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Haunted Yakama

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Haunted Yakama


by Greg Long


This is Part 1 of a two-part story of an eerie series of events experienced by a resident on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington. The resident lived on LaRue Road just outside Toppenish and east of Highway 97.


My book Examining the Earthlight Theory: (published by CUFOS) chronicles decades of UFO sightings on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington state. During my research for that book I came across a family who had a large number of unusual experiences to relate. Frankly, I avoided including their experiences in the book because I wasn't certain whether they were entirely related to UFOs. And yet, as you will see, the family did observe UFOs during the time of their experiences and during the height of major UFO activity on the Reservation. The family's experiences raise the question: Are UFOs something more complex, more puzzling, than spaceships from other planets? Are UFOs part of a much more intricate phenomenon, linked more to the human mind than to simple concepts of extraterrestrial visitation? Here are the family's accounts, which come from Bill Vogel's logs. Vogel was the resident reservation UFO investigator. Other accounts come from my six interviews with the Smith family (a pseudonym).


The light remained brilliant for about 15 to 20 seconds, then dimmed back to its original brightness... In the summer of 1972, while Bill Smith was talking long distance with his sister, Smith's wife Susan called his attention to a bright, round, white light about a quarter of a mile from the house to the east.


Susan and the two children went outside to investigate, and Bill stood in the open doorway and watched the light, all the while describing what he saw into the phone. Suspended above the cornfields, the light was very large, and suddenly very blinding as it "came on brilliant... brighter than the sun... startling ..."


Bill squinted. The light remained brilliant for about 15 to 20 seconds, then dimmed back to its original brightness, and moved vertically upwards about 200 to 300 feet and stopped, glowed intensely brilliant, dimmed back to normal, and then turned sideways. As it did, the light revealed the object to which it was attached - a football-shaped or Zeppelin-like "craft" with blunt ends. The two ends of the craft appeared to be made of opaque glass. The end on the right glowed.


The object was between 100 and 150 feet long, or "three boxcar lengths," as Smith put it. Light from the setting sun revealed horizontal "ribs" and flat areas of "cloth," as in old-fashioned airplanes, stretched from rib to rib. Bill could even see what he thought were several "rivets" on the cloth-like material. The three-dimensional craft was the color of oxidized lead, a dull gray, and reminded Bill of "an old battleship... in the construction of it." Six to eight portholes giving off orange light ran along its length. The portholes were about 8 feet in diameter, and the widest portion of the craft was 30 feet. Bill could see that the soundless object had no aerodynamics to it - no fins, rudders, or undercarriage. During the sighting, Mary, Bill's daughter, became agitated.


Standing in the open doorway, Bill knew he had a loaded Polaroid camera and a rifle. He thought that he could easily shoot the object, but then instantly had the mental sensation "that we were under the sights" of the UFO and that it would be very foolish to take hostile action. "I got the distinct impression that there was intelligence aboard the thing," Bill said, taking no photos and never touching the rifle.


Then the light on the right end came on so brilliant that Bill could not look at it and, slowly, at about 30 to 35 miles per hour, the object traveled to the northeast, over the cornfields, and vanished from sight. "Whatever this thing was, it was there," Bill emphasized.


January 17, 1975. Smith called Bill Vogel (8:30 p.m.) and reported that he was observing a large, bright light, much larger than an aircraft landing light, red-orange in the middle, yellow towards the edges, and whitish around the perimeter. The light was 15 to 18 miles north of Smith's location and below the top of a ridge. The light remained stationary for three to four minutes, then moved eastward for four or five miles, stopped, reversed direction, and then departed fairly rapidly toward the northwest.


About April 29, 1975. Bill and his family sighted (about 9:15 p.m.) a bright light coming from the northeast. The center of the light was red, the outside boundary yellow. The light was below the tops of the hills. Before the light reached Toppenish, it stopped, then turned due north a short distance, and then slanted off to the northwest and climbed until it disappeared in the clouds. As it climbed away, Bill observed the light through binoculars and saw two lights separated by darkness. He described the object to Vogel as oblong and huge. The front light on the object was fluorescent yellow, the rear light a "hard" red glow like the light in the preceding case. The object was below the hills and departed toward the northwest.


Each marking was perfectly round and composed of a series of concentric circles. Night of May 8-9, 1976. On the morning of May 9, Bill noticed "strange markings" in the dust on the hoods and fenders of two passenger cars parked side by side near his house. Each marking was perfectly round and composed of a series of concentric circles. Vogel wrote: "The first thought a person got upon looking at the tracks was that someone had walked around on the vehicles with a pair of crutches."


