It could be the A-story in an episode of The X-Files. The tale of a man who, in 1980, announced to his friends and loved ones that he was leaving Earth aboard a UFO and would return in a few months and then disappeared. But rather than being the stuff of “Duane Barry,” the Season 2 episode of Fox’s sci-fi drama, this story really happened. At least, two-thirds of it.
“Spaceman,” debuting as part of CBC Docs POV on Friday at 9 p.m. on CBC, is the strange tale of Granger Taylor, a young man who climbed into his truck in Duncan, B.C., and was never seen again. He left the following note for his family:
Dear Mother & Father,
I have gone away to walk aboard an alien spaceship as recurring dreams assured a 42-month interstellar voyage to explore the vast universe, then return. I am leaving behind all my possessions to you as I will no longer require the use of any. Please use the instructions in my will as a guide to help.
Now, almost 40 years later, Alibi Entertainment—the folks behind shows like Carnival Eats and Sarah Off the Grid—sit down with Granger’s family and friends to look back at his life and reflect on the rumours and reports surrounding his whereabouts.
“One of the things that became really obvious right from the beginning that made this stand out from your average story that might not be true was just how current a topic this still is on Vancouver Island,” says executive producer Jennifer Horvath. “It’s been this unanswered question in a smaller community and has stayed in people’s minds.” What isn’t disputed is that Granger was a technical genius. From disassembling cars to building an airplane and steam engine, Granger’s social skills were lacking but his ability to build things wasn’t.
Through interviews with Granger’s sister, Grace Anne Young Reynolds, and close friends Robert Keller and Darrin Manns, viewers learn the details of his life and untangle the theories behind his disappearance. A journalist, Tyler Hooper, digs into the official record to separate fact from fiction. Among the things unearthed by Horvath and her team are Granger’s mental health—something simply not discussed in the 80s—and drug abuse.
But before making the mistake—like I did—and assuming the case of this missing man was simply one to do with his state of mind, “Spaceman” delivers two earth-shattering revelations you’ll shake your head at.
“At the beginning, I would have said, ‘Absolutely not. [Granger leaving on a UFO] is ridiculous,'” Horvath says. “But meeting people who were so whole-heartedly convinced … it leaves the question open.”
“Spaceman” airs as part of CBC Docs POV on Friday at 9 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.
Images courtesy of Alibi Entertainment.