The Canadian UFO television series Alien Mysteries is coming to the United States.
Alien Mysteries just debuted on Discovery Canada on March 3. But according to C21Media, the cable network Destination America (a Discovery-owned network) is bring the show to a U.S. audience.
A recreation of an abduction case on Alien Mysteries. (Credit: Discovery Canada)
Describing the show, Discovery Canada’s website explains that Alien Mysteries is “a fantastically creative and imaginative new take on some of the most enduring UFO mysteries from the last 50 years. Each story is backed up by credible witnesses, investigative reports, and tangible evidence such as physical markings, photographs, radar reports, and videos.”
Alien Mysteries premieres on Destination America in April. And, in the near future, the show will reportedly appear on various international channels owned by Discovery.
Arlington, Virginia - 03-05-13
While flying back from Washington, D.C. to Denver, Colorado I caught a UFO on video while taping the sky outside the window of the airliner.
Flight was Frontier Airlines flight 725. Because of the low light level, my camera was not focusing so well on auto focus, so I used the Caribou image on the wing to focus.
When I pulled back from the image, this is when I noticed a bright silver object that had suddenly flown into view.
I noticed that it was moving up, down, and changing directions. I zoomed in with the camera and because of turbulence, I had a hard time keeping the object in sight.
While viewing the object with my eyes, I noticed that it grew somewhat dull, then just shot off, but I'm unsure of the direction.
It was clearly not a landing light from another aircraft. Frontier Airlines shows the aircraft altitude and speed on a small monitor on the back of each seat.
I noticed that our altitude at the time was over 25,000 and our speed was about 400 MPH at the time. Please see the video.
Mark Rodeghier, CUFOS scientific director, at his home (6244 N. Nordica). (Lenny Gilmore / March 20, 2013)
By Ryan Smith
Opening a file cabinet at the Center for UFO Studies reveals manila folders marked with spine-tingling titles such as "Alien Luggage Report," "Project Moonwater" or "The CIA's role in UFO Studies." Yet, elsewhere there's a conspicuous lack of secret laboratories with test tubes that hold mysterious substances. Bearded men in white coats and tinfoil hats babbling about far-fetched conspiracy theories are nowhere to be found. And the center's director isn't even convinced that little grey men flying around in disc-like spaceships actually exist.
The Chicago-based research center, in other words, is very little like "The Men in Black," "The X-Files" or any other pop-culture-fueled stereotype people might have about an organization devoted to the study unidentified flying objects.
"A lot of people think we're this massive lab with these huge tentacles reaching out everywhere, but that's not really true. We're a fairly small enterprise," said Mark Rodeghier, CUFOS scientific director.
Indeed, "center" may not be as applicable of a word to describe the organization these days as "network." Though there are a handful of volunteers in the city, most of CUFOS' several hundred members are scientists and academics scattered throughout the world. And in 2010, difficult economic times forced the UFOlogists to close the doors of its longtime headquarters on Peterson Street in Chicago's northern Arcadia Terrace neighborhood. More than 70,000 case files, journals and scientific papers are now split between the Skokie home of the organization's archivist and the basement of Rodeghier's ultra-modern house in Norwood Park.
Dispersed or not, CUFOS remains one of only two major organizations in the U.S. dedicated to the serious (yes, serious) academic and scientific study of UFO activity. Its primary focus is to be something of a think tank of unexplained phenomena--focusing on collecting and documenting information on reported sightings, producing reports and journals and assisting researchers around the world with their own investigations.
Columbia College professor Tony Trigilio made a recent visit to CUFOS to browse through the center's archives. The creative writing professor is working on a book of historical poetry about a UFO abduction case and found a file at CUFOS to be invaluable.
"I was doing a lot of research on people who claim to be abducted, and CUFOs kept coming up in the research I was doing," Trigilio said. "I wish knew about it before because it's such a great archive."
The last report of a sighting recorded by CUFOS was a claim about two months ago of a strange aircraft with orange lights flying over Chicago's northern suburbs, allegedly too close to the ground to be a plane.
"We'll probably going to get more reports like that soon because of the government using drones more domestically," Rodeghier said.
Much of what CUFOS does with sightings resembles police work more than scientific inquiry.
"When we get reports of sightings, we talk to the witness, get the details, and that's really like police investigation work," Rodeghier said. "It only becomes science when you have physical evidence that can be studied. A piece of soil where a UFO may have landed or a car that may have been interfered with. But it's not easy to get that evidence."
