A farmer from Ano Courtesi village (Helis, Peloponnese), describes the grotesque experience he had during a night of June 1999.
The phone call I received on Saturday 12 June 1999 was rather unexpected. At the other end was an old friend and colleague, Makis Nodaros based at Helis, Peloponnese. He informed me about a strange incident that took place four days ago, at a nearby village. Makis faxed me a clipping from a local paper. A 42 year-old local farmer with the significant name Dimitrios Hellenas (=Greek) claimed that during the wee hours of Tuesday 8 June had contacted a "superhuman entity" about which he had no doubts that he was God Himself…
Some details showed that the case reminded not the experience of a light-headed religious freak but this of a contactee or a person who has a genuinely "otherworldish" encounter. Makis had made a preliminary contact with the farmer, so I decided to travel to Helis and make an investigation in situ.
Reaching Lechena on Monday June 14, I met Makis and next morning at 9 o' clock we both were at the farm of Dimitrios Hellenas, at Ano Courtesi, a village some miles north from Lechena.
The whole prefecture of Helis is extremely fertile and there is lots of cultivation. Hellenas' farm was an almost flat area with melons and watermelons, some dozens of acres. Hellenas was a resident at the nearby Ano Courtesi but for a certain period of the year (summer months) was living in a shack among with his partners, since watering of the watermelons is a demanding job and must be made every few hours, even during the night.
Dimitris Hellenas was a sun-tanned, skinny man with his hands and face deeply scarred from many years of hard work in the fields. He showed much older than his 42 year.
The initial reception was cold, somehow hostile. Hellenas was inside the hut, resting, as his partner informed us. The latter told us to leave because he was very tired and did not want to meet anybody or talk about anything. Soon we realized that this was due to the behavior of various journalists of local newspapers and channels who not only harassed him continuously but depicted his story with a scorning and insultive attitude as well.
After some time, Hellenas came out. He was rather shy but I managed to persuade him that I would present his story with the greatest attention and finally the ice broke.
Hellenas had no doubt that he contacted the Almighty himself. He emphasized the fact that before the experience he was a non-believer and habitually used a very blasphemous language, cursing God, Christ and the Holy Virgin. He also emphasized the fact that his life was an endless, dull routine:
"Every day of the last 2 years my life were the same. I was full of anguish, always on the run. Either working or resting, I was always tired. I was smoking extremely heavy; 4-7 packets every day, believe it or not. I considered it my main malady. I tried to quit, but in vain".
The farmer told us that the last 6 years he was suffering from continuous headaches and dizziness. This was due to a chronic complaint of his ear labyrinth -a disease that the doctors who examined him considered incurable.
Around 2 am on Tuesday June 8, Hellenas woke up in the shack, took his motorbike and went to a specific part of his farm to turn on the water valves for the watering of the plants. The summer night was hot and calm.
"Suddenly I saw in front of me a luminous triangle, about 15 m (45 ft) high and the same distance away. It was emitting a golden light. I was startled and reduced speed immediately. Then I heard a calm, sweet, masculine voice that told me: 'Don’t be afraid, I am the Almighty. I will do whatever you ask me to' "
After the initial sock, the farmer did not hesitate a single minute. He asked from the luminous triangle to be relieved from the habit of smoking and the torturing headaches. The response was immediate.
"In no time at all, the headache was gone. I took the packet of cigarettes from my pocket and threw it away. The permanent bitter taste I had in my mouth for years was lost. So did the triangle"
Hellenas was still shocked but full of joy and happiness. He continued his road with the motorbike until he reached the water valves. He took out his torch, but then the triangle appeared again -among with the voice.
"Throw it away. I will light your way from now on".
Hellenas fell to the ground in ecstasy, trying to express its gratitude to the light. Then, the voice told him to go back to the shack, to wake up his partners and describe them what happened.
The farmer did what the voice told him, but the reaction of the others was predictable: "Get the hell out of here, you crazy! Leave us to sleep!"
After that, Hellenas came out, where he saw again the luminous object, which now told him to go to his girlfriend's house. Hellenas took his car and drove the 6-7 kms to her house but her reaction was the same with his partners.
He returned to the farm, having the triangle as his guide. During the whole time, the luminous triangle was flying at the height and same distance: 15 m. When Hellenas came out of the car the light disappeared. He decided to go with the motorbike to the place where he had his initial encounter. But then the light appeared again and the incorporate voice instructed him to go there on foot.
Dominated by a superhuman vitality, Hellenas started to run through the plants to reach the place, which was 1-2 kms (1 mile) away. After he reached the place, the second part of his encounter started.
"The voice told me: 'Take the Sin, the Satan out of your pocket and throw it away'. I searched my pocket and I took my money out. But the voice said: "No, not these! Search the other pocket'. I took out my lighter. The voice demanded: 'Light it'. I did it and started to run again. I ran for 300-400 m (1,000 - 2,000 ft) but the flame did not put out. The voice told me to put my hand inside the flame. I did it. My hand was burning. I saw the flesh roasting, thick smoke was coming out, the smell of burnt flesh was making me sick. But I felt nothing. Then the voice told me to put my hand out. There was no burn, no pain. I did that for two more times.
