For as long as the UFO phenomenon has been around there have been those cases of people who claim to have actually been physically whisked away by these entities. What happens after they have been captured varies from report to report, with some speaking of gaining amazing new knowledge, to more cryptic encounters, to truly terrifying ordeals. The case we are looking at here is of the latter variety, and revolves around a group of men who just wanted to have a peaceful vacation in the wilderness, but who would experience what is considered to be one of the most intense and scariest alien abductions on record.
It all started as just a camping and canoeing trip with a group of buddies up in the remote wilderness of Allagash, Maine, in the United States back in the summer of 1976. The plan was for the group, composed of brothers Jim Weiner and Jack Weiner and their friends Charles Foltz and Charles Rak, who had all met at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, to go canoeing down the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, camping out and fishing along the way, and it was supposed to be a great week-long adventure for them. The first day and night went as well as they could hope for, but things would start to get strange from the second evening of their brave excursion, when Weiner noticed a very strange light in the sky, of which he would say:
It was just floating above the treetops, didn’t seem to be moving in any direction. And I looked at it through the binoculars for maybe 15 seconds, 30 seconds, and it suddenly just winked out from the outside edges inward. I mean, it literally just went whooht, like that, and it was gone. There was something about this thing that left me with an odd feeling that wasn’t quite right, but I really didn’t dwell on it.
He tried to just write the strange incident off as an aircraft and get on with his trip, but it would not be long before weird phenomena started up again, this time witnessed by the entire group. On the fourth day of the trip, the group was out night fishing on their canoe at a place called Big Eagle Lake. On the shore they had lit a large bonfire, which flickered eerily out over the black water below them and was meant to give them a sense of direction in the darkness, but even as that beacon sat there on the shore, another light entirely caught their attention, this one in the star flecked sky above them. Rak would explain of it:
I had a feeling there was someone staring at me from behind me. I turned over my right shoulder like that, and I saw this large, round globe of light that looked exactly like what we had seen two nights previously. It had this roiling effect to it, like a miniature sun, very, very bright. It lit the treetops up like daylight, and it was absolutely silent. After looking at it for what seemed like several moments, we decided to signal this thing. That’s when Charlie picked up the flashlight and squeezed off a message–s.o.s.
The plan to signal the object was in retrospect probably not such a good idea, as it then reportedly changed course to head directly towards them. Alone in the wilderness, with no civilization for miles around and bobbing about in the middle of this darkened frigid lake, the sight of this intimidating otherworldly bright object, estimated as being around 80 feet in diameter, caused them to panic and start rowing for shore as fast as they could even as the object drew up upon them. Jim Weiner could not help but look behind him at the inexorable approach of this odd light, and could see that it would soon be right on top of them. He recalls:
I remember looking over my shoulder, trying to keep an eye on this object as it was coming up behind us. It was getting very close. It was almost on top of us at this point. I remember thinking that we’re not going to outrun this thing. I remember thinking, ‘I could pick up a stone and bounce it off this thing’s side.’ That’s how close it was. And then, all of a sudden, it just streaked away very, very fast, and within a few seconds, it was like a star, just another light in the sky.
Reaching the shore, the group of men was surprised to see that the robust bonfire, which should have been blazing strong after so little time had passed, had been reduced to mere smoldering embers. This suggested that several hours must have passed, yet each of the men agreed that they had only been on the water for less than half an hour, making the dying fire a puzzling conundrum. Even so, they found that they were all extremely exhausted and tired out for some reason, and so just wanted to get back to camp to get a good night’s sleep and continue on with their trip. In fact, at the time they didn’t even really talk about the strangeness that they had just seen, the overwhelming fatigue taking over. This might have been the end of it, and for several years it was, until Weiner began having very vivid, horrific nightmares that would invade his sleep nearly every night and leave him waking up in a cold sweat and state of absolute terror. The content of the dreams was always the same and very specific, with Weiner stating:
I was starting to have nightmares, really terrible nightmares that I could not explain. I found myself in a very brightly lit room. I had no idea where I was or why I was there. To my left, I could see my brother Jim, Chuck Rak, and Charlie Foltz sitting on some type of bench, and they were all naked. I was wondering why they weren’t helping me, because I felt like I was in danger, and while I’m trying to figure this out, I notice this figure or a dark, shadowy-type figure emerging from this light– this bright light in front of me. I would wake up, uh, uh, sweating and breathing heavily and just in a– in a state of terror and shock.
