In 1994, an entire playground full of school children in Zimbabwe claimed they saw a UFO hovering overhead. When experts tried to debunk their claims, they found little evidence to prove the kids weren't telling the truth.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Children are notorious for their wild imaginations. They can read stories that seem
so absurd. They couldn't possibly be true and we encourage
them to do this to embrace their individual creativity. But what happens when a bunch of
AIDS tell the exact same story. It's not only too far
fetched to be true. It's Erie.
Today story goes back to nineteen. Ninety four in Zimbabwe, where a playground full of sixty two children claimed they'd, witnessed a: U S own landing, some. Even so
aliens, the students toll
and we re told their stories and, amazingly the details state more or less the same.
Eventually, real experts were brought into debunk the story, but even die,
were blown away because all the signs pointed to the kids telling the truth. You s Frank, wants to know how you were
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This is supernatural apart cast original, I'm your head.
Ashley flowers. Everyone,
they'll be taking a deep dive into a real unexplained occurrence to try and figure out the truth. You can find all
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this week's episode is about the aerial school citing in them
way in nineteen. Ninety four over sixty children claim that a UFO hovered over the grassland by their school, the story caught the attention of reason
yours, including a notable Harvard psychiatry, just making people wonder,
we're the truth ended and where
We have all that and more coming up stay with us
today story is so bizarre and so hard to rationalize the only
aid, to make sense of it is to go through it piece by piece from
Centres around the aerial school, a private primary school in the small farming community of Russia about twenty
miles outside of Zimbabwe's capital of Harare. The students
range from his youngest five, all the way up to eight twelve. I don't,
the school schedules like nowadays, but back in eighteen. Ninety four, the kids would run around the playground every morning for their recess break Friday September. Sixteen was no exception
it's almost the weakens. The kids are excited as they are running around the playground
meanwhile inside the building teachers convene for a staff meeting while they're gone,
clearly understood that the older children will keep an eye on the younger ones and not far from the playground is a talk shop which is better
sickly, like this little Delhi or canteen, that serves students, mothers
take your managing it and the mom on duty this morning is Alison Commitment belt
Alison's minding the shop. When, shortly after ten a m, a student named Luke runs in and he's look,
like he has seen. An actual ghost has this sort of why
I'd stunned expression on his face, then Luke tell
Alison he's just see
a literal alien outside
Alison here is this an brushes at all
if I meet, you basically tells loop sharp, very funny quit pulling my leg, but Luke keeps in
system that he saw quote a little man in a one piece: suit with
band around his head. End quote ultimately, Alison is
convinced enough to leave the talk shop and investigate, even though her own daughter, Fifi, is out on the playground to, in fact, Fifi and her friends or job
as stunned as Lukas. Apparently
the students were out running around when they noticed this being hovel
bring in the distance beyond the edge of the playground. It looks,
go whitish object with a golden glow around it. As far as feed
and her friends could tell it- was about a hundred meters away, so the distance of about
I've semi trucks all lined up
lingering above the brushy grassland surrounding the school. According to some kids
The golden light coming from the object is so bright. It actually heard their eyes almost there.
Looking into the sun and one
little girl remembers, it shaped being like a yellow. We floating pencil
or shiny and narrow, ledger typical flying saucer. The light on the back kept flipping on and
like a light switch now is unclear.
Just how many ufos there were. You see a few student,
said there was one and others were
they seem multiple one
student name bury claimed. He saw three of these objects, all hovering outside the playgrounds perimeter. Then the objects disappeared
only to reappear seconds later. Supposedly, this happened multiple times and rapidly
as if they were tell importing around the sky. Eventually, the crafts came
Oh sir, and landed
moment. Some of the children felt a strong wind blow over them, and a couple
hold a subtle. Were
sound as it touched down. Others claim it
heard soft noise, it's not music, exactly but little puffs like from a flute.
In some of them are call seeing a silver light flashing through the trees around the object then supposedly
aliens emerge from at least one of the Ufos, a few of them
was described a dark shadow. We figure scurrying near the craft. Only to then it looks
It was running in slow motion and a boy
name guy claimed he saw what he called little men come out of the craft guidest
I then, as people, like wit, with distorted, features like their eyes
huge and their mouths were thin and hard like a razor line and another
Isabel remember that when she saw the creature it was so unsettling to her that she wanted to look away. She said quote: he was just staring. We were trying
ought to look at him because he was scary. My eyes and feelings went with him so,
obviously that sounds terrifying
and also really weird.
