During the summer of 1969, when I was eighteen years old, I visited Block Island. After the ferry boat from New London, Conn., arrived in New Shoreham, I headed out alone to Black Rock Point a little past the Mohegan Bluffs on the island���s south coast. There, I found an abandoned, weather-beaten, wooden lean-to shaped like a Boy Scout���s tent sunken into one of the bluffs, about halfway up the slope, or just a little more. I���ve always called it a ���lean-to,��� but strictly speaking, it was a bit different in that the two narrower sides were open and the roof came to a peak in the middle. It was nine or ten feet long and maybe five feet high at the peak.
After awhile the tide came in, and along with the darkness, a thick fog. That night I heard all sorts of strange sounds, which I attributed to fatigue, nerves, and the noise of the sea and wind. At first I thought I heard voices on the shore below but there was no sign of any visitor. ���My ears are playing tricks on me,��� I thought. After awhile, it seemed as if several people were speaking a few feet away, near the farther end of the lean-to. Yet their words were not quite recognizable; it was as if they were speaking in an adjacent dimension. This too I chalked up to nerves.
Then there was a loud crash against the front wall of the lean-to, the side that faced the sea, as if it had been struck by a rock. This was no figment of my imagination.
In terror, I ran outside, and called out. But there was no reply. I tried to examine the wall of the lean-to, but could hardly see a thing in the dark. The wind was blowing and the tides were making a lot of noise at the shore below. I quickly scrambled up the steep clay incline, using both my hands and feet. The fog was so thick that I was nearly blind, but dared not stop.
As I got over the crest, I sensed a presence over my head, but I didn���t look up; just kept running into the miasma across the bed of rubbery green stuff that grew profusely atop the bluffs. A moment later I found myself encircled in a wide ring of light, despite the fog. It was as if a huge floodlight had been focused on me from above as I ran, although this seemed to be physically impossible, given the fog. Then on the upper periphery of my vision, I saw what I first imagined was a giant bird about the size of a small plane silently gliding over my head, seeming to shut off the light as it flew by. (In the MUFON checklist, I called this a boomarang shape, but it���s really hard to be sure. The sizes and distances are also very rough guesses. And I never saw it in proximity to the horizon, just when it was above me.) I kept running.
Eventually I reached the paved road and hitched a ride back to town with two guys around nineteen or twenty years old who lived on the island with their families. On the way, they asked me what I had been doing near Black Rock Point at night. When I told them what had just occurred, they were astonished. ���Didn���t you notice that all of the houses out there are empty? Everyone knows���that���s the most haunted part of the Island! Nobody goes out there after dark!���
Because of this, for decades I believed that the entire episode was some sort of poltergeist phenomenon. But now I���m inclined to believe that it was a UFO experience ��� my first and I hope, my last.