Mass sightings of UFOs have taken place many times throughout history.
They inspire awe, confusion, and often fear, in those who experience them.
Due to their grand scales and multitude of eyewitnesses, mass sightings are much harder to explain away.
Years, even decades after they’ve taken place, their mysterious auras linger.
Few of these events have been more awe-inspiring than the great mass UFO sighting of Zimbabwe.
UFOs Appear Over the Ariel School
On the 16th of September in 1994, something very strange took place over and around the Ariel Elementary School in Ruwa, Zimbabwe.
It was later in the day, and most of the children were out on the school grounds playing.
Most of the faculty were inside conducting a meeting, so only a few grownups were overseeing the premises.
Out of nowhere, a few of the kids started noticing weird things in the sky above them.
As they squinted their eyes, they could make out 5 large objects hovering high in the air without making a sound.
The UFOs seamlessly appeared, disappeared, and then reappeared — which made for an astonishing aerial display.
This phenomenal event was witnessed by as many as 62 school children from the ages of 5 to 12.
After they’d faded in and out of sight for some time, one of the objects suddenly split from the rest.
The lone UFO then steadily descended (still without making a sound) and landed on a hill just outside the Ariel school.
After the apparent landing, a group of kids quickly ran to the school’s border fence to get a good look at the bewildering scene.
There, they witnessed two strange, humanoid creatures emerging from an opening in what looked to be some kind of craft.
The Ariel School Aliens
The children described the mysterious beings as follows:
- Dark-colored (grey or black)
- Around 3 feet tall (90cm)
- Slender bodies
- Big, almond-shaped, upturned eyes
Basically, they resembled the “grey” alien variant that entered the public consciousness during the 20th century.
According to the eyewitnesses, the beings looked to be on a mission.
One of them was moving around on the hill they had landed on — possibly searching for something.
The other entity stayed near the UFO the whole time, as if standing guard.
A Telepathic Warning?
After scanning the area for a short time, the active one peered towards the Ariel school.
Apparently, it noticed the group of schoolchildren who were gawking at it from the other side of the border fence.
Only seconds later, as if someone skipped a bunch of frames in a movie, the creature instantly disappeared and then reappeared near the landed craft.
Then, both of the strange humanoids inexplicably faded from sight.
Finally, their vessel started hovering off the ground in a straight line upwards, before shooting off at a great velocity.
During interviews that followed this astonishing event, it was alleged that the being that stared at the children had communicated with them — supposedly via telepathy.
The children claimed that the entity informed them about humanity’s effect on the Earth.
It said that if we did not take better care of our planet, there would be disastrous results in the future.
The essence of the message was that humanity’s technological advancements were too far ahead compared to its spiritual development.
After the mind-boggling event involving what looked to be alien beings, many of the schoolchildren panicked — some cried and screamed for help.
They ran toward the nearest grownups they could find and frantically told them exactly what had happened.
Unsurprisingly, they didn’t buy their incredible story.
Instead, they believed that the older kids had played a prank on the younger ones to scare them.
Frustrated by their teachers’ disbelief, many of the children ran right home after school to inform their siblings, parents, and neighbors about the extraordinary event.
Several of the kids were visibly shaken by what had taken place, and many simply wouldn’t shut up about it.
Due to the constant pressure from their sons and daughters, a group of parents drove to the school together to clear things up with the teachers.
However, since almost all of the faculty were at a meeting when the sightings took place, they couldn’t give the parents sufficient answers.
The Investigation Begins
In the following days, rumors of a mass UFO sighting in Zimbabwe started spreading throughout Africa — and shortly after, the rest of the world.
Due to a large number of eyewitnesses, many paranormal researchers took great interest in the case.
One of them was Cynthia Hind — one of Africa’s most distinguished UFO researchers.
She was a veteran in the field of UFOlogy and had worked for the renowned organization MUFON (the Mutual UFO Network) for quite some time.
In 1997, she wrote a book about her extensive work regarding UFOs in Africa.
