The year was 1976. The place was Eagle Lake-not the Eagle Lake in Acadia National Park but another one in far north Aroostook county, Maine, about 30 miles northwest of Caribou. Art students Jack and Jim Weiner, Charlie Foltz and their guide Chuck Rak came for a fishing holiday and on August 20, the fish didn’t bite. They cooked up a plan. They’d continue fishing through the night and build a big bonfire as a beacon for their return. The night was moonless and pitch black, so the fire was built to last for hours. They took off in their canoe.
Soon the globe-shaped light appeared overhead, described later as the size of a small house. Charlie aimed his flashlight at it, as if he were calling it over. It came like a puppy. The guys suddenly had a change of heart and began paddling like mad for shore, but the globe shot down a beam of light onto them. Next thing they knew, they were watching the object fly away, but the big fire was reduced to embers, and they were either sitting or standing on the shore by their campsite, depending on which version you read. I guess no one had a watch, since the fire is the only way they concluded that time had passed. The next day they reported the events to a park ranger who told them what they saw were searchlights, and to be careful what they smoked.
Here’s where the versions diverge again. Either they led normal lives for 12 years until Jim Weiner hit his head and started having nightmares about being examined by aliens on a metal table, or his twin brother Jack Weiner started having nightmares right away. Either way, somehow they decided to have high school English teacher Anthony Constantino hypnotize them. The four men had separate sessions and all revealed the same details, “regressed into their suppressed memories” similar to the standard alien abduction mythology. Fluids and skin samples taken, things inserted, standard stuff.
They became famous in the UFO world. They appeared on the Joan Rivers Show, had a book written about the incident and Unsolved Mysteries devoted an episode. You can even listen to a Snap Judgement sound file here (scroll down to “The Allagash Four”). Youtube has stuff too. By all accounts, the experience has been profitable for the four. Curiously, the tiny town of Eagle Lake, Maine does not mention the incident on its website’s history page. The only entry for 1976 is “Northern National Bank opened”.
My interest in this kind of stuff is more along the lines of human psychology, both individual and mass. I really doubt there are visiting aliens, or that men in black are working to cover their tracks. I stick with Carl Sagan’s rule, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. The hypnosis testimony of four art students does not constitute extraordinary evidence. But somehow the telling of these stories fills a need in human consciousness. I certainly enjoy them. Stephen King has made a living from the paranormal. Eagle Lake could promote itself as the next Roswell. Let’s call it another Maine industry.