By Sandy Nichols
February 22, 2000
My name is Sandy Nichols. I am one of the people mentioned so prominently in the March 2000 issue of the Life Magazine article about UFOs and related subjects. The purpose of this rebuttal will focus mainly on the flagrant inaccuracies written about me, the people I associate with, the article in general, and what I strongly suspect is the true intent of the writer, Ms Cynthia Fox, and Life Magazine.
How it all began,
On January 6, 2000 I received an e-mail from Ms Fox, stating that she was writing the cover story for the March issue of Life Magazine, and was interested in attending meetings or events or discussions occurring in the month of January. I promptly sent back an e-mail reply to Ms Fox, stating that I might be able to help her out. I explained to her that some friends and I gather about twice a month, and that we had a Gathering scheduled for late January. Due to a conflict with when she had to have the article to the printers, I arranged to have the Gathering moved forward by a week to January 18th. Over the next few weeks we exchanged a few more e-mails and talked on the phone several times. During one of the phone conversations I shared with her some good news. Toward the end of 1999 I was asked by a gentleman to CO-Host a new talk show called the “TENN FILES”, and it was debuting on January 17th. Ms Fox was very excited about this and arranged her schedule to fly into Nashville on the 17th and to be at my house in time for the debut. During another phone conversation she asked if Nashville had an airport and if there were any hotels nearby. I informed Ms Fox that Nashville was a nice size city, and there were plenty of places to stay. I recommended several hotels in Brentwood, TN, the city where I live, which is about a forty-minute drive from the Nashville airport. She stayed at the one of the hotels I recommended.
At 8:30pm on January 17th, Ms Fox arrived at my home one hour late and just thirty minutes before the debut of the radio program. I walked out the front door, down the sidewalk to the driveway and greeted Ms Fox. She apologized for being late. I told her that we still had plenty of time before the program aired. As we neared the front door Ms Fox made a comment, and then a statement. She said, “You have a nice place,” and then she stated, “It must be worth well over a million dollars.” I was rather floored that she said this, but came back with a quick reply. I told her maybe in New York where she lived it might be worth that much, but outside of Nashville there was no way. I told her it was well under her stated value and I let that discussion die. I must admit that I was a little bit more than disturbed by her statement, and I hoped that she would not ask any more questions about the value of those things I owned. This was one area of questioning that was going to be totally off limits, even if it meant stopping all interviews or never starting them to begin with. Little did I know that Ms Fox was going to draw her own conclusions with this topic and many others that we did and did not discuss with her.
Life Magazine Editor Notes, Page 9, A Contradiction?
“The Air Force now says it was a secret, high-altitude spy balloon that fell to earth in the New Mexico desert in 1947. But nearly 53 years later, what Roswell spawned is still with us. The town is in the business of abducting tourists, luring them to its UFO museums, where they can buy alien boxer shorts, among other merchandise (see Cynthia Fox’s voyage through America’s UFO landscape, page 46). Despite the lack of hard evidence, 43 percent of Americans continue to believe in the existence of UFOs, according to a LIFE poll (page 56). And a new generation is being implanted with images of alien invasion.”
“It’s easy to write off the UFO phenomenon as a form of mass hysteria, or as a function of a paranoid streak that runs deep through American life, or as a symptom of mental illness. But it also represents a belief–no more irrational than a belief in God–that we are not alone. As long as scientists continue to probe the skies looking for signs of life, as long as humans can imagine, those beliefs will be with us. Indeed, 54 percent of Americans say they believe intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe. Not all of them are crackpots.”, Mr. Friedman wrote, Robert Friedman, Assistant Managing Editor.
