Out of all the compelling stories heard by the Marco Beach Boys, Out of this World truly is a special gift from two very special guests that can never be forgotten.
Human nature dictates that personalities, either mesh, clash, or meet somewhere in between. However, on a catamaran sailing boat with only six passengers and a captain, sometimes strange stories emerge that are truly out of this world.
Passengers that choose to go on sailing trips are no different from anyone else other than they want to talk to the captain, or they want nothing more than to relax, enjoy and talk only to each other. This was the case on one September morning when a young family of four arrived with another older couple that could not have been more different from the foursome that climbed aboard and immediately claimed the entire fore section of the catamaran.
With the wind whipping the whitecaps and driving the sails, we were underway in no time and making way for Cape Romano. Upfront on the hammock-like trampoline, the young family introduced themselves and announced they were from California as they promptly turned on music from a Bluetooth speaker and became isolated in their very own front of the boat.
Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the boat and beside the tiller, I was fortunate enough to meet Jeanne and Larry.
“So where are you two from?” I asked the question that unlocked the day.
“We’re from New Mexico,” Jeanne responded at once. “Roswell, New Mexico.”
“Wow!” was my reaction. “I was just reading about the White Sands proving ground and about the Trinity Site and the first atomic explosion.”
Jeanne and Larry nodded.
“Did you know the Trinity Site opens once a year?” Jeanne explained. “The Trinity glass, that is the sand melted by the bomb, is still radioactive. The atomic site is safe if you don’t stay for more than a couple of hours. We’ve been on the tour. It’s amazing.”
Larry spoke up, “White Sands is beautiful, but we have always lived in Roswell.”
“That’s another story,” I added. “What do you guys think about the UFO crash and the aliens from 1947?”
“Oh, they’re real,” was Larry’s immediate response.
Jeanne elbowed her husband. “Well, Larry,” she began,” You can’t just leave it like that. You have to tell him what happened to you!”
“Okay, it’s a strange story.” Larry nodded in agreement. “And a story I’ll never get over. I guess it comes back to the reason we are here on Marco. I came to Marco Island for an EMT convention,” he explained, “I have been teaching EMT procedures for over 35 years, but when I first started, we were not EMTs but ambulance drivers. This is how my story began.”
“When I was just out of high school,” Larry recalled, “I started my career. As I said before, we all started out back then as ambulance drivers.
“One day, a call came in and we drove the ambulance over to the hospital in Roswell. Apparently, there was an elderly man who was a terminal patient who wanted to go home. He knew he was going to die, and he wanted nothing more from the doctors or the hospital. He just wanted to go home.
“When I had him comfortable on the stretcher and my partner started to drive, the old man told me his most secret memories. He began by explaining that until now—until he found out he was dying—he had never spoken of what happened in Roswell to anyone. He had received many official warnings not to, but now he had nothing to lose.”
They explained his story began in July of 1947 when he was the Funeral Director in Roswell, New Mexico. Roswell is not a large town, so when a call came through from Walker Air Force Base, a few miles away the request was unusual.
The officer on the phone from the air force base was asking the Funeral Director if he had four metal caskets that could be hermetically sealed. When the answer was yes, the Funeral Director—now the dying man in the ambulance—was instructed to bring the four caskets over to the air force base at 9 PM. He was told to give his name at the guard gate checkpoint, and he would be given directions. When he asked, “Why does the air force need four caskets that are normally used for shipping bodies overseas?” the only information he was offered was simply this…
“There has been an accident.”
At 9 PM, after dark, when the Funeral Director and his driver and the two Roswell hearses pulled up at the military checkpoint, the little convoy was waved through and instructed to follow the signs to the base hospital.
Upon arrival, all the outside lights were on at the little hospital and two nurses were waiting outside smoking cigarettes. When the Funeral Director and the driver of the other hearse approached the nurses, one of the girls inquired at once, “You guys have the coffins? The four caskets that can be sealed?”
“That’s right,” the Funeral Director confirmed. “We have them in the hearses. We were told there has been some kind of accident.”
Apparently, the nurses laughed. “It was an accident alright. Haven’t you heard? It’s all over the newspapers! There was a flying saucer from outer space that crashed on a nearby ranch. The caskets are for the pilots. Bring in the coffins and we’ll show you.”
The Funeral Director and his assistant brought in the first of the caskets. When the two men followed the nurses and entered the refrigerated morgue, there were four examination tables. On each table were the remains of a small gray creature with a large head, large open eyes, and extremely long fingers.
Before the Funeral Director and his assistant could speak, a detail of four MP’s came into the morgue and angrily ordered everyone out. The nurses were openly scolded for allowing the casket delivery crew inside the morgue and then the military police warned the Funeral Director and his assistant they had been witnessed to Top Secret information and were not allowed to tell anyone.
The next day, more military police and a man in a suit arrived at the funeral home. “You talk about what you saw,” the man in the suit warned the director and his assistant, “you might just disappear.”
For over 50 years, the Roswell Funeral Director did not tell the tale. Not until his last days and a special ride in an ambulance for a final ride home. Larry was the attendant riding in the back of the ambulance who heard the story.
When Larry finished, the boat was still sailing, the white caps still lifted by the wind, but I was speechless.
“I know it’s a wild story,” Larry confessed, “But that is exactly what I heard in that ambulance when we drove that Funeral Director home.”
Before sailing back to Marco, we pulled the boat up to a sandbar by Caxambas Pass. Everyone jumped off and went exploring. After a few minutes, Larry and his wife Jeanne climbed back aboard after the foursome from California was settled in front. When we were underway again, Jeanne and Larry moved over close and whispered as conspirators. “Here,” Jeanne said. “This is for you. So you will always remember.”
Jeanne passed me a piece of a seashell. “Keep this,” she said. “This is what the aliens look like!”
This seashell from the Roswell folks remains on my desk and reminds me that the family of four upfront never heard one word of this classic Beach Boy Chronicle.
Tom Williams is a Marco Islander. He is the author of two books: “Lost and Found” and “Surrounded by Thunder – the Story of Darrell Loan and the Rocket Men.” Both books are available on Kindle and Nook.