CEDAR CITY — There are some stories in life that are so full of plot twists and strange phenomenon that it seems almost certain they could not be true. Such is the case of the story found in the book “No Return: The Gerry Irwin Story” written by David Booher.
But the book is not a fictional tale, rather it is an intriguing look into a mysterious event in the life of a man named Gerry Irwin and the even stranger and often sad events that took place in the aftermath … and it begins just outside of Cedar City.
The opening paragraphs of the foreward for the book written by well-known ufologist Jaques Vallee go as follows:
On February 21, 1959, a man named Gerry Irwin woke up in a hospital in Utah, his mind in a state of profound confusion. He had been unconscious for a full day and night, during which time the nurses had heard him mumble incoherently about a “jacket on bush.” When his condition improved his first question was: “Were there any survivors?” All he remembered was that he had stopped his car because an aircraft was falling.
Gerry Irwin was a Nike missile base technician on his way back to his barracks at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas. When he saw the glowing object in the oddly brightened landscape, he stopped his car, wrote a note he placed on his steering wheel (“Have gone to investigate possible plane crash. Please call law enforcement officers”), and used shoe polish to scribble “STOP” on the side of the vehicle before starting out on foot.
A search party found him unconscious. He had no jacket. There was no airplane crash.
Following the initial incident that fateful February in Iron County, Irwin was pronounced physically sound and was returned to his base in Texas where he was checked into the psychiatric ward. Irwin was monitored for a few days and given a clean bill of health. But things would never be the same for Irwin after that incident.
After returning to Texas, Irwin would suffer from bouts of amnesia, blackouts and would end up hospitalized in the psychiatric ward on the base more than once. On one occasion, in what the books describes as a “trance,” Irwin goes AWOL and takes a bus from Texas to Cedar City and returns to the spot of the original incident.
Eventually, Irwin would desert his post and disappear.
Irwin’s story is not well-known, though it has all the hallmarks of what would later come to be called alien or UFO abduction, Booher said.
“There were no recorded events of that type in 1959,” Booher said. “It could not have been a preconceived notion.”
But it could have been government influence or mind control experiments, Booher said. And the book looks closely at both scenarios.
Irwin did indeed desert his post, but he did not vanish entirely. And thanks to Booher, Irwin’s story will not vanish either.
Booher recalled reading about Irwin’s “close encounter” in the high desert of Southern Utah, in 2013, he said. Booher was reading the works of Vallee, when he came across the Gerry Irwin story. Vallee’s account was written in 1988 and was based on the reports of James Lorenzen.
Accounts of Irwin’s encounter were few and far between and Booher said in the book that he found it remarkable that no further investigation of the event ever took place. It was a story that would not let Booher rest, so he decided to see if he could at least track down a relative of Irwin and get some answers.
Instead of a relative, Booher found Irwin himself. And to Booher’s astonishment, he agreed to be interviewed for the story.
Booher describes Irwin as very forthcoming in telling the event. Booher was able to hear the firsthand account, from Irwin witnessing the glowing object he called a plane crash all the way up to the point of returning to Texas. But it is there that Irwin’s memories of the events betray him.
In addition to examining the possiblities of alien abduction and government mind control experiments, “No Return” takes a deep look at the importance of memory in shaping events that shape a person’s life.
An excerpt from the book reads:
“The story you are about to read hinges on a slippery faculty that most of us, most of the time, take for granted. However, even under the best of circumstances it can elude us, and there are times when it seems to fail us altogether. This is the wondrous yet erratic gift we call memory.”
And it is on the memory of an aging man, who was the possible subject of government experiments that “No Return” relies on. But Booher did his research and was even granted permission by Irwin to retrieve his military service records, which were instrumental in piecing parts of the story together.
The book is full of interesting hypotheses about what could have happened to Irwin in February 1959 and in the months following, but it shies away from anything concrete, leaving room for the reader to make her own conclusions.
“He saw something; nothing more and nothing less than a strange light in the sky,” the book reads. “And as these tales warn us, those who happen upon such light will never be quite the same again.”
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