Above are the Editor Note’s from Mr. Robert Friedman, Assistant Managing Editor of Life Magazine, page 9. There is confusion as to the belief in UFO’s by Mr. Friedman. In one paragraph he says, referring to Roswell, NM “the town is in the business of abducting tourists, luring them to its UFO museum, ” In another paragraph he emphatically states that a belief in UFO’s “represents a belief-no more irrational than a belief in God-that we are not alone.” His very last sentence states, referring to believers in UFO’s, that “Not all of them are crackpots.” After reading the editor note’s, and then reading the article by Ms Cynthia Fox, it is not very hard to see a contradiction between the editor note’s and the article itself. Mr. Friedman’s notes seem to give the UFO subject a bit of credibility and imply that Life Magazine has an open mind, yet an editor at Life Magazine (Mr. Friedman?), had to give final approval for the story written by Ms Fox. The article basically attacks the credibility of everyone but Mr. Chris McKay, and for reasons unknown, Ms Fox’s tends to single me out for the most damage. After reading the article I found it better suited for the weekly tabloid newspaper on sale at supermarkets.
The total time spent by Ms Fox and myself in private conversation was a grand total of 5 hours. Three hours and thirty minutes were spent driving from one destination or another, and one and one half-hour’s at the Opryland Hotel in the course of eating a meal. The rest of the time spent by Ms Fox in this area was done in the process of interviewing others that I had introduced to her. I was present at some of these interviews, but did not contribute personally. Most what Ms Fox wrote about me and what she reported I said, was either misquoted, misconstrued, taken totally out of context, or came very close to crossing over that thin line of fabrication. Most of the things I really said to Ms Fox I have said before during radio interviews, in my writings, speaking at conferences and to my friends. All of these talks were done in an open and public forum and are a matter of record. There is strong suspicion on my part but not provable, that the sole purpose of Ms Fox and Life Magazine was to focus strictly on main stream beliefs and thoughts, and to basically debunk all other beliefs and those that profess those beliefs. The article itself testifies to this without a doubt as well as the editor note’s with key words such as “abducting tourists,” “implanted with images of aliens, ” and “fueled our imaginations with a steady diet of science fiction movies about aliens invading from other planets.” The only person that was not made to look bad was Chris McKay. Even though I have never met Mr. McKay, I have heard of his stellar reputation and have the utmost respect for his work.
I knew that when I took the bold step of coming forward with my abductions and felt called by God to speak out, that there would be close-minded individuals who would take pot shots at me. I have always stated that I respect the opinions, ideas and theories of others even though they may not be mine. I have found though that some people and publications have no respect for those that go against the status-quo belief system. I do not mind speaking with those that disagree with me or find it impossible to believe that UFO’s and abductions are real, as long as they don’t slam me and make me to look like a fool with nothing better to do. In my opinion Ms Fox and Life Magazine did just this. In a very short period of time she judged me, found me guilty and tried to carry out the death sentence of character assassination.
Sorry Ms Fox and Life Magazine, the sentence was not carried out. Your verdict was painful, but I heal quickly. I have many friends, and I have received literally hundreds of e-mails showing support for me. I have many resources as well to work with to speak out about this injustice. The Internet is a marvelous tool to use when one wants to spread the word. Also don’t forget I CO-Host a radio show every week that reaches many, many people, and all programs are archived. Will I continue to speak out about this? You bet I will. I just wonder though, this month it was I. Who will it be next month?
What I really said:
“Sandy Nichols is on the phone, seeking earthlings. He doesn’t need to look for extraterrestrial life. It found him 42 years ago, he says, when he was kidnapped asleep and deposited in a flying saucer, as he would be many more times.”, Cynthia Fox wrote.
I was doing my CO-Hosting duties, getting ready to debut the new radio program on KRVL 103.1FM in Tucson, AZ. My first abduction was at the age of six (now 48), on a sunny day in the backyard of my grandmother’s home in East Nashville.
“His mission is to tell humans what aliens want, which is to create a new race because they lost their emotions–or whatever (he hasn’t nailed the details).”, Cynthia Fox wrote.
I feel called by God, to use the gift of talk that I seem to have. It is a theory of mine, shared by many others but not written in stone. I may awaken tomorrow morning with a new theory about the whole abduction issue.
