Supernatural Event Over Vietnam

Written by:John CarlsonParanormal Experiencer

John Carlson (A.K.A. The Paranormalist) is a bipedal hominoid who can sometimes be found stalking the sidewalks of New Jersey USA or lurking at his favorite neighborhood watering hole. His wife and sons have put up with his interest in and occasional confrontations with the paranormal. John encourages readers of this website to share any personal experiences, if they wish to do so. You are not alone.

This is the story of Robert Pollock, a United States Airforce veteran of the Viet Nam War and the unexplained phenomena that he experienced during a combat mission.

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Recently, a retired LAPD detective and Vietnam War veteran named Robert L. Pollock submitted a comment on The Paranomalist blog in response to a post I made in October 2009, in which I reviewed the excellent book Hunt for the Skinwalker by Colm Kelleher and George Knapp. Should you care to read Mr. Pollock’s very interesting comment, please see the comments area in “Giant Wolves, UFOs, and Invisible Monsters,” which is one of the first posts that I made on this blog, over a year ago at the time of this writing.

Robert and I struck up a conversation through the blog and by email, and he was so kind as to give me permission to reprint a very intriguing tale of the unexplained that he’d sent me.  This bizarre occurrence happened in early 1968 as he was carrying out his duties during the Vietnam War. Here is Robert’s story:

Airborne Mist: A True Experience

by Robert L. Pollock

C-130 cargo aircraft – Supernatural event over Vietnam

In early 1968, during the TET Offensive, I was a Loadmaster on a C-130 cargo aircraft attached to the 834th Air division. My crew and I had departed Da Nang en route to Camh Ranh Bay South Vietnam. The flight time was about 45 minutes, we were flying south just off the coast of Vietnam at twenty-five thousand feet altitude. The aircraft was pressurized and I was seated in the empty cargo compartment taking care of some final paperwork to be turned in when we landed at our destination. This was the last flight of a very long 20-hr day for us. I had the cargo compartment lights on bright white because we had no threat of enemy fire so I could complete the paperwork.

As I sat there I noticed movement at the rear of the boxcar sized empty cargo compartment. I looked and was stunned to see a whirling grey cloudy mass forming at the rear right troop door. The mass was whirling clockwise; it completely filled in the entire rear of the aircraft within seconds. It just hung there like a grey/black curtain. Well, I immediately thought that we had suddenly had a pressurization leak or some kind of high pressure fluid leak that was atomizing the fluid. I asked the engineer over the interphone system if he had any indications of any problem of any kind. He told me “no”. By this time the mist or fog or what ever it was had half the cargo compartment filled. In just a matter of no less than two or three minutes the entire cargo compartment was filled in; all the way to the forward bulkhead.

The engineer and navigator had joined me in the rear of the aircraft where all three of us just continued to back away from the mass as it advanced toward the front of the aircraft. The co-pilot then joined us at the forward crew door area just where the steps were that led into the cockpit. The pilot placed the aircraft in autopilot mode and also joined the rest of us. We could see this grey/black mass in front of us, we were all so amazed. The navigator said “this is spooky”. I remember looking at him almost in anger because I felt sure that what ever it was we were seeing was something to do with the aircraft itself and not something weird or strange.

The engineer went back to his panel to double check on any possible problem with the aircraft systems and found nothing out of the ordinary. I placed my hand into the mass and it just plain disappeared from sight. This stuff was very opaque. The engineer said “come on Load; let’s do a walk around of the cargo compartment”. I quickly agreed, and the two of us stepped into the opaque mass. As soon as I stepped into the mass the lights went out, we had to feel our way along the wall of the aircraft; we were absolutely blind inside that unknown mass. Well, we felt our way around for maybe fifteen minutes with the other three crewmen asking for constant updates as to our welfare.

We got back to the stairwell where the others were at and was at a total loss as to what to do to get rid of the mass filling our aircraft, if it had also filled the cockpit we would have been flying blind with no way to land safely. I have never figured out what that strange grey/black mass was. While I was fully encased inside the mass I had no trouble with my eyes burning as they should have been doing if it was some kind of fluid, it had no odor, and it did not interfere with our breathing either, as it should have, had it been a fluid problem. The only other explanation was that it could have been some kind of pressurization problem, which it was not because that was the very first thought I had and the very first thing the engineer had checked.

