© Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner
February 1991 through September 1991
Richard and his new Indonesian girlfriend, Juliana Butit Ratisti, are watching an evening Bluegrass concert in Downtown Asheville. They met in a Methodist church’s single Sunday school class in Alpharetta, GA . . . that’s a good start. So far, the middle school teacher’s birthday gift of a weekend in the Asheville Area was going well. Tomorrow, they are visiting the Biltmore House and Estate.
Richard glances off to the left and sees that two strange, bald men with pale gray skin are starring at him intensely. Their skin has the texture of an orange peel. He can feel them trying to penetrate his mind, but they can’t. They are wearing black ties, cold weather jackets and heavy corduroy pants. Yep! They are the same type of humanoids that both Susan Karlson and he had unpleasant encounters with five years earlier in the Shenandoah Valley. Those in Virginia also wore winter clothing in the middle of summer. In a few seconds a young boy races out of the crowd and begins strangling his girlfriend’s son.
The extraterrestrials are now staring at the crazed attacker, who is shouting “Kill the holy man! Kill the holy man!” Richard is eventually able to pull away the hands of the hypnotized boy.
Juliana strongly suggests that they forget about checking into a motel or seeing the Biltmore House tomorrow. “Richard, let’s drive back to Roswell now! That was creepy. You’re tight for money, anyway.” Richard never tells her about the two evil strangers.
There were slight differences between these two and the strange humanoid that Richard had encountered at the intersection of the Back Road and Fairview Road, five years earlier. These did not appear to have any hair. The “Back Road Man” had sparse light blond bristles on the top of his head. The “Shindig Men” had no visible hair and their skulls were more egg shaped. “The Shindig Men” were shorter: their arms seemed short for their bodies and neither one looked very muscular. “Back Road Man” had a muscular build like that of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Bob suggested that he might be a human-extraterrestrial hybrid. Things are getting far out and funky in the Shenandoah Chronicles.
A dogfight in the starry sky
I was walking back to the house around 11:00 PM, after making sure that all the goat kids born that night had plenty of milk in them from their mothers. It was a crystal-clear night in early February 1991. I had never seen the Shenandoah sky so beautiful.
I was gazing up at the heavens as I walked . . . my boots crunching in the frozen snow . . . and amazed how bright the Milky Way was that night. Suddenly, a bright, reddish ball of light with no tail like a meteor seemed to be headed toward me then it made a 90 degree turn to the west and disappeared over the silhouette of Little North Mountain.
“Geez! What the heck?” Before I could finish those words, three smaller, bright white objects followed the path of the reddish one and disappeared over the silhouette of Little North Mountain. I decided that the four lights were chunks of an asteroid or comet that were deflected by the edge of the earth’s atmosphere.
“My god!” The reddish large ball of light, followed by the three smaller balls of light, crossed the sky from west tree line to east tree line in not much more than a second. They zipped back across the sky. The large ball cut 90 degree turns, zigzagged and turned full circles in the sky in order to evade its pursuers, but the small lights steadily drew closer. Finally, when the four objects were almost over my head, the small objects appeared to fire lasers or rockets. The large object shuttered then began slowly dropping downward until reached the crest of Little North Mountain. As it drew closer to me, the damaged craft appeared to be saucer shaped. The three small lights stopped firing and accompanied it toward its landing spot then zipped off beyond the south horizon in a couple of seconds.
Maybe about an hour later, I was awakened from my sleep by the dogs barking in the house. I ran to the front guest bedroom and opened the widow to look out. There was a massive object over Little North Mountain. I could not actually see the object, but its asymmetrical dimensions were marked by blurred light from the stars. The damaged craft slowly rose from the top of Little North Mountain and disappeared into the cloaked large object. Instantaneously, I now believed in flying saucers.
It was my intent to not tell a soul, because my stories of black-clad ninjas, wearing night vision goggles and creeping across my pastures at night had some local friends questioning my sanity. What I did not know was, even though, Diana, my wife had seen them also, she was telling my friends that she had seen nothing, when they questioned her after I had claimed to see them.
In contrast, Bob and Sara Danby said that “strangers in the night” had happened over and over again in western Virginia. Farmers up and down the proposed right-of-way of Interstate 81 had seen black-clad ninjas, minus the night vision googles, in their night time pastures during the early 1960s. The next day several of their livestock were dying of strange, lethal diseases that belonged in another part of the world. State agriculture officials from Richmond showed up quickly to condemn all animals on the farm. Financially devasted, these farmers would soon be approached by realtors, looking for a nice farm for a couple retiring from DC. The desperate farmers would accept ridiculously low cash offers and move away.
