View Sidebar

A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

Birth of an Abductee

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 6/5/2023
Page Views: 4573
Topics: #UFOs #AlienAbductions
A brief autobiography so you'll have an idea who you're reading about.

But perhaps before I go into what happened next, you'd want to know a little something about me before then. After all, I'm going to be revealing some pretty wild stuff; you're entitled to know how crazy a person I am even without aliens.

This lifetime began, for me, on April 8, 1951, at 7:05 pm in Mountainside Hospital in Glen Ridge, New Jersey.

My mother, Edna Mae Brown Cilwa, and my father, Walter Sigimund Cilwa, lived at the time in a small but airy apartment in a complex called Styertowne, in Clifton, NJ. I was named after my grandfather (Vernon Paul Brown) and my father, although under the heavy sedation then used in childbirth, my mother wasn't quite able to spell my father's middle name correctly. So my middle name wound up not really being from anyone in particular, other than the well-known father of modern psychotherapy.

Pinky Lee

Pinky Lee, 1950s TV personality.

My memory begins somewhere around 6 months old. I can describe the layout of the apartment itself, and I distinctly remember sitting in my high chair, watching Pinky Lee on television. (And I was gay then; even in my high chair, I knew that striped pants and a polka dot shirt did not go together.)

One morning, when I was about one and had just started walking, my mom stepped outside for the newspaper and the wind blew the door shut—and locked—behind her. She began banging on the door, calling me to open it. Since I couldn't reach the doorknob, there wasn't much chance of this happening. She finally had to run to the office to get a duplicate key (in her nightgown, which totally humiliated her).

Me in bathtub

Me in the bathtub, early 1952.

Another time, after midnight, a fire alarm woke up the family and I was carried outside, wrapped in blankets. The apartment above us had caught fire. The building was saved, but water damage from the hoses soaked into our apartment and destroyed many of our things, particularly a valued bedspread. I remember looking at the apartment at night, surrounded by people in pajamas and coats and blankets, but do not recall seeing any flames. We eventually spent the rest of the night in a friend's apartment.

Mary Joan comes home.

On June 18th, 1952 (my mother's birthday), my sister Mary Joan was born, and Mom and Dad began thinking about moving into a larger place.

The week that Mom gave birth to Mary Joan, I was sent to my grandparents' home in Bloomfield, NJ. When I returned and found this new person there, getting all the attention, I stopped talking and didn't say a word for a month. (Of course, I was just over 1 year old, so how much talking could I have been doing?)

In any case, I eventually got over my snit.

With the birth of my new baby sister, our apartment was rapidly getting too small. Plus, it still smelled of smoke from the neighbors' fire. We really needed a larger place.

As it happened, my father owned a larger place: it was a factory, the Cilwa Mold and Tool Company. Apparently, business wasn't going so well; after the Second World War, Dad had gone to work for Bendix Corporation, and we moved into the factory building, on which Dad had done a lot of work, some by himself, some with my half-brother, Billy, helping. The place had even needed a new roof, and Mama helped with that.

I don't remember moving, but I certainly remember the place we moved to. It was located at 148 MacArthur Drive, and the front part of the building was refurbished and made into a nice little home. My father may have had trouble finishing things, though; my room was given a first coat of paint, but the tape between the sheets of sheet rock was put over that and a concealing second coat was never applied as long as we lived there.

In October of 1953, I became big brother to another sister, Louise.

Sometime after that, something happened that I remember, though out of context. That is, it happened, and I remember it too clearly to be a dream; but I have no lead-in memory and no lead-out memory.

I was in some kind of white place, about the size of a crib. Although the walls were solid, they were not rectangular; and somehow, I could see though them…and what I saw was our car, a Studebaker, from above…and I could see through the roof. I could see my father driving, my mother in the front seat, and Mary Joan and Louise sleeping in the back. I started crying, because I thought they were leaving me; and I began yelling for them, but they couldn't hear me.

I might be tempted to call it an early out-of-body experience, except, then, where was I? My sleeping body should have been in the back seat, with my sisters'.

I have no answers; I only know that I can remember the experience now with more clarity than I can muster for this morning's breakfast.

Mysterious Visitor

One block from our house was our church, that of Our Lady of Mt. Virgin. My father did not attend church, but mother did, and I went with her. (My sisters were considered too young to behave themselves.) While there, Mom would give me her Rosary, and I would pretend the little beads were Roman solders, and would pile them up on the helpless Jesus bound to the little cross.

Or, sometimes, I would point to an architectural feature and ask about it. That's why I pointed to a particular statue, one Sunday, and asked what it was. "That's the Blessed Virgin," my mother explained.

Now, understand, neither the word "blessed" nor the word "virgin" was in my vocabulary; so, I thought the statue was "The Blessed Virgin", not just a representation thereof. My confusion was to become compounded shortly afterwards.

Night visitor

It was weeks later, and I had been put to bed on a normal, uneventful, night. However, I awoke in terror to find my room lit by a strange, blue light that glowed from the living room visible through my open door. Between the door and my bed, clearly silhouetted in the doorway, was a tall, angular figure, hooded and gray. To me, it looked like a statue; so I thought the Blessed Virgin was in my bedroom…and it did not belong there. I was terrified, and tried to scream for Mom—only to discover I was also paralyzed.

Unable to do anything else, I shut my eyes tightly and waited…and went to sleep. When I awoke, suddenly, sometime later, the figure and light were gone, and so was the paralysis. I did scream, then, and it seemed like it took an awful lot of screaming before anyone came to help me. It was my mother, groggy, who wanted to know what was the matter. "The Blessed Virgin was in my room!" I sobbed, "and I couldn't move!"

