TV NotesErin Ryder and her team research close encounters in ‘Chasing UFOs’
By Ginia Salomone, New York Daily News
- Jun. 29, 2012
Erin Ryder, one of three trained investigators who seek answers in the new series “Chasing UFOs,”
has a long history with the subject matter.
“I grew up in a family that was really open to all this stuff,” she tells the Daily News. “The UFO phenomenon was because I grew up in the Hudson Valley, just north of New York City, which was the site of one of the most widely witnessed episodes of UFO activity ever.
“Thousands of people observed this blue craft from 1982 all the way to 1995,” Ryder adds. “And some of those witnesses were my family members, one of my great grandfathers. So it’s just been in my blood and my family line for a really long time. And I think there’s something about the mystery of it that really intrigues me.”
In the first episode, airing Friday at 9 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel
, the investigators visit Stephenville, Tex. In January 2008, hundreds of the city’s residents reported seeing unidentified flying objects.
The investigators hold a town meeting, where witness after witness shares a story of what was seen. A pilot explains something he saw up close: “This was not a shooting star … My estimation is it was about a half a mile wide and a mile long.”
Ryder and a team of experts go into the field one night to make their own observations. She spots something that “looks like a flying saucer” in the sky, and cameras capture blinking lights that shoot around to form a circle.
The team determines the lights don’t belong to any terrestrial craft, and Ryder declares on the show, “For the first time in my life, I really, really am tempted to say that I believe UFOs exist.”
The 31-year-old labels herself a “skeliever,” however.
“It’s a way I’ve combined skeptic and believer, because until I have concrete evidence, I’m going to still kind of teeter in the middle,” Ryder says. The show’s other two investigators are Ben McGee, “the skeptic,” a space-minded geoscientist, and James Fox, billed as “the believer.” Fox is a UFOlogist who directed and produced three films on the subject.
“I am the tech supervisor, and I’ve always been real tech-minded,” Ryder explains. “I’m the one that garners all of our equipment in terms of the thermal cameras and the lenses, the metal detectors, everything. I’ve just been fascinated by that kind of stuff.
“So I put together this incredible package based upon what investigation we’re going to do,” she says. “At the same time, I also help with the reconnaissance work in terms of where we’re going to go, when we’re going to go, how we’re going to get there. A lot of the times, we’re on some federal property and we just have to be careful about things. So I’m the one who does the preplanning of that.”
In each episode the team visits a different location that’s been a hotspot for UFO sightings. At the end, the investigators give their verdict as to how credible the sightings were.
“We each individually state what our beliefs are, based on everything that we’ve seen, everyone we’ve talked to, all the evidence we’ve collected,” Ryder says. “We all have such different opinions.”http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/television/erin-ryder-team-research-close-encounters-chasing-ufos-article-1.1104238