Dec 22, 2022 I Nick Redfern

Shape-Shifting Creatures: Are They Aliens, Fairies, Supernatural Entities? Or Something Totally Different?

Is it possible that some UFO encounters might not be what they initially appear to be – namely face to face confrontations with extraterrestrials from faraway worlds? Might they actually be carefully stage-managed, manipulated events? Perhaps our presumed aliens are, in reality, shapeshifters from our world; entities that toy with our minds and assume the roles and even the appearances of ETs. Today, when people ponder on the matter of extraterrestrial encounters, they typically think of so-called alien abductions and the Grays, those diminutive, large-headed entities with eerie, black eyes that are near-hypnotic in nature. Back in the latter part of the 1940s and the early 1950s, however, things were very different. Infinitely different, even. Back then, the Grays were in the sights of precisely no-one at all. That’s not to say people weren’t encountering aliens, however. They most assuredly were. Back then, however, they were known as the Space Brothers. They were very human-looking aliens – sometimes slightly shorter in stature than us, and occasionally reaching heights of around seven feet. They wore long robes, or silver-outfits similar to the clothing worn by fighter-pilots. And their message was always the same: they were deeply concerned by our growing nuclear arsenals and wished us to lay down our weapons and live in peace and harmony with one another – some chance of that happening any time soon! And, those who were "taken up" by the Space Brothers were known as the Contactees.

Among the more well-known of all the Contactees were George Adamski (whose 1952 book, Flying Saucers Have Landed, became a huge hit with not just UFO devotees but with the public, too), George Van Tassel (who attracted significant FBI attention as a result of his UFO claims), and Frank Stranges, who maintained that human-like ETs had infiltrated the Pentagon. And then there were the lesser known Contactees, one of whom is central to the story that this particular chapter is focused on. His name was Orfeo Angelucci. Although a fairly minor cog in the Contactee wheel, Angelucci wrote a number of well-received books, even though they failed to sell in large quantities. They included The Secret of the Saucers and Son of the Sun. According to the man himself – who was born in 1912 and who worked for a New Jersey-based flooring company – it was in 1946 that his experiences of the other world variety began, something which Angelucci reveals in Son of the Sun. Angelucci had a big interest in science and aviation. In August 1946, he launched a large balloon array into the skies of Trenton, New Jersey. It was the very town in which folklore / fairy / and little people" expert, W.Y Evans-Wentz was born, in 1878. They were balloons filled with different kinds of mold – the reason being to determine if mold was affected by exposure to different altitudes, temperatures, and air pressure. Angelucci further maintained that it was this experience which caught the attention of the Space Brothers, and who specifically chose him to further their agenda on our planet.

(Nick Redfern) Contactees, Space Brothers and Space Sisters: they all came together.

Although Angelucci claimed numerous encounters with the cosmic brothers (and sisters, too), it was not so much the encounters, themselves, that were overly significant, but the means by which the entities from the stars manifested before him. It’s important to note that although Angelucci stressed it was in the summer of 1946 that aliens first took note of his work with high-altitude balloons, it was not until 1952 that the cosmic ones met with him, face to face. By this time, Angelucci had moved to California; specifically to Los Angeles. May 23, 1952 was the day – or, rather, the night – on which everything changed for Angelucci. It started out as a strange day – even before the ETs arrived on the scene. From the moment he woke up, Angelucci felt agitated, worried, and had a strange sense that the day was going to turn out very weird. He was right on target. At the time, Angelucci was employed by the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation – which, interestingly enough, George Van Tassel had also been employed at, albeit in the 1940s – and was working a night-shift. It was shortly after midnight on the evening in question that Angelucci got in his car and drove home. He didn’t know it then, but he was about to have a detour, and an experience, of a very weird kind. It was as Angelucci crossed a bridge over the Los Angeles River – a bridge that was eerily empty of any other vehicles, at the time – that he caught sight of a large, blue-colored ball of light that was clearly shadowing him. The beach-ball sized circle of light took a sudden turn, appearing directly in front of Angelucci’s car. Shocked to the core, Angelucci slowed his car to practically walking pace, and watched, amazed, as two small, green balls of light emerged from the larger one and floated towards him. 