“So he’s planning the debut of a radio show and a gathering that includes his support group, which helps abductees through the “UFO divorces” many have after they “come out of the UFO closet.”, Cynthia Fox wrote.
It was already planned. I had her four different researchers in the field that she could listen too and be able to better write her story because the issue is so complex. I had already worked out the details of the Gathering, and had arranged for a number of people to meet her. I would take her there the next day on January 18th. It is not my Group. It is nobody’s group. We are a myriad of individual people with different ideas, opinions and theories and beliefs who get together about every two weeks to share. It is not a support group for divorced people. She misquoted this and turned this around. I told her that I have dealt with many abductee’s that said their spouse’s do not understand what has happened to them after they have shared with them. I said that this sharing has sometimes lead to divorces.
I have my own group. It is called ARG (Alien Research Group). I help people find psychologists, psychiatrists and support groups around the country and the world for those people that believe that they may have been abducted or have already come to that realization. I am also associated with the Night Search Organization , www.NightSearch.net, in Memphis, TN headed up by Eddie Middleton. I coordinate the “TENN FILES” section of this group. The radio show I CO-Host is called the “TENN FILES,” broadcasts every Monday night.
“The ex-wife has joint custody of his human kids; extraterrestrials have full custody of his alien kids; he’s afraid to go to bed. And staring up at the stars, this college-educated husband of a former Air Force captain–and son of a millionaire–may cry, as he often does, at the horror, the wonder, the whatever of it all.” Cythina Fox wrote.
I have three children and I do share custody with my ex-wife. I have been shown two of my Hybrid children. I do not even know what an “Alien Kid” looks like. I have never been shown any. As I stated earlier, I would not and never discussed money issues. I used to cry at one time out of fear, of questioning my own sanity before I came to accept that the abductions were real. I still cry on occasions, when the pressures of what I have experienced weigh heavily upon me. As for me, Ms Fox, I wear this distinction with honor, knowing that I have been blessed with emotions, unlike some people I have met.
“But we also want to believe aliens are conspiring against us, making money off us, abducting us. Why? Are we that bored? This at first seems true when abductee Sandy Nichols turns out to be a man who hasn’t had to work for years and lives in a lush Nashville suburb. A friendly sort in a polo shirt, he introduces two college-educated, 40-something friends. Yes, Tony, a photographer, who says he spied a UFO that filled a third of the sky, is suing the government with Citizens Against UFO Secrecy. Yes, Ann begins sentences with, “A voice told me…” But when Tony plays a video of an alleged sighting, and a saucer (or trick of light) slowly appears, there is a breakout-the-popcorn air. Boo. It’s about boredom.”, Cynthia Fox wrote.
I can’t figure out the “aliens making money off of us.” Does Ms Fox have an inside source that has told her about the alien’s monetary system? Ms Fox, whether you want to believe it or not, people are being abducted. I never asked you to believe me. You asked questions, I answered them, truthfully. If you want to live in your nice, little, secure comfortable world, be my guest. While you stay at home, wondering when and where your next writing assignment is coming from, my friends and I are out searching, going boldly where even angels fear to tread.
Ms Fox, I clearly told you my past working history. I worked in the family business for almost twenty years full time until it was sold in 1989. I learned a strong work ethic, and might I say a more important moral ethic when it comes to dealing with people. I also told you I did some writing, and was working with a lady trying to get published a new children’s picture book series. I told you that as late as summer 1998 I was working for a national retail company. I told you that during this time I was also writing another book series at nights during any free time I had, and trying to get that published as well. Do you want to see my W-2 forms for proof? Why did you not tell them about my group ARG, and how I do not charge a penny for this service? Back in July 1996 when I could no longer dismiss the abductions to one status-quo explanation after another, I began a search to see if this stuff was real. I was hurting and needed someone to share with. It was not an easy process. It was a long and arduous task to find people, but I did. Then I knew that I was not alone.
