The term “close encounters” refers to human contact with life forms from other planets. There has been a lot of controversy about the legitimacy of UFO sightings, and even more skepticism about reports of alien abductions.
Most people have heard of these various reports, but not everyone understands the different categorizations of close encounters.
Close Encounters of the First Kind
This is the most basic type of classified interaction with other kinds or forms of life. It includes visual sightings of strange or unusual objects or lights that could potentially be related to the sighting of a UFO. This kind of encounter does not include any form of physical contact, communication through language, or abductions.
An example of encounters of the first kind would be the many people who have claimed to see strange lights or orbs in the sky. One of the most recent examples would be the glowing orbs many people reportedly saw in the skies over Cancun, Mexico on November 12, 2011. No immediate contact was made with these orbs, but many people reported seeing them on the same date and around the same time.
Close Encounters of the Second Kind
Encounters of the second kind involve witnessing some type of change to the world here on earth, believed to occur as a result of UFO or alien activity. Examples would be the many crop circles that have surfaced over the years. They are believed to have been caused by landing UFOs, and many people have seen them.
Just like encounters of the first kind, no direct communication with aliens or other strange beings is associated with second kind encounters. It just goes one step beyond the first kind, since actual effects of UFO activity are believed to be seen in the real world.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Encounters of the third kind do involve more direct contact between humans and forms from other planets. This kind of encounter involves visual appearances of actual creatures believed to be aliens or forms from other planets. This could be the direct sighting of an actual UFO ship or a strange type of being or creature.
This type of encounter does not go so far as to include actual abductions or the type of interactions that would involve touching or communicating with strange beings. The creator of this classification system was reportedly very skeptical about the possibility of that type of encounter, which is why additional classifications have been added in by other people in recent years.
Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind
A human is abducted by a UFO or its occupants. This type was not included in Hynek’s original close encounters scale. Hynek’s erstwhile associate, argued that a CE4 should be described as “cases when witnesses experienced a transformation of their sense of reality,” so as to also include non-abduction cases where absurd, hallucinatory or dreamlike events are associated with UFO encounters.
Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind
Named by Steven M. Greer’s CSETI group, these purported encounters are joint, bilateral contact events produced through the conscious, voluntary and proactive human-initiated or cooperative communication with extraterrestrial intelligence. This is very similar to some “contactees” of the 1950s who claimed regular communication with benevolent aliens.
The nature of this bilateral, deliberate communication between the intelligent source and the subject is generally claimed to be (but does not have to be) telepathic. The subject generally does not claim to be psychic. Contrary to popular belief, not all subjects in this category identify the source as being of extraterrestrial origin, but simply as otherworldly (or as being not of this world).
Close Encounters of the Sixth Kind
CE6 is described as UFO incidents that cause direct injury or death. This category was not included in Hynek’s scale, and is furthermore redundant: a CE2 in Hynek’s scale specifically included UFO encounters that leave direct physical evidence of any kind.
Close Encounters of the Seventh Kind
The Black Vault Encyclopedia Project proposes a Close Encounter of the Seventh Kind as mating between a human being and extraterrestrial that produces a human-alien hybridisation, usually called a Star Child. This concept similar to ideas promoted by ancient astronauts theorists like Erich von Däniken, Zecharia Sitchin and Robert K.G. Temple, in that extraterrestrials interacted with, perhaps interbred with and influenced ancient human beings in the past.
This concept of CE7 is at odds with Hynek’s original concepts, however. Hynek’s CE3 specifically avoided describing UFO occupants as “aliens” or “extraterrestrials”, contending that there was not enough evidence to determine if beings associated with UFOs had an objective physical reality, let alone to confirm their origins or motives.
There have been several other classifications of close encounters suggested in recent years (CE4, 5, 6, 7), but they are not as accepted as the first three kinds detailed here. The added classifications represent the more questionable forms of human/alien contact, such as abductions. Some people believe in these extended classifications or kinds, while others discount them completely.
Close encounters of the first kind are becoming more accepted today, since so many people have claimed to see them. There have been many cases where many people from a given geographic location report seeing the exact same things in the sky on the same night and at the same times. This has given more credibility to the possibility of these sightings. The other kinds are still highly controversial today.