Via telepathy a booming voice informed Angelucci that he had indeed been watched ever since the day of that fateful balloon launch back in 1946. Angelucci was about to ask a question when the two balls closed in on each other, and eventually merging into one, larger, green light. In mere seconds, the ball changed into the disembodied images of a man and a woman – or, as Angelucci came to learn – the floating heads of a pair of aliens who could pass for you or I. Like so many of the Contactees, Angelucci was asked – in a noticeable and slightly bullying and patronizing fashion – to spread the word of the supposedly utterly benevolent ETs. “We’ll be back,” they said, when all was over, and in slightly Arnold Schwarzenegger-fashion. The ball of light raced into the sky and Angelucci, a nervous character at the best of times, raced home. The aliens were good to their word and arranged a following meeting – again late at night – under Los Angeles’ Hyperion Avenue Freeway Bridge. As Angelucci patiently waited, he finally noticed a pair of small balls of green light approaching through the darkness. They were coming. The lights transformed into one single light, described by the man of the hour as something resembling a huge “soap bubble” that gave off a “pale glow.” A chummy chat about the Universe, destiny, life, death, and even the afterlife followed – although the chat was a strange one, given that Angelucci found himself speaking to a ball of light that spoke back to him. Then, suddenly, the light was gone and Angelucci was left to do nothing stranger than head back home.

(Nick Redfern) At the very area of California, where a number of the Contactees claimed alien encounters.

Three weeks later, and undercover of overwhelming darkness, Angelucci was back at the bridge – as were the two green lights. On this time, however, they shapeshifted into the forms of a man and a woman, whose appearance, said Angelucci, put them both at around the age of thirty-five. The male, entity – named Neptune – warned Angelucci that our solar-system had been the home to numerous, earlier civilizations that had destroyed themselves, and that unless we changed our dangerous ways, we would surely be next on the long and sorry list of casualties. It was for that very reason, Neptune said, that Angelucci should write books on his experiences and get the word out to the public – which he duly and faithfully did, right up until his death in 1993, at the age of eighty-one. It should be known that a 1910 experience related to W.Y. Evans-Wentz - involving two supernatural entities that manifested out of a pair of glowing balls of light - was almost identical. Just as Angelucci did. Indeed, when one compares the 1910 Ireland case – described by W.Y. Evans-Wentz in The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries - with Angelucci’s experience in 1950s-era Los Angeles, one sees very little difference between the two. They practically mirror each other. The fact that both Evans-Wentz and Angelucci were born in Trenton, New Jersey makes the story even more bizarre.    

In July 1952, a very similar encounter to those of Orfeo Angeucci was reported by a man named Karl Hunrath, who, at the time, lived in the city of Racine, Wisconsin. It is a story that is told in a declassified FBI file of 1953 titled “Karl Hunrath,” and in an article from me titled “Kidnapped by a Flying Saucer?” On the morning of the 22nd of the month, Hunrath complained to his local police department about something very weird indeed; something which had occurred just a few hours earlier, in the dead of night. Who knows what the cops thought of it all, but it basically went as follows. In the early hours of a Sunday morning in July, Hunrath’s bedroom was flooded with a blinding, white light. He immediately sat upright and, as his eyes finally adjusted to the light, he could see in the corner of the room a floating ball of light that had a diameter of about four-feet. Hunrath could only stare in shock and awe. Then, something amazing and terrifying happened: the glowing ball transformed into a well-dressed man in black, and Hunrath found himself temporarily paralyzed. The “man” then proceeded to pump Hunrath’s right arm full of chemicals - which rendered him into a distinctly altered state of mind - and proceeded to tell him that he had been chosen to play a significant role in the alien mission on Earth. A very groggy Hunrath could only look on from his bed as the somewhat foreign-sounding – but now perfectly human-appearing – alien told him: “I am Bosco. You have been chosen to enter our brotherhood of galaxies.” 

