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The 1976 Alien Abduction Case In Kentucky: Three Women Reported Being Abducted By Extraterrestrials

On January 6, 1976 in Kentucky, Mona Stafford, Louise Smith, and Elaine Thomas claimed to have been abducted by beings from another planet. All three passed lie detectors confirming their story.

Kentucky Alien Abduction case
Three women claimed to have been abducted by aliens on January 6, 1976, In Kentucky

Just after 11:15 p.m. on January 6, 1976, as Mona Stafford, Louise Smith, and Elaine Thomas were heading home to Liberty, Kentucky, driving southwest on Route 78 from a late dinner in Lancaster, they spotted an intense red glow high in the eastern sky. The glow grew larger and more intense, then descended rapidly and silently at an angle until it was positioned to the right of the car at tree-top level. The witnesses discerned a disc shape with round windows; around each of them blinking red lights rotated in a counterclockwise direction. A row of yellow lights stretched beneath these. The object was topped with a luminous blue dome. Stafford recalled, "The dome was blinding, and it reflected on a metallic surface which I'm sure was more than one hundred feet wide." The object moved toward the car, executed a tight half-circle maneuver, and flipped on its side. Now just to the left of the car, it flashed three shafts of bluish-white light on the road. Then one shined into the vehicle, illuminating the interior as if it were daylight.

Smith, who had been behind the wheel, stopped the car and got out. She looked "petrified," according to Stafford, who pulled her back inside. Smith would have no recollection of this part of the episode. Stafford noticed a "dead silence. Even the wind stopped." Back inside the car, Smith felt weirdly "deserted." Tears were flowing from their eyes. Their skin tingled as if burned, and then severe headaches set in. The UFOs lights switched off. The car was moving at 85 mph, Smith was horrified to discover. But even when she took her foot off the accelerator, the vehicle continued at this reckless pace. She asked Stafford, sitting next to her, to help her steer. Stafford, who could barely see at this stage, tried, to no avail. "It felt like we were traveling over road hurdles or flying in air pockets on an airplane," Smith recalled. "All I could see was a long, straight road ahead, with no lights, no houses, nothing I could recognize." To Stafford, it felt as if the car were "being pulled and we were going over a long, straight road" - though Route 78 is not straight. Even more weirdly, the engine was off.

Kentucky alien abduction 1976
Louise Smith, Elaine Thomas, and Mona Stafford claimed to have been abducted by aliens in Kentucky in 1976

Then, in what seemed like no more than a moment, the landscape was familiar again. They were just outside Hustonville, eight miles from the location (one mile south of Stanford) where they had been when they first saw the UFO. When they got to Smith's trailer house, they gulped down glasses of cold water to assuage a deep thirst. Smith happened to glance at the kitchen clock. It read 1:25. She was shocked. It should have taken no more than 50 minutes to make the trip between Stanford and Liberty. Another shock hit when she looked at her wristwatch. Not only did it indicate 6 o'clock, but the minute hand was moving as if it were a second hand. She and her friends checked the bedroom clock, which confirmed the kitchen-clock reading. Close to an hour and a half was unaccounted for.

The three tried to reconstruct the night's events. Stafford called the state police, who expressed no interest. The burning sensation continued, even intensified.

Eventually, Stafford and Thomas returned to their respective residences. The next morning, all three woke up to continuing physical discomfort, including raw skin, burning eyes, blisters, and headaches. Later Stafford would see her physician, who prescribed eye drops. They did not help.

Investigations and Investigators

After news of the incident leaked (without the witnesses' permission) into local media in February, ufologists tried to interview the women, who said they desired no publicity. Finally, they were persuaded to cooperate, and on February 29 a team of investigators associated with the Texas-based Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) met personally with the women. Ufologist Leonard H. Stringfield noted that "the effects of the close encounter were still painfully apparent." The three looked drained and tense. All complained of sudden weight loss. Stafford's eyes showed "strong traces of inflammation." Smith lifted the hair on the nape of her neck to reveal what Stringfield described as a "round pinkish-gray blotch the size of a half-dollar."

The missing time was a particular source of distress to the women. Stringfield suggested that perhaps hypnosis would be able to peel away the layer of amnesia. On March 7, Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) consultant R. Leo Sprinkle, a University of Wyoming psychologist, attempted hypnosis on Stafford, who recounted the consciously recalled parts of the episode but became hysterical as Dr. Sprinkle's probing brought her to the unrecalled part. Though none of the women had said anything about seeing occupants, Stringfield produced a drawing that depicted beings reported in various close encounters of the third kind. Stringfield said nothing, but Stafford quickly pointed to one of the pictures and declared, "This is it." He asked, "Is this what you saw after you mentioned the light coming into the car?" Stafford replied that she had a mental image that "comes and goes... fades and reappears like fog." (Later, according to Stringfield, Thomas would independently point to the same figure.)

Stringfield's action would leave him open to criticism that he had helped shape the subsequent testimony by planting ideas and images into the psyche of a woman in an impressionable psychological state. While such criticism is justified, it must also be said that by 1976 the abduction phenomenon, with its characteristic missing time and interaction with humanoids, was widely known. The simple fact that a witness was being hypnotized to "recall" what had happened during a UFO sighting had implications no one, including Stafford, could have failed to understand.

