Although there is currently no solid evidence to suggest the existence of aliens, a number of supposed incidents in the past have led many to believe we are not alone in the universe.
From an alien spaceship crash to abduction tales, the internet and newspaper archives are awash with stories of close encounters.
Three close encounters in the particular have continued to elude even the most ardent of sceptics for several decades. Here are three purported close encounters that to this day remain unexplained.
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The modern world’s fascination with aliens largely stems from the famous ‘Roswell incident’ in 1947, when a ‘flying saucer’ allegedly crashed into a US Army airfield near Corona, New Mexico.
For decades afterwards, conspiracy theorists claimed the US government has been covering up the incident, playing the story off to the media as a weather balloon crash. These theories were further fuelled in the late 1970s, when retired Lieutenant Colonel Jesse Marcel told popular ufologist Stanton Friedman that he believed debris from the crash was extra-terrestrial.
In a documentary entitled ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ that aired in 1989, local mortician Glenn Dennis claimed that a nurse who was working on the base called him ‘four or five times’ asking questions about body preservation after she purportedly witnessed an ‘alien autopsy’.
To this day, there are still several questions about the Roswell incident that remain unanswered, especially about why the Roswell Army Air Field initially issued a press release on July 8, 1947 stating that they had recovered a ‘flying disc’ before quickly retracting it.
READ MORE: Aliens could already be living with us here on Earth in a ‘shadow biosphere’, scientists claim
On October 16, 1957, 23-year-old Brazilian farmer Antônio Vilas-Boas was out ploughing fields when he noticed a ‘red star’ in the night sky. The object drew close and landed next to him before a 5ft tall humanoid with small blue eyes came out and approached him.
Three more beings then supposedly came out of the same egg-shaped craft and worked with the first one to drag him away into their ship.
He was then stripped of his clothes and subjected to different kinds of tests before being locked in a separate room of the ship where he was joined by an attractive, female alien with a pointed chin and large, blue catlike eyes.
The abductee said he was so attractive to the female alien that he was seduced into having sex with her, after which she pulled away, rubbed her belly and pointed upwards, suggesting that she would raise their child in space.
He was then handed back his clothing and given a tour of the ship before being released. He said he tried to take a clock-like object from the ship back with him but he was prevented from leaving with it. When he got back home, he realised that four hours had passed.
On September 19, 1961, American couple Barney and Betty Hill were driving back to Portsmouth, New Hampshire after a vacation to Niagara Falls when they experienced a purported alien encounter.
When they got to Lancaster, Betty spotted something strange in the sky and the couple got out of their car to have a look.
Realising it was nothing like they had ever seen before, the startled couple attempted to flee in their car, but the rotating object caught up with them and began to hover around 100ft above their heads. That’s when they noticed up to 11 humanoids peering out of the windows of the craft and looking straight at them.
As they tried to get away, fearing they would be captured, the couple then heard a series of beeping and buzzing sounds bouncing off their car as a tingling sensation took over their bodies.
The couple then recall entering an altered state of consciousness before a second round of beeping and buzzing saw them return to full, normal consciousness. But when they came to, they realised they were 35 miles off from their original location, with only patchy recollections of how they got there.
In an attempt to unlock the memory, Betty was later hypnotised by therapist Benjamin Simon. She had already by this point experienced several dreams about the abduction in which she was shown what looked like a star map consisting of 12 prominent stars and three lesser ones that formed a distinctive triangle.
Betty’s map was included in the 1966 book ‘The Interrupted Journey’ by John G. Fuller. In 1968, amateur astronomer Marjorie Fish read Fuller's book and concluded the map matched the double star system of Zeta Reticuli, about 39 light-years from Earth.
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