Stories of alien encounters really run the range. Some are mysterious, others fleetingly vague, still others yet profoundly weird. Then there are others that propel past merely weird to lodge into the realm of the utterly bonkers. These are the cases that are so bizarre and absurd that they boggle the mind, hovering out on the fringes of the fringe. One of these deeply strange cases must surely be the time a hunter out in the wilderness came across a being that defies understanding, and which has remained one of the odder abduction cases on record.
In October of 1974, a 41-year-old oil worker Carl Higdon made his way out into the wilds of Wyoming, in order to do some elk hunting. On October 25, he was stalking towards a place called McCarthy Canyon, in Carbon County, but decided to go into a more remote area of Medicine Bow National Forest on the advice of some other hunters that he met by chance. The region they suggested was an area he had never really hunted in before, unfamiliar and isolated, but it would not be long before it would pay off. After just a few minutes of hiking along, he came over a hill and became aware of a herd of five elk up ahead in a clearing, one of them being a large, formidable male. It was almost too good to be true, and so he prepared to take a shot at the buck, which is where things would quickly derail into the world of the weird. Higdon would later say:
I walked maybe five minutes until I came to a rise in the ground. Down below in a clearing were five elk, huddled closely together. From my vantage point, several hundred yards away, I could see that one of them was a really outstanding animal. I lined him up in my telescopic sight and fired my gun, a Magnum rifle. It can give your shoulder a mean whack if you’re not careful. I raised my rifle and fired, but the bullet only went about 50 feet and dropped.
Higdon would say that the blast from the rifle had also made no noise, produced no kickback as expected, and that he had watched in utter astonishment as the bullet sort of travelled in slow motion before its trajectory was abruptly stopped by the unseen barrier. He would also later recall that the air all around him had at the time felt charged, as if suffused with static electricity. He walked over to where his bullet had mysteriously just sort of dropped, and could see that it was squashed, as if it had hit a solid wall, but nothing was there. The elk had by now scattered, but he was not alone there in that clearing, and he would explain, “I heard a noise like a twig snapping, and looked over to my right and there, in the shadow of the trees, was this sort of man standing there.” The hunter tucked the bullet away into his canteen pouch and looked to this stranger to quickly find that it seemed to be no “man” at all.
According to Higdon, the strange figure stood a little over 6 feet high, bow-legged and wearing a skintight, black, one-piece outfit that he would liken to a scuba diving wetsuit. The suit had a pair of harnesses that crossed in front and a metallic belt emblazoned with what appeared to be a yellow star, but even stranger than this outfit was the physical features of the entity. Its head was without discernible ears, with small, deep set eyes, a slit-like mouth holding three oversized teeth, two appendages like antennae jutting from the forehead, and very course hair like straw that stood straight up on top. The creature seemed to have no neck, with that creepy head just sitting directly on its shoulders, blending right into the body. At the end of its unusually long arms in place of a right hand, it, or “he,” as Higdon would insist, was what looked like a drill bit, although it was not spinning, and the other arm had no hand at all. This bizarre entity appraised the terrified Higdon for a moment and then took a few steps forward before casually asking him in perfect English, “How you doin’?”
Higdon was stunned for a moment, unable to find his voice, before weakly stammering out, “Pretty good.” The entity nodded slightly, and came even closer, apparently not threatening but still very unsettling, and asked Higdon if he was hungry, before producing a plastic packet of some sort and having it levitate through the air to the hunter. Higdon plucked the pack out of the air and clumsily opened it to find four pills enveloped within, which he was told by the entity would each give him enough sustenance for one day. Higdon swallowed one of them and pocketed the rest. The creature then finally introduced himself, almost seemingly embarrassed that he had not done so sooner, calling himself “Ausso One” and gesturing behind him, where Higdon could now see something glimmering in the light, of which he would say:
There, not far from us, was a transparent, cube-shaped object resting on the ground. To me it looked like a huge Christmas package. You know — flat on all sides, like a box. I couldn’t see any landing gear or entrance… It was much smaller than any of our commercial or military planes. In fact, you’re going to think I’m crazy, but this thing couldn’t have been more than five feet high, seven feet long, and four and a half feet wide. Tiny is the only word I can think of to accurately describe its size!
