(Illustrated by abramsdesign)

In the year 1994, on the 16th of September, 12:12 PM, something deemed ‘unidentifiable’ was observed flying ‘very fast’ over Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa (Astronomers across the region soon reported that the “pyrotechnic display”, seen as far afield as Zambia and Botswana, had been a meteor showermg.co.za). This UFO sighting was observed by many people throughout these vast regions, with varying observations. Some claiming to have seen 2 large red/orange balls traveling silently across the sky. Others describing multicolored orbs. Or a single large orange glowing mass, as one woman stated to reporters at the time, “I just saw a glow over my chicken run. A very orange glow. It was just a big round ball.” The greatest commonality in all accounts, being the corroborating time and date, the 16th of September, 1994.

Most peculiar of all though, is that it’s said that something especially unworldly occurred on this same date, at approximately the same time, in the same region of the world. An unusual event, occurring at the Ariel private elementary school, in Ruwa, Zimbabwe. While 62 school children aged between 6 and 12 were out of the classroom, playing, eating, something strange was sighted in the clear blue morning sky by the students outside. According to many of the children who were most verbal about the event, there were 3 UFOs/UAPs observed flying above the school and surrounding areas (some claiming only 1 single silver craft). Of these dome-shaped ‘silver crafts’, one descended in a nearby field. Soon after, 2 humanoid figures exited the craft, appearing to be wearing tight-fitted black clothing, with pale faces, small or non-existent mouths and noses, with large black eyes. These figures then approached/engaged the children.

At this point the students accounts begin to diverge and vary greatly. Some students claiming that 1 being approached them (as the students grouped in astonishment/bewilderment/fear), others stating there were 2. Some saying that the figures walked, others claiming that they floated and their feet never touched the ground (one student recorded to have stated that the figures moved in a way to suggest mimicry/mockery, skipping/hopscotch movements replicating movements observed by students in such a fashion prior to their arrival). Many of the students claimed that the figures stared at them and that they were compelled to stare back.

During this time, the children believed they received warning ominous visions, regarding various environmental catastrophes. A desolate world, destroyed by pollution or nuclear holocaust. Students believed they were given information by the figures, that all regarded negative human impact on this planet. One student, ‘Emily’ claims to have seen images of environmental decline and was told telepathically that technology needs to be used more responsibly. Several students have put forward the notion (as adults) that they believe time was somehow being distorted throughout the duration of the encounter. One student remarking that she felt as though, despite wanting to, she was unable to break eye-contact with the figure staring at her. While many students agreed that the entire event felt as though it lasted about 15 minutes, fewer children witnessed the beings walk/float back to the craft and fly away. Most claiming that the being(s) along with the craft(s) vanished abruptly.

“When the spaceship had landed, all the insects and ants and stuff like that were all dead and there was a huge black mark there. My mum said there might have just been a fire there, but I don’t think there was, I think it was an alien ship. The ground was burnt and all the living things had died there.”

“It was at break time and then we saw something shiny. And we saw two people, wearing black, tight black suits, and they had big eyes. And a small, well, we didn’t actually see the nose, it was quite small. And their mouth was quite small, as well. One of them was running in slow motion, across the ship, and the other was standing beside the ship.”

“He had a long scrawny neck and huge eyes like rugby balls. He had a pale face with long black hair coming below his shoulders.”

“I could see the little man, about a meter tall, was dressed in a black, shiny suit, that he had long black hair and his eyes, which seemed lower on the cheek than our eyes, were large and elongated. The mouth was just a slit and the ears were hardly discernible.” [Adult reflecting on the childhood experience.]

“I had nightmares about it for about a year but then I stopped dreaming about it. I dreamt that, um, the same one I saw, with the dark hair, he came into my bedroom and he took me from my bed, I woke up and screamed.”

—Observations made by students/witnesses, during the many interviews that followed the event.

Students at Ariel Private school being interviewed about the UFO event, 1 year later.

The primary Ufologist and investigator involved with this occurrence was Cynthia Hind, who was the first to thoroughly investigate the site for any signs of evidence to really suggest if something out of the ordinary occurred. Hind found no scientific abnormalities, no readings of radiation or magnetism, no scorched earth, nothing to suggest any unusual event transpired there at all. Hind also spoke with 62 of the students (willing to discuss the event), documenting their claims and experiences. Dr John E. Mack, who was in Africa investigating the Abduction Phenomena throughout the continent also questioned many of the children, and examined the differences and commonalities of their claims.

