Paranormal Phenomenon Omnibus

UFO Sightings

Introduction / Pre 1947 sightings1947 – The birth of modern UFO sightings / Sightings in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.Sightings in the 80s, 90s and onward / Nazi’s and UFOs / Government Cover-ups, Disinformation, and Skeptics / Explanations

In all esoteric research, one of the major tenants of investigation have been the sightings of U.F.O.s–the acronym for Unexplained Flying Objects. The general assumption of this term is that it has to do with objects controlled by an extra-terrestrial intelligence, or other-worldly forces. But the term could also include ultra-terrestrial beings, life forms from other dimensions, or these objects could have to do with various secret government projects involving technology not known to the public. Some of these UFOs might be actual living entities that glide in and out of reality and our sphere of space. These objects could be controlled by future descendants of Earth, more evolved humans that travel through points in time to guide us to an intended future. But the increase of these sightings as the human race’s industrial and technological output has increased is rather interesting to consider. Therein lies the question, should we view these incidents with an ‘all-of-the- above’ or ‘none-of-the-above’ mindset, and treat each case on an individual basis? The X-Files depicted countless examples of UFO sightings, too many episodes to cite here. Therefore, before we consider their meanings, let us offer an overview of the key event sightings:

Introduction / Pre 1947 sightings / 1947 – The birth of modern UFO sightings / Sightings in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.Sightings in the 80s, 90s and onward / Nazi’s and UFOs / Government Cover-ups, Disinformation, and Skeptics / Explanations

Many UFO researchers have pointed out that many events in the Christian Bible could have been UFO events. For example in Chapter 2 of the Book of Kings in the old testament, the story of Elijah guiding Elisha to a desert where a chariot of fire comes down to carry him off to safety, that “chariot” could have been a spaceship. Others argue that God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah could have been achieved with an atomic bomb, and that Lot’s wife was not turned to salt, but indeed ash. Others, that a number of events in the book of Exodus, Chapter 13 could have involved alien intervention. Erich von Daniken has argued that certain religious texts, limited by the writers’ knowledge and experience, have accurately described the arrival of astronauts from elsewhere. One has to consider the Sumerian legends of the Annunaki (as proposed by Zeccharia Sitchin), or Egyptian hieroglyphs that resemble UFOs as we understand them today.

German poet Goethe described a sighting of innumerable little lights from Frankfurt to the University of Leipzig. Or the account on August 12, 1883 by Mexican astronomer Jose Bonilla, while looking through his telescope at his observatory in Zacatecas at the sun, he was astonished to suddenly see a formation of 143 unknown objects slowly fly across his field of vision, which he captured with a camera. The photo revealed solid, spindle, and cigar-shaped objects flying at an estimated altitude of 200,000 miles. While the photo was published in a scientific journal, it made no real impression within the scientific community. A few years before Bonilla’s observation, in 1878, a Texas farmer named John Martin described seeing a large, round object pass very fast overhead, as was reported in the Dennison Daily News. In 1896, crowds of people in San Francisco witnessed a huge, black, cigar-shaped object pass over their heads, illuminating them with powerful searchlights. The mystery airship appeared again in 1897 in the Midwest. Some accounts of this object described it as ‘dropping probes.’ These accounts have been unusual in the regard of such objects flying over cities at extremely close range.

That same year there was another story in the Dallas Morning News regarding an incident in Aurora, Wise County of an ‘airship’ that collided with the tower of a windmill on the property of Judge Proctor. Researchers have concluded that the Aurora tale is likely a hoax. Once the rudiments of flight had been discovered, a pattern of sightings began on the night of October 13th and 14th, 1912. An aircraft was heard flying close to Sheerness and the Naval Flying School, Eastchurch  in Kent, England. At the time, nighttime flying was virtually unknown, for daytime aviation was still considered dangerous enough. Some believe that during the famous August 1917 incident in Fatima, Portugal where about 70,000 people gathered in the meadows of Cova da Iria to witness a prophesied miracle, one child saw a vision of the Virgin Mary, and then a silver disc-shaped object swooped out of the clouds and dropped a mysterious substance known as ‘angel hair,’ a substance that melted almost instantly. This story also reinforced the argument of ultra-terrestials as proposed by John Keel, Jacques Vallee, Hilary Evans, and Patrick Harper. There was another incident in August 1939, Guisborough Cleveland, North-East England, by “Jack Quinn” of a sphere of light that he and his mother witnessed on a hillside where they described they heard a strange humming sound.

