Reality Checking—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, December 2018
The Journey Continues As A Friend Is Remembered
by: Brent Raynes
Bob Laurence remembered
I am fast approaching what I can identify as my starting point some 52 years ago in the controversial and confusing world of ufology (or should that be Jim Moseley's ufoology), which began initially as a result of reading Flying Saucers – Serious Business by noted author and broadcaster Frank Edwards. I'll never forget how John Keel mentioned in a letter to me how Edwards wrote that book and it was published in a mere, I would think record-breaking, six weeks time! Keel wrote that Edwards was obviously trying to do a quick job of it in order to take advantage of the huge popularity of the subject at that particular time.
Over the years, I've met quite a few fellow students of ufo(o?)logy who also were drawn into this controversial quagmire because of that very same book. There's certainly been a lot of water under the bridge since that single hastily written bestseller. Today my “flying saucer” literature collection has expanded to two personal library-type rooms in my home, plus five 4-draw filing cabinets, and two 2-draw ones. My wife at times gives me that disapproving look when I enter the house with yet another book or magazine.
It's been suggested by a family member that I go digital and purge myself of all of this borderline (?) hoarding nightmare of alternative literature. But I'm a bit stubborn and old school I reckon and while I edit a digital online magazine on the subject, along with a variety of other mysteries (that, who knows, may have interrelated components), all of my hard copies are my dependable back-up resources. The digital world seems subject to computer viruses, malware, and various system uncertainties and failures [frightening especially for my older generation with many of us being a bit technologically impaired] where all of your data could suddenly be gone in the proverbial blink of an eye. I remember awhile back ufology's legendary author-researcher Brad Steiger complaining to me privately about how he had lost vital material of his own on his computer, due to hacking.
Besides, would I live long enough at this point in my life to scan and download everything I wanted to save?
Well anyway, enough of my moaning and groaning and whining over being a hoarder of UFO and other weird literature for over half a century. My problems could certainly be far worse! Now on to something far more constructive and meaningful (I hope!).
I recently met a very interesting and pleasant gentleman down this way from Ontario, Canada, named Rob Freeman, who was skywatching in a field on the outskirts of Cloverdale, Alabama, where a mystery light has been reported since the 1970s, with a heavy duty arsenal of camera equipment, ranging from regular photography, full spectrum, infrared, thermal, along with an EMF detection unit, and a radar! He and his team have, for nearly four years now, been visiting UFO/mystery light hotspots worldwide. They've been to Norway's legendary Hessdalen three times, and have also descended on Peru, Brazil, Chile, Australia, the USA, and the British Isles, and they've captured some impressive photos and video images of an anomalous nature. While skywatching with Rob and freezing our butts off (this work requires true dedication, commitment and some nights thermal underwear and other extra layers of clothing) I recorded a brief interview with him (included in this issue) as he described some of his UFO experiences/photo captures in places like Canada, Peru, and Australia.
I spent two nights skywatching with Rob, but unfortunately (it happens) I didn't see any UFOs or mystery lights. However, I did see some cool meteors, and enjoyed some great conversations with Rob! I listened as Rob shared some high strangeness experiences that he and his team members had on their global UFO hunting expeditions. They were really extraordinary, and Rob has agreed to do a second interview with me soon telling about those events.
I was pleased to find that Rob and his team are open to high strangeness situations. The night before skywatching with Rob for the first time (as I write this he is back again for a few more days, along with the rest of his team this time) I chatted for a couple of hours on Skype with a Dr. Joseph Burkes, a former emergency room physician out in California, who worked for a number of years initially with Steven Greer's CSETI (Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence) program and had some amazing UFO experiences. However, things really picked up he explained to me when he began to work with contactees, particulary a young “21 year old kid,” as he described him, from Russia who became the ER's EKG Tech back in 1993. One day, this young man revealed something quite surprising – that he was a contactee himself. “He said that when he was in Russia he had a lucid dream in which he saw that he was going to imigrate to the United States, get a job in a health car setting, and work with a tall bearded Jewish doctor and they would do contact work together,” Dr. Burkes explained to me. “When he walked into the ER I was the man of his dream.”
