October 18, 2000, Page 3
Strange UFO shadowed family in 1996
by Chuck Tobin
Though it's been four years since she and her daughter saw three UFOs along Hamilton Boulevard in Whitehorse, only recently did former Whitehorse resident Colette Opper learn there might be more to the encounter.
Opper told the audience at last Saturday's UFO conference that she and her three children were also shadowed by a UFO one night after leaving the Takhini Hot Springs.
The Oppers now live in Edmonton. But in November 1996, Opper and her eldest daughter, Bri-Anne, were driving to their home in the Granger area at about 10:30 p.m., following a performance at the Yukon Arts Centre, when they first saw a UFO.
Four months later, while returning from the Takhini Hot Springs at around 10 p.m., Opper and her three daughters watched as an unidentified object seemed to follow them all the way into the city from the Hot Springs Road.
But the encounter of the closest kind apparently occurred during the Hamilton Boulevard incident, the audience was told by the 12-year Whitehorse resident, who worked as a recreational therapist for the Yukon government.
As she and Bri-Anne approached the big bend just before Elijah Smith Elementary School, they saw three large lights hovering about five metres above the ground.
Both Opper and her daughter remember breaking out in hysterical laughter, for no rational reason. They remember seeing the lights ahead of them, and then again as they looked back from a point just beyond the traffic lights.
"But I do not remember being beside them."
After her first session in August with internationally-renowned psychologist and hypnotist Helen Neufeld, both Opper and Neufeld suspect Opper's Hamilton Boulevard encounter was one of the third kind.
They suspect Opper and her daughter were detained for however long - moments, minutes - by life forms aboard the three UFOs.
"I did not see anybody because the light was so close around me," Opper recalled for the audience.
"I felt there was people there, I know there were beings there... I was thinking, 'Where is Bri-Anne? I knew she was safe and I also knew she would be OK.
"The other thing that came out of that was something, the feeling that I was getting; there was some energy actually going into the left side of my brain, and it was a very different feeling."
Neufeld said in her 30 years' experience working with hypnosis, and as a chartered psychologist who's been practising privately for 21 years, she's experienced the difference between subjects under hypnosis who are reliving genuine and fabricated events.
When it comes to the genuine moment, there's no mistaking the change in body language, she said.
As Opper relived the time between first seeing the lights and then glancing back at them, her face became distorted or contorted almost beyond belief.
"The face was so totally, absolutely different ... that there is no question in my mind that she was undergoing a distasteful - distasteful may be the wrong word - but in awe.... It was grimacing in the extreme, but I did not see terror."
Both Opper and her daughter were left with marks on their body, marks that can look like
bruises. But they do not fade like any bruise she's ever seen. There's no change in colour, from the black-and-blue prominence of the standard bruise, and then fading to the yellowish tinge before it goes away.
In this case, it's as though the marks were there, and then they were gone.
Neufeld, who's also been a school educator for 30 years, told the audience the marks on Opper's body, and how they eventually went away, are consistent with the experience by countless others who've reported similar encounters.
Opper said she decided to undergo hypnosis in August because she felt there was something lingering in the back of her mind.
Bri-Anne hasn't undergone hypnosis, but may. Bri-Anne knows her mother has, but they've not discussed the sessions, nor are they making a big deal out of the Hamilton Boulevard encounter.
While raising three children and working, there's not a lot of extra time to be preoccupied with the experience, she said. After all, Opper added, it was not a negative one.
Opper explained in an interview that she decided to return to Whitehorse for the conference as a show of support. The conference was, in part, to show people it's OK to talk about UFOs, with an aim of reducing the ridicule most often aimed at those who tell of eyewitness accounts.
She remembers the ridicule her daughters faced at their local school when a local newspaper went to far in describing the family while recounting the Hamilton Boulevard experience after it happened.
"It is just something for people to be aware of, because I did see what I did, and my children did see what they saw."
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