Subject of 1976 UFO incident casts doubt on ‘Allagash Abductions’
ALLAGASH WILDERNESS WATERWAY — 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.
He 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.
Rak challenges what many believers of the Allagash Abductions consider a key element of the case: the “lost time” the men allegedly experienced. The men all claimed that when they set out fishing on Big Eagle Lake the evening of the UFO sighting, they had left a large fire burning at their campsite as a beacon to guide them back to shore during the pitch-black night. However, when they returned to the campsite, the fire had burned down much faster than they thought it should have given the amount of time they thought they had spent out on the water.
Rak now dismisses this suggestion as “complete (manure).”
“It certainly was a big fire, I agree with that,” he said. “Those logs were maybe three inches. Some of them could have been almost three and a half inches, that’s the biggest they could have been; and most of them were smaller, and as such in that condition those pieces of wood would have burned off very quickly.”
Foltz, in a telephone conversation from his Massachusetts home on Thursday, September 1, claimed differently. “Some of the wood we put on there was about the diameter of my leg,” Foltz said. “I would say at least a good 10 inches in diameter easily.”
Rak also said during the August 31 interview that he and other members of the group had used recreational drugs on the night of the alleged abduction. “I remember Jack brought some Afghan temple ball with him to share with the rest of us,” he said. “Yeah, we were definitely stoned when we went out on the lake just before we got that sighting.”
According to Rak, he felt conflicted when others asked him whether the group had been under the influence of drugs or alcohol on the night of the encounters. “I remember being on ‘The Joan Rivers Show.’ Joan was asking, ‘Were you guys drinking or taking drugs?’ Fortunately, I was sitting furthest away from her. Jim (Weiner) was right next to her and he had to field that question and lie and I didn’t have to lie.”
Foltz denies any drug use among the Allagash Four during the outing. “No,” he said Thursday. “We bought an eight-pack of beer in Millinocket when we bought all of our supplies for the canoe trip. We each had one beer at Telos Landing the very first night and we each had one beer at Fort Kent the last day of our canoe trip,” he said. “We carried those eight bottles in and we carried those eight bottles back out.”
Foltz described Rak as a man with a violent temper who has been banned from some UFO conventions. “We definitely steer clear of him because the guy is a loose cannon and a mental disaster area,” Foltz said of Rak.
Jim Weiner also dismisses Rak’s new claims. “I personally believe that Mr. Rak’s self-aggrandizing rationalizations and disparaging accusations are simply the rantings of an angry and resentful individual, on whom his former friends have turned their backs,” he wrote in a September 5 email.
Fowler initially agreed to be interviewed for this story, but later sent an email indicating that he would not take part if Chuck Rak did.
Fowler wrote on August 29, “Chuck Rak did not have very detailed recall of the abduction under hypnosis. He is the type of person who needs to be in control. He was not happy not being able to have detailed recall of the abduction portion of the incident, thus several years after the investigation he claimed that no one was abducted.”
Jim Weiner relayed an incident which he claims took place shortly after the Joan Rivers interview, during which he says Rak tried to convince the men of a new way to capitalize on the case .
“Charlie Foltz and I were visiting Jack and his wife, Mary, at their home in Vermont. One morning, Mr. Rak arrived at the house and declared he had a plan to ‘make a million dollars on the Allagash case.’ His proposal was that all four of us refute the professional handling of the case by Raymond Fowler, Tony Constantino, and MUFON (Mutual UFO Network), thereby creating controversy, which was, in Mr. Rak’s mind, exactly what the media and the public crave – and pay for,” Jim Weiner wrote.
“In response to his proposal, Jack, Charlie, and I all voiced our disgust with his ethics, and his proposal, and announced our unanimous decision to have no further interaction with him regarding future Allagash projects. Unfortunately, we, later, forgave his ‘inebriated indiscretion’ and appeared together on a couple of TV projects and UFO conferences, but it was glaringly clear to Jack, Charlie, and I that Mr. Rak’s behavior was becoming increasingly pathological.”
Both Jack Weiner and Ray Fowler said they completely agreed with Jim Weiner’s statement regarding Rak’s behavior.
Rak did not dispute Weiner’s description of the events following the alleged abductions, and claims it freed him to finally share the truth about that evening in 1976. “When I was kicked out of the group I felt a release. I was at liberty to tell the truth,” he said. “I don’t have any sterling character to preserve.”
Foltz and the Weiner brothers stand by the abduction story.
“Jack, Charlie, and I, after all these years, are still in agreement with the Eagle Lake event as we (three) remember it. We also accept the results of the hypnotic regression sessions and subsequent polygraph tests as supportive of an abduction scenario,” Jim Weiner wrote.
Foltz shared his reasoning for why those living on other planets might want to visit Earth and abduct humans. “Because we are the apex or the top of the chain as far as we think of intelligent life on our planet, we go out to the wilds of Africa and dart animals and study them,” he said. “We do it so we can learn more about them and how we impact their world and just what their purpose in our world is and I would presume (extra-terrestrial life forms) have similar interests.”
Rak said he does not dispute that alien abductions are possible.
“I’m completely open-minded about it. It’s just that I don’t think it happened in our case,” he said.