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Wednesday 8 May 2024

The Naked and the Numb

      It is amazing how one can read a strange story, then forget all about it. Likewise, it is interesting how such stories can turn up in the most obscure places. Thus, I have been going back over my old issues of the MUFON UFO Journal (MUFON is the Mutual UFO Network in the US), and on page 12 of issue no. 436 (August 2004) was a story from Alaska by an analytical scientist, P. A. Budinger concerning a naked couple, numbness, and a mysterious salve. Let me now quote his introduction. 
      An unusual event reportedly occurred in Alaska within the 1949-1951 time period. A couple, naked and covered in dirt or dust, came to the door of Victoria Jahnke's mother. They asked if they could bathe. Her mom reluctantly agreed to this.
     Before they left, she gave them clothes. When she cleaned out the bathtub, her hands went numb. Nothing she did would help. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. She found a very tall man standing there who had a tube of salve in his hand.
     He tore it in half and gave one half to her, telling her that it would take care of the problem with her hands. It did. She saved the remainder of the salve for years, wrapped in a handkerchief. It dried to a pink powder.
     Victoria gave some of the sample to Bill Jones at the Dearborn MUFON symposium in July, 2003. Bill submitted the sample to me for analysis.
     Dr. Budinger then proceeded with a lengthy description of the analysis. The salve consisted of 30 percent glycerol and a certain amount of other glycerides, but the predominant ingredient - 60 per cent by weight - was calcium bentonite. As the Wikipedia entry explains, this is an absorbent clay with a wide variety of uses, including the treatment of skin irritations.
      Let me state up front that I don't think for a moment this has anything to do with UFOs. There is no mention of a UFO or aliens, nor is there anything unearthly about the item. This is a familiar case where a person who had had a weird experience decides to tell it to someone who is likely to take it seriously. In this manner ufologists manage to collect a lot of stories which have no bearing on their field of research. Nor is it likely to be a hoax. Certainly, a prankster may try to see what sort of tall story he can get a ufologist to believe, but he - or in this case, she - would invent a wild tale about a flying saucer.
      But what possible explanation can there be to this weird tale of a naked couple, numbness, a mysterious stranger, and a mysterious salve - all in the days when Alaska was a real back water, not even a state of the union? My guess is that the couple were human guinea pigs in some strange experiment, and the experimenter realised that if the housewife's numbness was not treated, the story was likely to go public. If it were a government experiment, then perhaps it is written down in some arcane notebook in some long forgotten file. But we will never know for sure.

1 comment:

  1. The information is agonizingly incomplete. Where in Alaska? What time of day and year? What kind of weather? Did the couple arrive by car?
    Could Mrs. Jahnke's mother identify the couple? Did the mother live in an area where strangers were unusual? Was the couple covered with dust all over or only on exposed skin? What commercially available skin products were available at the time that used this formula and coloring? Was there mining or a chemical works nearby? Were there any other common activities in the area which might expose the couple to irritants?

    With this kind of information, one might well deduce what happened.