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Vegetable Men, Space Fairies, and Other Truly Bizarre Alien Encounters

There can be no doubt that any alleged encounter with creatures from another world is already by definition profoundly bizarre. Such reports really cover the full spectrum of the odd and of high strangeness, with these accounts reliably stirring debate, wonder, and awe. Yet there are some cases that go even beyond this, to fully catapult themselves into the furthest reaches of the extreme fringe of the bizarre, hovering out beyond all attempts to comprehend or explain them. Here are some of the stranger.

Certainly one of the more downright bizarre cases comes to us from the U.S. state of West Virginia, where in July of 1968 a local man by the name of Jennings Frederick was out bowhunting in the rural backwoods just outside outside of Fairmont, West Virginia. At some point he allegedly heard a high pitched, unearthly sound that he would describe as sounding like “a recording running at exaggerated speed.” Curious, Jennings searched about for the origin of this surreal noise, and this was when he would come across a very strange sight indeed.

There in the brush stood a 7-foot tall, semi-humanoid entity, with an exceedingly thin, almost skeletal frame, long ears, and stalk-like arms that were almost like tendrils and which ended in slender, 7-inch long fingers tipped with some sort of needles or thorns, as well as suction cups. The whole of the anomalous creature was described as green and very plant-like in nature, as if it were part animal and part plant. The whole time Frederick watched it that incessant chattering sound reverberated around him, and he suddenly realized that he could make out words within the alien noise, like glimpses of meaning from white noise, which he took to say:

You need not fear me. I wish to communicate. I come as a friend. We know of you all. I come in peace. I wish medical assistance. I need your help.

As Frederick stood there wide-mouthed in bewilderment, the mysterious being purportedly suddenly lashed out with one of its stalk-like arms with blinding speed to wrap him in an iron grip. The needles or thorns on its fingers then apparently pierced the startled man’s skin and began to draw blood, but rather than the pain he found himself drawn to the thing’s eyes, which seemed to rapidly switch back and forth from red to yellow in a hypnotizing, oscillating cycle that held him in thrall and dulled his senses. After about two minutes of this, the otherworldly plant-monster reportedly let him go and took off in a sprint up a nearby embankment in great 25-foot long bounds, followed shortly after by a deep thrumming noise that Frederick would later speculate to have been the sound of the creature’s space ship.

For years Frederick kept this undoubtedly absurd-sounding story to himself out of fear of ridicule, but in 1976 he would relate it to the paranormal researcher Gray Barker, who would then include it in his newsletter. The story would be brought to even greater attention when it was mentioned in the late Brad Steiger’s 1978 book Alien Meetings. Was this an alien, some sort of cryptid, or what? Whatever it was, the “Vegetable Man” of West Virginia is certainly one of the more bizarre encounters on record.

Vegetable men are weird enough, but there are other encounters with unidentified, often humanoid creatures that are every bit as bizarre. On the evening of November 17, 1974, something well beyond normal was witnessed by several motorists along a lonely stretch of road on Bald Mountain, in the U.S. state of Washington. The first of the witnesses was a man named Ernest Smith, would say of the the entity he caught in his headlights thus:

It was horse-sized, covered with scales and standing on four rubbery legs with suckers like octopus tentacles. Its head was football-shaped with an antenna sticking up…The thing gave off this green, iridescent light.

Another couple driving by at the time by the name of Mr and Mrs Roger Ramsbaugh also claimed to have seen the creature and its ethereal glow. Interestingly, just three days previous there had been a report of a UFO crashing to earth in the region, perhaps suggesting a connection. The researcher and author Jim Brandon also mentioned in his book Weird America that at the time Lewis County Sheriff William Wister had led an investigation into the reports, but that he had been shut down by the Air Force and NASA, after which teams of men had been brought in to search the area, which Brandon would describe as “a special NASA team, including a heavily armed military unit wearing uniforms with no insignia.” What could this creature have been? Was it just a newspaper hoax on a slow news day? Who knows?

If none of this has been weird enough for you, then how about floating, disembodied alien brains? In August 17, 1971, there was a perhaps even stranger alien encounter from Palos Verdes, California. Witnesses John Hodges and Pete Rodriguez were allegedly headed to their car at 2 AM when they saw off through the trees a faint, mysterious glow emanating from beyond. They got into their car, switched on the headlights, and their suspended in the beams of light from their vehicle were what were described as two large, blueish entities that looked just like disembodied human brains, hovering right in the middle of the road and surrounded by clouds of vapor that seemed to cling to them. The larger one of the “brains” was described as having a prominent red spot like an eye set within it, and this is the one that began to move towards the vehicle for purposes unknown.

