If you're still looking for a good book to enjoy during your Xmas holidays, then look no further! Mike Clelland's The Messengers is receiving all sorts of critical praise within and without the UFO community for his novel approach into looking at the phenomenon, by taking into consideration things that used to be shunned away by 'serious' researchers --things like synchronicities, dreams and yes, encounters with owls which seemed to have been events purposely crafted and personalized for that particular witness.
We asked Mike if we could share a tiny bit of the wonder contained in the pages of The Messengers and he courteously obliged by picking up a selection of passages, which will hopefully communicate the gist of what he set out to do with his research; a personal journey for him, truth be told, whose veiled destination still seems hard to discern --unless you had the eyes of an owl, that is...
Looking for an owl and finding a UFO
I spoke to a woman at length about a conjoined owl and UFO experience. She is a successful academic who has asked to remain anonymous. Her sighting happened on a Friday evening. There had been some drama leading up to this event. Earlier that day, she had been appointed to a rather prestigious position at a respected university. Her focus has been religious studies, so I took note that this sighting happened on August 15th, a date celebrated by the Catholic Church as the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This day commemorates the death of Mary and her bodily assumption into Heaven. It is the most important of all Marian feasts and a Holy Day of Obligation, and this woman attended a mass in celebration earlier that same day. (As an aside, I know two women who had what they both call their awakening experience on August 15th, and both accounts involve UFOs.)
That evening, she sat with her husband, margarita in hand, looking out over the ocean. She was as much celebrating her new position as unwinding after a long and emotional day. They were sitting together on a dock, enjoying a beautiful evening, when she heard the hooting of an owl. She was surprised that there would be an owl so close to the ocean, so she scanned the trees behind her, saw nothing, and then looked up to the sky. There she saw something unusual directly above her. It wasn’t yet dark, so she could see it clearly. It looked like a silvery shiny object, high in the heavens.
At first, she didn’t tell her very rational husband, she just watched it for about two minutes as it made odd maneuvers across the sky. Finally she asked her husband, “What’s that?” Then they watched the object together for about ten minutes. He was genuinely perplexed. He is a no-nonsense engineer type, and he said, “Well, it’s not traveling in any kind of linear trajectory.”
Later she found articles in the local paper, as well as a local television news report, that described people seeing a silvery disc-shaped UFO that same evening and during the rest of the weekend. Curiously, she didn’t remember the hooting owl in the days right after the sighting. It was early the next week, when she received an article from a colleague at another university. The text described some of the experiences of Whitley Strieber from his book Communion. It was while this woman was reading about Whitley’s odd owl sighting on a snowy windowsill that she heard a ping from her computer. It was me, sending her a Facebook message asking if I could talk with her by phone. It was while reading the article about a UFO abductee seeing an owl—and me contacting her that at the same time—that she suddenly remembered that her sighting of a silvery object in the evening sky was foreshadowed by the hooting of an owl. What seems so interesting is on that evening on the dock, she was actually looking for an owl when she saw a UFO instead.
Helping a wounded owl
Kenneth Arnold was unwittingly responsible for the term flying saucer when he described what he saw to reporters in the summer of 1947. His sighting kicked off a media frenzy and ushered in the modern era of the UFO that forever changed popular consciousness. What folks might not know is that Kenneth Arnold had a pet owl!
Arnold built a cage for his daughter Kim so she could raise an injured great horned owl that had fallen from its nest. It just seems fascinating that this key player in UFO history would have an owl living at his home. Reflecting back, Kim says she thought it was really incredible that her father would actually let her keep such a wild creature. She described the cage he built as an expression of his character, something truly wonderful.
Helping an injured owl shows up in a more recent case. On the evening of February 17th, 2013, in the foothills of North Carolina, a young couple and their three-month-old child were driving home from a birthday party. The sun was down and they were in their neighborhood when they saw a slow-moving triangle-shaped object just above the height of the nearby houses.
The husband, Daniel (a pseudonym) pulled off the road and watched the craft from a distance. They were parked and watched in amazement. Then it flew right above their car and just stayed positioned there for at least two minutes. At that point, his wife freaked out, screaming and praying while holding their crying baby.
