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Haunted Yakama (Part 2)

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Haunted Yakama (Part 2)


by Greg Long (PART 2 of a 2 part Series)


Part 1 is here


A man haunted by spirits? By beings from another world? Whatever it was, it wouldn't leave Bill Smith alone...


Incident 16. Bill described a sound that would begin in early evening and sometimes go on through the night. The sound originated near the irrigation ditch behind the house and seemed to come from above ground. Bill likened the sound to that of a steel post driver hammering a post over and over into the ground. The hammering would last about 15 or 20 minutes, stop for a while, and then begin again. The moment Bill or a family member would walk around the house to investigate the source of the hammering, it would instantly cease. When the person had returned to the house, the sound would begin again. "How many trips have you got to make with nothing there before you give up?" Bill asked me.


Even during wintertime, the hammering continued. Investigations turned up no tracks in the snow. The hammering would last for a few days, or up to a week during the evening, stop for a few days, a week, or a month - and then begin again.


Relatives visiting the Smiths also heard the hammering. In the morning after a night of the hammering, the relatives appeared tired. Bill told them: "Don't pay it any mind. There's nothing out there." One of the Smiths' dogs was terrified after a night of the hammering; the animal was down on its belly with its tail between its legs. In August 1980 the hammering ceased. The exact date that the hammering began is unknown, although it apparently began in 1979.


"I'm standing there with my back towards the sound, and suddenly there starts a whirling sound..." Incident 17. Bill took a day off to tinker on the old engine on the elevated palette workbench. (With Susan's help, Bill had re-righted the palette and realigned the cinder blocks after the occurrence of "Incident 15.") His back toward some weeds a few feet behind him, Bill heard the sound of a "cricket." Yet this was a "funny-sounding cricket," and the odd chirping was slowly approaching him from behind. When the sound was within six to eight feet of him, Bill turned around. The chirping ceased; he saw nothing.


As he returned to his work, the chirping began again. Curious, Bill put down his tools and walked toward the direction of the sound. The chirping stopped. "I thought, 'Well, I scared the bug, or whatever is it.'"


As Bill stood there trying to see a cricket or a grasshopper in the weeds, the sound started again, four to five feet away. Taking a step toward it, the sound stopped.


"I thought to myself, 'What the hell, you're wasting time.' So I go back to the table, and I continue to work on the old engine. And the chirping starts again! So I say, 'What the hell, it's just some animal, that when I move I scare it.'


"I'm standing there with my back towards the sound, and suddenly there starts a whirling sound - like a string with pieces of plastic, or tin or something on it that would make - swissh! - a whirling sound. And this whirling sounds gets faster and faster and faster. By this time I'm startled. I turn around. I can hear the swishing sound, this rotating, whirling sound. It moves from me down towards the trees (to his right). The limbs start whipping back and forth. This (invisible) thing goes faster and faster and faster, and it shoots up right here behind the house, up through the trees, and as it shoots off, the limbs wiggle and shake, and it's gone!"


Incident 18. One day Bill discovered that something had apparently "landed" on the lawn. The grass was crushed down in a rectangular shape measuring about five feet long and two feet wide. One end of the object had buried into the earth about an inch, "scrunching" up the dirt. The grass was matted in "irregular designs." After two or three mowings, the grass finally stood up.


Incident 19. In the spring of 1978 Bill awoke late at night. Recall that Bill was a heavy sleeper:


"For an unknown reason, I wake up. I come awake and there is right overhead toward the trees outside - not too high over the house - there is this sound of a huge, heavy engine turning real slow... idling. But the engine is out of sync. The sounds are not in synchronization like a V-8 idling. It would rumble - chu-chu-boom, chu-chu-boom - out of sync with itself. When I wake up I hear the noise. Then coming through every window around the bedroom, there's flashing red light. Just like on a police car, except it's not as fast."


For about two minutes, Bill lay in bed, listening and watching, wondering if a wreck had occurred outside. But he heard no siren, no voices, no barking from his dogs, no sound but that of the engine - "a heavy engine like on a Caterpillar, or a huge earth mover... a big engine... not revved up but in a slow idle."


Bill roused his wife. She heard the sound and saw the flashing red light. The sound was of something in trouble, like it "had a rod loose... like it was falling apart, like it was going to crash... about to

fall on top of us."


Bill told Susan to open the curtain and investigate. On one elbow, she pulled the curtain back. The moment she did, the lights flashed out, and "this heavy engine idling overhead speeds up, and it slowly disappears out of sound."


