This week on The Gralien Report, we begin our weekly foray with recollections about the early years of UFO research, in advance of things we intend to discuss in-depth later on. Then getting to the news, we recall the life and work of a true icon: Marvel Comics co=creator Stan Lee, whose memorable contributions to fandom include Spider-Man, The Avengers, and many others.

Stan Lee wasn’t the only famous name in fiction and sci-fi that we recently lost; actor Douglas Rain, who lent his voice for the memorable killer-computer “HAL 9000” in Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, has also passed away. We look at some of the interesting stories behind how Rain ended up taking the role, before looking at the way HAL 9000 and other aspects of the film influenced not only other science fiction, but also science fact and technological innovations over the ages.

One of the main themes in 2001: A Space Odyssey is how alien life might attempt to contact life here on Earth. This brings us to the claims of alien abductees: people who have claimed over the years that they have had close encounters with alien beings. Beginning with a peculiar alleged encounter that mirrors one of the most famous tropes of Kubrick and Clarke’s 2001, we then look more broadly at the phenomenon with notable claims from over the years, beginning in the 1950s with stories like those of farmer Antonio Villas Boas, to some of the more famous cases like those of Betty and Barney Hill and Travis Walton, whose famous stories inspired books, films, and countless articles and documentaries.

Weighing the claims of the abductees, what can be made of such stories, and do some of them seem more likely than others? Also, are there other interpretations we could make about these stories apart from an “extraterrestrial” narrative? We look at this murky subject and weigh the facts versus conjectures in trying to make sense of the claims.

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Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at

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