Leo Dworshak was a boy in 1932, doing what boys do when growing up in Killdeer, N.D.
But unlike most boys, Dworshak stood witness to a peculiar event that would change his life forever.
Dworshak, now 83, spends his days peering from the big bay window on his mobile home in Helena, watching the spring rains turn his green yard greener. The bumper stickers adorning his blue Chrysler are a telling lot, "Freedom n Vote Republican," and "65 percent of people in America believe in UFOs n the others are in denial."
Dworshak, to be certain, is a believer.
Dworshak, a World War II veteran, shrugs off the social taboos tied to his otherworldly beliefs. If you ask him, UFOs do exist. After all, he's seen them several times, the first on that dark North Dakota night more than 70 years ago.
Dworshak detailed his UFO encounter in his new book, "UFOs Are Among Us n Take My Word." Dedicated to his brother, Michael, who died in the Korean War, the new book has perked the interest of UFO believers nationwide.
"The first time we just saw the ship," Dworshak said on Wednesday. "The second time we entered the UFO and we were in there with the aliens. They showed us the whole ship."
Dworshak still remembers how the spacecraft landed, how odd it looked, and how an invisible force field kept him and his brother at a distance. They watched the strange machine rotate "in a complicated way." The flashing, colored lights formed an outer shell, "like a band or a belt," that circled the vehicle at its widest point.
"The inner shell seemed to be standing still, or perhaps turning the other way," Dworshak said. "It was totally silent and produced no cloud of exhaust fumes or smoke."
The ship returned night after night and eventually the aliens invited the two brothers on board. After being disinfected, Dworshak said, the aliens gave them a tour of the craft. They also showed them the future, one that foretold of the home computer and the rise of Nazi Germany.
Much of our knowledge, Dworshak said, is a gift from an alien race, left behind for us to find, to study, and to contemplate. Still, he remembers what the aliens told him, how humankind would shun his strange experience.
"No one will ever believe you when you tell them about us," he was told.
Joan Byrd, coordinator of the Helena Noetic Sciences Group, has maintained her own interest in UFOs and unexplained phenomena.
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"We often deal with these frontier subjects that are not accepted by mainstream society," Byrd said. "When I finally pushed past my beliefs, I started reading accounts and looking at the evidence and I found it overwhelming and really convincing."
Byrd, who holds a doctorate in biology, said the earth shattering implications over the existance of UFOs has kept her interested.
Still, she said, there lies a social taboo that makes it hard for those who have seen UFOs to come forward with their experiences.
In the past year or so, Byrd said, more than 20 people in Helena alone have contacted her to report a UFO sighting.
"I talk to people about UFOs whenever I can," Byrd said. "People are having these experiences and there is all kinds of evidence."
Dworshak said the aliens he met in 1932 don't pose a danger to the human race. Instead, he said, they are watching us while carrying out their mission to study grasshoppers. Dworshak said he was told that the aliens don't want to interfere with the ways of the world.
"They keep 12 people on earth at all times," Dworshak said "They are right among us. They are from the 12th galaxy and the knowledge we've gotten over the last 3,000 years has come from them. They leave it and we just discover it."
The alien ship was a strange place, Dworshak remembered. The spacecraft's chairs would move to accommodate guests at the pointing of an alien finger. The ship itself had a force-field, allowing it to go invisible when needed. As for the aliens, he said, they looked surprisingly like a human n but with twins.
"One alien looked very much like the next," he said.
Dworshak's 1932 encounter wouldn't be his last. Nor would he stand alone in his experiences. Local legend Udo Wartena's UFO encounter in the Big Belt Mountains in the 1940s drew national attention, and Dr. Jesse Marcel, a Helena physician, has his own story to tell.
Marcel's father was the intelligence officer at the Roswell Army Air Field in New Mexico in 1947. He was on hand when a UFO allegedly crashed nearby and an alien body was recovered. That night, he brought home pieces of the wreckage before taking them to the lab at the Army base.
"The foil was very light," Marcel told the Montana Pioneer in November. "It looked pretty flimsy, but it was more substantial than it looked. I didn't try to bend it or tear it, but my dad tried to bend it with a sledgehammer—he could not bend it."
Marcel said we're not the only ones "out here" in the universe.
"The universe is an awfully big place…our galaxy is an awfully big place," he said.
Reporter Martin Kidston can be reached at 447-4086, or by e-mail at email@example.com.