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Sgt. Moody: Close, but no Cigar

In addition to the fact that his name makes him sounds like a hard-boiled private eye from the 1920s, there are several things that separate Charles Moody from the average man. In 1975 he claims to have been abducted by space aliens in the deserts of New Mexico, but his story is superior to similar tales in a number of ways.

Moody was, at the time, a sergeant in the Air Force, stationed at Holloman air force base near Alamogordo. On August 13th he decided to drive out, alone, into the desert to watch a meteor shower that he’d read about in the newspaper. Apparently, he was too handsome to get a date; I feel his pain. Anyway, he was sitting on the bumper of his car having a leisurely smoke when he noticed that one of the meteors seemed a bit odd. It seemed odd because it was not, in fact, a meteor, but rather a faintly glowing metallic craft about 50 feet in diameter and 18 feet thick at the center.

Being a prudent type of man, when he realized the thing was a little abnormal, he got into his car and attempted to flee. The automobile, however would not start despite the fact that (and this is something that the UFO enthusiast loves to italicize) he had put a new battery in the month before!

The flying saucer was approaching Moody as he sat in the car and he made out a large window, through which he saw the shadowy forms of several human-like men. A moment later and the thing was gone, his car started normally, and he drove home. Just like that, the space barge had vanished. When he entered his kitchen he found that an hour was missing from his life.

After he told some friends about his experience one of them, whom I conjecture to have been a stringy-haired, tie-dyed hippie, suggested that he try guided meditation to recover his memories. If you are easily shocked, please secure your socks to prevent them from being knocked off before reading the following: over the course of several months, his memories returned to him.

The alien ship did not, in fact, disappear. Instead, it landed nearby and two little men got out. He described them as similar to Betty and Barney Hill’s kidnappers: less than 5-feet tall with lightbulb-shaped heads, huge eyes, slit-like mouths, and small noses. They were approaching his car, most likely to do him some mischief, and this is the first place where Sgt. Moody distinguishes himself: did he go along meekly, like pretty much all other alien abductees? Hell no. He hit one with the door of his car, jumped out, and punched the other one right in the damn face. That alone makes him one of the manliest men to have ever lived: when cornered by hideous space monsters from beyond the moon, his first reaction was to push their faces in for them. Sir, I salute you.

The discerning reader, of course, will recall that this is exactly one of the things that I recommended doing if you are ever cornered by alien abductors. Just to reiterate, the meek may inherit the earth, but the violent will never take an unwilling ride in a spaceship.

Of course, the aliens were unimpressed. They must have hit him with some sort of space-age weapon, because he was instantly knocked unconscious, waking up later paralyzed and lying on a table. Here he met an alien called The Leader, who asked him to refrain from any further violent outbursts. After he complied (Moody’s only mistake; the aliens need to be taught that human beings are capable of horrible, irrational violence if they’re ever going to leave us alone) his mobility was restored and he was given a tour of the ship. The Leader told him something of cosmic importance at this time, but we’ll get to that later.

That’s basically the whole story. If you’ve read one of my columns before, you know that it is here, at the halfway mark, where I begin to elucidate as to why I suspect that this whole crazy affair never occurred.

To begin with, Moody only regained his memories after several months of personal meditation. How can one scientifically separate genuine memories recovered through meditation from baloney that someone has made up? It’s not possible. If you went into a court of law to try a case based on memories you recovered through meditation, you wouldn’t get past the opening statements. The judge would declare you guilty, legally change your name to Damn Fool, and send you to prison. And you’d deserve it. Let me say that meditation is up there with hypnosis when it comes to memory retrieval, in that it is almost impossible to separate fact from fiction.

I feel sort of like a hypocrite mentioning that there’s no physical evidence, in any way shape or form, that proves this event occurred. Every other case I’ve read about with physical evidence, of course, either proves nothing (the sand in Budd Hopkins’ book on the Brooklyn Bridge abductions) or was clearly fabricated (the metal from the Falcon Lake incident.) Still, it would have been nice of Moody to try and put a fast one by me.

There's still one burning question: what was the point? The aliens kidnap him, show him around the ship, and then leave. Where’s all the medical experimentation that UFO enthusiasts tell us should have occurred? The aliens seem to have a lot of free time on their hands if they just fly around giving tours of their spacecraft, to say nothing of being bored out of their minds.

But this is where the thing of cosmic importance comes in: The Leader told Moody shortly before dropping him off that many, many different races of aliens were visiting the earth and that they would make themselves known within three years. That is to say, aliens would reveal themselves to mankind before the year 1979. In 1979 I was just a dirty joke my father hadn’t yet told my mother, but I assure you: I’ve looked into the matter, and there were no space alien revelations before (or for that matter, after) 1979.

So we’ve got a guy who has no evidence that something happened to him, remembers it all only after the dubious practice of meditation, and made a prediction that did not come to pass. Sounds like a solid case to me.

I can’t help but notice the similarities between this case and the one reported by Travis Walton in Arizona three months later. They’re pretty much the same, except that Walton was with some of his friends when he was abducted by a flying saucer and was missing for a few days. This made Walton a rich man: back then the National Enquirer paid people between $5,000 and $10,000 if their tale was considered by a panel of experts to be one of the year’s best cases of an alien encounter. Walton, a logger, received five grand for his story, which in 1975 was enough money to buy a house. A house made of solid gold-plated platinum.

Am I saying that Moody was trying to get the money, but made the mistake of not having any witnesses around, and that Walton later took his story and got it right? Of course not. I wasn’t there, and I don’t even know if Moody knew of the reward. This is where the UFO enthusiast and I take separate paths: they make extraordianry claims based on little to no evidence; I could do the same thing and declare Moody to have been a money-hugry con man, but I won't. What I am saying is that reward-based greed was possible, and that it’s a whole lot more likely than space aliens zooming around and kidnapping people for no reason.

Be seeing you.