For your information, Ms Fox, I am struggling financially. All the things that you saw I had before I ever got into this field. I am proud of what I have accomplished in my life, but I have worked hard, harder than what you can ever imagine. Since the summer of 1998 I have devoted my life to finding the answers that I so desperately need. Some members of my family and some of my closest friends can not understand my devotion. I have even lost some of these friends. Sometimes I can’t understand it as well. My lovely, dear and supportive wife has had to carry the burden supporting us for the last year and a half. She doesn’t quite understand what has happened to me, but she believes in what I am doing and me. Do I like that she has been doing this? “NO!” Since I am discussing money, why did you not tell your readers that no one from this area asked for one red cent? Everything we did, we did for free. Never once did any of my friends or I ask to be reimbursed for the gas I used in my car to drive you around, the food we offered you and the photographers at the farm field, or for our valuable time that you wasted after reading the article.
Ms Fox, Tony is not a photographer. He is a 5th degree black belt instructor in the martial arts. I heard him distinctly tell you this. He is in this field just like the majority of us are into it, to learn; to expand our understanding and knowledge. Maybe the video of a possible UFO he took is boring to you, but not to us. If you had the slightest understanding of what this field is about, then maybe, just maybe it would have not been so boring.
Ann does not begin every sentence with “A voice told me.” If you had read your own notes better you would know this. I don’t understand how you could be with us for that period of time, take all the notes you did, and get things so screwed up, unless it was intentional.
“Then Nichols goes upstairs to do his radio show with abductee co-hosts from New York City and San Diego. On air, he and the New Yorker share thyroid problems that Nichols says were caused by aliens and the New Yorker says were cured by them. Another quotes a general whose belief in UFOs was erased from books and says “reptilian” overlords control the “grays.” A third, who has written about falling in love on spaceships, says abductions run in her family. Boredom explains some alienophiles. Not these.”, Cynthia Fox wrote.
Once again you either did not listen or you wrote your own sad version of what was actually related to you. Since all the radio programs are recorded this is easy to prove.
I never stated that the aliens caused my thyroid problem. What was really discussed by myself and the other researchers that night, were the medical conditions that a lot of abductees seem to have in common. We also discussed stomach problems, sinus problems, and things relating to women and pregnancy. Research gathered so far seems to suggest that abductions happen to each new generation.
Your story line so far seems to indicate that the UFO field and the people involved are brought together by boredom, but now you don’t. You can’t seem to make up your mind. If this field is so boring, then why did you take the assignment to begin with?
“The next day, at the Opryland Hotel, Nichols offers nitty-gritties, which tumble out like the waterfall behind him. He describes his alien kids, one six months, one 18 years. He cries: The aliens made him think he hit one of his human kids. With hypnotherapist Pat Kerr, he cries again and talks of waking with scratches. Kerr says he has post-traumatic stress. Why, she won’t say. Nichols says abductees are “loners,” distracted by their other lives. But when they “recover their memories” and find one another, they have “enough friends to fill a ballroom.” Faith has brought him some of its practical gifts. It has relieved him of responsibility for perceived flaws. It has brought him friends. It may bring fame.”, Cynthia Fox wrote.
You had your tape recorder going during this conversation, I would have thought that you’d at least get this part right. But apparently not. You asked the age of my hybrid children. I said that if you had to guess an age, in human year terms, then they would be about six months and 18 years, but I also clearly stated that I had no idea of their real age.
The aliens did make me think I hit one of my children during an abduction, but I clearly stated that it was what we call a “Screen Memory.”
Pat Kerr is not only a Certified Hynotherapist, but also a Licensed Psychological Examiner. Pat has diagnosed me with PTSD. Pat plainly stated though that as long as I am still seeing her on occasions, she would not explain why she diagnosed me with PTSD. Pat also plainly and bluntly stated that I did not have a mental disorder and that what I had experienced was real to me.
Never once did I say that abductees were “Loners.” I said that a lot of abductee’s had lonely childhoods. That some abductee’s had very few friends. Our attention seemed to be focused on something more than just learning the ABC’s. This made a lot of us different in the eyes of our peers at a young age.
