Looking back into our own families, how many of you have heard a tale or two from the older generation? One of things that go bump in the night, or strange lights that dance in the sky or even ghost stories? We had Ron Donhauser come in and share this story from his family with us…
Anyone living in Wyandale in the 1960s and ’70s would know of Charlie Donhauser. A gentleman who was a life long bachelor farmer with a small dairy and sheep farm. For a bachelor, he always had a lot of visitors, including family and friends.
There were two cottages that were owned by families from Buffalo and Clarence that bordered his farm. When these families that owned them came down in the summer, there would be a lot of city kids that spent their time in Wyandale, and of course, there were a lot of kids living in the area for them to play with. Nephews and nieces along with all of these kids would hang around Charlie’s farm. Charlie loved the company and loved to tell stories to these kids.
They would sit on bales of hay and listen to Charlie while he milked his cows while telling them stories of UFOs and Martians. Now, when you’re a kid that is an interesting subject. One story even got printed in a Buffalo newspaper!
One day around 1959 when Charlie was on his tractor doing his fieldwork, up on a hill in the back of his farm, a silver saucer-type object flew across the field, low to the ground going very fast. It surprised him, but he believed UFOs did exist.
When he got back to the barn, he noticed something left marks on a toolshed, and the door was smashed into pieces. A neighbor boy did a talk on this in his 8th grade Springville-Griffith Institute class. Wonder what grade he got or if anyone believed the story.
Another story that Charlie liked to tell was when he was building a new hay wagon rack. He needed some bolts and drove into Springville, parking on Main Street to go to the Smith’s Hardware Store. He got out of his truck and noticed what look like some kind of spacecraft. No one else on the street seemed to notice, or maybe they couldn’t see it.
He was blocked on the sidewalk by three Martians who wore tight-fitting dark clothing with no zippers or buttons. They had large foreheads, big eyes, small noses and mouth. All three looked about the same. They held up a small shinny black object to Charlie’s face. He felt ill, couldn’t remember why he came into town. He returned to his truck, got in and drove home, shaken by the experience.
There was another time he told us when one of his milk cows did not come to the barn for the morning milking, Charlie went out and walk in the pasture looking for her. While walking between some wild apple trees, he spotted a UFO and two Martians bathing in a creek. Now when the Martians spotted Charlie, they dashed out of the creek, grabbed their clothes from a tree branch where they were hanging and jumped into the spacecraft and took off.
After they left, Charlie noticed that the female Martian had left her bra hanging on a branch. He took it home and hung it on a hook in his barn to show the kids when he would tell this story. He would ask the kids if they wanted to see it the Martian’s bra, which of course they all did. It had a wide riveted strap and two metal cups. It was really something to see. It was not until years later when I was looking at a Farm supply catalog that I found out what it was. The Martian bra turned out to be a bull halter.
Charlie always had such fun when telling us all his UFO stories and we as kids all loved to hear them. Charlie passed away in 1991 at the age of 73. Wyandale will never be the same. Rest in peace, Uncle Charlie. There will never be another storyteller like you…
In my family, we had stories of lights in the sky and out in the swamps. Some may try to convince me it was only swamp gas, but, you just never know.
What stories did you hear from your family? Come share them with us at the Lucy Bensley Center. We are open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the second and fourth Sunday, 2-4 p.m., or by appointment. Not in town? Well then write them up and send us an email at lucybensleycenter@ gmail.com. Call us at 592-0094.