The modern myth of the UFO begins with a 1938 radio broadcast and continues through two major 1947 sightings, the "contactee" movement, abduction stories and crop circles.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Himself - Narrator
Himself - Director of 'War of the Worlds' (archive footage)
Walter Haut ...
Himself - Press Officer, 509th Bomb Group
Jesse Marcel Jr. ...
Himself - Eyewitness (as Jesse Marcel Jr. M.D.)
Kevin D. Randle ...
Himself - Author, Investigator (as Kevin Randle)
Frankie Rowe ...
Herself - Eyewitness
Mark Rodeghier ...
Himself - Scientific Center, Hynek Center for UFO Studies (as Mark Rodeghier Ph.D.)
Hector Quintanilla ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Major Hector Quintanilla)
Jerome Clark ...
Himself - Author, Editor, International UFO Reporter
George Adamski ...
Himself - Contactee (archive footage)
Bruce Maccabee ...
Himself - Optical Physicist, U.S. Navy (as Bruce Maccabee Ph.D.)
Billy Meier ...
Himself - Swiss Farmer
Michael Swords ...
Himself - Department of Natural Sciences, Western Michigan University (as Michael Swords Ph.D.)
John A. Sanford ...
Himself - Air Force Intelligence Director (archive footage) (as General John A. Sanford)
Curtis Peebles ...
Himself - Aerospace Historian


The modern myth of the UFO is examined, beginning with the hysteria created by Orson Welles's 1938 radio adaptation of H.G. Wells's "War of the Worlds" and moving on to Kenneth Arnold's 1947 sighting; the Roswell, New Mexico sighting later that year; the "contactee" movement of the 1950s; the abduction stories that began in the 1960s with Barney and Betty Hill; the photographs and the movie and video footage that purport to show alien spacecraft; and the crop circles that began appearing in the 1970s. Interviewees include eyewitnesses, researchers, authors and other believers in the myth, as well as a folklorist, a neuroscientist and other skeptics, who think there are cultural, geological and physiological explanations for the sightings. The documentary reaches back into the late-19th century to examine the sightings of air ships and back further to the Middle Ages to look at sightings of angels, demons, succubi, fairies, leprechauns and other creatures of fantasy. Written by J. Spurlin

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Release Date:

12 May 1996 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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[closing narration]
Narrator: Humanity has always watched the skies in wonder. We gaze at the heavens and search the stars, hoping to find order and meaning to our lives. In the end, perhaps what we are seeing is a reflection of ourselves.
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