Close Encounters of the Third Kind (CE3) are sightings where an entity of some type, whatever the appearance, was seen inside or near a UFO. Unlike the assorted blobs, triffids, and alien brains that populate science fiction films, the creatures that are asociated with UFOs are often humanoid in appearance and dressed in closely fitted coveralls. Beyond that generalization, however, there are few common elements found in the many humdreds of occupant cases. The differences in body type and apparent demeanor are great and seem to imply more than one origin or a multiplicity of robotic or artificial intelligence products.

Lake Casitas photo, ca. 1960Lake Casitas, California. Around the year 1960, Frank Kinsey and his brother-in-law were looking at the lake when they heard a loud noise and water splashing. They noticed, rising out of the water, a round object with an “observation cone” on top. Through binoculars, Kinsey could see portholes through which a humanoid form was looking out at them. It hovered in the air about 20–30 feet from the surface. Kinsey grabbed his  camera, but the object started moving away, making a loud noise like a jet, its outer cylinder rotating quickly as it changed colors from dark lavender to bright orange-yellow. He snapped a photo on Kodak Infrared film as the UFO sped up and disappeared over the mountains about 10 miles away. After it was developed, the photo showed something in the air above the lake on the left.

MUFON case file

The Lake Casitas photo

South River, New Jersey, entitySouth River, New Jersey. Driving south of South River, New Jersey, on State Route 18, at 11:00 p.m. on October 23, 1963, a man glimpsed something like a flashlight off to his left, and three figures, 3–4 feet tall, crossed the road in front of him. They were dressed in “tight-fitting silver-gray one-piece suits” that seemed to “glow once they hit the headlights.” Their heads were round, but the witness can see no other features. They began quickly “fluttering” across the road, faster than the “fastest sprinter.”

Ted Bloecher’s case file

The Cisco Grove robotCisco Grove, California. Donald Schrum and his friends were bow-and-arrow hunting in an isolated area of Placer County, California, near the Loch Leven Lakes in the vicinity of Cisco Grove, on September 5, 1964. Schrum became separated from his companions. At sunset he decided to sleep in a tree for the night. Later he saw a white light zigzagging at low altitude and, thinking it was a helicopter, jumped out of the tree and lit fires to attract its attention. The light turned toward him and stopped about 50–60 yards away. The object’s strange appearance frightened Schrum, so he climbed back up in the tree. After a while, two humanoid beings and a robot-like creature approached the tree. From then on, Schrum was in a state of siege as the beings tried to dislodge him from the tree. At one point a white vapor emanated from the robot’s mouth and Schrum blacked out, but woke up again, nauseous, and began lighting matches and throwing them down to frighten the beings away; they backed away. Finally, he shot an arrow at the robot; when it hit, there was an arc flash and the robot was knocked backwards. This was repeated two more times, and the humanoids scattered each time. A second robot appeared and a vapor rendered Schrum unconscious. When he awoke, he discovered that the two humanoids were climbing up the tree toward him, so he shook the tree and threw things down at them to ward them off. The same actions were repeated all night. Near dawn, more beings approached and “large volumes of smoke” drifted up and Schrum blacked out. He awoke, hanging from his belt, and the creatures were gone. Later, when reunited with his companions, Schrum found out that one of the other hunters, who also had gotten lost and separated from the camp, saw the UFO.

NICAP case file

Photographs of the site

Long Prairie entities and James TownsendLong Prairie, Minnesota. KEYL-AM radio announcer James F. Townsend, 19, was driving on State Highway 27 four miles east of Long Prairie, Minnesota, the night of October 23, 1965, when he slammed on his brakes to avoid hitting a rocket-like device resting on three legs or fins. As his car skidded to a stop 20 feet from the object, the vehicle’s motor and electrical system died. The object looked like it was made of stainless steel, stood 30–40 feet high, and was 10 feet in diameter. In a circle of light under it, Townsend saw three things that resembled beer cans with “tripod legs and three matchstick arms.” They had no eyes, but Townsend felt as if they were looking at him. He got out of the car to try to knock one over, but they came over to him and they stood there looking at him. Eventually they turned around and “scoot[ed] under the ship,” disappearing into the light beneath it. An ear-splitting humming sound emanated from the UFO, which assumed a bright illumination and shot off. The Todd County sheriff and UFO investigators assumed that Townsend, a deeply religious man, was sincere.

NICAP case file

J. Allen Hynek case file

One of the Crystal Lake entitiesCrystal Lake, Illinois. A man named David was drinking in the bar at a hotel in Crystal Lake, Illinois. When he left at 11:00 p.m. on June 12, 1977, he noticed three small beings coming out of an alley on his right about 30–35 feet away. They were slightly over 4 feet tall, wearing greenish one-piece metallic suits, and had bubble-shaped helmets on their heads. David got the feeling he was in a “vacuum” with no sound or wind. He noticed another being lying on the ground in front of him only a few feet away, apparently injured. The three entities picked up the fourth and walked back to the alley and disappeared. David felt no fear and got the impression they would not hurt him. The beings seemed to have only 3 or 4 fingers that were larger than a human’s.

Letter to J. Allen Hynek