona reaches over and tries to help her, thinking that something is wrong with the steering, but she cannot control it either. The car continued it's high rate of speed without deviation. Later, Louise would state, "My foot wasnít even on the gas pedal." In a moment, the unknown object was frighteningly close to the Chevy. It followed from behind for a short time, then flipped on it's end, and came extremely close to the driver's side. All three women would state the same thing. What they were looking at was an enormous, metallic, disc-shaped object with a dome on top, and a ring of red lights around it's mid section. The women all saw it close enough to see a yellow, blinking light on it's underbelly.
The UFO hung over the driver's side of the car for a time before it moved ahead of it on the highway. As it did, a bluish-white light shot into the car, illuminating the interior of the vehicle. Later, Mrs. Smith would describe the inside of their car as filled with "a haze like air, sort of a fog." In a second, all three women suffered from a burning sensation so strong that they could not open their eyes from the irritation. The last thing in the memory of Smith, Stafford, and Thomas was being backed into a pasture entrance in a "crazy manner."
One hour and 20 minutes later, the three found themselves back in the little Chevy, driving toward Liberty. They were shaken and tense..with exposed areas of flesh, painful from the burns. The three frightened and scared ladies finally arrived at Mrs. Smith's home, and when they entered they noticed that the clock in the kitchen showed 1:20 A.M., meaning the trip of 35 miles had taken just over two hours, normally it took about 45 minutes. They immediately went to the house of their neighbor, Lowell Lee, who confirmed the time. Confused as to what to do next, they called the Police station. The next day, they phoned the Navy recruiting station. Neither of the two calls afforded them any aid. The Navy station did give some of the details of the event to a Lexington TV station, however. The story quickly reached the press, and was given headline status.
MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) investigator Jerry Black heard the story of the event, and immediately went to work to gain more details. Black called the three women and asked for an interview, but Smith, Stafford, and Thomas were reluctant at first to relive the event, or to have strangers in their homes. After more phone calls, and the offering of his sympathy and compassion for their experience, the three witnesses agreed to an interview. Also, Black invited Mrs. Peggy Schnell of Blanchester, Ohio to attend. She also had experience with these kinds of cases, and Black felt that the three would feel more comfortable with a feminine presence.
The first meeting was more or less an ice-breaking session, but several very important facts were revealed. Black stated that the three women were all obviously in physical pain; they all were chain-smoking, which they attributed to the experience, they had an insatiable thirst, and they all claimed excessive weight loss since the event. The three women gave some details of their observations of the UFO; it's structure, and it's behavior. They also discussed some of the ill effects that they had sustained. These memories were painful to all three, as they tried to recall details in hopes that someone might be able to help them. Mrs. Thomas would state, "We live in fear of what we donít know. Iím worried about Lou and Mona. I think theyíre ready for a breakdown."
Naturally there were some psychological problems in the aftermath of their experiences. Mrs. Smith was having difficulties in performing her everyday duties as an assistant for the Casey County Extensive Office. Mrs. Stafford was not only suffering from her eye inflammation, she was desperate to know what happened during the missing time. The three women were assured that they would be able to undergo regressive hypnosis, and uncover their missing time, therefore alleviating some, if not all of their emotional stress. Several things were evident to the investigators at this first meeting. The three women witnesses were sincere about what they had experienced, they were suffering from the so-called "beam," and there were obvious physical scars from the encounter. Smith lifted her hair up, and showed a mark on the nape of her neck. It was a roundish, pinkish-gray blotch, the size of a half-dollar.
Another unusual revelation that came from this meeting was the strange reaction of Mrs. Smith's parakeet. When Smith first arrived home after her experience, instead of her usual happy greeting, she received a frightening reaction from the bird. It flew into the side of it's cage, and fluttered it's wings in a wild display of fear. Smith proclaimed that since the first night home, her pet had not had a thing to do with her. Did the sixth sense of the parakeet perceive some "unearthly" aura from Smith? Further tests were conducted in the presence of other birds, and when other people drew near, the birds were perfectly normal, but when Mrs. Smith came close, they too panicked. The pet died in March 1976. This uncanny reaction was not the only one to come from Smith's presence.
The minute hand of the wrist watch that Smith wore began to rapidly spin around it's dial. Also, the next week after the sighting when she touched her bedroom alarm clock, it quit working. Frustrated, she threw the clock away. Another quirky problem was noticed when Louise's car developed electrical problems. Driving to work, she was stopped by Police who informed her that the signal lights were not working. The most annoying problem of all was the general ill health and weakness of the three unwilling witnesses of this extraordinary event. Because of this, investigators agreed that, at least for the time being, no other details of the event be released. Walter Andrus of MUFON, and Dr. J. Allen Hynek of CUFOS, were both informed of the case, and both agreed to wait for details until the three women were in better condition.