Almost almost like the EU,
and was getting inside, Isabel stocks or something and others.
Remember feeling extremely frightened at some.
We would. All of this is going on. Luke goes to the talk shop to get Alison and again
She doesn't believe him. Meanwhile,
an older child goes inside the school and asks a teacher to ring the bell signalling that recesses over by that
I am more than fifteen minutes have passed and the? U S, foe and aliens are gone. The kids tat
their teacher at the school headmaster about what they saw and from what I
and tell the headmaster this guy in college. Mackey is real
interested like these kids are obviously free,
out and their more or less saying the same thing. There was at least one. You are
though, and some of them saw aliens but Mackey doesn't know what to make of it, and it's not like there's anything he can do so. It's just back to the books. Obviously, that approach doesn't work. The kids
keep talking about what they saw and apparently at some point either later that day or over the weekend, Mackey gets a time of.
Calls from concerned parents, they d me
to know why their kids are going on and on about Aliens Mackey, doesn't know what to tell them, but unbeknownst to him. There is
expert already on the move. She's, a famous you fuck
just named Cynthia Hind and if any one can crack this citing it's her up. Next experts investigate the aerial school incident.
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when Cynthia Hind hears about the sightings in ruins, she's been covering extraterrestrial sightings throughout central and southern Africa for years,
some on her own amateur researcher. Cynthia is
renowned in her field, with a ton of experience. Other experts praise her mouth
of investigation, and one of them refers to her as more of a clinical caseworker as opposed to some
who just record sightings.
Cynthia, is looped into the aerial school story around two p m. On the same day it happens. She gets a call
from a BBC news reporter named TIM Leech tin,
station near by in the capital of Harare, went the news somehow reaches him. He get in touch
Cynthia and then they agree to visit the school together. Next week said they can conduct their own investigation. Then syn
He turned around and starts making her own calls. She knows,
a veterinarian who lives in Russia and asked them to put her in touch with any parents from the school lucky for her. The first person she gets hold of is Alison. Kirk meant the mom from the talk shop
Alison explains that when Luke ran into the shop she didn't believe him. Then she
what's her daughter, Fifi on the phone with Cynthia Phoebe proceeds, to tell her all about the floating object with the golden glow. Next, Cynthia gets in kind
packed with bury the boy who claimed he saw the: U S: hotel importing around the sky, no, not
for how many of these phone call she makes, but it's all very compelling too
the point that eventually, Cynthia calls Mackey the schools headmaster she asked if he can have
Children draw illustrations of what they saw. Its unclear of
Has them do this over the weekend or first thing Monday morning, but he wanted to happen before the kids get a chance to
we talk to each other and potentially skew their stories,
the following Monday. So just three days after the siting, Cynthia and him go to the aerial school they bring with them.
A guy named Gundhar Hopper, whose Cynthia's work with before
He has his own machinery for detecting evidence of ufos like electromagnetic fields, so hopefully he can help them find something,
before they even start poking. Around Cynthia wants to hear the story from everyone's perspective. She starts with head master
Mackey, who walks through the story, as the children told it to him. They were out
playground when an unknown spacecraft or crafts appeared in the sky, the UFO.
May have touched down to land and when they did one or more figures that looked like small men were running around the brush land, then,
Mackey shows Cynthia at least forty two drawings. The children created Cynthia pours over these looking for common themes allow
of the kids drew flying saucers and a few of these had clear windows or doors. Others were of aid.
Lions themselves in Cynthia notes that most of them look extremely thin with really big eyes and their heads or disk
fortunately large, compared to their bodies and a lot of
are wearing tight black suits afterward Cynthia
Tim Select, a few children to interview on camera summer. Kids
already chatted with, like Luke Talk Shop boy, but for others it's their first interview as these kids,
retell their experience. Their accounts are visceral. Sometimes there talking quickly, almost like they're nervous or a free
and later one boy, Convives and Cynthia that he thinks the aliens might have been coming to eat him, an ok, kids,
and have a mile a minute. Imaginations is also worth pointing
that some aboard the kids describe sounds like goblins for
Maybe they were just conflated
what they saw with stories. They knew well or trying to make sense of what happened. Tim even poses a few
alternative explanations. He asked the kids, if maybe they confused what they saw with a plane.
