World UFO Day: 9 alien encounters that will make you believe

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Jul 2, 2017, 2:00 PM EDT

Alien encounters, the type that involve UFOs and blinding lights and extraterrestrial hands probing you, often defy all scientific and logical explanation and are often the same kind of hoaxes baring huge fangs on the cover of The Sun ...

... until they're not.

While infinite faux encounters have been crawling all over the media even before War of the Worlds was taken way more seriously than the dramatization it was supposed to be, actual aliens do lurk among the sensational clickbait of the Internet. Except these accounts expose the real terrors that some Earthlings went through when they saw something they shouldn't have. Or ended up somewhere they shouldn't have. Or ended up with a passenger that shouldn't have been riding shotgun in their car.

However bizarre it might seem to encounter an extraterrestrial light show thousands of feet in the air or to just vanish and show up in your backyard months later thinking it was only a couple of hours (presumably because you were on board something that traveled into the far reaches of space at the speed of light), these experiences that may not be as famous as Roswell and other Area 51's are even more chilling on account of them haunting the memories of people who never worked for the FBI or CIA or even SETI. You might expect a bizarre flash of something when you've been searching for it since the Clinton era. Not so when you're just trying to drive home after dark without your engine breaking down.

Probe these 9 alien encounters that are almost (operative word here) beyond belief and even nonbelievers will find it impossible to stay in the cynic bubble.


Those aren't Christmas lights

An amateur astronomer observed something beyond imagination after eyeing a bizarre white flash that was definitely not of this planet.

Heat lightning would have been the assumption, but the night was clear and cloudless with no forecasted storms. Whatever it was briefly lit up the entire night sky with an otherworldly blaze. It tinged the surrounding air, which somehow felt heavier, with a mysterious metallic taste. Then an unexpected flash of red exploded in the darkness. When it seemed things couldn't get much weirder, the light show began.

Alternating white and red flashes appeared, and someone out there must have been having fun twisting human brains because a third flash soon joined the production. It was almost as if they were being beamed into the sky as some sort of mysterious communication mode.

Then came the noise that silenced everything. Frogs stopped croaking, crickets ceased their chirping and the night went deathly silent at the sinister whirring until every dog in the neighborhood started barking like it was the apocalypse. This whirring kept rising in volume as the flashes ascended.

The alien fireworks have never been explained, but the astronomer and a legion of canine witnesses remain forever spooked.


The perfect storm (for abduction)

Storms sometimes bring other things down to Earth besides rain.

Thunder and lightning probably aren’t how you'd want to spend your birthday, but Jason Andrews of Kent, England got much more than cake when he turned four in July 1987. He began muttering complex mathematical equations as the sky exploded with lightning. Even Einstein probably hadn't been able to understand math of this level at that age, but Jason kept spewing numbers as if he was on the brink of developing an unprecedented theorem. Then the windows began to tremble when Jason turned to his parents in a trancelike state and said "They are waiting for me! I have to go!" His father struggled to pull him back from the doorway, and as he did so it was as if someone took a tranquilizer to the storm. The windows stopped rattling. The trance broke.

Jason was being drawn towards something — an alien starship? A makeshift lab for probing human specimens? — and probably would have followed the invisible force that had him in its claws if it weren't for his altered state being shattered.

Years later, Jason revealed that he had been getting nightly visits from something definitely not human. The controversial theory behind his experience is that he has some sort of remote viewing capabilities that attracted aliens to him.

Whether or not science thinks this phenomenon is real, there is at least one person on this planet who certainly does.


Nobody knows but it's green

Sometimes the monsters aren't under your bed but outside your window. The monsters became real in 2009 for one anonymous witness who only wanted to relax with headphones on when an unearthly sound cut through the edgy guitars and haunting vocals of Tool. It was the type of high-pitched electric sound that assaults your ears — except this wasn't caused by a scratch on the CD. Whatever the source of the noise (which kept getting louder) was bathed the entire room in an ectoplasmic green glow.

Now this is the part when that sinking feeling that warns you not to look out the window, but you do anyway. Because you feel a presence. That presence was an enormous airborne vessel, a triangular metal thing that doesn’t typically take off from any human airport. It was pulsing with orbs of that same eerie green radiation.

As if the fear factor wasn’t enough, the thing then shook the house violently before floating off into the dark unknown. At least it didn't end up hurtling through the sky and crashing in the land of Oz.

This event occurred in northeast Ohio, known to be a hotbed of paranormal activity. Why everything freaky comes out to play there is still beyond science.


Roadside attractions

The obstacle that Wisconsin resident William Bosak encountered on the road in 1974 while driving home after dark was no pothole.

Foggy nights can be deceptive, especially when it comes to separating those murky tendrils from something supernatural, but what Bosak saw as he slowed down towards a strange roadside object defies explanation. While the brightness of his headlights seemed to vaporize the bottom half of ... whatever it was ... that which he was able to see would have sent anybody into the middle of the road screaming.

Staring through an enormous glass dome was Chewbacca in spandex ... or, at least it would've made a killer backup for Chewie. This hairy humanoid in a skintight bodysuit had ears protruding from the top of its head and terrified eyes that bulged from a face that could have been a mashup of human and bovine DNA. It looked as if it had thrown its arms above its head in surrender. Just one eyeful of this ten-foot monster was enough to make Bosak frantically step on the accelerator, but to his horror, the lights inside his car went dark and a suspicious noise suggested the engine was missing.

