THE HEADSThe following article is my favorite UFO story. It ran in UFO Report about 15 years ago. I don't have the exact date of the magazine because the pages have been torn out. I know you will find it as intriguing as I do...
THE ALIEN OF BLOUNT ISLAND - The most unique and conclusive alien encounter in UFO history - by B. Ann Slate (Deceased)
Last October, 600 disappointed people had to be turned away from the already packed Florida Junior College auditorium in Jacksonville. They all wanted to hear nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman deliver his lecture, "Flying Saucers ARE Real."
Norman r. Chastain, a resident of Jacksonville, had arrived early in order to get a seat. The reason for his promptness was more than a normal interest and curiosity about UFOs. Norman Chastain had kept a secret inside him for over a year about an amazing experience which he would not reveal until he found the proper scientific authority to investigate it with, as he put it, "sincerity."
Later that evening at his home, Chastain began drafting a letter to Stanton Friedman at the UFO Research Institute in California. It began, "I am just an ordinary railroad electrician with 35 years of service..." The contents of that letter and the subsequent scientific research now being conducted as a result may make Norman Chastain's encounter the most unique and conclusive in UFO history.
While an electrician by profession, Chastain is an outdoorsman by hobby, so on a Friday evening in late January 1972, the 60 year old man drove with his cabin boat and trailer toward Blount Island which lies inland from the Atlantic Ocean near the mouth of the St. Johns River which is east of Jacksonville.
The island is essentially an industrial complex with municipal docks, a generating plant, and towering power lines. It was soon to figure prominently in the news as the Audubon Society fought in the courts to prevent a platform-mounted floating nuclear power plant from being constructed on the island.
But for Norman Chastain, Blount island meant calm water and a likely spot to catch large red bass. He anchored the Sea Camper 50 feet from shore. It was high slack tide. Across the island, the deserted passenger liner, the Constitution rested at storage anchor.
The mild winter's night was so quiet, Chastain could hear a "tiny frog croaking across the river." He began fishing and the hours passed quickly. It was near 3 a.m. when he first noticed the orange and blue lights flashing over the Ft. Caroline National Monument.
"Must be Mosquito Control," Chastain thought to himself but he soon changed his mind. The lights remained stationary, hovering about 300 feet over the monument and changing colors frequently. "Could it be a police helicopter?" he wondered. No, there wasn't a sound. Suddenly, the lights moved directly toward him, stopping 150 feet over his boat. The domed, circular shape was clear now and the electrician knew he was looking at a craft that was not from this planet. Approximately 75 feet across, eight feet thick, with a dome estimated at five feet high, the strange object had brilliant lights around its circumference.
"When I saw it was a UFO and the first one I've ever seen in my life, naturally I was kind of startled," Chastain said. "I didn't know what to do and I didn't know what it might do!"
After the initial shock wore off, Chastain reasoned that the craft might have mistaken his boat's running lights for another alien object. The Sea Camper has some unusual lighting features which Chastain built himself, blinking red and green markerl lights, a flashing white light on the bow and several reflectors. The two-burner Coleman lantern, mounted on top of the cabin, was also burning.
For five minutes, the craft hovered noiselessly overhead until Chastain snapped off the main light switch and turned out the lantern. Almost instantly, the UFO lights went out and he watched the dark outline of the object move slowly back toward the bluff from where it had come.
Chastain believed his strange encounter was over and that he had seen the last of the alien spaceship. Now he had other things to worry about because in the excitement of the sighting, the tide had shifted and pushed his boat aground. He made his way onto the dark island to hunt for a piece of driftwood to pry his boat off the shore and back into deeper water. He carried a strong spotlight with him and played the light over the ground to avoid stepping in any holes. Some distance from the boat, he located a 10 foot plank and began making his way back to the Sea Camper.
"I stopped about 75 feet from my boat to rest a minute as that wet piece of timber was heavy," Chastain said. "I raised my spotlight to see if my boat was still in the muck and there in the edges of the bushes was the strangest looking creature one could ever imagine!"
Standing in the waist-high growth was an alien being, clothed in a tight fitting suit that the witness compared to old fashioned men's winter underwear, "except it was a dark silver gray and it shined slightly." The being was about five to five and a half feet tall, had small arms, a large head with pointed ears, and a slightly angular chin. On the top of its head was a glowing disc. The creature's mouth was slightly open and framed in the bright glow from Chastain's spotlight, the oversized, protruding eyes resembled glass reflecting light. As the witness understated, "It didn't look human at all!"
