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Close Encounters Of The Fourth Kind At Echo Bluff


By Bob Soetebier


On the first Sunday in October 2017, we decided to take advantage of the absolutely clear blue sky and the unusually warm temperature, so my wife and I did a day-trip to do some hiking at one of Missouri’s newest state parks: Echo Bluff on Sinking Creek.  Echo Bluff is located along Hwy. 19 in Shannon County in the south-central portion of the state, about 25 miles s.s.e. of Salem, MO.

We began and ended our hike of the 3-1/2 mile length of Painter Ridge Trail at the park’s brand new dining lodge situated right above Sinking Creek directly opposite the variegated and vertically striated concave towering face of Echo Bluff.  Along the way, near the creek, we had a close encounter with three of the park’s legendary friendly pure-white wild horses that randomly roam the park as they leisurely grazed the abundant vegetation.

After climbing the trail's moderately strenuous switchbacks to the top of the bluff, we were rewarded with a fabulous overlooking view of the entire valley below from a catwalk observation deck directly adjacent to a newly constructed outdoor picnic shelter.  The shelter’s parking lot -- with conveniently located modern restrooms -- also serves as the official (alternate) trailhead, too. 

After completing our hike, and after a brief bit of additional exploring of Sinking Creek and Echo Bluff, we went back inside the dining lodge to peruse their souvenir gift shop with the goal of purchasing a decorative Echo Bluff commemorative fridge door magnet…which we easily found on display right at the checkout counter.  That’s where and when we met the friendly park employee named Janet Fossey who took our cash payment for the magnet. 

I asked Janet if she was related to the famous primatologist and gorilla researcher Dian Fossey.  Janet said that Dian Fossey was her husband’s cousin!

Janet commented on the logo design on the T-shirt my wife was wearing, which depicted a UFO over a lake…beaming up a school of fish.  We told Janet that the T-shirt was from a weekend UFO conference we had attended in June 2011 in Patterson, MO.  We told Janet that that particular UFO conference was organized as a remembrance of the famous decade-long UFO wave back in the 1970s that began in nearby Piedmont in Wayne County, MO, near Clearwater Lake.

We told Janet that the UFO conference was supposed to be an “annual” event, but ended up being a one-time affair.  That’s because the conference organizers literally freaked out when they actually got much more than what they had bargained for during the conference as they heard the first-hand, up-close-and-personal accounts of UFO close encounters of the 4th kind from some of the local-area resident attendees. 

 That’s when Janet told us her own UFO-related story.  As we stood there at the check-out counter, with a half-dozen other folks (other customers; four other park personnel) nearby and within easy listening distance, Janet said: “My grandparents were UFO abductees.”

 Janet filled in the details by saying that just before her grandparents died they decided to tell the family about what had happened to them many years ago on their farm in the nearby area.  She said her grandparents had been on their way home in the car and as they approached their farmhouse they saw a huge, disk-shaped, clear-domed UFO with alternately flashing multi-colored lights hovering over the adjacent farm field.  They said the lights on the UFO were so bright they lit up the whole area round it.  And, that the color of the lights were like nothing they have ever seen before…or, since then.

 Janet said that the next thing her grandparents knew they were lying on the ground naked outside of their car near their farmhouse and the UFO was gone!  The only evidence remaining of the UFO was a large circular impression in the nearby farm field.

Janet said that her grandparents were very scared by the UFO close-encounter experience; so scared that they did not tell anyone what had happened to them…again, until just before they died.  She said that the next day, her grandfather plowed up the field to rid it of the circular impression. 

Janet then added some more info about her own UFO-related incident.  Without telling us the specifics of her UFO encounter, she said that not long after she “saw one” herself -- and, BEFORE she had told anyone else at all what she had seen! -- two “men in black” (MIB) approached her and said that they were from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and wanted to talk to her about the UFO she had encountered.

Janet said that among the many questions the MIB asked her, one particular question really stood out.  They asked her if she had ever suffered a swollen neck.  Janet said that right after the UFO encounter she ended up in the hospital for a week with her neck “swollen up like a donut.”

Before Janet was called away to attend a meal break with coworkers, she added one final bit of intriguing info.  She said a few years ago a couple of friends of hers’ had been driving through New Mexico when they too had a UFO close encounter and experienced an incredible chunk of missing time.  Specifically, right after their seeing the UFO, Janet said that her friends all of a sudden found themselves driving in their car in Pennsylvania instead of New Mexico where they just were!!!

Before we left the lodge, we urged Janet to contact the local area Missouri Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) regional field investigator named Emmett Reary, who lives in nearby Salem, MO.  That’s when Janet’s nearby coworker spoke up and said that she too knew Emmett.  We then wished Janet good luck and headed out to our car.

Needless to say, our encounters that day along Sinking Creek at Echo Bluff will be long-remembered.  In the meantime, since The 37th Parallel along with a wide swath of adjacent areas across the entire U.S. has been well-documented for its concentration of reported UFO sightings -- also with many UFO abductions & "missing time" cases; AND, literally thousands of unexplained cattle mutilations (with laser-like surgical precision removal of an eye, ear, part of the jaw, and genitals...with absolutely NO blood left in the carcass or on the surrounding ground, nor any tracks whatsoever leading up to/from, or around, the carcasses!!!) -- we'll continue to be on the lookout for fastwalkers!

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