At this stage, the investigation got bogged down over funding problems. None of the participating UFO organizations - APRO, MUFON, or the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) - was able or willing to spend the money to send a qualified professional back to Kentucky to continue the hypnotic regression. Then one of the MUFON team, Jerry Black, took it upon himself to bring the National Enquirer into the story, notwithstanding a pledge the investigators had made to keep the story out of the newspapers, and especially out of the Enquirer. Black negotiated a deal that brought Sprinkle to Kentucky and paid the women for their cooperation.

Louise Smith alien abduction drawing
Louise Smith's depiction of an alien being she encountered during her abduction

The Enquirer also secured the services of James Young, a detective with the Lexington police department and an experienced polygraph examiner. On Friday, July 23, each woman took the test. The results indicated, Young said, that the women were sincere. This was hardly surprising. All three were devout Christians - Smith even performed in a gospel band, and all had good reputations locally.

Over the weekend the three women separately underwent hypnosis. No full or entirely coherent account emerged, though their stories were generally compatible. Stafford "remembered" being taken from the car and finding herself on a white table or bed in a dark, uncomfortably hot room. A bright white light from which a "power" or energy emanated seemed to be holding her down as an eyelike device examined her. Several small figures wearing "surgical masks" and "surgical garments" observed her. A weblike structure was before her, and a burning liquid substance covered her. She felt a sensation of pressure against her eyeballs.

Under hypnosis, she made a cryptic reference to a sensation of "being in a volcano." Subsequently, in normal consciousness, she explained what she meant:

"It was a long tunnel, dark inside with an opening at the top. It's clear now; at the end, I can see an operating room. Everything is white, a white, round light shining on a white table, and I can see four small beings around the table. They have a tube on somebody's stomach... It's a woman there on the table, but I can't tell who it is. Maybe it's me on that table being examined."

Thomas "remembered" leaving the car and being in a "chamber" with a window. She could see humanoid beings, four feet tall and gray-skinned with dark eyes, walking back and forth. A cocoon-like device was wrapped around her neck like a noose. When she tried to speak or think, the noose tightened and choked her. For a time a bullet-shaped object was placed above her left breast.

Smith's "memories" were the vaguest of the three. She spoke of feeling the car being tugged backward. Next, she was surrounded by a "strange darkness," with intense heat burning her flesh. A scalding liquid was poured on her, and she had the impression that she was being examined. Her throat was dry. She could not move her arms. Later that weekend she would refuse an offer to undergo hypnosis again.

The evening of January 6, numerous area residents reported seeing an object generally described as "oval-shaped and large, with a brilliant circle of lights." It traveled silently and would stop to hover occasionally, then shoot away "at great speed." One sighting of particular interest took place at 11:30 p.m. just a few hundred yards from the site of the three women's encounter. From the window of their home, a couple observed a brilliantly lighted object shaped like a light bulb. It was heading toward the south.


On July 29, when Stringfield called Smith to ask how she was doing, she said she was in bed, too ill to go to work. Moreover, she added, something "terrible" had happened within the last 24 hours. Late the previous night, "a voice or whatever it was" had caused her to awaken from a sound sleep and drive alone to the encounter site. She had stood there for some time, feeling severely frightened but unable to leave. Once she felt a tugging at her hands. Suddenly, at 3 a.m., she ran to her car and headed for nearby Stanford. Along the way, she noticed that two rings were missing from one hand and another ring from the other. None of them could have come off by accident; on those rare occasions she took them off, she had to moisten her hands with soap.

The following morning she and a police officer looked for the rings without success. In September, however, two of them mysteriously reappeared near the door to her trailer home.

Over time the women's "memories" of the missing period grew somewhat more elaborate. Stafford said, "The aliens separated us, and I can remember leaving one ship and finding myself aboard another, with three floors, and there was a dome over me... Somehow, I also had the feeling I was in a cave or volcano - underground somewhere." Smith recalled that the aliens wore hoods and their bodies were covered. Their eyes were "frightening... large and pointed towards the temples"; their hands were "like a birds wing would be if you could stretch it out."

Stafford claimed to have had another encounter with an alien being. As part of the emotional fallout from her UFO experience, she moved in with her parents for a period of time. One evening, however, she decided to return to her trailer. She was lying on the couch when a mental "voice" directed her to turn around. A being, five feet tall and bathed in light, stood near her kitchen counter. Dressed in a shiny robe, the figure "looked the way they were described in biblical days," she reported. His hair and beard were of a reddish-gold colour.

Stunned and fascinated, Stafford ignored the figure's command (again telepathic) to look into his eyes. She obeyed the second command, knowing she could not fight it. She had already tried to pick up the telephone, but a "force" prevented her from getting close to it. She would be uncertain about what happened immediately thereafter. She did recall an odd remark: "Buree, the mind is still hungry." Afterwards the figure "just vanished." Fleeing to her parents' house, she tried to find "Buree" in the dictionary and the Bible. She was certain she had "heard" right, but there appeared to be no such word.

The women did not soon recover from their encounter. For a while, Sprinkle took frequent phone calls from them as they sought information and reassurance. Each had several paranormal experiences that, though they did not involve UFOs or aliens, each associated with the UFO experience. Smith eventually moved to Las Vegas, and Stafford lived for a time in Florida before returning to Kentucky. Thomas died in 1978.

Let us know your opinions on the Kentucky alien abduction case in the comments section below. Now you have read about the reported alien abduction of 1976, Kentucky, make sure you take a look at Falcon Lake UFO Incident 1967: The Claims Of Stefan Michalak & The Investigation That Followed.


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