Daniel raced home to drop off his wife and child and get his video camera, but by the time he came back out of his house, it was gone. He described the triangle-shaped craft as having three white lights, one in each corner, and a larger red light in the center. He guessed it was hovering 15 feet above his car—so low he could have hit it with a football, and each side of the triangle was about 25 feet long.
The next night he heard an owl in his yard, something he hadn’t ever noticed before. It was there hooting again for the next three nights. Some months after this, Daniel and his wife were driving on a busy highway when they saw an owl in the ditch right along the side of the road. Daniel was worried it was injured and might stumble into traffic, they pulled over. Daniel took off his hoodie and used it to wrap up the bird. He said the owl didn’t struggle, but acted totally calm and let him carry it to the car. His wife drove the few minutes to their home while the owl was sitting on the floorboard at Daniel’s feet.
They unwrapped the owl in their driveway and it simply stood there looking at them. It was a big handsome barred owl. After a few minutes, it opened its wings and calmly flew to a tree branch in their next-door-neighbor’s yard. It stayed in that branch for three days, staring at them.
On February 19th, 2014, Daniel again heard an owl hooting in his yard. He checked the date and realized this was exactly one year to the day that he had heard the same hooting after the triangle sighting. As before, the owl stayed in his yard for three days.
Daniel spoke to me about how unsettling all this has been, not just the initial sighting, but what followed after with the owls. Since seeing the triangle, he’s had reoccurring dreams that he has been chosen. When I asked what changed since his experience, he said that his Christian faith has become stronger. He also shared something I have heard a lot, the fears of a parent that their child might have some deeper involvement with the phenomenon. This is the one thing that I find most challenging: how can I offer any solace to a parent with these kinds of worries? The emotions are powerful, and my heart is heavy that I am unable to give any meaningful advice.
Daniel works with animals, he trains dogs, and this is another thing that I see as a pattern. Folks with these kinds of experiences seem to overlap with people who work at animal shelters, train horses, or do volunteer work to rescuing abandoned pets.
Like Kim Arnold, Daniel came to the aid of a wounded owl. I have collected a handful of similar stories where people with some connection to the UFO lore will rescue an owl. It might be an up-close sighting or out-and-out contact. All these accounts have the feel of a children’s fable, where helping an animal in need is a test, and their simple act of kindness will later turn out to be more important than they ever imagined.
The owl, directly or indirectly, gets woven into these reports in ways that seem scripted, as if they are meant to be fleeting clues to something deeper.
Owls are signposts along the path, but a signpost isn’t very interesting on its own, just a stick of wood pounded in the ground with something attached at the top. What is on the sign might be significant. It’s the message on the sign that needs to be acknowledged. “Bridge Out” or “Danger Ahead” might be very important. The challenge is to separate the owl (or the UFO for that matter) from the message, and then to interpret any vital meaning.
You are not who you seem to be
Rebecca Hardcastle Wright, PhD, has had so many experiences throughout her life that she is well beyond any doubts of the reality of her own contact. She is forthright about what has happened, almost disarmingly so. In 2008 she authored a book Exoconsciousness. The title uses the Greek prefix exo meaning “outside” or “external” in relationship to our human consciousness. She is promoting the idea of a bridge-building between humanity and extraterrestrials. Along with all her other experiences, Rebecca had a very revealing owl event.
This happened when she was leaving a restaurant at a strip mall in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona. It was full daylight, and as she walked through the parking lot she felt powerfully drawn to look up at one of the tall industrial lights looming above her. She described her vision as being literally pulled to the top of that pole. Looking up, she was surprised to see a massive owl looking down at her.
Rebecca felt she was receiving a psychic communication coming from that owl, and the very clear message was, “You are not who you seem to be.” She also felt an all too familiar sensation, knowing she was going to have a contact experience that night—and she did.
