Alternate Perceptions Magazine, June 2021
Escorted by UFOs From Umvuma to Beit Bridge
The Rhodesian UFO encounter and teleportation
by: By Carl van Vlierden
Image of car involved in UFO encounter
[This article was prepared from report forms completed by the witnesses, Peter and Frances, and from the author’s taped interview with the witnesses. Transcription, precis and editing by Charles Bowen].
Introductory notes with a brief and partial comparative phenomenology, and a preliminary newspaper report of the UFO encounter claimed to have been experienced by Peter and Frances [names and addresses on file with FSR], with suspected levitation of their car.
The incident occurred on the night of May 30-31, 1974, during a journey that Peter and his wife were making from Salisbury via Fort Victoria and Beit Bridge on the border, to Durban, Natal, South Africa. The young couple were puzzled by the affair, but having given little thought previously to the subject of UFOs, and not having read books on the subject – although it will be seen that Peter, a young man with unusual gifts, had had an earlier UFO experience – they had no idea to whom to turn, to whom to report the incident. Then one day when they had been settled in the Republic for more than five months, they read a seriously-treated news item about a UFO report in The Natal Mercury. They approached the newspaper, and science columnist Bill Faill listened to their account and referred them to me. On November 28, 1974, Peter and Frances completed sighting report forms for me in my capacity as MUFON representative (as well as FSR correspondent) in South Africa. On December 1, 1974, I interviewed them in their Durban home, going over all the points, in depth, that they had made in their written reports. With their permission I recorded the interview, and the following account is based on, or quoted directly from that recording. The Encounters
The night of May 30-31, 1974, was cloudless, with 100% visibility, although there was no moon.
The strange events started at a point about 10 km to the south of Umvuma, when both witnesses saw a policeman, at least they thought at first that it was a policeman, sitting at the side of the road, and holding a “walkie-talkie” in his hand. This is what he seemed to be to Peter, who was driving his Peugeot 404 well in excess of the 100 km.h. speed limit. As that stretch of road is noted for speed traps, he slowed down. The pair of them then began to think in more detail about the policeman. Peter remarked that the metallic looking suit seemed queer for a policeman, as they normally wore khaki. Frances described the suit as “plasticky.” Frances looked back but could see nothing behind them.
The First UFO
The UFO appeared at 2:30 a.m. Frances is quite sure of the time, because she thought the light was from a house on a hill and, looking at her watch, remarked that it was very late for someone to be up in that part of the world. Then the idea occurred to her that it might be a communications tower beacon. The light was like a spotlight and it started to revolve like a lighthouse in such a way that it was like a spotlight being switched on and off. The light was on the passenger side of the vehicle (left-hand side). It appeared fairly close, and seemed to keep pace with the car. For a brief while they wondered whether or not it might be a helicopter.
It had a bluish tinge, was bright and steady, on for 5 seconds, off for 2 seconds.
Next the car lights began to fade. This was pointed out by Peter, and although they were again driving at 140 km.h., the maximum for the Peugeot, the lights inside and outside slowly dimmed out. At the same time the radio continued to function perfectly as they listened to L.M.’s (Lourenco Marques, in Mozambique) light jazz program. Peter said, however, that there was an immense light around the car, as if from neon lights, and enough to cast shadows.
As they drove along it suddenly became very cold in the car, unseasonally so, and they had to wrap up in coats, woollies and blankets, and switch the electric heater on (that, like the radio, was still operating). The ignition too must have been normal, for the engine was running well. Then, said Peter, he took his foot off the accelerator, but the car continued to motor at 150 km.h! It seemed the battery had plenty of “juice” in it, and after all, the radio (powered from the battery) and cigarette lighters still worked.
The cold in the car was very unusual. Peter had traveled the route several times, and said he’d never known such cold. It was just like the inside of a refrigerator, and he estimated the drop in temperature to have been about 20 – 30 degrees F, down to less than 50 degrees F.
Driving on “Automatic Pilot”
I took Peter up on his statement that he had taken his foot off the accelerator, and that there had been no associated reduction of speed. He confirmed that he’d driven from a point 18 km outside Fort Victoria, until entering the filling station at Fort Victoria, without headlights, and with no control. He couldn’t stop the car, as there was no power over braking. At the same time he couldn’t steer or control the engine. The car was traveling at about 160 km.h., and when he took his foot off the accelerator to apply the brake the car just continued without interruption.
I observed that as he’d moved his leg and foot he wasn’t “paralyzed” and he retorted that he certainly wasn’t, for he had been lighting cigarettes, and so on. Peter: “I only did it (took foot off accelerator) once. I was petrified, but said nothing to Frances, for she seemed on the verge of hysteria as it was, seeing all this happening.”
