The CW network’s hit series Mysteries Decoded came to the non-fiction television world this past August in its debut season.
It accomplished a notable feat. It broke the all-male adventurer/host/expert in the category where the likes of Josh Gates and Mike Rowe dwelled and introduced us to Jennifer Marshall, the lead investigative host. All while delivering entertaining deep dive sleuths into America’s biggest mysteries of this planet and beyond.
Her cohort-on-camera in this series is UFOlogist Ryan Sprague, an accomplished author-UFO expert. Sprague has a podcast and has done a lifetime of research in all things not-of-this-Earth coming at us from the skies. He is featured in the Mysteries Decoded episodes that are extraterrestrial in nature and involve the Roswell mysteries phenomenon too.
The new eight-episode series was born from The CW’s success last year with the one-hour special that aired ahead of their Roswell scripted series. It resonated with viewers who wanted more.
The special — titled Roswell: Mysteries Decoded — not only spurred interest in the new fictional drama but gave producers a chance to create and design the perfect follow-up exploring the most famous mysteries and conspiracies in US history. Both Sprague and Marshall mesh well together on screen, as each brings a unique POV to the mysteries investigated weekly.
We spoke to Ryan Sprague ahead of the finale focusing on Big Foot where Jennifer tries to find the humanoid man-monster that allegedly lives in forests in North America and beyond.
Monsters and Critics: How did you begin your career as an expert on alien phenomenon?
Ryan Sprague: When I was twelve years old, I had a UFO sighting that completely left me dumbfounded. I don’t know what it was or even what it wasn’t, but it left me curious enough to spend the rest of my life researching the topic of UFOs and interviewing those who have claimed similar experiences.
After compiling countless witness testimonies from both civilians and military/government officials, I have archived hundreds of stories from around the world of UFOs and unexplained phenomena.
That morphed in to different outlets to present my research. I started writing for magazines, websites, and journals. Then I wrote a book in 2016 called Somewhere in the Skies: A Human Approach to an Alien Phenomenon.
This really put me on the map and gained attention by both the UFO field and the scientific and academic fields as well. This opened many doors for me, and that’s when I really began to explore what UFOs could be.
And some of the answers along with way have really surprised me.
M&C: You are the perfect balance to Jennifer Marshall’s skeptical approach, how did you get on with her in the series… and did you feel you made headway into getting her more on your side?
Ryan: I couldn’t have asked for a better partner for both our Roswell and Area 51 investigations. With her military background, private investigator experience and attention to detail, she opened my eyes to certain pieces of evidence that I never even knew were there.
And I’d like to think I did the same for her as well. When we first met, we were on completely different ends of the spectrum when it came to the possibility that an extraterrestrial intelligence was behind the Roswell UFO crash and that the craft could possibly be housed at Area 51.
I think by the conclusion of each investigation, we met much closer to the middle of that spectrum and were able to convince one another to never accept any given answer until you look at the evidence, deliver facts and find the truth.
Also, when you spend hours upon hours with one another investigating such strange mysteries, you create a bond that can’t be broken. We talk almost daily and continue to investigate even when the cameras stopped rolling.
M&C: As a legitimate investigator, could you have worked with just any production team or how important was it that the production company behind Mysteries Decoded be respectful and knowledgeable in this phenomenon and respect the process of people like yourself getting the truth?
Ryan: Any production company can make a show about UFOs or the paranormal. And any production team can find people willing to go out and investigate. But what stuck out to me about MorningStar Entertainment is that at the very core of their work, they truly care for the content they are producing.
When they first approached me, I was very on guard about how they would handle one of the most famous and contentious UFO events of all time: Roswell. But their researchers behind the scenes, their passion to uncover new evidence and the dedication by the entire crew, I knew we’d made something very special.
When it came time to head out to Area 51, I was elated that we had almost the same exact crew from our researchers, camera/sound crew and even our director. It was extremely exciting to work with such a tight-knit group of individuals who truly cared about not sensationalizing anything.
They let Jennifer and I do what we do best — investigate and find answers, whether we like those answers or not.
M&C: Roswell and Area 51 are the big conspiracy enchiladas – in your opinion what is something we need to be paying more attention to that are not as well known?
Ryan: While there are endless reports of UFOs out there, there are two cases that I think deserve much more attention and raise the stakes on what we may or may not be dealing with.
The first happened in 1980 and is referred to as the Rendlesham Forest Incident. Witnessed by over seventy military personnel, a UFO landed between two joint-military bases housing nuclear weapons in England. Military officers were sent out to investigate it as a possible threat.
Many of those officers approached the craft, and some even touched it. The UFO ascended into the sky and disappeared. The officers were told to never speak of the event again.
Luckily, several brave whistle-blowers came forward and even up until today, we are gathering more witnesses that are slowly piecing the puzzle together.
The other event was touched on in our Area 51 episode, and that is the 2004 Nimitz Carrier Event, or the “Tic Tac UFO” as the media has dubbed it.
