May 10, 2023 I Brent Swancer

A Harrowing Alien Abduction in the Mojave Desert

In October of 1989, Steve and Dawn Hess headed out for a weekend of camping and hunting on the Mojave Reserve, in the Mojave Desert of the southwest United States. It was supposed to be a relaxing getaway for the young, happy couple, a chance to get away from their two small children for the weekend and have some time alone together. As they drove out towards the Midhills camping ground, just inside the Nevada border, they did so in very good spirits, having had a bit of luck gambling at a casino earlier in the day and looking forward to their trip. They had been planning it for a long time, and to be out there in the remote, scenic locale was like a dream come true, but the dream was about to become a nightmare, and they were about to become the center of a series of harrowing, otherworldly events that have never been explained.

It would turn out that the campground was uncommonly full, and so they decided to drive out into the wilds in their camper to go camping off the beaten path in a secluded valley between the Tabletop and Woods Mountains. That evening the sky was full of a multiple of stars, like millions of tiny diamonds spread out over an expanse of black felt, and they decided to start a fire and have a romantic dinner there under that sprawling vista of twinkling lights. It was as Steve was cooking up a steak that things began to get odd. He noticed a pinpoint of light moving about over the nearby Tabletop Mountain that for some reason instilled a great sense of unease in him. He found himself perplexed and mesmerized by the gliding light, which looked like another star moving about in the sea of stars, and it wasn’t until Dawn called out to him that he snapped out of it. He tried to direct her attention to what he had just seen but the light was gone.

Mojave Desert

Steve tried to put the weird episode out of his mind, and the two poured some wine, had their romantic dinner there under the dazzling night sky, and then settled down to do a bit of stargazing. As they sat there pointing out star constellations, they noticed a particularly bright star that wasn’t supposed to be there, and they soon realized that it was not a star at all when it started moving. It was then joined by several other lights, around nine in total, after which they created a sort of 'M' formation. Their first impression was that it had to be aircraft from the nearby Nulles Air Base out on nighttime maneuvers, but then as they looked on small red lights descended from the larger white ones and began silently gliding towards the desert below, blinking and pulsating as they did so. It was about then that they noticed that the night sounds of the desert had ceased, as if a veil of silence had descended upon them, and through that eerie clinging quiet the red lights approached them. These bizarre lights then circled above them and configured and reconfigured into different formations as their flashing intensified, to the point that Dawn was beginning to panic. 

These lights began to flash and pulse faster and faster until they suddenly went out together. Shortly after this, there were sounds out in the brush, like something scampering about out there in the wilds, and there seemed to be more than one of whatever it was. The frightened couple hurried into their camper and Steve grabbed his hunting rifle, thinking they were about to be attacked by wild animals. They could see out in the darkness what looked like glowing red eyes circling them, and at one point something jumped onto the hood of the camper and scurried across to jump back down on the other side. Steve was about to take a shot at one of the red-eyed shapes, but Dawn stopped him, telling him that she had a very bad feeling that it would not be a good idea to fire on them, which she felt was oddly being projected into her head. As they peered into the murky night, the creatures got bolder and close enough that they could see that these were no wild animals, but rather what they would later describe as a “small red-eyed gremlins.” 

The couple at this point were paralyzed with terror, and the entities roaming about outside seemed to sense this, becoming bolder and running right up to the camper to leap onto its roof and bang on the sides, the whole time jabbering with each other in some alien language. As this happened, nine tall, thin, translucent beings with large deep, featureless black eyes, much different than the “gremlins,” bloomed out of the darkness and surrounded the camper, peering in at the terrified couple. As these beings loomed outside, Steve and Dawn would later claim that their minds had been filled with thoughts and visions that seemed to be telepathically forced into their heads, and as this happened a large, bright object descended nearby, almost right over them, after which their camper began to buck and shake wildly as a fog or mist filled the vehicle. The light got brighter and brighter, and then Steve and Dawn lost consciousness.