Introduction / Pre 1947 sightings / 1947 – The birth of modern UFO sightings / Sightings in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.Sightings in the 80s, 90s and onward / Nazi’s and UFOs / Government Cover-ups, Disinformation, and Skeptics / Explanations

People tend to remain fixated on the events of Roswell, New Mexico, but several events predated the ‘Roswell UFO crash,’ one being the June 1947 incident on Maury Island, Tacoma, Washington. Harold A. Dahl, a harbor patrolman at Tacoma, was on his boat with his fifteen-year-old son, his dog, and two crewman on the 21st at around 2 p.m. when they saw five doughnut-shaped objects with rows of portholes circling around a sixth object. They estimated it was about 2,000 feet (600 m) above the water at the Puget Sound. They estimated that the objects were about 100 feet wide with a 25-foot hole in the middle. While landing on the beach of Maury Island, Dahl took several photographs. One of the ships appeared to be trying to repair the other ship. There was a thunderous explosion, and the entire object emitted dark, almost molten, rock-like material and sheets of an extremely light metallic substance. Being directly under the shower, Dahl’s dog was killed, his son’s arm was injured, and the boat was damaged. After the UFOs headed out to sea, Dahl tried to get help via his radio, but it was dead. Dahl and others collected sample evidence and took it back to Tacoma to his boss, Fred Crissman. Soon, Kenneth Arnold was investigating the incident, and within days had his own encounter.

On June 24, 1947, pilot Kenneth Arnold, head of the Great Western Fire Control Company, was piloting his own light aircraft to Pendleton Oregon from a job at Chehalis Air Service, Washington State, when he found himself near a location where an aircraft had vanished. With the prospect of getting an award for finding the wreckage and claiming the $5,000 reward, he took time in his flight path to look. At an altitude of 9,200 feet (2,760 m), he saw a bright flash, which he described as a “screwy formation… a chain of nine peculiar-looking aircraft” flying north to south at approximately 9,000 feet (2,790 m) elevation and going in a definite direction at an angle of 170 degrees. The objects approached Mount Rainier at a very high speed, some of them changing or dipping direction. He realized they were moving much too fast to be a flock of birds. Upon landing in Yakima, Arnold described what he had witnessed to his fellow pilots. He would later describe them as half-moon shaped--oval in front and convex in the rear. At first, the news of his sighting was treated as a hoax, but Arnold’s impeccable record and integrity prompted people to take him more seriously. It should be noted that right after the event, Arnold had assumed it was some sort of secret weapon or Soviet aircraft invading US airspace, an idea that was reinforced in private by a former USAF officer, that it was some rocket-powered jet, although he had written an article for Raymond Palmer’s Fate magazine, proposing the extra-terrestrial hypothesis. Others like Martin Kottmeyer have suggested he witnessed a flock of pelicans, but this ignores the little known fact that Arnold had another sighting in the same area five days later at La Grande Airfield, Oregon. The Roswell crash occurred in July 1947. We shall go into details on that event in another article. 