Again, countless military officers, the Navy specifically, encountered strange objects in the skies on the West Coast during a training exercise. Both pilots in the air and ground radar operators watched as these wingless “Tic Tac” – shaped objects defied all conventional maneuvers and physics, putting out pilots in great danger as they were intercepted.
More and more pilots and ground personnel are coming forward to admit their involvement in this, and many other UFO events. These cases represent how important UFOs can be when they are defying our own military technology and clearly threatening our national security.
M&C: You have said in past interviews that the UFO community is a “harsh critic.” Explain that please.
Ryan: For over seventy years, the UFO community has dealt with constant ridicule and every kind of skepticism and debunkery. So we’ve learned to grow a thick skin when it comes to taking hits by the scientific community and beyond.
But with that comes a mentality to err on the side of caution when it comes to how the UFO topic is dealt with on television and in the media. Because many entertainment companies and television shows have burned the UFO community in the past with hit pieces, false information or pure fabrication, whenever a new UFO-themed segment or full-on show comes along, those who have studied the topic and phenomenon for so long become very skeptical of the motives behind these shows.
They also question the motives of the researchers or hosts involved.
While an audience not steeped in UFO history may be critical or skeptical going in to these shows, I actually think it’s the UFO enthusiasts, researchers and investigators who can be the most critical.
However, for someone like me balancing the right rope of information and entertainment, I use that criticism as fuel to do it right and do it honestly.
M&C: You use many mediums to explore these subjects-what has been the most rewarding for you personally- authoring a book, penning a screenplay or using podcasts and TV to reach people?
Ryan: For me personally, the podcast has been a huge outlet to both present my research and to learn. When I bring guests on who are specialists in their respective fields, it opens my eyes and my mind to things I may have never considered before.
The podcast also serves as an extension of my book, in which people in all walks of life recount their UFO experiences in their own words. This is a very empowering thing for them to tell their stories without censorship or influence. It also gives me a platform to reach anyone across the entire world with a simple download.
I receive messages on a daily basis from people on all seven continents either giving their thoughts, opinions or asking questions of the UFO phenomenon and beyond. I would say that the ever-growing podcast medium, still in its infancy, will be one of the most powerful tools we have moving forward in the digital age.
Many television shows are now based on podcasts and vice-versa, so it’s so exciting and rewarding to have hopped on early and ride the wave!
M&C: Who are your UFOlogy heroes, and why? Who has had the biggest impact on your career?
Ryan: My biggest hero in the UFO field is a man named Peter Robbins. He is a UFO researcher and investigative writer. He is responsible for bringing the 1980 Rendlesham Forest Incident to the public on a grand scale in a British best-selling book about the event.
He taught me early on that when dealing with people who have had unexplainable experiences, to be open-minded, objective but most importantly, compassionate.
Without compassion for these often dramatic and sometimes traumatic experiences, you can never truly get to the core of the phenomenon or those experiencing it.
My other inspiration is a woman named Cheryl Costa. She is a UFO data analyst who has compiled the largest reference book and set of statistics for UFO sightings and reports across every U.S. state, city, town and even zip code. Her tireless work and efforts have been recognized worldwide as some of the most important work in the UFO field.
It shows us exactly where UFO sightings are occurring, what types of UFOs are seen, and where large quantities are reported. That’s when someone like me comes in and goes to those areas to interview those involved. It’s a UFOlogical match made in heaven!
M&C: You mentioned you witnessed a UFO at age 12. Were you met with dismissive attitudes, or did your parents encourage you to go further with learning more?
Ryan: My father caught the very tail end of my UFO sighting. Just as the object disappeared, he did his parental duties of calming me down and telling me it was just a plane that I had seen. But I knew differently.
As I grew older, my parents suggested I not talk about UFOs and aliens around family and friends in fear that they may think I was crazy. But as time went on, and they realized how important it was to me, they started to open up. With the latest stories hitting the New York Times and major news outlets across the world, where the U.S. Navy literally stated that UFOs exist and that they don’t know what they are, a paradigm shift seems to be occurring in how we handle this topic and how we move forward investigating it.
Now, I can sit at a bar with my own father, talk about UFOs at full volume, and actually talk about that night I saw the object in the sky that changed my life.
M&C: In your heart and mind- why are aliens “cruising” us on Earth-what do you think their intentions or curiosity may be and are we doomed?
Ryan: While the U.S. Military takes a stance that UFOs could be hostile and a threat to national security, I don’t necessarily think this is always the case.
It’s their job to defend us against any type of attack, even alien! But there are thousands of UFO accounts that have been completely benevolent and harmless. There are even reports of UFOs and their possible occupants helping and healing people.
So IF… and I have to stress the IF… IF UFOs are intelligently controlled vehicles by an extraterrestrial civilization, I don’t think we are dealing with just one race, one source, or one phenomenon.
Only time will truly tell. But the most exciting thing is that our own country, one that has denied UFOs for so long, now admits that they exist.
Now we must ask the harder questions; Who is in control of them and what do they want?
The finale of Mysteries Decoded airs this Sunday at 9 PM following the iHeart Radio Music Festival on The CW.