“A mind is like a parachute,” a voice, full of expression, posits through the phone line. “It only works if it’s open.”
Filmmaker Rob Freeman is calling from Costa Rica early one September morning. He’s toeing the equatorial line in search of UFOs and is readying himself for his return home for the Alien Cosmic Expo, Sept. 21 to 22 in Toronto.
The 65-year-old senior field researcher started travelling around the world with colleague Mark McNabb, four years ago in an effort to capture UFO phenomenon.
The founder of the Centre for the Scientific Study of Atmospheric Anomalies’ team came into focus back in 2017, when they captured a bizarre orb floating in between Stawamus Chief and the treeline in Squamish, B.C.
The Making Contact Team, featuring Freeman, McNabb, Lissette Rodriguez, as well as Breslin Martin, were in British Columbia to visit skywatcher Charles Lamoureux. They decided to head up the Sea to Sky Highway in a plan to capture more phenomenon.
Lamoureux remained in Vancouver due to the weather reports forecasting rain. But Freeman and his team took the trip and 10 minutes up the road from Britannia Beach, they set up camp.
“At 10:59 pm, I was talking with Marcus, just standing around, and all of a sudden Breslin saw a light moving across the sky in front of the chief. And she said, ‘What’s that?’ I turned around, and in a split second, I had to decide which camera to turn on because I didn’t have a lot of time,” Freeman recalled.
“So, I turned the zoom night vision on. I figured that would be the best camera to capture and I moved it to keep it trained on the orb. At that point, I thought it was an airplane with its landing lights on. But you nevertheless film it, and then when you see it go into the woods, that’s when you hear me say, ‘Oh’.”
The seconds-long video was quickly sent off to Lamoureux, who went to work cross-referencing airplane traffic in the area, as well as check the course for the international space station (ISS).
“I filmed it and I immediately sent the clip to Charles, and he wasn’t happy he wasn’t there to see it,” he said, adding they posted it to the internet and the response was astronomical.
CTV News aired it that month and MUFON featured the segment in its Top 13 Cases of 2017.
His First Experience(s)
Freeman is no newbie when it comes to UFO lore. He had his own experiences when he was 12 and living in Sarnia.
The first happened when he was at Scouts one school night, waiting for his mom to pick him up from the church that faced Front Street South, along the St. Clair River.
A couple of kids were playing on the street and pointed to something in the sky.
“They said there was a helicopter up in the sky. I looked up, and there was this very bright light in the sky and it’s moving from north to south, parallel with the river,” Freeman recalled. “I didn’t hear any sound. I could perceive that was up to about 800 feet.”
The only difference with this particular helicopter is its ability to flit about the sky and alter its course in an instant.
“Every time it changed direction it got a little bit lower. The strange thing was, was that when it changed direction, it was in the blink of an eye,” he added. “That was when it hit me, and I thought, ‘We don’t have anything that can immediately be going the other way without coming to a stop first, or at least slows down’.”
Freeman has piloted craft like hot-air balloons and gliders in the past. So, looking back on the experience, he’s able to interpret distances better. Further research into his experience turned up a spate of sightings in Michigan that same time in 1966.
Details, as the saying goes, have the devil in them, and as the craft came closer, Freeman said he could see a little than was comfortable.
“As I squinted my eyes to look more closely, I could see a bright light on the bottom that looked like a lamp (and) I could see things moving behind it,” he said. “I said my prayers. I said please let my mom come quickly. I had the sense that this thing was watching me. I mean, the kids disappeared a few minutes after telling me.”
Of course, his mom did come and pick him up, but when he pointed out the craft to her, it was gone.
“My mom just laughed and said, ‘Oh don’t be silly. You’ve got homework to do. It’s just a helicopter or a balloon.’”
Once he arrived safely back home, his dad and brother also balked at his story. Downtrodden, Freeman did his homework and went to bed.
The next day, the newspaper had reported the event, speaking with witnesses, as well as members of the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in the U.S. Freeman’s family seemed to give him more credit.
A second experience had him and his friend John sit on top of the house skywatching. They witnessed a “whole swarm of lights” that travelled from north to south.
“Many people aren’t lucky enough to have one sighting,” Freeman said, adding his family had very little interest in what they had seen so they spent the rest of the evening watching Star Trek.
The Makings of a Pilgrimage
Freeman had mentioned his experiences to McNabb when they started making the documentary Making Contact: Be Inspired.
McNabb took the story with him and pitched the idea of making a series of documentaries around the world, positing that what Freeman experienced as a child was due to him being young and innocent and the UFO being receptive to that.
“He said, ‘You guys being young and very innocent, and wanting to see them, you guys called them in’. I didn’t believe it, but maybe, and I left the door open just a crack,” he said. “I was skeptical.”
But the seed for Making Contact had been planted, and four years later, the team has put together small segments on the culture behind skywatching.
As with any new venture, money did come up.
“I said, ‘Great. Who’s going to pay for it?’ and he said, ‘You are’.”
Freeman laughed, but his travelling around the world for the last four years, connecting with people who have shared their experiences with him, has been a passion come true.
For years, he had to squirrel his interest away in an effort to pay the mortgage and raise two boys. He’s looking forward to opening up with the audience at the Alien Cosmic Expo.
“We have been introduced to some of the top people in the world. We have learned to make contact,” he said. “We’ve met with people who have met face-to-face with beings both in physical form and holographic form.
“We continue to be excited and it’s very cool being able to share this with other people.”