Copely Woods Encounter
Date: June 30, 1983
Location: Copely Woods, IN
On Thursday, June 30th, I found myself face to face with something that cannot be explained, even now. I have always felt as if a part of me died that day and a new me emerged from my garage. For those of you who are not familiar with me or my story. I will go over the events of that night one more time.
My two small sons & I were living with my parents at the time. I was making a little money cutting patterns for a neighbor who made & sold costumes. My dad was working 2nd shift at a local automotive factory. Mom, the boys & myself had just finished some takeout chicken for supper, and I was washing the grease off my hands before I left to go to the neighbors house to cut some more patterns out. She lived one block over and one road behind us so I wouldn't be far in case Mom needed help getting the boys to settle down. As I stood at the kitchen sink and looked aimlessly out the window, I noticed an odd light coming out of the swimming pool pump house. First of all, I knew the door SHOULD be closed because I remembered wrestling with the rusty slide lock. I had been out there just a few hours earlier, putting some more chlorine tabs in the pool floater. It was getting dark out so the strange light really caught my eye. It was not like the incandescent bulb that was in there. It looked more like florescent, white light. And it was very bright. I pointed this out to my mother and asked her if she wanted me to stay home. She thought it was odd but told me not to worry about it. She would lock the doors and if she needed me she would call me. In the 5 minutes it took me to get in my car and make a quick detour to the turnabout in back of the house, to check on the light before I left, the light was gone. And the door to the pump house was closed. But the pedestrian door to the side garage attached to the house was now open. I don't know why I didn't stop then and go back inside. I should have but I didn't. I headed on to our neighbors house.
As soon as I got there, I called my mom. I told her what I had seen and asked her if she wanted me to come home. She said, once again, no, she'd be okay. I hung up the phone. Just as I did, it rang. I instinctively picked it up again and somehow was not surprised to hear it was my mom. She sounded strange, frightened, and she asked me to come home. She said, I want you home now. My neighbor and her husband were listening to the conversation and at one point, her husband, hearing the panic rise in my voice, yelled into the phone, Tell her to call the police, that's what they get paid for. Mom heard him and she responded with, I don't want anyone here but you. I left immediately with a promise to my neighbors to call when I found out what was going on. It took me all of 3 minutes to get home.
Once I arrived, I pulled around to the back of the house again. This time I stopped at the sun room outside access door and found Mom standing there waiting for me. As I walked in, I went for the shotgun Daddy had behind the trash compactor. Mom made a comment about the gun not being loaded and I said to her that whoever was out there didn't know that and I could always beat the crap out of them with it. I have to say, at this point, that I do not know what came over me. I am no fool and at that time in my life, I was the biggest chicken in the world. If I had known why mom called me back that night, I would have never gone out back. I would have gone in the front door, grabbed my mom & kids and high-tailed it out of there so fast it would make your head spin. She couldn't remember why she even called me back until a week later, while she was doing the dishes or something like that in the kitchen, she suddenly popped out with, Oh, I just remembered why I called you back home last weekend! I had seen a basketball size ball of light around the bird feeder. It was very soft and I looked around trying to see if someone had a flashlight or something shining on it but I could see nothing. The light got smaller and smaller and as soon as it disappeared, I got the thought in my head to call you home. See what I mean?
I took the gun and walked out into the dark back yard. I went to the pump house and looking inside. Nothing. I decided to walk out near the big garage out back to see if I could find my dog. She had been in the garage attached to the house because she was in heat at the time. I found her. She was firmly lodged under my dad's old ladder truck. I grabbed at her and tried to get her to come out. Normally, she would be all over me like a cheap suit. She was MY dog. But something spooked the hell out of her. She was yelping and whining and tearing at my hands to let go of her. So I did. Then I decided I'd better check out the garage. Something had obviously freaked her out and whatever it was, it had been in the garage at one time. I went in there, gun first, cussing and yelling at the top of my lungs. The place was empty. I looked behind old mattresses and everything else in there and didn't find a thing. As soon as I had decided that I wasn't gonna find anyone in here, I suddenly felt as if I was on fire. All the skin on my body started burning. It felt like I was covered with acid. And I thought, I've gotta get out of here. RIGHT NOW! I turned to run out the pedestrian door and that is when I was hit in the chest by something VERY bright and electrifying.