After the initial interviews, the investigators involved were convinced that the three women's story, though disturbing, was as solid as could be. The value of this event would be historical, and though difficult, those involved had to use all their patience to keep the dark secrets of that night to themselves, until a later time. There was no doubt in anyone's mind that these three well-respected, mature, sane women had seen something not in our knowledge to understand, and that there was missing time that had to be explored. An abduction was on the minds of the principal investigators.
Dr. Hynek was called upon to provide a professional psychiatrist to perform regressive hypnosis on the three. Unfortunately, lack of funding was a big part of the decision as to who to call upon. None of the noted doctors lived anywhere near the state of Kentucky. Dr. Berthold Schwarz was contacted first, but because of his tight schedule, was not able to make the trip. Also well-respected ufologist and physician, Dr. Leo Sprinkle was considered. Sprinkle was consultant to APRO, but he was not called because he lived in Wyoming. In a stroke of good fortune, Dr. Sprinkle heard the basic facts of the case, and dropped everything to go to Kentucky.
When Smith, Stafford, and Thomas were contacted about Sprinkle's desire to help them, they refused, not knowing of Sprinkle's reputation. At this time, the three women, though needing help, were still under the impression that in time their problems would pass, and to involve more and more people in the story would only prolong the agony. The three women had heard of Jim and Coral Lorenzen of APRO, and this well-respected husband and wife team were called in to try to ease the fears of the story being released nationally. A promise was made to the three ladies that the regressive hypnosis procedure and it's results would NOT be released to any of the UFO groups for publication until a time that they felt comfortable with it. An agreement was made! A date was set for the regressive hypnosis, March 7, 1976.
Dr. Sprinkle, Black, Schnell, and others were all present for the initial session. All of those in attendance reaffirmed their good intentions of keeping the wraps on the story until the three women authorized it's release. At this time, only one of three would consent to the hypnosis, Mrs. Stafford. A silence feel across the room as Dr. Sprinkle began his methodical, professional way of easing Stafford's fear. In a slow, cautious manner, Stafford began to recall the events of her night of terror. She was able to relive her interpretation of seeing what she thought was an airplane crashing. She was not able to go any further at this first session, as tears rolled down her cheeks, and exhaustion set in. After the session, Dr. Sprinkle stated that Stafford was still in a posthypnotic state, and that she should be questioned very carefully and cautiously.
After the first hypnosis, Black continued to ask questions of Louise and Elaine. Mona moved away from the others to rest. Another interviewer began to show Stafford some drawings of aliens. The word, "alien" had not been mentioned in the case before this time, out of respect to the three, and also to not coach in any way. Mona sat and silently looked at the pictures, and then in a dramatic fashion, she proclaimed, "This looks like the light I saw...It was shaped like that head!", pointing to a specific alien.
Again, Mona sat for a time, thinking.. thinking about that night. Then she added to her previous statement, "Yes... I can see the face now, but it doesn't seem solid. It comes and goes... I mean, fades and reappears like in a fog. It's eyes are far apart and at the bottom... the chin... is like that drawing." At this time, she had remembered all she could, but that was more than enough. A major breakthrough had occurred, the time lapse barrier had been breached. There was now no doubt that an abduction had taken place!
Dr. Sprinkle was notified the next day of the revelations from Mona, and was sent the alien picture she identified. Her statements were logged, and sent along also. There would be a lapse in the investigation at this point. Several months went by without probing any deeper into the hidden facts of the case. Investigators did keep in constant touch with the three women, albeit, in a friendly fashion, careful not to push them too soon. The three were still locked in fear, their physical problems continued, and so did the weight loss. Dr. Sprinkle and Dr. Hynek, all the while, were still dealing with the problem of funds, and trying to find a solution to helping the three ladies. Also investigators were constantly being prodded for more information on the Stanford case, and as per their agreement, they refused.
While others involved in the case were still trying to find solutions for the financial shortfall, it would be investigator Black who would find a solution. After lengthy discussions with the National Enquirer, he had struck an agreement with the tabloid. The Enquirer would finance a return trip for Dr. Sprinkle to complete his regressive hypnosis, and lie-detector tests would be conducted. If the results would verify an abduction, the Enquirer would have exclusive rights to publishing the story. Also, the three women would receive compensation. Black made the move because of concern to the health of the three women, and also to accumulate facts for the benefit of UFO research groups.
There was renewed optimism with the Enquirer deal, and there was hope that the hidden facts of that night would soon be uncovered. The next hypnosis session was scheduled for the Brown Motel in Liberty, Kentucky on June 23, 1976. Newly present at this meeting was well-known UFO investigator Bob Pratt of the Enquirer. Though the reputation of the Enquirer left much to be desired, Pratt himself was regarded as an honest, sincere man. Pratt had earlier attempted to get details of the Stanford case, but was denied access because of the earlier agreement of a news blackout. The first order of business on this day would be the lie-detector testing. A detective for the Lexington Police Department, James Young was hired to head the polygraph part of the session. Recognized as an expert in the field, Young began his testing of the three women, all done privately for each of the three.
