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The Imps of Sandpoint

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Almost 30 years ago, there was something odd down by Memorial Field

“There is a universe of endless possibilities and endless wonders; a pantheon that questions the reality of life, and the meaning of existence. Possibilities as boundless as the human imagination in... The Twilight Zone.”

-Introduction of the un-produced sixth season

Some who are reading this may be settling down for a concert at the 30th Festival at Sandpoint. Unbeknownst to them, just a block or three from Memorial Field, is a house that may be a nexus for an unknown phenomenon. Spirits or beings from another world.

There seems to be a percentage of unusual phenomena that begins with what may be an unexpected or seemingly unrelated event which then—days, weeks, months or even a year later—leads to something else.

In this case, there was a UFO sighting in the fall of 1983 which may or may not be related to what happened the following summer.

My source, an acquaintance of mine now in his mid forties, his friend, and his friend’s father were returning home from a camping and fishing trip on Dufort Road from the Morton Slough area when they arrived at U.S. 95 near the dumpsters currently located on the northwest corner of the intersection..

Watery sunshine shone through the high, thin overcast of the early afternoon. There was surprisingly little traffic on the highway as they stopped at the sign and turned left toward Sandpoint.

My acquaintance said his friend’s father suddenly pointed up over the dumpsters. “Look at that!” At first, the boys couldn’t see what the adult was talking about, but after a few second something came into view as they strained to look out the windshield.

There, maybe less than a few hundred feet  up, was what appeared to be a classic UFO. Overturned cup on a saucer. Maybe 30 feet in diameter, it was a medium silver-grey. There was no glint from the filtered sun on it as it hovered. It was as if the object was absorbing the light.

The man pulled his pickup over to the side of the road, hopped out, and like any good, North Idaho resident, grabbed his rifle out of the back. Turning toward the object, he started to bring the rifle up as if to take aim when the thing zipped straight up at such speed that it all but seemed to disappear.

Of course, the sighting was the topic of conversation for several weeks, gradually fading into memory.

Now only natives and longtime residents remember that the county fairgrounds used to be located in among the trees on what is now Lakeview Park on the west side of Memorial Field. Where the tennis court is now was the site of the church food booths; the exhibit halls were located where now stands the museum and surrounding land.

One or two people back in those days occasionally say they saw an odd light late at night in among the trees. One person taking a walk one warm, summer night through the grounds saw it and what appeared to be a small, humanoid form in the glow that seemingly appeared out of nowhere and then went dark.

Now, as this relates to my acquaintance’s follow-up encounter: He and his friend were riding their bikes one afternoon up and down Ontario as well as in and out of the parking lot at the east end of Memorial Field watching a crew put up the now-famous signature tent for the second year of the Festival at Sandpoint. A mid-week work day, 48 hours before the first concert at the field for the ‘84 season, there was absolutely no activity in the still warm afternoon except for the Festival activity.

Getting bored once the stage was completed, the two boys decided to investigate a vacant house not more than a couple blocks away. Long since having been restored and now occupied, this house had sat empty for years. The lawn was rank and overgrown. Riding around in front, the two dismounted an laid their bikes against a tangle of fence and overgrown shrubs on the house’s north side.

Looking around to make sure no one was watching, they stepped up on the porch, cupped their hands to look through a grimy window, and saw nothing.

Boys being boys, one dared the other to try the door and, after a few moments hesitation, hesitantly stepped inside the hot, gloomy interior. Mostly empty, there was an ancient couch against one wall and a few oval pictures on the grimy walls. Light from the open door illuminated dust motes floating in the air. The place smelled of old junk and dry mold that hadn’t been disturbed in years, maybe longer.

My friend, after a few moments, said, “Let’s go. There’s nothing here,” and turned to leave when his friend grabbed his arm and pointed to the back of the house. There in the gloom floated what appeared to be a bluish ball of light, about  the size of a softball.

Watching mesmerized, the ball did a slow bounce up and down several times, then began to expand. There in the middle appeared what they could only describe as a small, misshapen human form. Maybe two or so feet tall, the only features they could see against its silhouette were oversized, perfectly round glowing eyes and oversized ears.

Standing there unable to move by a sight that suddenly seemed so unreal, the spell was suddenly broken by the sound of a car passing on the street outside. Both turned and nearly fell down the two steps of the porch, grabbed their bikes and took off for home.

That night, my acquaintance’s friend told his father about the experience. The following day was the first concert at Memorial Field for the second-ever Festival, and the man had been able to take the day off to attend with his wife. It was his wife’s idea; the man was somewhat of a redneck and wasn’t that enthused by the prospect of sitting for what he considered to be two hours of stuck-up chamber music.

Having time to kill before the concert, he decided to show his son there was nothing to what they had seen. With my acquaintance in tow, the three set off on their bikes. The boys declined to enter the house, and waited on the porch as the man made fun of the boys in a good-natured way before stepping inside.

Now my source said that about three minutes later, his friend’s father suddenly came out, his face white as a sheet, told the boys to get it in gear, grabbed his bike and started home. Looking at each other, the man’s son grinned slightly. It was the first time he had seen his old man proven wrong.

My acquaintance said that his friend’s father had refused to talk about what had happened inside the house. Could this incident, though, be related to their UFO sighting the previous year? Maybe the entity in the then-abandoned house was an Imp or some denizen of another world, the spirit realm, or maybe it was a being from space, perhaps having beamed to the house from its spaceship.

Either way, if you’ve read this column much, you’ve come to realize that anything is possible in the Valley of Shadows.

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Author info

Lawrence Fury Lawrence Fury is an inveterate letter-to-the-editor writer, and a conservative conscience for this area of North Idaho. He's also an expert on local ghost stories, and is compiling a group of them for future book publication. You can read more about him in a Love Notes feature for the River Journal

Tagged as:

Sandpoint, UFOs, Valley of Shadows

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