The markings were scattered across the hood and windshield of one vehicle; and up the side of the right fender, on the hood, the windshield, and the left fender of the second vehicle, including the left "root lip" above the driver's door. One marking appeared on a large soft drink bottle on the ground next to the car closest to Smith's house.


The markings measured from 3 and l/2 inches to slightly larger than the eraser of a pencil. On many of the markings were several strands of what appeared to be dog hair. Tethered near the vehicles on the night of May 8-9 were Bill's two German shepherds, two excellent watch dogs who would always respond instantly to any intruder, animal or human. These dogs did not bark that night. Vogel speculates in his report that the strands of hair could have been from the dogs.


The previous evening, May 8, Bill's daughter was awakened by what seemed to be a "thud" against the side of the house outside her bedroom, which was on the east side of the house near the cars. A few seconds later she heard the sound of "breaking glass, as if a large terrarium had been dropped on a side-walk..." No broken glass or other out-of-place object was found the next morning.


Vogel noted that on July 22, 1976 (over two months later), Bill heard someone walking on his front porch. Looking out the window in the door, he saw no one; the dogs in front of the porch were sleeping peacefully. Also, Vogel noted that "last night" (date unknown) Bill heard something "bumping and moving around just outside his bedroom window." Checking, Bill saw nothing; again, the dogs were peacefully sleeping.


Bill related to me an incident in which he heard footsteps on the porch, and looked up in time to see the shadow of someone passing by on the porch (the shadow was observed through the closed louvers of the door window). He characterized the footsteps as those of a "heavyset man."


October 18, 1976. At 7:56 p.m., Bill and a ranch hand observed a round light, yellow inside and orange-red around the rim, moving southeasterly to northwesterly at a distance of ½ mile near a ranch (south of Toppenish) where the two men were standing. The light, low in altitude, moved slowly and didn't flash, and disappeared behind a butte once it cleared the rim of a canyon.


In his report, Vogel noted that on the evening of November 27, 1976, he received reports of a strange "beeping" noise coming from the general area of the Smith residence.


November 27, 1976. On a car in his driveway, Bill discovered circular markings of the kind he observed on May 9, 1976, this time the size of a nickel, and scattered across the right front fender and half way across the hood of the vehicle. Clinging to a number of the markings were strands of hair. In his report, Vogel noted that on the evening of November 27, 1976, he received reports of a strange "beeping" noise coming from the general area of the Smith residence. (This "beeping" noise was also reported September 1974 and February and April 1975.)


In a report dated December 15, 1976, Vogel described a series of incidents that occurred weeks or months earlier. In these incidents, a No. 15 socket from a metric socket set vanished moments after Bill returned it to its set after he used it to adjust his motorcycle.


Several days later, Smith found it in the set although No. 22 was now missing. Sometime around mid-December 1976, the entire metric set disappeared.


February 10, 1977. About 8:00 p.m., Bill and his family observed a light south of Toppenish, moving east to west. The light was about 15 miles away and had a reddish-orange center surrounded by white light. The upper portion was emitting "spike-like rays of white light." Across the bottom portion were a number of red lights. The light disappeared behind Toppenish Ridge.


Before we continue, let us note the large number of lights that were observed by the Smiths 10 sightings in all. Four of the lights were reddish-orange in color. Additionally, the Smiths told me that they saw from their residence during late summer and fall in the early '70s, numerous reddish-orange lights along Toppenish Ridge. Through binoculars, the lights appeared as nothing but light (no object was ever seen), "more red than orange." These lights appeared so often and so long that the Smiths were able to carry on their evening work, come in the house to eat, and then go outside to watch the lights again.


But what is more interesting are the other experiences reported by the Smiths. Were these other experiences, "paranormal" in nature, somehow related to the lights?


The experience upset her enough that she ordered the tree cut down. The Smiths moved onto their property in 1966. The first paranormal experience occurred in September 1969. On that day, Susan heard the barking of two family dogs. Children passing by the house on bicycles would often taunt the dogs, so their barking was not unusual. However, the dogs seemed to be "throwing a fit" and had run to the end of the fence. Susan saw a boy with blue jeans, a royal blue shirt, and black hair and dark skin walking along the road (west to east). The boy appeared clean-cut and could have been Hispanic or an Indian. She watched the boy walk out of view as he passed behind the tree that bordered the road and grew on the perimeter of the yard. However, the boy did not pass beyond the tree as he should have in order to continue down the road. The dogs began whining. After waiting awhile, Susan became concerned that the boy may have had a seizure and had fallen, and she ran out onto the road. The boy was gone. No obstructions existed near the tree (nor do they today) on the other side of the road which the boy could have used for cover. That evening she reported the incident to her husband. The experience upset her enough that she ordered the tree cut down when the local electric company notified her that its ranches required trimming. To this date, a stump remains where the tree had been.