That the former UFO skeptic now believes is an understatement.


Morphing on the fly

In 1989, an airline pilot taking off from Kansas City International Airport flew into something unexpected when he encountered an alien white disc among the clouds.

Almost an illusion at first, the disc appeared dim to pilot Andrew Danziger until the plane began to descend. Hovering above the clouds where the disc had been, an immense red orb not unlike a blood moon or blazing sunset sent the pilot and his copilot into a psychological tailspin (they somehow managed not to spook the passengers). It also started playing a deranged game at 13,000 feet.

As the aircraft lost altitude, so did the orb. There was a moment of relief when it seemed to vanish into a cloud — only to re-manifest within the clouds as hundreds of flashing lights that would rival anyone's electric holiday display. Even more mind-blowing, the cloud this thing had descended into was now pulling itself apart like galactic goo.

The second it succeeded in tearing itself apart, everything that had been materializing for the last 40 minutes disappeared. Danziger filed a UFO report stat after landing. Even creepier is that he was just one of many to report the phenomenon involving this unidentified flying whatever.

Nothing was ever identified by air traffic controllers.

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Garden gnomes from outer space

The peculiar figures that appeared at one Wisconsin couple's door one night were mistaken for trick-or-treaters who had forgotten Halloween was over — until they floated.

Whoever (or whatever) rang the doorbell was a wrinkled life-form that looked like a cross between a scarecrow and a garden gnome that could have been a horror movie extra. Obscuring its face was a floppy hat from which stray tufts of hair stuck out and its chin was unnaturally sharp. It was either nonverbal or refused to speak -- what must have been its mouth was a puckered toothless void.

The creature was also clutching a strange white staff that the couple soon realized wasn't made of anything earthly when the creature reacted to human hands reaching out to touch it and make sure it wasn't a teenage prank. When it raised the staff and struck the sidewalk, it floated backwards. Its four companions were standing silently in the grass and on the asphalt like lawn ornaments. They were all clutching their staffs, thought to be energy rods powered by an unknown force, levitating several inches above ground. By morning, they disappeared as mysteriously as they had arrived.

Whatever these things were, they were anything but costumed humans.

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Glow-in-the-dark hitchhikers

Orbs of unexplained origin seem to be a common thread in UFO sightings, but this one just takes that otherworldly glow to a whole new level.

When a security officer was driving home on a South Dakota highway in 2011, hundreds of mysterious red lights started to appear and circle the moving car like some sort of alien halo. Though the driver thought he was still doing 60, the car was decelerating with absolutely no explanation. Then the lights vanished and the car sped up ...

Just as unexplained as the vanishing light halo was what appeared in its absence. The officer noticed something strange — beyond strange — at the side of the road. Then the thing was on the car. It was a glowing, translucent life-form with gangly arms that stretched right through the roof of the officer's vehicle. Spindly fingers ran down his back and left a burning sensation.

But there was more where that came from. By the curb was another glowing creature that could only be described as the evil version of Hoggle from Labyrinth.

The translucent thing made itself a passenger until it sensed more humans. Then it vanished, but the horror never did.

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Monolithic madness

When Lee Parish was driving home in the dark back in 1977, the road was surprisingly well-lit — but not by a streetlight.

What Parish remembered under hypnosis later on was that a huge rectangular UFO floating above his Jeep was lighting the way. Of course, it wasn't just there to function as a superpowered flashlight. His car then came to a sudden stop directly beneath the strange spacecraft. While alien forces messing with auto innards isn't exactly unknown, what supposedly happened next was almost unbelievable. The hypnotized Parish recalled that his car was somehow being levitated by the UFO. He then found himself standing inside it.

The spacecraft’s inner chamber was circular with white walls that emitted an otherworldly glow. (Everything apparently has to glow in alien starships.) He was surrounded by three blocky beings (which also glowed from within). The black entity was the nightmare version of a 20-foot-tall suitcase, while the red one was like a walking one-armed Coke machine. The white one, the obvious leader, was two-armed and square-headed.

The creatures examined Parish with an unnervingly freezing touch that sung wherever their limbs and half-limbs went exploring. Then, with no explanation, they merged into each other and vanished.

Parish might have gotten away, but the unfortunate Jeep's electrical systems soon failed.


When the dead aren't dead

Sometime in the 1960s, somewhere in Ethiopia, a boy named Gabriel was running around the backyard with his friend when he just disappeared. Just like that. Then he materialized six months later. Just like that.

After everyone who thought Gabriel was dead could be assured they were not seeing a ghost, he recounted a story that wouldn't have been out of place on The Twilight Zone ...

Gabriel had been led into a glowing, windowless white room by benevolent humanoid creatures. Inside were child abductees from all over planet Earth. (How they and the 'men' who had abducted them could understand each other was a mystery.) With the press a button on the wall, a bed instantly appeared — which makes you wonder how long some of those kids had been on board.

Before Gabriel knew it, he found himself standing in a sparkling city, surrounded by supernatural skyscrapers and flying cars. Beings that appeared both human and alien walked streets that almost shone. The boy was then taken to an impossibly tall building by one of his captors and shown to a room in which he could push any button and be transported to any number of places. When he was told he needed to stay a while, he had no idea exactly how long "a while" would be. He claimed it felt like a mere couple of hours.

This is why you never, ever go off with strangers.