I did not feel any kind of threat from the mass except that if it had filled the entire aircraft, we would have been in very desperate trouble. So as we stood there trying to decide what it was and what to do about it, the mass began to go away the way it had appeared, only in reverse. When it got back to the place it had first started forming, it whirled counter-clockwise and then just disappeared into nothing. The five of us were totally dumbfounded about what we had just experienced. By now we were coming up on our destination so got down to the business of going through the pre-landing checklist.

None of us ever mentioned the incident again, even between each other. Why? I am not sure except to say that as seasoned combat crewmen I guess that we (I know, I) just figured that if we lived through it then we did not have to worry about it again. Now, it never really crossed my mind back then; that I would never be able to figure out what it was we had seen that night. But as the years have continued to pass without an answer, the incident has begun to spook me a bit. We all saw that ominous grey/black mass just hanging there in front of our eyes, but just what it could have been stumps me.

We could see it but not smell it, taste it, feel it and it did not irritate our eyes or lungs. So your guess is as good as mine as to what it was. Something that opaque should have had some kind of impact on our bodies, but it did not! So if you come up with an explanation please explain it to me — I need to know!

I wish I could offer Robert some kind of explanation as to the origin of this strange mist that he and his fellow crewmen experienced. The immediate inclination is to explain it away as some kind of gas or fluid leak from the plane, but as he said, that was the first thing that the pilot and co-pilot checked, and they found no indication of any type of leakage or mechanical malfunction. Also, certain attributes of this strange mist seem to defy rationale explanation, not the least of which is its strange and sudden appearance and disappearance.

I’ve honestly never heard of a story like this, but I immediately wondered if it was some sort of spiritual manifestation of fallen American and/or Vietnamese soldiers. That sounds like a bit of a reach, though. Possibly it could be some sort of weather anomaly, but again, the facts as Robert describes them get in the way of making a “logical” conclusion that’s based on natural phenomena.

This does indeed seem to be a tale of high strangeness, and as I said to Mr. Pollock in an email, it reminded me a bit of a story out of one of my favorite comics as a kid, “Weird War” (not to belittle Robert’s experience by comparing it to a comic book story, as I’m sure it was very disconcerting). If anyone can offer a plausible explanation or has experienced anything at all similar, please let us know. I’d be eager to listen to any thoughts on the matter, as I’m sure would Mr. Pollock.

28 thoughts on “Supernatural Event Over Vietnam”

  1. Funny, my Grandfather told me the same story, only he was in the 8th Air Force during World War II. He said it’s one of those stories told to “newbies” that join an outfit and are at there first “beer bash” at the Officer’s Club.

  2. I wouldn’t say that it is without precedent, as several close encounter UFO stories have similar features. A large metal object like an airplane, moving through a charged electrical field could produce a great deal of static electric fields, which under certain ill-understood circumstances might create this effect. EM fields have been known to influence light, or our perception of it and this may be a dramatic example. I have an ex-USAF friend who might be familiar with this phenomenon, so I’ll run it by him and see if he’s heard anything and maybe get him to post here.

    • That’s an interesting thought, Dänae. I hadn’t thought of EMF phenomena, but it’s worth considering.

      That would be great if your friend could further shed some light on this. I’m sure Robert would also be interested to hear what he has to say.

  3. As a UFO researcher of some 50 years I would recognise that as an interaction with some of “our friends”. The mist is usually green though!
    The main effect is to disable those within the mist by virtue of total loss of our senses, sight, sound, touch, hearing etc. On a battlefield the effect would be dramatic, to say the least, and would probably bring everything to a standstill.
    As it did not reach the pilot area, I would call that a show of strength.

  4. That sir was a Jinn. Jinn’s are beings who live on this planet with us. Jinns can take form of different animals and they can also possess people. No human eye can see a Jinn in its human form, its totally impossible. I’m really surprised that very few people know about these beings, to be honest you probably wouldn’t believe me but Jinns exist! All these Ghostly experiences (possibly UFOs) are related to Jinns, not dead spirits. Jinns are found in places where there is not much human activity, jungles etc. However, there are different types of them, there may well be a Jinn right next to you at this moment… You get good Jinns and bad ones, these generally cause a nuisance to us humans. They can sense you fear too.
    Believe me, this was most likely a Jinn(s)

  5. Also, I forgot to mention, Jinns make their homes in caves and trees. You might laugh at this but really, this is the truth!