For several frozen moments, alien and earthman gazed at each other. Then suddenly, the being raised his left hand which held a flat device about three inches across. There was a brilliant white flash which Chastain said almost blinded him. Then the numbness started, a slow paralysis that began in his neck and moved throughout his body.
"I staggered around so dizzy I couldn't stand up, so I laid down in the tall grass. My arms and legs became numb and tingled, just like when your leg goes to sleep. I was tempted to scream for help, hoping someone might be on the island and would come to my rescue, but then I decided it might be better just to lie still. The devil-looking thing might've come up to where I was and finished me off in an instant."
After the brilliant ray from the alien's weapon flashed in his face, an overpowering stench seemed to cling to Chastain's hair and clothes; a sickening, unfamiliar odor which he said "didn't compare to a skunk!" Whether this foul smell was part of the beam or one of its after effects, Chastain couldn't be sure.
Now lying paralyzed in the grass, the terrified witness said, "For the first hour I was sure I would die, but I prayed and prayed. The numbness began going away. About daybreak, I was able to get up on my hands and knees and crawl farther away from the boat. By noon of the next day, my strength returned and I could walk again. It was a warm day, I could see my boat 50 feet out in the water with the door open and no one inside."
The offensive odor still covered him. Chastain swam out to his boat, put on swimming trunks and dried his clothes, but the stench still remained. He washed his hair with a disinfectant, threw the clothes in a roadside ditch on the way home and felt almost normal except for having a peculiar light feeling, almost as if he was floating on air.
This condition didn't escape his wife's notice. "You don't look right, Norman," she said as soon as he walked on the house. "What's the matter?" Since Mrs. Chastain had been under a doctor's care, he didn't want to upset her with the details of his frightening experience. "So I told her a little lie, that the water had been rough and I got seasick," the witness said. "What's more I didn't tell anyone else for fear of being ridiculed, or have somebody accuse me of being some kind of nut!"
Norman Chastain couldn't have known that his experience with the humanoid from another world was far from over. The following day he went to his physician for a checkup, just in case the alien ray might have dome some permanent damage, or by chance the paralysis might have been caused by a stroke or heart attack. His doctor gave him a clean bill of health.
The electrician returned to the island in the daytime to search for some clue or evidence of his bizarre encounter but there wasn't a trace. He smelled around the grass and bushes where he had fallen but the noxious odor was gone. The piece of timber was still on the ground where he had dropped it. He went back to work at the railroad as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
But his nights weren't ordinary, for Chastain began to experience vivid dreams of another planet with strange-looking beings, remarkably huge flowers, and assembly lines which put out saucer-shaped craft. He kept these dreams, as well as the incident on Blount Island to himself.
Not being well informed about UFOs, Chastain wasn't aware of the many strange objects sighted over power lines, generating plants, and atomic installations. Nor had he ever researched the many cases concerning humanoids so he couldn't have known the alien he saw was not unique in appearance or actions. Silver-gray, tight-fitting uniforms, prominent glowing eyes, pointed ears, mysterious rays which blind or paralyze, all these are familiar features in documented sightings reported by responsible eyewitnesses to UFO investigators all over the world.
The classic case of the Hopkinsville, Kentucky creature bears several similar characteristics to that of the Blount Island episode. Considered one of the finest of all occupant sightings in the US, this incident took place in 1955 and is listed in official Air Force files as "Unidentified." Jacques Vallee's presentation of the case in Anatomy of a Phenomenon points out several significant facts omitted in other versions. He especially calls to the attention of interested biologists that a particular reaction on the part of the Hopkinsville creature might be worthy of further investigation.
In brief, the Kentucky alien was described as about four feet tall with huge eyes, large pointed ears, arms that hung almost to the ground, and large hands with long nails or claws. The being's clothing was called "nickel plated." Just before the alien approached the Sutton family household of eight adults and three children, one of the teenager's said he'd seen a flying object land behind the farmhouse. The family assumed he'd seen a shooting star -- that is until an hour later when a "little man" walked toward the house with both arms raised over its head.
