Goldie Hawn isn’t just a firm believer in the extraterrestrial — she says she has had a close encounter of her own.
It was the mid1960s and Hawn, then 20, was working as a dancer in Anaheim. “That was a time when, you know, there was a lot of UFO sightings,” Hawn said in an episode of the Apple Fitness+ audio experience “Time to Walk.”
“I remember this so clearly: I went outside my door, and I sat on the little ledge, and I looked up at the dark sky. And I saw all these stars. And all I could think of was, How far does this go? How little are we? Are we the only planet in the whole wide universe that has life on it?”
It was as Hawn was staring into the great unknown, she said, that she knew she was fated for an alien encounter. “I said, ‘I know you’re out there, I know we’re not alone, and I would like to meet you one day.’”
Months later, Hawn was working another dance job, this time in West Covina. After a tiring rehearsal, she asked a friend if she could take a load off in his car, hopefully get a nap in. After getting into the car to sleep, Hawn said, “I got this high-pitched sound in my ear. It was this high, high frequency.”
Jolted awake by the sound, she opened her eyes to look out the window. “I saw these two or three triangular-shaped heads,” Hawn recalled. “They were silver in color, slash for a mouth, tiny little nose, no ears. They were pointing at me, pointing at me in the car as if they were discussing me, like I was a subject. And they were droning.”
Hawn said she felt like she couldn’t move, a feeling not dissimilar from what people have reported during sleep paralysis. “I was paralyzed. And I thought, ‘Oh, my God. I want to get up.’ I didn’t know if it was real or not real.”
Eventually, the young dancer was able to shake free. “It was like bursting out of a force field,” she said. “Of course I go back to all the kids and stuff, and I went, ‘Oh, my God. I think I made contact with outer space.’”
Years later, Hawn spoke with an astrophysicist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He told her he’d been researching alien encounters for 25 years. Hawn said that while trying to articulate her experience with the astrophysicist, her memory was vivid. “They touched my face, and it felt like the finger of God. It was the most benevolent, loving feeling. This was powerful. It was filled with light.”
Hawn isn’t the only one in her family who’s had an eerie experience with the unknown. In 2018, Hawn’s longtime partner, actor Kurt Russell, told Jimmy Kimmel on the host’s late-night talk show that he and son Oliver Hudson shared their own inexplicable encounter during a flight Russell was piloting. “So we’re going into Phoenix and — I think it was Sky Harbor [International Airport] — and there’s these bank of lights, six lights in the shape of a triangle going back right over the airport.
“And I’m looking at them as I’m coming in. I called up the tower … and they said ‘We’re not showing anything.’ I said, ‘Well, there’s six lights in a row.’ And they said, ‘Do you want to report this?’ And I said, ‘Look, I can’t identify it. It’s flying, and it’s six objects.’ So we landed, I dropped him off and flew home.”
But years later, Russell came home and Hawn was watching a show on UFOs. “And the most reported one of all time was this one in Phoenix, and I said wait a minute. That’s the night Oli and I were landing!” Russell still had his logbook and saw that while he didn’t mention anything about the UFO in the book, his flight was logged. “On the show they talked about 20,000 people reporting it, and only one general aviation pilot, and I said, ‘That’s me!’”
In September, NASA’s new official instruction to the U.S. public regarding “unidentified anomalous phenomena” — formally called UFOs — boils down to, “If you see something, say something,” said David Spergel, the head of the agency’s UAP study team. Spergel was speaking at an event highlighting his team’s long-awaited final report on the data and methods NASA should use to analyze unusual aerial sightings.
At the event, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson addressed the alien in the room: “The NASA independent study team did not find any evidence that UAP have an extraterrestrial origin,” he said, “but we don’t know what these UAP are.”
Times staff writer Corinne Purtill contributed to this report.