He knows sometimes that military helicopters or Harrier jets fly over that part of Zimbabwe, but these kids are poor.
Positive that what they saw with other worldly when the interview
are finished. Cynthia TIM and Gunter go out to investigate the brush, but countries devices don't find any evidence of electro magnetic,
activity or radiation which had been
thing to help proved that intelligent life had been there, but the area
has no signs of having been inhabited for the past several days, which
does it mean? Are you ever had hadn't been there and after see,
the drawings and speaking to the students. Cynthia feels like she needs a second opinion and she knows exactly the guy. A psychiatrist named John G Mac
doktor. Mac is another renowned figure in the world of UFO phenomena, not
Was he interested in unpacking these types of stories? He was a psychiatrist at Harvard and a Pulitzer Prize winning author, like this guy had credentials,
according to him he viewed his role as someone who could quote: listen, sift and consider alternative explanations. Anko.
Coincidentally, Doktor MAC already had a trip to South Africa planned at the time he's real
urging for his upcoming book passport to the cosmos, which is this deep died in
extra terrestrial encounters and their possible psychological effects. So Cynthia
him notify him about the aerial school and they even facts over some of the illustration. So he can see the similarities for himself.
And sure enough. Doktor MAC is definitely intrigues. He makes plans to visit
the school during his trip to Africa, but in the
ex leading up to his trip. People in Russia aren't
enthusiastic townspeople reporters and even
parents keep brushing off the kid stories, as lies one
long time, UFO investigator, insist. He thought the kids made it all up or that someone had gotten to them. He said
The bottom line is that there is no evidence, we don't know what
sure may have been placed on the children to tell the stories the way they did end quote so bay.
Equally, it's the same story that comes up any time. Some one sees UFO. Maybe the end
thing is a prank in
really December of nineteen. Ninety four doktor MAC and research colleague arrive at the aerial school. They proceed to interview twelve of the students over the course of two days, the whole time.
Doktor MAC is trying to get as much information as he can about what happened that day without shaking the kids up too much he's a veteran
psychiatry? So he knows that rehashing experiences like this can stir up a lot of emotions and he doesn't want to make the kids feel guilty
were ashamed, like he things, they're lying
Would he also knows how to play devils advocate? He carefully suggests that
Maybe this prank has spiraled too far, but the kids are adamant. It actually happened.
One. Twelve year old girl tells Doktor MAC quote. Anybody can think that its
true or that we're making these things up, but we know what we ve seen and we believe it end quote and like Cynthia
Heine Doktor MAC, finds that the details across their stories are consistent when it's all over.
Doktor MAX interviews confirm that the students are able to articulate what they remembered nearly three
later, one child
bribed an alien as running across the grass quote, bouncing as if
He were on the moon. I mean the details,
just so specific and will
where he leaves MAC, encourages the aerial school faculty to keep an open discussion with their students, not discouraging them from telling their story in them?
In time, though, he has a book to finish so. Mac goes off. Dickens,
and you his research elsewhere in Africa. After
that literally five years go by
spend them writing his book and teaching his psychiatry lectures in the states until finally
in nineteen, ninety nine passport to the cosmos is published. Its
weeping investigation into all the things he's been researching for years, meaning the air
school, citing, definitely isn't. The focus. Matt include interviews from P
all around the world, and he spends a lot of time discussing cases of alien abductions and their psychological effects, and by this point
His reputation as a little complicated, on the one hand,
and Doktor MAC is incredibly intelligent, but he's also a die hard believer, sometimes to a fault.
Like run the exact same time of the aerial citing a nineteen. Ninety four, a committee at Harvard debated whether to censure him for the professionalism of his research. His first book on aid
an abduction had apparently been too out there for some of his colleagues Matt Counter that they.
Keep an open mind and he ultimately kept his tenure, but all that conch
mercy aside. There are some really important p
says of information in his book
because not only to Doktor MAC indicate that he believed the aerial school students he oh
Who did to the importance of what came after the siting of next belong
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MAC, didn't believe that the aerial citing was a hoax for the simple reason
that there was no apparent motive.