    • I’ve read a bit about Jinns, but it’s something that I’d like to learn more of. I do believe that certain entities interact with human kind and I suppose that’s something to consider. You seem very sure that this is what Bob and his fellow crewman were dealing with, but it seems like a difficult phenomenon to apply such a definite answer.

  6. Mr Witas it would be good if this were just a beer bash story for the NGs(new guys), but it really happened the way I described. I do appreciate your comment though it brought back a few memories of parties past! As for wightnows idea that it was some kind of UFO encounter! I have never heard of green mist associated with the UFO phenomenon, green lights yes but not green mist, and when you say strength what do you mean? As for the Jinn explanation, the Jinn are of middle eastern origin and were thought to be more demonic than anything else as for myself I am of the opinion that they are only fables. That is not to say that your comment is without merit because your input is as good as anybodies so it was appreciated thank you.

  7. hi.
    i was fishing with a friend, it was dark on the river. around the bend in the river came a white mist, it was travelling fast. i told my friend it would be cold. i dont know why. it lasted for a few minutes. during this time we said nothing, which i now think is a bit wierd. when it passed we warmed back up. it left moisture inside the open car on the bank.
    my friend wont talk about it & went mad. i think he is in denial. this was something out of this realm.
    ray. pro fisher.

    • Hi Ray — I’ve heard other accounts of people having seen strange mists and experiencing strange phenomena or missing periods of time. Did you have any other feelings or sensations when the mist passed through? Any strange dreams or recollections afterward. Odd that your friend had that reaction and you sensed something unusual about it.


  8. john,
    sorry i have not got back to you. i work away. i only get to my pc now & then. i see wierd things all the time. my mate actually went mad, needed help. i also have dreams that seem very real, imeet friends that have passed & friends that are still with us in the same dream. this is the first time i have talked about it but i have many stories to tell.
    thanks for replying.

    • Hey Ray,

      Thanks. Sorry for the delay in responding as well. I’d be glad to hear about any experience that you’ve had, whether you want to post them on the blog or email them to me privately at

      Catching a lot of fish, I hope. I love fishing and I really want to go to Australia one day soon.

      Take care,


  9. I’ve seen this a hundred times. I was a C-130 loadmaster for 14 years and this isn’t uncommon at all. We would mostly see this happen in areas of high humidity (flying in South America or the South Pacific). This is nothing more than fog forming as ambient air meets a source of perfectly cold temperature. Most of the time that cold source would be the air conditioning ducts but the uninsulated tail section of the Herc is another good spot. There aren’t an air ducts farther back than the paratroop doors so the only way to get the tail area warm is through natural convection. While flying at altitude the tail would cool down and create a mass of cooler air causing fog to form. It isn’t uncommon to have the rear of the cargo compartment 20 – 30 degrees cooler than the front, which is why the Loadmaster usually resides back there – harder to get motion sickness the cooler it is, especially when you’re hung over! While taxiing the aircraft in Kwajalein I’ve personally seen the cargo compartment so thick with fog that you couldn’t see the front bulkhead from the read paratroop door. The fog clears up once the ambient temperature int he cargo compartment moves out of the range where fog forms for a particular humidity level.
    FYI – I was actually in the C-130 that you have a picture of above when the picture was taken. I was a MAFFS loadmaster with the 302 AS in Colorado Springs, flying on an actual fire in MAFFS 2 near Boise, ID when we dropped on a grassfire that was moving towards agricultural land. The photographer was standing on the top of a truck parked int he center of that field and was later on the cover of Airman Magazine about 10 years ago.

    • Hi Jason — I’m sure Bob will be interested in your take on the situation. Wow! What a coincidence that you were on the aircraft in the photo! I just searched for a picture of C-130 and nabbed that one. Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think about it.

