The area around the Allagash River is known for its incredible views of Maine’s beautiful mountains. Hill after hill of greenery also add to the cozy, yet, isolated aesthetic. Many visit the area for a handful of reasons but the four men we’re talking about tonight had plans of taking a small vacation from their studies at the Massachusetts College of Art and going fishing in the Allagash River. The men were Jack and Jim Weiner, twin brothers, and friends Chuck Rak and Charlie Foltz. That August in 1976 would prove to be one of the most memorable moments of the men’s lives, and it wasn’t because the fish were biting.
As a matter of fact, the fish weren’t biting at all. At nightfall, the group built a campfire on the bank and took a canoe onto Eagle Lake and, using a flashlight to track fish, continued trying to catch something to eat. Still having no luck, they were about ready to call it a night until they noticed an incredibly bright light in the sky just above the trees. According to Jim, the light was absolutely massive. In an interview done with the Portland Press Herald in 2013, he said, “This thing was big man. It was as big as a two-story house. It had to have been at least 70-80 feet in diameter.” The light was also said to have been only around 100-200 yards away.
The orb of light seemed to cycle through colors as they stared at it; going from white to red, green, and then into a whitish-yellow. The group noticed the shape was moving toward the canoe very slowly but despite this being an incredibly strange event, all men reported not feeling afraid. From the same interview, we spoke of moments ago Jim said, “We were very curious at first because it made no noise at all so there were no threatening hums or whines or anything like that.” Jim later states he suggested the group attempt to signal it. It’s possible they believed it was a kind of terrestrial aircraft that was flying far too low.
Chuck, who was also interviewed in 2013, said using the flashlight had sent out an SOS signal. Only moments later, the strange events only escalated. Less than seconds after the SOS was sent out a large beam of light shot out from the ball of light in the sky and landed on the lake near the men. They began paddling back to shore afraid they’d done something wrong but it was far too late. The beam followed the men as they traveled over the lake and eventually it enveloped the entire canoe.
Then, as if nothing had ever happened, the men’s canoe hit the bank and they were back at their campfire which now was nothing more than smoldering embers. Seeing this, the men concluded they’d lost at least 2-3 hours of time. Charlie pointed the flashlight back to the sky but nothing was there. For quite some time, none of the men were able to recall what took place in that large span of time. No one had any recollection of what took place until Jack began having nightmares.
I can’t seem to find online when these nightmares began taking place but according to him, this is what he saw. To begin, there were numerous beings with long necks, and very large, bulbous heads. The beings were examining his arm while the other three men were sitting on a bench not far away. For whatever reason, they were unable to get to him, though in the depiction it seems like there were some beings standing as guards near the exam table.
Their eyes were described as large and metallic with no eyelids and their hands only had four, insect-like fingers. Soon the other three men claimed to have numerous dreams in the same vein as Jack’s. While all four attempted to forget and move on with their lives, they were all pulled back into the world of extraterrestrials in 1989.
It was the year before this that Jim attended a UFO conference hosted by a man named Raymond Fowler. Raymond was a UFO researcher and spoke with Jim about the encounter and convinced the four men to undergo regressive hypnosis. The sessions begin in 1989 and all four of the men were able to bring something to the table. Each one of them, over their 3-hour sessions, spoke about the appearance of the creatures in detail, spoke about the numerous tests done by the creatures, and finally the interior of the craft and the way the creatures spoke telepathically.
Following this, the men were given psychiatric evaluations and deemed completely stable. The four of them even passed a polygraph test. It would seem that these four men really did encounter… something that night on Eagle Lake in Allagash, Maine. Or did they? Of course, this story has been met with numerous waves of criticism and skepticism over the years following the claims, most abduction stories do but this one specifically seems worthy of questioning.