Several months later, the Virginia Highway Department would buy the farm from an “investment” corporation, often at twice the price the farm family had sold it. Much of the farms became the right-of-ways for Interstate 81. Leftover parcels became suddenly valuable commercial tracts.
Bob did some investigating. All of the real estate investment groups were composed of the most powerful Democratic and Republican politicians in the state. People higher up in the Justice Department nixed proposals to arrest these land thieves.
Well, anyway, the next morning, the headline in the Northern Virginia Daily in Strasburg was about the UFO’s. Hundreds or thousands of people had seen, what I had seen. The damaged spacecraft had landed on the back pasture of Shenandoah County’s Treasurer! He had seen the vehicle closeup, but had not seen any extraterrestrials. An artist, who worked part-time for the newspaper, sketched what he had claimed to see. Other local newspapers in the region had similar articles, but there was no mention of the sightings in the Washington Post, Washington Times or local TV stations. Hm-m-m.
That afternoon white, unmarked vans, containing men-in-black, swept through the county, seizing all copies of that day’s newspaper then seizing the computer disks at the Northern Virginia Daily that the newspapers were printed from. The next day, the newspaper staff denied ever publishing an article about a UFO in the county.
The following day, a small-circulation weekly newspaper in Woodbridge, VA (Prince William County) printed a frontpage article, which liberally quoted the eyewitness accounts from the Northern Virginia Daily. Well-l-l . . . apparently this newspaper had been told to not publish anything on the UFO’s. The men-in-black showed up arrested the publisher and editor, who were father and son . . . then loaded all of their equipment and furniture in unmarked white trucks. The two journalists went to jail for awhile and the newspaper went permanently out of business. I instantaneously believed in the Men-In-Black!
Strange men in silver pickup trucks
Mid-July (1991) – Susan knew not to call me on the special cell phone in late afternoons. That’s when I milk the goats. Well, she did and she was hysterical. I could barely make out her agitated words with twelve milking machines going. She was saying something about a silver pickup truck and a man, who didn’t look like a man. I wanted to say, “Grow up, you are a member of one of the world’s most respected law enforcement agencies.” Instead, I told her that I would call her on the secure green line, when I finished with the goats. In my head, I was wondering if she had been smoking wacky weed in her pipes.
Well, here is what she told me. She was driving back home from a residential loan closing at the Dominion Bank in Leesburg, when a really big silver pickup suddenly appeared out of nowhere in the opposite direction of traffic lane beside her. He was trying to force her FBI-issued Ford Taurus into a ravine that paralleled the road. She said that his head and skin did not look human and he was bald.
A car coming from the opposite direction forced him to pull behind her car, but he tailed her all the way to her condominium’s gates. His pickup hit her rear bumper several times. She thought that he was going to jump her, when she had to open her window to push the key card in the gate opener. His head was leaning out the truck window and he had this killer look on his face. He was showing his teeth like a wild animal. Fortunately, the gate stayed open after the car in front of her went through. She zipped through and the gate closed, while he was seemingly trying to figure out how a condominium gate worked.
I told her that was some crazy guy with road rage. I told her, “There are several surveillance cameras near the entrance. Check out the photos of him. Maybe some of them are clear enough for you to go to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department. They are supposed to be pretty honest.”
Back in 1991, surveillance camera photos at condo communities had about 10% the quality of modern cameras. For one thing, they were fuzzy black and white images. Even the best photo that she showed me two days later at the Wayside Inn parking lot, was not clear enough to identify someone. The shape of his head did look a little unusual. I did notice something that was odd. He was wearing what appeared to be wearing the type of parka coat that one normally wears in January, when it is 10 degrees with two feet of snow on the ground. We were able to determine that it was a 1990 Dodge Ram 1500 truck, however.
A few days later, I was headed south on the Back Road and about to turn east onto Fairview Road in order to get some farm supplies at the Tractor Supply Company in Woodstock. The temperature was 93 F. A huge metallic silver Dodge Ram pickup truck crossed the intersection from the other side. The driver jammed n the brakes just after he passed me then backed up so that his driver’s window was aligned with my driver’s window. Our heads were no more that five feet away.
This guy was wearing a gray parka, like one uses on the coldest days of winter. He was almost an albino, but the tint of his skin was pale gray, not pink. The surface of his skin was like an orange peel. His gray eyes had a strange look to them and he was showing his teeth like an angry dog or wolf. He had a stubble of short, light blond hair on the top of his head. The hair follicles were widely spaced. . . very strange.
