This part includes the initial contact with the extraterrestrial visitors and the nearly 8 hours of events and discussions that took place aboard the alien spacecraft as the witness was shown and experienced scenes and conditions in the life of the Iargans, both on their home planet and in their spacecraft.



Iarga; I can talk about it now, the fascinating dusky green planet with its somber pink sky is no dream but-just a moment. I must first sort out the mass of information gamed during my astounding experiences and relate it logically and coherently.

I need to do this for myself as well. Any explanation of my chaotic memories may help me to become my old self gain. It is difficult for me to remember the man I used to be.


How I felt that beautiful summer evening on board my yacht that drifted like a huge white swan on the windless waters of the Oosterscheld (an art of the sea in the southwestern delta of the Netherlands.)

"Hey, Dad, do you know that the compass is broken?"

I took no notice; it was probably just one of my son's childish jokes. I sat stretched out in a deck chair, contentedly sipping my coffee and surveying the distant coast of Schouwen-Duive-land (an island in the delta.) where we planned to arrive before dark.

On the small strip of land above the horizon, I could see the light that marked the harbor entrance at Burgsluis.

"Honest, Dad, it's broken. Come and look," persisted my son.

Still disbelieving, I forced myself to stand up and walked over' to where my wife, son and small daughters were standing looking at the compass as though they had never seen it before in their lives.


Something was definitely wrong.


The map was hanging at a crazy angle, but worse still, the north indicator was pointing in the direction of the Zeeland bridge, to the east! I looked accusingly at the discoverer of the trouble. It wasn't out of the question that my young son was playing a joke on his father with a magnet. I was disappointed to find that this was not the case and so I started a serious investigation. In the meantime, Miriam did the dishes and put the children to bed.


By the time I decided to return to Burgsluis on the motor, it was getting quite dark, and the fact that I had been unable to find the cause of the trouble irritated me immensely. Miriam was right in saying that I should not let a compass spoil such a beautiful day, but I could not rest until I knew what was wrong.


Ah well, I could do that in the harbor.

I pushed the tjalk (an old-world, flat-bottomed sailing ship) at full power through the darkness of the Oosterscheldt.


There was the light buoy. I read the number automatically and turned sharply to port. In the distance lay the next buoy, marking the channel to Burgsluis. About six miles and we would be home. But things didn't go quite the way I had planned. Something unbelievable happened.

Suddenly, out of the darkness, a strong, blue-white searchlight shone in my eyes from a point directly in front of the bow, and at the same time I heard a high-pitched whining noise above the noise of my motor. My heart pounded. It came so unexpectedly, that it must have been several seconds before I acted. Reverse, full power! Damn, it was too late!


With a frightening noise the tjalk came to a standstill against something solid, but what? Who on earth would be in the middle of the channel without lights?


With shaking hands I stopped the motor and in the sudden stillness saw the startled face of Miriam appear in the cabin doorway.

"Is anyone there?"

I yelled over the water. In answer the light went out, but no reply. Miriam came on deck and behind her stood the children, wide eyed with fear.

"Look... there... that flat thing in the water."

It looked like the hull of an overturned ship or pontoon, but we were at least thirty feet away and couldn’t possibly have hit it, whatever it was.

"Is anyone there?"

I called a second time.


The searchlight flashed on again; the strangely small beam of light swept over the water and cast a cold glare on the side of the tjalk. I caught my breath. Floating on the incoming tide was a body, face down, apparently dead.


The actions that followed were carried out at nerve-racking speed. There was only one thought in my mind: to do something quickly, before the body drifted away into the darkness.

how they stood on the ship floating when he first saw them

picture of jim nichols


Instinctively, I carried out the motions that I had so often gone over in my mind in the event of one of the children falling overboard.


Seconds later, I jumped overboard with the line from the lifeboat in my hand. But what now? I was standing in less than three feet of water, and my knees and ankles hurt from landing on something as hard as steel. In my confusion, I saw the line from the dinghy drifting away. I stood up and dived to catch the rope, and, swimming with the small boat behind me, managed to grab the body.


It wouldn't move. How would I get such a weight into the boat?


First, tie the rope around him, climb into the boat myself and pull his head above the water; yes, that was it. Just then an alarm signal began to sound somewhere in the back of my mind. What kind of a man was this?


He was wearing a kind of metallic suit and around his head was a rubbery ball which reflected the blue light so strongly that I was unable to see his face. I began to think about astronauts, but how on earth did he come to be in the Oosterscheldt? I started the outboard motor and began slowly back toward the tjalk, but what now? What should I do with this strange burden beside me? Why had I gone to all this trouble?


My indecision grew by the minute.