As he lay there, he heard the sound of an electric motor ... Incident 20. In early summer 1982, Bill awoke one late evening. Recall again that it was very unusual for any noise to wake Bill up. It seemed also unusual that he was suddenly wide awake and positioned on his back; he usually sleeps on his right or left side. As he lay there, he heard the sound of an electric motor - an "electric motor with a dry bearing" making a "clicking" sound.


He used the bathroom and sat down in the living room and lit a cigar. As he listened to the sound, he glanced at the window to his right and noticed that it was light outside: he could clearly see the pickup and the trees.


He went to the door, cranked open the louvers, and looked outside. Details were evident: the hay, his tools, the cars. The source of the light seemed to be coming from above the house. Then the light went out, and the sound receded.


Bill stressed that he has never in his life awakened in the middle of the night to smoke a cigar in his living room.


Incident 21. Shortly after Incident 20, Bill was outside working when he heard a tremendous "whoosh" pass over his house above the trees. The dog reacted by whining. The sound traveled from the northeast to the southwest.


What was it that haunted Bill Smith? What were all these shadowy presences, these tricksters?


Studying Bill's experiences, I found two clear-cut categories amid the collection of puzzling incidents: the so-called "paranormal" or "paraphysical" - and Unidentified Flying Objects (lights and structured objects). Given that Bill Smith experienced both, are UFOs extraterrestrial spaceships, or a paranormal phenomenon - something akin to the supernatural? The dreamlike effects, apparition features, and occult-like overtones of many UFO experiences are well-known in the literature. Some UFOs behave more like energy-forms or ghosts, producing unusual electromagnetic effects, seemingly entering and exiting our reality, and leaving only tantalizing traces without definitive concrete evidence of artificial, albeit advanced, construction.


Are UFOs and ghosts parts of one unknown phenomenon that inhabits the Yakama Indian Reservation? Faced with Bill Smith's many strange events, I constructed a number of questions in an attempt to find an answer. Were the Smiths "attuned" in some special way to both kinds of experiences, or were they the unfortunate recipients of the mischievous activities of two types of phenomena that either singled them out for harassment, or merely came upon the family by accident (the Smiths were "neutral victims") and decided to have "fun" at the family's expense? Are UFOs and ghosts parts of one unknown phenomenon that inhabits the Yakama Indian Reservation and makes itself known in the form of reddish-orange balls of light, Zeppelin-like "craft," mysterious circular markings on automobile hoods, and mysterious footsteps? Or are the nocturnal lights a separate entity in themselves, distinct and self-integrated, the product of some rare natural force presently unknown to science? Are hauntings and paraphysical phenomena the result of the human "psyche" - of inexplicable mental forces that are generated by stress and a concatenation of unknown biological events in human beings? Were the Smiths visited by a poltergeist generated by themselves, or did the supernatural come to visit? Questions, questions...


Bill Smith was a down-to-earth, pragmatic man. He didn't believe in "haints or spooks," as he put it, and he found it impossible to conceive that the voices, footsteps and other localized invisible activity around and in his house were from the dead come back to haunt the living. "You don't fear dead men," he told me more than once. "You keep your eye on live men."


Consider the following. Recall the voice outside the Smiths' window. To Susan, the voice was that of a man "casing out the place." Note also that the Smiths told me that their house was broken into at one time. Note that the apparent UFOs over the house (never actually seen) both have the sounds of engines that are in need of repair. Bill is a mechanic, and a good one, who spends many hours of his free time keeping his personal machines in sound working order. Why did these UFOs sound as if they were nearly falling apart? To me, the objects seemed to take on a characteristic of something personal and singular in Bill's life. I wondered if there was something in Bill Smith that sought to channel itself out into the external environment, unleashing activity that taunted the seemingly unwilling viewer. It was a wild thought, but were his own emotions somehow reflected back at him through "invisible beings" who appeared at first glance to be visitors from another world or dimension, but who in reality were somehow connected to himself?


Were his frustrations and emotions focused outward as "noisy ghosts" (the poltergeist theory)?


I wondered, following this line of reasoning, if something going on in the family was the key. Interestingly, Todd Smith, Bill Smith's son, was 13 in 1970 when the paranormal events began occurring almost regularly. Todd showed evidence of alienation from the family and turned to rebellious behavior, use of drugs, and waywardness. Were his frustrations and emotions focused outward as "noisy ghosts" (the poltergeist theory)? Or could it be that the phenomena were being generated by Mary, Bill Smith's daughter? But, according to Bill and Susan, their daughter was a level-headed girl who was busy with extracurricular activities at school and never got into trouble.


(Recall, however, that she heard a woman's voice at the back of the house one day and was present with her parents during the first "beeping" episode.)