I have never been hit by lightening. But if I could imagine what it would feel like, I would say it was like this. It felt as if I had first been punched by a huge, electric fist, right in the gut. The burning, electrical feeling slowly moved down my legs to my feet, out my arms to my fingertips and around my head. Then, I could feel every molecule of my body vibrating. I couldn't move. And I couldn't see because the flash was so bright. I know I could not have tolerated more than a few seconds of this but I swear it felt as if this lasted for several minutes. I assume it couldn't have lasted more than a few seconds. I remember thinking, I'm DEAD! This is what it feels like to die. I was shaking and burning and I felt like I was vibrating to my very core. The brightness wore off fast. Then, the vibrating and shaking subsided. But I still couldn't move. I was able to see bits and pieces. VERY much like having been flashed in the eye by a camera flash. I had big blind spots in my vision but I could see some shadow and some movement in the yard in front of my. I can now feel someone pulling on my right shoulder, as if to pull me down a bit. Then, I felt a stabbing, burning sensation in my right ear. And I could hear someone telling me it was unfortunate that I had to feel pain. Then, I was OUTSIDE the pedestrian doorway but I didn't know how I got there. I could see a soft, white ball of light directly in front of me. It was about the size of a basketball and is hovering about as high as I am tall. 5' 3½". The light slowly moved up and down, as if it were looking at me from head to foot. Then, it moved into the egg shaped thing and disappeared. Just to the left of the light, I could see something about the size of the pool pump house. Maybe 8' - 10' tall and shaped like an egg. Not very big as far as UFOs go. And I could see 6 people in the yard in front of me. They are at various spots in the yard. At the same time, they all seemed to line up and slide to the left, back to this egg shaped thing in front of me. They were smaller than me. Shorter. I thought they looked like children. Bullet shaped children. Bigger in the head and getting narrow at the feet. I couldn't see much detail, mostly just silhouettes.
The rest of this event is still a blur after 20 years. The next thing I remember is hearing someone say. It's over. I suddenly remembered my kids. I thought, MY KIDS! Oh my God! And immediately I heard the voice say that my kids were okay. I heard my name being called and I was able to move and I turned and began to walk up the lower porch steps, toward the back kitchen door. With each step I took, the memory of what had just transpired, faded until by the time I reached my mom at the back door, I did not remember anything after I entered the garage. I said to my mom, Everything's cool. And with that, she became animated again. It was as if she was standing there, in a daze, until she heard my voice.
I left mom and went back to the neighbors house. When I got there, she was upset with me. She said they were about ready to call the police because I didn't call them like I said I would and they were worried that I was taking so long. It seems I was gone about 2 hours but I only remembered about 15 minutes worth of experience. I had no explanation for that, and her inquiry just left me even foggier than I was already feeling. I didn't feel good and told her that I would rather swim than sew. I invited her to come swim with me and she agreed. She gathered up her 14 year old daughter and the 3 of us went back to mom and dad's. As we were walking out the pool, my dad pulled up in the drive. He always came home at about 11:10 p.m. I left to go to the neighbors' just before 8:00 p.m. Three hours had passed and I couldn't account for most of it.
As we walked though the back yard to the swimming pool, my neighbors' daughter suddenly jumped and yelled, OUCH! She said she had stepped on something that made her foot burn, and now her foot was getting numb. By the time we reached the pool, she said her foot felt numb all the way to the knee, but yet she could walk on it. We weren't in the pool more than 10 or 15 minutes when we all started feeling nauseated, and my eyesight started getting real fuzzy, even though I had not had my head under water. I could see halos around all the outside lights and it was making me dizzy. The girls left and I went to bed.
When I woke up the next morning, I could not open my eyes. They were swollen completely shut. My mother took me to the emergency room. They, in turn, sent me directly to an eye specialist across the street from the ER because they didn't have anyone on call in ER who was able to treat something like this. This doctor was just across the street and agreed to work me in and see me that morning. He was stunned at the extent of my injury. He kept asking me if I had looked into the arc of a welder's torch or the sun. I had not. I was given several tubes of cream and some drops to try to heal my eyes. It took SEVERAL weeks for them to fully recover and to this day, my eyes are VERY sensitive to light. And my vision is very far-sighted. Sometimes my eyes will still suddenly burn and turn red, for no apparent reason. Fortunately, this only lasts for a few minutes.
