Published: 4:48 PM 10/20/2013
Matt Dodge, Lewiston-Auburn
PORTLAND — In the back room of a holistic gift shop, a young man introduces himself to the group.
“I want to find my truth and know why I’m here,” he says. And he’s not alone.
Starborn Support was founded by twin sisters Audrey and Debbie Hewins as a support and discussion group for those who believe they’ve experienced contact with extraterrestrials.
Operating for years as a call-in hotline, the group has grown to include 12 chapters, and last night’s event marked the first public, in-person meeting of the group.
The 17 “experiencers” present at the meeting ran the gamut, from those who cited multiple incidents of contact with extraterrestrial beings to individuals who were simply, as the young man put it, finding their "truth.”
“Not everyone is physically taken,” Audrey Hewins said.
Hank Moser shared his story of seeing a “cigar-shaped thing” hovering over the Penobscot River. “It was so close that if there was anyone in the windows, I would have recognized them,” he said.
Moser spent years mulling the experience, and after experimenting with self-hypnosis, began to think that there might have been more to his UFO experience than he remembered, or was allowed to remember.
“What’s the rest of the story?" Moser said. "That’s why I’m here.”
A large part of the discussion was focused not on alien abductions or meetings but on communication with an unknown, outside force.
Many in the group reported feeling a similar ominous feeling as of late, which the Hewins were quick to validate as they cited their own apocalyptic dreams, including premonitions of recent disasters such as Hurricane Sandy and the Fukushima nuclear incident.
“We haven't started building the ark yet,” Audrey said.
The typical UFO experiencer stereotypes fall flat in the Starborn Support group.
There are no drunk yokels or pimply kids in "X-Files" shirts. While there were a few mentions of conspiracy-theory buzzwords such as JFK, the New World Order and the biblical Three Days of Darkness, at its heart this group was made up of students, moms, grandfathers and holistic practitioners who shared an otherworldly experience.
Some of those present were a little more experienced than others, but none more so than Steve Pierce. While working for the Forest Service in 1975, Pierce said he witnessed his co-worker Travis Walton being abducted by a UFO in Arizona.
Walton was missing for five days before returning home with his tale of alien abduction, which he later turned into a book and subsequent 1993 film, “Fire in the Sky.”
Pierce, along with many of those gathered, believe that certain people are more prone to extraterrestrial experiences than others. “Once it starts happening, it will happen the rest of your life,” he said.
Like all support groups, Starborn is focused on creating a safe space for people to talk about their lives and experiences.
“The more we share, the more people will come out and tell their stories,” Debbie Hewins said.