We do have a lot of friends because we have found some striking similarities in our lives. Finding each other is like finding a lost family member. We are very thankful to be united with these people.
I have been very blessed in my life. I have loving and caring parents, wonderful brothers, and gracious sister-in-laws, and many vivacious nieces and nephews. I have three beautiful children who make excellent grades in school, have never been in trouble with the law, and who love their father. Yes, God has graced me with many wonderful gifts, the most precious being His Love, my family and friends.
Somehow, in some mysterious and miraculous way, through five short hours of private conversation, a few e-mails and a few phone conversations, you were able to demonstrate a gift that no other human being has ever possesed. You are able to tell the world in no uncertain terms who Sandy Nichols really is, what he feels, what he thinks, what he has experienced, and what he is all about in an article that is best not suited for publication.
My final summary,
As you can clearly see the article is flooded with inaccuracies. This surprises me very much. A few weeks ago I got a call from a lady named Megan. She stated that she worked for Life Magazine as a “Fact” checker. Many of the misquotes, and other problems that I attribute to Ms Fox’s perceived flaws in her writing, were gone over by Megan and myself. It makes me wonder once again how Ms Fox could get so many things wrong unless it was intentional.
I could give a tinker’s damn about the belief system of Ms Fox and the contradiction of open mindedness of Life Magazine. In March 1997 I came to the realization that what had happened to me and others was real. I don’t ask for anyone to believe me. I have always stated, “Look, Listen, Learn, but Make Up Your Own Mind.” Use the gift of free will that was bestowed on you at birth. I only ask and wish that I be allowed to express my belief system without being made to look like a fool. Neither Ms Fox or Life Magazine allowed this to happen.
When I am attacked, I will respond unerringly with the resources at my disposal.
A few extra things,
The last paragraph of Ms Fox’s article is also filled with many inaccuracies. The field co-owner does not practice the faith of the Native Americans that once lived there. The person who handled UFO reports in Vietnam did not handle UFO reports, except one from the helicopter crew he commanded. I had him as a guest on the radio program and he described the event in detail. This person is also a Certified Hynotherapist, and has a degree in Psychology. I talked to the person she calls “The Moonshine Man.” I asked him point blank if he ever said that he went out drinking moonshine and skywatching. His answer was a flat out “No!” I have known this man since 1997, and I consider him a good friend, honest and very credible. Once again it is not my group.
“The number of Americans who say they have been abducted is “staggering,” says one St. Louis psychiatrist. Harvard Medical School’s John Mack has treated hundreds and has a new book out.”, Cynthia Fox wrote.
Ms Fox conveniently left out that Dr. Mack is a Pulitzer Prize winner and an ardent strong believer that the abductions are real. Dr. Mack also formed a group that is highly respected in this field that does continuing investigations into the abduction phenomenon. Ms Fox’s wording here seems to suggest that abductee’s have a mental disorder that needs to be treated, in what manner and in what way, she does not say.
“Yet the view from above is of such an ancient, awe-inspiring, genuinely alien nowhere. Why would Roswell bother to tip a Stetson to UFOs, let alone worship the gaudy, dubious things?”
“Anyone driven around by the town’s fast talking convention center director isn’t kept in the dark for long.”
“The perfect rows of spindly pecan trees he is passing are beautiful, but their resemblance to cemetery crosses is apt. The stucco ranches are low to the ground and camouflaged in the pastels of the New Mexico sky, as if deferring to the chili and alfalfa fields that once sustained them. But beautiful nowheres are in jeopardy. Farming is no longer enough, and Roswell’s military base closed in 1967.”
“On to the International UFO Museum, which occupies the smalltown place of honor–an old movie theater. Inside, it resembles the warehouse headquarters for an FBI sting.”