We begin with the Press Herald Interview in 2013. The interviewer says, “Does it bother you when people say you might be crazy or you might be making it up or lying?” Both Charlie and Jim claim the criticism doesn’t get to them and stay strong on their claims. Charlie even says, “We’ve heard it so many times over the years. I mean, number one, we have nothing to gain by this except public ridicule,” He then goes on to say, “Our goal would be to enlighten, inform and put some kind of positive direction on this.
This incredible story began to fall apart just a few years ago, in 2016. Jessica Potila, a writer with Fiddlehead Focus published an article in September of that year. In it, she recounted a phone conversation had with Chuck Rak; one of the four men there the night of the alleged encounter. Over the phone, he told her bluntly, “The reason I supported the story at first was because I wanted to make some money,”
He goes on to state the men did see some kind of UFO in the sky that night, however, there could be a very real reason as to why. He explained, “I had an uncomfortable feeling of being stared at. I turned around and saw this very, very bright globe of light in the sky,” Chuck then describes the lights as we’d heard them described before. “Changing color from white to red to green in a liquid kind of melding motion.”
The following morning the group reported it to the park ranger who wrote it off as spotlights coming from a grand opening of a hardware store some miles away. Just as Chuck said, “there was no way this could have been a hardware store grand opening at 9 o’clock at night,”. And he’s right; that’s ridiculous. As far as Jim’s visions, Rack claims those only began after Jim suffered a severe fall and began suffering from seizures.
During all this time the group was featured on things like Unsolved Mysteries and appeared on the Joan Rivers Show all of which did pay the men, though Rack said they only ever made very little. The group would eventually see things differently and parted. It was around this time Rack began claiming that the encounter, as the story portrayed it, never took place. He told Jessica Polita, “I don’t call it a hoax, just brilliant storytelling. It’s not the truth, but I have to admire the storytelling ability of these guys, ”
The fire that was embers when they returned, had also been exaggerated according to Rak. He claimed most of the stick and limbs used were only about 3 inches in diameter while some of the others there that night claimed some of them to be 10 inches in diameter. Finally, Rak made claims in the interview that the men were under the influence when the encounter took place.
Jack reportedly brought along Afghan Temple ball. This is an incredibly potent form of marijuana originating in Nepal. These Temple Balls, being densely packed resin, are incredibly potent and numerous writings online claim they do have hallucinogenic effects. Charles denies the claim of drug use aside from an 8-pack of beer they took with them to the lake. He also described Rak as a man with a temper and dismissed all of his claims that the Allagash story was fabricated.
Jim told Jessica Potila over the phone, “Jack, Charlie, and I, after all these years, are still in agreement with the Eagle Lake event as we (three) remember it. We also accept the results of the hypnotic regression sessions and subsequent polygraph tests as supportive of an abduction scenario, ”
So, in the end, there are two very different sides to this story. Three of these men are either completely convinced they were abducted, or are continuing to live out the hoax. Rak, while he has said he does believe in aliens, had said the events at Allagash were all fabricated.
I implore you to come to your own conclusions. Take a look in the description below for all my sources so you can read up on this case as I did and decide for yourself if the men really did see a UFO that night, or if they were simply under the influence and fabricated the tale for some financial gain. Personally, I feel as if Rak could be coming from a place of envy. He noted in some interviews that he was never the one to answer any questions. Then again, this could have been his choice since he claims it was all a hoax in the first place.
Furthermore, his bluntness with the reporter over the phone makes me feel as if he’s telling the truth. At that point, 2013, the abduction had all but fizzled out aside from various UFO communities. With that in mind, I’d say he really had nothing to gain from coming forward. As for the other three, Jim and Charles specifically, they really seem to believe something took place. Watching that interview with them makes me feel that way.
But then I go back to the claim that the men were under the influence of a strand of marijuana known to cause hallucinations. If there was something in the sky that night, and they all witnessed it, the drugs would have only enhanced it. Later, when Jim began having visions following his fall, his mind could have simply filled in the blanks. Or, he used this as a convenient excuse. I could go back and forth about this all night so I’ll leave my thoughts here.