"Then He told me to swallow the flames. I lighted the lighter in my mouth and the flame was lengthening, going deep down in my throat. I did that also two more times. Then I asked: 'My God, why are you doing this to me?'. 'To clear all the dirt you have inside you', he answered".
After that, the voice demanded from Hellenas to hold his lighter and chant an Orthodox Church hymn ["Evlogitos o Theos", "Blessed be God"] three times. "I did that. Then he ordered me to eat a handful of soil. I did that also.
"Then I realized that the time had come to pour fertilizer to the watermelons. I told that to God and he answered: 'Go to your work, do what you have to do, and then come back. We'll converse like good friends'.
"I ran away in a hurry in order to finish my job and come back as fast as I could. At the middle of the road I felt exhausted and short of breath. Then the triangle appeared again and told me. 'Go slowly, do not hurry. We have plenty of time. I will stay with you until 6 o' clock'. "
His next trial was the drinking of the mixture of fertilizer and water (a strong poison). After that the voice commanded the farmer to urinate and drink it.
During the experience, the triangle and the voice were intermittently appearing and disappearing. In these idle intermissions, Hellenas was wondering why the Almighty was appearing to him.
Some time later, the voice solved his query. "You are the only one in the whole world to whom I inflicted so much pain and you never asked for my help. Ask me to do something."
"I recited Him my complains. I was angry about the situation in the world, because the good people are always suffering and the bad were always living like kings. The voice told me. 'Yes, actually the situation is exactly how you describe, but what you want me to do?'. 'Eliminate all these bad people'. But He answered: 'This will be done but only during the Second Coming'."
The conversation continued upon different similar subjects and concluded with the expected command. "The only thing I want from you is to tell the world what you saw. The people will come to you and ask you, what I told and what I did to you. You must tell them. This must be done until next Sunday".
The time was 5:20 am and there was a little light in the horizon. There was again fertilizing time. After the relative order, Hellenas did his job and then came back to the place of the initial contact.
"I was waiting. The triangle was not appearing. At 5:50 am I started to hear music. It was something like birds, many birds singing, like animals screaming, like wolves, jackals howling, many kinds of animals. I could not decipher them. This continued for 10 minutes. Exactly three seconds before 6 o 'clock -I was watching my watch- I saw the triangle again. 'So long, I am leaving', He said. I started to cry, to scream, 'No, please, stay', I cried. 'No' He said. 'We finished. Whatever I had to tell you, I did. People will ask you about that and you must tell them'.".
Hellenas experience was over. He returned to the shack and when the others wake up, they wondered when saw him to drink his morning coffee without a cigarette. They were most puzzled when he described what he saw last night.
I had the chance to speak with a couple of them and also to his girlfriend Efthymia before he came out of the shack to talk to us. They were puzzled but also truly amazed by his "conversion" and reasoned that there had to be some kind of religious miracle. Since Hellenas was now a completely different character, they said they had to believe his story.
Naturally, the story created a big fuss in the local community. Dozens of people came to his farm. Reactions were different. Some thought it was a divine intervention, some other connected it with UFOs and aliens and some other talked about the wild imagination of a simple-minded farmer. Priests who visited the area talked to him but denied making comments on his case.
A few days later, the situation was out of control. Dozens of local journalists but also TV crews from Athens and Patras visited him. That apparently was too much for the shy farmer. Also, the news was presented with not much objectivity. This fact made him to withdraw further and adopt a more reclusive stance.
On Sunday 13 June, Hellenas wake up feeling an impulse to go to the church. "I never went to the church in my life", he told me, "except on a couple of times on Easter, in order not to provoke my fellow villagers". He went to a small local church where he saw again the triangle and heard the incorporate voice. The voice informed him that the first part of his experience was over and now he had to rest and gain strength for his new life. Hellenas cited this as an excuse for the cold reception.
During the conversation, some other details came into light. The strange occurrences -subjective or objective- must have started before the main encounter on the 8th of June but in a curious way he did not considered them significant. For example, when I asked if he was afraid at some time during his experience he strongly denied and added that he was never afraid. But after a while he explained that the most frightening incident in his life happened three days before the encounter, when he heard a strong noise at night from inside a nearby shrub which was also shaking all over. "After my encounter with God I realized that it was an early manifestation of Him, preceding my trials".
My opinion is that Hellenas had a strange experience in June 1999, an experience which significantly changed his life. The degree of objectivity of the experience is another story. I think that most of it was of subjective nature, but shows all the parameters of the "standard" paranormal/religious experience of revelation. There is also an objective dimension to the story. When we visited the Ano Courtesi village to make a small investigation, there were people who told us that they also had seen some strange light from some distance in Hellenas' farm.
I feel that there is a strong resemblance with the contactee-abductee phenomenon. There are all the factors:
1. The experience started with the appearance of a luminous object and an incorporate voice.
2. The witness was alone, in a remote place, late at night.
3. The experience was a turning point in the farmer's life.
And, maybe the most important thing, is that "God" demanded from the farmer to talk about his experience to the world. A characteristic very similar in other religious encounters or contacts with aliens who persuade people to talk to the world about their experience.