In 1994, 60 students at a remote school in Ruwa, Zimbabwe, claimed to have witnessed something impossible. And now, decades later, their stories still haven’t changed.
Director Randall Nickerson’s documentary Ariel Phenomenon (read the review here) examines an extraordinary UFO case that drew the attention of the BBC. Nickerson’s film spotlights the children who witnessed the event and the adults mystified by what the kids may have encountered.
Ariel Phenomenon presents a mind-breaking enigma that should appeal to UFO skeptics as well as believers. The doc features a wealth of footage recorded soon after the incident, including interviews with the kids, their teachers, and the investigators who worked the case.
That Shelf caught up with Nickerson over Zoom to talk about his fascinating new film. The conversation covers schoolyard landing cases, ufology legend John Mack, and whether we can expect an Ariel Phenomenon director’s cut.
Ariel Phenomenon Interview
Ariel Phenomenon Synopsis
Ariel Phenomenon is about the search for acceptance as told through accounts of an African extraterrestrial encounter witnessed by over sixty schoolchildren in 1994. The film follows a BBC war reporter and Harvard psychiatrist Dr. John Mack, whose careers were threatened by the investigation of the incident, as well as a former student who journeys back to the rural Ariel School. The now-adult students ask the question many witnesses have struggled with for over two decades: “What happens when you experience something so extraordinary that nobody believes you?”
Ariel Phenomenon is currently available to purchase or rent.