In American ufology - the study of Unidentified Flying Objects - a few particularly well-documented cases stand out. One of them occurred in Maine in August 1976. The lives of four men were about to change forever.
Twin brothers Jack and Jim Weiner had met Chuck Rak and Charlie Foltz at the Massachusetts College of Art where they were all enrolled. The four pals shared a love of fishing, too.
On the second night out camping in the North American wilderness, the group had spotted a bright object in the sky. Jim described what they saw:
"It was just floating above the treetops, didn’t seem to be moving in any direction. I looked at it through the binoculars for maybe 15 seconds, 30 seconds, and it suddenly just winked out from the outside edges inward…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."
Two weeks later, having forgotten about the strange light, the quartet set out in their canoe for a relaxing day of fishing on the Allagash Waterway, a protected 92.5-mile-long ribbon of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams of the Maine North Woods that includes a good portion of the Allagash River. They had no idea what lay in store for them.
The friends fished in a southerly portion of the waterway before entering Eagle Lake. The fish weren't biting so the group made landfall. Food was running low so the four men decided to pile into the canoe and pursue a bit of night fishing.
The men built a roaring fire on the bank to guide them back to their landing spot.
It wasn't long before the four friends noticed a large, brilliant light above the lake. It shone much brighter than any star, capturing their attention. On closer examination, the men realized there was a UFO hovering over a group of trees only a couple of hundred yards away from them.
The unknown object began to move, changing colors from red to green to a whitish-yellow. At this point, they estimated the craft to span about 80 feet in diameter.
Charlie Foltz took it upon himself to signal the UFO with his flashlight. Immediately, the lighted vessel began to approach them. It made no sound.
Now completely panicked, the four men paddled as fast as they could back to the safety of the shoreline. Before they got there, a beam of light emitted by the object swept over the men and the canoe.
The next thing the men remembered was being back on the island's bank where they had started. True to his nature, Foltz signaled the UFO with his flashlight again. The illuminated craft lifted upward and flew out of sight.
Looking around, the four men noticed that the bonfire they had lit was now reduced to ashes. How was this possible in such a short time, they wondered? Uneasily, the group packed up their gear and headed for the next campsite.
Ten more days passed with no sign of any UFO activity. At the end of their adventure, the men returned home and resumed their normal routines. Except that everything wasn't normal anymore.
Jack Weiner began to wake up from nightmares featuring odd beings with big heads and long necks. In these bad dreams, he saw himself being examined while his compatriots sat by, doing nothing, even though he was in danger.
Twin brother Jim started having the same recurring nightmare:
"There were always certain elements of the dream that were the same: some type of creature, being helpless, being violated was a feeling I often woke up with."
Jack said the human-like creatures in his dreams had glowing, metallic eyes that had no eyelids. Their hands were insectoid with four fingers. They communicated telepathically, mind-to-mind.
The only person Jack Weiner confided in was his wife Mary. The dreams were always the same:
"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 notice this figure or a dark, shadowy-type figure emerging from this…bright light in front of me. I would wake up, sweating and breathing heavily and just in a state of terror and shock."
In 1988, Jim Weiner sought help from a UFO conference hosted by author and ufologist Raymond Fowler. After the event, Jim shared his close encounter with Fowler who advised regressive hypnosis to recover lost memories. The troubled friends agreed.
All four men told the same story while under hypnosis: the light that enveloped the canoe had transported them inside the UFO where, after being forced to disrobe, they all underwent medical exams, including blood, urine, and semen sampling and other procedures that they found intrusive and humiliating.
The abductees were all artists so they produced sophisticated images of the examination room, the instruments used, and the aliens. All four experiencers passed lie detector tests administered to them.
Anthony Constantino, who hypnotized the four Allagash abductees, said the sessions made a believer out of him:
"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."
Some ufologists speculate that the Maine experiencers were part of an alien hybridizing program that got out of control during the 1980s. A wave of abduction reports in that decade featured the same dark scenario: an invasive medical exam, amnesia, and subsequent psychological issues arising from suppressed anxiety.