Introduction / Pre 1947 sightings1947 – The birth of modern UFO sightings / Sightings in the 50s, 60s, and 70s./ Sightings in the 80s, 90s and onward / Nazi’s and UFOs / Government Cover-ups, Disinformation, and Skeptics / Explanations

As the nuclear age developed through the 50s, the ratio of UFO activity seemed to increase. Arnold’s sighting prompted the “Flying Saucer” craze. After a spate of other sightings in the late 40s, in June of 1952, there were reports of UFOs over the skies of the east coast of the United States. Starting in Quantico, Virginia, there were various accounts of witnesses from Pan American Airline and National Airline crews spotting crafts through July, seen on radar at the Air Route Traffic Control. At Washington’s National Airport, the sightings near the capital reached such a degree that B-52s and F-94s were dispatched to intercept but to no avail. Other objects were spotted in Manchester, England, December 1955 by the Knottley family, which they described as huge objects of changing colors. Another incident was seen through radar visual contact in August 1956 at the joint RAF / USAF establishment at Benchwaters / Lakenheath in Suffolk, England. In January 1958, Captain Chrysologo Rocha witnessed over the sea of Curitiba, Brazil, a USO–an Unidentified Submarine Object. As the 60s began, there were other sightings–notwithstanding the abduction accounts of Betty and Barney Hill in 1961, which have been covered elsewhere on this site.

In March of 1962, in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, two teenaged boys, Alex Birch and David Brownlow, while taking photos of their friend, Stuart Dixon, were astonished to see five UFOs hovering above them, making no noise. Within seconds, they described seeing “big, white blobs” starting to come out of the ships, hazy and obscured. After the boy started taking pictures, the objects disappeared at terrific speeds towards Sheffield. Initially, no one believed their story, as Alex Birch could not afford to get the photos developed, but when his English teacher, Colin Brook, a UFO buff, helped promote the ‘flying saucer’ tale, and the photos appeared in newspapers, Alex was invited to (BUFORA) the British UFO Research Association. The account was ignored by the Ministry of Defense, but the British media pressured Air Ministry officials to interview the boy and his father. The Ministry officials were not impressed, and Alex later confessed to having created the hoax with the photos and the matter--one example of the reasons why UFO documentation can never be taken at face value, but must be conducted with thorough analysis.

In August of 1965, in Los Angeles, California, police officer Rex Helfin, on the side of the Santa Ana freeway, saw and took several photos of a disc-shaped UFO, around the moment his car radio had gone out. He circulated the photos to friends, which led to a story being printed in the Santa Ana Register. Eventually the original prints vanished and were given to a man from NORAD (North American Air Defense). In 1969, a former NASA scientist for Flying Saucer Review concluded the photos were likely genuine, while organizations like GSW (Ground Saucer Watch) argued they weren’t. One account that featured in the phenomenon of ‘missing time’ was an incident in May 1967, in the Malagasy Republic. A group of twenty-eight men, while on a training exercise, spotted a solid object like a ‘falling egg,’ descend swiftly from the air, all while emitting a piercing whistle. The soldiers discovered they were paralyzed, but regained the use of their limbs when the object took off again, apparently within seconds, but when they checked their watches, three hours had passed. Soldiers had described the objects as being about 10 to 13 feet in diameter (3 to 4 m). They had no idea what had happened to them during the missing time, but suffered after-effects for some time, including intense headaches and a buzzing sound in their ears.

Another incident in August 1970, in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, would have to qualify as a UGO–Unidentified Grounded Object. Security guard Martins de Freitas was patrolling the Funil Dam at Itatiana on a rainy night. Nearing the end of his round, he encountered a strange humped-shaped object on a hillock with flashing red, blue, and orange lights. As he approached it, a terrible noise abruptly overwhelmed him, like the sound of a jet engine far too close for comfort, deafening him. Drawing his revolver only seemed to make matters worse. A bright flash of light knocked him to the ground. Blinded, he found he couldn’t move at all. He was eventually found by a motorist and another security guard. He regained his mobility, but never his sight. Later, it was noted that on top of the mound, there was a circular area that had remained dry during the downpour. Later, doctors determined the blindness to be caused by ‘hysterical shock.’ In July of 1973, in Tomakomai, Japan, university student Masaaki Kudou, while acting as a security guard for a lumber company witnessed a ‘shooting star’ over the bay that acted unexpectedly. It moved in all directions, spiraled towards the bay, and turned a greenish light upon the sea, until it came close to the witness. When it reached a height of 70 feet (20 m) from the surface of the waves, it issued a transparent tube, which glowed before sucking water up into the body of the craft. The UFO, which Kudou described as glowing white, with a row of portholes and ‘shadowy human-shaped figures’ inside, hovered close to his parked car, He witnessed several other UFOs like this object, and a larger dark brown object, which the smaller crafts entered before zooming away. The entire incident lasted about 12 minutes.

