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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

A Novel Hobby

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 6/5/2023
Posted: 3/8/2006
Page Views: 7211
Topics: #UFOs #AlienAbductions
How I discovered I might be an alien abductee.
IBM PC=AT keyboard

Sometime around 1987, I decided I needed a hobby that wouldn't require me to change clothes.

I was spending ten and twelve hours a day in front of a computer, developing software, and I needed to take occasional breaks—but nothing that would take too much time. I just needed to work my brain in a different way, so I decided to write a novel.

The next question was, a novel about what? It had to be a mental challenge, because I wasn't writing for profit; I was writing for diversion. I toyed with doing something about the Greek myths, following the original plots but using modern psychological knowledge to provide believable motivations. However, I discarded that notion in favor of one involving UFOs and contact with aliens.


This was an odd choice for me. Although I have always loved the science fiction genre (as most computer programmers do), for some reason I had always avoided UFO stories. One of my favorite authors is Larry Niven; I had read every single one of his books except Footfall, the alien invasion novel he wrote with Jerry Pournelle. For some reason, whenever I saw Footfall's cover, I was repulsed. Yet now I intended to write a UFO story of my own!

—But not just any UFO novel. Remember, this was to be a diversion. I knew there were a lot of books out there by people claiming to have actually met aliens. I didn't believe any of them had, of course—how ridiculous!—but just suppose…! I decided I would, as research, read every alien contact book in print and then, take what I assumed would be wildly differing tales by hoaxers, come up with some kind of plausible background against which the reader would say, "Wow—then all those crazy stories could be real!" Sort of like when you watch the first Batman movie and say, "Oh—the costume's bulletproof. That's why no one ever shot him!" You still don't believe in Batman, but your mind has been given an unexpected little boost towards its suspension of disbelief. It's fun.

—Except, in doing the research—and I read all or part of nearly 60 UFO-contact-related books over the next year—I found out two very disturbing things.

  1. The tales of UFO contactees were not "wildly differing". In fact, the aliens, their ships, and their methods were all reported to within a few decimal points of "same". Moreover, the evidence wasn't for single-occurrence, random-chance contact. It indicated that abduction was a life-long ordeal, and that it affected entire families, not just individuals.

  2. The signs reported by other abductees were present…in my own family.

As I studied, I wrote the novel; it reflected my own growing understanding of the matter. I had originally identified in the literature two species of aliens visiting Earth: one so human-looking as to blend in, the other, more common in the literature, a gray-skinned, large-headed, big-eyed biped that could never go unnoticed this side of San Francisco. Originally I made the humanoids the "good guys" and the Zeta Reticulans (called Greys or Grays in most abductee literature) the "bad guys." Eventually I came to realize that the situation was more complex than a simple good vs. evil story, and let that ambiguity work its way in as well.

The Lady From Heaven

After I finished the novel (originally called Midnight Harvest but later renamed The Lady From Heaven, I started writing in the technical field. But I couldn't stop the research. It was amazing: in my life there had been no end of "odd" little things I couldn't explain. I had just figured, that's life; but most other people didn't have the list of weirdnesses I did. Now, in the context of alien abductions, suddenly every individual "weirdness" fit into a consistent pattern…a pattern that suggested I, myself, might be an abductee. Though I certainly didn't remember any actual adbuctions or anything.

But look at a partial list, arranged chronologically:

  • My earliest memory is of being in a "white place", somehow suspended over my family's car.

  • I was once awakened, paralyzed, by a figure standing silently at the foot of my bed.

  • My mom made us wait an hour in the car before getting out to go in our house, because there were mysterious lights in the woods.

  • I once found my mom and sisters standing in the dark and silence, late at night, staring out the window at nothing I could see.

  • I've seen UFOs on at least two occasions. I've experienced "missing time" many times more than that.

  • I have an odd mark on my left shin, an indentation as if a bit of bone underneath the skin had been scooped away. Mary Joan has a similar mark, as did our mother. I also have an odd red mark on one knee which suddenly showed up when I was a teenager. In the 1990s a new scoop appeared on my calf; Louise has several similar "scoops" on her leg, which also "suddenly" showed up. (Scoop marks are common among abductees, and members of a family often have identical marks.)

When I had mentioned any of these things to my friends, they would look at me as if I'd grown another head. Yet all these things are similar to things I'd read about in the abductee literature.

This is what I knew in the spring of 1992. I had managed to convince myself that maybe there was such a thing as people being abducted by aliens; and maybe it had happened to me…in the past. But fortunately, if it had ever happened before, at least it didn't seem to be happening now.

I couldn't have been more wrong.