These bizarre nightmares got so bad that they started to affect his waking life, and it would get stranger when he discovered that the other men who had been with him on that trip were having similar nightmares as well, all of which had shared elements of a feeling of helplessness and of an unknown entity present in the shadows. It did not take long for them to connect these strange nightmares to the incident they’d had out at that remote lake with the mysterious light, and this caused them to contact a UFO researcher by the name of Ray Fowler, of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), who speculated that they might have been abducted by unknown entities and were having suppressed memories bubbling up to the surface in their dreams. He arranged to have the men hypnotically regressed in order to see if their memories could be dug up, and this is where the story would get even weirder than it already was.
The hypnotic sessions were conducted by an Anthony Constantino, and each man was hypnotized separately, with no interaction between them in the meantime, and the stories they had to tell are terrifying to say the least. In every instance, the men described being taken aboard a strange craft at the time of the lake incident, where they were put into a diffusely lit room that looked, according to one of the witnesses, “like a vet’s office.” Here they were approached by grey, long-necked entities with large bald heads, metallic, lidless eyes, and four skeletal fingers, which approached them and proceeded to carry out a series of humiliating medical experiments on them, including taking bodily fluid and tissue samples, as well as performing painful procedures with silvery machines. Foltz in particular was described as being especially subjected to various strange probes and painful scans with a metallic, curved machine, which apparently caused him to scream out in agony. Weiner would say during his session:
They’re–they’re– they don’t know what to do. I think they think I’m going to come after them. I feel like I want to. I feel like I want to– the first one that comes near me, I’m going to throttle him. I don’t like these things. I don’t care where they come from. They shouldn’t be doing this to people. They’re right there. Their face is right in my face. I don’t know why. I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know what they want. They’re saying things. In my head they’re saying, ‘Don’t be afraid. They say, ‘Do what we say. Just do what we say.
Interestingly, although the accounts were independent, all of the men involved described the exact same thing, right up to Foltz’ bizarre body scans. Being artists, they were able to draw detailed sketched of the entities and the room they had been in, all of which looked the same, and additionally they all passed psychiatric evaluations and polygraph tests with flying colors. It was all very harrowing and frightening, with Constantino himself saying of it all:
It was the most intense experience I’ve had as a hypnotist. After working with those guys, I was scared. I still am. I think it’s true. I think they were being tagged — the way we tag and study sharks and bears and then release them.
For all appearances it seemed as if they were telling the truth, or at least strongly believed they were. Fowler was so excited about the case that he would go on to write a whole book on it, called The Allagash Abductions, but over the years there would appear some cracks in the story. It all started when Charles Rak began to fall unusually silent on the matter of the abduction, even as the other men freely discussed it with researchers. He would finally come forward to make the claim that, although the lights in the sky had been real, the abductions had been entirely fabricated by the group for the purpose of making some money. Pretty much the only thing he agreed really happened was that they all saw anomalous lights in the sky, but according to him the missing time and the eerie alien encounters they all described were a load of bunk and had never happened, and that on top of this they were all stoned at the time. Yet, the other three men adamantly stuck by their story, with Weiner saying:
Jack, Charlie, and I, after all these years, are still in agreement with the Eagle Lake event as we (three) remember it. We also accept the results of the hypnotic regression sessions and subsequent polygraph tests as supportive of an abduction scenario.
To make matters more complicated still, they and Fowler believe that Rak was intentionally trying to destroy their credibility after a falling out, interestingly because they say that he was the one trying to make money off of it and the rest of the group did not agree with that. They are also quick to point out that Rak was always a bit of a wild card and had long had temper issues, essentially painting him as someone who had lost control and then flown off the rails. Weiner would tell Fowler of Rak:
We definitely steer clear of him because the guy is a loose cannon and a mental disaster area. I personally believe that Mr. Rak’s self-aggrandizing rationalizations and disparaging accusations are simply the rantings of an angry and resentful individual, on whom his former friends have turned their backs.
So what is going on here? Was Rak just fed up with his friends and wanted to spoil the party? Are the other three correct in their assessment of what went on? The case of the Allagash abductions has gone on to become quite the classic case, and has been debated and discussed to this day. What happened to these men out there in that remote land? Was this a genuine UFO abduction or is there something else going on behind the scenes? The three witnesses other than Rak have continued to stand by their story, and the truth of the matter is that we will probably never know, and this just serves to be one more weird case to add to the many.