For whatever unknown reasons, no one in the house even looked out back for the rest of the week. Come the weekend, 4th of July weekend, the rest of my family was all over to swim and have a cookout. My nephew was the first one to notice the mark in the yard. It was an 8' circle with a 20' swath coming off it. The swath ended in a perfect arch and was exactly 2' wide. All the grass in this mark was brownish gray and wilted. The dirt was gray and hard. There were a couple of deep cracks around the edge of the circle. I dropped a 12" ruler down one crack and we never did find it.
The first thing my mother said when she saw that mark was, Oh, that's where our UFO landed. I just looked at her like she was nuts and I thought to myself, What is wrong with her? Suddenly, as I looked at this mark, I began to panic. I could feel my pulse race, the sweat beading on my brow. I started feeling faint. And I started remembering. WITHOUT hypnosis.
The aftermath of this day was a nightmare for several years. I was shell shocked. I sat up at night, watching over my children and waiting. Waiting for something. But I didn't remember what it was I was waiting for. I got sick and stayed sick for over a year. I developed life-threatening allergies, rashes, fevers, swollen glands, diarrhea, bleeding gums & my hair started falling out. My fingernails started growing thin, peeled and had horizontal ridges in them. I developed irregular heartbeats, I started having panic attacks. Almost daily for a long time. And the dog that was out there with me that night? She had to be put to sleep about 2½ months later. All her hair fell out from the head down. She developed black, oozing sores all over her back, her eyes got milky white and she was obviously going deaf. Her teeth all fell out and her gums bled, as well. When we took her to the vet, he was shocked to see how quickly she had deteriorated. She was not that old, about 6 or 7 years, and the way she looked you would have thought she was 20 years old. He advised us to put her down because he felt she was suffering and he could not help her. He figured she was eaten up with cancer of some kind.
The mark in the yard remained there for nearly five years. Every year snow melted off of it. Animals would not walk on it. There were no bugs in the soil. Even when the grass finally did begin to grow back, the grass in that place was thick, rubbery and kind of a bluish green color. The dandelions that grew around the mark were three times the size of normal ones. The tomato plants my mom had out by the pool, were the size of grapefruits but when you tried to eat them, they were so acidic the skin on your lips would peel off. And the vines were as big around as my forearm. The leaves on a patch of trees behind the mark withered, turned brown and fell off. The power line above the mark shorted out and blew a transformer, melted the wiring and blew out the tubes on the Heathkit HAM radios in the basement of the house, which was right next to the place in the yard.
Eventually, there were a couple of neighbors who came forward to say they had experienced strange things in their home the very night I had the experience, and one neighbor behind us who witness hundreds of basketball size balls of white light, floating through the woods around the night I had my experience.
Budd Hopkins spent a ton of his own money doing a very thorough investigation of that night. I sold my washer and dryer to get a ticket to New York. I was subjected to an array of medical and psychological tests and even passed a voice stress test. Budd eventually wrote a book about my experiences and my family, titled "Intruders, The Incredible Visitations at Copely Woods". In 1992, CBS did a mini series of the same name, with some excerpts from the book as scenes, starring Mare Winningham as me. And later still, in 1993, my sister Kathy Mitchell, and I wrote a follow up book titled, "Abducted! The Story of the Intruders Continues".
I think of my dog, and the fate she met. In my heart, I believe whatever she encountered that night was directly related to her untimely death. And there is a part of me that STILL worries I will eventually have some kind of cancer related to my experience of that night. There is nothing I can do about it right now, except take good care of myself and hope for the best. I often wonder what my life would have been like had I not had the experience. I can't imagine. Truthfully, despite the obvious trauma, I don't think I would change a thing. I have become a much stronger person. I don't give credit to the experience or the Intruders, other than it FORCED ME to be strong, to survive and grow. And I kinda like that about me.