In 1970, the Smiths' son and daughter were 13 and 11, respectively. Bill's father died in March 1970, and this date, firmly etched in Susan's memory, served as a benchmark for her recollection of the first event. Following the "disappearing boy" incident of September 1969, it seemed that one strange occurrence followed another in an unending series.



Incident 1. In February 1970, while Bill was at work in Toppenish and Susan was inside the house, a male friend, who had been digging up a septic line behind the house, came inside, acting "funny." He said he had seen a shadow approach him while he was digging in the ditch. According to Bill, "He saw the shadow walk up. He could see the legs... an outline of the legs standing... He could see the shadow of a body of a man." The shadow approached the ditch several times during the day. Spooked, the friend quit the next day, leaving Bill to finish the job.


A few days later, Bill was preparing to resume the interrupted project. While walking by the side of the house, he heard voices. Stopping at the corner, he listened to two male voices who were speaking extremely fast behind the house in an unknown "guttural" language that sounded German, Slavic or Indian. It was no language Bill recognized. The two distinct voices were apparently "communicating."


Bill listened for a minute. The moment he stepped around the corner to discover who was there, the voices ceased; he saw no one.


Later, when he went inside for coffee, he asked Susan if she had been playing the radio. She hadn't and assumed he had been talking to someone behind the house. Puzzled, both pinpointed the exact location of the voices based on where each had heard them.



Incident 2. One evening Susan finished reading in bed, turned out the light, and closed her eyes. She then heard footsteps in the hallway and the sound of the front door opening and closing. She thought one of her children had gone outside to retrieve a toy, but 10 minutes passed, and no one returned. Thinking one of the children may have been sleepwalking, she looked in the bedroom. The children were asleep. Checking the front door, she found it locked. She opened the door and saw no one outside. What was interesting was that the footsteps originated near the children's bedroom and had a light tread.


While bent over, something hit the collar of his wool jacket. Incident 3. Bill was adjusting the points on his motorcycle, which was positioned on the porch. While bent over, something hit the collar of his wool jacket. Thinking it was the tail of the dog, he ignored the interruption, adjusted his jacket, and continued his task. Suddenly, something tugged his collar several times in rapid succession. It was no dog, and Bill went directly into the house, somewhat shaken.



Incidents 4, 5 and 6. A can opener hanging on a hook on the kitchen wall fell off of its own accord. A knife jumped out of a frying pan and landed on the floor. One morning Bill came upon a red rosebud lying in the hallway. The short-stemmed bud was just beginning to open. Although the Smiths had rose bushes, they had only yellow and pink buds, and he couldn't figure out how the rose bud had gotten into the house.



Incident 7. At dusk, Bill and Susan came home after eating out, and as Bill opened the front door, he heard "little girls' voices" coming from down the hallway in Mary's room. The voices, normal and un-alien in all respects, were "laughing and giggling" as in play. When he stepped over the threshold, the laughing voices instantly ceased.



Incident 8. After arriving home from school, Mary was walking the dogs near the trees in the back yard. The dogs, for no apparent reason, suddenly began "raising Cain." Out of nowhere, a woman's voice spoke: "Shuush. Be quiet." Frightened, the girl immediately retreated with the dogs to the house where she remained until her parents arrived home.



Incident 9. Early November 1979. Susan awoke in the middle of the night. The window was opened slightly to let in fresh air. She heard a young woman's voice from outside call her husband's name. The family dogs, tethered outside, and who served as excellent guards, never barked. Significantly, the voice used her husband's formal name, which few people outside the family knew.


Bill woke up Susan. "Did you hear that voice?" he asked. Incident 10. Bill was a very deep sleeper, unlike Susan, who slept lightly. That anything should wake Bill at all was unusual in itself. But this night he awoke. He heard a male voice outside the window to his left, situated next to Susan's side of the bed.


The voice was "fantastically clear," Bill told me, "with the most beautiful enunciation I have ever heard." The voice was describing the location of the sleeping inhabitants in the house:


"'There's a woman and a man (Susan and Bill). There's a hallway, a bathroom. Down the hallway is a small bedroom. There are two small boys in it (Todd Smith and a friend staying overnight). There's a living room. And there's a small girl (Mary) in the far end.'"


The "man" had perfect modulation and tone. What was most peculiar was that he described the sleeping bodies as if he were inside the house looking down.


