In 1979, filmmaker Ridley Scott elevated the genres of horror and science fiction with his film Alien, about the crew of a spaceship sent out to investigate a new planet. During their exploration, the crew stumbled across a creature of unknown origin, which infiltrated the ship and began killing members of the crew one by one. For many of the film's cast, this would be their first encounter with the fictional creature, but for star Yaphet Kotto, truth proved to be stranger than fiction, recently revealing to VICE that he has encountered real aliens in his life over the last 50 years.
After hearing of these allegations, the interviewer couldn't help but wonder if the actor had been diagnosed with any number of mental illnesses, with the actor joking back, "Absolutely not. I have an IQ of 196. Might as well say that the hundreds of other people—including Canada's previous defence minister—who came to the same conclusions about alien life had mental health issues too."
The actor revealed that his first sighting came when he was only around 10 years old, recalling, "When I turned around, a figure was behind me, it was at least five or six feet tall with an elongated head. It appeared, then jumped to the back of me and disappeared. From that moment on, it was one experience after another which culminated into my sighting in the Philippines and during the filming of Alien."
"A UFO as big as Yankee Stadium..."
The 77-year-old actor went on to describe the encounter he had in the Phillippines, detailing, "I heard my wife and the waiters calling me to come outside in very anxious voices. So I went out and when I got there, I saw the same huge circle of smoke over the house. When I asked them what they saw, they said they saw a UFO as big as the Yankee Stadium turned upside down and they were freaking out."
From the sounds of things, the actor seemingly kept his cool, having previously experienced the visitors from another world.
"Two or three nights later, I saw it. The thing blotted out the entire sky," Kotto continued. "The moon and everything, it was huge. I just remember saying, 'Jesus Christ.'"
Witnessing the extraordinary sight clearly still had an effect on him, as he explained, "I mean, I got nervous, man, because you don't see something like that without being vulnerable to becoming psychologically blown away. You get scared, to put it quite frankly. That messed me up for a good three or four days."prevnext
"I was not able to talk for about two or three days..."
Alien is a powerful enough film to give anyone who sees it a fear of what creatures could live in outer space, which makes one curious as to why Kotto would accept the role if he already had a fear of the monsters.
"My experiences had nothing to do with the movie Alien. It was the amazing script that was only 72 pages that brought me to that," the actor confessed. "Now, I'll admit, there were things that I alone was finding on the set of Alien—the spaceship. That mechanism that Sigourney Weaver throws to put the Sulaco (fictional spacecraft) on automatic destruct. There were symbols there. Symbols that had nothing to do with the ship in the film and I kept finding these symbols. They were like Egyptian symbols and I started trying to decipher them, which I was able to do."
His personal experiences with the beings did heighten the filming experience, however, as he detailed, "Right after the chest-busting scene, I admit that I was not able to talk for about two or three days. When that thing came out of the chest, I was smoked. I started to wonder whether or not I should have found another profession or became a classical actor on a stage. I started to question my whole life. 'What kind of movie is this? This is weird.'"prevnext
"No reason to make these claims..."
With 50 years of regular encounters, Kotto understands if some people would say his stories were fabricated.
The actor noted, "There's no reason for me to make these claims. I never promoted any book or anything like that. I never read anyone talking about the experiences I've had. I've made 75 movies and I've done television shows. I'm known all over the world so this confession wouldn't advance me, I advance myself through my acting."
"I'm already famous so what possible purpose would I have to tell these stories except how it relates to the movie Alien?" he added. "Well, I'm not promoting anything now. I've written no book and I have no movie that's about to be released. This is the time to reveal this because no one can connect it to anything that's a financial gain or form of media exposure. When someone now asks me if I ever experienced anything that's remotely close to an alien, I'll say, 'Damn right I did.' It happened at nine years old and continued since then."prevnext
"We're not alone."
Despite having no idea why he has been singled out to experience these things, the actor does believe there's a bigger purpose that explains why these events have taken place.
"We're not alone, we're not alone in the universe. If you totally westernize the idea look at it from a supremacy viewpoint, then you'll say, everyone's imagining them when it comes to these things. We can say that, but much of the world would reject that premise. We're not alone," Kotto divulges.
He went on to explain that he believes more regular contact between species is inevitable.
"They aren't going to go away and I honestly believe these species are close to making themselves known in this century, to this generation," he explained. "I believe their purpose is to make sure we don't kill ourselves. We're losing our rivers, lakes, mountains and our caps are melting. We need to take a serious look at what we're doing and they're going to help us do that."prev