Frances: “The car seemed perfectly controlled. As the passenger I saw nothing untoward. The car wasn’t veering all over the road. The driver just sat doing nothing: it was as though we were on ‘automatic pilot.’”
Peter: “I tried to move the steering wheel, but nothing happened. I was petrified, but Frances remarked: ‘How can you sit there so calm?’”
Frances: “’Oh,’ he said, ‘It’s only a UFO,’ and I said, ‘What are you going to do about it?’ He replied ‘What can I do about it?’”
The African buses
The solitary UFO switched from the left (Frances’s side) to Peter’s side of the car for about 1 km, and then switched back. The one UFO stayed with them until they were a few kilometers from Fort Victoria.
At about the time of the switching of station, they passed what appeared to be an African bus parked in a lay-by outside an African trading store. There was not a soul in sight. All lights in the bus, and its headlights, were blazing, but it was empty. Usually, said Peter, these buses were crammed with passengers and luggage, with bikes, bags and trunks, and chickens, on top, and many passengers sit throughout the journey guarding their possessions, even relieving themselves in the bus rather than leaving their personal chattels. On this instance there was not a person to be seen. “Very weird,” said Frances. This first bus was on the left, and pointing in the direction in which they were traveling. The next two African buses, with lights on, and engines running, were on the other side of the road, and facing in the other direction. The second bus was 7 km. beyond the first bus they’d seen, and then there was a third a further 5 km along the road. Both were empty. Both were parked at the roadside, a thing drivers do not do in Rhodesia as heavy fines are inflicted on the proprietors for such offences. If a bus breaks down it is incumbent upon the driver to place a warning red triangle on the road behind the vehicle. None of these buses were accompanied by red triangles.
Peter and Frances were particularly interested in the buses as they carried the livery of a firm in the group for which Frances worked.
The beam of light
There was a beam of light from the UFO to the horizon or (asked Frances) was it from the horizon to the UFO?
When they were some 10 km. from Fort Victoria the UFO shot off like a shooting star.
At 4:30 a.m. they drove into the garage in Fort Victoria without lights. (Peter switched off the engine and when, an hour later he switched on again, and started, the lights responded normally to the switch.)
The petrol pump attendant remarked that there was something wrong with their headlights. As he was filling the tank up to the brim with petrol Frances, swathed in fur coat and woolies, said something about it being a very cold night. The native attendant, who had been sleeping near the pumps clad in only a singlet and shorts, looked at her in surprise and denied that it was cold.
The car was only warm again when they got back in, after a fruitless endeavor to boy hot coffee, but after a welcome wash at the hotel. They drove away from Fort Victoria at 5:30 a.m.
Now two UFOs
About 10 km. out of Fort Victoria, Frances once again alerted Peter to the appearance of a UFO on the left-hand station, but this time they also saw another one move into position above the car. They were either small, or a lot higher. This time they did not come up from behind a hill like the first one had done. Suddenly, for example, the one on the left was there, traveling at the same speed as the car. Its light was steady, and there was no twinkle.
Absence of people
Another strange aspect of the journey was that apart from the “policeman” and one native at the Fort Victoria filling station, they recalled seeing no one else during the journey. Nor were there any vehicles other than the three buses, seen in most unusual circumstances and condition. Peter said that this was normally a busy route. [Especially as, in view of the daytime heat people probably prefer to drive through the night: also, this was the night before a South African public holiday. National Day, and as this was the main route to South Africa, one might expect additional travelers – FSR Editor.]
Map of sighting locations
Now they came upon most unexpected terrain. Frances had fixed her attention on the UFO which she could see pacing them to the left, but she does recall seeing many low bushes and masses of high grass, and the land appeared wet. Which was strange, for vegetation in that region is sparse, with a few “umbrella trees” and scattered low scrub on very dry ground. Peter was more specific: “There were large expanses of swamp and water on the surface, which I could see reflecting the light from above.” This light was the same color as before, and the car lights were now normal, and Peter could see lush foliage. The road was stone dry, yet the sides of the road, the verges and the country beyond, were wet. Lots of water and tropical vegetation.
Frances reminded us that normally there is a constant noise of crickets and cicadas. There was no noise from the engine, and no sound of crickets and cicadas. It was like traveling in a dream with all the sounds switched off – except the radio still plugging away with the same old program.
“Remote control” once more
As they were leaving Fort Victoria their speed was of the order of 120 km.h. It was now up to, or even above the 190 km.h. region (limit of the graduated scale). Peter said he himself had no control over the car at 200 km.h., or more, yet “…the car was not lacking control at all: it ‘did its own thing’.” And he admitted that inwardly he was scared out of his wits. “I tried to ignore the phenomenon at first as being an optical illusion, but then found I was losing control, as though someone else was operating the car: I wasn’t driving!”