When we spoke together, she described this owl in such an odd way that I had to ask if she thought it was a real owl. She said no, it wasn’t real in the way we would understand it, she sensed it was some sort of a psychic projection. Even though she described this owl as large, it was still owl-sized, and in a place where an owl might sit, but perched atop a light pole in a suburban parking lot is hardly where you would expect an alien. This is one of many examples of how hard it can be to truly know what might be a real owl, and what might be a screen image.
Rebecca described how she was seeing an unusual amount of large owls during her years in Phoenix. She wrote me, “They came to me, they hooted, there were even there during the day. I knew they were a screen. I felt the ET presence through them.” She describes this as a time of awakening, and it’s worth noting that, like the owl, the Phoenix is also a mythic bird—one that symbolizes rebirth.
What is also fascinating is that the owl spoke to Rebecca. That it happened telepathically without any sound is consistent with how almost all communication with aliens is reported. This is most often described as mind to mind, but others will say it is something deeper, as if it’s soul to soul.
I have heard a lot of stories where an owl does something that could be seen as a kind of roundabout communication, like crossing one’s path or showing up at a prescient moment. These kind of actions require the observer to interpret a deeper meaning. This could be a obvious message delivered symbolically, where the witness understands it right in the moment, or it might take some time to decipher its metaphoric meaning. More clear-cut is when an owl actually talks to the witness, but this is rare.
The owl is a messenger from ancient folklore. Sometimes these communications unfold in very bizarre ways.
Royally summoned by a white owl
A woman named Louise contacted me with a letter that began simply enough: “This is my owl story.” A complex set of events were set in motion in the mid-1990s while looking out her window on a very rainy day. She suddenly knew that she needed to take her dog for a walk. She lived along the coastline, and she felt a strong knowing that she should go to a jetty stretching far out into the ocean. This was one of the regular places to walk her dog, but it was unusual because she normally wouldn't consider going outside in such harsh weather.
Louise walked with her dog in the downpour as if it were perfectly normal. When she was about halfway out along the jetty, she again knew she should start walking back towards the land.
When we walked about halfway, I suddenly saw a VERY large white owl standing at the edge of the pier just watching us, as if he were waiting for our return. Riker—my large German shepherd—instead of barking or pulling at his lead simply walked quietly beside me until we were a few feet away from this owl. He then just sat quietly by my side, as if he were in the presence of royalty. It was very strange, very surreal. We stayed that way for what I guess to be around ten minutes when the owl just up and flew away. I walked back to my car with the feeling that we had been royally summoned and I had simply complied with the request.
… I must say as well, that had I not had my dog with me I might have been tempted to doubt my experience as it was so surreal. But to have Riker sense the majesty of this bird, it was overwhelmingly clear to me that even he had recognized that something special had just occurred.
Louise described the owl as white and the size of a large sitting shepherd. She has spent years trying to find any kind of owl that looks similar, but cannot. She has seen both snowy and barn owls (her favorite) so she would have recognized those. She is resolute that what she saw was definitely an owl, yet it was tall and slender with a regal look.
She is also clear that her dog was not acting normal. He is usually eager to run and chase birds, but she felt Riker acknowledged the power of that owl. There is an aspect of this story that plays out like nothing more than a screen memory, but the depth of significance is impossible to ignore.
In our correspondence, Louise told of a twenty-year chapter of her life that was very active with both UFO sightings and abduction experiences. Like so many others, she also tells of having a lot of psychic experiences, including a time of automatic writing as a form of communication with another realm. At the time of this owl sighting, she was involved in the local UFO community with a primary focus of moving beyond the intense fear that these events generated.
Shortly after seeing that owl on the jetty, Louise experienced an unusual paralysis in her arm and was forced to go on disability. She was later told she had stage 4 cancer and given less than one year to live. “Two weeks before I was diagnosed, I had a very profound dream, which was the only thing I had to hold on to as I came very close to dying.”
She was an angel in this dream, looking down at her family. She told me, “I can only describe it as the most all-encompassing feeling of love I have ever experienced. Suddenly I heard God’s voice giving me a choice, to complete the process and become an angel, or to stay. However, if I stayed, there would be conditions.” She interpreted the message that if she chose to stay, it meant a duty to help people.
