Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Leah Haley Case: Life-Changing Saucers and a Fateful Weekend

This is one in a series of posts on the Leah Haley Case.

The weekend of July 6, 1990, would forever change the life of Leah Haley. It was during that fateful weekend that she participated in a conversation with her mom and brother in which the three revisited a UFO sighting from many years prior. The sighting was discussed, unanswered questions were considered and a chain of events continued to unfold that was first set in motion many years earlier when Leah was a child.

Personal Paradigm-Shifts

Those who have not personally experienced the manner a UFO sighting can alter life and perspectives may find the occurrence difficult to understand. For whatever reasons, dramatic sightings may effect individuals quite profoundly, eventually causing them to become completely immersed in the UFO phenomenon and its sub-culture. In select circumstances, as was the case with Leah Haley, the original sighting may occur when the witness is a child and is not considered at length until well into adulthood.

A gradual, yet escalating and eventually quite profound, shift in perspectives may occur. The now-adult witness may find them self re-evaluating the childhood sighting, asking family members related questions, and undertaking extensive self-examination and introspection in efforts to clarify exactly what took place. It is not uncommon that, while they hope each new initiative will reap conclusions and finality, they actually become more deeply involved in the unfolding mystery, and more committed to its pursuit, with each progressive leg of their investigative journey.

The potential profound shifts in values and perspectives can simply not be overemphasized. It can be ironic, rewarding and contrastingly tragic that the witness may become totally absorbed in investigating their sighting and the related circumstances. One attempt to gather information (and one resulting compromise of previously held priorities) at a time, the witness may become virtually completely transformed, for both better and worse.

With each passing step, the witness may choose to continue because they have already given such effort and invested such resources in the previous steps, and it is only at some point well into the journey they may acknowledge it may have been wiser to have never undertaken the quest. It is many a transformed truth seeker, however, that by that point in time, develops the realization life has forever changed. They realize that whether or not they would have made the same choices in hindsight, the choices have now been made and there is no going back. Their previous lifestyle, priorities and loved ones may become but memories.

To thoroughly understand such dynamics provides insight into some of the lives and thoughts of those who experience UFO sightings as children. In this particular context, it might provide a bit more accurate perspective of how a girl, who saw some saucers in the sky, became Leah Ann Haley.

We may objectify and pontificate about the people and witnesses of ufology, but that does not change the fact that their lives were a gradual progression to their current conditions. Leah Haley did not set out on an intentional career path to become labeled a crazy mind control lady. It was after one choice at a time and one event at a time, including a divorce and severed relationships with various friends and loved ones, she became who we know her as today. I can well understand how and why, at this stage of her journey, she makes the choices she makes.

I hope my interest in her case and my empathy for her perspectives gives her at least some small feelings of vindication, acceptance and accomplishment. Regardless of what ultimate conclusions may lie ahead of those who boldly, and perhaps sometimes foolishly, attempt to pull the sword of truth from the stone of ufology, I support Leah's efforts and integrity.

I do not claim to conclusively know extensively what happened to Leah Haley. Neither do I claim to have conclusive evidence that human-instigated activities and/or research projects are to blame for some reports of alien abduction; I simply believe a reasonable and competent argument can be made that further research is justified into the possibility.

Following is more of the Leah Haley Case as I understand it.

The Childhood Sighting

It was during the Fourth of July week of 1990, as documented in her books, that the life of Leah Haley seems to have taken a sharp turn into UFO Land. Haley's children were at camp when she traveled to the home of her parents in rural Alabama to visit with family. Her childhood UFO sighting was subsequently discussed.

It seems that one afternoon while Leah was a girl living with her family outside Birmingham, Alabama, multiple disk-shaped craft were witnessed by Leah, her brother and a neighbor. The event included now-fragmented memories that hint at non-ordinary states of consciousness, potentially the results of any number of possible circumstances or combinations thereof.

Interestingly, the discussion that took place during the weekend of July 6, 1990, was inspired by a local newspaper article which included an accompanying photo of a UFO. Haley recalled the article addressed the possible threat of UFOs, and an ensuing conversation led to considerations of the childhood sighting that occurred many years earlier near Birmingham.

The article and subsequent discussion launched Haley's investigation that went on to take her down a 20+ year winding path that included dramatic changes in perspectives, contact from mysterious strangers and a wide variety of interactions with high profile members of ufology, among other noteworthy occurrences. Intriguing as that may all be, there were additional interesting events that were shaping UFO Land that very weekend, the weekend of July 6, 1990; a weekend that, for whatever specific reasons and purposes, forever changed a woman's life.

MUFON Symposium

The MUFON 1990 International UFO Symposium was themed, “The Impact of ET Contact Upon Society,” was held in Pensacola, Florida, and took place the weekend of July 6, the same weekend Haley and family held their discussion that eventually dramatically changed her life. This coincidence was unknown to Haley until I informed her of the dates of the symposium during a conversation we had during March, 2011. She evidently never knew.

