It was an inauguration into the world of paranormal phenomena straight from the pits of hell, but Canadian filmmaker Adam Gray couldn't even let out an appropriate scream when he saw a sinisterly cloaked figure hovering over him in the middle of the night --- he was frozen in a strange state between worlds, conscious, but unable to move or speak.
Gray was experiencing what's known as 'sleep paralysis,'--- a haunting few seconds that left a lasting impression and eventually led to a documentary film on the topic --- the first of four features he and his brother Andrew have created through their company ParaDocs Productions.
"It's something that's very common, you get I think 15-20% of the population that experience sleep paralysis at some point," he notes in a phone interview with CityNews.ca "You're asleep and you wake up and you're paralyzed and often while people are in this state they have vivid hallucinations of an entity in their room that sort of crawls onto their chest and begins to strangle them.
"It sounds completely crazy, but it's actually very common...they are using it now as a way of debunking people who think they've been abducted by aliens."
Alien abduction is the theme of the Belleville Ontario brothers' latest film, "The White Mountain Abduction," which delves into the mysterious case of Betty and Barney Hill, the first people to come public with claims that they were snatched away by extraterrestrials in 1961 while driving through the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
The brothers are used to dealing with the mysterious and bizarre. They've investigated things like crystal skulls and government endorsed remote viewing in their previous films. But what happened on the first day of shooting their latest release trumped all.
They began filming on the 47th anniversary of the event, at the very site the now deceased Hill couple claimed they were abducted from.
Remarkably, strange lights appeared in the night sky as a cameraman rolled tape to conduct the film's first interviews. The mysterious orbs eerily hovered in the distance before dancing along the skyline and disappearing.
"It was a really bizarre set of coincidences," Gray admits. "It was the first day of shooting, 47th anniversary of the abduction event, we're at the site, and just as we were starting to interview, these strange lights appeared. The cameraman just sort of kept rolling and we just sort of stood there in awe, like what the hell is this? We still don't know what it was, but we know it wasn't a star or planes...We thought maybe that it might be military flares at first but the Air Force people (we spoke to) didn't think that's what it was."
After ruling out several conceivable options, Gray realized they may have actually captured footage of a UFO, while ironically filming a documentary about the Unidentified Flying Objects.
"It's not what I would have pictured an alien craft to look like, but it was certainly unexplainable," he adds.
Gray won't go as far as to say that he believes in aliens, but after his experiences with sleep paralysis and the things he's witnesses and learned through his filmmaking, he admits there are unanswered questions, and experiences, which can't be denied. And as long as those experiences are enveloped in mystery, he's intent on doing his part to help open minds and shatter belittling stigmas.
"We are certainly trying to entertain people but I think our agenda is to get people to look at these things with an open mind and try and separate the sort of X-files mythology fiction from what has really happened."
"I think in terms of alien abduction, as soon as you say that people sort of shut down their open mind, but it's a genuine phenomena and there's hundreds of people who have come forward, been through lie detector tests and psychologists, and they genuinely have had some experience. What is not known is what the cause of that experience was, was it some weird psychological hysteria, or a waking dream? Whatever it is, it's a really interesting mystery because it's really happening to people and it's changing their lives."