If we can exclude Todd and Mary as the source of the phenomena, can we turn to Bill as the culprit? Note that when Bill left the house for business trips (up to days at a time), the dogs, who normally reacted all night long to traffic on the road, other barking dogs, and nocturnal sounds, were unusually quiet. Susan felt safe during these times.


Why did the dogs generally remain quiet during these events? (However, the dogs did bark or whine during the "vanishing-boy" episode, the night of the "circular markings" incident, and the "whistle-near-the-bridge" incident.) If the dogs knew that the occurrences stemmed from Bill, could they have remained silent for that reason? Or is Susan the other "culprit?"


Recall that Bill did not dream; at least, he never remembered dreaming when he woke up after a night's sleep. On the other hand, Susan did dream and she had apparently precognitive dreams.


For example, at age 16 she dreamed that a friend of her father came to the door of the house and warned her father of approaching "revenooers." (Her father was making "moonshine.") She thought of telling her father of the dream but didn't. The next day her father was arrested by government officials. (Coincidence?)


In another dream she witnessed a car wreck. The car was a black Chevrolet with fins. Her brother was later injured in the exact same car. (She had never seen the car before.)


Other seemingly "psychic" experiences have happened to her. While in Neah Bay, Washington (before moving to the Yakama Indian Reservation), Susan received a letter from her mother. Without opening it, she knew immediately that her mother was very ill (nothing in the letter talked about her mother's condition). Later, Susan learned that her mother had had surgery. Sometime in the early 1970s, Susan had very bad back pains although she wasn't ill. However, she felt that her brother was sick, and she called her mother long distance. Her mother said that Susan's brother had the flu. Susan insisted there was something much more seriously wrong with him. A week later her mother telephoned: her brother was in the hospital with kidney stones.


Susan told me that her father always said that she was a "strange kid" and that she was "always different from the other kids" (although he never elaborated on these statements). Susan told me that it's possible that people have a genetically derived ability to foresee the future. The following is an interesting story. Although not supporting the genetic hypothesis, it supports Susan's belief that she had precognitive abilities: Susan awoke one morning, depressed. Her depression grew as time wore on. As the depression intensified, Susan had a foreboding that something terrible would happen. She attempted to carry on her daily activities. Bill had driven into town.


After an hour and a half, she went outside, and without thinking turned the dogs loose and walked to the irrigation ditch in back of the house. She stood facing west and saw a white car traveling north along the highway a block away. As if in slow motion, the car crashed into a bridge abutment. At the very moment of the crash, Bill witnessed the accident from his car as he drove up to the house. Susan ran toward him: "Did you see that?" He told her to call the police, and he went to the crash scene. Susan's depression had

ended. (The dogs did not bark during the 90-minute event.)


I wondered if Susan had uncontrolled impulses to foresee events. She stated that she had the ability to "read" people; she received "feelings" about them, from their actions or words, and she was proud of this ability. Was she serving as a "channel" or a "sensitive" for paranormal events?


Let us return to Bill. We have postulated (if for no other reason but certain coincidences) that he could be the source of these events (as could Susan). It is curious to note that the hammering sound went on until August 1980, in the month that relatives visited the Smiths. They had come for Mary's wedding. Getting married is a life passage, for the bride, groom and their families. Then, the hammering ceased. Coincidence?


An Indian cemetery is located not far from the Smith residence. I continued to search for an answer. An Indian cemetery is located not far from the Smith residence. Could Bill's friend have been digging into sacred ground and disturbed "spirits of the dead?" The voices behind the house, engaged in apparent conversation: were they spirits of Indians? I even wondered if an intelligence could exist that wants us to believe, but to believe in anything the intelligence conceives, and by manifesting itself in and near a house located near a cemetery manages to compound the confusion and add to the deception that the intelligence was the dead? Yet how could we be dealing with the spirits of Indians when all the other voices spoke in English?


I learned that a house once stood for many years on the land the Smith house now stands on. This house was apparently burned down when an irrigation-ditch fire raged out of control. I wanted to know who lived in the house but was unable to pursue this lead. Additionally, a mobile home stood on the property for four to five years before the Smiths arrived. If I could only find its inhabitants...


Occasionally, Bill would hear the faint sound of Indian drums being beat at night miles away to the southwest. This occurred during the period of ongoing paranormal phenomena. I received other reports of strange Indian drums heard by witnesses on the Reservation. Were these drumbeats "real," part of secret Indian ceremonies carried on in the hills, or something else?


