Saturday, September 12, 2009

Helen Lane...An Encounter Inexplicable

I've resisted telling this encounter because it is not only inexplicable but the mere fact that it happened threatens to discombobulate almost any model of reality one chooses to lean upon. Because of that, I thought that all the previous stuff on the blog was "required" to allow a reader to take this with an open mind. I have several brothers. All of them are great fellows, and all of them are somewhat different. One of them is "grounded" in the real world of work, service, hammers-and-nails, small town orientation, etc. moreso than most people I know. He is not a fool, and is not to be fooled. He goes very slowly to conclusions outside of the normal. His wife enjoys the thought of the unusual much more than he, but she is also an intelligent, substantive woman. I know them very well. There is certainty that the incident that they recounted to me was exactly as they experienced it, to their honest perceptions. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- It was July 1998. My sister-in-law's grandmother was dying and she, my brother, her mother, and other family members had gone to the old home area to be with her in the last days. People were spread out, residing with other extended family members et al, quite a few miles apart. My brother and sister-in-law got a call saying that the time was probably near, and late in the evening (c.11pm) began driving to pick up her mother at another location and then drive to the nursing home. My brother was driving. The trip to the mother's temporary residence was through a relatively non-built-up stretch but which contained suburban structures at intervals and was normally quite well-travelled, even at night. This night there were no cars at all. Out ahead, alongside the road, they could see someone walking dressed in white. As they passed, in a hurry to pick-up the mother to get to the grandmother's location, they saw that this was an older woman in a white nightgown. As they proceeded on down the road, they had a wave of guilt as they felt that this was almost surely an old lady, probably with Alzheimers, who needed help. They picked up the mother and a cousin and retraced their drive down the still empty road. Up ahead again was the old lady. This time they slowed, asked a question, and the "simple" reply indicated that they must take the woman in and try to help her. Her comment to them was: "Oh God bless you. I am trying to get home". She sat in the rear of the car between the mother and the cousin, and was generally "normal", saying that her name was "Helen Lane" and giving an address and phone number. My sister-in-law's family had originally lived in this area [some still did] and they knew enough about the place to find the street address. That did not work out due to there being no numbers on any of the houses, and not wanting to wake up the entirely unlighted neighborhood by trial-and-error. They drove instead to a fire station that the family knew was active at all hours. Still no traffic. The fire station was brightly lit as expected. They knocked at the door--nothing. They circled the building looking in windows and knocking--nothing. This was a major establishment as it served, among other locations, a wealthy area of town. But, feeling a little creepy now, they drove on, for up ahead was a police station that the family knew well. [by the way, they had also somewhere in this sequence tried the phone number and only gotten an irate individual who said he'd never heard of Helen Lane and that they'd woken him up]. The police station that they headed for was run, as Chief of Police, by another of their cousins. They didn't expect him to be there at midnight, of course, but they had confidence that the station would handle the old lady and her problems. [she had said a few "childish" things by now which convinced everyone that they were dealing with Alzheimers]. The police station was there, as it should be, but still with no traffic. It was brightly lit but showing no activity. Through the large front windows, one person could be seen. Greatly relieved, my sister-in-law took Helen Lane up the steps while my brother watched closely. Within there was only this one person. She was a middle-aged woman dressed in civilian clothes. There were no policemen to be seen anywhere. When they came through the door, the woman said "Hello Helen." My sister-in-law told the story, in brief, and the woman said "We know Helen. We'll get her back home". Taking some information on paper, she said not to worry about anything, it would all be taken care of. As I said, my sister-in-law was familiar with this station. It was far too empty. No dispatcher, no desk sergeant, no policemen of any kind. It just felt wrong---but who knows? They let it go and went back to their car and on to the nursing home where the grandmother had just died. The next morning, both my brother and sister-in-law wanted to lay this to rest. They called on the police station and asked. The Chief, their cousin, was in a position to find out. He told them the following: 1). the station had no record of their visit, nor any particulars; 2). there was no record of the existence of any person named "Helen Lane",as far as their files were concerned; 3). the station should have been busy and active with several uniformed officers on duty; 4). no such person as described as being behind the desk has anything to do with the station, nor does anyone know of such an individual being in the station. ---------------------------------------------------------------What are we to make of this? Some people would like to say that this is "just" another instance of the "Phantom Hitchhiker" phenomenon. Well, if it makes anyone feel better to give it a name, then God bless you, but that's hardly very helpful. This case seems to be telling me that my relatives "slipped into" an alternate reality for an hour or so, wherein the circumstances were very close but not identical to our "real world". I have to believe that the details as stated happened--multiple witnesses, including some that I'd trust with my life. If they did, then it SEEMS that they were driving about in a world which was in imitation of ours but not quite identical. As my brother said: "we know the woman in the police station didn't exist." Well, what DID exist? What-the-heck went on here? This experience hardly stands alone. The illustration on the bottom above is meant to picture a roadway encounter in the early 20th century, where after a brief interaction, the man dressed in olde-time clothing just vanished before the witness' eyes. In the UFO literature, cases of this "same-but-not-same" environment crop up now and again. And the mysterious "empty" road is common. I have no good "model" for this reality. I find it difficult to incorporate these displacements or slippages into a coherent way of thinking about anomalies. And there seems to be more than random accident here; more like an "intention". My brother said: "I think it was a test." Maybe, Bro, maybe.----------------------------------------and, I probably shouldn't mention this, but much later my sister-in-law was showing one of her grandkids the location in which this had occurred. You guessed it. The kid noted that it was , and you couldn't see this at night, a graveyard.


