In 1994, teachers and school officials at the Ariel School in Ruwa, Zimbabwe were astonished when no less than 62 students claimed to have had a bizarre and terrifyingly prophetic encounter with a UFO and its unearthly occupants.

On Friday, September 16, 1994, the Republic of Zimbabwe’s Ariel School — a private elementary school about 20 miles outside the capitol city of Harare — became the host of one of the most unusual cases in the history of ufology, when a throng of over sixty school children claimed to have had a run in with a pair of creatures from OUT OF THIS WORLD.

The event began at approximately 10:15 am. while the children — who ranged in age from 5 to 12 years old and were of African, Asiatic and European descent — were playing in the field adjacent to the school during their mid-morning break on the already scorching, 91° day.

The children claimed that while they were playing they noticed three “silver balls” soaring in the sky above the school. These orbs, which quickly caught the attention of the whole group,  intermittently flashed red and would disappear in a burst of light and then reappeared in another section of the sky.

According to the eyewitnesses, these mysterious metallic objects vanished and re-materialize three more times before slowly descending toward the school following a line of transmission towers. The anxious kids then claimed that one of the silver UFOs dropped lower than the others and landed — or hovered just above ground — in a cluster of gum trees about 300-feet from where they were playing.

Due to proliferation of thorn bushes, poisonous snakes and spiders, the area where the UFO had landed was forbidden to the children, but was not fenced off from the schoolyard. This allowed the still frightened (yet intensely curious) kids to approach the unusual object.

It was at that moment that this already strange scene took a turn of the bizarre, when a small, black clad, humanoid figure, approximately 3-feet in height, emerged from the top of the object. The witnesses claimed that the being’s suit was shiny and tight fitting. They also stated that it had a “scrawny” neck, a narrow face, thin arms and legs, long black hair and “huge eyes like rugby balls.”

The entity, apparently unaware of the growing crowd of spectators, scrambled down to the rough patch of earth presumably to explore the terrain — not unlike the bizarre, geologically inclined beings that landed in the Russian city of VORONEZH in 1989. The creature apparently moved back and forth in the scrub brush, like it was “bouncing as if he were on the moon, but not quite so much.”

kinnula_humanoid_smThis description is similar to that given by two Finnish lumberjacks, who, in 1971,  claimed to have encountered a green, space-suit clad, 3-foot alien, known as the KINNULA HUMANOID, that also seemed to exhibit an apparent lack of weight while on Terra firma.

It was at this point that a second shiny suited entity emerged from the top of the craft while the first seemed to — almost inadvertently — approach the children.

The younger kids, horrified by these ostensibly interstellar apparitions, began screaming in terror and calling out for help. Apparently they believed these creatures to be demons known as a TOKOLOSHI, which are notorious for devouring young ones. The terrified children ran into the school, leaving the older students behind.

The first humanoid, suddenly aware of the youthful eyes that were watching its every move, disappeared without warning. Within seconds this same creature — or one identical to it — re-emerged behind the craft. The two beings stared motionlessly at the lingering children.

When the panic-stricken horde of youngsters entered the school, the hallways were eerily vacant because teachers were all attending a faculty meeting. The kids then came across the only available adult; the mother of one of the student’s who was operating the school’s “tuck shop” — a snack bar where candy and sodas are sold.

Sadly, this unnamed woman refused to leave her post unattended, believing, perhaps, that this was nothing more than an elaborate ruse fabricated by the students to gain access to her cache of sweets.

The teachers at the school later admitted that the sixty-two children were essentially unsupervised while in the schoolyard during morning recess and claimed that they ignored the student’s fearful cries, assuming that they were nothing more than the mirthful screeches often associated with schoolyard play.

The older students who remained outside, still enthralled by the UFO and its inhabitants, claimed that the creatures communicated with them telepathically, through what one, still visibly frightened, girl, would describe as their “horrible eyes.”

Another student, known only by the pseudonym “Elsa,” claimed that she felt horrible for the rest of the day, unable to shake the horrific images that had been implanted in her brain by the beings. She believed that they wanted to convey to the human race a grave warning to stop destroying the planet or face the consequences:

“The world is going to end, maybe because we don’t look after our planet or the air. Like all the trees will go down and there will be no air. People will be dying. Those thoughts came from the man — the man’s eyes.”

10-year old “Isabelle” also expressed just how frightening these creatures were:

“He was just staring. He was scary. We were trying not to look at him ’cause he was scary. My eyes and feelings went with him.

Elsa’s claimed that the overwhelming sensation she had while staring at the alien’s horrific visage was “we are doing harm to the Earth.”

Another student also indicated that these extra-terrestrials seemed to feel that human technology was quickly growing out of control and suggested “something is going to happen… and that we need to be careful of our technology.”