Ausso One then asked Higdon if he wanted to go for a ride, and before he even had time to respond, he claims that he was instantaneously aboard, as if he had been teleported. He was disoriented and could not process how exactly it was possible for him to have appeared there or how he had managed to even fit within the tiny craft, but there he was, and he was now beginning to feel a sense of dread and panic overcoming him, made even worse when he realized that his hands and feet were actually strapped down with bands. As he looked around wildly, Higdon peered through what he took to be some sort of shimmering force field, behind which were five elk that seemed to be in a sort of trance, frozen as if insects in amber, and which he had the overwhelming certainty were the exact same five elk he had originally tried to shoot at. He also then became aware that there was another otherworldly being of Ausso One’s same race aboard with them, who came forward to strap some sort of helmet to the hunter’s head. The craft then took off and positioned itself over Higdon’s truck, which seemed to vanish into thin air when Ausso pointed at it with his conical drill-bit arm, as the hunter looked on with a mixture of awe and horror. The ship then rapidly seemed to ascend above the earth and into space, the planet visibly fading into the distance through the transparent floor of the craft, and soon this was replaced by another, alien world approaching, which Ausso One rather oddly described as “163,000 light miles” away from Earth. What exactly is a light “mile” anyway? Who knows? On this new planet they approached an enormous tower with a brilliant rotating light, and which emanated a buzzing sound “like an electric razor,” and Higdon would say of it:
All around this tower were revolving patterns of multi-colored lights, not unlike powerful spotlights. They were so intense that it was actually painful to keep my eyes open. These lights were so brilliant that I held my hands to my face as a protective shield. I vaguely remember shouting, ‘Shut them off… they’re burning me!’ I just couldn’t tolerate them.
Higdon also claimed to have witnessed a group of what looked like other human beings outside, although he had no idea of who they were or why they were there. Throughout all of this, Ausso One casually explained that his people often hunted and fished on Earth, then set the craft down and took Higdon into the tower, where they made their way to a room in which he was asked to stand on a platform and was scanned by some sort of shiny panel device, which appeared out of the wall and disappeared back into it when the examination was complete. Ausso One then told Higdon that he was not a suitable candidate for their purposes, and that they were going to bring him back home.
They arrived back on Earth just as quickly as they had left it, and before setting Higdon loose, Ausso One took back the pills and wistfully studied the hunter’s rifle, saying that he wanted to keep it but was not allowed to before handing it back. After that, Higdon instantaneously found himself in the forest, disoriented and confused as to where he was. He wandered about until he found an abandoned truck and crawled into it to get out of the cold, so completely zonked out that he did not even realize that the truck was in fact his own. He used the CB radio to send out a distress call and then sat in the darkness, shivering and waiting. A search party would then find him, and oddly the truck was discovered to be buried in the muck of a thickly forested ravine, 5-miles from where he had last been, and far from the nearest road and with no tire tracks leading in or out. One of the search party members was Higdon’s own wife, who he at first did not even recognize through the haze of confusion pervading his mind. Oddly, it would turn out later that many of those in the search party, as well as several residents of the area, had seen strange lights in the sky prior to finding Hidgon.
When he was first found, Higdon could remember nothing past the point when his bullet had been stopped in midair, and most of this was dug up from his mind through hypnosis. There were also several odd details found in the aftermath of the hunter’s apparent abduction. It was found that several health issues he had been suffering from, such as lung scarring from a bout with tuberculosis and some kidney stones, were completely gone, and that he was once again in perfect health. The mysterious bullet that he had kept was also found and analyzed, showing damage that was consistent with hitting a surface even harder than a rock or tree, and furthermore it has been turned completely inside out and was missing its lead slug, but what this actually means is anyone’s guess.
We are left to wonder just what happened to Carl Higdon. Was any of this real at all? There have been plenty of ideas thrown around on the matter, and of course even the assertion that this must surely have been a hoax, but what of the details of the car found in that ravine and the mysterious health effects? Is there perhaps something more to this than the ramblings of a hoaxer and perhaps someone slightly unhinged? For his part, Higdon always maintained that it was all true, and never deviated from his story through countless retellings and hypnosis sessions, as well as myriad passed lie detector tests. It seems that he at least really believed what had happened was real, but what that all entails might forever remain a mystery, and it has gone on to be one of the more outlandish reports out there.