The Twilight Zone and Paradox Theatre were obvious inspirations behind the way in which The Vast of Night‘s story was told — but what about the story itself? As it turns out, the film team took inspiration from a number of bizarre real-life occurrences.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Patterson opened up about the spooky tales that influenced his film, beginning with the Kecksburg Incident of December 1965.
“A lot of the plot for Everett, the DJ character, was inspired by the mystery surrounding a situation called the Kecksburg Incident, where a car-sized, acorn-shaped device dropped out of the sky and a local DJ started getting calls,” said Patterson. Residents of the small town in Pennsylvania believed that debris ended up in the woods, causing U.S. military members to perform a sweep. Astronomers verified the streak in the sky and seismographs recorded the sonic booms that occurred, but the Air Force officially stated that nothing was found. “There’s a part of the Kecksburg mythology where they went and looked at the trees where this item, this acorn thing, smashed down, and the branches are still broken in ways that indicate something very forceful ripped through,” Patterson added. “We wanted that in our movie.”
Other true-life events that inspired The Vast of Night were the disappearances of three teenagers that weren’t solved until 44 years after the fact. In 1970, Jimmy Williams, Thomas Michael Rios, and Leah Gail Johnson went missing from Sayre, Oklahoma — just a year after three other adults from