Thursday, September 4, 2008


By Darrell Laurant

SALEM - The weird thing about William Goodlett is that there's nothing weird about him.

He lives in a big, broad-shouldered Victorian house on an Anytown, USA side street in Salem. The house is cluttered as only someone who reads four books a week can clutter it.

He seemed glad that I had stopped by on a recent Friday morning, but said he didn't have much time to talk to me.

"I've got to run off at 11:30," he told me. "I'm secretary of the Diner's Club and we've got a meeting."

It was just after 10 a.m. Goodlett was dressed in mouse-colored slacks, a slightly darker sweater, a flannel shirt (obviously an old friend), faded running shoes and a western string tie. A robust 78 years old, he resembled everyone's favorite grandfather. When he talked about his travels, which had been extensive to say the least, his eyes crinkled and twinkled.

Either Goodlett had sized me up as open-minded, or else he didn't care. In his occasional glances in my direction, there was no hesitation, no unspoken "you may think I'm nuts, but...."

"I have done astral projection my whole life." he said quietly, "I've been all over the world." Not to mention the galaxy.

A few weeks earlier, a friend had called and asked, "Have you ever interviewed an extraterrestrial?"

Negative. Gurus, yes. Howard Cosell, yes. A snake swallower, yes. So far, though, my interview subjects have been limited to this planet. My slogan is "Earth, love it or leave it."

But I was curious, nonetheless.

"I think you'd enjoy hearing this fellow speak in Rose McKnight's class at CVCC," my caller said. "He'll be there on Halloween."

Alas, I missed him then (it was my daughter's last year for trick or treat), but I did manage to call Goodlett and set up an interview. And in doing a bit of research, I found out that he is a very big deal in the world of astral projection, interplanetary travel and the like.

Ruth Montgomery's best-seller "Aliens Among Us" devotes an entire chapter to him. She calls Goodlett "one of the most fascinating men I ever met."

I had to agree. Even forgetting the astral projection stuff. Goodlett is unusual. He is an artist. He has taught dance, pioneered a method of teaching reading phonetically and served as a cryptographer in World War II.

And he says he travels to other planets -- not just Mars or Saturn. He says he goes to anonymous worlds like "The Planet of the Tall Trees" and "The Planet of the Small Islands."


"I just go," Goodlet said, "I ask to go, and that's it."

Sometimes his requests go unheeded. It happens every few years, and he travels outside of his body.

OK. I thought dreams, vivid dreams, Goodlett shook his head gently, as if correcting a stubborn child.

"With dreams, I'm outside looking in," he said. "I know what a dream is. This is different, I'm there."

When he returns, he makes drawings. He showed me a dozen or so, incredibly elaborate and bizarre, filled with creatures and landscapes unlike anything I had every seen.

You may be interested to know that William Goodlett is not alone. Actress-author Shirley MacLaine has gone on record as believing in astral projection and out of body experiences. The Monroe Institute in Amherst County has been set up to study them. Goodlett gets supportive calls from all over the world, he pointed out, many congratulating him for "coming out of the closet."

Which is nice. But Goodlett doesn't care if people think he's eccentric. Back in 1978, he told me, he died of a heart attack.

"I was sitting in that chair," he said, pointing toward an overstuffed wingback in a corner of his kitchen. "And my heart stopped. I felt myself coming out of my body. I heard beautiful music. I moved toward a light, and then something told me to go back. Since then I haven't feared death."

Or ridicule.

By Goodlett's estimate, thousands of planets in our solar system harbor life, and "600 or so that have humans. I've seen creatures just like us," he said.

Thursday's Child


Harmony said...

William lived well into his 90's, one of most highly intelligent people I have ever known. I was raised by his brother, Robert, and as a child William helped me with learning skills. I fully believe he was indeed the traveler he said he was. He was not given to fantasies, only reality, a very sensible person.

Tammy Stillwater said...

Thanks so much for your blog about William Goodlett. I met him twice, and heard his accounts of space travel. He was truly amazing. I found your blog while blogging about him tonight myself...I wonder why tonight? Such nice memories.

Unknown said...

what a great msg from a helpful soul i only wish to live up to his visions for earth i am here to help and he has planted a seed in my conscience much love to all who see my footstep you are on the right path keep moving forward i love you all very dearly!

Unknown said...

if anyone finds some of his art i would like to spread it the ppl are ready to see

Sarah/Sandy said...

I grew up with William Goodlett as a close family friend. In the late forties he lived on the same street in Roanoke (Avondale Ave.) that my family did. I'll never forget the Christmas my sister and I heard "Santa's" sleigh bells. Yes, it was William. We found that out many, many years afterwards. We also visited him (and Robert - though he usually stayed upstairs and just made an appearance to say hello) around the holidays in the Victorian Union Street house in Salem. Oh, how I loved that house. It really sparked my imagination. I could imagine secret passageways all over the place. I saw him last in either the late eighties or early nineties and he was still the dynamic, bright light he had always been. He taught me how to call the rain and then get it to stop and I've been doing it ever since. I was very much saddened by his death and would have loved to have bought some of his paintings before he left this plane.

Peter Cedergren said...

I met and heard William speak back around 1992 or so. Amazing individual with amazing stories of his travels. Quite curiously I and a dear friend at the time had a most unusual encounter with a space traveler just a few days before we went to hear William speak. As William told us that day, "...they come here as well" and that was who my dear friend and I had met ... one of "them".

Craig said...

My brother, Dennis Parr, sustained a severe brain injury caused by a car accident in 1968. Dennis was only 18 years old at the time of his injury. Because Dennis sustained his injuries after he was 18 years old, the Roanoke County School System could not provide training for Dennis but referred him to Mr. William Goodlett.

Mr. William Goodlett taught Dennis for several years. He taught Dennis, how to retrain his brain so that he could read, write, speak, communicate, walk, and maintain his balance. Mr. Goodlett taught Dennis about Indians, the Universe, and the Pyramids. Dennis received his treatment from Mr. Goodlett 3 times a week for several years. He improved immensely with Mr. Goodlett's training. Dennis is now 70 years old and talks about Mr. Goodlett frequently. The teaching from Mr. William Goodlett greatly improved Dennis Parr's quality of life. Our family will forever be grateful for Mr. William Goodlett.

Kristen said...

I just got a copy of Aliens Among Us by Ru5h Montgomery. I don’t think I’ve read something by her since the early 70s. I was fascinated to read chapter 7 about William Goodlett. Wish I’d have met him. I would LOVE to see his artwork. If anyone can post a link where to find his artwork, PLEASE DO! Thank you so much!