New Smyrna Beach
By Matt Reed
The media went wacko over Lynne Plaskett's claim that an "alien" life force - specifically, a small flying saucer - cured her cancer 20 years ago.
She told her story Thursday morning on a taped installment of TV's syndicated "Maury Povich Show." Within an hour, the County Council member from New Smyrna Beach was bombarded by calls from radio, TV and newspaper reporters.
She thought she answered every question consistently and with sincerity.
"If you believe, no proof is necessary." Plaskett said. "If you don't, then no proof is sufficient."
But wide-eyed Volusia residents were left with some nagging questions:
o Did she REALLY have cancer?
o Why did she blurt this out so close to the November election?
o And didn't she say something on the Maury Povich Show" about writing a book? Could this be a big stunt to plug it?
Plaskett said she was diagnosed in 1975 with T cell lymphoma and given three months to live. From her Los Angeles hospital, she went home to bed and cried.
As she tells it, "I'm lying in bed, and I hear this electronic buzzing sound behind me like it's emanating from the wall. The room filled up with a fog-like smoke. I was levitated off my bed, and a disk-like object about 8 inches in diameter came in, hovered over me and passed three times down the length of my body but never touched me."
The next day, she didn't remember the encounter, but knew she'd be OK, Plaskett said. Within four days, her cancer had retreated drastically. Within four months, she was in remission.
She said she recalled the close encounter in 1981 while watching a TV program on UFOs. The program played an alleged tape recording of a "mother ship."
It was the same buzzing sound, and it triggered her memory.
Medical records released by Plaskett confirm she was diagnosed with cancer in April 1975. Tests found signs of widespread cancer in her throat, bone marrow and kidneys.
But after just two days of chemotherapy, "the patient had a very dramatic reduction in the tumor burden as seen by chest X-ray," according to records from Harbor General Hospital. Plaskett credits her alien encounter.
Dr. Walter Durkin, an Ormond Beach oncologist who in 1975 worked at the University of Southern California teaching hospital across town, isn't a believer.
"Back then, we had reasonably good treatment for lymphoma," Durkin said. Lymphomas are very chemotherapeutically sensitive."
Today, about 90 percent of lymphoma patients go into remission, and half are cured for good he said.
Would a four-day turnaround seem unusual to him?
"No, Not at all." he said.
Cancer patients given little time to live often don't know how to explain it if when they suddenly get better, Durkin said. They often fill that gap in their understanding with "recollections" of miracles or strange encounters.
"What she should be doing is encouraging people to get treatment because her doctor is the one who cured her," Durkin said.
But Plasket remains a believer. "I know I wasn't crazy, and I wasn't dreaming." she said.
"It's my time - and I think it's important that people know there are positive encounters, too." said Plaskett, who has produced only a few hand-written pages for a book. "I'm not ashamed of that. If it hurts my career, then so be it."
As her story was picked up by news wires, national radio broadcasters and other television programs fellow county councilmen said they still have confidence in her.
They described Plaskett as a level-headed expert on planning and zoning issues.
And no one will ever know for sure exactly what, if anything, Plaskett experienced in her Los Angeles area home 20 years ago.
This article appeared in the NEWS-JOURNAL, Daytona Beach, FL Sept 15, 1996.
Lynne is currently the Vice Mayor for the city of New Smyrna Beach, Florida. She was first elected in 2003 to the City Commission, and is now serving her second term.
Lynne still works on issues of growth management in Volusia county, and she continues to speak for responsible development. She devotes time to a number of community organizations including Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army, the Council on Aging, and the Department of the Interior.
Remember the doctor who told Lynne she could never have children? Lynne's four sons and two daughters are adults now, and she has four grandchildren and one great-grandchild. (Must have been the same doctor!)