The Buff Ledge Abduction

© Kathleen Marden


NICAP investigator, Walter Webb, (of the Hill case) had become a seasoned abduction investigator by the time that “Michael Lapp” phoned him at Boston’s Charles Hayden Planetarium in October 1978. “Michael” reported a UFO close encounter and missing time experience that had occurred on August 7, 1968. Sixteen year old “Michael”, a waterfront maintenance worker and nineteen year old “Janet Cornell”, a water skiing instructor, were lounging on the dock at the Bluff Ledge summer girls’ camp on Lake Champlain, noted for its championship swimming team. That evening the swim team was vying to uphold its undefeated title at a state competition in Burlington, Vermont. A college student at Smith, “Janet” had landed a summer job as a camp counselor and water skiing instructor, and “Michael”, a local high school student was employed as a boat and ski maintenance worker. It was the teenagers’ first opportunity to spend time together that summer.

The sun had just receded below the horizon when “Michael” noticed that what he had misidentified as the planet Venus, in a rapid arc-like motion, swung to a position low in the sky and came to a complete stop. As it drew closer, the glowing cigar shaped object released three small lighted disk shaped objects and then disappeared into the sky. The oscillating trio maneuvered in close formation zigzagging, affecting a falling leaf pattern and stopping dead in the sky before resuming their unconventional flight pattern. Then, two of the disks departed, but one hovered over the lake.

As the pair watched, the disk approached the dock flashing multicolored lights pulsating one color at a time. By now “Janet” and “Michael” watched in wonder as the disk ascended vertically until it became only a dot in the sky, and on its descent, plunged into the lake. Shortly thereafter, it emerged from the water and glided in a stair-step descent directly towards the dock where the couple was standing in awe.

Now just sixty feet away, the 40-50 foot disk hovered above the water. It was topped with a translucent dome through which an intense plasma-like light shone. As it approached the mystified couple, “Michael” recalled observing two slightly built hairless figures dressed in grayish or silver uniforms with large ‘frog-like” eyes that extended around the sides of their heads like goggles, slits for nostrils and a small rounded mouth.

“Janet” stood trancelike and unresponsive as “Michael” asked the entities their purpose. In response, he received a telepathic message that they would not be harmed—that they had returned to Earth after the detonation of our first atomic bomb.

Within seconds the object was directly overhead. It emitted an intense cone-shaped beam which engulfed the teens. “Michael” instinctively grabbed “Janet” and dropped to the deck. Only a moment later, “Michael” sensed that he was losing consciousness. Almost immediately the disk was once again hovering above the dock in its previous position but it was now very dark indicating that an unaccounted for period of time had passed. “Janet” and “Michael” could hear the voices of two campers who stood at the top of the steps leading to the beach. The craft made a rapid departure, but not before its rapid fire flashes were observed by additional witnesses.

After the craft departed, “Janet” and “Michael” conversed briefly about their overwhelming fatigue and desire for sleep, but neither discussed the UFO incident. “Michael” reported it to friends, family and the Plattsburgh, NY Strategic Air Command base. Except for a couple of brief visits his and “Janet’s” paths never crossed again that season. Soon the summer ended and the pair went their separate ways.

Ten years passed before “Michael” contacted Walter Webb and the investigation ensued. After much searching, they tracked down “Janet”, a college fundraiser living with her husband, a physician, in Atlanta. Eventually, the couple underwent 12 hours of separate hypnosis sessions with Harold J. Edelstein, D.Ed. at the New England Institute of Hypnosis in Wakefield, MA. They had not had the opportunity to discuss their close encounter or the information recovered in hypnotic regression. This made it possible for Walter Webb to conduct a statistical analysis of their statements. In hypnotic regression, the couple individually described their abduction in remarkable correlating detail—70% on recall of the close encounter and 68% on the abduction experience.

“Michael” recalled observing “Janet” lying on a rectangular table surrounded by two non-human entities, while a third appeared to be monitoring test results on several screens. Skin samples, bodily fluids, blood and ova were extracted. He also underwent an examination on a table next to Janet’s but he lost consciousness immediately after he was placed on a table. Both witnesses described the interior of the craft in detail. Additionally, their testimony regarding their own positions onboard the craft and those of their captors matched in correlating detail.

Both tested normal on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, a psychological screening. “Janet’s” profile appeared normal and free from pathology. She seemed self-aware and self-confident, socially well adjusted and not prone to fabricating information or excessive fantasizing. “Michael’s” profile indicated that he was outgoing, optimistic, psychically energetic and not prone to excessive fantasizing. However, his score indicated that he might be prone to embellishing details. (3) This personality characteristic doesn’t discredit “Michael’s” testimony. It does indicate, however, that he might have, consciously or unconsciously, embellished some of his detailed descriptions. As might be expected “Janet” passed a polygraph test but “Michael’s” result was inconclusive for the abduction part of the event.

As is often the case in alien abductions, there was no physical evidence that would be analyzed in a scientific laboratory. However, Webb’s meticulous investigation produced multiple witnesses to the UFO event, excellent character references, confirmatory statistical evidence and normal psychological profiles. (For a complete account read Walter Webb’s excellent book, Encounter at Bluff Ledge.)