Drawing the Scene
Just one day after the alleged mass UFO sighting, Cynthia Hind was on the scene at the Ariel school to investigate.
The staff, now convinced something had taken place the day before, were glad to assist her.
Hind asked the headmaster, Colin Mackie, if they could separate the children and tell them to draw what they’d seen.
He agreed and told the staff to organize it right away.
After all the finished drawings had been collected, Hind went through them one by one.
To everyone’s astonishment, all of the children’s drawings resembled one another.
New Details Emerge
Later that same day, Hind carefully questioned a dozen of the students individually.
All of their stories more or less matched — no glaring discrepancies.
These findings gave the case more credibility, and the kids finally started to feel like they were being taken seriously.
Additionally, news started surfacing of another, similar event in the skies over Zimbabwe — just two days prior to the mass sighting at the Ariel school.
Nearby residents had seen a multitude of UFOs above, which gave off a stunning array of colors that bounced vividly in the night sky.
They described the objects as huge, metallic saucers or discs that seemed to hover in the air without making a sound.
Dr. John Mack and The Ariel School Incident
After Cynthia Hind’s early probe into the Ariel school incident, UFO enthusiasts from around the world started taking notice.
One of them was Professor of Psychiatry from the Harvard University and Pulitzer Prize winner, Dr. John E. Mack.
Together with his colleague, Dominique Callimanopulos, he traveled all the way to Africa to search for more answers.
Soon after they arrived at the Ariel school, the two men planned and executed a series of in-depth interviews with children who had witnessed the amazing event.
Together with a South African producer named Nicky Carter, they documented most of the interviews on video.
Nearly a week of meticulous questioning went by.
After looking through and comparing the different accounts, the men were able to put together a detailed description of the puzzling event.
Mack, Callimanopulos, and Carter all came to believe that the kids were telling the truth about the UFOs and aliens.
Passport To The Cosmos
Over 5 years after the interviews were conducted, Dr. John Mack published a book called “Passport To The Cosmos: Human Transformation And Alien Encounters”.
In it, he included a lot of details about the supposed UFO sighting and landing at the Ariel School.
Not long after his book hit the shelves, Mack was ridiculed by several of his colleagues at Harvard.
They started questioning his credibility as a professor, and some suggested that he was no longer fit for the position.
Eventually, they were able to convince the heads at the university to launch an investigation into Mack’s reliability.
After a year of prodding, the faculty finally came to the conclusion that Mack was indeed sane and fit for the job.
The Legacy Lives On
In the years that followed, Dr. John Mack’s work was featured on various radio and television shows.
Among the most notable of these was the TV show “Unsolved Mysteries”, which (for a TV series at least) gave a rather in-depth, honest look at the event.
In 2004, Dr. John E. Mack was hit by a drunk driver while he was in London for a lecture.
He immediately lost consciousness and was pronounced dead on the scene soon after.
A few years after the fatal accident, the John E. Mack Institute was created in his memory.
In 2007, Randall Nickerson, filmmaker and alleged abductee, was approached by the Mack Institute.
Originally, they wanted him to produce an edited video program of Mack’s Ariel School footage.
Nickerson agreed, but ended up with a more ambitious vision for the project — a full-scale documentary with new research and interviews included.
The Ariel School Documentary Film
In 2008, Randall Nickerson spent 9 whole months in Africa working on the film about the Ariel School UFO incident.
During his travels, he contacted some of the witnesses who had seen similar, if not identical, flying objects as the ones over the Ariel school.
Additionally, he interviewed a BBC reporter named Tim Leech, who had covered the paranormal event the days after it happened.
To complete the documentary, Nickerson tracked down several of the former school kids who witnessed the mysterious beings and vessels.
Now, they’d become young adults, and many of them had traveled to other countries to pursue their careers.
Even so, they all vividly remembered what happened over and outside their school grounds in 1994.
To Nickerson’s amazement, none of their stories had changed, which suggests that something remarkable may indeed have taken place that day in Ruwa.
In August of 2016, the trailer for the documentary, named Ariel Phenomenon, was finally released.