      – John

  10. Jason I am aware that the AC ducts will make a fog in the cargo compartment but it is usually white because it is condensed water vapor. Read what I said about the color and bye the way the AC was not even on at the time. The first thing I thought of was a possible loss of cabin presure or something of that nature. No the condensation theory can’t be the answer. I flew on USAF aircraft from 65 to 75 and that is the only time I ever saw such a phenomena! But I thank you for your attempt to answer my question. Rest assured that water vapor fog is not at all what I saw. I noticed that the ramp of the C-130 Mr. Carlson used was open, I thought it was an airdrop of some kind but never thought of a water or chemical drop on a fire; right on Jason keep up the good work! It seems we are brothers of sorts both of us being losdmasters. Take car while flying.

  11. Oh and Jason we were at twenty five thousand feet altitude condensation is not normal while flying at that altitude! Its to dry!

  12. I believe you five saw the physical manifestation of a (foul) spirit (‘ghost’) or demon in your cargo hold, that did not show any form beyond ectoplasm (the white/grey/black smoke that has no smell). These are demons or foul spirits still roaming the earth that can take a physical form and CAN be dangerous. Fortunately, yours just vanished the way it came. I think you know that if this was smoke or anything from the plane, there is no way it can reverse itself and rewind and vanish the exact same way it came.

  13. I have recently read the carlos castanada books, in there he described these inorganic beings that are seen as mist. His books are said to be a made up storys but I think he was trying to impart knowlege he had recived from somewhere. He said the shamans used these as allies.

  14. Robert, I’ve had a similar odd incident happen. It happened on a bright sunny day. My girl friends and I had the day off and decided to go to the race track. None of us had ever been and thought it would be an experience and it was.
    We had bet on and watched several races. While waiting for the next race to run, my friends went to get something to eat as I waited in the stands. A mist came down over me. In the mist, I could see the next race run and which was the winner.
    When my friends returned they were discussing which horse to bet on for the 7th race, I told them that they had missed that race and I told them which horse won. They told me that I was mistaken, in seeing my perplexity and persistence on the race being over, one of my friends grabbed my hand and we ran to the box office, she realized what I had not and was trying to place a bet before it was too late.
    Sure enough the next race ran and every event that I had seen, every movement of the horses and riders, every noise in the stands, yup they all replayed and yup we did not get to the window in time to too place our bet. We watched the race and knew the outcome and we were not happy.
    It was truly an odd event.

  15. The event described above can be explained with an understanding of how the universe really works. There are only 3 natural forces in the universe and these create all the matter and phenomonen we know of. These forces are north and south magnetism and a neutral – non magnetic substance that is the “space between” everything. These neutrals are normally bound up by magnetic influences – these can however be separated from each other – a suction force is required -cavation is one of these forces and that is what is happening in an airplane – behind the force flow of the air after the tail of the plane. The suction forces can separate the electrical charges from the neutrals and manifest effects we call super natural – they are really only natural – we call them super natural because most people do not understand these rules.

  16. Mr Anderson I will try to find and read the book you are talking about; thanks for the tip. Evelyn I don’t know if what you experienced is the same as what I experienced, but I thank you for your input anyway; believe me. What you experienced Evelyn is what is known as a time slip or a precognitive vision, there is no scientific explanation for such things, but I know they happen now and again, to bad you didn’t get to bet a hundred dollars, right? Mr Cechanowicz you could be right, however I thought that there was four natural forces of nature? I have always thought that all things that happen are natural not supernatural. I am in the middle of writing a book about the paranormal which should be ready for publication soon; which you might find usful to read. And again I thank all of you for your input.

  17. i was living in south italy afew years ago when in the middle of the night i woke up and saw a black mist hovering and moving slightly, above me, close to the ceiling. i could see a little because it was summer and the windows were open and there were some street lights on. it scared the hell out of me and i said “i can see you!” not sure why i said that but i then got up and turned on all the lights and was just freaked out.i don’t remember it going away because i got up so fast. i have never had an experience like that. i thought later maybe it was a bad dream until i heard someone mention black fog….???? sorry for my typing. any thoughts?

  18. Jennifer, I think what you experienced was of the paranormal nature to be sure. But of the ghostly kind I think, I have read accounts of black fogs or black masses that could only be called a ghostly encounter. My experience took place at twenty-five thousand feet altitude and in a pressurized aircraft. I felt no fear at the time but have since felt very uneasy about the incident. Anyway thanks for your input , oh and don’t worry about your typing, it was readable and understandable.

