MUFON’s ERT: Experiencer Research Team
Making A Difference By Helping People

Part III

By Joseph Flammer, New York Field Investigator


“No one should have to suffer this level of trauma without being taken seriously. Like 74 percent of abductees he has difficulty falling asleep at night. When he does, his sleep is too shallow to be restorative....”

Enter Kathleen Marden

“Call me Kathy,” she wrote in an email back to me when I queried her attention. Kathy is Director of MUFON’s Experiencer Research Team (ERT). She is also the well known and highly respected author of books about abductions and ET contact experiences. Many people might also know her as the niece of Barney and Betty Hill, who claimed they were abducted in the White Mountains of New Hampshire in 1961. It was a highly publicized case. Kathy has written extensively about the Hills and is considered the world’s authority about their abduction experience and other pertinent events in their lives.

In correspondence with her, Kathy acknowledged members of her family have had abduction experiences since 1961. She indicated that she had had such experiences, too. She suggested I put Gary in touch with her about his and “Jean’s” sighting and episode of missing time.

But Kathy also sent me a paper she had written about an abduction case at Buff Ledge summer girl’s camp on Lake Champlain in Vermont on August 7, 1968. The case was investigated by Walter N. Webb of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon (NICAP) and subsequently written about in Webb’s 1993 book, Encounter at Buff Ledge. “Sixteen-year-old ‘Michael’ a waterfront maintenance worker and 19-year-old ‘Janet Cornell,’ a water skiing instructor, were lounging on the dock at the Buff,” started Ms. Marden’s description of the UFO event in the paper. It goes on to say that the teenagers spotted a UFO: It “plunged into the lake.”

The UFO then traveled underwater to the dock: “Within seconds the object was directly overhead. It emitted an intense cone-shaped beam which engulfed the teens.”

The paper goes on to say, “After the craft departed, ‘Janet’ and ‘Michael’ conversed briefly about their overwhelming fatigue and desire for sleep, but neither discussed the UFO incident...”

“Soon the summer ended and the pair went their separate ways.”

Then, 10 years later, “Michael” sought help to deal with his experience. “Janet” was tracked down and both underwent separate hypnosis sessions.

“ ‘Michael’ recalled observing ‘Janet’ lying on a rectangular table surrounded by two non-human entities, while a third appeared to be monitoring test results on several screens.”

Marden’s paper about the Buff Ledge case goes on to say, “Skin samples, bodily fluids, blood and ova were extracted. He also underwent an examination on the table next to ‘Janet’s,’ but he lost consciousness immediately after he was placed on the table.”

It might have taken the television show Hangar 1 to alert many people like Gary to the fact that MUFON is here to listen to their UFO experiences, and that the ERT is here to help sort out close encounters.

In an email to me, Kathy wrote, “Please refer the witness to the ERT... We’ll do what we can to help him. No one should have to suffer this level of trauma without being taken seriously. Like 74 percent of abductees he has difficulty falling asleep at night. When he does, his sleep is too shallow to be restorative.... It usually helps people when they talk with me or a member of my team.... He might not want to know the details of what occurred on that fateful night in 1972, but we on the ERT can offer him understanding and support.”

In fact, it is understanding and support that MUFON Field Investigators also offer the witnesses we interview, even if we must remain neutral while we’re interviewing them, always wondering about their credibility as we listen to their stories, and working to get the details right as we jot them down on paper. But just by listening, we are helping.

Many of these witnesses and Experiencers may feel ill-at-ease telling friends and family members about strange UFO-type things that happened to them. The fact that MUFON has an Experiencer Research Team that is geared to helping people find the answers they need about what might have happened to them during an abduction or missing time episode, and to direct them to other levels of help, tells us MUFON plays an important role in society, for besides mental health professionals, to whom else can these victims turn? After all, our government denies official encounters with UFOs and aliens. In essence, this leaves lone abductees at the mercy of more intelligent life forms that study humans for their own reasons. And in most cases where people are helped by ERT, it all starts with us Field Investigators carefully listening to people’s experiences and methodically jotting down notes to be transferred into CMS so they can be directed to the right people.

It might have taken the television show Hangar 1 to alert many people like Gary to the fact that MUFON is here to listen to their UFO experiences, and that ERT is here to help sort out close encounters. But in 2019, MUFON will have been around for 50 years, contributing to society by helping track experiences and allowing individuals with bottled-up anxieties to exhale and reveal their traumatizing ordeals. We do this just by listening.

So what about Gary?

Gary was sent in the right direction. He contacted Kathleen Marden and she will take it from there. MUFON prides itself in respecting the privacy of witnesses, so we might never know what Gary’s next step to healing might be. He might decide to pursue hypnotic regression so he can try to uncover the truth about what happened to him and “Jean” during the four hours of missing time. Or he might choose to learn self-hypnosis to deal with his sleeping disorder. Maybe he’ll undertake both. Perhaps he might consult with medical doctors or a psychologist or psychiatrist, or maybe he’ll join an Experiencers’ group to talk about what happened to him. It’s up to him. From this point on, his growth is entirely private and will remain outside of our knowledge as it will not be included in the CMS report about his case. As far as MUFON is concerned, what’s important for him is that he finds help to better his life.

And now he has.

“The details that the witness offered are classic among cases of alien abduction” wrote Kathy Marden in an email to me. “It is so unfortunate that this young couple didn’t know who to report their experience to back in 1972. If they had gotten help then, their lives might have been a lot different...lives should not be ruined because of this.”


Joseph Flammer is the Author of UFOs Over Long Island (Schiffer: 2015).

This article was originally published in The MUFON UFO Journal, April 2015.

This article is published with the expressed written permission of MUFON Executive Director, Jan C. Harzan for publication on The Alien Jigsaw:

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