"The Phenomenon": 2020 documentary about the evidence that UFO's are real and alien

The Phenomenon, late 2000, is a 100-minute documentary of the history of official investigations of UFO encounters. It is directed by James Fox (and Tracy Torme), from Farah Films and 1091 Films. (There is a similar 2017 film 'Unacknowledged', to be watched later.) It can be viewed on Plex-tv (normally if you have other accounts like Amazon; there were 4 2-min ad interruptions).

The film chronicles most of the major UFO encounters that have happened in the US (and some worldwide) since the late 1940s, with interviews of many military offices, congresspersons, and observers.

It starts with an account of a 1952 encounter by pilot William Coleman, who was making a Naval flight from Miami to Mississippi, and saw a large metallic disk flying close to the coastal lowlands below him. 

It soon goes back to cover Roswell in July 1947, with the account of Jesse Marcel, who would be “silenced”.   It also covers the April 1964 encounter near Socorro, NM (and White Sands) by police officer Lenny Zamora, who says he saw small humans around the craft.

The film proceeds to cover more controversial incidents.  In 1982, an encounter over Ukraine reportedly might have caused the launch of a nuclear missile (this was nine years before the breakup of the USSR, now the subject of war).  A physicist at Stanford University reportedly analyzed some of the construction material recovered from crashed saucers and reports it contains a much higher percentage of certain metal isotopes than any terrestrial aircraft.

There is a followup article in the New York Times Insider (paywall) by Lisa Kean and Ralph Blumenthal, 'Do We Believe in U.F.O.s? That’s the Wrong Question' (2021).

The climax of the film comes with the presentation pf a “close encounter of the third kind” at the Ariel School at Ruwa, Zimbabwe in September 1994.  Apparently many children saw the beings, who were human in shape but smaller, had very large black eyes (were the compound eyes?).  The children (who included white children apparently from the UK) made drawings of the craft, the persons from the craft, and odd structures that looked like fungal fruiting bodies.   (The film climax in Zimbabwe provides a coincidence as I reviewed an important documentary from there Aug. 9.)

Between 1975 and 1978, while I lived in Manhattan, I made several airline-car-rental trips to Tonopah, AZ (40 miles west of Phoenix on I-10) where Dan Fry ran his organization “Understanding” and had April and October conventions.  The largest convention occurred in 1978 and was about 'Man in space', following the 1976 craft landing on Mars.  In May 1976 (as best I recall) I had an Understanding unit meeting in my apartment in the Cast Iron Building in NYC and attracted about 20 people (in pre-Internet days) to seat in my oddly shaped trapezoidal apartment (which Cash Jordan would have loved on YT).

I had made a vacation trip to the area near the Mogollon Rim in December 1975 a month after Travis Walton’s supposed capture and return (1993 movie, Fire in the Sky).  I did see one very bright object in the night sky driving south of the rim back to Phoenix.

I also recall spotting an odd object over an athletic field at the University of Kansas in Lawrence in the Spring of 1967 when I was a graduate student there, and it got into the local paper.

Given the laws of physics as we know it, one wonders how beings get here in the flesh in reasonable time. Wormholes in space-time? Maybe meta-universes? ('The Man from Taured', Aug. 2.) One time in Sept 2012, a few high school-college age people I knew from a local church were walking along a major Arlington VA highway when one of them stumbled into the street., as I coincidentally approached. The car died. No accident. The car started again. Did someone have Smallville-like "powers"? I wonder. Feels like living in a simulation. "Smallville" (as well as "Kyle XY" and NBC's "The Event') raises the question as to whether an alien "human" (if "they" exist) is guaranteed legal personhood if the person demonstrates human capacities. But orcas can do that.

I’ll also include the trailer for the 1994 Paramount film “Roswell: The UFO Cover Up”, Director: Jeremy Paul Kagan; Starring: Kim Greist, Kyle MacLachlan, Martin Sheen, Xander Berkeley, Dwight Yoakam, which I saw on cable that year at home. (Those were the days, deep in my IT career, leading soon to writing my first book.) I visited Roswell and the UFO Museum (and landing site 25 miles to the north) in April 1998.

(Posted: Saturday, August 13, 2022 at 7:30 PM EDT by John W. Boushka)