Hind, drawn to the Ariel school UFO sighting, having been contacted with multiple odd events/sightings, the days prior, all following a recent meteor shower. The meteor shower, in more ways than one, acting as a potential catalyst to the events to come, legitimate or otherwise.

“Astronomers across the region soon reported that the “pyrotechnic display”, seen as far afield as Zambia and Botswana, had been a meteor shower. Hind, though, recorded receiving dozens of reports of a capsule-like fireball, trailing fire and flanked by two smaller capsules. She also received several reports of alien sightings around the same time: a young boy and his mother reported a daylight sighting; a trucker who had seen strange beings on the road at night. And then, on September 16, Hind received the report from Ariel School, which she records as Case 96, and describes as ‘one of the most exciting UFO stories of this or any year'”.

Remembering Zimbabwe’s Great Alien Invasion, 4th of September, 2014

Cynthia Hind made this remark in her record of the event, “one little girl said to me, ‘I swear by every hair on my head and the whole Bible that I am telling the truth.’ I could see the pleasure on her face when I told her that I believed her.”

In a closing statement in the article, Remembering Zimbabwe’s Great Alien Invasion, one of the students (given the false name, Sarah), claiming to be one of the last remaining witnesses to this event, still living in Zimbabwe, 2014, gave this insight:

“You want to know the real message here? The real message is that this stuff can brand you for life. It undermined Mack’s credibility, became this huge unending thing for others, and it certainly fucked me up. I mean, try telling people that you live in permanent fear of these things returning one day. Try telling them that you can actually sense when they’re back in our atmosphere. They’ll think you’re a kook. All this lot do,” she said, casting mock-angry eyes down the bar at a fellow boozer, who raised his glass and said: “True, but we love you anyway, Sê.”

Despite her patently thick skin, a look of extreme sadness entered Sarah’s eyes for a moment, as she pretended to watch her fingers pulling the label from a beer bottle.

At the time of writing this sentence, the event occurred 27 years ago. It’s easy to think the story began and ended in Zimbabwe as individuals reflect over their strange experience in quiet bars over a drink. But the story didn’t actually begin in Zimbabwe at all, and the event hasn’t ended for a few reasons. Not only are the witnesses haunted to this day, but these events continue to be recorded around the world.

You might say these Schoolyard sightings began in the 60’s in Australia, (1) the Westall High School, UFO sighting at 11:00 AM, April 6th, 1966, Victoria, Australia. But that is likely not the case at all, despite impacting in some instances hundreds of lives, the events can pass by eerily unknown or unspoken of for generations.

(2) Crestview Elementary School, 11:00AM, April 6th, 7th and 8th, 1967, Florida, USA.

(3) Broad Haven Primary School, 12:00 AM, February 4th, 1977, Cheshire, England.

(4) Ariel Primary School, 12:12 PM, September 16th, 1994, Ruwa, Zimbabwe.

Could UFO phenomena be somehow drawn to Schools?

“No Men in Black came around to bother Mr. Elmore. I was the first reporter to talk to him. When he showed me the field I was perturbed to find it was right next to the Duncan Falls Elementary School. An unusual number of sightings and Fortean events seem to be concentrated around schools and the largest percentage of witnesses consists of children between the ages of seven and eighteen.”

John A. Keel, The Mothman Prophecies, 1975

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“For the past 170 years, schools have been targeted by UFOs. There are more than 100 cases on record, coming from across the world. Half of the cases occur at elementary schools. Thirty percent of the cases involve landings or humanoids. They are coming for our children.”

Preston Dennett, Schoolyard UFO Encounters, 2019

Preston Dennett (Author of Schoolyard UFO Encounters) claims to have researched approximately 120 cases of UFO sightings around school grounds. Estimating that one third of these sightings involve the UFO landing in close proximity to onlookers, many of those events also involving being exiting the crafts.

Is the commonality of schoolyard sightings simply a collective of over-imaginative individuals that want to derail the tedious order of things, force the adults into a game that the children want to play? Is it a fantasy that takes hold and spreads like wildfire, consuming truth in it’s wake. Are those that make these claims the victims of mass hysteria, delusion, or some form of deception? Strangest of all, are these people not only telling a truthful account of what they observed, but what was observed, occurred, exactly as they experienced it. The question then arises, why are ‘they’ so interested in the children of our world?

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