  19. Respectfully Jason, Nice job, but I don’t know if your explanation covered the fact that the multi-colored fog/or whatever you want to call it, was swirling in a noticeable clockwise manor, and 2 or more different colors, I think if you do some research our boys flying in World War II encountered a lot of strange stuff, from foo fighters, to a guy claiming there were gremlins in his plane, to the above phenomena – which you can find more examples of hauntings in the war planes, I have also read a story where a W.W. II Pilot in a crippled Fortress about to crash could see his mother and her prayer group praying for him ( he said he actually saw this in the cockpit) many strange things happen in War time – just do some deep research, personally – I’ll bet it was a spirit of some sort, my wife said she saw a big green fog hovering over me 1 time late at night while I was asleep, then she later completely forgot about the incident – there’s plenty of things we’ll never fully understand..

  20. I am 58 and the only time I’ve seen a supernatural fog was 7 years ago.
    I exited my apartment house and was walking along the sidewalk to the right of the building. Walking towards me from the opposite direction was a middle-aged man. It was mid-afternoon, sunny and I clearly saw a grey cloud that surrounded his head and shoulders. I looked to see if he was smoking a cigar or something but he was not smoking. It was quite a noticable cloud — about three feet wide and about 2 feet tall. He looked like he was deep in thought and paid me no attention. We passed each other and I stopped to turn around to look at him again. Yes, the cloud was still there, it moved with him.
    Perhaps it was an aura I saw?
    I read on the internet that a dark grey aura can mean:
    It can indicate depression. If someone has excessive sadness that does not go away and stays for long
    periods of time.
    It can indicate grief from a death of someone close to them.
    This person’s characteristics and deals with can be; deals with dark thoughts, unclear intentions and a
    presence of a dark side of personality.

    Excessive amounts of gray can indicate an individual who is very secretive.

    Dark and muddy gray ~

    Residue of fear is accumulating in the body.
    It can indicates a potential for health problems and imbalances, especially if gray clusters seen in specific
    areas of the body.
    It can indicate depression. If someone has excessive sadness that does not go away and stays for long
    periods of time.
    It can indicate grief from a death of someone close to them.

    Dirty gray overly ~

    Blocking energies. Guardedness.

    Once in my life I did see a yellow aura. I was at an outdoor swimming hole surrounded by people, and was relaxing enjoying watching the children jump into the water. It was a sunny day. I looked over at several children and they all had bright yellow auras around them. The phenomena only lasted several minutes and then I turned my head or something and didn’t see it anymore. Yellow auras are positive:

    “Fun loving, free spirited, awakening, inspiration, intelligence, action shared, creative, playful,
    optimistic, easy-going, energetic and childlike personalities in the aura spectrum. They are
    wonderful, sensitive, optimistic beings, whose life purpose is to bring joy to people, to have fun and
    to help heal the planet.

    Mental activity and optimism.
    It can mean new learning opportunities and wisdom.
    People who glow yellow are full of inner joy, very generous and not attached to anything.
    Yellow thought indicates a moment of joy and contentment.
    They can either be very shy and sensitive or they can be the life of the party.
    These playful characters have a great sense of humor.
    They love to laugh and to make others laugh.
    Their belief is that life is to be enjoyed.
    They like to live life freely and spontaneously.
    With a perpetual smile on their face, they remind people to not take themselves or their problems
    too seriously.
    They would prefer not to work at all, unless their work was fun, playful or creative. They love
    nature and often have concerns for the survival of wildlife and the environment.
    They have the power to inspire new ideas and manifest them through speech and positive action.
    Indicates how one’s intellectual ability is used in a positive and constructive manner or in a
    negative and destructive manner.”

    any thoughts on the grey cloud I saw? Perhaps it was an aura also?

    • My first thought was that it was an aura that you witnessed surrounding this person. This is something that I’ve never have personally experienced, but I’ve read of many people who claim to have seen auras or coronas around people. The fact that this happened to you once before furthers my belief that it was an aura of negative energy that you saw around this person near your apartment building. It would not surprise me to learn that you’ve had other unexplained experience — perhaps a strong sense of intuition, precognition, clairvoyance? Those who have had such experiences are generally more sensitive to the unseen and have often undergone other unexplained phenomena.


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