Mama, of course, like most Roman Catholics, believed in miracles as long as they happened to other people; so she offered her stock response: "It was just a dream, dear. Go back to sleep." For years, I harbored resentment: that she had taken so long to respond, that she hadn't believed me, that she hadn't comforted me. I thought the blue light had been the TV set, so I didn't see how she could have gotten that deeply asleep. Now, of course, that I am more familiar with the alien abduction phenomenon, I understand that Mom did all she could do under the circumstances.


I remember little of kindergarten except that two nuns taught us. And I remember Flora, who didn't do well in class but who had one skill we all admired: During recess, she would climb to the top of the chain link fence, where she would perch while peeing in her pants. By the end of the year there was a vertical yellow streak staining the chain link.

Mom walked me to school the first day. After that, I walked with other kids in the neighborhood going to the same school, which was only a couple blocks from the house. This was the first time I was allowed (indeed, required) to cross a street on my own. There were no crossing guards in those days, of course. But the bigger kids always watched out for the younger ones.

As the year drew to an end it grew cold and snow fell on the ground. When we wanted to go out Mommy bundled us up in garments called "snowsuits" that were basically full body armor filled with down. They were supposed to keep the cold out; I believe they would have stopped an AK-47 slug as well. When they were on, every part of our bodies were covered, even our mouths, thanks to the woolen scarf that had been wrapped around us prior to the enveloping by the suit. Then came mittens (which prevented us from using our fingers) and rubber boots (which just about prevented us from walking). Once we'd been safely insulated, Mommy would open the door and allow us to go outside.

It had been more than a snowstorm; this year another blizzard had hit, dumping maybe two feet of snow. Our gritty little New Jersey street had been turned into something white and magical. The gutter, which always had water flowing along it, was frozen solid. Snowplows had created huge white hills along the road for climbing and sliding down. (Something we could do without harm since, in those snowsuits, if we'd been dropped off a building we'd have just bounced.) Joined by our friends, the Galluccios from two doors down, we slipped and slid and spun and rolled, laughing ourselves silly.

I was in kindergarten and the next Monday I had to walk to school in the same overblown suit. The principal of the school, a stern-faced nun with a hair that grew out of her nose and who was called Mother Superior, came to our classroom and announced that we would all participate in the Christmas play. She didn't bother to explain what a "play" was, and no one dared ask. We simply followed her to a large room with a raised floor on one end, and hundreds of chairs at the other. She pointed at one kid and told him he would be "Joseph" which made us laugh because his name was Bobby. The she told Flora, the girl who pee'd on the fence during recess, that she was to be "Mary." We began to worry. We'd had no idea that Mother Superior could change our names. I was pretty sure that my parents, who had named me after my grandfather, wouldn't stand for it.

However, when Mother Superior pointed at me, instead of renaming me she said, "You are to be the orchestra conductor." Now that was a real surprise. What orchestra did she mean, and why did she want me to take it somewhere on a train? However, I kept quiet because I'd only been on a train once and was very excited at the idea of going for a ride on one again.

At the end of the day I was handed a piece of paper to bring home, which I jammed into a pocket of my snow suit. It took two Sisters to get each of us re-wrapped for returning outside; finally, we were allowed to waddle into the brisk air and crunch our way home.

Mommy found the paper as she was unwrapping me, and read it. "Oh!" she cried. "You're going to be in the Christmas play!"

"I'm going on a train!" I told her, excitedly. "I'm the conductor!"

She laughed. "No, you're going to conduct the orchestra. That means you're going to lead them—tell them when to play, and when to stop. You're supposed to rehearse tonight." So Mommy had me hold a pencil, and she held one, and we put on a record and she showed me how to mark the beat with the pencil.

The next day we began rehearsals for the "play." The "orchestra" turned out to the second graders, who had learned to sing "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." And I was supposed to lead them. The beat was simple enough, and when I was handed a baton to hold, I moved it in time to the beat.

"No! Not like that!" Mother Superior snapped. She knelt behind me, so close I could feel her starched collar on my back and her breath on my neck, and gripped my right hand like a vice. It startled me so that I resisted, and in trying to gain control of my arm, she whacked my nose with the handle of the baton, hard. Oblivious to this, she instructed the choir to resume singing and moved my imprisoned hand in a triangular motion. Finally she let go. "Now, you try it!" she commanded.

I did, but apparently did not duplicate perfectly enough whatever it was she'd had in mind. Meanwhile, my nose was growing stuffy and my eyes were smarting. She descended in front of me and growled, "What's that face about? If you're going to have an attitude, we can just find another conductor!" And she did, freeing me to sit in one of the chairs and wipe the blood now dripping out of my nose onto my sleeve. I didn't dare say anything about that.

When I got home, Mommy had apparently already been called by the school. "I'm very disappointed in you," she said. "Your principal told me you made a face at her. You know better than that."

I held up my bloodied sleeve. "My nose was bleeding," I said. "She hit my in the nose with the baton."

Mommy frowned. She hated confrontation and to admit the principal was wrong would have required one on her part—better to just assume the whole thing was some kind of misunderstanding that would work itself out.

This, of course, left me feeling I was to blame somehow. And that meant I'd been naughty. Now, I didn't know much about Santa Claus, but we'd been learning about him in Kindergarten. There was a song about him, how he was coming to town and would know if we were naughty or nice. I'd already had one mysterious figure appear in my bedroom; I didn't need another one to show up and judge me on my poor performance as an orchestra conductor.