Bill woke up Susan. "Did you hear that voice?" he asked. The voice then ceased. Bill went to the bathroom, returned to bed, turned over on his side, and faced the hallway. Just as he was about to fall asleep, the voice began anew, this time next to a side door of the house. "He is continuing to describe the house in the same beautiful male voice perfect modulation, perfect enunciation...This time, Susan heard it."


However, the moment Bill got out of bed to investigate, the voice stopped. Bill cranked open the louvers in the door. Moonlight illuminated the yard; the dogs were sleeping.


Bill recalled that the voice was of someone in his 30s, and he seemed to be reporting his observations "over a he was reporting from this location to someone else."


Interestingly, the voice did not describe the kitchen but jumped to the far bedroom where the little girl slept.


Bill stated: "To me, it was not a man. There was no person there, or those dogs would have been raising nine kinds of hell."


I studied the location of the windows of the home from the outside. It would not have been impossible for a person to have looked through the windows. However, why stand outside a window and awaken the inhabitants? If to create a hoax, the hoaxer was risking his life since Bill would have readily blasted the trespassers with his gun. Also, the dogs made no sound. This lack of reaction from the dogs is a strange, continuing pattern.



Incident 11. While sitting on the porch with Todd's best friend, Bill and the boy heard whistling coming from a distance toward some shrubs beyond the driveway. When they focused their attention on the whistling, the whistling stopped. Resuming their conversation, the whistling began again. The boy asked: "Who is that?" Bill directed the boy to go see. Checking the shrubs and road, the boy found no one. Bill remembered the whistle as having three notes with different tones.


Immediately she heard a "long, high-pitched" whistle several seconds in duration...



Incident 12. At 5:30 one morning, Susan stepped outside to pick up the paper. Snow was on the ground. Normally, the dog would come out from under the truck, which served as shelter, to greet her. This time he didn't. She whistled for him. Immediately she heard a "long, high-pitched" whistle several seconds in duration come from the direction of a bridge that runs over a north-south irrigation ditch not far from the house. The dog began whining. Susan ran into the house and woke up Bill.


The bridge is on the other side of the house from where she stood, and no one would have been visible to her. Susan said the whistle sounded human.



Incident 13. Bill, Susan and Mary were sitting together on the sofa watching television one evening when Bill heard a "beeping" sound having the electronic musical tone characteristic of digital-dial telephones. The beeping was within three feet of him, situated near the wall to his left.


This wall separates the living room from the environment outside. The beeping faded away. Wondering if he had heard the telephone, Bill lifted the receiver but heard nothing unusual. He asked Susan and Mary if they had heard the sound; they had not, but they soon did when the beeping began again but then ceased within a few seconds. (Vogel told me that the family cat, which had been behind the TV, retreated, fur raised, under a bed and refused to come out for two days.)



Incident 14. A few nights later, Bill was lying in bed by himself reading when the same beeping began from a point near the southwest corner of the bedroom and ceiling. Bill was facing the west. He lifted the book up in front of his face and acted as if he were reading. The intensity of the sound increased as it approached him. When the beeping was within about 3 to 5 feet, Bill dropped the book and looked. The beeping slowly retreated, the sound appearing to lessen in intensity as the distance between it and Bill increased. The beeping dwindled to nothing and appeared to pass through the wall and into the outside environment.



Incident 15. Bill liked to tinker, and he had two engines in his yard both on palettes that served as workbenches. One palette was positioned on cinder-block legs and elevated off the ground. The other (supporting a corn binder engine) rested on the ground and was a few feet away.


As was his habit, Bill checked on the engines one morning. He discovered the elevated palette leaning precariously on the cinder blocks and the engine dangerously poised and about to fall off. The cinder blocks of one leg had been jarred out of alignment. The engine on the second palette had been turned 45 degrees, and three shards of iron the size of a thumbnail were lying on the palette. (To Bill's knowledge, these fragments were not from the engine.) I personally attempted to lift the corn binder engine but it wouldn't budge.


Before this incident, Bill had discovered that someone or something had knocked the lid off a five-gallon can of carburetor cleaner sitting on the porch. Rain had fallen into the can, ruining its contents. Additionally a fence tightener had been dropped into the can.


As Bill confronted his engines, he became enraged. Tampering with the carburetor cleaner was bad enough, but an attack on one of his fondest joys was inexcusable He threw his head back and screamed to the heavens: "You sons-a-bitches had better leave me along! You don't ruin my old engines!"


After that, harassment of that kind ceased.


But not for long. The strange hauntings continue in Part 2, of the Next WOTS!



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