‘Encounters’ (2023) Episode 1 Recap & Review: What Were All The Sightings In Texas About?

Netflix’s Encounters Episode 1, currently streaming on Netflix, is an original documentary directed by Yon Motskin. The several mysterious sightings in Texas perplex the townsfolk, and they narrate their own experiences. As we are taken through their observations, we wonder whether whatever they have reported is true. This series is sure to garner a lot of believers and certain skeptical gazes on the contrary, as the matter that has been brought out still lies beyond our comprehension. Is the government trying to hide something? If UFOs exist in reality, why do we have such little knowledge about them? These aspects are something that we still do not have any answers to. Let us see if we can fish something significant out of this documentary that would leverage our knowledge of extraterrestrials. 

Spoilers Ahead

What were the Major sightings?

The year 2008 was crucial, as there were several reports of UFO sightings in the USA. There have been more than 300 reports of strange lights in the sky over Central Texas in the same year. Some of the major sightings that were reported were those of Steve Allen’s on January 8th in Stephenville. He saw the object in the sky when he was camping, and he described the lights as blinding. He was amazed, as there was by no means any noise or sound emitted from the engine, and then, in the very next moment, it disappeared. When he told his wife about it, she asked him not to disclose it to anyone, as they would think that they were crazy. The other sighting was in Dublin and was that of Lee Roy Gaitan, who was the Constable of Erath County. He described the object as an orb or a bubble that was fiery in color. He and his son witnessed the pulsating lights that were spreading out in the sky, and it was beyond their belief. The connection between the sightings of the two men was that both of them had seen F-16 jets right after the sightings. There was surely something mysterious going on that was being kept from the common people.

The reports of Robert Powell, the nanotechnologist, stated that there were more than 20 sighting reports in just one location, limited to Stephenville and Dublin. The Chairman of the Board of the First National Bank of Dublin, Pat Leatherwood, had set up a meetup for people who had seen strange objects in the sky in the Dublin Rotary Club. They were expecting fewer people, but they saw hundreds of them turning up to report the light they saw. There were several media channels, like the Houston and Dallas newspapers, trying to cover the event. Pat and his wife Lisa also had sightings of the UFO, which he described as a big triangular vessel with no sound. Norma Briseno, a high school principal, also claimed to have seen strange lights in the sky. She had her first sighting as a kid in 1989 in Dublin. On her second sighting in Stephenville, she described it as bubbles that were moving too fast, unlike any aircraft that we have witnessed.

Ricky Sorrels story had also taken an interesting turn when he narrated how he was out deer hunting and suddenly everything became dark around him. He looked up and saw a huge object above him, and he raised his rifle to have a better view through the scope. He stated that the object was strange, and just as he was about to shoot it, it swept away at a great speed, and there was no sound. As per his depiction, the object did not seem to have any atmospheric interaction, and the creatures inside looked like insects or preying mantises to him. Having a daytime sighting, he was the one with a lot of information about the object and was being harassed by some unknown forces, which made him stay out of the matter. Later, Lee Roy again had a second sighting in Stephenville, and he failed to shoot a clear video of it as something was interfering with the quality. There were similar and frequent sightings of the lights by people during similar timespans and places, which is proof enough that people might not be lying about extraterrestrial presence.

Did the sightings change people’s lives?

The sightings were responsible for altering the lives of many over the years. Steve Allen says that he had a perfect family and a good business in 2008, but after the sighting, nothing remained the same. He had been obsessed with the sighting and had changed as a person, leading to a divorce with his wife and his business suffering greatly. He had been advised by his wife not to report it to anyone, as others would think that he was crazy. However, he did not listen to her and reported it to Angela Joiner in the Stephenville Empire-Tribune. She thought the story was incredible and discussed it with Sara Vanden Berge, who was reluctant to believe it. Angela, however, went on to publish the story, which led to a conflict between them. Angela took the story very seriously and had started to gather several reports from others; she had also called the air station to check if those lights were F-16 jets. She was constantly collecting information and proofs and had sent out emails regarding how she was under pressure to shut down her work on the subject from the management and the city officials. These emails were discovered by the management, and Angela was dismissed from her job. The sightings were closely connected with a lot of events in many people’s lives during that time span.

Ricky Sorrell’s life has also been severely affected as he witnessed the UFO up close. Some secret agents had been trying to shut him up. He was constantly threatened and was blackmailed into not talking about the events. This made him steer clear of the documentary and hide his real identity, as he did not want to be exposed to further threats. The reality of the sightings was clearly being concelaed by the government and the military forces. The military later stated that the lights were nothing but those of the F-16 and that false information was being spread by the media.

The FAA (Flight Service Station) has also changed their policy and does not release radar data to the public. People like Robert Powell were looking to find the truth based on facts and were seeking to match the sightings across Texas with the radar data. The data were matching the sightings, and the objects in the sky did not seem to have any transponder codes. Matthew Roberts, the Naval Intelligence Cryptologist, was so obsessed with the gimbal that he had seen in the sky that he had started hallucinating about it. He knew for sure that it was not a part of the naval aircraft and described it as non-human tech. He was so disturbed by the research that he decided to leave the Navy just four years before his retirement. Later, when Sara also had the sightings, she could not believe her own eyes and had accepted that she was wrong in her judgments earlier and that the events had ruined her relationship with Angela. A lot of things had been altered by the series of events caused by the strange sightings in the sky in Texas during the year 2008.

Final Words

The several sightings around Texas had significantly transformed the lives of the people experiencing them. Encounters documentary puts out several pieces of evidence that brings to the forefront some truths regarding the sightings of the aerial secret. The documentary has an open ending and does not force anyone into thinking that they are wrong in having their own set of beliefs. The sci-fi show is a wonderful piece of entertainment as it stitches together several pieces of information on a topic that is not known to many. 

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Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti Dey
Debjyoti’s obsession with creativity and travel fervor has helped her branch out into the entertainment genre. Her love for psychological thrillers helps her get a daily dose of adrenaline. A regular caricature of the films and its characters is what keeps her going!

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Encounters documentary puts out several pieces of evidence that brings to the forefront some truths regarding the sightings of the aerial secret. 'Encounters' (2023) Episode 1 Recap & Review: What Were All The Sightings In Texas About?