grarpamp grarpamp at gmail.com
Sun Dec 10 19:56:59 PST 2023

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xc_fmXy949g The Phenomenon
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF-wdyolhZ8 The Phenomenon

Ariel School UFO incident

On 16 September 1994, there was a UFO sighting outside Ruwa,
Zimbabwe.[1] Sixty-two pupils at the Ariel School aged between six and
twelve[1][2] said that they saw one or more silver craft descend from
the sky and land on a field near their school.[1][2] Some of the
children claimed that one or more creatures dressed all in black then
approached and telepathically communicated to them a message with an
environmental theme, frightening them and causing them to cry.[1][2]

The Fortean writer Jerome Clark has called the incident the “most
remarkable close encounter of the third kind of the 1990s”.[3] Some
skeptics have described the incident as one of mass hysteria.[2][4]
Not all the children at the school that day stated that they saw
something.[2][a] Several of those that did maintain that their account
of the incident is true.[1][5][6]

Ruwa is a small agricultural centre located 22 kilometres (14 mi)
south-east of the capital Harare. At the time of the incident, it was
not a town but only a local place-name, "little more than a crossroads
in an agricultural region".[2]

Ariel School was an expensive private school.[1][2] Most of the pupils
were from wealthy white families in Harare.[1][2]

Two days prior to the incident at Ariel there had been a number of UFO
sightings throughout southern Africa.[1][2][5] There had been numerous
reports of a bright fireball passing through the sky at night.[2][5]
Many people answered ZBC Radio's request to call in and describe what
they had seen.[2] Although some witnesses interpreted the fireball as
a comet or meteor,[1][5] it resulted in a wave of UFO mania in
Zimbabwe at the time.[2][7]

According to skeptic Brian Dunning, the fireball "had been the
re-entry of the Zenit-2 rocket from the Cosmos 2290 satellite launch.
The booster broke up into burning streaks as it moved silently across
the sky, giving an impressive light show to millions of Africans."[2]
Local UFO researcher Cynthia Hind recorded other alien sightings at
this time, including a daylight sighting by a young boy and his mother
and a report of alien beings on a road by a trucker.[1]

The sightings at Ariel occurred at 10am on 16 September 1994, when
pupils were outside on mid-morning break.[1] The adult faculty at the
school were inside having a meeting at the time.[5] The entire
incident lasted about fifteen minutes.[5] When the children returned
to class they told the teachers what they had seen but were

When they returned home they told their parents.[8] Many of those
parents came to the school the next day to discuss what had happened
with the faculty.[8] The sighting was reported on ZBC Radio, from
where Cynthia Hind learned about it.[2]

The BBC's correspondent in Zimbabwe, Tim Leach, visited the school on
19 September to film interviews with pupils and staff.[9] After
investigating this incident, Leach stated "I could handle war zones,
but I could not handle this".[10] Hind visited the school on 20
September 1994.[2] She interviewed some of the children and asked them
to draw pictures of what they had seen.[2] She reported that the
children all told her the same story.[2]

That November Harvard University professor of psychiatry John Mack
visited the Ariel school to interview witnesses.[2] Throughout the
1990s Mack had investigated UFO sightings and had a particular
interest in the alien abduction phenomenon.[2] In May 1994 the Dean of
Harvard Medical School, Daniel C. Tosteson, appointed a committee of
peers to confidentially review Mack's clinical care and clinical
investigation of the people who had shared their alien encounters with
him (some of their cases were written of in Mack's 1994 book
Abduction). The issue was that Mack had communicated to these people
that their experience may have been real.[11] After fourteen months,
Harvard issued a statement stating that the Dean had "reaffirmed Dr.
Mack's academic freedom to study what he wishes and to state his
opinions without impediment."[12]

According to the interviews of Hind, Leach and Mack, 62 children
between the ages of six and twelve said that they had seen at least
one UFO.[1][2] Dozens more children who were present stated they had
not seen any UFO or anything unusual.[2][a] The basic details of the
sightings were quite consistent although not all the details were.[2]
One or more silver objects, usually described as discs, appeared in
the sky.[2][9] They then floated down to a field of brush and small
trees just outside school property.[2]

Between one and four creatures with big eyes and dressed all in black,
exited a craft and approached the children.[2] At this point many of
the children ran but some, mostly older pupils, stayed and watched the
approach.[5] According to Mack's interviews the creature or creatures
then telepathically communicated to the children an environmental
message, before returning to the craft and flying away.[1][2][8]
According to Dunning, this telepathic message aspect of the story was
not included in Hind or Leach's reports, only Mack's, although Hind
reported it later.[2]

In Mack's interviews one fifth-grader tells how he was warned "about
something that's going to happen," and that "pollution mustn't be".[1]
An eleven-year-old girl told Mack "I think they want people to know
that we're actually making harm on this world and we mustn’t get too
technologed [sic]."[1] One child said that he was told that the world
would end because they are not taking care of the planet.[7]

The children were adamant that they had not seen a plane.[9] Hind
noted that the different cultural background of the children gave rise
to different interpretations of what they had seen and they did not
all believe that they had seen extraterrestrials.[1] She noted that
some of the children thought the short little beings were tikoloshes,
creatures of Shona and Ndebele folklore.[1]

