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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Phenomena X –Things Strange And Sinister: UFOs

In 1947, businessman Kenneth Arnold observed a group of crescent shaped object flying over Mount Rainier, Washington state.  He described their movement as being akin to a saucer skipped across water.   The press coined the term “flying saucer”
for many, this was the “birth of UFOs.”

However, on the 24th January, 1878, farmer John Martin, living a few miles north of Dennison, Texas, described the object he saw approaching his position and moving overhead as “the size of a large saucer.”  The brightness from the object slightly blinded Martin – in the same way as looking at a powerful light or the sun does.  All it would have taken was for some newspaperman to write Martin had seen a “flying saucer”!

There are those who claim that UFOs –a term coined by the United States Air Force to define a sighting of an “unidentified object”- were around long before that.  The likes of Erich von Daniken have made a great deal of money out of books, articles and TV shows about “Ancient Astronauts.” 

The good thing is that if you are so minded you can call anything “proof of ancient visitations by extra-terrestrials” –you don’t really need proof.  Stone Henge built by aliens? Of course it was –why look at all the archaeological discoveries of the last 15 years?  Pyramids built by aliens –because humans just could not lift the stones used –of course. It just needs our ignoring the many, many years of archaeological discovery work.  Around 3100 B.C., the Pharaoh Narmer crashed his chariot into a landed flying saucer.  Prove he did not.

Who is going to argue with you? Historians and archaeologists? Well, we all ‘know’ they are part of the cover-up, don’t we?

Ancient and Medieval and other accounts of “flaming chariots”, “shields of bright flame” and so on are probably down to meteorites since we know these were common names.  “Writhing serpents in the sky” were undoubtedly aurora.  Accounts of aliens emerging from crashed UFOs and actual UFO sightings in the 18th and 19th century suddenly vanish when you go to the actual source quoted.

It was during World War II that Allied and Axis pilots observed “Foo-fighters” (“foo” from the French for fire –“le Feu”), “Kraut-balls” and, amongst other names the Luftwaffe gave them was “Feuerbälle“ (fire balls).  All sorts of theories have been given over the years from static electricity to actual alien craft.  Although those in charge at British Technical Intelligence dismissed these incidents, intelligence officers in the field still recorded and reported sightings.  The Germans did like-wise.  Each side suspected a secret weapon from was involved.

Then there were the so called “Scandinavian Ghost Rockets“ of  1946-1948. In fact, reports came from Europe, North Africa and even the Soviet Union.  Royal Air Force Intelligence was greatly interested in reports of cylindrical objects because of the V1 and V2 rockets of WW II –the possibility of the Soviets having captive German scientists building rockets for them was scary.  Even Field Marshal Smuts warned about the “rockets.”

There are interesting reports from the period but many were not thoroughly investigated though official reports were, incredibly, destroyed after a few years because these reports might be scientifically interesting but had no real defence significance. This practice continued for many years with some reports only surviving because they were hidden in other files by personnel who thought they ought not be burnt.

In the early 1950s there was a rise in alleged  Contactees.  These were women and men who claimed to have come across a flying saucer that had landed, or one of its occupants.  There were trips into space on board flying saucers and one of the biggest hoaxsters, who achieved international notoriety, George Adamski even claimed to have photographs taken of him and aliens looking out through portholes.

Venusians, Martians, Neptunians and others of the “interplanetary brotherhood” were here to observe and guide Earth.  Messages extolling peace abounded.  The fact that these planets could not support humanoid life often received the response that our space brothers lived in cities under the ground or at a “different time-phase” to us. Dumb explanations that proved profitable on the tour circuit or amongst New Age publishers.

While all this was going on groups of interested people set up groups to look into and discuss the phenomena.  In the UK the Flying Saucer Club was the first such group which later merge with the British Flying Saucer Bureau in 1952.  Manchester Flying Saucer Research set up by, amongst others, David Cowdy followed.