The suit-and-tie-wearing Bosco advised Hunrath that the brothers from beyond were deeply worried by our warlike ways, and so action had to be taken against those dastardly elements of the Human Race that wanted to spoil everyone else’s fun. There was not to be any The Day the Earth Stood Still-style ultimatum for one and all, however. Nope. The aliens wished to recruit sympathetic humans to aid their righteous cause. Or, more correctly, get someone else to do all of their dirty work while they lurked safely in the shadows. And as Hunrath came to quickly realize, he was now one of the chosen few. But there was more. Bosco, via what Hunrath said were “occult techniques,” downloaded into his mind countless amounts of data on how to build a terrible weapon that had the ability to destroy aircraft; specifically, the aircraft of the U.S. military, who the Space-Brothers viewed as being just about as dangerous to world peace as the dastardly commies. “I am Bosco and that will be its name, too,” boomed the alleged alien, in reference to the device that he wanted Hunrath to not just build, but also deploy. Far too stunned and drugged to move, Hunrath could only watch in a mixture of befuddlement and shock as Bosco then turned on his heels and left for his – one might be inclined to assume after an experience like that – flying saucer. There was no amazing “Beam me up, Scotty”-type exit for Bosco, however. For a ball of light that shapeshifted into a human-like extraterrestrial, Bosco had a very down to earth means of making good his departure: he pulled back the curtains of Hunrath’s bedroom-window, clambered out, and vanished into the depths of the early morning blackness of Hunrath’s front-yard! 

The now-declassified FBI file – titled “Karl Hunrath” - reflects that Hunrath had assured the police there was no way he would even consider building Bosco and letting it loose on the world. Special-agents of the Bureau were not quite so sure, however. The neighbors were soon complaining of strange noises coming from Hunrath’s garage day and night, and at least three or four times per week he had a visitor who stayed for hours on end. Checks of the man’s license-plate by the FBI revealed he was a local: Wilbur J. Wilkinson – a subservient, Igor-like lackey to Hunrath’s escalating Dr. Frankenstein. On a morning in early August, FBI agents made an unannounced visit to Hunrath’s place of residence, demanding to be shown what it was that he and Wilkinson were working on in the garage. Weapon or not, to the FBI it appeared to be nothing more than “a collection of radios, and speakers and cables strung together.”

The somewhat bemused agents said their farewells and left. Had they been born into today’s world, they might just as well have texted their boss: “Hunrath / Bosco: WTF?” Whether or not Hunrath may have anticipated getting such a visit is unknown. But what we can be sure of is that Hunrath was now a man on a mission. And with the Bureau boys snooping around, Hunrath had no choice but to head for pastures new. There was only one way he was going to achieve his goal of fame and fortune and do the right thing by brother Bosco. It was time to say “adios” to both Wisconsin and the FBI and head to where all the alien action was then taking place: California. Hunrath and Wilkinson soon hooked up with the major players in West Coast Ufology at the time. That included such Contactees as George Adamski and George Hunt Williamson, as well as a number of UFO researchers and investigative groups. All was going well until November 1953. That was when things came to a mysterious and ominous end.

(Nick Redfern) "Giant Rock," California where the Contactees and the Space Brothers mingled.

It was early on the morning of the 10th that Hunrath and Wilkinson rented a compact aircraft from a local airstrip. They headed off for what they claimed to several colleagues, just forty-eight hours earlier, was to be a face to face meeting with a group of extraterrestrials connected to Mr. Bosco. Although the pair was seen taking off from the airstrip, and headed in a direction that would have set them on a course for Palm Springs and Joshua Tree, they were never seen again. Despite extensive searches by the emergency services, Hunrath and Wilkinson were not found. No wreckage of the aircraft was ever found, either. And, Wilkinson’s wife never heard from her husband again. They were gone. As in forever. The strange story of Orfeo Angelucci, and the Hunrath-Wilkinson affair, could be considered just a couple of odd but engaging UFO encounters of the type that one rarely sees in today’s world, except for one thing. Their experiences with the morphing balls of light parallel near-exactly what we saw occurred in early 20th century Ireland, as recorded by W.Y. Evans-Wentz. Yet, in that case, there was no extraterrestrial component, whatsoever – just fairy-like entities. 

This begs a very important question: are the balls of light native to our world, rather than extraterrestrial? Probably, yes. That being so, perhaps their incredible ability to shapeshift allows them to toy with, manipulate, and tantalize the human race – for bizarre and obscure reasons that might be born out of a decidedly deranged sense of humor. Maybe, they enjoy passing themselves off as hair-covered Bigfoots, as ETs, and as fairies – and amazing and terrifying us in the process - for one simple reason: because they can.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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