Close encounter

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In Ufology, a close encounter is an event where a person observes evidence of visitation by extraterrestrial intelligence to Earth, or witnesses an unidentified flying object. This system was developed by J. Allen Hynek, and was first suggested in his 1972 book The UFO Experience: A Scientific Study.

Sightings more than 500 feet from the witness are classified as "Daylight Discs", "Nocturnal Lights" or "Radar/Visual Reports".

Sightings within about 500 feet are subclassified as various Close Encounters:

  • A close encounter of the first kind is a sighting of an unidentified flying object or objects. Reports of "flying saucers," odd lights, or aerial objects unattributable to human technology, can all be considered close encounters of the first kind.
  • A close encounter of the second kind is an observation of physical evidence of extra-terrestrial visitation. Footprints, heat or radiation damage to terrain, and crop circles found in the vicinity of a UFO sighting could be considered examples of close encounters of the second kind.
  • A close encounter of the third kind is an observation of one or more occupants associated with one or more crafts.

More recently, some groups have referred to alien abductions as close encounters of the fourth kind, and encounters in which humans and aliens communicate as close encounters of the fifth kind. Still other groups include a sixth type of close encounter, involving the death of a human or animal during a witnessed encounter:

  • A close encounter of the fourth kind is abduction by an extraterrestrial intelligence. There are two types of CE4 encounters, the first type involving forceable abduction by an extraterrestrial intelligence by an unwilling abductee. The second type of CE4 contact involves willful agreement to be be taken.
In a class 1 CE4 encounter abductees may experience severe reality distortion, memory lapses, 'post abduction trauma' symptoms such as fear and anxiety, physiological effects, paralysis, and time-space disorientation.
Events classified as a class 2 CE4 are events that are technically classified as an abduction, yet occur with a witness's voluntarily assistance or willfully follows an entity.
  • A close encounter of the fifth kind involves direct communication between an extraterrestrial intelligence and a human being. This is the rarest and most controversial form of close encounter. Many people in the New Age movement have asserted fifth-kind encounters. See contactees.
  • A close encounter of the sixth kind involves the death of a human being or other animal during a witnessed encounter. Witnesses reporting UFOs flying above fields where cattle has been mutilated would be classified as a sixth-kind encounter (CE6). See cattle mutilations.

The classification system supplied the title for the 1977 Steven Spielberg film about an alien encounter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

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