The Night Of Missing Time-Close Encounter?
Two Experiences-One Night-- What Happened?
The story described in the following article is true. These events happened to the people in question and their experiences are recorded here so you , the reader, can draw your own conclusions.
What makes this "close encounter" different, in my opinion, is that the two men who experienced these events have, themselves, arrived at different conclusions as to what happened that night. The complete story of what happened to them may never be fully understood and while some of the details are known there is enough "missing" to allow for different conclusions and speculation.
I hope you enjoy the story and I think you will agree it is , at the very least, unusual and thought provoking. The details that follow have never been published before. This is the first time they have agreed to tell their story together.
The incident occurred, in the late spring of 1974, in a remote area of Southern New Brunswick, Canada about 100 miles west of the Maine border. The area is known as Barnsville and the incident took place about 6 miles off the main road close to a trout fishing area known as Porcupine Lake. The Barnsville area is known for its wild country and is still a particular favorite with moose hunters. The area contains many lakes that are well stocked with game fish. The hunting is still superb and the isolation and wilderness of the area is like a magnet to those who love the true outdoors. For the two young men the situation of being "out of touch" and on their own, in the deep woods produced a feeling of excitement and, perhaps, a little fear as well but that was part of the allure of the woods.
They had headed out on a weekend camping trip to one of their favorite areas. The two friends were avid campers and had enjoyed may trips together camping the back country of New Brunswick, Maine and Massachusetts's for many years. The more remote the better. There was always a feeling of accomplishment after a successful camping weekend spent in the wilderness. They had tried the local trailer parks and camping grounds. They quickly grew bored with the "backyard" experience and longed to experience the deep woods where they had to rely on their skills and each other. Not quite experienced woodsmen, to be sure, but willing to test themselves and enjoy learning and honing their wilderness skills.
This particular trip was the third time they had camped in the Barnesville area. The place was quickly becoming their favorite. The previous winter they had tried their hand at winter camping at this same location. The tent and equipment had been set up on a large area of snow and ice. The temperature and weather conditions were extreme challenges for the two men but it added to their experiences. This trip in the late spring was the third for the pair and they were getting familiar and comfortable with their surroundings and were acquiring a feel for the lay of the land.The area of their campsite was on the edge of a small clearing in the middle of a long and narrow wooded valley. There was a stream that ran through the valley and, having explored the area during the previous outings, they were familiar with the few, long abandoned, logging roads that ran into the woods from the stream. Their favorite fishing spot was located a short 1/4 mile hike through the woods at a place called Porcupine Lake. The area was devoid of any sense of civilization and that, perhaps, was the biggest draw for the two would be adventurers.
Arriving at their destination, after a six mile hike, in mid afternoon they quickly unpacked and set up their camp. They had discovered the remains of an old abandoned camper trailer on their first trip, to the area, a couple of years earlier. Although one of the walls had collapsed and fallen away the roof was still mostly intact and they knew that inside it would remain fairly dry and cosy even if the nights turned cold. After seeing to their "posh" sleeping quarters they next set up the campfire area and before long had their fire pit and a good collection of firewood ready to go. With a couple of hours of daylight still available they decided to head towards the lake for a look around. Following a well travelled animal trail they headed into the woods and walked the 1/4 mile to the lake. Porcupine lake is a small circular lake surrounded by trees that grow right down to the water line. The only access was on the west end of the lake where the animal trail ended. The landscape is thick with trees on either side of the path and you don't see the lake until you are almost to the waters edge. The lake unfolds before you as you step out of the path. It is a beautiful and welcome sight after the darkened confinement of the woods.
They relaxed by the lake shore and discussed the upcoming weekend activities and whether they would first go fishing or for a hike in the morning. The late afternoon shadows began to fall across the lake and, after lingering for just a little while longer they, finally, headed back to camp to start the fire and prepare for the night that was coming quickly. One of the men was an avid amateur astronomer. He had brought his binoculars with him on this trip and was looking forward to a little star gazing. In this part of New Brunswick the night sky was black and the multitude of stars seem to stretch from horizon to horizon presenting a breathtaking spectacle no matter where you looked.
The got their fire going and cook their first meal of the weekend. The approaching dusk began to stretch the shadows across their campsite and on into the already dark treeline. After supper they prepared their sleeping area each one choosing their "favorite" spot in the old trailer and then returned to the fire. Sitting on the old log, they had found and dragged over closer to the fire, they took turn using the binoculars to gaze up at the stars. It was not yet totally dark but the sky was clear and the stars were rapidly brightening.
The night was warm especially for this part of the country. The insects seemed to be mostly absent from their immediate area and that made the evening experience that much more enjoyable. They passed the evening hours, stargazing, talking and just enjoying their situation and the opportunity to spend another weekend in this rugged and beautiful place.
As the darkness, finally, enveloped the small clearing and with the circle of light from their campfire growing smaller they were ready to call it a day. It had been a great day. They were back in one of their favorite spots and they were once again camping in the wilderness.....it didn't get any better than that. One of the men decided to sleep outside the old trailer on the ground by the campfire instead of inside the shelter. The night was warm and the insects hadn't found them yet and the view of the stars , from this vantage point, was incredible. His partner was already curled up in his sleeping bag inside the shelter and within a very short time the small talk between them faded away and with the fire dying out the two men fell asleep and the valley returned to the quiet and stillness that only the night can bring.