He felt shocked, indeed petrified. He just couldn’t drive, and there was no response when he tried to. He said he might just as well have climbed into the back seat away from the controls.
Although the road from Fort Victoria to Beit Bridge is far from straight, that night, according to Peter, it was dead straight: straight as a ribbon until about 3 km. before reaching Beit Bridge.
The witness recalled being worried by the absence of the usual beautiful Rhodesian dawn. No rosy pre-dawn, no sunrise: just grey overcast.
It was fully light – the grey light – when Peter switched off the headlights. The two UFOs were still clearly visible, though seemingly higher. There was still no sign of life, either human or animal.
Frances fell asleep at about 6:15 a.m.
Frances: “There’s a point I’d like to make: just before I fell asleep I think we’d lost all sound from the radio. Till then we’d not had to change the station at all, which is unusual for the distance traveled, and the time. Then, for about half an hour, nothing, which is why I went to sleep, for there was no radio to listen to and keep me occupied. We fiddled with it for a time but could pick up nothing.”
Peter: “From 5:30 a.m. I had lost track of time. I felt as though in a coma. Everything just disappeared. Three minutes after Frances fell asleep I can remember nothing. I seemed mesmerised by the unending, solid stream of road – it was like drivers’ hypnosis.”
At one point in my interview I remarked upon the fact that in his report Peter had suggested that the objects might have been solar-energized. Why?
Peter: “Because there was no Sun.”
CvV: “But why?”
Peter: “I don’t know…”
Frances: “Because they rose from where the Sun had set, and we thought the light coming up from the horizon was energy from the Sun. No pinky dawn, and this made me think they were absorbing sunlight, because we’d switched off the car lights, and they couldn’t absorb the power, if that’s what they were doing. It was horrible: it was the worst bit, because we didn’t know if we were still on Earth.”
Peter: “Yes, there were still the swamps.”
At the border
Frances awoke when nearing Beit Bridge at about 7:00 a.m. There was no sunlight, and the two objects were still visible. At the border post she did not draw the attention of the Customs men to the UFOs. Furthermore, and this may have been purely coincidental, she was confused as to the time. The clock inside the Rhodesian post showed 8:30 a.m., which was also the time on the clock on the tower of the South African post over the way, yet the car clock, and their watches, indicated nearly 7:30 a.m.
The Rhodesian officials were the first living things they had seen since leaving Fort Victoria, and they were wearing safari suits. When they saw Frances and Peter they were amazed, and asked whether they had just come from the North Pole. At that point someone switched on a radio, and a time check was given at 7:30 a.m. The UFOs had now gone, and the sunlight was all around them in the usual manner, but they could not remember seeing it come up at all. Peter suggested that the UFOs must have gone straight up and out of sight. [This might sound a trifle vague, but even on the strength of the account we have heard so far, the witnesses had had a traumatic experience, so it is hardly surprising they sound vague over details – EDITOR.]
The missing kilometers
Peter was surprised, when reading the speedo trip meter, which he had re-set to zero at Fort Victoria, to find that it had recorded only 17 km., yet the distance by road from Fort Victoria to Beit Bridge is 288 km. He had “tanked up” to the brim at Fort Victoria and expected to take on a further supply at the Beit Bridge South African post. When he tried to do this the tank would take only 22 cents worth, which is less than two liters – which must have been the amount used between Fort Victoria and the point where the UFOs had picked them up the second time that night.
Which was a remarkable conclusion to a remarkable and nightmarish night’s drive.
Strange experiences in the past
Peter and Frances kept their counsel. To any normal person, that is, to any lay person with little concern for UFO or other strange phenomena, their story would no doubt have sounded ludicrous. But as will be seen, other factors may have been at work prompting their immediate silence about their experience.
Peter had entered a note about astral traveling in his report form, so I asked him about it. He told me that he was accustomed to astral travel up` to 4 or 5 years ago. He had started the practice when he was 14, at puberty, and he went on doing it until he was 19. He stopped doing it after meeting Frances because she didn’t like it. Frances: “There was one night when I got a terrific shock because he was asleep and he suddenly went…well, I thought he had died, because he wasn’t breathing, and his skin…I could almost see through him, and his skin was almost transparent. I figured he must be astral traveling then because I realized his breathing was there, very shallow. I knew better than to wake him up, so I left him, and about 10 minutes later he was back to normal, and I woke him up. Since then he’s never done it again and (turning to Peter) I don’t know what happened then…I never asked you.”
CvV: “When astral traveling have you seen the cord connecting you with your body shell?”
CvV: “And this recent (UFO) experience…?”
Peter: “It was exactly the same sensation that one gets when one is parting from one’s own self…like the initial stages when one relaxes and takes in oneself, preparing to astral travel: this is how I felt.”
