Home Culture and Society My ‘close encounter’…with Stanton Friedman… – Barry Koplen

My ‘close encounter’…with Stanton Friedman… – Barry Koplen

Unlike any other time in my life, I didn’t know who to turn to in order to share what four of us had seen. Knowing that people would doubt me despite the fact that four of us had experienced a very close encounter with a flying saucer made sharing my story difficult. Nonetheless, for a myriad of reasons, I needed someone to listen, someone who could provide some direction.

Within minutes, I thought of calling our armed services to tell them that a saucer had entered our air space undetected. I wanted to tell them that I had seen it enter our atmosphere as an inexplicable red dot that was traveling at an inestimable speed. That’s what I tried to do the morning after, but without success.

Because the year was 1978, more than a decade before the UFO Museum opened, I searched for someone else to contact, someone who knew about flying saucers. That when I found the telephone number of Stanton Friedman, a nuclear physicist who was the first civilian to document the 1947 Roswell UFO site.

To my surprise, and my relief, Friedman answered when I called. Everything I had to say fascinated him; he was that receptive. We spoke for at least thirty minutes about the craft that I’d seen as a mere red dot appear as a flying saucer, a term he liked to use too, less than a second later.

He wanted to hear everything; his questions helped me to provide specific details that were bound to the conglomeration of memories and emotions that were tied to our sighting.

When I explained that the shape of the craft was, indeed, like that of drawings I’d seen, he asked me to be more descriptive. I told him that the bottom of the craft was saucer-shaped and that the top was similar to an inverted coffee cup, Around the top of the ‘cup’ was a ring of rectangular openings or windows.

Alternating red and white light streamed either through or from those openings.

Because the craft hovered as it had come, without a sound and without any evidence of forces of propulsion, I was able to procure (from my cousin) a pair of Zeiss binoculars.

I explained to Stanton Friedman that the craft didn’t move as it hovered. Proof of that came as I focus the entire lens of the binoculars on one of the rectangular ‘windows’. To my surprise, I did not see the inside of the craft.

Instead, as I explained to Friedman, I saw a stream of light so dense and thick that I could not see into. Never had I seen light that appeared almost as a solid stream. Whatever was inside the craft was impossible to see since, as I scanned the saucer, I saw no more openings.

Like the scientist he was, Friedman asked for details about the size and color and composition of the saucer. His questions weren’t taxing; they helped me to clarify what I’d witnessed.

By the end of our conversation, I was thankful that he had shared what I knew would be a remarkable burden. I had an important story to tell and I needed someone to hear it, someone who could help me notify the world about what I, and the three witnesses, had seen.

As our conversation ended, I sensed I would continue to re-consider our experience. With Friedman’s help, I had a better sense of how to sort through the incredible details of our unique experience.

Before Friedman said goodbye, he ended our conversation by saying, “Of all the credible reports of UFO sightings I’d heard or collected, yours is in the top one half of the top one percent.”

I never forgot his affirming comment. Indeed, the memory of it helped spur me, years later, to write a book about our very close encounter with the flying saucer that silently hovered about eighty feet high and almost two hundred feet away.

Before writing the book, I did something important, something so uncomfortable and unpleasant that I will never do it again.

I took, and passed, a lie detector test. The results are in my first book, written many years later, Why Won’t They Believe me? Four of us saw the saucer! TWICE! as well as the expanded version, Close Encounter at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia.

Although the original book was purchased by the UFO Museum in Roswell, NM, both it and the updated version are missing something, something I just thought about an hour before writing this piece.

What I left out has everything to do with Stanton Friedman. Everything I’ve read about him suggests that he took copious notes.

In the many years since our sighting, one of the things I haven’t done is to check whether Staunton Friedman kept a record of all of his conversations, including mine!