The two terrified men understandably got out of there as fast as they possibly could, and it was later noticed that they had 2 hours of missing time. In 1976, Hodges would undergo hypnotic regression after years of being plagued by nightmares and wondering what had happened to them out on that lonely road. Under hypnosis, Hodges revealed that he had dropped Rodriquez off at home and arrived at his own house to find the larger brain waiting for him there, which had then telepathically spoken to him. He claimed that he had then been taken into the brains’ ship to some sort of “control room,” where it was revealed that they were merely telepathic tools being used by other aliens, this time more akin to the “grey” aliens typically described in more mainstream reports, although in this case they stood over 7-feet tall.

These master aliens then apparently claimed they were from a place called “Zeta Reticulii,” and showed Hodges various images of nuclear war and destruction as they explained that the human race had grown too powerful for its own good. He was also shown another planet that had been completely destroyed by another race that had met the same fate, and was admonished that humankind would be the “instruments of their own fate,” telling him, “Take the time to understand yourselves. The time draws near when you shall need to!” Hodges then says that he felt a potent buzzing sensation in the back of his head and found himself back in his own car.

In the years after, he became convinced that these aliens had implanted him with what he called a “translator cell,” and that he received frequent telepathic communications from them through this device, in which they made dire predictions such as an apocalyptic war in the Middle East and the future widespread use of nuclear weapons. Many of the prophecies given by the aliens have turned out to have not come to pass, which sort of raises an eyebrow even further than it already is. Whether you think this story and its “space brains” has any truth to it at all or not, you have to admit it is a damn strange tale all the same.

The United States certainly does not hold the monopoly on such mind-bending weird cases, and almost as absurd as floating brains is a case involving basically floating, sentient bags of jelly, which were apparently witnessed on December 20, 1958 in Sweden. On this day, 25 year-old Hans Gustafsson and 30 year-old Stig Rydberg, were on their way along Route 45 from Höganäs to Heisenberg in the early morning hours along a foggy road that had such poor visibility that the two friends decided to pull over. As they walked about outside the vehicle they soon noticed through the haze that there was some sort of glow emanating from the surrounding forest nearby.

The two decided to hike off into the darkened, glow frosted trees to try and see where the light was coming from, and after penetrating around 150 feet into the woods they allegedly came across the source of the glow, which proved to be far more bizarre than they had anticipated. There before them was a disc-like object resting on two legs around two feet long, the whole of which cast a scintillating glow of ever-changing colors. Even odder than the sight of this apparent flying saucer was what could be seen cavorting about the vicinity, which were 3-foot long amorphous blobs that Rydberg would describe thus:

They were like protozoa, just a bit darker than most, sort of a bluish color, hopping and jumping around the saucer like globs of animated jelly.

Nowhere on the bodies were any visible limbs or sensory organs, nor any other discernible features, and it was as if they were just pulsating gobs of gelatinous goo that could somehow levitate over the ground. Things got rather tense very quickly when these unusual entities suddenly surrounded the two puzzled men and purportedly began to engulf their limbs within their throbbing masses, described as feeling like “magnetic dough,” while at the same time exuding a terrible stench like “ether and burnt sausage.” It seemed as if the blob-like creatures were trying to drag the increasingly terrified witnesses towards the glimmering disc, and no matter how hard the two witnesses fought back and struggled it did little good.

By chance, Rydberg finally managed to tear himself free and run back towards their car with the alien blobs in hot pursuit. When he reached the vehicle he leaned heavily on the car’s horn, piercing the night with a wall of noise in an effort to draw anyone’s attention to their plight, but which also seemed to have the effect of startling the creatures enough to let go of Gustafsson. The blobs then huddled under their craft, filed inside it, and shot off away into the night sky, leaving behind a screeching whistling blare, that nauseating stink, and two very shaken men who found that they were covered in strange bruises and cuts.

Gustafsson and Rydberg perhaps understandably kept the story to themselves for some time, but when it finally came out it became a minor sensation in Sweden. The two witnesses were also interviewed by police, and although the story was without a doubt off-the-wall, they could find no sign of any hoaxing going on, and even when the two were secretly monitored when they thought they were alone, they did not let on that there was any lying or trickery going on. Gustafsson and Rydberg were also found to be in fine physical and psychological health, and in the end, police concluded that the men really seemed to have been traumatized by what they at least truly believed they had seen, whatever that was.

This particular case of what are commonly referred to as the “Domsten Blobs” was also covered by Steiger in his book Strangers from the Skies, with the author himself referring to the outlandish monsters as “terrible flying jelly bags.” It is difficult to ascertain just what it was that these two men saw, or at least thought they saw, and with no other accounts anywhere near it we will probably never know.

