Rhode Island Innkeeper Keeps the Light On for UFO Researchers, Abductees
Just beneath the gaudy surface of the UFO phenomenon, obscured by the tabloids and the for-profit channelers, the fake photos and the fight club mentality that dominate so much of the ufological landscape, lies a layer of painstaking research and painful testimony.
Most of the people who operate at this level do so very quietly. For them, far from being a source of easy income, speaking openly about UFOs courts social and financial disaster.
Nevertheless, some are drawn in by professional interests, others by simple curiosity. Still others, particularly the ones who call themselves abductees, would like nothing better than to find a prosaic explanation for what they say is happening to them.
For 15 years, a Rhode Island innkeeper has been reaching out to members of the UFO community who seek to avoid, rather than invite, the limelight. Once each summer, she closes her eight-bedroom Victorian waterfront property to the general public and hosts an informal, invitation-only gathering of researchers and abductees in equal number. Four days, no fees, no agenda.
And no press.
When representatives of the late Peter Jennings asked for access to the gathering, they were refused, she says. “Too many of the attendees had been burned by the media.”
She agreed to be interviewed by Technorati, in fact, only on the condition that her name, the name of her inn and the name of her city be withheld.
“Believe me, it’s not a club that anybody wants to belong to,” she says, making a clear distinction between her guests and the for-profit world of what investigative journalist Paola Harris derides as “retail ufology.”
At 76, the innkeeper no longer worries about public opinion for her own sake, but says that she does worry about the effect that unwanted exposure might have on her attendees.
“I’ve reached the point that I really don’t care what the neighbors say,” she says. “There’s a core group that comes back each year. Friends have been made out of this. That’s what it’s all about. These (attendees) have had experience being ridiculed. They say this is a place where they can relax for the first time ever and talk.”
Some of the attendees are well-known UFO researchers. Harvard psychiatrist John Mack , for example, attended until his death in 2004. Elsewhere on the guest list are an Australian psychologist and a Massachusetts astrophysicist, as well as abductees from Scotland, England, Manhattan and Vermont. Profiles kept any lower would be subterranean.
“I’m not even sure that some of these people tell their wives and families that they’re coming,” the inkeeper says.Continued on the next page