This guy didn’t quite look like the one, who chase Susan, but I still did not rile him. He was powerful looking . . . like Arnold Schwarzenegger, when he was a young weight lifter. I didn’t respond to his teethy scowl and turned left onto Fairview Road.
Then . . . this guy ( or thing) did a 270 degree turn in the intersection. The roads are narrow there, so he chewed up the lawns of three houses and knocked over the street sign. Then in a matter of seconds, he was on my tail. His monster truck would have crushed my little Toyota pickup like a soft drink can. The I heard a siren and reflections of rotating blue lights on the trees and shrubbery. A Virginia State Highway Patrol cruiser had been approaching the intersection from the south as I turned.
The monster truck immediately passed my truck on a double yellow line and bolted eastward on Fairview Road . . . with the state trooper in hot pursuit. The truck seemed to be getting away from the trooper then literally disappeared as it was climbing a small hill. The state trooper turned around and drove back toward me. He blinked his blue lights a bit to let me know to stop in the road.
Once our drivers side windows were aligned the state trooper rolled down his and smiled. He asked me if I had seen which road the crazy pickup driver had turned onto. I told him that what I saw was the truck seem to disappear as it was barreling up the hill.
The trooper shook his head, “Jesus, that’s what I saw too. He must have been going 120 mph when he disappeared. Listen sir, if you see that truck again, could you try to get his tag number or at least just give us a telephone call to let us know where he is?”
I told the trooper that I would do that, but actually didn’t want to see that truck or its strange driver as long as I lived.
Meeting a brave patriot in the Sheriff’s Department
I needed to know more about this strange guy in the parka. I left a note in the waterproof plastic box in the back of my property, where honest deputies and policemen left evidence. I specifically asked for a deputy, who had any information about strange bald men, who were wearing winter coats in the summer. A note was left the next day that Sgt. George Richtenhauser would meet me in the back of the farm around 10 AM the next day. He would honk three times and one time, when passing my front driveway entrance.
Sergeant Richtenhauser had lived in Shenandoah County all of his life, except when serving in the US Army. He was now 56 years old. He had a modest beer belly, but otherwise looked heathy for his age.
Richtenhauser was a 35-year long veteran of law enforcement, both as a deputy and a smalltown policeman. Folks said that the only reason that he was not the sheriff or at least second in command, was that he couldn’t be bribed and was a devout member of the Deutsche Baptistenbruderschaft . . . now known as the Brethren Church. There was no history of witchcraft in his family. We met in a dense patch of woods, where ferns thrived.
George was surprised that I knew about the strange bald men, wearing winter coats. I didn’t mention Susan’s experience, since she was trying to keep her FBI badge a secret. He said that several deputies had chased large pickup trucks with bald drivers that could outrun any patrol car. There were all sorts of rumors around the county of demon-like bald men, who could make people do crazy things by starring at them. Then he dropped a bombshell.
“Mr. Thornton, do you remember when that Washington Post report was supposedly killed in a car accident in Maurertown a few weeks ago? That was no accident. The reporter was investigating rumors that enough poison from Fort Detrick to kill everybody in this part of the United States was being stored in a barn near Maurertown and Toms Brook. He hadn’t gotten a call from a man in Maurertown, who said that he knew were the poison was. When the reporter got to Maurertown, he found a vacant lot where the informant’s house was supposed to be. He called the Washington Post that he was heading on back to the city. While he was talking on the phone, a car ran him over . . . killed him instantly.”
“Here’s the thing, Mr. Thornton. He was not crossing the street as the Post said. He was walking down a sidewalk. The car that hit him had been parked with the engine off. The young man, driving it, said that he was waiting there for a gal, who told him to meet her there at her house. He never could reach that gal again and no young woman lived at that house, where he was waiting. Several witnesses reported seeing a strange-looking bald man standing on the sidewalk, just before the young man turned on his engine than gunned it before running over the reporter. Afterward, the young man claimed to have no memory of turning on his engine or hitting the reporter. He had no alcohol or drugs in him.”
“The Commonwealth’s attorney told the Washington Post that the young man was being charged with Second Degree Homicide, but he was actually charged with Involuntary Manslaughter. The young man pleaded guilty to ‘Failure to give right-of-way to a pedestrian.’ The plea was accepted by the Commonwealth’s attorney and the judge. The young man was fined $100, which somebody else paid.”
The first law enforcement officer to become a martyr
That was the first and last time that I met Sgt. Richtenhauser, although he continued to periodically send us handwritten notes and photos until September. About three months after our meeting, his body was found slumped against the door of his patrol car on a little used dirt road near Mt. Jackson, VA. There was no sign of violence or injury to his body.