A number of the later incidents seem to demonstrate certain functions of these objects--the conversion of materials to an energy source. What is interesting about accounts from the eighties onwards, is the unexplained activity near military bases.

Introduction / Pre 1947 sightings1947 – The birth of modern UFO sightings / Sightings in the 50s, 60s, and 70s./ Sightings in the 80s, 90s and onward / Nazi’s and UFOs / Government Cover-ups, Disinformation, and Skeptics / Explanations

One of the more famous and controversial incidents occurred in December, 1980 at Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, England, at a former cold war joint RAF / USAF base. In the early hours of December 27th, two security guards were patrolling the perimeter of the camp when they spotted unknown lights deep in Rendlesham Forest. Fearing that the lights could represent a damaged RAF craft, they were given permission by their superiors to investigate, and were confronted with a large triangular craft. Unable to make anything of it, they left the scene, then later reported a description of the craft as approximately two to three meters (2.18 to 3.2 yd) across the base and two meters (2.28 yd) high. The object had a pulsating red light at the top and a bank of blue lights at the base. Hovering as they approached, it maneuvered through the trees and disappeared. The object was spotted an hour later at a nearby farm, near the back gate. The following day, three depressions were found where the object had been sighted. These depressions were 1” (3.75 cm) deep and 7” (17.5 cm) in diameter. On the 29th, the area was checked for radiation; beta / gamma readings of 0.1 milliroentgens were recorded. Later that night, a red sun-like object was spotted through the trees, which moved about and pulsed. At one point, it appeared to throw off glowing particles and then broke into five separate white objects that disappeared immediately thereafter. Three star-like objects were noticed in the sky, two objects to the north and one to the south, all of which were about 10 degrees above the horizon. Two objects moved rapidly in sharp angular movements then turned to full circles. The objects to the north were visible for two or three hours and beamed down a stream of light from time to time.

There were countless witnesses to these incidents; Charles Holt, Airmen John Burroughs, and Larry Warren, who made sensational claims that he was charged with guarding one of the stationary crafts, and that a grey alien had a brief meeting with base commander, Colonel Gordon Williams. Warren and others were warned by Intelligence men, sometimes described as ‘Men in Black’ not to discuss what they had witnessed. One British scientist, Ian Ridpath, offered the explanation that the soldiers had witnessed nothing more than the lights from the Oxford Ness Lighthouse. The Rendlesham story has remained controversial as there’s a fierce debate as to whether it intermingles facts with fiction, and it was kept out of the public’s awareness until 1983. It needs to be pointed out there were rumors that the joint base held nuclear weapons, which makes certain details of the event interesting. Could the craft sighted on the 29th have been drawing power from nuclear warheads? Or a more disturbing issue for governments, could the crafts have been neutralizing the effectiveness of such weapons?