Very little has been easy for CUFOS since it was founded by former Northwestern astronomy professor Dr. J. Allen Hynek in 1973. During the ‘50s and ‘60s, Hynek served as the astronomical consultant to the Air Force's Project Blue Book, the government's official investigation into the UFO phenomenon. ("As weird as that sounds now, you used to be able to report a sighting to our government," Rodeghier said.) Three years after that project was closed in 1969, Hynek published the influential book, "The UFO Experience: A Scientific Study," in which he categorized different UFO sightings and coined a phrase that would later be borrowed by director Steven Spielberg for his own take on aliens visiting earth--"Close Encounters."
A year later, Hynek formed CUFOS in an office in Evanston, despite the fact that his colleagues at Northwestern weren't happy about his foray into the controversial new field (a Northwestern astronomy professor declined to comment for this story).
"After a while (Hynek) became a true believer of UFOs, and he became a big embarrassment to other astronomers," said Dr. Mark Hammergren, an astronomer at Adler Planetarium who cites Hynek as a "childhood hero." "It's sad because he had previously done a lot of great research and work in the field of astronomy. It's a shame that it happened like that."
Hynek retired from Northwestern in the late ‘70s, but continued as director of CUFOS until his death in 1986. He may be gone, but his legacy remains large at the center. Several file cabinets are full of Hynek's papers and research along with newspaper articles, field reports, government documents and any other evidence the center can get its hands on. The collection, widely considered the best in the world, is part of what makes CUFOS so valuable, Rodeghier said.
But beyond being a large library, the center has served as an integral part of the biggest UFO investigations of the last few decades. In 1989, Rodeghier and Regional Director Don Schmitt joined an expedition of scientists and archaeologists seeking new answers in the Roswell crash--a famous sighting in UFO lore, in which witnesses claimed that an object found in Roswell, N.M., in 1947 was a flying saucer containing alien lifeforms. The U.S. government concluded that the alleged spacecraft was part of a top-secret experimental weather balloon program, but many at CUFOS believed they were hiding something.
"I interviewed witnesses in Roswell, and we actually dug where the guy said the object came down and crashed," Rodeghier said. "We didn't find anything significant, otherwise you would have heard of it. So I think Roswell is still a big mystery, which I'm afraid we'll never solve."
CUFOS also put together a team to study what Rodeghier called the "alien abduction craze" in the ‘70s and ‘80s, a period in which hundreds of people claimed they were kidnapped by various aliens and forced into strange medical experiments. The first widely publicized abduction was the Barney and Betty Hill case back in 1961, but the number of abduction claims increased exponentially after the release of a TV movie dramatization of the Hill case, according to Hammergren.
"It's not a coincidence that after a couple of movies came out about these aliens, the James Earl Jones movie and ‘Close Encounters,' that more people started saying they were abducted," Hammergren said.
Any meaningful attempt to try and accurately determine when the first so-called alien abduction of a human being took place is inevitably going to be a very difficult task. Most researchers and students of the UFO phenomenon would probably concede that the phenomenon that has today become popularly known as alien abduction was relatively unknown until sometime after September 19, 1961.
On that night, Betty and Barney Hill, a married couple from New Hampshire, were driving home from vacationing in Canada when they were allegedly subjected to a terrifying experience. Despite viewing some form of unusual aerial object in the night sky and what appeared to be living entities that could be seen through the craft’s portals, until their arrival back home, the Hill’s had very little indication that there was actually far more to the encounter than they realized.
Betty and Barney Hill
It later transpired, however, that approximately two-hours of time could not be accounted for. After some months of emotional distress, sleepless nights, and strange dreams pertaining to encounters with unusual, otherworldly beings, the couple finally sought assistance from Benjamin Simon, a Boston-based psychiatrist and neurologist. Subjected to time-regression hypnosis, both Betty and Barney recalled what had taken place during that missing 120 minutes or so.
The Interrupted Journey
Significantly, they provided very close accounts of encounters with apparent alien creatures that took the pair on board some form of alien vehicle and subjected them to a series of physical examinations – a number of which were highly distressing and intrusive in nature. The experience of the Hill’s later became the subject of John Fuller’s now-classic book, The Interrupted Journey and a 1975 movie of the same name.
By far the most commonly reported creatures present during alien abduction cases are those that have become popularly known as the Grays. Typically, the Grays are short in stature, around three-to-four-feet in height; they have gray-white skin, hence the name; and their bodies are usually described as being thin to the point of near-emaciation at times. Certainly the most striking and memorable features of the Grays are their heads.