And while the bogus contactees drew everyones attention and made it far too easy for scientists to scoff much more was going on.  Dr. J. Allen Hynek was the United States Air Force scientific consultant and noted astronomer.  While he played off every UFO as marsh gas, ball lightning and misidentification, he was well aware that there were sightings that could not be explained –in 1978 he gave several TV and press interviews declaring that he could do little else: even if he could not explain away a sighting, if it was labelled “unidentified” his USAF bosses expected him to do so.

Hynek later went on to set up the Centre for UFO Studies in Illinois.

But are UFOs real?  Well, they are real in the sense that observers cannot explain what they see.  However, there are a number of reports of objects of unknown type being sighted by unconnected multiple witnesses and where there has been damage caused to trees, houses, people and the ground.  When combined with radar returns from local airfields those UFOs are real but just what they are we have no idea.

Civilian pilots see these objects but usually only report them if they think that there is a danger to air traffic but there is no regulation demanding they report UFOs.  In the case of military pilots there are a few regulations and if you are flying the latest fighter and something runs rings round your aircraft and shoots off at incredible speed well, yes, you need to report that.

Reports of abductions by aliens began to rise during the 1950s, though few realised they had been abducted until much later when they realised that their sighting of a flying saucer landing and occupants getting out, walking about and then returning before the craft took off did not last just “two or three minutes”.  On getting home these people found that an hour or two had simply gone missing from their memory.

What suddenly made investigators and others take these accounts of what, in 1977, I termed Time Lapse cases, was the hypnotic regression of  Betty and Barney Hill who encountered a UFO close-up in New Hampshire in 1961.  The Hills were confronted with all sorts of problems both physically and mental stress-wise.  Under hyptnosis the Hills revealed that they had been involuntarily taken aboard the craft they had seen.  There followed a medical type exam –a common theme in these cases- aqnd a certain degree of communication with the crew.  From her memory, Betty Hill later drew a “star map” she had seen on the craft –the actual star system in question was not discovered until many years later.

All sorts of theories abound as to what UFOs are.  Time-travellers, inter-dimensional intelligences and, naturally, extraterrestrials.  These theories are good if you are dealing with alleged craft that obviously have to be constructed, however, no matter how big the strange light seen it is still just that –a big light that cannot be labelled a “craft”.

In the “old days” we used to test new investigators by showing them photographs of alleged UFOs.  The good ones were those who could spot the fakes straight away: “cut-out stuck on a window frame,” “a model” or even a light from inside the room pointed at the window and then photographed.  Today we have computers and photo-shop and the number of fakes (some quite glaringly obvious) photographs and video footage on You Tube is a nuisance if you seriously investigate these things.  It also acts as a deterrent –investigators not wanting to be caught up in hoaxes ignore these things and so genuine footage of a UFO gets ignored.

But there are many out there who still persist in the investigation to get to the truth. For many months those “in the know” stated that 2011 was the UFO Disclosure year.  The year when the U.S. government finally revealed all it knows about UFOS: it was the year to make history.  Now, in 2012, the time for this disclosure has been given a little more time.

I seriously doubt that there will be any major governmental disclosure on UFOs in 2012 and, even if there was, there would be many still calling it part of a cover-up.

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After more than 30 years as an investigator and more than forty as a naturalist,the author has opened some of the many files he has accumulated dealing with such things as.. The Terrifying EventsAt The Lamb Inn,The Ghosts Of All Saints Church,Dead Aquatic Creatures of Canvey Island,captured bigfoot like creatures in India -all exclusively presented for the first time and with new added research previously unseen. 
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Follow-up to the hugely successful Some Things Strange & Sinister. For those interested in Ufology,cryptozoology,hominology,unusual natural history,ghosts and mysteries in general. The secret history of gorillas -before they were 'discovered'.

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From Dead Aquatic (Humanoid) Creatures, the giant squid and yet undiscovered sea creatures;submarine and ships crews encountering true leviathans. 
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