Following this silent, yet powerful, message — which seems profoundly more direct than the vague warnings of doom that are alleged to come from appearances of MOTHMAN and its ilk — the being disappeared again and the silvery oval shaped object ascended up through the gum trees at an incredible velocity and vanished. The entire event lasted only about fifteen minutes.

It should also be noted that scores of people who have had alien encounters also claim to have been shown apocalyptic visions by their extra-terrestrial captors.

This fascinating report may have ended there were it not for work of intrepid investigative journalist, Cynthia Hind — known during her lifetime as Africa’s foremost UFO researcher — who was hot on the case the next day. When first informed of the incident, Hind wasted no time in contacting the headmaster of the Ariel School, Colin Mackie, and asking him to have the children draw pictures of what they had seen in the schoolyard.

When Hind arrived at the scene of the encounter Mackie had about 35 drawings waiting for her. They were similar in their depictions of the vehicle and the alien life-form accompanying it.

Hind also investigated the area of the alleged landing with her son, a BBC reporter and electrical expert Gunter Hofer. Hofer scanned the area with a Geiger counter, but no traces of radiation were found at the scene.

Mackie, though personally skeptical about UFOs and alien visitations, confirmed to Hind that he believed that the students were telling the truth. Hind would later state that these rural schoolchildren had little or no exposure to TV or popular press reports of UFOs. It was at this point that American psychiatrist, and leading authority on alleged alien abduction experiences, Dr. John Mack, got involved with the investigation.

As luck would have it, Mack — a professor at Harvard Medical School and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer – was traveling through Zimbabwe at the time of the event. As soon as he got wind of this odd encounter he and his associate Dominique Callimanopulos journeyed to Ruwa, where they spent two days interviewing twelve of the children, their parents and faculty.

Mack’s experience in child psychiatry enabled him to quickly gain the trust of his young witnesses, who were not only traumatized by this horrific event, but no doubt mortified by the ridicule it would inspire. One little girl was so afraid of not being believed that she said: “I swear by every hair on my head and the whole Bible that I am telling the truth.”

According to Mack the twelve children he interviewed gave consistent and reliable accounts of the occurrence, leading him to believe it was not a case of mass hysteria, but a genuine alien encounter. Nevertheless, skeptics still abound. But even one of the most devoted doubters, an Ariel School teacher who withheld his name, claimed he eventually changed his mind about the case due to: “… the consistency of the reports from the kids.”

While the lack of adult witnesses has led some to conclude that this incident is nothing more than a prank produced in the fertile mind of precocious children, one must consider if it is remotely feasible for 62 pre-teens to concoct a successful hoax that requires the youngest of the bunch to feign terror while the eldest jeopardize their reputations by claiming to not only have seen an alien, but to have shared a psychic connection with it.

Not to mention the sheer psychological effort it would take to corroborate a tale as elaborate as this. It should also be noted that in the 16-years following this harrowing event, there have been no public claims that this was a hoax made by the eyewitnesses — some of whom are now parents themselves!

While it is difficult to ascertain if these additional events had anything to do with the close encounter of the 3rd kind that occurred at the Ariel School on September 16th, it bears mentioning that on the morning of September 14th, eyewitnesses across southern Africa also claimed to have seen a meteor-like object.

As if this weren’t astounding enough, over 100 children at the Pier House School — which is located 25 miles from Rawa — watched as a UFO hovered and apparently searched for a place to land. At the same time the school kids at Pier House were awed by these celestial antics, all of the school buses in the Ruwa school district apparently lost the use of their radios­, receiving nothing but static.

Of course, it wasn’t long before the Ariel School encounter put the small farming community of Ruwa, Zimbabwe on the map. The event made headlines all over the world and also became the subject of numerous television reports.

This event has become the Dark Continent’s equivalent to the now legendary ROSWELL INCIDENT and is considered by some investigators to be one of the best close encounter cases in the long history of ufology. Will Buech, board member of the John E. Mack Institute in Cambridge, summed up his opinion on this strange and frightening meeting of the worlds:

“Something strange happened to the group of children that left them with the impression some form of sentient life cared about the Earth and cared about the environment and even cared about the children.”

Buech’s assumptions seem debatable considering the frightened reaction the children had to this alien entity and the message hidden behind its horrible, black eyes.

Still, one can’t help but to wonder; did this creature come to warn us about the consequences of environmental abuse so we could make the changes necessary to reverse its effects? Or, more frighteningly, was it issuing a thinly veiled threat… a final decree telling the human race, in no uncertain terms, to fix our world — or else.

© Copyright Rob Morphy 2002 — 2011