If this gesture meant no hostility was intended, that fact was lost on the frightened people. One of the men grabbed his shotgun and fired through the screen door but the blast seemed to have no effect. The creature did a somersault and disappeared into the darkness. (The sound of the shot hitting was compared to that of shooting into a tin bucket.) The being's curiosity (or surveillance mission?) continued for interminable hours, as the creatures appeared on the roof and peeked through windows. (There is some question as to the precise number of beings as one of the witnesses remarked during an Air Force interrogation, "I only know what I saw. I saw two of the men or maybe the same one twice.")
The terrified family, during a lull in the "battle" abandoned the house, piled into their cars and drove into town to get law enforcement help. Police and state troopers moved into the area. As one of the officers drove toward the farmhouse to join the search, he reported seeing several strange "meteors" that came from the direction of the Sutton farm. As he and his wife looked out of the car, they saw two of them passing overhead with a loud "swishing" noise. However, the result of the investigation proved fruitless. The craft had disappeared from the gully and there were no indications around the house of what had taken place.
Of biological significance, as author Vallee points out, is that, "The eyes of the entities were large and apparently very sensitive. It was noticed that they always approached the house from the darkest corner. There was no pupil in the eye, no eyelid; when the witnesses turned on the lights outside the house, it seemed to prevent the creatures from coming towards the doors.
Thus, as Norman Chastain stood on Blount Island, frozen with the shock of seeing a silver-suited alien outlined in the beam of his powerful spotlight, can we assume that this creature felt pain or discomfort from the light and so retaliated by blasting the witness with his own form of light ray? This extraterrestrial, as with the Sutton case, had similar large glowing eyes that apparently had no pupils or eyelids.
So if by chance the Blount Island alien was in reality a robot on a surveillance mission, whose job was to take scientific readings (soil analysis, etc.) at the site of a future nuclear power plant, Norman Chastain may have inadvertently interfered and had to be stopped! There's no end to speculating on alien motivation and behavior, yet similar details from well-researched cases must be examined if we're to eventually draw any clear-cut patterns in the data.
However, the real evidence of the Blount Island sighting would uniquely present itself three days after the incident and right in the witness's own backyard.
It was now just a few days into February 1972 and Norman Chastain was asleep when a loud clap of thunder woke him up. "It was lightning and raining and then that same overpowering, distinctive stench that thing shot me with was pouring into my bedroom window. I jumped up to close the window, got my gun, and stayed awake the rest of the night listening and smelling that sickening odor. I wondered if that creature had some way of knowing where I went when I left the island."
Chastain got up several times during the stormy night to peer nervously out the window. His wife was sleeping in a separate bedroom on the opposite side of the house. Finally the storm ended and it was morning. Chastain heard his wife moving about and the cat meowing to be let out. He dressed rapidly and with gun in hand, cautiously opened the back door from where the stench was pouring in.
For a moment, he thought he'd lost his mind. Growing in the grass directly behind the Sea Camper was a cluster of flesh-colored "heads." It was like a scene out of an all-too-real horror movie but the "plants" all resembled the facial distortions of the alien on the Island and were producing the same terrible odor! With mouths gaping, large eye sockets shining with a white substance like glazed eyes, three of the five inch tall "heads" appeared fully developed while two of the smaller ones were, according to Chastain, like "new born babes with their eyes closed." The witness shuddered, looked skyward and on the ground for a spacecraft or other growths but there was nothing else unusual to be seen.
He had to have someone else witness the strange growth so he rushed to some of his neighbor's homes. The men had already gone to work. In a state of near frenzy, Chastain returned home, grabbed a shovel and dug up two of the bigger heads and the two smaller ones, and tossed them behind the nearby utility shed. Then he called to his wife, asking her to join him in the backyard.
Her first shocked response was, "Lord that looks like something from another world!" Chastain desperately wanted to tell his wife everything that had happened the night he went fishing alone on Blount Island, but he held back concerned about her delicate health. Already she was showing signs of becoming ill from smelling the noxious odor of the remaining growth.
"Go inside and call the police! Tell them something strange is growing in our backyard," Chastain said to his wife. "And have them say I'm drunk or crazy when I tell them what it looks like; a pink devil with big eyes and pointed ears and a round mouth that's stinking up the neighborhood?" was her response.
