“If it’s not weird, I don’t trust it.” That was the motto of Anne Strieber, the late wife of author Whitley Strieber, and her way to deal with the hundreds of claims of non-human intervention she and her husband received from the readers of Communion.
Mike Clelland, author of The Messengers, totally agrees with this idea –though he probably would add “and if it doesn’t have owls, I trust it even less.”
It’s not that Mike’s life is solely centered on the nocturnal raptors, you see. He doesn’t keep owls as pets or taxidermied ornaments at his place, and he doesn’t run around hooting and flapping dressed as an owl on Halloween –or if he does, he’s sure not to post those pics on his Facebook wall…
But when he began to publicly address all the high strangeness surrounding his life on his blog Hidden Experience he quickly realized that, for some reason, owls were a big part of it. And he wasn’t the only one who noticed this: Just like the Striebers, soon enough Mike’s inbox became flooded with e-mails of people from all around the world, who claimed that alongside their UFO sightings, alien encounters, MIB scares, NDE close calls or even brushes with Bigfoot, owls were involved in some capacity. That certainly doesn’t mean *all* alien experiencers have their own weird olw story, but it does seem to suggest that those who do are all on a personal path of spiritual transformation.
Which is why it was so important for Mike to honor those stories and share them in toto, something that wasn’t possible when he published The Messengers in 2015. This new book, Stories from the Messengers, is intended as a companion volume that will add even more depth to this journey into the most mysterious aspects of the UFO phenomenon. Something I personally feel resonates with a great deal of people, despite what conference organizers or the TTSA consultants might think. Because if there’s something that’s sorely lacking in this ‘new’ interest in UFOs by mainstream media –oops! Sorry: I mean ‘UAPs’ (gotta get those acronym right, folks)– is an acknowledgement of how the phenomenon refuses to conform to simplistic explanations when viewed in its totality, instead of edited accounts cherry-picked by researchers or black-and-white videos from UFO encounters with military jets; another thing lacking from those smartly doctored gun camera videos, is the profound impact these type of events have on many who experience them; and when they find themselves with the rug of consensual reality swept from under their feet and in a state of total confusion and despair, the owls might show up with those big unblinking eyes of theirs –a casual reminder that they need to pay attention to the road ahead.
Mike Clelland wrote this book for those kind of people.
We at The Daily Grail are very thankful Mike accepted to share a chapter of Stories from the Messengers as an exclusive for our readers. We hope you enjoy it, and if yo do, that you share it and also pick up a copy in either a paperback or e-book format:
Gypsy Woman and a White Owl
There is a curious harmony within the narratives of owls and death, it’s not an exact play by play from one story to the next, but more a similar mood. It’s this palpable feeling that repeats over and over in these accounts. In nearly all the world’s mythic traditions, the owl is associated with death. It’s a creature of the night, so this analogy is understandable. There are stories where an owl will show up, seemingly on cue, and its role as messenger is unmistakable. The story that follows was written by a great-grandmother right after it happened.
Yesterday morning [Oct. 3], I woke with a start—didn’t know why—just woke as if
someone had shaken my shoulder or something. I sat up in bed and looked around
trying to figure out what was going on… I was sitting on the edge of the bed and
something out the window of my sun room door caught my eye.
The property is covered in trees, but there’s one tree at the end of the driveway that is,
for all intents and purposes, dead. The limbs are always bare. I saw something in this
tree and whatever it was seemed really large. At first, I thought it was a helium balloon
stuck on a limb, but it was probably as large as two or three of those balloons.
I walked over to the window and saw that it was an owl, a very large white owl… It
stayed there some time before flying off. So, all day, I’ve been puzzling about its
message. I felt the message was ominous… I wondered who it was about, who it
Fast-forward to this morning, October 4. I woke with a start and sat up in bed, just as I
had done yesterday. Before I’m fully upright, my phone rang. It was my son, Stephen,
calling to tell me he’d just gotten word that his ex-wife, Michelle, died this morning.
She’s the mother of my granddaughter Grace, who has three little ones, and is the same
age as Stephen. She had been diagnosed with cancer some months ago but seemed to
be doing as well as one would think after having had chemotherapy.
Even though they’ve been divorced for a number of years, she and Stephen continued
to stay in touch. And she stayed in touch with me, too, always updating me on things
with Grace and her little ones.
The other thing I find really interesting is that had the owl perched in any other tree, or
even on a different branch on the tree he was in, I would not have been able to see him
from my bed. One branch up or down or to the side and he would not have been visible
In all the years I’ve been here, I’ve never seen a white owl before… The only other
owl experience I’ve had was when my brother died a number of years ago. The night I
received the news of his death an owl came to a spot right outside my apartment. This
owl stayed for a while, even coming around to the place I moved to later, and
eventually disappeared and didn’t return.