Young was actually a great choice for the sessions, because he was a skeptic as far as UFO stories went. The tests themselves were lengthy, leaving no room for anything but a conclusive result, whether good or bad. After the tests were all completed, Young emerged from the room with an expression of utter amazement. All three of the women had "breezed through" their tests without a hint of deception. To his credit, Young was man enough to admit that his earlier prejudices were completely erased after the testing of the three women. Next would come Dr. Sprinkle's hypnotic session.
Sprinkle would first put Mrs. Smith under the evening of the lie-detector testing. The next day, all three would undergo regression, with each woman having two sessions. During the regressions, the faces of the three women showed the emotional turmoil they were enduring. The details of what occurred on that harrowing night came slowly..hauntingly..painfully. Some of the most fearful moments of their abduction were displayed by painful body contortions and movements. All of the details revealed in this article were observed by an eyewitness of the entire procedure, whose credibility is beyond question.
All of the women were taken aboard some type of craft, and subjected to physical examinations, sometimes harsh in nature, sometimes tortuous. There was not any sexual molestation during the abduction, but they were restrained in embarrassing, humiliating positions. Mrs. Smith would reveal that her exam took place on a table, Mrs. Thomas' was inside of a capsule with an unusual looking noose-like device around her neck, which tightened painfully if she tried to speak. Mrs. Stafford's exam was in a chair-like device. All of the abductees recalled having their bodies scanned, and instruments used which exerted pressure on their limbs. Mrs. Thomas recalled a tube with a bullet-like tip on it, which probed her chest, and she also recalled a warm liquid being applied to her face and body. Mrs. Stafford also recalled the warm liquid.
The sessions brought out other details as well. The characteristics of the alien forms themselves seemed to be vague, and often indescribable. All three related "shadowy figures," which floated or glided by them. They also recalled the frightening "one eye" or "two eyes," which also hovered over them. Mrs. Stafford made an unusual statement in describing an eye exam; "I could see a light at the end of a tunnel, which looked like a volcano with a jagged edge," at this point, she described great pain in her eyes, "...Just like theyíve been pulled out." Mona recalled a single bright purple eye that radiated lightning-like rays.
Elaine also joined the other two in describing the strange events. She remembered "two-eyes" from a round head in a deep darkness. One eye, she said, was a "beautiful blue," encircled by a blue membranous lid, like a turtleís, and the other eye appeared dark. Louise saw several different forms of beings during her ordeal,but she was so frightened that she closed her eyes and didn't look at them. However, some months later, she described her vision of the humanoids in similar fashion to her two friends; adding that their hands looked like jagged wing tips. It would be Elaine who recalled the most about their captors, at one point stating, "There were several small figures about 4 feet tall."
One fact that all three agreed on was that the humanoids communicated with them by telepathy. Not once was an entity mentioned to have any type of mouth. Some interesting facts about the craft itself were revealed by Mona Stafford, when asked to elaborate on her description of the tunnel or volcano. She would now add to previous information that she was looking through a tunnel, with the room lit up brightly. She could see a square table with a helpless woman on it, surrounded by small figures clad in white. The small beings were closely examining the poor woman. In her own words, "Iím not sure if the person was Elaine, or Lou, or maybe even me!"
After all of the revelations of the three women, there remained no doubt that something very extraordinary happened on the night of Mona's birthday. Several profound facts were accepted; 1) the three women had encountered a flying craft of unknown origin. 2) they had been abducted by beings unknown. In all cases, no matter how believable, it always helps if other witnesses come forward. This case also had other observers of the UFO that night, independent of Stafford, Smith, and Thomas. These sightings occurred in Casey and Lincoln counties, Kentucky.
Within a couple of hundred yards of the abduction, one couple watched from the window of their home a "large, luminous object," which passed over the Stanford area. This occurred about 11:30 P.M. The couple wanted to remain anonymous. Other observers reported also, describing a ring of "reddish orange" lights around a disc-shaped flying object. Two teenagers, out for a joy ride, stated that they chased a low-flying UFO after it had hovered over the Angel Manufacturing Plant in Stanford. They chased the strange object all the way to Danville, and there they reported the object to Police.
Another very significant report came from the owner of the property where the three women's abduction took place. The farmer stated that "down the road" from his house, he witnessed an unusually low-flying object which shot a white beam of light to the ground. Could this have been the precise time of the abduction itself? Although over 25 years have elapsed since the Stanford case, there has been not one negative comment on the details presented by Mona Stafford, Louise Smith, or Elaine Thomas. The Stanford, Kentucky abduction is still considered one of the best documented abduction cases.