When they woke up they were still in their camper, which was now filled not with the light of that bizarre craft, but rather that of the coming morning. There was no sign of the creatures they had encountered the previous evening, and indeed a look around the area showed no evidence that they had ever been there at all. There were no footprints, no sign of damage to the brush, nothing. The only thing they could find were two red pin pricks in Dawn’s neck that had not been there before. They could not remember anything about what had happened to them after that large light had appeared, they had no idea where the creatures had gone, but they did know that it had not been a dream or a figment of their imagination, and that they had experienced something truly outlandish out there in the desert. They quickly packed up and got out of there as fast as they could, driving home mostly in silence and trying to process what they had been through.

In the coming days they mostly didn’t talk about what had happened, but it would seem that their ordeal was not over. They experienced intense, vivid nightmares, physical symptoms such as headaches and nausea, and then there was the really spooky stuff. They experienced seeing lights in the sky that seemed to be following them, intense feelings of being watched, strange sounds inside and outside of the house, and their children began to tell of seeing little “red-eyed monsters” prowling about their bedroom at night. On one particularly terrifying occasion Steve and Dawn were woken by the panicked screams of their son and rushed to his room to find him suspended in the air “spinning like a top.” Damn would even tell of being accosted by unseen hands. 

At their wit’s end, they decided to undergo hypnosis with a Dr. William Anixter, who through a series of sessions was able to uncover what had happened during their lost time. According to Steve and Dawn, they had been brought aboard a massive craft of some kind and subjected to a battery of medical experiments and tests, many of which were quite painful and one of which had left those red marks on Dawn’s neck. At several points during the hypnosis sessions Dawn was seen to speak in a voice that was not her own, as if she were channeling an outside force, and on one of these occasions she allegedly eerily and cryptically said “I know where the Universe ends. Our Universe ends when it’s matter stops mattering to us, and starts mattering to them.”

Dawn and Steve Hess would keep mostly quiet about their bizarre experience for years, but author Ron Felber would find out about it and approach the couple about possibly writing a book about it. Interestingly, Felber was known as a true crime author, and had never had any real interest in UFOs or paranormal phenomena, but after talking to the Hess’ he changed his tune. He would say of this in an interview with Shadows Of Your Mind magazine:

I met them through a man called Paul Moran, an employee who was working as a sales rep for the company I ran. He lived in Southern California and confided in me that he had a best friend (Steve) who he’d played varsity football with while a student at the University of Redlands. Paul told me that his friend had had an alien experience in the Mojave Desert that had “changed his life forever” and though he’d promised not to tell anyone about Steve’s experience, he thought that as a writer I’d be interested in hearing about it and that telling his story to someone like me would be “cathartic”.

My first impression prior to meeting the Hess’ was that I wasn’t interested in writing about “alien abductions”. The subject was not one that fell into the genres of writing I’d done before and I wanted to focus on true crime stories or fiction. However, after meeting them, that all changed. I found Steve and Dawn to be exceptionally stable, upwardly mobile, well educated, and rational. They were solidly middle class with two children, a mortgage, and hopes of a successful career as a project manager for the construction of shopping malls for Steve, and ardent in her ambitions to raise a stable family for Dawn.

More than intriguing, I found their story to be absolutely mind-blowing. The detail, the emotional manner in which they told the story, and the sweeping nature of their experience told me that this was a one-of-a-kind experience, unlike anything I had ever personally heard or heard about. It was, to me, as if a curtain had been lifted and an entire realm of existence heretofore unknown to humankind suddenly exposed. The authenticity of the Hess’, themselves, told me that this was undoubtedly true and that their story needed to be shared with the world. As a writer, I know a heart stopping true story when I hear one and this was definitely one. What the Hess’ story did do was convince me that there exists another realm of existence. Humans, albeit rarely, can sometimes catch glimpses of something that is perhaps more real than the existence we live now, or believe we are living.

Felber would go on to write a book on their experiences called The Mojave Incident, which is a harrowing and detailed account of the ordeal of that fateful evening and the traumatic series of events that unfolded. He has also kept in touch with Steve and Dawn Hess, who now have six children, and claims that they have continued to experience strange phenomena right up to the present, although it would seem no further abductions. We are left to wonder what is going on here. Is this a case of a genuine abduction, and if so, where did these entities come from and what did they want? We will never know for sure, and it remains a rather odd and spooky case of the alien abduction phenomenon. 

Brent Swancer

Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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