They are hairless and overly large in proportion to their bodies with their ears, nose, and mouth being vestigial at best. Their eyes, on the other hand, are black, huge, almond-like in shape, and hypnotic in nature. And since that fateful 1961 night, when Betty and Barney Hill unwittingly added a whole new dimension to the UFO controversy, literally thousands of people from all across the globe have reported close encounters with the Grays and their distinctly motley ilk. Less well known, however, is the interest that the U.S. military took in the Hill affair.
On the day after the Hill’s encounter, Betty telephoned the 100th Bomb Wing, Strategic Air Command, at Pease Air Force Base, to report the details of her and Barney’s experience – at least, those parts of the event that they could consciously recall. Of this telephone exchange, Stanton Friedman and Kathleen Marden wrote in their book Captured!:
“Barney omitted his observation of the humanoid figures that communicated with him through a double row of windows, fearing that he might be thought a ‘crackpot.’ Later that day, Major Paul W. Henderson phoned the Hills and questioned both of them extensively. According to Betty, he seemed very interested in the wing-like structures that telescoped out from each side of the pancake shaped craft and the red lights on their tips.”
Of this aspect of the affair, Betty herself wrote: “Major Henderson asked to speak with Barney, who was hesitating about talking on the phone. But, once he was on the phone, he was giving more information than I had. Later, Barney said he had done this, for Major Henderson did not seem to express any surprise or disbelief.”
Betty then added something very interesting: “Later, Major Henderson called back and asked if we would be willing to be put through to somewhere else, and have our calls monitored. We agreed to this. One call was transferred to another place and today we do not know with whom we were talking.”
The following day, Major Henderson told Betty and Barney that he had spent the previous night burning the midnight-oil, while preparing an official report on the encounter of the Hill’s, which reads as follows:
“ …on the night of 19-20 Sept between 20/0001 and 20/0100 Mr. and Mrs. Hill were travelling south on Route near Lincoln, N.H., when they observed, through the windshield of their car, a strange object in the sky. They noticed it because of its shape and the intensity of its lighting as compared to the stars in the sky. The weather and the sky were clear at the time…
“They continued to observe the object from their moving car for a few minutes then stopped. After stopping the car they used binoculars at times. They report that the object was traveling north very fast. They report it changed directions rather abruptly and then headed South. Shortly thereafter it stopped and hovered in the air. There was no sound evident up to this time. Both observers used the binoculars at this point.
“While hovering, objects began to appear from the body of the ‘object’ which they described as looking like wings which made a V shape when extended. The ‘wings’ had red lights on the tips. At this point they observed it to appear to swoop down in the general direction of their auto. The object continued to descend until it appeared to be only a matter of ‘hundreds of feet’ above their car.
“At this point they decided to get out of that area, and fast. Mr. Hill was driving and Mrs. Hill watched the object by sticking her head out the window. It departed in a generally North westerly direction but Mrs. Hill was prevented from observing its full departure by her position in the car. They report that while the object was above them after it had ‘swooped down’ they heard a series of short loud ‘buzzes.’
“They continued on their trip and when they arrived in the vicinity of Ashland, N.H., about 30 miles from Lincoln, they again heard the ‘buzzing’ sound of the ‘object’; however, they did not see it at this time. Mrs. Hill reported the flight pattern of the ‘object’ to be erratic, changed directions rapidly, that during its flight it ascended and descended numerous times very rapidly. Its flight was described as jerky and not smooth.
“Mr. Hill is a Civil Service employee in the Boston Post Office and doesn’t possess any technical or scientific training. Neither does his wife.
“During a later conversation with Mr. Hill, he volunteered the observation that he did not originally intend to report this incident but in as much as he & his wife did in fact see this occurrence he decided to report it. He says that on looking back he feels that the whole thing is incredible and he feels somewhat foolish – he just can not [sic] believe that such a thing could or did happen. He says, on the other hand, that they both saw what they reported and this fact gives it some degree of reality.
“Information contained herein was collected by means of telephone conversations between the observers and the preparing individual. The reliability of the observer cannot be judged and while his apparent honesty and seriousness appears to be valid it cannot be judged at this time.”
Since many abductees report apparent secret, official interest in their experiences, one has to wonder: did it all began with the Hills back in 1961? Did their encounter provoke some agency of government, or of the military, to initiate a kind of “Project Abduction” to study and evaluate cases of cosmic-kidnap? Perhaps, when it comes to abductions, we might be better off looking for the answers not in the stars, but deep within the vaults of government..