Quiet, gentle, devoted to his family and church and, in almost every other way, 78-year-old Raymond Fowler appears to be a man content to spend his retirement years tending to the vegetable and flower gardens that surround his home.
But for more than six decades Fowler has investigated claims of Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) sightings and alien encounters from all over the world and, on Saturday, Sept. 1, Fowler will be inducted into the Exeter, N.H. UFO Festival Hall of Fame.
“I never really expected this, but it has been a long time,” he said.
For Fowler the story really began in summer 1947. He was a teenager in Danvers, Mass. and wanted to earn some extra money to help his family.
“We had come through the Depression and the war and everybody helped out,” Fowler said as he looked back some 65 years and quietly recalled a time when he was working at a farm in Danvers, Mass.
“We were weeding these huge longs rows – I think it was parsnips,” he said. “The farmer set a large bottle of water at the end of the rows and I rushed up ahead to get a drink.”
From his position at the end of the field Fowler saw what he assumed was a man parachuting toward the ground. Danvers is not that far from Hanscom Airfield and he thought it had something to do with the military in the area.
But as the object got closer, “there were no parachute shrouds or guy,” he said.
“It was a disc-shaped object and it came along and just stopped,” Fowler said. “Meanwhile, I yelled to the people behind me to look, but in a typical falling leaf motion, it ducked behind a stand of trees.”
Fowler was hooked. From that time on, he became fascinated with the subject of unidentified flying objects and alien encounters. He collected whatever reading material he could on the subject and learned as much as he could about close encounters and the heavens above.
“At the time, newspapers and radios were full of the stuff,” he said.
After high school, Fowler served in the Air Force and, during his enlistment, he continued to talk about his experiences and quietly investigated other claims.
Fowler said several of his fellow airmen told him stories of strange photos that came from gun cameras and aircraft from around the world.
After spending four years in the service and graduating from Gordon College, Fowler continued to investigate as he worked for GTE Government Systems for 25 years as both a task manager and senior planner for the Minuteman Missile program.
Eventually, because of his thorough investigative background, he became the chief investigator for the National Investigations Committee On Aerial Phenomena (NICAP).
After 25 years at GTE, Fowler had the opportunity to retire early and jumped at the chance.
“I wanted to teach, write and continue the investigations,” he said. “Many of my colleagues didn’t understand, but I wanted to continue.”
Fowler was 52 years old at the time and spent the next 20 years doing what he loved. Not surprisingly, he has had a lifelong interest in astronomy and taught adult education classes in both Massachusetts and Maine.
He even helped build and run Woodside Planetarium in Wenham, Mass.
“The planetarium was up and running for 30 years,” Fowler said. “But eventually it was closed and the equipment was sold.”
Shortly after the planetarium closed in 2000, he and his wife Margaret moved to Kennebunk.
Fowler has written numerous articles for both magazines and newspapers and, during his so-called retirement years, wrote 11 different books that document alien encounters on the planet and with the people who live here.
In 1979, his nonfiction book, “The Andreasson Affair,” made it to the New York Times’ bestseller list. One of his most recent books, “The Allagash Abductions,” documents a close encounter here in the state of Maine.
For all of these accomplishments and more, Fowler will be honored on Sept. 1, but in a fashion typical of his lifelong investigations, he is shying away from the limelight and does not plan to attend the event.
He did say the event is worthwhile, but he will watch from afar. Many of the people he trained and interviewed over the years will be there and he will learn of the event through them.
“I really have been retired for many years and, besides, it’s not about me,” he said.
I set up my recorder to record the moon, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to see
the full moon tonight, due to rain coming.
I was just standing there looking towards the southwest and the object-UFO was coming. I could see it behind some
trees, glowing and moving real slowly, about the time it reached the top of the
trees a plane showed up and it blinked completely out.
I did get video of it since I already had my recorder set up.
After the object was gone and no
planes were around, I started noticing these types of craft flying up high, they reminded
me of fireflies and they were moving around almost everywhere in the sky, no
one direction, just everywhere.
They looked too high to film so I grabbed my
binoculars to see what they were, they were triangle in shape (black color)
with circle white lights on all three points, with a red light in the center
blinking, but the back end of the craft seemed to have a type of bar stobing
light, really crazy looking.
They left in different directions, but shortly
after they left, at 9:44 PM, a bright glowing object-UFO just appeared out of
nowhere right above our house, bright and glowing, as it left in a northerly
direction it dimmed and was gone.
Then the firefly looking craft showed up
again, the same thing happened as last time.
I firmly believe that extraterrestrial races have been visiting earth for thousands of years. I have read hundreds of accounts of contact, and carefully reviewed transcripts of radar showing impossible aerodynamics.
There are thousands of documented cases, each with hundreds of witnesses. It can’t all be a hoax or mistaken identity.
However, when it comes to stories of human contact with aliens, something doesn’t seem quite right. I have never read about aliens being fascinated with our culture. You would think that they would comment about the astounding array of human arts, everything from sculptures to modern painting.
If aliens really have had contact with humans, why have I never read any account of their impression of our culture?
Also, unless there is some "Prime Directive" about non-interference in another culture (ala Star Trek), why has no alien ever offered some new technology to help make wars obsolete?
Something seems to be amiss. What is your opinion?
Wouldn’t aliens be fascinated with our movies? Our music? (well, maybe not Britney Spears, but RUSH should raise a few alien eyebrows, if indeed they have eyebrows.
