The movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” originally released in November 1977, has become a cult classic, not only to UFO investigators like myself, but non-enthusiasts alike.
Written and directed by Steven Spielberg, a self-proclaimed ufologist, the movie follows the life of an Indiana electrical lineman, Roy Neary, who had his own UFO encounter. This year marks the movie’s 40th anniversary with a special re-release at selected movie theaters last August, and a 40th anniversary Blu-Ray edition. Many question; as fantastic as this movie was/is, was the concept based on fiction or — nonfiction?
In July 1947, something, which is still being debated today, crashed outside of Roswell on some remote ranch land. My investigations indicated, a rancher, his son and his son’s friend came across debris from some type of aircraft crash while checking on their sheep after a horrific thunderstorm the night before.
What is debatable after all these years is, exactly what that debris was? What’s even more debatable is, the 4-feet tall occupants that were seen at the impact site some 17 miles from the rancher’s debris site. Grey aliens!
On July 8, 1947, Roswell Army Airfield put out a press release stating it captured a flying saucer on a ranch in the Roswell region. Later, the press release was retracted from a Fort Worth, Texas, Army Airfield base stating it was a weather balloon. Then, as recently as 1994, the Air Force once again retracted the story, now stating the weather balloon was actually a high-altitude balloon chain with special electronics that could detect nuclear-test blasts from foreign countries.
Even later in June 1997, the Air Force came out once again, stating the bodies that were seen at the alleged crash site were 6-feet tall test dummies being thrown out of airplanes. However, these test dummies weren’t actually used in New Mexico until 1953, so if any type of humanoids lying on the desert floor were observed, it wasn’t in 1947, the Air Force claimed, it was really 1953. So basically the Air Force said the observers must have their dates wrong. Hmm …
Or — maybe there was a time-phase-slip phenomenon that caused test dummies that were thrown out of airplanes in 1953 to travel back in time to 1947, lose about 2 feet in height, thus resembling 4-feet, four-finger creatures with large heads and elongated eyes, which some people actually saw. Hey, that could happen. Yeah, maybe in the movies.
Speaking of movies, back to “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” The movie title was derived from UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek’s 1972 book, “The UFO Experience.” Part two of the book, “The Data and the Problem,” discussed six different types of UFO encounters, which include; Nocturnal Lights, UFOs Seen in the Daytime, Radar-Visual UFO Reports, and finally, Close Encounters of the First, Second and Third Kind.
J. Allen Hynek was a professor of astronomy at Ohio State University and served as the astronomical consultant to the Air Force’s UFO research projects; Project Sign (1947-49), Project Grudge (1949-52) and Project Blue Book (1952-69). His major role for the Air Force was to debunk the UFO reports he investigated by explaining them away as some type of natural phenomenon like Venus or even the mythical swamp gas scenario.
Through all the years and sighting reports he investigated, Dr. Hynek turned from a skeptic and debunker to a believer. As a result, his Air Force contract was canceled and he ultimately started “CUFOS,” the Center for UFO Studies.
His book, “The UFO Experience,” categorized Close Encounters of the “first kind” as very brilliant light or lights that are close to the observers less than 500 feet away. The “second kind” entails a UFO-type craft that leaves a visible record of its visit or encounter with human observers. The “third kind” is when the presence of animated creatures are reported. Animated creatures in this case refer to humanoid creatures or robots, as opposed to creatures that are computer generated.
Now the movie itself goes beyond “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” into “Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind,” which is an expansion on Dr. Hynek’s scale by his good friend and fellow UFO researcher, Jacques Vallee. Now known as the Vallee Classification, which many mainstream UFO organizations follow, “the fourth kind” is when the witness has been abducted or taken by the aliens.
This last classification stands out very clearly at the end of the movie when human occupants are released from the mother craft. Richard Dreyfuss’ character, Roy Neary, goes into the craft by his own submission, which doesn’t follow the Vallee Classification. We’ll just have to call that, “Close Encounters of the Roy Kind.”
Most people who aren’t familiar with ufology seem to think Steven Spielberg came up with the 4-foot grey alien design for the movie. However, research and eye witness testimony shows the little grey aliens seen in the movie were seen back in 1947 at Roswell. It’s possible that J. Allen Hynek, who was technical advisor for the movie, had some input on that.
And the cover-ups? The movie used some type of nerve gas scenario from a train wreck, whereas with Roswell, it was the Air Force retracting multiple stories before finally claiming some people can’t tell the difference between 1947 and 1953. Either way, this year Roswell celebrated the 70th anniversary of the 1947 UFO event, and still today, relatives of eye witnesses are coming forward and fueling the fire in favor of something other than a balloon chain hitting the desert.
My question is, when will the Air Force finally retract their last explanation and finally admit that people in and around Roswell really did have its own “Close Encounters of the Roswell Kind.”
Chuck Zukowski is a UFO/paranormal investigator out of Colorado Springs, Colorado and can be reached online at UFOnut.com.