And so it came down to this: Were the Smiths' hauntings initiated by a source outside of themselves, and which coincided with the prominent UFO activity that occurred on the Reservation throughout the 1970s? Were those experiences coming from the same source as that of UFOs, and were both the paranormal and UFOs the varied aspects of a single, albeit complex, phenomenon? Perhaps those paranormal events that bore no similarity to the UFO phenomenon were linked to an internal mental process that "projected" ideas into the outer environment. Conceivably, the projections would be channeled through or by Bill and Susan. If so, maybe the projections arise from deep-set emotions that are the result of unspoken and unrecognized mental states.


I did pursue this hypothesis during my investigations. Bill denied that he could project his voice unconsciously via ventriloquist techniques. One would think that if he did so, then perhaps Susan did the same (recall that she heard a woman's voice outside the window one night). (Mary would have had to consciously collude in the deception since she heard a woman's voice while walking the dogs.) Yet how does a person "project" a rosebud?


The "projection" of mental experiences into the external environment is in some ways a more fantastic assumption that the concept of UFOs themselves, at least UFOs conceived of as spacecraft. To conceive of a mechanism that draws upon the content of the human mind to fabricate voices, footsteps, ghostly shadows and "crickets" moves beyond the bounds of the debated evidence for UFO reality - multiple, independent witnesses, radar returns, photographic evidence and landing trace cases. No hard evidence exists in the Smith case. The rosebud was thrown away; the loaded Polaroid camera wasn't used even though it was close at hand; no photographs exist of the matted-down grass.


We are left with the question of hoax and hallucination. An interesting aspect of this case made itself known in 1986. Several years had passed after my interviews with the Smiths. Bill Smith called me and told me that he had other experiences to relate. They fit the same pattern as the others: noises, voices, strange things outside the house. Upon visiting the Smiths in their small, enclosed trailer, I found a gaunt, tired Bill. He pointed out a concave depression near his temple and reported that he had recently had surgery to remove a tumor growing on his optic nerve, and that he wasn't "out of the woods." Later, on the way home, I wondered if all that he had experienced had been hallucinations, that over the years, the slowly growing tumor had affected his cognitive processes. I felt I was on the verge of a solution. The complete absence of evidence suggested a man who, along with his family, had survived a period when stress and medical illness had taken on a form of the "supernatural." It was true that the dogs were quiet when Bill was away, and they rarely barked during the episodes. All the phenomena seemed internally caused.


But, Bill didn't think so. Bill believed the phenomena were real. He found the hammering incident annoying; time and again he had to leave the house to seek an answer and found none. He stated that all that the phenomena ever did were to distract him and interrupt his work. He had experienced uneasiness resulting from some of the experiences. "It is foolishness," he said. If superior beings were behind the events, they were, he said, "a form of intelligence playing with man." He noted that the instant Susan opened the window during the "out-of-sync-engine" episode, the light went out and the sound receded; when he opened the louvers in the door during the "dry-bearing electric-motor" episode, the light outside went out; when he turned around to find the source of the "cricket" sound, the sound stopped; and so forth.


In some ways, it seemed the Smiths were haunted, even though Bill denied it. And so, what do we conclude? In some ways, it seemed the Smiths were haunted, even though Bill denied it. Perhaps UFOs and the paranormal are just that - an intelligence that lingers around certain people, haunts certain locales. For this wasn't the first time that the Smiths had experienced the unknown.


In the early 1960s, while driving in southeastern Oklahoma, after visiting Susan in Fort Smith where she was attending school, Bill rounded a hill and saw a bright, flashing red light coming toward him in the distance. Parking at a roadside rest area, he watched the silent light stop a half mile away and remain stationary as it continued to flash. After five minutes, the flashing light retreated, vanishing into the distance.


Then, living in a log house in Tallahanee, Oklahoma, Bill and Susan observed three lights - -white, red, and blue - that alternately remained stationary and then swayed like pendulums, bobbed and spun.


After the Smiths moved west, they lived on the Makah Indian Reservation in Neah Bay, Washington, on the coast. Here they observed, while rambling on the beach, a roundish, orangeish-red light, similar to the kind of light they would later observe on the Reservation, traveling horizontally north to south about four miles out over the Pacific. In one motion, the light changed course and went straight down and entered the ocean.


Also, while at Neah Bay, one night Bill heard the front door open, the tread of feet, and then felt something large and heavy press down on his chest. He struggled to get free and finally cried out to Jesus Christ to help him. The weight instantly vanished.


People pursued, watched, toyed with by an unknown intelligence from off the planet? Flying machines? Or part of an invisible intelligence capable of nearly any disguise? The questions remained unanswered. All I know is that Bill Smith was a haunted man.



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