  1. JB here.
    I wonder if anyone else in that area has experienced anything like that near that graveyard? What was the name of the town?

    For what it's worth, which is probably not much more than a shoulder shrug, I decided to do a Google search for "Helen Lane". I found the old woman's name listed as a character in a couple of movies (Cipher Bureau ('38) & Panama Patrol ('39)) played by Charlotte Wynters. So, then I did the same thing with the name "Charlotte Wynters", hoping to find something interesting (seek and ye shall find vs. see connections where they don't exist).

    Charlotte Wynters MacLane was born in Wheeling, WV on December 4th, 1899 (another site says 1900). According to, she "broke into acting as an ingenue in the David Belasco play, "The Wanderer", traveling from Columbus, Ohio on a train, with sheep and a boxcar full of dirt, into many cities on the east, finally on Broadway." She finally ended up working in Hollywood, and split time living in Santa time and on her cattle ranch in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Madera County. She died January 7th, 1991.


  2. Oops. I meant, "Santa Monica", not "Santa time". I was not referring to the North Pole.

  3. The location was Charleston, West Virginia. The family members were coming initially from the Wheeling, West Virginia area--therefore an interesting coincidence. Nothing is known, by me, about the graveyard. The ideal person to do follow-up on this encounter would be a historian in the Charleston(WV) area who could look into the local historical records in an attempt to find "Helen Lane" or any "White Lady-type" folklore.

  4. if the agency behind these things can create such believable location that not the real ones , as if influencing the witnesses's mind / spiritual eye, then these beings also can show ancient kingdom to those who are culturally familiar with, or Extra Terrestrials to those who want to believe in ET and UFO, or Ghosts to those who believe in such things..

    their manipulation of man's reality is pretty well documented since long ago and in multiple cultures, its their motivation and purpose that should worry us. Didnt some researcher speak of these entities trying to mold humanity's belief system?

    Some people here got invited to banquet at night and had money given to them, in the morning they wake up in middle of graveyard with stack of leaves in their hand and no money.. such virtual reality can happen in differen culture in different ways, a technological and science oriented nation surely would have the UFO themed virtual reality.

    1. Vallee was one writer who speculated that the phenomenon was affecting human thinking. If so, as a deliberate plan, it is an awfully slow and subtle one, as I see very little sign that we humans are thinking any fundamentally differently than history and sociology would predict/understand.

    2. awfully slow and subtle? I think it is working very well. The number of supernatural themed shows, books and movies in mainstream "entertainment" is an indication of the general publics fascination with the supernatural. The is coupled with the fascination with being gods ourselves and using magic to achieve this. This fascination with tricks of minor entities is taking them away from relationship with the only one who can really give healing and prosperity.

    3. I don't buy any rapid uptick in interest in cultish thinking, provoked by the UFO phenomenon, which is not readily explainable by the historical trajectory of the United States since the late 1880s or even earlier. Historical perspective is worth something. Not everything has been growing into existence since just "yesterday".

      I do not see any obvious impact of the UFOs on American culture other than the thought of a UFO itself and that "The Aliens" could be here now. Attempts at replacing religion with "Ancient Astronauts" or similar "memes" are almost at zero impact to the mass of the population, and exhibit no more than minor cult status.

      In my opinion, you could remove UFOs from the scene entirely and American culture would have evolved almost identically, and in no way have been profoundly different [a bunch of TV shows and movies do not create profundity in real world behavioral change --- if anything they might remind some people that there is a spiritual side of existence, which the churches are failing to effectively do].

      Religions [including my own Catholicism] have their own severe problems maintaining currency with the increasingly cultureless and materialist American public. UFOs add almost nothing to that burden of relevancy. This is particularly true since there is almost nothing which points to the spiritual about UFOs, unlike the parapsychological. UFOs are just some "other thing" in the normal Universe. The BEST that can come out of UFOs is that being interested in them COULD make one a bit more open-minded.

  5. "I don't buy any rapid uptick in interest in cultish thinking, provoked by the UFO phenomenon"

    what i want to hear from you prof, is your opinion on the modern/recent UFOLOGY in USA which seem to be dominated by the lunatic fringe / hucksters.. i mean i know you think John Keel is a bad guy in the old era of UFOLOGY , but compared to the modern guys like lear/lazar/greer/cooper, keel seems timid / normal..

    how do it go from the nuts-n-blot to contactee to abductions and now to the lunatic fringe ufologist ???

    1. Answer would require a book, as any reflection on your part will realize instantly. Plus, MY group of UFOlogy colleagues DOES NOT meet your description as lunatics and hucksters. I do not consider what the people you are talking about are doing as being UFOlogy. They are not important to me.



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