As I have wrote several times in the past, I don’t care too much about UFO documentaries. That may come as a surprise, given how most of my writing focuses on the UFO mystery, and therein lies the reason: most UFO documentaries are really not meant for me as an audience; they’re seeking to convince the viewer there really is something behind this phenomenon besides lies, misidentifications and government-driven misinformation. And the way most filmmakers attempt to accomplish that is by a lot of rehashing of trodden ‘classic’ cases, while weeding out the high strangeness elements which run counter to the simplistic interpretations championed by both believers and skeptics, in order to make UFOs more presentable (and marketable) to an unconvinced population.
And they always fail.
So when I say I’m actually looking forward to watching the upcoming documentary Ariel Phenomenon, it is not because I want to see if they have new ‘evidence’ which could definitively confirm one of the most intriguing UFO events of the last 30 years –the Ariel school landing in Zimbabwe, when in 1994 dozens of school children (and some of their teachers) were witnesses to a dramatic close encounter of the 3rd kind– which was investigated by the late Harvard psychiatrist Dr. John Mack, and which has captivated the attention of many due to its troubling message of climate collapse and dire warning from an alleged superior intelligence over our poor stewardship of our planet –Dr. Garry Nolan, who’s engaged in the study of alleged UFO materials, mentioned Ariel to Lex Friedman on a recent podcast interview as one of the cases he was intrigued the most (despite it’s obvious lack of material evidence to support it).
What I want from this ‘UFO film’ are not more flashy UFO CGI recreations. What I want is to see the face of the then-children who have grown into adulthood carrying the weight of this experience on their backs. I want to know how it affected their careers, family and romantic relationships, their religious beliefs, their dreams and hopes for the future. I want to see how this phenomenon transforms a person’s life, because at the end of the day that is the only thing which remains with us once the lights fly away, the soil samples and burn marks (if any) are scooped out and measured, and both sides of the belief camp give their ‘final verdict’ on what “really” happened without even bothering to look into the eyes of the witness who experienced it firsthand; meanwhile those lucky (or unlucky) few will now try to carry on with their lives as best they can, forever haunted by a question no one –not you, me, Lou Elizondo, Jacques Vallee or anyone you can think of– will be able to answer:
If film maker Randall Nickerson and his crowd-funded Ariel Phenomenon film manages to come any close to capturing that human aspect to the alien question on the screen, then it will be worth it.
Ariel Phenomenon is due to be released on May 20, 2022, and can be pre-ordered via the official website.