Referring to the contact experiencers he has worked with, Dr. Burkes explained, “They have the capacity to attract the phenomena and if you interact with them and stay close to them, that contact spills over on to you.”
Dr. Burkes came to recognize the high strangeness of the UFO phenomenon from his own direct experiences and interactions with it, and a lot of what he found correlated very well with the high strangeness phenomena that researchers like John A. Keel and Dr. Jacques Vallee had written much about through the years. In fact, it was because of my work with the Dr. Edgar Mitchell Foundation for Research into Extraterrestrial and Extraordinary Experiences and co-founder Rey Hernendez knowing of my writings about the work of John Keel (in fact, I have a book coming out in the Spring of 2019 tentatively entitled “John A. Keel, the Man, the Myths, and the Mysteries”) that I was asked to speak with Dr. Burkes about Keel's ideas and theories as he himself is developing similar concepts about apparitional and illusionary aspects of many reported encounters and further understanding of “Keelian” notions might help him further along.
Back in 1973, a physicist named Dr. Harley Rutledge of Cape Giradeau, Missouri, decided to look into all of the UFO sightings that were being reported in his area. He put together a team and over a seven year period they logged 157 personal observations. He came to write a book entitled Project Identification. Toward the end of it, Dr. Rutledge found he was being followed it seemed by small balls of plasma, approximately 2 to 6 inches in diameter, that even reportedly appeared inside campus buildings where he worked. “Keel mentioned that if you notice and become interested in the phenomenon, it can notice you and become interested in you,” Dr. Greg Little wrote in his introduction to British author Andrew Collins's book LightQuest (2012). “That is essentially what Rutledge concluded.” Keel called this the reflective factor.
LightQuest describes how many UFOs and mystery lights seem to be intelligent plasma type energy forms, which some have nicknamed plasmoids, how they may be connected with quantum entanglement, multi-dimensional realities, and the world of psychic phenomena. The book provides many compelling and perplexing accounts, as well as active locations in the United States and Britain where you can go and try seeing them yourself. There is also given a “Creative Visualization for Light Questing” section where you and a group of fellow “light questers” can attempt communing with such intelligences and try to draw them in yourselves.
Andrew Collins also wrote a book entitled Alien Energy, published originally in 1994 in Britain, and republished here in the US by Eagle Wing Books in 2003. It describes how Collins and a team of other researchers visited ancient sites like Avebury and Silbury Hill back from 1993 and 1994, and while investigating crop circles and sites where mysterious lights and phenomena had been reported, they had some pretty remarkable experiences, and captured anomalous infrared pictures, had unusual Geiger Counter readings, and were equiped with other gear such as an ultra sound detector, an electro static voltmeter, a VLF radio receiver, and even a mini-cloud buster based on the controversial work of Austrian born biophysicist and psychologist Dr. Wilhelm Reich. Dr. Reich, who had a lab in Rangeley, Maine, which today is a museum with one of his cloud busters mounted outside, claimed that besides the buster's use for weather modification, it also affected UFOs that he reported had appeared in the skies around his Maine laboratory.
For anyone wishing more information on Dr. Reich and his cloud busters and his belief about UFOs, go to this article that Brad and Sherry Steiger wrote for our August 2015 issue: http://apmagazine.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=700&Itemid=53
Mary Kerfoot, who lives up near Chicago, shared these thoughtful memories of experiences she shared at her home years ago, where she held support group meetings for experiencers, and how they too attempted contact. Recently, one of those experiencers passed and below Mary remembers and shares with us her fond memories of his life and some high strangeness experiences that they shared together at her home:
Ufology and the world at large lost a dear friend and brilliant mind, Robert Laurence, on November 1st, 2018, 26 days shy of his 78th birthday. Bob endured escalating pain associated with leg problems and infection for 14 years before his heart finally failed.