Other sightings from the period feature some interesting points. In June of 1983, there was an incident reported by Tracy Wellman in St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands. While vacationing and taking a walk at midnight, she first spotted a light bobbing up and down about 50 years away (45 m) in a field or park. Then the light was upon her, which she described as ‘huge’ and ‘about 20 feet tall (6 m), with a sort of cap at the top, like a metal dustbin lid.’ It seemed to be a shapeless light underneath, but structured like some kind of machine. She described being paralyzed for about eight minutes before she was able to run away. She later admitted to have been drinking a little. Some have suggested that it could have been a natural electrical phenomenon like ball lightning, and that the phenomenon could have triggered some partial hallucination in her brain. A 1987 sighting in Gulf Breeze, Florida, in November by Ed Walters claimed he was struck by a blue beam. Other witnesses saw the same object. A former editor of the local newspaper saw an unknown object at the same time. When Walters presented five photographs of the objects, the paper ran the tale, and another witness came forward, one Mrs. Zammit, who said that she saw the blue beam strike Walters. For six months after the incident, the objects seem to be attracted to Mr. Walters at which time he photographed dozens of them, being altered by their presence with a strange buzzing noise in his head–a common trait among UFO and paranormal encounters, and which is associated with the onset of some forms of temporal lobe epilepsy. Gulf Breeze became a magnet for UFO enthusiasts. Skeptics have questioned Walters’ credibility; some have speculated that the source of the lights in certain cases were the result of pranksters at the Pensacola Navel Base launching eerily-lit hot air balloons made of plastic bags and candles into the night sky. By May of 1988, Walters had admitted to experiencing ‘missing time,’ which investigators at MUFON attribute to abductions.

The 90s saw a spate of significant sightings. From 1993 to 1997 there were countless sightings in Bonnybridge, Scotland, and the area was considered a UFO hotspot due to such towns and villages as Denny, Falkirk, Grangemouth, and Shieldhill. In February of 1995, in Chinese Airspace, a UFO was detected close to a Chinese airliner on radar, which was described as oval-shaped. The pilot, however, never saw anything, as the object flew parallel to the plane. At that point, the anti-collision automatic system on the Boeing 737 turned on and the control tower gave instructions to climb to a higher altitude to avoid a collision. The object then vanished. In March of 1997, in Lympne, Kent, England, a reporter named Sarah Hall was driving when she saw a huge triangular object with a large dome. Two firemen also spotted the object hovering over the home of the then Home Secretary, Michael Howard. When Ms. Hall wrote about the incident in the Herald, the location was mysteriously changed to the other side of the marshes at Romney. It’s been explained that this was done to keep the story out of the national press. Of course, not all sightings have been terrestrial; NASA has tried to suppress sighting accounts as argued by UFO researchers. In 1998, the Russian MIR space station had incidents recounted by cosmonaut Alexander Baladin of UFOs flying close to the station. Countless examples of UFO sightings have occurred that have slowly leaked out from NASA Apollo space flight reports and photos.

It is interesting to note, if you consider Dr. Allen J. Hynek’s “Close Encounters” classifications of Sightings, Evidence, and Contact, then many sightings overlap into another classification. Other common traits for witnesses are the aftereffects--headaches, buzzing in the ears, unexplained burns, neurological symptoms, and mobility issues. Could most sightings be the by-product of mass suggestion, as some skeptics tend to argue? It’s difficult for skeptics to explain some of the accounts in the late 1800s of such sightings. H.G. Wells’ The War Of The Worlds seminal novel of alien invasion was published in 1897. If the influence of the novel on the masses was in evidence, that doesn’t fully explain accounts that pre-date it, for example, the 1883 sighting. Certainly the proliferation of writers in the 1930s like Hugo Gernsback, A.E. Van Vogt, E.E. “Doc” Smith, John W. Campbell, and L Sprague de Camp could have laid the ground work for the “Flying Saucer” craze of the 50s. But such rationalizations by skeptics seem simplistic. Other aspects have to be looked into.

Introduction / Pre 1947 sightings1947 – The birth of modern UFO sightings / Sightings in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.Sightings in the 80s, 90s and onward / Nazi’s and UFOs / Government Cover-ups, Disinformation, and Skeptics / Explanations

