What began as a San Antonio woman's game with lights in the New Mexico sky has become an odyssey through hypnosis -- time turned back for a close encounter of the third kind. Christina Bryant, 35, had been haunted for seven years by several missing hours in her life -- a curious time lapse in May 1976, during a drive from Phoenix, Arizona to Lubbock, Texas with her 4-year-old daughter and a friend. There was nothing difficult about remembering the prelude.
It was down from Alamogordo, Bryant siad, around 10: 30 p.m. when the trio noticed lights in the star-filled sky. To amuse her daughter, Bryant invented a game, commanding the lights to turn blue and then red, which they did, for durations of about 45 seconds.
"We would stop, and it would go off. We would go, and it would stay steady with us. We knew we were playing with something."
They also somehow had left the main highway, finding themselves on a two-lane back road in the boonies. Rabbits and deer appeared along the roadside and stared.
Around a bend they saw a police car "with funny lights and a one-car wreck, the vehicle tilted at a steep angle, its battery oddly hanging from the wrong side of the hood. The policeman carried a flashlight and a clipboard but seemed to be in parade uniform, with braids and medals, totally out of sync for a back country road." When the officer reached for her hand, resting on the frame of the open window, Bryant remembered the sudden chill of his touch. "It was so cold it scared me."
There was no sign of an accident victim. They asked the officer about the wreck. He asked if they had passed anyone.
About 45 minutes down the road they turned into a highway junction Truck Stop. The clock read 3 a.m., an impossible time lapse.
In Lubbock, Bryant related details to her mother, who produced a tabloid story with an article about a record number of UFO sightings, Bryant said "in the same area where we had been."
Bryant said that despite the constant puzzle of missing time, it was January 1983 before I finally decided I wanted to do something about it."
Bryant never had heard of the Mutual UFO Network of San Antonio, but after a 90-minute period in which she made half a dozen telephone calls she had four leads -- and Bob Morgan's phone number.
Morgan, chief investigator for MUFONSA, took the usual precautions before setting up the sessions he would conduct with hypnotherapist Jackson Morris.
Bryant first took a psychological test called The California Report.
She passed it with flying colors, Morgan said, She's not telling any story.
There are "scary as hell" differences in what Bryant naturally recalls of the back-road incident and what she recounts under hypnosis.
"When he touched my hand is when something was done," Bryant says now of her encounter with the "policeman."
He opened the door and helped me out. He was holding my hand for the whole time. He was nice, kind and very gentle, or average height, about 5'11, 170 to 180 pounds, blond with blue eyes, nice features.
The police "car," shaped like a coolie hat, was his ship.
"I'm 5-2, but I had to duck under to go under the lights." After climbing a ladder into the spacecraft, Bryant was motioned to a chair in front of a large window. Numbers appeared across the top of a screen, an apparent directional finder with converging lines, and the policeman became her playful pilot, pushing buttons that propelled them to flight against a rush of stars. "It was great," Bryant said, "I was fascinated. I knew he was not going to hurt me. "He told me his name - Oran or Oron. If he told me where he was from, I don't remember." With the ship on automatic pilot he led me to a door, penetrating it with a motion of his hand. "that's when it got scary," she said, "when I stepped through that door."
A man and two women stood in front of a cabinet near "a very surgical table." Her daughter, snugly asleep, was nearby on another table. One of the women had placed a protective hand on the child.
Random recollections were of white coats, a round faced man of average height who had no facial hair; girls with heavy lashes and pretty eyes, skin tight caps covered their heads. All white. Pasty complexions.
This was to be an examination with "a huge syringe" and a long silver cylinder, a stethoscope-like device.
"It was like my feet had no resistance. He floated me. No great pressure. And an out-of-body experience. "I was watching them lay me down on that table." Skin was scraped from her arm, and she saw them staring curiously at her stomach. "I know why. I have a large, ugly scar from surgery. I imagine if they had done it, it wouldn't be that big and ugly."
A needle was stuck in her back. Fluid was taken from an eye, then replaced.
Under hypnosis, Bryant is asked to pay closer attention to the people in the examining room. "When I realized they weren't the people I saw," she said, "I panicked all over again."
This time the caps became skulls, with tight white flesh. The women became young boys with very small faces, like a half-open book, the nose and mouth the binding, large eyes shaped like almonds. Their mouths, she saw, were merely holes, not functional at all.
Employed by a major airline, she imagines the response: "Oh, so you've got a kook working for you."
"I don't want to be called a crackpot," Bryant said. "I'm a levelheaded, fairly intelligent woman. I don't want anyone saying, "Oh, there she goes, the crackpot." I'd like to tell the whole world, but I can't."
"She's very sincere," investigator Morgan says, "and you can tell she was awful scared."
Morgan, in fact, was also the investigator in 1975 when a Leon Valley woman and her nephew reported seeing some men in a field.
The boy, who was 7 at the time, drew some pictures of the "men."
Strangely enough, Morgan said, "the features were almost the same" as those that later would be drawn by Christine Bryant.