The blue light made it plain that I must carry on. It was kept in my direction by someone who followed the rescue closely from beginning to end, but what did they want? In terrible confusion, I came at last alongside the tjalk, tied up the dinghy and stopped the outboard. In the silence, I heard the voices of Miriam and my eldest daughter. Thank goodness everything was all right there. Then my peace of mind received its death blow.


There was suddenly a sea of light, a great diffused light under the surface of the water. A sound made me turn toward the strange object in the water and I saw a dark shape wading quickly toward me. It was a perfect copy of the being I had fished out of the water, with the same shiny metallic suit and a transparent ball around its head.


Step by step, it came closer, and I instinctively grabbed the boat hook to defend myself. He held out an arm in a friendly gesture and turned his face toward me. I sprang back as though bitten by a snake; a wild fear cut off my breath. It was a nightmare. A terrible, indescribable feeling took hold of me. The being in front of me was not human! An animal-like face, with large square pupils in the eyes, eyes which were both hypnotic and self-assured.


It struck me like a thunderbolt. Here I stood, facing an alien being from a race more intelligent than my own!


But why was I still so afraid?


I cannot explain. If it had been a gorilla, for example, then I would have quickly sprung on board my ship and put up a fight with the boat hook to prevent the animal from coming on' board. There would have been no time for the fear that came from the feeling of helplessness in recognition of his superiority.

The fear grew into panic, a panic which told me to get away from there as quickly as possible, before it was too late! I sprang overboard again and raced through the shallow water toward the ship as though the Devil were at my heels. Panting, I pulled myself on board and started the motor. Reverse full power. I wanted to get away from there as quickly as possible. The ship didn't move an inch.


Over the bow I saw the being pull the dinghy onto the dark platform, lift the body in his arms and walk away with robot-like steps. It suddenly went dark and they were gone. With a feeling of apprehension, I stopped the motor. The situation on board was surprisingly peaceful, for they had no idea of the real drama. There was a feeling of satisfaction over father's ability as a lifesaver.


My eldest daughter had developed the theory that we had rammed a submarine, which was not so unlikely, considering we were dose to a naval training area. Only Miriam realized that something was wrong. She looked at me as though I were a stranger and her uneasiness grew by the minute. She had never seen me like this before. She poured me a whisky and sent the children to bed with the excuse that we had something to talk over.


The alcohol did me good, but now it seemed that I had another problem: Miriam didn't believe me!

"This trip is too much for you, Stef. There are no men from Mars in the Oosterscheldt."

She kept talking, perhaps to try and talk some courage into both of us. I couldn't just stay inside; I had to see what was happening outside.

With a flashlight in one hand and a boat hook in the other, I stood on deck and let the beam of light play over the platform. It lay just above the surface of the water, a sinister4ooking dark-gray thing. Its diameter was about the same as the length of our ship, certainly fifty feet. It was resting on a ledge, which reflected the light so strongly that it looked like glass. In the middle was a pillar, slightly twisted, about six feet wide and eight feet high.


The total size of the thing surprised me. I knew what was under the water. I could walk at least the length of a swimming pool without falling off the edge. Could this be one of the much talked-about flying saucers? Were they really so huge and could they also operate under water? I turned the flashlight out and began systematically probing around the ship with the boat hook. In front, by the bow, about two feet, and aft, about four feet.


It was strange that each time I had to use force to pull the boat hook off the bottom, as though someone were holding it.

Suddenly I remembered the strange trouble with the compass-magnetism!


We had collided with a huge, magnetic monster! We were imprisoned, stuck fast on a huge magnet. In the grip of strange, unearthly beings. The only possibility of escape was the plastic dinghy. In case of emergency there was room for all of us. The dinghy still lay in the same place on the platform, and in the peaceful stillness of this complete isolation a daring plan was born in me.


After all, the dinghy was only about thirty feet away from me. For the third time that evening I jumped into the water, waded as quickly as I could to the boat and pulled it free. Within half a minute I was back on board with the dinghy alongside. So, that was that! I began to regain some of my self-confidence. But my uncertainty came flooding back as I heard a scraping, hissing sound. I grabbed the searchlight and shone the beam on the platform. On the edge, a sort of lid hinged open slowly and steadily.


Out of the hole crawled two figures, dressed in the now familiar space suits, who pulled out some objects after them which were joined together by cables or wires. Their movements reminded me of the old-time silent films, fast and jerky.


What were they doing now?

They stood on the platform and, with one hand against their ball-shaped helmets at about the height where their foreheads would be, made slow, respectful bowing movements in my direction. I understood. What a relief. It was a greeting, a friendly, respectful greeting. With quick, short paces they walked to the edge of the platform, where the bowing was repeated and emphasized, and then they stood like statues in the light of my flashlight.


