Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The 1994 Zimbabwe UFO case

Here is one UFO incident that I'm surprised I haven't gotten to yet.

I find it compelling due to the demographic of the witnesses involved: schoolchildren.  Specifically, pre and elementary school-aged children of assorted ethnicity in Zimbabwe who, presumably, had limited exposure to the pop culture of the Western world.

The incident occurred on September 16th, 1994 at Ariel School in the town of Ruwa. Others in the town would later tell investigators that UFOs had been sighted in the skies over the area for up to two days before the occurrence, but it was what happened at the school that was of the greatest significance. On the day in question, the teachers and administrators at the school were all in a staff meeting and the children were left relatively unattended on the playground. These children reported that the incident began with them seeing three classic, saucer-shaped UFOs in the sky over the school. One of these craft descended and either landed or hovered just above the ground in an overgrown area about 100 meters from where the children stood.

It was then that a "little man" emerged from the UFO. It was described as having "a scrawny neck, long black hair, and huge eyes." Naturally, the children grew agitated upon seeing this and several started screaming with fear. The being then noticed the students and vanished. At that point, the object rose and flew away at great speed. The students then ran back inside, seeking help and comfort from the adults.

Cynthia Hind, a UFO investigator who had done extensive work on the continent of Africa, visited Ariel School the day after the incident. Each student told Hind a nearly identical story. "I swear by every hair on my head and the whole Bible that I am telling the truth," one child allegedly said. Hind had the students make crayon drawings of what they saw and she got 35 depictions of the same thing. The graphic above is one such drawing by a witness. If you'd like to see more, click here (I will warn you however that I find the writer's voice on that page to be appalling.)

Later, Dr. John Mack, Harvard psychologist and author of the pivotal book Abduction, visited the school and conducted his own investigation. A few of the older students told Dr. Mack that the being they witnessed actually communicated with them. Thoughts came to them "from the man's eyes." What were these thoughts? Essentially they were warnings, informing us that if we didn't stop polluting our world and destroying our environment we would be in for a hell of a time of it.

Here's what I like about this case: a lot of witnesses with no motivation to lie. Even if a few of them were just seeking attention, it would be next to impossible to get 35 kids ages 5-12 to all stick to the same story. Let alone to do so convincingly. Indeed, several of them were outright terrified by what they witnessed. Many of them believed the "alien" to be a "tokoloshi," a mythical demon that eats children. Additionally, neither the kids nor the school seemed to profit much from this if it were indeed a ploy of sorts. In short, these scared children had no impetus to make any of this up. Even if they had, it's nearly a miracle that they kept their story so consistent. Seems like at least one weisenheimer would louse it up.

This is not to say that there aren't at least a few inconsistencies. For one, the description of "long black hair" is incongruous with typical reports of the Greys. I say that only because the descriptions given otherwise match a typical case of that variety. Also, the addition of the alleged telepathic communication after the fact and the warning about the environment is a bit eyebrow raising. As an undercover expose found, Mack did at times lead his witnesses to say the least and he was also an environmentalist. I would say, however, that this casts suspicion on only this facet of the case and not the entirety as Mack only became involved much later.

Another facet I've keyed in on is that this is yet another case where the UFO phenomena seemed to want to be seen. Stealth is not being taken into consideration if you're landing on a school playground full of children in broad daylight. The occupants of the craft wanted to make contact. What is the motivation for what really amounts to grandstanding? Was it really to give us a warning? Was there a significance to selecting school children? Was it because they were more likely to believe? Was the phenomena responding to human thoughts?

Another thing I like about the nature of the witnesses is that I'm willing to guess they had little exposure to the close encounter mythos up until that day. If this had happened in the U.S., Canada, or another Western nation, I would be more inclined to say that they were following the cookie cutter, sci-fi pattern for a UFO encounter as is replete in our media. Such, I believe anyway, is not the case in Zimbabwe.

What is known is that there were 35 witnesses. All describing and depicting the same thing.

I would call that significant.

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