On the roof of one of Kent State University’s older buildings is a long-forgotten lookout post, formerly manned by volunteers during the Cold War watching for Russian aircraft. Sitting inside that abandoned, glass-walled enclosure, I gazed overhead one night into the endless, star-filled canopy, beginning a strange encounter I had as a student, one that I’m reluctant to believe to this day. 

                                                              THE VISITOR
             My college days were resplendent with new experiences, but one still gives me goose bumps when I think about it. UFO news stories permeated the press and I had established a network of amateur radio operators, “hams,” who met on the air weekly to exchange the latest local reports.
            One evening, along with the usual check-ins, was an unfamiliar voice to which I replied, “Good evening, my name is Bob; welcome to the UFO Net.”
            “Hi, Bob,” he replied “My name is Bill and I’m a technical consultant for Futurtek Industries. I’m just driving through town on my weekly business trip.” We exchanged the usual amenities until his radio signal gradually faded with distance.
            The following week I reactivated our radio network, and there was Bill again. Since he had a regular travel schedule I invited him to our fraternity house for dinner his next time through. Sure enough, a week later a knock on the door signaled his arrival. My fraternity brothers watched with anticipation as I greeted our guest.
            Bill Destin, as he announced himself, emanated an ageless presence. He was tall and dignified, with grey hair and dark brown eyes that seemed to look into my soul. He was dressed in a sleek, stylish jump suit.
            “That is an impressive uniform, Bill; do you do much racing?” inquired one of my colleagues. Bill smiled as he responded, “It’s comfortable when  I travel.”  
            By the time we sat down to dinner it was clear that he could speak authoritatively on a wide variety of topics.  His friendly disposition and knowledge held my inquisitive roommates’  attention. After dinner he offered to demonstrate hypnosis on a fellow student.
            “Close your eyes and take a deep breath, Charles. Relax and listen only to my voice.” Bill touched Charles’s forehead gently as though physical contact was important. Charles began to slump in his chair as Bill continued with his soft-spoken suggestions. “You are very, very young, Charles. What do you see?”
            “Mommy…”  We snickered politely, impressed by Bill’s command of my roommate.
            “That’s very good, Charles, but we’re going to go back even further, before the birth experience.” Glances were exchanged among my fraternity brothers as we wondered how this would be possible. “Listen only to my voice. Look around you,” Bill continued. “Tell me what you see.”
            “Bleak…barren…like a desert,” Charles reported softly, but he was beginning to shake.
            “Where are you?” Bill questioned, but his subject didn’t respond. “Are you on Earth?”
            “No,” Charles responded in a trembling voice, arousing even closer attention by my fraternity mates.
            Bill appeared concerned at my roommate’s agitation. “I’m going to bring you back to the present now, Charles, among your friends. I’ll count to ten. At ten you will be awake. You will be in your fraternity house with your friends,” Bill repeated as he brought his subject back to our environment.
            Charles seemed confused as he rearranged himself more comfortably in his chair. The demonstration prompted a discussion of recent UFO sightings which clearly peaked Bill’s interest.  “Are you aware that there are anti-gravity devices which produce weightlessness?” he asked. We weren’t. Bill reached into his pocket and brought out a shiny metallic disk about the size of silver dollar. “Do you have a postal scale or kitchen scale?” he asked. We had one in the kitchen and I retrieved it for him.
            Bill adjusted the scale to zero, then carefully placed the disk on it. The scale never moved. Nor did anyone in the room. He then passed the disk around to us. It was cool and hard, but we couldn’t feel any weight as we hefted it. One of my house mates attempted to gently flip it back to our guest, but the disk continued upward, never dropping. Bill reached up, grasped it softly with a finger and thumb as it coasted over his head, and tucked it securely back in his pocket.
            “What the hell is that?” one of my house mates queried. Bill merely smiled and changed the subject to astronomy, offering insights none of us had ever heard before.
            “Are you aware of a transparent spherical structure orbiting our planet on the other side of the moon? It’s in a perfect synchronous orbit with the moon so we never see it from Earth.”
            Our visitor encouraged us to tolerate our differences and to respect all forms of life. He said that we must realize that we aren’t alone in this universe, and that we must be ready to meet and accept unfamiliar life forms.
            “Tell me if you recognize this fragrance,” Bill instructed as he drew a small, metal canister from his pocket and unscrewed the cap. He passed it around the room for each of us to sniff in turn. I noticed that after each sniff, my fraternity brothers slowly let their heads ease back and seemed to fall asleep. I wasn’t about to fall for that, so I pretended to take a sniff, recapped the canister, and leaned back against my chair and closed my eyes.
            Bill leaned toward me and carefully retrieved the canister from my rested hand. He then got up, walked to the door and opened it. Turning toward me he smiled as he saw me watching him. “Always look up into the beauty of the night sky,” he advised as he closed the door.
            Within a few minutes my companions gradually woke up, one by one. “Huh, I must have drifted off,” observed  Charles. Others made similar comments.
            “So what do you think of our guest?” I asked, looking around for a response.
            “What guest?” asked Charles. The others just stared at me blankly. Now I knew why Bill had passed the canister around.
            The next morning, after a sleepless night, I phoned Futurtek Industries. “May I speak with Bill Destin?” I asked the receptionist.
            “Who?” I repeated his name. “Sir, Mr. Destin was the founder of our company, but he disappeared rather mysteriously nearly 20 years ago.” Stunned, I thanked her and slowly set the phone down.
            During the next weekly meeting of our radio network I listened intently for Bill’s friendly voice, but it didn’t appear. Recalling his advisement as he left our fraternity house, I strolled over to the window and gazed into the clear night sky. A bright, round light drew my attention. The object seemed to be ascending, gradually growing smaller and dimmer as it joined the panoply of stars. Just as it disappeared into that magical night sky, I heard a distant, familiar voice through the static on my radio. “Look up – always look up.”