A strange and dramatic scene; on the Oosterscheldt a man is confronted with an alien intelligence. But the man was poorly prepared for the meeting; he was nothing more than a sailor in difficulty who could feel his legs trembling in his wet clothes. The two figures in front of me were about five feet tall and from a distance looked deceptively human-arms, head and legs, all in their proper places-but their legs were shorter than ours so that their arms reached down to their knees. Their metallic costumes were smooth and seamless.


Only by the shoulders and elbows were folds to be seen. The short, heavy legs ended in broad feet that also stuck out behind, and the front part of their footwear was split in the middle. The hands were covered by supple, ribbed gloves; these were different from ours too in that not only the thumb but also the second finger was enclosed. They were heavy, claw-like hands.

A broad, gold-colored belt around each of their middles, sewn with motifs and tools, was particularly noticeable, one piece of which was dearly a hammer with a sharp striking edge. And on their right side was something that vaguely resembled a pistol. A kind of drum, wound with thin glistening thread, rested on the middle of their stomachs.


The remainder of their equipment was unknown to me. I gamed the impression of immense physical strength, not only from their long, heavy arms and enormous shoulders, but also from their quick movements. The round ornaments around their heads were less transparent than I had originally thought. When the beam from my flashlight fell on them, they changed into glistening Christmas-tree balls, and only with more indirect light was it possible to vaguely make out their heads.

The silent confrontation was suddenly broken by a bud voice.

"Do you understand English?"

I nearly jumped out of my skin. Owing to my surprise that they could speak English, I didn't realize that they had asked me a question. The voice was totally devoid of any questioning tone.


It sounded more like a statement.

"Do you understand English?"

The same statement floated over the water.

"Yes, I do."


"We want to thank you for the rescue of our crew member."

....... of course. Who are you?"

"We come from another solar system."

"My God," I called back. The situation was so strange that at that moment I couldn't think of anything else to say. There followed a short silence and I wondered about that strange accent which, in fact, wasn't English at all. To my ears it sounded more like Dutch, my own language. I could understand it perfectly, but I couldn't repeat a single word of what they actually said. The voice came again, and over the still dark water an unbelievable conversation began. "Is your ship damaged?"

"No, I don't think so."


"Will you turn the light out?"

"All right."

"Thanks. Does the ship belong to you?"

"Have you a radio transmitter on board?"

"We would like to show our appreciation for the rescue of our crew member."

"You can do that by simply explaining some of this to me. It's just too much. How long have you been here?"

"We have been near Earth for some time."

"Why do you hide? Why haven't you tried to make contact with us?"

"Our reason is that you do not know the laws of a higher civilization."

"I don't understand."

"There is still a great deal that the people of this planet do not understand."

I hesitated. How much did they know about us?

"You know us well, then?"

"We have studied you for some time."

"You don't have a very high opinion of us, I gather."

"Your remark shows some insight."

"Are your people more intelligent than mine?"

"No, only more developed."

"If that's so, then I don't understand why you haven't made contact with us. You could help us."

"That would constitute a breach of the laws of nature."

I shrugged my shoulders. Despite the strange situation, I began to feel more at ease. This was an unimaginably important meeting, and I began wondering how I could manage to squeeze some information out of these beings.


I could learn things that man, for centuries, has only been able to guess at, and I could find out about their spaceships!

"We wish to give you something as a token of our thanks. If we give you an object with which you can prove our existence, it will surely also be worth a great deal of money. We hope that you will accept it. It is sterilized."

"What is it?"

"It is a block of inert metal that is many times stronger than your best steel and only half as heavy. It has a superconductive structure that is so straight that current can only flow through it when a positive pole is placed directly opposite a negative pole, in line with the structure of the metal. If one of the electrodes is moved only one-thousandth of an inch, the current ceases to flow.


With this structure it is possible, with correctly placed electrodes, to form a spiral current pattern, the result being that when a direct current is connected to two feed wires, a supermagnet is created with a negligible current consumption. Also, the metal has a melting point much higher? than anything known on Earth. We use this metal for the outer skin of our spacecraft. That is the gift. We hope you will accept it."

I was greatly impressed.

"This is incredible. I am grateful. I expected no gifts for saving your crew member, but I imagine that your intention is to help us and I accept it with heartfelt thanks."

"We admire your unselfishness, but we must point out that the block of metal represents a far too advanced technique to be of any use to you in your research. Technically speaking, it is useless, but you are right in thinking that something else is behind it. We wish to give you proof that you are being observed by intelligent alien races, who know you so well that they are able to communicate with you, but refrain from doing so. We live in the perhaps desperate hope that people exist who, with this information, will be able to understand the reason for our reluctance."