Chastain had to agree with her but he desperately wanted other witnesses. Grabbing a shovel, he dug up the last freak growth, jumped in his car and headed for the Jacksonville Journal newspaper offices. He carefully placed the "head" on the front floorboard of his car.
"I had to drive with my head out the window because the stench was overpowering me," he said. "I was getting dizzy, the same helpless feeling I experienced on the Island, and I was scared the numbness might start to set in before I reached the newspaper office."
In route, Chastain narrowly avoided hitting another car. He jammed on his brakes and the growth slammed against the steep portion of the floorboard. Now another nightmare began. The "head" started oozing a red substance after the impact -- a secretion which Chastain describes as similar to blood.
He tried to regain his composure at the newspaper offices as he described the weird plant in his car to the news editor. Chastain made no reference to the craft or alien on Blount Island.
The news editor eyed Chastain suspiciously. "Is this on the level or have you been drinking?"
"I'm not a drinking man," Chastain answered, "but this thing in my car has got me woozy from the odor it's putting out!" Together with several other reporters, Chastain and the editor returned to the car. Someone in the group remarked upon closer examination of the growth, "Look into its mouth! It's even got little teeth!"
The "head" was not familiar to any of the Journal staff. Nor could the monstrosity be identified by Chastain's coworkers at the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Company roundhouse, his next stop for additional witnesses after leaving the newspaper offices. Foreman John Ellis exlcaimed, "Good Lord, is that thing putting out all the stink in here?"
Clyde Schramm, pipe fitter said, "Look at the red stuff coming out f the back of its head!"
By the following day, all the "heads" had shriveled into pink sponge-like balls which Chastain buried in the spot where they initially grew to see what would happen, but none of the Demon Plants reappeared.
As of this writing, soil samples taken from different depths in Chastain's backyard and on Blount Island are being subjected to various tests in several laboratories. The backyard soil, under preliminary microscopic examination, possesses substantial fungi hyphae (root filaments) and it is hoped that the spores remaining in the samples will germinate in a humidity chamber set to duplicate the conditions that prevailed on the night they grew.
What exactly are these spores? Are we talking about extraterrestrial ones seeded in terrestrial soil? While this cannot be ruled out thus far, another tentative hypothesis may be possible. One clue to the freak "heads" is indicated by the terrible stench they gave off.
Louis C. C. Krieger in The Mushroom handbook says of the variety of fungi called stinkhorns that they have"... the insupportable effluvium of Limburger cheese raised to the nth degree." Because of the stench, these mushrooms attract flies and thus the spores are disseminated by the insects which carry them on their bodies and in their excreta. The flies also deposit their eggs on these fungi and the maggots then have a ready supply of food as they mature, eating their way through the flesh of the mushroom. The resulting holes in the stinkhorn will produce various designs and a few varieties in the stinkhorn family will ooze a blood-like red substance when cut or split open.
Does that eliminate any connection between the alien on the island and the peculiar growths in Chastain's backyard? Did the witness merely fall into a patch of stinkhorns on the island and transport spores on his shoes or body back to his home where they would magically pop out of the ground several nights later due to the extreme rain and weather conditions?
The specialists working on this case could not agree. The probability that maggots would eat a precise face in one stinkhorn might be called coincidental but the odds are astronomical that all five of the fungi would be eaten in precisely the same manner to produce identical shapes. That the mushroom would bear such a close resemblance to the creature on the island is also rather remote. It is also significant that the "heads' grew near the location where Chastain drained the water from the Sea Camper - water that may have been irradiated from the UFO which hovered over the boat.
Prof. Leslie Paleg of Adelaide University of Australia recently announced the remarkable method of using laser beams on plant life to influence plant behavior on growth. "Only bursts are needed because laser light is highly concentrated and intense," the distinguished agricultural scientist said. "We have been able to show that a one-second burst of light from a laser a quarter mile away will affect the growth of a morning glory vine."
And in that area of research lies the key, not just to the Chastain mystery but the many UFO close encounters and landings which have affected the soil and produced the huge circular rings of mutated plant life nearby.
Laser, microwave, and other light energies used in biological research is still a relatively new science. But if the fungi can be made to germinate in the Florida soil samples, we can work backward to determine what kind of light beam -- or energy -- produced the mutation, yielding still more definitive data on the technological secrets of flying saucers and their occupants.