The Ariel School UFO incident quickly became one of the most famous
UFO cases in Africa. On a June 2021 episode of the BBC's Witness
History, the event was described as "one of the most significant
events in UFO history".[7] Ufologists continue to cite the case as
providing compelling evidence of extraterrestrial visits to Earth.[2]
Skeptics have suggested the incident could be explained as mass
hysteria,[2] a prank,[5] or even confusion with touring puppet shows
designed to promote awareness around AIDS.[13] It has alternatively
been argued that the children misidentified a dust devil.[14]

In December 2020, Brian Dunning devoted an episode of his Skeptoid
podcast to the incident.[2] In it he noted that some children in the
school reported that they had not seen anything unusual that day.[2]
He challenged the often-repeated statement that as rural
schoolchildren in Zimbabwe, the witnesses would not have had exposure
to modern media and so would not have been familiar with the concept
of UFOs and alien visitors.[2] He also criticised the interviewing
techniques of Hind and Mack.[2]

Hind interviewed the children in groups of four to six with every
other child allowed to listen and so their stories were
cross-contaminated.[2] Mack only interviewed the children two months
after the alleged sighting and Dunning says that Mack, a known
environmentalist, "prompted and suggested" the telepathic
communication angle, which was not present in Hind's previous

Several of the witnesses maintain that what was reported is
true.[5][8] In 2014 the Mail & Guardian spoke to one witness who said
that she fears that the creatures will return and that she can "sense
when they are back in the atmosphere".[1] In 2016 witness Emily Trim
exhibited paintings that she described as a "manifestation of the
messages she received" from the beings that day.[6]

In June 2021, Barstool Sports writer Zah spoke in an interview about
being a pupil in Ariel that day.[15] He recounted that he saw a bright
light come down from the sky and aliens exit it.[15] Other witnesses
were interviewed for the 2020 documentary The Phenomenon and spoke
about how the experience has affected them.[16]

In 2023 in a Netflix documentary called "Encounters", a former student
named Dyllan claimed that he was behind this incident. He claimed that
he purposefully told his classmates and other students that a "shiny
rock" in the distance was a UFO. According to his own statement in the
documentary, he never thought this would work, and was surprised about
the mass hysteria. It is unclear whether he had tried to come clean
prior to the documentary.[17]
See also

    List of reported UFO sightings
    Westall UFO, a similar UFO sighting by school students


    The Mail & Guardian article linked says that there were "more than
110 children and staff" at the school that day. The Brian Dunning
article says "250 schoolchildren were all outside playing at the Ariel

    Christie, Sean (4 September 2014). "Remembering Zimbabwe's great
alien invasion". Mail & Guardian. Archived from the original on 16
September 2021. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
    Dunning, Brian. "The 1994 Ruwa Zimbabwe Alien Encounter".
skeptoid.com. Archived from the original on 17 September 2021.
Retrieved 17 September 2021.
    Clark, Jerome (2000). Extraordinary Encounters: An Encyclopedia of
Extraterrestrials and Otherworldly Beings. Indiana University:
ABC-CLIO. p. 67. ISBN 978-1576072493. Archived from the original on 18
April 2022. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
    Kokota, Demobly (2011). "Episodes of mass hysteria in African
schools: A study of literature". Malawi Medical Journal. 23 (3):
74–77. PMC 3588562. PMID 23448000.
    Chara, Tendai. "The Day the Aliens Landed". No. 21 September 2014.
The Sunday Mail. Archived from the original on 17 September 2021.
Retrieved 17 September 2021.
    Ramirez, Patricia (4 July 2016). "Zimbabwe UFO Mass Sighting
Contactee Speaks Publicly For The First Time [Video]". The Inquisitr.
Archived from the original on 17 September 2021. Retrieved 17
September 2021.
    "Witness History: Zimbabwe's mass UFO sightings". BBC Sounds. 28
June 2021. Archived from the original on 17 September 2021. Retrieved
17 September 2021.
    Coan, Stephen (16 April 2008). "'The day the aliens landed'".
news24.com. Archived from the original on 17 September 2021. Retrieved
17 September 2021.
    "'The schoolkids who said they saw 'aliens". BBC News. Archived
from the original on 7 September 2021. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
    Han, Go. "'The Possibility of Alien Life Forms and Unidentified
Aerial Phenomena'". Archived from the original on 18 April 2022.
Retrieved 17 September 2021.
    "Volume 32 - CSI". Archived from the original on 2018-02-27.
Retrieved 2014-04-02.
    Wright, Andrew L. (August 4, 1995). "HMS Takes No Action Against
'UFO Doctor' | News | The Harvard Crimson". The Harvard Crimson.
Retrieved October 28, 2022.
    Reid, Gideon (14 July 2022). "The Mysterious Events at Ariel
School, Zimbabwe – 16 Sept 1994". Giddierone.
    Smith, Oliver D. “The Ariel School UFO: A Dust Devil?,” SUNlite
15, no. 3 (2023): 7-10.
    Tennessee, Big. "Zah Witnessed One of the Most Notorious Alien
Encounters of the 20th Century". Archived from the original on 20
September 2021. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
    Conroy, Ed (6 October 2020). "'New documentary 'The Phenomenon'
uncovers 70 years of UFO sightings in the United States'". 'San
Antonio Express-News'. Archived from the original on 26 November 2021.
Retrieved 20 September 2021.
|url-status=live |title='Encounters; Believers, IMDB'

External links

    Photo album showing drawings made by children in the school and
photographs of the school and surrounding area.
    Ariel Phenomenon, a documentary by Randall Nickerson (2022).




