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Files of the unexplained is an eight-episode documentary series, produced by Vox Media, that examines famous cases where ordinary people were confronted with unexplained phenomena. These could include encounters with aliens, ghosts or disappearances. In one episode, the case of severed feet washing up on the shores of the Salish Sea is examined.

Opening shot: We see a swampy scene at night. Then a man talks about seeing War of the Worlds like a kid.

The essential: In the first episode, an alien abduction incident that occurred in 1973 is revisited. In Pascagoula, Mississippi, Charles Hickson, then 42, and Calvin Parker, then 19, were fishing on the river at night after their shift at the local shipping port. The two men report that two bright lights are hovering just above the water and that beings with pincers for hands are coming out. Then both report that they were brought aboard the ship and examined; Hickson even describes a giant eye watching over him. Then they were dropped off near the river.

Via animated re-enactments, archival footage, and interviews with Parker (who died in 2023, after filming the episode) and Hickson’s son Eddie, among others, the show’s producers break down the encounter to show whether the men’s accounts of the kidnapping seemed credible. This is not an incident that has been swept under the rug; While Parker was still reluctant to talk about the incident, Hickson took advantage of the media opportunities that came his way, including an interview with Johnny Carson and a stage show that brought him some income.

The kidnapping greatly affected both men; both ended up being forever changed by the incident, and even Hickson was affected as he was pulled in multiple directions by people wanting to hear the story, while being subjected to skepticism from the American public. But a recording between the two men, made without their permission when they reported the incident to law enforcement, was released in 2020, showing that both men believed what they saw, even when no one no one else was there to listen to their story.

Files of the unexplained
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

What shows will this remind you of? Files of the unexplained reminds us of a multitude of docuseries about unexplained phenomena, but the example of these shows is Looking for…that we watched as kids in the late 70s and early 80s (the series returned in 2002 and again in 2018).

Our opinion : Speaking of which, the formula that Files of the unexplained This is roughly the formula that Looking for… was launched almost 50 years ago: interviews, reconstructions and a lot of speculation. Which is totally fine, if that’s all you want from the series.

The episodes aren’t that long; most last between 30 and 35 minutes, with the longest being 48 minutes. So they don’t examine these cases with a fine-tooth comb; they look at the broad strokes, mainly interviewing people involved in or at least connected to them. Since most of the episodes take place in the past, the perspective of these intervening decades is interesting to listen to.

For example, hearing directly from Calvin Parker and his wife, who was his girlfriend at the time, about the Pascagoula incident was invaluable because for him, the kidnapping had caused him severe post-traumatic stress disorder and he preferred to forget it. But half a century after it happened, this issue is still at the forefront of his mind. It was a good insight into how an incident like this can change a person, especially one who wasn’t inclined to wildly tell things like this in the first place.

Sex and skin: None.

Starting shot: Hickson, in an archival interview, said: “I know there are other worlds with life. And one day, everyone will know that it’s a fact, without a doubt. »

Sleeping Star: You wonder why Rebecca Davis, the town’s events manager, is being interviewed until you see her collection of alien-related memorabilia. She was also instrumental in getting the city to place a marker near where the incident happened. Finally, she sports an impressive headpiece of hair that looks straight out of 1987.

Most pilot line: We didn’t find any.

Our call: Spread it. Like the predecessors of this series, the episodes of Files of the unexplained are designed to intrigue you about the particular incidents in question and to investigate further if you are interested. Given that we hadn’t heard about the Pascagoula Incident or had forgotten about it before watching this first episode, and are now curious, the show did the job it set out to do.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and technology, but he’s under no illusions: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.comFast Company and elsewhere.

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