We came to know Bob when he approached us in October, 1995 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago where our encounter support group, in conjunction with MUFON, CUFOS, and Operation Right To Know, sponsored lectures by researchers and experiencers to raise public awareness during National UFO Awareness Week. Bob told us about the close encounter he had in June, 1963 which was investigated in 1983 by J. Allen Hynek and Mark Rodeghier of CUFOS. We invited him to join us at our next support group meeting and from then on he was an integral part of our monthly meetings. He was the glue that held things together and helped other members feel more comfortable talking about their experiences.
Our friendship with Bob extended beyond our meetings and common interest in alien encounters. We participated in activities together on weekends and vacation days, as well. Bob loved to hit the road and experience the adventures that life had to offer. We visited Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon, attended MUFON Symposia, toured Wisconsin and other scenic areas, and attended lectures at Fermi lab, just to name a few of our expeditions.
I remember Bob best by three of his passions: photography; cosmology; and his insistence on applying scientific methodology in our attempts to initiate ET contact. I should add to this his unfailing generosity to all whom he encountered.
Bob had many different types of cameras and loved to take photos of people and landscapes wherever he went. The stunning portraits he took were truly amazing. On several occasions when Bob bought a new camera, he would give one of his old cameras to someone he felt would appreciate it.
Bob was an ardent scholar of cosmology. I truly believe that his favorite pastime was studying the cosmos and learning everything he could about all the galactic formations that have been catalogued to date. He loved seeing new photos of these formations and the details which had heretofore been unknown. He felt a strong connection with the universe and a special planet in particular. Bob drew a star map while CUFOS was investigating his case which indicated a possible home planet of the greys who contacted him. You can find Bob’s star map in the link Brent has provided. Link: http://apmagazine.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=799&Itemid=53
Before we met Bob, a few of us in our support group had considered the idea of trying to initiate contact in a CE5-type encounter. About a year after Bob joined us, he independently suggested we try to make contact and so we did. We held our overnight sessions at my house and set up an array of experimental equipment such as an interferometer, barometer, thermometer, and an assortment of devices rigged to detect the presence of ET. Our sessions also included a tape recorder and night-vision camcorder as well as a large clock, pens, and spiral-bound notepads. We sat in a circle and communed while holding hands. We’d then discuss what we were sensing and take extensive notes including the time of occurrence.
Things did happen at these contact sessions although we couldn’t be sure of the cause or the source. For example, during our first attempt at contact, an orange light appeared above one of the participants, Sue. Later, I became encased in an orange bubble which healed a rash I had had for months. Neither of us were aware of the orange lights around ourselves, only around the other person. Bob felt compelled to go outside where he saw a tall, brightly-lit craft standing vertically. He seemed to be gone a long time and we were concerned and a little bored but not brave enough to go out to check on him. When he finally came back in, he announced that he was no longer afraid. We didn’t realize he had been afraid earlier.
During another contact session, three of us were awakened by a loud sound emanating from a spot close to my head. To me, it sounded like a pterodactyl lifting off: slow, labored, and heavy at first then giving way to a steady, lighter rhythm which eventually faded away. We caught this sound and our reactions to it on the camcorder.
Our third important session was in some ways the most significant because it involved independent verification based on our dog’s behavior which was caught on tape. My son Rob and dog Molly came upstairs to the main level to get something to drink while Bob and I were still awake and talking. The others were asleep. Bob and I exchanged a few words with Rob who then went back downstairs but Molly stayed with us. I was petting her when she suddenly looked up at the foyer ceiling and growled. I assured her that everything was okay and she shifted her position to my right side. Bob and I were fully aware of all that had happened so far but not of what was to come.
The next thing recorded was a small ball of light which swooped down from the ceiling to the floor then rolled along on my right side straight for a pair of shoes, Sue’s, in its path. When the light encountered the shoes, it stopped and carefully went around them then continued on its original path toward Molly who had been watching all of this. When the light was less than a foot from her, she jumped out of the way then came back and snuggled with me when the ball was out of sight. None of us were aware of the ball of light which had been captured on tape.
In the morning after awakening, Bob painstakingly went through the entire tape looking for anomalous events and came upon the incident with the light. Although Bob would generally review a tape on the morning after a session, not all tapes were reviewed since the process was so time-consuming. We assumed, wrongly, that if something noteworthy had occurred, we would have remembered it. Also, we seldom inserted a second tape after the allotted time had elapsed on the first. That, along with the tapes that were never reviewed, left a gap of many hours unaccounted for. Again, we were not certain what the anomalous activity we did record might represent.
