UFOs, mysterious disappearances, strange creatures and bizarre phenomena — they’re all fodder for investigation in the Science Channel series “The Unexplained Files,” which debuts Aug. 28. Each of the six episodes features two or three stories — each one weirder than the last.
Take for example, the strange rain incident that occurred last year in Sri Lanka.
“It rained red rain on and off for 60 days straight,” explains executive producer Josh Berkley. “The locals thought it was blood. When they analyzed it, they found cells but the cells had no DNA. Scientists at Cardiff University believe these cells traveled on a meteorite. There was a meteorite explosion two weeks before the rain so the atmosphere was covered in these cells. We have a story about the Texas blue dog, a weird jackal-looking creature with blue eyes and elephant skin. The DNA doesn’t match any known species.”
But this is not a Ripley's Believe it or Not sideshow. Berkley stresses that the subjects had to meet the Science Channel’s standards. “We are not telling ghost stories. If we couldn’t bring new pieces of evidence, they didn’t make the series. Each one of these stories had to have multiple witnesses, had to be credible. They had to have journalistic integrity. They had to have witnesses, photographs or some other tangible evidence. We weeded out quite a few stories that didn’t hold up.”
A skeptic by nature, Berkley began to see things from a new perspective while working on the show. “When one person says ‘I saw that’ or ‘I was abducted,’ it’s a lot easier to discount than when there are multiple eyewitnesses. In doing the series and turning over all these different layers, you start to realize these people are credible and intelligent and each one justifies the other’s perspective and the stories build,” he says, noting that each of the 14 stories include testimony from scientists, government officials, police, investigators or journalists.
“We went into the series maintaining that we didn’t want to have a point of view. We want to create a platform for these very passionate and credible people to put forth their experiences, their science, their investigation, and give them a forum where they play off of each other. We as the network remain neutral but bring the skeptics and personalities.”
While he is “personally more confused” than ever, Berkley believes viewers “may begin with a certain notion,” and after watching the show, they may share his confusion. “There are things out there that cannot be explained, and if you put your skepticism aside, you’ll see stories that you just can’t get out of your mind. If you are questioning what you believe to be true, then this series has really accomplished its goal.”