Professed UFO Abductee Brings His Story and His Artwork to Balance Salon
Photos: Dave Feldman
On Saturday night, Balance Salon hosted the opening to its UFO Abduction Experience art showcase, featuring the work of professed abductee David Huggins. At first glance, the collection on display isn’t necessarily attention-grabbing, with the 68-year-old Huggins tending to use very neutral colors in the same medium: oil paint on canvas. But craft aside, the story told by these paintings is something truly out of this world. Recurring characters, including Huggins himself, appear with groups of little aliens he refers to as “Grays,” an alien woman named “Crescent,” a hairy monster resembling Chewbacca and a giant praying mantis known as an “insectoid.”
For the past eight weeks, Balance owner Carla Anderson (disclosure: she’s also my boss) has been hyping up the show, fueled by her own obsession with UFOs. Last week, she became inspired enough to get a tattoo of a UFO drawing on the back of her neck. Anderson also advertised “Free Haircuts If You Have Been Abducted By Aliens” on the salon’s front window, in addition to the long-standing promise that “Our Haircuts Will Get You Laid!”
“I’ve been saying for years that the men in this town are being abducted by aliens,” Anderson says. “David is the first to come forward and admit it.”
Since October, local light architect Norm Francoeur has been building and installing UFO models in the salon, using materials like blinking light strands, pool noodles, disco balls, foam core, and stretched pieces of mylar.
“I think UFOs are pretty crazy, but I know Carla loves it,” he says. “I know she’s tried to convince people to get a crop circle shaved into their head, but I haven’t seen anyone do it yet.”
While Anderson has had a long obsession with UFOs and aliens, she was unaware of David Huggins’ work until being introduced to him by her longtime friend, Timothy Beckley, a UFO expert who has published several books on the subject, including The Riddle of Hangar 18, UFOs and Psychic Revelations and Strange Saga. Beckley is the owner of Inner Light Publications, a publishing company that puts out these books, as well as his monthly news magazine, Conspiracy Journal.
“I’m Mr. UFO so I come across everyone in the area who has had some sort of experience,” the 63-year-old Beckley says. “I’ve known about David for a while and I first saw some of his artwork about two years ago. I like that he is able to put a positive spin on his experience, where most would be frightened or hesitant to discuss what has happened to them.”
Huggins, a 68-year-old Georgia native now living in Hoboken, is a very gentle and polite man who speaks with a quiet Southern accent. He is not the stereotypical eccentric UFO abductee; indeed, for a man whose work relies upon a personal alien abduction story, Huggins is ironically very down to Earth.
Huggins’ first encounter, he says, happened when he was an eight-year-old living in Pauldin County, Georgia. He claims he was taken aboard a craft in the middle of the night and received an electronic implant through his nose. When he began to cry from the pain, he was comforted by Crescent.
When asked why he never told anyone, Huggins says that his claims were, not surprisingly, met with disbelief and anger from his parents.
“I guess one time I told them one time too many and I received a whipping like you wouldn’t believe,” he says.
Huggins later had his first sexual experience with the alien Crescent, he says, and while the story is highly dubious, I find that I can’t stop listening as he retells it to me. (A 68- talking to a 21-year-old usually isn’t the most comfortable of situations, but then again, not everyone can claim to have lost it to an alien.)
In the early 1960s, Huggins moved north to attend the Art Students League in Manhattan. For a while, he says, his alien visitations became less frequent; he even had a serious girlfriend. But sure enough, the aliens found him, coming through what he describes as a portal hole in his wall. Huggins says he later found out that he was the father of an alien hybrid child, and now claims to have fathered over 60 of these hybrids.
All of these memories about his UFO experiences resurfaced in Huggins’ memory on August 17, 1987, a date he refers to as the Harmonic Convergence. This astrological phenomenon is closely related to the Mayan calendar, which he has since switched over to. Huggins says that at the time of his experiences, the aliens would instruct him to forget certain memories, but promised him that on that specific date, they would all return to him.
He began to paint these recollections shortly after.
Despite all of these fantastic experiences, Huggins has managed to live out an existence most of us would describe as “normal.” After college, he got married (he is now divorced) and had a son, Michael, with whom he is extremely close.
“[Michael] grew up with these paintings. They’re nothing new to him,” he explains. Huggins also did commercial art for several big businesses, including Merrill Lynch and Paine Webber. He now receives Social Security, and, aside from painting, enjoys collecting old movies.
Of course it’s not a totally normal existence. Huggins says that he still receives visits from Crescent, his alien lover – most recently, just four weeks ago.
Huggins admits that the subjects of his paintings can be a bit much to swallow, but he maintains that he is simply carrying on the grand tradition of art through the ages and mining his personal experience.
“I don’t believe in anything. When you believe something, there is always a ‘but’ associated, as in, ‘I believe this, but…’ How could you believe in this? These things I’ve painted are impossible,” he says. “But I know they happened. If I didn’t know, I would never have painted them.”
David Huggins’ work will be on display at Balance Hair Salon (18 Erie St.) until May 1.