By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
For all intents and purposes, Chimpy is a normal feline.
Some of you may remember him from my 1995 personal "Best of Phoenix" column, in which I selected him as "Best Cat." You may recall the photograph that accompanied the story; he was a furry, gray kitten with large eyes, reclining on a carpet.
As many have correctly observed, Chimpy was--and is--an extremely cute animal. His habits are as follows:
1. Long naps in the sun, usually on the couch, sometimes on top of the stereo or perhaps under the coffee table.
2. The occasional romp in the backyard.
3. Annoyed yelling in the predawn hours when desiring of attention from sleeping humans.
4. Inspired, enthusiastic sniffing of genital areas belonging to other cats.
5. Deep enjoyment of kibble.
As you can see, Chimpy embodies all of the qualities associated with what any expert will tell you is a "nice pussycat." Then, roughly three weeks ago, something occurred that I have since come to refer to as "The Occurrence."
Chimpy went out to play in the yard, and did not come back.
One day passed, then two, then three. I made numerous trips throughout my neighborhood, frequently yelling, "Chimpy! Chimpy!" Like a worried, sleepless parent keeping vigil as prom night becomes prom morning, I found myself making periodic trips from the front door to the edge of my driveway, in the middle of the night, standing there frowning, hands on hips, squinting down the road.
All to no avail.
I began to lose hope. I thought he might have been hit by a car, or even stolen. Many's the time I cursed myself for not buying him a collar with my phone number and the name "Chimpy" stamped into a small piece of metal in the shape of a heart.
Five days came and five days went.
And then. It was nearing midnight when a feeling came over me that I have since come to refer to as "The Feeling." I walked across the living room, through the kitchen and opened the back door.
In shambled Chimpy.
Yet this was not the same Chimpy who had disappeared nearly half a fortnight ago. He was thin, he was filthy, his movements awkward. I picked him up and said, "Chimpy!" Then I said, "Chimpy?" for he acted as if he did not know me. He had a look of confusion, of anxiety, of fear in his eyes that were as wide and round as dimes. Though I am no doctor, it appeared as if young Chimpy was experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) combined with some level of psychic numbing.
Parting the fur on his right side, I noticed an odd, perfectly circular mark that I have since come to refer to as "The Wound." Though, initially, I was referring to it as "The Mark."
I bathed him, noticing the unusual shade of the dirt that gathered in the sudsy water. It reminded me of an ancient, or futuristic, rust. After a five-minute session under the blow dryer and some vigorous rubbing with a basic terry-cloth towel, Chimpy went into a deep sleep that lasted for some 72 hours.
I must admit, at that point, I was just glad to have my cat back. It wasn't until later, when I began piecing together facts, asking questions and questioning answers, that it became apparent to me that Chimpy was yet another unwitting victim of abduction.
Some of you may remember the headline on page B1 in the Arizona Republic edition of March 18. No, not "Gay-pride parade short 2 marshals," but the one right next to it: "Object seen over state a puzzle--was it UFO?"
The story detailed multiple reports from citizens who'd seen a "strange cluster of lights moving very quickly across the night sky. . . . the bright red-orange lights formed in the shape of a boomerang." Calls came in to Luke Air Force Base, the National Weather Service, and the National UFO Reporting Center in Seattle, Washington. Peter Davenport, director of the center, was quoted as saying he thought that the object was an "'ultra-sophisticated craft' that did not come from this planet." As the UFO moved south toward Tucson, it allegedly "appeared to send out a red beam of light."
And, as it moved south toward Tucson, sending out the "red beam," it passed directly over my house.
The house where Chimpy lives.
The house from where Chimpy went missing on the night of March 18. The government, of course, has since denied any involvement whatsoever.
Animal mutilations are a common theme in the canon of UFO lore; thousands of cattle have been found strangely, surgically eviscerated, with genitalia and certain vital organs carefully removed.
And human abductions are as regular as Swiss trains. The highly regarded work Close Extraterrestrial Encounters by Richard J. Boylan, Ph.D., and Lee K. Boylan states that, according to "a 1992 Roper Poll Survey on ET contact, we can estimate that an average of more than 3,000 close encounters (CE-IVs) occur in the United States every 24 hours."
Clearly, that is a lot of close encounters. And that survey does not include such countries as England, Russia or France.