“The gift shop (alien bottled water, alien underwear, the book The Aliens and the Scalpel by a podiatrist who surgically removes alien implants) takes in $1 million a year. Nearby, in Alien Zone (aliens-in-a-jar), Demi Moore’s kids posed for photos with stuffed alienettes. Aliens built five motels. Roswell cares about aliens because we care about aliens. One reason we care: They’re cute.”
MS Fox wrote the above words about the town and people of Roswell, NM. After reading Mr. Friedman’s editor’s notes, I have to wonder if Ms Fox and Mr. Friedman didn’t collaborate on Ms Fox’s article. If you remember Mr. Friedman mentioned something about Roswell “abducting tourists ” into its UFO museums, in a way to suggest that there might be some diabolical trap from which there is no escape. I find it ironic that all cities pride part of their rich heritage on their museums, but using the words “abducting tourists,” seems to indicate underlying sinister overtones.
Ms Fox paints a very gloomy portrait of Roswell. She uses such words as “genuinely alien nowhere” and referring to the beautiful pecan trees “but their resemblance to cemetery crosses is apt.” Her description of the International UFO Museum that “resembles the warehouse headquarters for an FBI sting” gives the illusion that maybe crime is rampant in Roswell. She depicts the museum as selling gaudy items to the abducted tourist such as, “alien bottled water and alien underwear” etc. She makes a point to tell how much money the museum makes in a year from selling such items as if making a living were a crime.
I would highly suggest that Ms Fox visit the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL. This is a NASA facility, and my daughter just last year bought me an Alien Fountain Pen from their gift shop on a school field trip. Ms Fox, alien items are a hot seller these days. Many well known and respected stores are selling Alien and UFO related items. Look around, and then ask yourself “Why?”
“Many psychiatrists think alien abduction is actually sleep paralysis–when we wake still paralyzed in a REM stage and feel terror, convinced of menacing presences.”, Cynthia Fox wrote.
I have just one question. I want to ask these esteemed psychiatrists and Ms Fox. If sleep paralysis is what is really happening to us abductees, then how in the world, when we can not move, do we get all the strange marks upon our bodies during this time period, and this is not including such things as finding ourselves out doors, under the bed, pajamas placed on backwards, leaves in the bed, dirt on our feet, etc.? How does sleep paralysis explain the “Missing Time” experiences when we are in our cars driving?
“Scientists can be like cats who spend hours pushing at doors merely because they’re closed. There is none of that methodical, inarticulate stubbornness in Chris McKay. He’s all emotive, articulate stubbornness. For that reason he’s a rough-hewn jewel in the crown of the new NASA National Astrobiology Institute.”, Cynthia Fox wrote.
As I had written earlier, I have the utmost respect for Chris McKay and the work he is doing. He is following the mainstream thought process and not rocking the boat, and Ms Fox showered him with glowing praise. For the rest of us, well, you read the article. What do you think?
One last thing, Very Important,
The front cover of the March issue should have been a good hint or dire warning as to the mindset of Life Magazine and the article by Ms Fox about being open minded. Three young actors are posing for the cover photo. These actors portray certain characters in the TV series, Roswell. But the most interesting thing about the front cover is not the actors themselves, but the photo of UFO’s that one is holding directly facing the camera. I had seen that photo in a book and I went searching for it. Low and behold but where did I find it? In a 1987 copyright book, published by none other than Time-Life. The title is called “The UFO Phenomenon” and was originally published as part of the series, “Mysteries of the Unknown.” On page 96 of this book is the exact photo that the actor is holding on the front cover, and according to the caption written in the book, the photo is a fake. The photo first surfaced in 1962 supposedly taken by three young boys in Sheffield, England. Project Blue Book investigated the photo and uncovered no evidence that the photo or negative had been altered. Project Blue Book cited a lack of sufficient information to explain the objects in the photo. Ten years later, it was revealed that the objects were actually shapes painted on a windowpane. I have one more, important question.
Why did Life, knowing the photo was a fake, place it on the front cover if they were going to write an actual serious and unbiased story on UFO’s?