In the late 1930s, the rise of military technology by Germany was startling to consider. The advent of V-2 Rockets that had a range that kept the allies off guard, as well as a real abject fear by British and American Military Intelligence that Germany could construct a nuclear bomb, or secret weapon that could change the future outcome of the war, developed a race to outpace German technology. It’s been argued that many of the Foo Fighter reports during WWII, were due to a secret German flying saucer craft. There is good historical evidence that the Germans were experimenting with circular flying craft. Under the Nazi regime, German science set off on its own path and diverged from the rest of the world, and there was great openness to exploring unconventional ideas. In the mid-1950s, German newspapers published claims that between 1941 and 1944, Flugkapitian Rudolf Shriever designed and built prototype disc-shaped flying machines at the BMW factory near Prague, Czechoslovakia, that had diameters of over 100 feet (30 m) and reached speeds in excess of 1,000 miles per hour. Although a pilotless craft had been tested in July of 1942, the larger craft had never flown; it was ready for testing but had to be destroyed and plans abandoned when Russians advanced on Czechoslovakia. While a lot has been said about the Munich-based Thune society and lesser-known Virl Society, let us address the lesser sensational claims about how they acquired such technology.

In 1936, pre-dating the Roswell Crash and recovery, a UFO crashed in the Black Forest in Freiburg, and was recovered by Nazi officers before the public was made aware of it. The saucer was taken to Wewelsburg Castle to aid them in the development of what was called the Haunebu craft. The bell-shape design of the craft allegedly held anti-gravitational technology that turned out to be highly unstable and dangerous to humans and the project was eventually abandoned. It has been speculated that German scientists were doing reverse-engineering on the remains of the saucer. The more sensational claim was the Societies’ experimentation with channeling–mediumistic contact with higher intelligences in the late 1920s--and that this ‘tutor race’ was able to give instructions for the new energy sources that would power circular flying craft. These kinds of Haunebu and Virl craft used novel forms of energy, and were capable of extraordinary speed and performance.

Adding to this mystery, as researched by MUFON files, was a secret expedition in 1947 by US Military, called Operation Highjump, comprising a number of US Naval aircraft carriers, aircraft, and 4,000 military personnel. It was sent to Antarctica under the command of Rear-Admiral Richard Byrd, and under the guise of a geographical, geological survey of the region, as a cover for an attempted military invasion to try to defeat an underground arctic base, the last stronghold of the Third Reich. But as they approached the region, the fleet got into a firefight with an advanced UFO and had to retreat. Vladimir Terziski, (Bulgarian-born founder of the American Academy of Dissident Scientists) has made claims that a Haunebu-3 craft reached the Moon in 1942, and that a Nazi base still exists there. Kevin McClure has written that a lot of these accounts ‘amount to another form of revisionism, where the Nazis won in the end.’ But these accounts certainly raise another possibility that many of these craft sightings, if not all, were the product of German Military technology.

Introduction / Pre 1947 sightings1947 – The birth of modern UFO sightings / Sightings in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.Sightings in the 80s, 90s and onward / Nazi’s and UFOs / Government Cover-ups, Disinformation, and Skeptics / Explanations

Another important aspect of that has to be addressed is the efforts of the American and British Military intelligence system to deny the existence of UFOs and Extra-Terrestrial life. Especially in light of the possibility of the government’s reverse-engineering alien technology, it stands to reason they would want to offer plausible deniability to mis-direct rival governments from knowledge about their technological secrets. Countless American presidents since 1947 have had intelligence knowledge about the phenomenon, some more than others. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Nixon held knowledge, especially Nixon, and others had been shut out with their access, namely Clinton and Carter. Many UFO Researchers consider Bush I, due to his in-depth CIA connections, to be the secret keeper of such knowledge. Carter and Reagan had their own UFO sightings, and Carter did allow as much information as possible to come out in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. The first ‘official’ American investigation into the UFO issue was launched in 1952, Project Blue Book, and was terminated by 1969. Two prior investigations had been initiated--Project Sign and Project Grudge. Over the years, Blue Book did dismiss a number of sightings as hoaxes, but could not find an answer for every case looked into. During Allen J. Hynek’s tenure with Blue Book, he became very critical and disenchanted with how it operated. His views about the UFO issue had changed from the need to debunk, and felt that UFOs represented an unsolved mystery deserving scientific scrutiny. Hynek was critical of those who would disregard any evidence that would run counter to their hypothesis.