Moving over to England we have the weird case that appeared in Fortean Times in the summer of 1988. The incident occurred near Birmingham in the West Midlands, where on January 4, 1979, a Jean Hingley was out working in her garden. At some point she looked up to see a glowing orange sphere appear to hover over her home, which gradually changed to white and inexplicably caused her dog to collapse to the ground, seemingly paralyzed. Things got even stranger still when some tiny, “fairy-like” entities suddenly came buzzing from down out of the sky to enter the house. The article would describe these beings thus:

They were about 3.5 ft tall, and dressed in a silvery tunic with six silver buttons down the front. They had large eyes like ‘black diamonds’ with a glittering lustre, set into wide white faces with no nose to speak of and a simple line for the mouth. Their heads were covered by transparent helmets like ‘goldfish bowls’, surmounted by small lights. Their limbs were silvery-green, ending in simple tapering points with no apparent hands or feet. They had large oval ‘wings’ which looked as if they were made of thin, transparent paper covered with dozens of glittering multi-coloured dots, like ‘braille dots’. Each ‘being’ was surrounded by a halo, and numerous very thin streamers hung down from their shoulders. They hovered and flew about the room with their ‘arms’ clasped in front of their chests, while their ‘legs’ hung down stiffly. Their wings didn’t flap like those of birds, but seemed to be for display and merely fluttered gently or occasionally folded inwards like a concertina. Their expression – “like a dead person’s face” – never changed during the encounter, which lasted for about an hour.

These creatures apparently spoke in unison in a low, gruff voice, and would occasionally emit a laser-like beam of light from their helmets, which had the effect of dazzling the witness and creating a burning sensation. The creatures were also quite mischievous and troublesome, knocking objects over, shaking the Christmas tree, jumping on the sofa, banging on walls, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. They would continue this cavorting, occasionally stunning Hingley with their enigmatic laser weapons, until they were called to attention by a sudden beeping noise coming from the garden. The creatures then flitted back outside, oddly carrying with them pieces of mince pie they had pilfered from the kitchen, and entered the large orange craft that had been hovering over the house earlier, which was now sitting upon the ground and sported portholes and two long antenna-like structures that glowed blue.

When the craft was gone, Hingley claimed that she had been incapacitated by an inexplicable pain, and when she snapped out of it she realized that there was a tiny burn mark in her forehead. An inspection of the area turned up what appeared to be 8-foot long tracks like the tracks of a tank’s treads, and additionally it was found that various electrical appliances in the home had been mysteriously fried by some unknown force. What were these fairy-like beings and what did they want? It is unknown.

Another account first came to public attention in an 1968 issue of Flying Saucer Review, and comes from nearby France, where in 1962 a business man was driving along a rural road in Var on a dark and rainy night. As he drove along the desolate stretch of road peering through the torrent of rain, the witness allegedly noticed a group of figures huddled in the middle of the road as he rounded a bend. He at first took these to be people, perhaps in need of help, but would soon find out that these were no human beings. The witness would explain:

My window was down and I leaned my head out slightly to see what was the matter; it was then that I saw beasts, some kind of bizarre animals, with the heads of birds, and covered with some sort of plumage, which were hurling themselves from two sides towards my car. Terrified, I wound up my window, accelerated like a mad man, and the stopped 150-meters [approximately 500-feet] further on. I turned round and saw these things, these beasts, these nightmarish sort of beings, which were heading, with a sort of flapping of wings, towards a luminous dark-blue object, which hung in the air over a field on the other side of the road. On reaching it [the UFO], these ‘birds’ were literally sucked into the underpart of the machine as if by a whirlwind. Then I heard a dull sound (clac!) and the object flew off at a prodigious speed and finally disappeared.

What were these bizarre bird-like beings? Since no one has seen anything like it it is anyone’s guess. Finally, we leave Europe to come to the South American country of Venezuela, and a very harrowing and strange report from November of 1954. On November 28, 1954, two witnesses by the names of Gustavo Gonzales and José Ponce were driving a truck from Caracas to Petare, Venezuela, when in the early morning hours they came across an enormous glowing orb floating about 6 feet above the ground in front of them. Perhaps unwisely, the men stopped the truck and got out to investigate, upon which they noticed several small, 3-foot high humanoids covered in bristly hair that seemed to be gathering rocks to bring aboard their craft.

Gonzales and ponce approached and decided to try and grab one of the creatures, which turned out to be a bad idea. The small, vaguely ape-like being was apparently vastly strong, effortlessly flinging them off and then proceeding to viciously claw at them. When Gonzales fought back by stabbing it with a knife, his weapon was found to have no effect on it at all. The struggle continued until one of the other creatures put an end to it all by firing off a stunning beam of bright light that knocked the two men to their knees, whereupon the odd beings entered their ship and shot off into the night. Medical examination would show that Gonzales did indeed have a nasty looking scratch mark on his body, and the two men were found to be completely sober. Making the whole case even more bizarre was a report from another witness who also claimed to have seen the creatures and to have even seen the struggle between them and the two witnesses.

These are some of the most outrageous, perplexing, and even downright absurd reports of alien encounters there are, and we are left to wonder just what in the world is going on here. These are singularly peculiar cases that have no other parallel in the sightings records, and which lurk on the very fringes of the weird. What could these creatures be and where did they come from? Why haven’t they been seen more often? Are these hallucinations, illusions, hoaxes, or lies? No one really knows, and these extremely odd encounters continue to serve to stir the imagination.