I recently had a late-night experience that had an unusual enough texture to be worth reporting as possibly not a dream, at least not in the ordinary meaning of that word.

I cannot say that it felt entirely physical, but it was unusual enough, and intense enough, for me to wake up the next morning thinking it might have been a contact experience.

It was the third such experience in recent months and, if it was real, then it could be important.

In the experience, I seemed to wake up. I went downstairs into our living room, where I met with an individual who told me that there was a possiblity that what he called “social contact” might happen soon. He pointed out that humanity had been in “personal contact” for many years, and that this period of social contact–by which he meant contact with nonhuman intelligence that is acknowledged by the whole society–might take one of three possible forms.

The first would be radio contact by SETI with a signal we could verify was intelligent in origin but which we could not understand. The second would be radio contact with a signal that we could understand. The third would be open physical contact.

I got no indication of which form was more likely, only that it had not been decided yet. However, it is the first time that I have received such a clear signal. I did not get any feeling about any particular day it might happen, but if this was a real experience, the obviously it would not seem to be very far away.

The morning after this experience took place, I was surprised to read that ABC newsman Sam Donaldson had said on a year- end recap program that he thought that we might have proof of extraterrestrial intelligence in 2002. Had I not seen that story, I probably would not have recorded my own experience, but I found it quite incident that the two things seemed to coincide in just the way that they did.

If this happens, it is going to be the most complex thing that has ever occured. It will not be easy and it will not be safe; on the contrary, it will be the most difficult problem mankind has ever faced, and the most dangerous. At the same time, the potential for reward, if it is done right, will be, quite literally, limitless.

Some weeks ago, I had a dream–and it never occured to me that it might be something more, not until now–about what the visitors were trying to do here. In this dream, I came to understand that they were attempting to move the entire earth in some way, into another, parallel universe or another orbit or something. What was so awesome about this dream was that I was absolutely confident that they could do it, and at the time I felt that whatever they did would ultimately be for the benefit of mankind.

Perhaps, but I certainly hope that we get to cut the cards.

A couple of nights before the possible experience, I had the worst nightmare of my life. Superficially, it was oddly simple. I heard, marching through the dry leaves in the back yard, something that sounded mechanical in the regular way it walked.

For some reason, whatever this was seemed to have connection with a primal fear. I began to scream, calling out, ‘oh no, oh, God no,’ over and over again. There was something horrifyingly mechanical about those footsteps, which was what seemed so terrifying.

The only thing I know of that causes such devastating fear is the close encounter experience, and, at the time, my wife initially thought that was what was happening. As she woke up, though, she realized that it was just a nightmare, and shook me awake. Neither my wife nor my son had heard the words I thought that I was saying. They only heard gutteral screams and cries.

If this actually does happen, then it’s going to cause deep, extraordinary fear along the lines of what I experienced that night, only the scale will be massive and the consequences profound.

Still, though, it all seems improbable to me. After all these years I am still not convinced that our close enconters are with aliens. Now that physics is telling us that there must be billions of people living in parallel universes that are in varying degrees different from this one, it seems clear that we must broaden the idea of aliens. No telling where they are from, or what they are.

Social contact, though, would be an extraordinary thing to come about right now. I wonder what we would be up against, or how we might handle it. Simply by surrendering to it, perhaps, but more likely there would be a ferocious, years- long struggle to be meaningful enough to the others to at least be understood.

Where might it lead? Only time will tell us more.

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