"And what is the reason?"

"You do not have the values, the ethics, of a developed civilization. Because of this, the human race has, as yet, no chance of eternal survival. It blocks the way to cosmic integration."

I shrugged my shoulders. I had never heard of "cosmic integration." They also began to irritate me.


I found them a little too arrogant.

"You regard us as children, then?"

"No. An adult does not blame a child for the fact that he is not yet grown up."

"But you do blame us for something?"

"And what is that?"

"Any English-speaking Negro, Chinese or American Indian can give you the answer."

The conversation was not going exactly the way I had imagined. I had to think of something else, and at the same time be careful that the contact was not broken.


I was afraid that they would climb back into their saucer and that I would never see them again.

"I think I understand what you mean. May I ask a couple more questions? This is a once-in-a lifetime experience." "That is correct. The present generation will not have the chance again."

"Answers to my questions seem to me to be much more important than the block of metal."

"Your insight surprises us. The answer to carefully selected questions is certainly much more important."

I was surprised that they agreed to my request so quickly and easily; they suddenly seemed much more friendly.

"In that case, I would like to know what your spacecraft looks like, and, more important, how it is powered."

"You disappoint us with this question about technical knowledge. The most dangerous natural law governing the development of an intelligent people states: a highly technological society does away with all discrimination or self-destructs. To supply technical information to a people like yourselves is a serious crime against the cosmic laws.


The last thing that you need is technological information to increase the gap between your intellectual development and your almost nonexistent social development. Carry on playing with your Mars 'probes for the moment, as half of your world's population lives in poverty and hunger. The only information you need lies in the field of societal standards."

I was terribly disappointed. There went my dream of learning breathtaking technical discoveries.

"I am afraid that very few people would be interested in that kind of information."

"We are afraid so too."

"When do you think that the time will be ripe to give us information about space travel?"

"The cosmic isolation of an intelligent race can only be lifted when the minimum culture level has been reached; we call it 'social stability."

"Hmm... and this conversation, then?"

"We feel ourselves justified, because of your actions, in supplying certain small pieces of information which will set the present generation to thinking."

"What do you call a socially stable culture?"

"We could give you the answer, but we doubt that you would understand it."

"I will take that chance. It seems to be important."

"Be sure that you know what you want. This answer demands an explanation in word and vision for at least two days. Furthermore, you must choose between the material gift-the block of metal-and the immaterial gift in the form of information. We cannot give you both."

"I don't understand what one has to do with the other."

"There is still so much that you do not understand, but after our explanation, this question will also be answered for you.

"Are you really prepared to spend two days explaining this to me?" My tone dearly showed my surprise.

"We are, for at least two days. A conversation of shorter duration would have no point; it is the minimum time in which we can give you the necessary information. We have all the time in the world-space travelers are never in a hurry-but we must warn you: we doubt that the information that we will give you will make your life happier, so be sure that you know what you are doing."

I shrugged my shoulders. It was dear to me that these beings were devious, but I did not intend to let this one chance in a million slip through my fingers.

"All right, what do I have to do?"

"We have a small, sterilized decompression chamber, and only from there will you be able to hear us and see our screen. Food and drink you will have to bring from your ship, which should stay here. We must warn you again: you will become wiser for this experience but not happier."

"We can leave with our ship whenever we want, right?"

"Naturally, but if you leave us it is for good, and with our blessing. All we ask now is a solemn vow from you and your wife that as long as we are here you will not contact anyone else and will do everything in your power to keep our presence a secret."

"I need to talk it over with my wife."


But my decision had already been made.


I will not tire you with Miriam's arguments, nor with the latter part of my conversation with the aliens, which consisted only of a number of instructions regarding anchoring, lighting, knock signals and so on.


The visit itself was to begin early the following morning, for which preparations were needed.

The two statues turned about and, laden with their apparatus, disappeared as quickly as they had come. As if sleepwalking, I went slowly to the bow and, as agreed, let the anchor fall onto the hard metal bottom complete with an extra piece of chain.

Soon afterwards the platform sank with a bud zooming noise under the surface of the water. A dull shock followed and the ship floated in its element once again. A short time later my brain received yet another jolt. The dead stillness of the night was broken by a terrible noise, a bud zooming combined with the screaming, howling tone of a circular saw. The anchor chain jerked tight and the surface of the water became strangely disturbed.


The spaceship was acting as a submarine. We were pulled forward over a broad foam track which was lit from beneath a dull yellow-green light. The noise was unearthly and frightening.


I stood, fascinated, and began to wonder what I had let myself in for.

Back to Contents