Bob’s ET close encounters began at the age of five when his grandmother opened the back door and encouraged him to go with the beings who were waiting outside. His encounters continued while he was in the military and later in college. Besides the 1963 encounter, one of the events Bob considered to be especially significant occurred after a support group meeting at my house in 1998 or so.
There were four of us left after our meeting broke up: Bob, Nellie, Diane, and me. Bob and Nellie were standing next to each other near the foyer stairs at the east end of the living room. Diane was sitting on the sofa on the west end of the room, looking eastward toward Bob and Nellie. I stood in the center of the room facing Bob and Nellie with Diane to my back. As I was speaking to Nellie, I saw her eyes widen and her jaw drop as she looked up at the ceiling. Before I could ask what she had seen, Bob yelled out: did you see that, did you guys see that? Nellie immediately confirmed that she had then she and Bob began comparing notes on what they had seen. Each saw a portal open in the air, facing east, next to my right side. Standing in the opening was a tall being clad in a brown robe and hood. After two or three seconds, the portal and figure vanished.
This event is significant because there were not only the two primary observers, Bob and Nellie, who saw exactly the same thing but an additional objective, independent eyewitness, me, who was not directly involved but saw the expression of shock on Nellie’s face which tends to corroborate her and Bob’s accounts. Adding to the importance of this event is that the same portal had opened before in exactly the same location but in the opposite direction, facing west instead of east. This earlier occurrence of the portal was part of an extended encounter involving all my family members.
Bob mentioned something about his 1963 encounter which provides a clue regarding the nature and purpose of the beings who contacted him. Bob said he asked a female being: why am I here? The being said that Bob was a seed; that there are many seeds; that some seeds are defective and will die but Bob was not defective. She said that seeds need to be tended and nurtured throughout their lives. From Bob’s account, I assumed that the purpose of nurturing the seeds was to promote the growth and evolution and consciousness of humankind.
Bob’s ashes were interred on November 26, 2018 in the Abraham Lincoln Military Cemetery in Ellwood, Illinois.
Mark Rodeghier of CUFOS (the Center for UFO Studies) thoughtfully provided us with these memories of Bob Laurence:
I remember so well my first encounter with Bob Laurence. It was at Dr. J. Allen Hynek’s home in Evanston, which in 1980 was also doing double-duty as the home of the Center for UFO Studies. That meeting was memorable because Bob was a credible person wrestling with memories and events that greatly troubled him, and, of course, those memories involved UFOs, specifically a potential abduction.
I had never investigated an abduction case before this, but it was immediately obvious that Bob needed assistance, and so Dr. Hynek and I decided that we should work together with Bob, to help him uncover whatever memories he might have, and importantly, to help him gain some control over this part of his life.
Bob was an intelligent guy, so that made it easy to work with him, and he tried to be very precise in his descriptions of what he had witnessed. We were fortunate to work with one of the best hypnotists in the Chicago area, Stan Mitchell, and our sessions with Bob, who had little, if any, exposure to the standard abduction literature (and there was much less of it then, anyway) were revealing and sometimes somewhat disturbing, although Stan worked well to mitigate any after effects.
This work with Bob began a long association and friendship between the two of us. Although we didn’t see each other often, we stayed in contact, in those pre-internet days, as Bob continued to ponder the meaning of his experiences, including new potential encounters.
Bob was African-American, and living on the south side of Chicago, must have regularly faced discrimination, but he never mentioned it. His race made me think at times of Barney Hill, each well-spoken gentlemen who had something utterly unanticipated happen to them.
Bob should be remembered and celebrated for a full life, even if his last years were plagued by health problems. I’m very glad I knew him and was able to share a bit of his time on our wonderful planet. As a UFO experiencer, he illustrated so well the mystery of the UFO phenomenon, where incredible things happen to sincere and credible people.
May he now have peace and, just maybe, some answers to what we all seek.