Why would so many students lie to their parents and teachers? He also,
didn't waste time on another possible explanation. Whether this was
piece of mass hysteria. We talked about mass hysteria
a lot on this show it's the goat.
For any time a group of people do or say something weird like claim they ve seen a UFO psychiatry believe
triggered by some sort of stress are, and that kids and pre teens are often most susceptible, which all of this was true. In the case
the aerial citing, but here's the thing mass
Syria is known for manifesting as physical symptoms, think, panic, attacks
prevent awaiting vomiting, even dancing the area
students had none of that if there were any so
dams. They had more to do with a slow burning anxiety in his book
Doktor MAC wrote that some of the students had quote persistent fears.
Troubling dreams and
Master Mackey told Cynthia that the kids were having nightmares off
sleep having nightmares after a disturbing events is completely normal. Almost like proof. It actually happened in this case. There is also evidence of repression,
when children don't feel believed they can blame themselves or even stuff down their feelings and stop talking about it.
And we basically no. This happened after the citing a boy
Guy initially told his parents who brushed him off
then later guy told Cynthia quote, I have decided to
my story to myself in the future. Deep inside of me, that's repression of I've ever heard it
Another symptom is future looseness
actually went trauma, causes some one to have a pessimistic view of the future. One student
we'll call Emma told, Doktor MAC that she thought the alien visit was a bad omen.
She had a similar experience to Isabel, where at the aliens left her feeling gloomy and afraid of the future. Emma explained quote the word
It is going to end may be because we don't look after our planet or the air. All the trees
go down and there will be. No air people will be dying. Those thoughts came
from the man. The man's eyes end quote hearing something like that: it's hard
not to believe that something terrible happened within the decades since there
hasn't been any new proof, the closest.
We had is unknown.
Or incident that happened almost twenty years before the aerial school. In nineteen
Seventy seven that February fourteen schools
children in broad haven, whales claim to have seen a UFO hovering near their playground.
We're out running around when they noticed it hovering overhead, according to
It looked like a flying saucer with a domed top deciding lasted only a few seconds, but in that
I'm the children watched a pot back and forth around the trees. Basically
What berry and aerial school described with the ufos zipping around almost like it was tell importing
broad heaving kids ran inside to tell their teachers. They were met with scepticism with their head man.
Had the wherewithal to separate the kids into different rooms and make them draw pictures. These pictures didn't looks
a different from what the kids at the aerial school witnessed. Basically,
saucers orb cigar, shaped ufos the different ways that the broad havens
He was part of an even broader phenomenon in Wales, during one thousand nine hundred and seventy seven over the course of a few
years there were several sightings the area
became known as the diaphragm triangle, basically, a hot zone,
you f o activity with the broad haven instant.
Was written off as a schoolyard prank
the BBC reported that a british government agency had looked into it and concluded it was probably a hoax. They also suspected the kids had
views debt with a military jet or even a sewage tank
actually came down to the fact that the kids had been the witnesses, not adults. They weren't seen as credible, which doesn't mean
the possibility of a ufos citing any less believable and how
Here it is it that both these incidents are so similar.
Who schoolyard two groups of kids around the same age or
seeing the same type of object, it's hard to write off,
It's just a coincidence. One man
been ten years old at the time a broad haven claimed he was ridiculed for years afterward. He looked back on his school days, as quote misery and in
many fourteen twenty years after the aerial citing in Zimbabwe, a woman will
I'll send me. Empta talked about her experience
member explained that even as an adult talking
deciding made people treat her like. She was delusional. She said quote
The real message is that this stuff can
Ryan you for life, I mean try telling
people that you live in permanent fear of these things returning one day, they'll think you're, a kook end quote it's a bleak reality
What if there's one silver lining? It's that students likes him
and that saw experts like Cynthia and Doktor MAC as vindication they may
children feel seen and heard, and maybe that's one thing we can glean from this story
the end of the day. There is nothing to do, but listen and me
be if we lend a sympathetic ear, we'll get the most
best answer it just might be the hardest to believe.
Thanks for listening I'll, be back next week with another episode you can find all at this.
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Transcript generated on 2021-05-20.