This review contains spoilers! Follow the link below to watch before reading!
Hellier Episode 1: The Midnight Children
There is a pertinent moment early on in ‘The Midnight Children’, the first episode of Hellier, that manages to perfectly capture one of the five part docu-series’ most important overall themes. This foreboding instance comes in Greg Newkirk’s initial interview. Greg notes that in his experience as a supernatural and paranormal investigator often times the deeper a case is pursued the stranger, and evermore stranger, it becomes. Not only does this statement absolutely apply to the Hellier investigation at hand going forward, but it is also very applicable to something that has always bugged me about the way the overall community surrounding the supernatural and paranormal perceives any given popular happening that comes our way. Take the 1955 Kelly-Hopkinsville ‘UFO crash’ for instance, an event that plays heavily into the Hellier documentary. (I assume most readers are familiar with this incident, though, if not check out Nick Redfern’s Mysterious Universe article in the link following this review.) While we’ve spent decades arguing about whether the creatures seen by the Sutton’s on that hot August evening were in fact other worldly entities or just barn owls, we’ve failed to take into account the centuries of interactions that the human population in and around Kentucky have had with beings like the goblins near our natural cave systems. Too many times we’re so willing to hear the details of a case, and as believers herald it as the coming of the extraterrestrials, or as skeptics, take it as just another case of wildlife misidentification, without allowing the thing to develop to its full high strangeness. The crew of Hellier certainly can’t be accused of this.
In fact much of the Hellier investigation revolves around a strange series of synchronicities that took place involving researcher Karl Pfeiffer and his relation to the ongoing investigation by Greg and Dana Newkirk into ‘The Return of the Kentucky Goblins’. For those who may not know of the phenomena of synchronicities, I’ll quickly summarize by quoting the originator of the term, Carl Jung’s definition of ‘a meaningful coincidence’. (You can read more on synchronicities at the link following this review.) I’m sure for more than a few diehard ‘UFO people’ I know, and by reading other’s thoughts on the series online, this element of synchronicity and esoterica was already a point of contention with Hellier. However, just like we as a community have failed to acknowledge the connections of the holler goblin legends in Kentucky with the ‘55 encounter in Kelly and so many more instances in hundreds of cases across the board, we often times fail to realize that these moments of high strangeness are elements of some of the most prolific incidences of the paranormal and supernatural. As is referenced throughout the series, prominent Mothman investigator John Keel experienced many of these moments of synchronicity and strangeness throughout, and after, his time in Point Pleasant. Indeed, as Greg points out in ‘The Midnight Children’ the letters Keel received from a mysterious group known as ‘The International Bankers’ in connection with his investigation in ‘69 mirrors the cadence and word use of their own Terry Wriste emails shown in this episode. These meaningful coincidences have been reported by various renowned researchers in addition to Keel in conjunction with various cases. This reminds me of one of my favorite lines from the 2002 fictionalized account of John Keel’s Mothman investigation, ‘The Mothman Prophecies’: “One day you’re just driving along in your car, and the universe just points at you and says, “Ah, there you are. I’ve been looking for you. I’ve been looking for you.” It’s as if the something has opened up to these investigators for a major revelation. Many times though, that’s only more questions.
Overall these reviews won’t be the standard recap assessments that these kind of things often are but instead will examine the themes, motifs, and overall subject matter of the individual episodes. ‘The Midnight Children’ introduces us to our investigation team and slowly lulls us into the deep, dark hills of eastern Kentucky, to a place that any bluegrass resident will immediately recognize as a reflection of home. Hellier overall does an excellent job of capturing the unique individualism of our state while at once accentuating our immersion in an ongoing flap of bizarre and other worldly activity. While communally we seem to continually come back to, and pore over, the well known cases like the Flatwood’s Monster, the Fargo UFO dogfight, and the Roswell incident, cases like this one are developing right now in real time. While there is nothing inherently wrong with going back to these incidences and reopening investigations, what Hellier does is take an open run at a new corner of an ongoing occurrence and presents us with a whole new take on just what the ‘Kentucky Goblins’ may be up to, and ‘The Midnight Children’ is only the beginning.
See you guys for episode two: ‘The Ink and the Black’.
‘Til the next moon rises, Night Owls!
•1955: A Really, Really Close Encounter
•What is Synchronicity