Telepathy, self hypnosis, etc.
Peter, in his statement, said his mental telepathic powers were fading since the experience of May 30-31, 1974, but that his power to concentrate and absorb things has improved immensely. I asked him at what age he first realized he had telepathic powers.
Peter: “At adolescence, at about 14 years of age, I found I could do these things: astral travel, self-hypnosis, and mental telepathy. Things outside the scope of normal boys. I used telepathy as a party piece, but crudely, because I never perfected it. Now I’ve lost it.”
CvC: “And you, Frances, your fantastic memory?”
Frances: “Yes. I could read through a set book before an exam and remember it almost word for word. Now it’s gone, completely.”
Peter: (With a chuckle): “Now just a lovely dumb blonde!”
Drawing of 1964 UFO
In his report Peter had added an important note. One point, he wrote, that may have had some bearing on the fact that these objects picked them up is that in July 1964, he saw a flying saucer, which he erased from his memory, due to the opinions about those objects at that time. He also drew an excellent sketch of the objects. I asked him for further details of that experience.
Peter: “It was outside Shabani. I was traveling with my father in his van. I used to bunk school to help him do his long delivery trips. He was driving. It was on a dirt road from Gwelo via Selukwe to Shabani. There was an embankment around a bend. As we came around the corner there it was, about four feet off the road and about 60-70 feet across. As it took off it shot hot red dust around us in clouds.”
CvV: “Did your father see it?”
Peter: “Yes. But he’s the type of man who’d forget it.”
Frances: “He wouldn’t want to know.”
CvV: “Did it make a big impression on you?”
Peter: “Yes. It made an impression on my father too, but he wouldn’t mention it to anybody. The thing was only 20 to 30 feet away from us. It took off at an angle and just flew off. It was gun-metal grey, with black sections where the power unit was. Dust clung to the car for days, weeks. It was even baked into the paint of our big white van.”
Frances: “What time was it? I haven’t heard this story before. Was it day or night?”
Peter: “Daytime, about 11:30 a.m.”
Frances: “Good heavens.”
Peter: “We were doing about 80 mph. We saw it there and it just shot off. We were braking hard. Dad daren’t swerve on the dirt road surface.”
CvV: “I see. Where is Shabani on the map in relation to your recent encounter?”
Peter: “Here. The area is in an iron belt, and is rich in other minerals, gold and diamonds. Also the metal used in the bases of American space craft comes from Rhodesia. Everything is in that area.”
CvV: “You say you erased this experience from your memory.”
Peter: “Yes. My father told me to. He said: ‘Don’t tell anyone you’ve seen this.’”
CvV: “Have you told him about this latest…?”
Peter: “No. He’s a brilliant man with physical things, but does not want to know about the unknown.”
On the July 1964 occasion Peter and his father were carrying a consignment of electronic tuning equipment. After the experience they found that in every piece of equipment every valve and diode had been “blown” and they had to take them home to replace them.
Peter is a clever artist, and now uses his talent commercially in his work as sales manager for a furniture business, where he is also involved in interior design and decoration.
Peter wrote about a remarkable lack of wear of the tires of the car after the 1974 experience. What precisely did he mean by this, I asked.
Peter: “For the trip I bought cheap re-treads. My intention was to buy new Michelins for the Peugeot when I got down here, because in Rhodesia they’re about $60-$70 each [Rhodesian dollars] while in South Africa they’re only R18-R19 each. So there was no point in spending good money on tires, and I put ‘rubbish’ on.”
Frances: “Just to get us here.”
Peter: “It so happens I re-treaded my Michelins. If you know anything about tires you’ll know its voodoo to re-tread wire frames. Give them 1200 km and they’ll be off. The tire people protested, but I insisted. Now, seven months later, I’ve still got enough tread to last…er…well, they’re not wearing at all.” Frances: “We can show you.”
CvV” “That’s the car out there?”
Frances: “Yes. We’ve done 7000-8000 km. on them, and they’re like new.”
Peter: “I do a lot of motor sport, and I know how to punish tire. One day I took the car to a drive-in, and put it through its paces to rip the threads. They didn’t budge.”
Frances: “He’s continually moaning about them, because their road-holding isn’t too good, but they’re so perfect we don’t want to spend money unnecessarily.”
CvV: “You’d better hang on to that car. Maybe its indestructible!”
Frances: “It’s not.”
Peter: “We’re having lots of trouble with the electrically-assisted clutch operation. And the alternator too. The only way to burn out an alternator is to run it too fast.”
CvV: “I see. So the excessive speed of the car on the trip from Rhodesia…that could be proof?”
Peter: “I suppose so.”
Source: Flying Saucer Review, Vol. 21, No. 2, 1975. Article used with permission of former editor Gordon W. Creighton.