It was nearly three decades ago that Joy French lost her memory of an entire evening.
After watching a movie, a friend drove French to her home in the hills south of Mount St. Helens in Western Washington. It was close to midnight on a summer evening when the sky brightened with a searing light, French said.
“The whole sky lit up like broad daylight,” the Coeur d’Alene woman said. “I could see the trees ahead of us and all around us and the hood in front.”
Her 1966 Cadillac came to a halt, and her friend, a mechanic, jumped out to check the engine. He found nothing wrong. The light faded and the car started again, French said.
And that’s the extent of her memory until the following day.
It was a road-to-Damascus experience for French, who is working for increased attention on alien abductions and sightings of unidentified flying objects. She has organized a lecture this weekend by a New Mexico author, Gloria Ann Hawker, who wrote “Morning Glory Diary of an Alien Abductee.”
French is inviting both the believing and disbelieving public to the UFO talk, which will include a time for people to share any alien experiences they’ve had.
“The thing I’m trying to do mainly is to wake people up,” French said Monday. “I’m also after why in the heck is the government keeping this from us when there are so many people speaking out.”
French said she’s heard stories from dozens of people in North Idaho who have had encounters, ranging from seeing strange lights to large machines leaving unearthly imprints in the ground.
She wants to remove the social stigma surrounding UFO sightings and experiences, French said.
“There are a lot of people that want to get it out,” she said.
French said she hopes to mobilize the public and demand that the federal government release information about sightings or discoveries, such as the Roswell, N.M., alleged spaceship crash in 1947.
“I don’t care if people think I’m crazy. I’m 83 years old. I have a right to be a little crazy,” French said. “I’m weird on some things, but not on this.”
She attended a UFO conference last summer in Albuquerque where she met Hawker, the speaker at this weekend’s gathering. Hawker told French she likely experienced an alien abduction the evening her memory went blank nearly 30 years ago, French said.
Extraterrestrials may be trying to communicate, providing advanced technology and knowledge or warning about the way humans are caring for the world, French said.
“Anything is possible,” she said.