Based on President Truman’s orders, a secret group was organized to look into recovered craft from Roswell. It was called “Majestic 12,” and investigating mere sightings was only part of this committee’s purpose, which involved scientists, military leaders, and government officials. Project Sign was first established in 1948, and would be disclosed to the public in 1956. Project Grudge was a more short-lived effort that preceded Blue Book. Some have argued that Grudge operated on a debunking directive, that all sightings had plausible and prosaic explanations. Once Eisenhower took power as president, there were reports that a secret memo was issued in March 1954 to keep the issue of government UFO investigations top secret. There was also the account in February 1954 that while Eisenhower was vacationing in California, he had a clandestine meeting with ‘aliens,’ a first contact to arrange the exchange of technology for a permanent presence. This took place at Muroc Airbase–also known as Edwards Airforce base. This idea has been fostered due to the fact that Eisenhower went missing for twelve hours in California that February.

President Kennedy was concerned enough about the issue of UFOs in relation to military radar identification of unknown craft, as he feared misidentification could lead to a nuclear exchange with Russia. Kennedy considered trading information with Russian Intelligence on the UFO subject in 1963, but his assassination stopped any development of such an intelligence trade-off. The Condon Committee was set up in 1967, under Dr. Edward U. Condon of the University of Colorado, when the committee delivered its report in 1969, concluding that UFOs did not warrant further study from a scientific or military standpoint, and recommended that the Blue Book project be closed. Critics of the Condon Committee have pointed out that the committee’s findings actually clashed with its own data, and that they were unable to provide explanations for over 25 percent of the cases studied–a far greater proportion than was even claimed by civilian UFO organizations. The great question, especially with the America and British government is, if a cover-up exists, why is there a cover-up? Some researchers argue--in spite of the evidence of intimidation, disappearances, or mysterious deaths of witnesses, ex-military personal, UFO researchers whom have gotten too close–that there is a conspiracy on the part of the military and intelligence agencies, but not one aimed at suppressing belief in alien contact. Its object is to foster such a belief. Researchers point to the level of clandestine involvement in major UFO cases, and that it has been used as a smokescreen for secret research projects like the stealth bomber. There has been a certain amount of evidence to support this view. CIA papers released in 1997 under the Freedom of Information Act revealed, in the 1950s and early 1960s, that agencies allowed sightings of top secret spy planes like the U-2 and SR71 (“Oxcart”) by members of the public to be recorded as ‘unexplained.’

One cannot discount the possibility that some sightings and abductions could have been a by-product of the notorious MKULTRA project of the 1950s, which used such drugs as LSD, along with hypnosis and electroshock therapy to modify the behavior of an individual. Such a by-product could be a sub-set of abduction experience cases. MILAB or “Military Abductions” and scientists like Dr. Helmut Lammer of the Austrian Space Research Institute, have observed, “Researchers in the field of mind control suggest that those cases are evidence that the whole UFO abduction phenomenon is staged by the intelligence community as a cover for their illegal experiments.” One could also infer that this applies to mere sightings, as well as mass hypnosis and suggestion through unknown means. Certainly, The X-Files referenced elements of these ideas throughout the series.

Countless organizations have always existed for the research of this phenomenon such as Mutual UFO Network = MUFON, Center for UFO Studies = CUFO, Aerial Phenomenon Enquiry Network = APEN, Center for the study of Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence = CSETI, National UFO Reporting Center = NUFORC, The British UFO Research Association = BUFORA, as well as inactive groups like NICAP = National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon, and CSI = Civilian Saucer Intelligence. Skeptical organizations have always existed as well--mostly CSICOP = The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, which broadly focuses on all paranormal activity. But critics have charged that CSICOP, which originally was founded by legitimate scientists in 1976, has become populated by amateur scientists with few credentials; they have also charged that CSICOP is mostly financed by big business scientific ventures and pharmaceutical companies.