Claimed sightings	

    List of reported UFO sightings
    Sightings in outer space

Pre-20th century	

    Tulli Papyrus (possibly 15th century B.C.)
    Ezekiel's Wheel (circa 622–570 B.C.)
    Air ship of Clonmacnoise (740s)
    1561 celestial phenomenon over Nuremberg
    1566 celestial phenomenon over Basel
    José Bonilla observation (1883)
    Airship wave (1896-7)
    Aurora (1897)

20th century	

    Los Angeles (1942)
    Ängelholm UFO memorial (1946)
    Kenneth Arnold (1947)
    1947 craze
    Flight 105 (1947)
    Roswell (1947)
    Rhodes (1947)
    Mantell (1948)
    Chiles-Whitted (1948)
    Gorman Dogfight (1948)
    Mariana (1950)
    McMinnville photographs (1950)
    Sperry (1950)
    Lubbock Lights (1951)
    Nash-Fortenberry (1952)
    Washington, D.C. (1952)
    Flatwoods monster (1952)
    Kelly–Hopkinsville (1955)
    Lakenheath-Bentwaters (1956)
    Antônio Villas Boas (1957)
    Levelland (1957)
    Barney and Betty Hill abduction (1961)
    Lonnie Zamora incident (1964)
    Solway Firth Spaceman (1964)
    Exeter (1965)
    Kecksburg (1965)
    Westall (1966)
    Falcon Lake (1967)
    Shag Harbour (1967)
    Jimmy Carter (1969)
    Finnish Air Force (1969)
    Pascagoula Abduction (1973)
    John Lennon UFO incident (1974)
    Travis Walton incident (1975)
    Tehran (1976)
    Petrozavodsk phenomenon (1977)
    Operação Prato (1977)
    Zanfretta incident (1978)
    Valentich disappearance (1978)
    Kaikoura Lights (1978)
    Robert Taylor incident (1979)
    Val Johnson incident (1979)
    Manises (1979)
    Cash–Landrum incident (1980)
    Rendlesham Forest (1980)
    Trans-en-Provence (1981)
    Japan Air Lines (1986)
    Ilkley Moor (1987)
    Voronezh incident (1989)
    Belgian UFO wave (1990)
    Ariel School (1994)
    Varginha (1996)
    Phoenix Lights (1997)

21st century	

    USS Nimitz UFO incident (2004)
    Campeche, Mexico (2004)
    O'Hare Airport (2006)
    Alderney (2007)
    Norway (2009)
    USS Theodore Roosevelt UFO incidents (2014)
    Jetpack man (2020–21)
    High-altitude object events (2023)
    David Grusch claims (2023)

Confirmed hoaxes	

    Maury Island hoax (1947)
    Twin Falls, Idaho hoax (1947)
    Aztec, New Mexico hoax (1949)
    Southern England (1967)
    Majestic 12 (1985)
    Gulf Breeze (1987–88)
    Alien Autopsy (1995 film)
    Morristown (2009)

Sightings by country	

    Africa (South Africa)
    Czech Republic
    New Zealand
    Spain (Canary Islands)
    United Kingdom
    United States

Types of UFOs	

    Black triangle
    Flying saucer
    Foo fighter
    Ghost rockets
    Green fireballs
    Mystery airship
    Space jellyfish

Types of alleged
extraterrestrial beings	

    Energy beings
    Grey aliens
    Little green men
    Nordic aliens
    Reptilian humanoids


    Investigation of UFO reports by the United States government
    The Flying Saucers Are Real (1947–1950)
    Project Sign (1948)
    Project Grudge (1949)
    Flying Saucer Working Party (1950)
    Project Magnet (1950–1962)
    Project Blue Book (1952–1970)
    Robertson Panel (1953)
    Ruppelt report (1956)
    National Investigations Committee On Aerial Phenomena (1956-1980)
    Condon Report (1966–1968)
    Institute 22 (1978–?)
    Project Condign (1997–2000)
    Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (2007–2012)
    Identification studies of UFOs
    Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (current)
    NASA's UAP independent study team


    Ancient astronauts
    Nazi UFOs

Conspiracy theories	

    Area 51
        Storm Area 51
    Bob Lazar
    Dulce Base
    Men in black
    Project Serpo

Abduction claims	



    Cattle mutilation
    Close encounter
    Crop circles
    Government responses




    List of scientific skeptics
    Committee for Skeptical Inquiry



    1994 in Zimbabwe
    UFO sightings
    Events in Zimbabwe
    Mashonaland East Province

    This page was last edited on 8 December 2023, at 18:36 (UTC).

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