In 1994 a purported early form of “found footage” was covered by documentary film makers and went on sale as the single most shocking and genuine piece of footage ever seen in regards to the UFO phenomenon. And to watch it is harrowing indeed. But was this “Incident at Lake County” genuine, or simply a hoax? And what can we learn of the mysterious origins of this footage? As it turns out, the Incident at Lake County everyone has likely seen today is not the original, but a remake.
The remake, which had a cast of characters, brief interviews with those loosely associated with the case, and a full production complete with special effects was often screened as the exclusive evidence that an incident occurred at a largely unknown location in the rural Midwest of the United States. The plot is broken up by occasional breaks where experts will either comment on the footage or relate their own UFO experiences. There are hints throughout suggesting those involved in the film were never found. And it is disturbing to say the least, though the acting breaks the mood at the beginning. But it is connected with another often sought after piece of footage – one that many believers say is the “real” version.
Believe it or not, even before “Incident at Lake County” there was a found footage film that found its way into the hands of distributors who began sharing it with paranormal researchers. This original incident, took place at the birthday party of the youngest child in the family, “Rosie.” The footage follows the family as they unearth a strange craft with Grey style occupants in them. At the end the creatures walk into the house – and it is implied that the family was abducted immediately after.
Eventually the tapes led back to Dan McPherson, the director of both pieces of footage and possibly the originator of the found footage genre. McPherson said he wanted to make both films as realistic as possible. It’s generally accepted that this was a good natured hoax with the intention of showcasing a genre that would be made popular years later. But there is a problem.
The original McPherson tapes are impossible to find online. The only copies that can be found are the remakes, which some experts who have seen both versions suggest are less realistic – and have a more Hollywood feel to them. So where is the original? A few have pointed to copies of old episodes of a Japanese television show that showed them as genuine conclusive proof that something unusual had happened to these people. But after the UPN remake, they were largely forgotten. Of course by the time Incident at Lake County began to form a cult following, the film “The Blair Witch Project” came out the following year. All questions into the origins of this idea and the whereabouts of the original ceased. And while it may very well have just been a wildly successful film project developed purely for its entertainment value, why have so many tried to find it and failed? And why do some say the original is some of the best alien abduction footage they have ever seen?