This report was initially posted on October 9, 2013 in Synchro-Secrets, an online site dedicated
to synchronicity run by husband and wife writing team Trish and Rob MacGregor. This story is
mentioned on page 284 in The Messengers, an example of the ancient folklore of owls and death
playing out in present day. I reached out to contact the author, and she patiently answered my
questions. I asked what I usually ask; do you have psychic abilities, are you a creative type, have you ever had a NDE (near-death experience) and have you seen a UFO? I was wasn’t too
surprised that she answered yes to all of these questions.
She has been an active blogger under the pen name Gypsy Woman, and she sent me a set of
personal essays. These were posted on her blog where, like me, she has been documenting her
odd life experiences.
The stories that unfolded left me amazed, even though at this point I should expect these kinds of esoteric connections. She described growing up in a family that was constantly traveling and
moving for her father’s job. During these car trips, her parents and siblings saw so many UFOs
that it was perfectly normal to casually point them out in the sky. Most were seen at night, often
Gypsy Woman wrote about one dramatic event that took place in the late 1960’s. It happened
with her son and two daughters on a bus traveling a rural stretch of road in Louisiana, between
Sterlington and Monroe. Her then six year old son was riding in the window seat next to her. She describes how he stood up and tugged her sleeve and pointed to a huge object pacing the bus.
I remember being so startled that I closed my eyes and then reopened them to be sure I was really seeing what I knew I was seeing, and sure enough, the object was still there.
The other passengers on that side of the bus were all looking at it and talking about it. I remember a lot of the passengers from across the aisle getting out of their seats and into the aisle to see it better. By then, there was general commotion with passengers wanting off the bus, and passengers telling the driver to drive faster (which he did)… It
was not high in the sky, but very low, well, low enough for us to see it out the window without straining to look upward. I cannot say how far away it was but I can say that it was close enough that the texturized surface of the body was visible.
She said it made absolutely no sound. It was definitely not a plane, there were no wings and no
engines. She described it as at least the size of a football field, either oval or circular, with a
domed top. There was a row of what appeared to be windows or lights encircling the bottom, the
body of the object a matte grey akin to the color a battleship. She clearly remembers a mottled
texture to the surface of the craft, almost like an old cast iron pot.
There was absolutely NO doubt what this object was, let alone what it was not, it was daytime, the day was clear, there was no mistaking it… The UFO continued beside us for quite a distance, although I cannot say how far, but for more than just a few minutes, and then, just as suddenly as it had appeared beside us, it made a 45 degree
turn to its right and upward and was totally out of sight just instantly… And still no sound.
She describes the bus driver trying to outrun the craft and how most of the passengers were
hysterical. When the bus pulled into Monroe, they were greeted by news reporters at the station, an unusual detail in this era well before cell phones.
I remember wanting only to get my children and leave, to get away from it all. By then, I somehow felt extremely fearful about the experience, as if “they” were “looking for me,” I don’t mean that it was just a little feeling but an overwhelming one.
She had seen UFOs before, but for some reason this felt different. Her reaction was profound,
literally wanting to flee with her children to a place where they couldn’t be found. She took a taxi
to her mother’s house, and within minutes the phone began to ring with questions from reporters and the local police.
Several days later, several men dressed all in black (I kid you NOT) came knocking on the door to interview me, identifying themselves as being with Wright Patterson Air Force Base. I told them what I saw, they had me draw a diagram of the object, and I did, and they took it with them. I remember at least one of the men giving me a
business card when I asked for it. I also remember that some time later, when I phoned the number on the card, there was no such number. I called Wright Patterson directly but no one had heard of the person for whom I asked.
Okay, something weird just happened as I was editing this post just now, the house phone rang (we don’t use the house phone ever) and the incoming call was from Ohio.
We don’t know anyone in Ohio, have no business there, but the call was unidentified except for “Ohio.” The only association I have with Ohio is that is where Wright Patterson Air Force Base is located. Weird. Oh, and when I answered, there was no one there, weirder.
It’s both weird and cliché, yet this kind of clandestine involvement is interwoven into the UFO
Here is another curious detail to this story—Gypsy Woman’s father traveled constantly, and their family moved a lot, yet she never knew for certain what he did for work. All she was told was that he was a “purchasing agent” for the government, but he wasn’t active military. She shared, “I can say that we kids knew that he could not tell our mother where or why he was going when he traveled without us, which was very frequently.”
It was well understood by her mother that she could tell no one anything regarding her father’s
work. According to her sister, who remembers this event very clearly, their mother once, and
only once, made the mistake of revealing something about their father.
Gypsy Woman said, “Something appeared in the news media and our father rushed home,
demanding to know with whom our mother had discussed whatever it was that could not be
discussed and was furious to learn that she had, in fact, divulged something to a friend. Then we
This was from a man who would casually point to the sky and comment, “Oh, there’s another
Like owls, the UFOs have their own folklore. Within this mythology are endless claims of secret
government involvement. It’s common within UFO contact accounts to hear whispered hints that one (or both) of the parents of an abductee are involved with something secret. This might be easy to dismiss as paranoia, but most researchers hear this kind of thing a lot, enough to take
these claims seriously. What this might imply is guesswork, but it points to something that leaves me unnerved.