I believe the men did see something that night. It may have been a UFO, it could have been an airplane, I’m not sure but they did see something. The drugs they were using simply enhanced the experience and made it quite frightening. When we’re afraid we can’t process things then and there and our minds fill in the blanks later on and often make the scenario seem scarier than it actually was. That’s my take. As I said, I’d be more than happy to see you all debate this case in the comments below.
The Morristown UFO Sightings
While our previous entry can be debated, this one has been 100% proven as a hoax. Nevertheless, it began in January, 2009 in Morristown, New Jersey. Numerous eyewitness reports of strange red lights in the sky over Morristown lead many to report to authorities saying there was a UFO. One eyewitness, who is only referred to as “Paul” made a short statement on MyFox New York saying,
“They were just kinda floating along and we didn’t really know what they were. I’ve been in the aviation industry for about 20 years and so I knew they weren’t airplanes.” Other witnesses who were at the William G. Mennen Sports Arena also gave similar statements. One woman said, “It was kinda strange. Just that they looked like, very like in a formation, that they had a purpose.”
It's clear that many people were convinced something had come to visit from another planet, or possibly another galaxy, and while police were quick to dismiss it, they didn’t have solid evidence that it was a hoax for quite some time. During the investigation there were four other sightings as well. The original sighting was the 5th of January followed by another on the 26th and 29th. Later in February two more reports came in on the 7th and the 17th.
From the beginning the police wrote it off as nothing but a joke, and not a very good one. An article published the 31st of January, 2009, said, “Morristown police officials, who received several reports about the lights several weeks ago said they appeared to be a hoax composed of road flares suspended from balloons.” And they were absolutely right. Everything began unraveling when two young men, Chris Russo and Joe Rudy made an extensive post to skeptic.com recounting the process of creating this massive hoax.
The post opens up with, “HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE FACE OF the Virgin Mary on your grilled cheese? How about the image of Satan in a cloud of smoke? Or Sasquatch running through the woods? What about an alien spacecraft in the sky? It is not difficult to find people who respond with an astounding “yes!” to one of these — or all four. Humans are, by nature, experts at finding patterns whether they are real or not, and UFOs are among the most common patterns people find in the skies.”
They go on to say they had been discussing the idea of pseudoscience. Some examples of this they say are things like mediums, psychic abilities, and of course, UFOs. Further in the post they claim this hoax was simply a social experiment meaning they were far ahead of their time. The two even had the foresight to film the entire process which we’ll get into in a bit. The first flight was on the 5th of January, and according to the boys, this is what took place. From their post,
“we set out into the woods on the border of Morris Plains and Hanover, NJ, carrying one helium tank, five balloons, five flares, fishing line, duct tape, and a video camera. After filling up one 3-foot balloon with helium, we tied about five feet of fishing line to the balloon, secured the line with tape, then tied and taped the flare to the other end of the line. Once all five balloons were ready for takeoff (with our fingers on the verge of frostbite), we struck the 15-minute flares and released them into the sky in increments of fifteen seconds apart from each other. We filmed the “UFOs'' as they floated away, and then walked the half-mile stretch out of the woods to our car. The hoax was underway.” And boy was it a success.
Chris and Joe even went as far as filming the lights themselves and sending it in to local news stations. Once their post on Skeptic.com got more coverage, however, the joke was over. The post was made on the first of April, very appropriate, and by the third article made the local papers about the two men being arrested for the stunt. The Record out of Hackensack, New Jersey published an article stating, “the Morris County prosecutor regarded the stunt as a threat to aviation and Thursday night he said he was filing disorderly person charges against Chris Russo, and Joe Rudy.”
The two men would eventually be charged a $250 fine and given 50 hours of community service. In an interview done with Ledger Live the same month of their court ruling, Chris claimed the plan of the whole event was to teach critical thinking. “This was specifically aimed at a certain few people. Say, the people on UFO Hunters that play on people’s gullibility and say that this is the real deal, these are real extraterrestrial craft flying around when in fact it was flares.”