While Haley and family reminisced in Alabama about saucers of yesteryear, and as motivated by a newspaper article published July Fourth week, 1990, about potential UFO threats, Mufonians were coincidentally gathering in Pensacola, preparing for contact with ET. The UFO craze originating in nearby Gulf Breeze, a suburb of Pensacola, was on full tilt. The symposium speaker line up therefore naturally included Ed and Frances Walters of Gulf Breeze sighting and abduction fame, questionable as their fiasco may have eventually become. According to archived MUFON Journals, additional presenters included then-abduction guru Budd Hopkins, now conclusively demonstrated by Carol Rainey to have both committed and endorsed fraud during his traveling side shows, and Dr. Rima Laibow, advocate for the use of hypnosis as a memory retrieval tool and wife of career military intelligence officer Major General Albert “Bert” N. Stubblebine III.

The site of the conference was originally the Pensacola Hilton, where the event began but was transferred to the nearby Pensacola Civic Center. The Director's Message, July, 1990, MUFON Journal, stated in part:

Due to air-conditioning problems in the ballroom of the Pensacola Hilton, the Saturday and Sunday events were transferred to the beautiful Pensacola Civic Center, across the street, where the overflow crowd could be better accommodated to the satisfaction of over 850 attendees.

In the same Journal, Dan Wright wrote:

Perhaps most important was the foresight of chairpersons Vicki Lyons and Charles Flannigan to engage the professional services of Bill Richards to handle all electronic needs. For, what transpired in the final 36 hours before the Saturday AM opening of the sessions would have stymied other host committees.

Imagine being in their position when informed at that late hour that the hotel auditorium's air conditioning system has failed and cannot be rectified in time. Then, having quickly secured an alternate site, but in need of major electronic enhancements, you make all the arrangements only to have the truck carrying the equipment involved in a serious accident that destroyed the sensitive items.

No doubt with aspirin bottle in hand, Mr. Richards somehow saved the day, while other committee members hastily prepared notices as to the alternate site.
Yet another chain of events was set in motion that same weekend. This additional situation is, by any definition, extraordinary. A group of six National Security Agency soldiers, possessing high level security clearances, went absent without leave under most bizarre circumstances.

The group stated they believed themselves to be in contact with aliens and the Virgin Mary. Their former unit, the now-disbanded 701st Military Intelligence Brigade of Augsberg, West Germany, specialized in electronic warfare techniques. Details of exactly when the group abandoned their posts are difficult to obtain, but they seem to have gone AWOL somewhere between Friday, July 6, and Monday, July 9, 1990. Reports vary, as do testimonies of when and where the individuals were seen during the weekend in question.

However, we do know where and when they surfaced. We also know their unit fell under the former command of Major General Stubblebine, who's wife, you will recall, was speaking at the MUFON symposium. These reportedly runaway electronics experts, military intelligence personnel and, if we are to believe their sincerity at the time, self-described contactees, were taken into police custody on Saturday, July 14, and Sunday, July 15, 1990, in none other than Gulf Breeze, Florida. They were literally down the street from the site of the problem-plagued MUFON symposium. Enter the Gulf Breeze Six.


  1. Well, this is getting a bit redundant here, but - Thank You Jack! i'm very interested to read the rest of this series. I'm not good at dates, but when you mentioned the date Ms. Haley started re-investigating, i thought 'gee, this is around the time of all that Gulf Breeze stuff and those soldiers who went awol in FL.....'

    i would still love to know what the hell went on with that. have you read any George Hansen or listened to any of his interviews? His work on the trickster addresses a large part of what you're talking about here, including how interest in the paranormal can result in a person becoming more marginalized and compulsive about investigating.

    has excerpts from his book as well as links to several interviews.

    the compulsion to know, to investigate, to communicate what has happened to you - this is so common among experiencers of some sort of 'contact' with 'alien' intelligences (esp. when it involves altered states of consciousness). You may be interested to read P.M.H. Atwater's research on the after effects of the near death experience (as well as her description of her own NDE's and how they affected her).

    25+ years on from my own NDE i still feel that compulsion - to find out, to study, to investigate, to put out what i have found. It is very strange to feel so driven while knowing that that very compulsion is very likely a result of another being's desire or action. Not to mention all the information that 'appeared' in my mind after the experience.

    On the one hand i thin Jeff Ritamann of paratopia is a little dotty to be so driven about just finding out if 'what he sees' can be see by others (then he lists all the other people who've seen it, hello?) - also his drive to see if it can be 'captured' on film. i can't imagine this yielding anything satisfying or interesting, there's a billion pictures of lights out there already. at the same time, i've felt that very same compulsion myself for years and years, so who am i to talk?

    we are not separate beings, our ideas about where we stop and 'the other' begins are very misguided.

    Keep it up, Thank you, Can't wait to read more!! steph

  2. Thank you for commenting, Steph. I am very glad you find the subject matter of interest.

    The manner that some of us become obsessed with the search for more information is indeed a key issue. It presents itself repeatedly not just in ufology, but from one genre to the next as well.

    Again, thank you for commenting. It means a lot to me that people are interested in cases such as Leah Haley and their implications. Thanks for taking the time to express your interest.

  3. Jack--Rima Laibow was not married to Gen. Stubblebine at the time of the 1990 MUFON Symposium, as your post implies, but to Dr. Bernard H. Koser. I spent time with both of them at the TREAT conferences in the early-1990s. --Rob Swiatek

  4. Thank you, Mr. Swiatek, for your comments. My apologies if I am incorrect in that detail. Please feel encouraged to comment further as you may feel inclined.