Along with this and all the UFO sightings, Gypsy Woman had a near-death experience in 1966 at the age of 23. During surgery to remove gallstones, she heard someone in the operating room
frantically exclaim, “She’s going down, she’s going down!”
Then I began to rise out of my body (from my head) and was able to “see” everyone in the room, including me, the body of me, as I continued to move upward toward the ceiling. I remember looking down at me and feeling as if the “me of me” were being pulled away like a soft glove being slipped off… I knew that I was dead… I didn’t want to be dead, I was young and had just begun my life with my children, I couldn’t be dying!
… I began to feel surrounded by more white softness, a white softness that became an all-encompassing totally purely unadulterated whiteness of light, but this light had a seductiveness about it. It called me, it waited for me, I belonged there. I was still aware of the silver-gray cord from me to my body below, but I was slipping further and further away from my body below and soon gave into the “leaving.” I realized then that the thing called “death” was not the end of anything, it was the beginning, there was nothing to fear, there existed only total peace and caring. Total peace.
She was giving in to this irresistible pull. The voices of long dead aunts, uncles and grandparents
were summoning her. She approached a transition, a realm of pure white light, and a feeling of
elation, joy, happiness and freedom—pure peace. Then she was again outside her body and
above the heads of the doctors in the operating table. Sensing the doctors were bringing her back, she remembers feeling angry.
She wanted to go all the way, and completely surrender to the light. In that moment she heard a
voice say, “But who will raise your children? No one but you can do that. You must go back!”
Then she saw and heard the surgeons telling the staff not to take her to the recovery room, but to a room where her family could see her one last time.
I followed my body in the bed down the hallway and into a private room where my family was. My in-laws had called in their own minister.” She could plainly hear them making arrangements for her, and she was furious. “I knew that I was coming back—it was crystal clear to me—I was coming back to my children—no one else—NO ONE— was going to raise my children but ME—and then, in THAT moment, I surrendered back to my body.
She was unconscious for several days in the hospital, and when she finally regained consciousness her doctors said, “We almost lost you.” She replied, “You did lose me, but I came
She explained what she’d seen and heard in the operating room, and her two doctors confirmed
this was exactly what had happened. Neither of them had ever had a patient tell them anything
like the experience she’d described. Her children are now grown, with children and grandchildren of their own. Gypsy Woman absolutely knows for a fact that these children were
her destiny in this lifetime.
It was because of her experience seeing that white owl out her bedroom window that I was
introduced to Gypsy Woman. This was a sighting that foreshadowed the death of a close relative.
This owl story takes place over two consecutive days, October 3 and 4 of 2013.
I have my own owl story which also takes place over the very same consecutive days, October 3
and 4, but of 2009. Although my experience doesn’t involve death, it does include a wildly
prophetic synchronicity with owls and a UFO. This kicked off a chaotic string of weirdness that
hit me hard, and is the subject of the next chapter.
This other story also begins with a blog post about an owl on the Synchro-Secrets site, almost
exactly four years earlier. Curiously, within that long list of comments was an account from
Gypsy Woman. Here is what she said back in 2009:
I’m reminded that when my brother died many years ago. On the night that I received word of his death, I went out onto my patio clutching a childhood picture of him—and as I stood there holding his image to my chest sobbing and crying out for him, across the drive, in a big pine tree, came an owl who sat there “talking” to me until I went inside—throughout the night, I heard the owl out my window—and for a very long time, I was never without the “voice” of the owl—for several years, actually, I was followed by an owl, even when I moved—and I lived in a city—there were times I asked other people to listen to be sure that I wasn’t imagining it—but, sure enough, they heard it too—at some point, the owl or owls left me—but not for a very long time —I’ve always liked to think that it/they left only when my brother knew I was okay.
These owl accounts match the folklore, both ancient and present day, from divergent traditions
all around the globe. This same woman also talks about seeing multiple UFOs, including a close
up daylight sighting and a visit from Men In Black. Add to that a profound near-death experience and a long list of psychic abilities. It’s as if her lifetime of unusual experiences created an opening that morning for an owl to land on that bare branch. It could be that this owl was delivering a message, sad as it may have been, to someone with the life experiences that would allow her to receive it.
Mike Clelland’s 2015 book, The Messengers, was met with high praise. In it he explores the mysterious connection between owls, synchronicities and UFO abduction. It was his first-hand experiences with these elusive events that have been the foundation for his research. The book is also a personal memoir, and a journey of self discovery. His website (www.hiddenexperience.blogspot.com) explores these events and their connection to the alien contact phenomenon. It also features extended audio interviews with visionaries and experts examining the complexities of the overall UFO experience. Mike is also considered an expert in the skills of ultralight backpacking, and is the author and illustrator of a series of instructional books on advanced outdoor techniques. After 25 years living in the Rockies, he now lives in the Adirondacks.