Louise had aggressive radiation treatment and surgery that brought her right to death’s door. She has since been cancer free for over 18 years.
I asked how she is doing as far as the oppressive fear relating to her abduction experiences. She answered, “How am I doing? One-hundred percent! At that time I was afraid of the dark, afraid of what I couldn't control. Not any more.”
There are a surprising number of accounts where people tell of miraculous healings under the aegis of these alien beings. Some abductees have experienced the complete end to a serious illness directly after a UFO encounter. I asked if she thought she had received any kind of healing? “No, but the owl experience was really the start of all the big and challenging chapters of my life. As I look back, it still feels as if I had been summoned by royalty, perhaps to wish me well on a most difficult journey ahead… The whole experience for me from start to present has been a very spiritual journey, challenging indeed, but profoundly spiritual above all else.”
The owl can be seen as symbolic of something powerful, but also very difficult, the totem of the deepest inward journey.
Louise has not only survived a devastating cancer, but has also overcome her fear of the unknown. She feels that all these events are connected to her UFO experiences, but she doesn’t know how. She felt that the white owl on that rainy day held court with her and her dog. She said, “I've seen owls before and since—I love seeing them—but this experience was being in the presence of something of power that I cannot explain.”
Struggling with the mystery
The UFO riddle holds a sort of power within it, something that forces any thinking person to contemplate life’s grand mysteries, the same questions that have followed us through the ages. If you start out talking about little lights in the sky, you’ll very quickly start talking about God. You’ll end up wrestling with the really big questions. Who are we? Why are we here? What does it all mean?
I have a friend who meditates, goes to spiritual retreats, has a guru and all that stuff. When we talk we both really get into it. We’ll push each other, struggling to articulate elusive metaphysical concepts, and the conversation ends up getting deeper and deeper. We fall into a kind of spiritual one-upmanship, and at some point he’ll get all frustrated and tell me, “I can’t believe you don’t meditate!” And I’ll snap back, “I can’t believe you don’t read UFO books!”
The word “real”
People will ask me, “Do you think this UFO stuff is real?” The easy answer is, “Yes, it’s real.” I can say that with conviction because of my own sightings and the overwhelming glut of evidence. Again, yes, this stuff is real, but I’m at a point where I struggle with what the word real actually means. To me, what might be real has become just as slippery as the overall mystery itself. So much of what I’m looking at plays out as theatrical, or absurd, or beyond the edge of comprehension. What might be real becomes so abstract that it leaves me questioning the source of all existence. The word real is the first for letters of reality, and my definition of that crumbled ages ago.
The problem is, how does anyone keep their brain focused on the enormity of this mystery? All I can do is examine the little details, and sometimes I can barely grasp those. There comes a point when the trapdoor opens up, and I’m falling. I can only truly wrap my mind around this mystery for a few fleeting seconds. In those moments of clarity, I can’t understand why I’m not running down the street screaming, “They’re here!”
We’re staring at a Rorschach inkblot. You’ll see whatever baggage you bring to it. It’s going to mirror back your own very specific avenue of research. The one thing I know for sure is that everyone’s got a different take on this phenomenon and nobody agrees on everything. So when you enter this community—and I’m picturing all the contradictory characters milling around at a UFO conference—nobody is going to have the same conclusions. Everyone is telling a different story, but I feel strongly that at the core there is a real experience taking place. That’s the only thing I can say for sure, that something real is happening. Beyond that, it’s all speculation.
A rational scientist would look at all this UFO and owl weirdness and fight to squeeze it into the tidy box of logic. In doing so they would leave out all the really weird stuff. A poet might be better suited to play with all the elusive strangeness. This might make some pragmatic readers cringe, but sometimes great truths can only be fully revealed through poetry, mythology, or metaphor.
There is some unknowable facet of reality that creates synchronicity, and I am impelled to follow this magic compass. I am being given clues and they are telling me to step off the well-worn path and into the darkest part of the forest. This research, and all its associated weirdness, has been a deeply personal inward exploration.
Published with the permission of the author.