Introduction / Pre 1947 sightings1947 – The birth of modern UFO sightings / Sightings in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.Sightings in the 80s, 90s and onward / Nazi’s and UFOs / Government Cover-ups, Disinformation, and Skeptics / Explanations

Every possible theory and explanation has been offered. Aside from the Extra-Terrestrial hypothesis, there’s been the argument for misidentifications, the Earth Lights and Tectonic Stress theory, electromagnetic triggers on the brain (where the argument has been made of UFO hotspots being electrical hotspots, for example criss-crossing power lines at the area of sightings or abductions), or hoaxes, tricks on the brain, the unknown power of the mind, or imagination, or in the case of abduction incidents, abductions as shamanic initiation, or the magical kingdom (myths or alternate realities), cosmic jokers or pranksters, or that UFOs involve time travelers or other dimensions. Or as some fear, these craft are the embodiment of evil (as depicted by Hollywood or genre Science Fiction literature of old). Jacques Vallee has evolved on his views about the UFO phenomenon, and has taken a different position on viewing many cases as psychical objects; he has veered away from the Extra-Terrestrial hypothesis and has argued that UFOs are paranormal in nature and a modern space age manifestation, which assumes different guises in different historical contexts. He has posited the idea of a control system, that such phenomenon ‘are the means through which man’s concepts are being re-arranged.’ To what purpose is unknown, but Vallee has stressed, “I do not propose to redefine God. What I do mean is that mythology rules at a level of our social reality over which normal political and intellectual action has no power.”

While exploring the phenomenon, one should also consider the psyche aspect of these sightings. C.G. Jung wrote a monograph on the issue of flying saucers that was less concerned with their psychical aspect and more on what they symbolized in terms of the psyche, arguing that they should be viewed as a modern myth. Jung was obsessed enough with the subject to have collected sighting accounts, reports, and photos. In a 1951 letter, Jung wrote to a friend; “I am puzzled to death about these phenomena because I haven’t been able yet to make out with sufficient certainty whether the whole thing is a rumor with a concomitant singular and mass hallucination, or a downright fact.” Jung seemed to draw parallels between the visions of angels and saints and the visions of UFOs, hence the ‘modern myth’ angle, and that with the increasing menace of modern society, UFO images had more to do with ending of an era of history and the beginning of a new era. Jung saw UFOs in synchronistic terms, where external events mirror internal psychic states, and he had noted that most saucers are in the shape of the ancient Mandala, a symbol of wholeness throughout history.

I began this article with the suggestion to take an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to the subject of what UFOs are. That some UFOs might not be physical craft at all, but forms of life or plains of existence we don’t understand. I’d like to cite a point made years before on the Lexicon Blog about how we perceive the phenomenon of UFO sightings. There was an account about what the indigenous people in America and the Caribbean saw when Columbus’ ships arrived in the new world. For days the natives could see the approaching ships, and the Shaman, the spiritual leaders of their people, spent many days looking out at the changing patterns in the waves of the rolling tides of their shores until they were able to not only see the patterns, but the on-coming clippers. It was the shaman whom the natives believed and trusted, who helped them to see the ships for themselves. With present neurological scientific research, we have learned that our receptors--our eyes, ears, and senses--receive four hundred billion bits of information per second, yet our brain, at present, only processes two thousand bits per second. In other words, our brain imprints the ability of what we can see–we can only see what we believe is possible. Therefore, there might be only a percentage of people sensitive enough to perceive the phenomenon. What if the phenomenon of some UFO sightings are far stranger than we can perceive them to be? What if we build a point of reference that perceives them as mechanical craft with inhabitants, because what is going on is so beyond what we can understand, that we build up a linear narrative and mythology based on our modern reference? It’s something to ponder.

Regardless of what they are, until we reach disclosure from various governments, we should continue to seek the truth–whatever kind of truth that might be.

Article by Matt Allair
Page Editor: XScribe


The Mammoth Book of UFOs by Lynn Picknett, published by Carroll & Graf, © 2001
Unexplained by Jerome Clark, published by Invisible Ink Press, © 1993
Unexplained Phenomenon: A Rough Guide Special by Bob Rickard and John Michell, published by Rough Guides, © 2000

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