How much of a famed 1976 UFO abduction is true?

Jessica Potila, Special to The County
7 years ago

PART 1 of 2

     ALLAGASH WILDERNESS WATERWAY, Maine — Speaking via telephone from a motel room in Bethany, Missouri on Wednesday, August 31, 2016, Chuck Rak, one of four men who claimed aliens took them while canoeing on Big Eagle Lake in northern Maine 40 years ago, an incident which became internationally known as the “Allagash Abductions,” said it did not happen.

     “The reason I supported the story at first was because I wanted to make money,” he said.

     Rak, along with Charlie Foltz, and twin brothers Jack and Jim Weiner, all students at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, embarked on a vacation canoeing the Allagash Wilderness Waterway during the summer of 1976; however, Rak’s input has been notably absent in recent years from news stories and documentaries pertaining to the Allagash Abductions.

     According to Rak on Wednesday, the group did witness an unidentified flying object during their canoe trip, both on the night of the alleged abductions, and two nights before on Chamberlain Lake. “Oh yes, I saw the craft,” Rak said. 

     He said the most vivid sighting occurred as the men were night fishing on Big Eagle Lake. “I had an uncomfortable feeling of being stared at. I turned around and saw this very, very bright globe of light in the sky,” he said. Rak described the lights as “changing color from white to red to green in a liquid kind of melding motion.”

     Rak said the group reported the bizarre experience the next day to a ranger on duty in the area, who Rak said quickly dismissed the sighting, attributing the lights as coming from a grand opening at a hardware store in the town of Millinocket.

     “He said what we saw was these guys operating a search light in back of a pick-up,” Rak said. “There was no way this could have been any hardware store grand opening at 9 o’clock at night coming from 75 miles away.”

     According to Rak, the men continued with their trip, and did not discuss the possibility of having been abducted by aliens until years later after Jim Weiner suffered a traumatic fall and began to experience seizures.

    “After suffering this fall he started having these visions of humanoid beings levitating above his bed, poking him with needles,” Rak said.  

    Jim Weiner eventually shared his visions with renowned UFO researcher and author Raymond Fowler, after which the group underwent hypnosis with a man named Tony Constantino.  

     During the regressive hypnosis sessions both the Weiners and Foltz claimed to recall small grey aliens taking them aboard a spacecraft. They said the aliens then performed what they perceived to be medical examinations on the men.

     Rak now says his hypnosis experience led to no such recall on his part, although he previously claimed publicly that it did.

     Fowler wrote a book about the case in 1993, “The Allagash Abductions.” A storm of media attention followed, including appearances by the Allagash Four – as the public dubbed Rak, Foltz and the Weiner brothers – on “The Joan Rivers Show” and an episode of “Unsolved Mysteries.”

     “We were compelled to stay together, all speculating that this thing could go into the millions of dollars for each of us,” Rak said. “We made very little.”

     Rak said he and the others eventually had a falling out, after which he began telling people that the abductions never took place.

     Rak stopped short of describing the Allagash Abductions as an outright hoax.

     “I don’t call it a hoax, just brilliant storytelling. It’s not the truth, but I have to admire the storytelling ability of these guys,” he said.

     Read the conclusion of this two-part story in next week’s edition.