The indication that something was wrong first occurred with the man sleeping outside. Even through the haze of sleep he felt something touching his sleeping bag and his face. It took a few seconds for him to realize that the sensation of touch he was feeling was rain. His face was wet but his sleeping bag, while glistening with raindrops, had not had time to soak through so it couldn't have been raining very long. The other sensation he was aware of was a sound he had never heard before.The sound seemed to be coming from everywhere at the same time. It was like the sound a horn might make. It was a short "note" being sounded continuously. It was not overly loud ,maybe mid level in volume, but it really seemed to be coming from all directions. They later came to the conclusion that the sound was echoing off the wall of trees that surrounded the clearing and that is why they were unable to pinpoint it's origin.
Certainly no more than a minute had passed when both men were up and standing by the now cold fire pit peering into the darkness listening to the strange sound. Within seconds they both noticed a bright glow in the eastern sky that appeared to be coming from the direction of the lake. One of them later described the glow as what you might see if you were looking towards a sports stadium from a distance at night. You wouldn't see the actual lights causing the glow above the stadium by you would certainly notice the light in the sky. This glow was bright and they both agreed that ,whatever it was, it was close by. As they made their way to the path that led to the lake they could see that ,from their new vantage point, the glow was almost certainly coming from the lake area. They stood at the head of the path trying to decide their next move. There was an element of fear involved and they both admit to being scared but they were also very curious as to what was happening. They believed the answer to this mystery might be found at the lake. During all this time the unusual horn sound had not let up at all. It was still echoing throughout the small clearing.
It is here where the story takes a dramatic turn and where the mystery of what happened, to these men, that night, will forever be subject of speculation. What the two men experienced next was almost exactly the same but there were some subtle differences which may help or may just raise more questions. While, over the years they have drawn totally different conclusions as to what happen to them that night there are many unanswered questions.
They were standing together, at the edge of the clearing, looking down the path that led to the lake 1/4 mile away. Although they were hesitant to step onto the dark path their curiosity, about what was happening here, was stronger than their fear. Together they stepped onto the path. [What happened next to the men differs slightly and I will present both accounts.]
The very next thing the first man experienced is....he woke up!. He was back in his sleeping bag laying beside the fire pit.... in bright daylight. The sun was shining and the clearing was quiet. He felt very disoriented and could not understand what had happened. Of course there was no glow in the sky and the "horn" sound was gone. He called out to his partner and heard the rustling of a sleeping bag from inside the shelter. His friend stepped outside and they both exchanged a "what happened" look.
The second man's recollection differs from the first but only slightly. He remembers them making the decision to head to the lake to see what was going on. His next memory was of them getting back into their sleeping bags. He had no memory on how they arrived back at the camp from the path to the lake which was on the far end of the clearing. Both men were confused by the events of the previous night and try as they might the missing memories of that evening have not, then or all these years later, ...returned.
The first action they took was to go up to the lake. With no hesitation they headed up the path and quickly covered the 1/4 mile. They found everything as it had been the afternoon before. There was nothing out of the ordinary or out of place. There was no evidence of any strange light or anything that might have made such a light.
They spent the rest of the morning trying to come up with explanations of what had happened. Their memories simply could not fill in the blanks. They talked out everything that had occurred but there was no way to complete the story. Both men came to the same decision ,separately, that it probably would be best to end the trip and head out of the woods a day earlier than planned. They packed up and broke camp by mid afternoon. It would take a couple of hours to hike out to the road. They would be out before dark and although neither man said anything, at the time, they did not want to be in these woods after dark.....at least for a while.
What had happened to them during the "missing time" is still a mystery. They have talked many times over the years about the incident and as time passed came to very different conclusions.The first man believes that while the incident was unusual there are natural explanations for most of what happened. He believes the "horn"sound was ,in fact, a type of frog that emits what has been described as a sound not unlike the horn of a car. As to the "glow" from the lake that night it could have been some kind of reflected light or perhaps swamp gas or even other campers in the area. As to the "missing time" and why he would simply get back into the sleeping bag and go back to sleep while the sound and light show was going on all around them requires a more specific explanation which he has never found.
The second man has no doubts. To him what happened, to them, that night was a "close encounter" and the missing time, at least 5 hours in his estimation, is part of the entire incident. Both men have not shown any ill effects of what happened that night nor have they become champions of either side of the "close encounter" argument. They went on with their lives and to this day are comfortable speaking about that night to each other or to friends and family. There are a couple of effects from that night that did change these men. It was only recently that the realization of these effects became part of their conscious lives.
1. They never returned to the Barnesville Area to camp again. It has been 36 years and neither
of them have ever returned to their "favorite camping spot".
2. The two men, who are actually close cousins, never went camping together again. They have
done many things, together, over the last 36 years but they have never returned to the woods
or wilderness, together, since that night.
I cannot make any claims of understanding or offer you any explanation as to what happened to these men on that long ago night. I suspect we will never know the full details of what happened and maybe that is the way this story should end.
I started this piece by claiming that what you were about to read was based on a true story. The events described here happened exactly the way I have described. I can make this claim because.....I was one of the men in this story. This was a personal experience of mine. My cousin and I have taken different approaches trying to explain what happened that night but in the end sometimes the explanation of a mystery is best left to the imagination.