Synchronicity has a way of bringing people back into your life who you haven’t seen or heard from in years but played some pivotal part in your past. This happened recently for us and concerns one of the first – perhaps THE first- abductee we ever met, Don Estrella.
Don retained partial memories of an abduction that occurred one Halloween while he was wearing a pirate’s costume and his companion was dressed as a clown. We wrote about his abduction in Aliens in the Backyard:
It was the mid-1980s and Don was essentially lost and homeless. We were intrigued by his colorful background. He had worked as an assistant to author John Keel at the time Keel was delving into the chilling Mothman saga in West Virginia, which later became a book, Mothman, and in 2002 a movie, The Mothman Prophecies, starring Richard Gere.
Estrella reveled in telling stories related to the giant red-eyed flying beast. He had also worked in a clerical position at the United Nations, where he started a UFO club. He recalled that then-UN secretary-General U Thant had sent someone from his office to attend the initial meeting.
Curious about his abduction experience, we persuaded Estrella to undergo a hypnotic regression with psychiatrist Dr. Bethhold Schwarz, of Vero Beach, Florida. The author of UFO Dynamics, Schwarz had interviewed or regressed hundreds of contactees or ‘UFO observers,’ as he often called them.
During the session, Estrella recalled a bizarre scene in which he was abducted on a North Virginia highway on a Halloween night, while he was wearing a pirate’s costume and his companion was dressed as a clown. They never made it to the Halloween party. The engine in their car died and wouldn’t start. That’s when three small beings appeared and escorted them to a waiting circular craft. They joined seven or eight other abductees standing in line in an obvious stupor.
Estrella sobbed throughout the regression as he described being taken aboard, placed naked on a table, examined and probed. While those procedures are now common descriptions by abductees, Estrella also recalled seeing strange symbols on the interior wall of the craft. During hypnosis, he drew several of the alien symbols.
While Estrella was haunted for more than two decades by his experience and seemed lost because of it, author, researcher and Harvard psychiatrist John E Mack pointed out that some abductees have experienced physical healings and spiritual transformations as a result of their abductions. Estrella apparently developed psychic abilities in the aftermath of his experience and, as we recall, was happiest sitting in a restaurant with a cup of coffee and a cigarette and giving free readings to the waitresses. He was fairly talented at tuning into near-future events and reading a person’s past.
Over the years, we wondered what had happened to Don. Then last week, we received an email from Raum, a writer and UFO researcher in Massachusetts, who had experienced a synchronicity that had prompted him to write us. In the subject heading of his email were the words: Don Estrella.
Hello Rob and Trish,
Synchronicity abounds! A couple of weeks ago my significant other (Ruth) and I had been discussing Don’s condition as he’d recently been hospitalized. That evening I picked up my Kindle and I happened to be reading “Aliens in the Backyard” when I exclaimed to Ruth, “Hey, these ‘synchno’ writers are writing about Don!” Was a complete surprise.
I read the three or four pages of you reiterating what you remember of his case. There were a few, more or less, insignificant errors but I was bowled over seeing his name out there with what I know about the man. I’d love to hear Schwartz’s tape of their session. Before Schwartz died Don wrote and asked him for a copy of the tape, to which I understand he complied, but I never did hear it myself.
I was fortunate enough to have Don as a close friend until he dropped out of our lives a few years back. Ruth liked and understood him, now visits in the nursing home daily as he named her as his proxy. She today mentioned your names to him and he remembered you. His mind is confused and groggy but old memories die hard as I’m sure you know.
We’ve traded a number of emails with Raum and learned that Don had helped Ruth uncover her memories of repeated abductions since age 10. We also discovered that Don was actually in hospice and wasn’t expected to live very long. We sent Raum a copy of Aliens in the Backyard to give to Don. Then, on November 18, we received another email from Raum:
Hello Trish, As I just wrote to Rob, Don passed on at 4:03 this afternoon. Ruth was there holding his hand —she was in hospice with him as she has been since early yesterday with hardly a break. For me, her selflessness to Don is for him being our friend—but more than that, a fellow abductee, a man of love and peace. He’s a reminder there are good people in the world. With him we saw other realities.
The book we’d sent him arrived the day after Don died.
In a subsequent email from Raum, he nailed the synchros beautifully:
The more one thinks on it, the more incredible this ‘meaningful coincidence.’ A ‘syncho couple’ (you) receives the very thing that you have written two books about. A researcher (me) happens to be reading a book on UFOs that you wrote several years ago which included a story about a ‘psychic experiencer'( Don ) who, because of his UFO experiences, becomes the focus of this ‘serendipitous coincidence’. Unfortunately this also involves his last act before leaving this plane of existence permanently. His proxy, the researcher’s ‘other half’ who is herself an abductee, had been brought through hypnosis into this UFO realization (among others) years ago by ‘the psychic experiencer (Don). The ‘braiding’ is exquisite.
RIP, Don. Many thanks for all the fascinating insights you shared!