I appreciate the point of view that extraterrestrials would be so far advanced that we would seem primitive to them, but aren’t we not only interested, but absolutely in awe of the "primitive" cultures we read about?
I would think the sharp contrast between our evolutionary scale and theirs would be cause for them to be quite interested in our culture.
Wouldn’t super intelligent beings crave something as relatively simplistic as our culture?
I am shocked by the snide, flippant comments. If aliens are truly intelligent, then they have an advanced sense of wonderment and curiosity. They would naturally be curious about the huge gamut of art our civilizations have produced.
Certainly, they would be quite different than what developed on other planets.
Wouldn’t there be some scientist on board an extraterrestrial craft who is in charge of cataloguing alien cultures and artifacts?
Air Force Colonel Reports Lights-"Not of this World"
Snaps images above Arkansas:
'I have no idea what they were'
Posted: January 17, 2007-6:37 p.m. Eastern
By Joe Kovacs
In the wake of reports of unidentified objects flying over Chicago's O'Hare Airport, a retired Air Force pilot has his own mystery with a rash of bright, colorful lights he photographed hovering in skies over western Arkansas last week.
"I believe these lights were not of this world, and I feel a duty and responsibility to come forward," Col. Brian Fields told WND. "I have no idea what they were."
Fields, 61, was cooking chicken at his Van Buren, Ark., home Jan. 9 when just before 7 p.m., he observed two intensely bright lights as he looked to the southeast close to the horizon.
"At first I thought they were landing lights from an aircraft," he said. "As I continued to observe them they began to slowly disappear, then suddenly one reappeared, followed by two, then three. On at least one occasion four or five appeared. Each time they would slowly fade and eventually disappear. This occurred several times and when they would reappear they might do so in differing numbers and in different positions, sometimes in a triangular shape, sometimes stacked on top of each other, sometimes line abreast, etc. When the objects appeared they might stay illuminated 10 or more minutes."
Fields' wife thought the lights may have been ground-based, but Fields says he's certain they were airborne. The retired colonel spent close to 32 years in the military, flying F-16s as a member of the 188th Fighter Wing of the Arkansas Air National Guard.
"I'm certain it wasn't an aircraft [from Earth]," said Fields, who also ruled out the possibility of flares, saying they didn't descend like flares typically do. "It's not anything I ever had any experience with . ... They were some kind of energy or something."
Fields grabbed his Canon digital camera with 6 megapixel resolution to document what he and his wife were witnessing, and snapped numerous images of the mysterious lights.
He says the phenomenon lasted an hour and 15 minutes, and local news agencies have not published or broadcast any reports of what the couple witnessed. WND surveyed local police and sheriffs agencies, as well as Fort Chaffee, a decommissioned Army base in the region, and no one reported anything out of the ordinary.
"I just can't imagine other people didn't see it," Fields said, noting they appeared at times like a yo-yo at 5 to 10 degrees above the horizon.
Earlier this month, the Chicago Tribune reported workers for United Air Lines said they saw a flying saucerlike object hovering "low over O'Hare International Airport for several minutes before bolting through thick clouds with such intense energy that it left an eerie hole in overcast skies."
That Nov. 7 sighting took place just before sunset about 4:30 p.m.
According to Tribune columnist Jon Hilkevitch, "All the witnesses said the object was dark gray and well defined in the overcast skies. They said the craft, estimated by different accounts to be 6 feet to 24 feet in diameter, did not display any lights.
"Some said it looked like a rotating Frisbee, while others said it did not appear to be spinning. All agreed the object made no noise and it was at a fixed position in the sky, just below the 1,900-foot cloud deck, until shooting off into the clouds."
When interviewed on National Public Radio about the story, Hilkevitch indicated the event was anything but a hoax.
"That's what impressed me about this. All aviation professionals, very credible sources and they are very serious," Hilkevitch said. "They are not saying what they saw was a, you know, a spaceship from another planet, but it was unidentified, it was in restricted airspace, and they were concerned from a safety standpoint. That if this was something man-made, they needed to get it out of there because they were having busy flight operations in the early evening hours."
Back in Arkansas, Col. Fields, who says he's a Christian who has not been a believer in alien life forms from other planets, speculated what he saw could possibly be related to ancient texts from the Bible.
One of them is Luke 21:11, where Jesus discusses signs of the End Times, stating, "And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven."
Another is even more ancient, going back to the time of Noah's flood.
"That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. ... There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown." (Genesis 6:2-4)
These Old Testament verses have been enigmatic for centuries, but many Christians believe they refer to a time in antiquity when spirit beings, perhaps angels in rebellion against God, visited Earth and had sexual relations with human women, producing "giants," which is translated from the Hebrew word "Nephilim," which some scholars say is better translated as "fallen ones."
"I believe it's prophetic, something do with what's happening in the Middle East today," said Fields. "If this is some kind of event with visitation, it's entirely possible. When the anti-Christ comes into power, it's not going to be something we expect. The deception that is going to be attached to it is going to be so powerful, you're gonna have to go against your reason to reject it."
While Fields cannot be certain of what it was he saw, he wants to tell people not to be deceived.
"Be awake, be mindful you can be deceived," he said. "There are things that can shake our world."
Mysterious yellow lights in triangular formation seen Jan. 9 near Van Buren, Ark. The red lights at right are from a local radio tower (photo: Col. Brian Fields)