The Shenandoah County Coroner ruled his death to be natural, probably due to a heart attack. No autopsy was performed and his body was embalmed the morning after being discovered. A covert FBI asset in the Shenandoah Memorial Hospital was able to (illegally) obtain blood, heart and lung tissue samples before the body was transported to the funeral home. This act was illegal because the coroner had declared the death to be natural and there was no active Federal court case in which Richtenhauser was a witness. Nevertheless, the only thing that the FBI forensics lab could determine was that Richtenhauser did not die of a heart attack. His heart stopped due to lack of oxygen.
About three weeks later, one of Richtenhauser’s closest friends . . . another honest deputy . . . went back to the death scene after frost had killed the dense ground vegetation. The only thing that his friend found, which seemed unusual, were two cardboard boxes that had been used to transport dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide). I had no reason to go into Washington, DC until October 14, 1991 . . . the day of the gourmet food tasting at Union Station. I transported the plastic bag, containing the two boxes to Bob and Sara Danby’s house, since I was staying there overnight with Vivi.
A couple of weeks later, Bob called me with an update on the Richtenhauser murder. Asphyxiation via carbon dioxide perfect matched the necropsy of the deputy’s blood/tissue samples. I thought that was weird.
Bob explained that concentrated carbon dioxide is far more lethal than carbon monoxide or the hydrogen cyanide then being used in gas execution chambers of several states. The FBI lab estimated that two venting boxes of dry ice in a patrol car with the heater running would have cause unconsciousness instantaneously and death within a minute. The death was never declared to be unnatural and no criminal investigation occurred anywhere, regarding Richtenhauser’s death. The FBI did not want to reveal that he was an informant.
Bagging the number three man in the VBI
Our most important intelligence coup occurred during the period when Susan and I were functioning as couriers. One morning around 8:30 AM, the number three man in the Virginia Bureau of Investigation, plus a Virginia State Police sergeant, appeared at my kitchen door and demanded entry. I invited them to sit at the breakfast table, where I had hidden a miniature voice-activated tape recorder under a pile of apples and pears for catching incriminating statements by the wife from hell . . . like asking me for a divorce for the 36th time.
The VBI jackass threatened to have me arrested, if I continued to complain to the federal authorities about the killing of our livestock and vandalism to our farm. Wo! This is federally licensed food producing plant and there are persons using an extremely dangerous biotoxin on our premises, plus breaking into the plant. That is clearly a federal concern. He went on for a long time about the ways that he could ruin my life and my finances forever.
You have to understand that these crooked cops, no matter how high they are up the pecking order or where they live, always are arrogant SOB’s, who think that they are above the law and will always be protected by crooked politicians and judges. He was wrong on this one.
After the two had left, I hand wrote a transcript of the tape and addressed it to the special agent in charge of the Winchester, VA Field Office. I then called Susan on the secure phone and explained what was going on – and for her to tell me on the insecure phone that she had to stop by a pharmacy on he way to the FBI office in Winchester. After leaving Stephens City, she was to keep the actual tape from the recorder under her bra and take it straight to FBI headquarters in DC – not the branch office in Winchester.
On the insecure phone I first described how hot she was in bed the other night then asked her to take a memo to the Winchester FBI office for me, since I was told by a big shot in the VBI out of Lynchburg that I would be arrested if I contacted the FBI again. I told her to meet me at the Dominion Bank parking lot in Stephens City.
We did our usual make-out thing in the bank parking lot. I deposited the cassette tape under her blouse while French kissing. She whispered, “Why can’t you be this hot inside my townhouse? We wouldn’t have to stop there!” As instructed, Susan left the memo to the Winchester FBI fields office on the passenger seat, turned on the cameras in and outside her car and went into the pharmacy. Sure enough the VBI officers drove up to her car. The sergeant used an electronic device to unlock her car then reached in to grab the memo.
The Virginia State Police sergeant and the head of the VBI office in Lynchburg, were captured by four FBI cruisers and a helicopter, while traveling south at about 80 mph on Interstate 81. They were charged with illegal wire-tapping of an FBI agent’s conversation, breaking into a US Government vehicle, theft of a classified US Government documents and SPEEDING on an interstate highway. LOL
They were taken to some remote location in the West Virginia mountains. Apparently, the two of them sang like canaries. They provided the information necessary to shut down the drug pipeline between Florida, Georgia and Virginia. The Virginia Bureau of Investigation was abolished then replaced by an investigation division within the Virginia State Police. I don’t know what happened to the jackass, wearing the Satanic Priest ring. Needless to say . . . he was never on my Christmas Card list.
The Shenandoah Chronicles continue . . .