Documentary: Ariel Phenomenon

I finally got around to watching Ariel Phenomenon and can highly recommend it.

THis documentary is about an event that happened at Ariel School in Zimbabwe in 1994, where dozens of children encountered a mysterious craft and one or two alien beings.

Some of the children described receiving a kind of telepathic message from the beings about the ecological crisis we are in. And the experience greatly impacted and transformed the lives of many or most of these children, who are now adults.

This documentary has clips from the 90s intermixed with current interviews with the witnesses.

Many consider it one of the most convincing mass sightings of an encounter with alien beings. (Whatever they may be, alien just means they are alien to us and doesn’t pin anything down about what they are.)

I have read about this event and listened to several interviews (including with witnesses) over the years, so there wasn’t too much new information or new angles in the documentary. But it does give a very good introduction to the story.

With all the material available, and all the angles to explore, this event deserves a series and not just a relatively short documentary. At the very least, I hope the unused material collected for this documentary will be made available online or in book form.


Mainly, the documentary refueled my curiosity about several aspects of this event.

How has this transformed the lives of the witnesses? How did it impact each of them? Were the ones closest to the beings the ones who had the most profound transformation?

The local tradition has stories of similar encounters, and it seemed – from some comments in the documentary – that these encounters are ongoing. Is this part of the shamanic tradition? How do the indigenous see this? What role does it play in their lives? Do these encounters transform their lives in a similar manner? Who experiences these encounters? Shamans? Or anyone?

Exactly what did the witnesses experience? They describe black men, lights, sounds, and so on. What was the timeline? In what way were the beings black? (Skin color, clothing?) Did they have other sensory experiences? How does it look when we map out the different experiences of the different children, depending on where they were when they saw the craft and the beings? (This has probably been mapped out by the director of this documentary and/or others, and it was not possible to include it in a short documentary.)

I would love to do something on this but I have a feeling life is taking me in another direction. Although, who knows?


Part of the documentary is about John Mack and the reactions he received from his colleagues. He was a Harvard psychiatry professor who interviewed the children and took their experience seriously and wrote excellent books on these topics.

Personally, I find it small-minded to dismiss these types of experiences, especially when it was shared by so many. Whatever happened, it’s clearly something interesting to explore and study.

Also, we know how little we know. We know that our current collective worldview is provisional and will be seen as outdated in the future. We know that our collective worldview undergoes periodical revolutions. So why dismiss something just because it doesn’t fit our current worldview?

As one of the interviewed points out, it doesn’t make sense to dismiss something just because we don’t understand it or see it as not matching our current worldview. Also, there is no logic in accepting certain weird possibilities just because it’s part of our culture (e.g. Christianity) while dismissing other things (visits of alien beings) just because they are not part of our mainstream culture or mainstream academic culture. Why are angels OK and not aliens? Why is a belief in God OK but not a curiosity about beings from other places in the universe?

At the very least, we need to take a consistent stance on all of it. Either dismissing all, accepting all, or taking a more curious and grounded approach to exploring it all. And faced with the two first possibilities, the third is really the only one that makes sense. It’s the intellectually honest and consistent approach.

So why do some dismiss this event and these types of phenomena outright? One reason is that we all develop and attach to certain identities and worldviews in order to feel more solid and safe. We may dismiss it because we see it as threatening to their familiar identity and worldview. And this always comes with drawbacks. The drawback here is that we dismiss whatever doesn’t fit our identity and worldview.

Of course, some “UFO-believers” do the same in reverse. That too limits our exploration and prevents a more grounded and receptive approach.

I prefer to explore this in a more open way and remember how little we know and understand.

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