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Beyond Reason: CBC game show with a paranormal twist

It can border on the outrageous, the credible and even the entrepreneurial. For centuries people claimed to have boarded UFOs, encountered aliens and even sipped on Crop Circle Beer. Skeptics may dismiss believers as nerds and nutters but there's no doubting the increasing popularity of the paranormal in the mainstream. Canada has one of the highest rates of UFO sightings per capita and, for many Canadians, life beyond earth is a definite reality.

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Tapping in to the growing interest in the supernatural, CBC Television airs Beyond Reason, a psychic take on the hugely successful CBC game show Front Page Challenge. The panellists include an astrologer, graphologist and a clairvoyant. Armed only with a birth chart, a handwriting sample and a personal possession, the psychic panel tries to guess the identity of the hidden guests.

The mystery visitor in this episode is an astronomer and an esteemed ufologist. He was the technical adviser on the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind and is the world's leading expert on UFOs. Astrologer Geoff Gray-Cobb misses the mark when he presumes the guest likes to gamble and works in a food-related field. Psychic graphologist Marilyn Rossner doesn't fare much better.

She wrongly guesses that he composes music. But clairvoyant Irene Hughes hits the psychic bull's eye. Talking about "a terrible frightening feeling" emanating from the guest's watch and wallet, she correctly identifies the mystery guest as Dr. J. Allen Hynek.
• Dr. J. Allen Hynek started the Center for UFO Studies. Based in Chicago, the Center brings together an international group of scientists, academics, investigators, and volunteers dedicated to the continuing examination and analysis of the UFO phenomenon.

• The screenplay for Steven Spielberg's influential film Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) was based on Dr. Hynek's book, The UFO Experience (1972).

• Dr. J. Allen Hynek admitted to being a complete skeptic when he began his career as an astronomical consultant to the U.S. Air Force. His job was to determine an astronomical explanation for UFO sightings. But he changed his mind after studying countless reliable UFO reports from credible witnesses from all around the world.

• The film Close Encounters of the Third Kind defined the three different encounters as follows:
- Close encounter of the first kind was the sighting of a UFO.
- Close encounter of the second kind was physical evidence of an alien landing.
- Close encounter of the third kind was contact with aliens.

• Another famous abductee, Betty Hill, appeared on Beyond Reason in 1978. The 1961 abduction of Betty and Barney Hill in New Hampshire was the first abduction case to be thoroughly investigated. It is considered one of the best-documented abduction studies. Their story, published under the title Interrupted Journey, became a national bestseller.

• Developed by former evangelist writer and radio commentator Allen Spraggett, Beyond Reason originated as a summer replacement for the popular CBC game show Front Page Challenge. It ran from 1977 to 1980 out of Winnipeg. Some famous guests that appeared on the show include pool champ Minnesota Fats, opera singer Maureen Forrester, comedian Frank Shuster and actor Nicholas Campbell.
Medium: Television
Program: Beyond Reason
Broadcast Date: Feb. 21, 1977
Guest(s): Geoff Gray-Cobb, Irene Hughes, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Marilyn Rossner
Host: Bill Guest, Allen Spraggett
Duration: 10:24

Last updated: November 24, 2014

Page consulted on November 24, 2014

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