Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Further Recommended Reading

It's been six months since my last post. Aside from other life distractions and wanting to take a break from writing this blog, I wanted to focus on finding my dream part-time job - something that has yet to happen unfortunately!

I've been keeping an eye on the relevant news sources over that time and - thankfully for me - nothing particularly earth-shattering seems to have happened on the UFO/UAP front which I might have missed an opportunity to write about (in any case, if it had, I'm sure all of you reading this would have found out about it from other sources).

However, I have been continuing to read extensively on the UFO/UAP phenomenon and would briefly like to share some of my recommended reading material with you.

This is further to my post of 8 April 2012 (is it really three years already?)

First up is...

...On the Trail of the Saucer Spies  
by Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern's introduction to his book makes clear that it does not speculate as to the exact nature of UFO sightings. The book does however cite cases suggesting how the (mainly US and UK) authorities and their respective agencies closely watch UFO witnesses and UFO focus groups.

Aside from the expected examples of paranoia-inducing cases concerning mysterious government spooks and men-in-black, there are those which give a fascinating insight into the whole field of 'PsyOps' and disinformation. The tragic case of Paul Bennewitz, for example, is covered in this book in some detail (it is also covered in the second of the two books below).

Another case, halfway through the book, concerns how the UK's Special Branch (now Counter Terrorist Command) took an interest in and dealt with a potentially dangerous ultra right-wing group which was using UFO bodies and meetings as a cover for its activity (something I would not have considered could happen before reading this book). It is a real eye-opener and perhaps a warning to anyone interested in the subject of UFOs to be especially cautious in their dealings with others if they decide to join any such interest group.

So - definitely worth a read in terms of offering another facet to the history of the UFO phenomenon.

Otherwise, I would highly recommend the two following weighty tomes.

UFOs and the National Security State: 
Chronology of a Cover-up 1941-1973 
UFOs and the National Security State: 
The Cover-up Exposed 1973-1991
both by Richard M. Dolan

Anyone with any interest at all in UFOs/UAP (in the UK at least) will no doubt have read one of UK author Timothy Good's books at some point. After having read UFOs and the National Security State volumes one and two, I would personally regard Richard M. Dolan as Timothy Good's equivalent in the U.S.

In the case of both authors - and irrespective of whether you subscribe to their views about 'what is really going on' or not - between them their books provide a massive
repository of information on UFOs across the decades since the start of the modern UFO phenomenon.

Richard M. Dolan's books are similar to Timothy Good's in terms of their methodical, straightforward and non-sensational writing style and have a depth and breadth of content not found in other publications on the subject.

Consequently they serve, in my view, as must-have reference material for anyone with a serious interest in the subject.

Dolan's books give the reader as thorough an overview as possible of the history of the modern phenomenon, particularly from a U.S. perspective, for fifty years starting from 1941. My understanding is that Dolan is now working on a third book to cover the last 25 years to date which, I for one, am very much looking forward to reading.


None of the above authors are personally known to me and consequently none of them have asked me to endorse their books. I am promoting these of my own volition and purely out of wish to signpost interested parties to well-written material by (in my view) serious and credible authors.

Monday, 3 November 2014

First Antares, now Virgin Galactic

Hi folks. It's been an eventful summer for me with a period of illness through the latter part of it, so I haven't been able to post for a while.

I was sad and bitterly disappointed to see the tragic events unfold in the recent Virgin Galactic test flight killing one of the pilots but with a miraculous escape for the other. An up to the minute (at time of posting) Guardian article reports that initial assessment of the incident by crash investigators suggests premature deployment of a 'feathering system' to create 'drag' for re-entry - which led to the craft's disintegration.

Coupled with the failure and (controlled) explosion of the unmanned joint NASA/Orbital Sciences Corp Antares rocket last week, this will clearly be another setback for the commercial space industry and the sector as a whole. Expect further delays to these and similar such projects, prolonging even more the time since men first landed on the moon. Given our technological advances in areas of computing, energy and propulsion since then who'd have thought we would still be struggling to extend our reach beyond our own planet 45 years later?

The 'Superman of Macclesfield' or 'human UFO'

There has been the usual spate of UFO sightings over the last three months, mostly from the U.S. (see the Southern Colorado sightings below), but the homegrown 'Superman of Macclesfield' is not a headline I'd have ever been able to predict as one associated with UFOs or UAP.

A320 and skydiver images from the Mirror Newpaper
In June (but reported in October) a human figure was seen to shoot past an Airbus 320 passenger plane at around 3,500 feet, startling the crew who were not clear what to report the incident in as. Although the event lasted only a matter of seconds, the crew (in clear skies) reported the human shape of the 'UFO' and the apparent absence of any canopy or parachute. Nothing was picked up by radar at local air traffic control.

Have a look at the Mirror's story for more details. From reading the various articles online, I think I would be more surprised if the mystery figure had flown horizontally and parallel with the plane for a few minutes or even seconds.  However, a figure falling through the sky will most likely turn out to be a thrill-seeking skydiver. Funnily enough, this is what has been suggested in the local Macclesfield Express in that the event could have been a practice run (or drop or flight?) by stuntman Gary Connery. Although he hasn't owned up to it being him so far, he did joke about how it might be him on Facebook after the official report on the event was made public.

The Southern Colorado UFOs

Meanwhile, the web's been buzzing with the reported sightings of strange luminescent discs or orbs hovering Southern Colorado for the last month. There are articles in The Huffington Post, The International Business Times and Open Minds to name but a few, about the more recent sightings and the general weirdness of past events in the area.

Witnesses still have no earthly explanation for the weird bright objects that have been appearing in the sky over this area since October but some claim that the San Luis Valley has for a long time been a UFO hotspot and therefore a popular destination for tourists and skywatchers who want to get a glimpse of UFOs or UAP.

The videos shown so far courtesy of the local 9News network - if genuine - certainly make for interesting viewing...

Here's one on YouTube courtesy of local Scott Stevens

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Proof for a Moon Conspiracy?

I've been distracted by Government contract nonsense so apologies if it's been a while since my last post. Thankfully I've only got a few more days left to run on it before I get to enjoy what's left of the British Summer - which I hope will turn into an 'Indian Summer' too if you get my drift!
A faked image of a moon 'structure' from the web

Anyhow, in a slight departure from the usual UFO/UAP material, I notice that the Syfy channel are planning a special documentary about a Moon conspiracy theory that may (or may not) rattle a few cages if the evidence presented in it is compelling enough.

For further details have a look at the Open Minds article about this.

In short, proponents of this theory suggest that the Moon has been inhabited by extraterrestrials for a (very) long time and that these aliens have established 'bases' on the Moon, which continues to be used as a staging point for visits by ET to Earth.There is apparently photographic evidence of artificial constructs on the Moon (on it's far side of course, often incorrectly referred to as its 'dark side' - which we can't see from Earth) and testimony by some 'specialists' in the space industry which supports this.

This theory is not new and most likely was first given life shortly after the original Moon landing in 1969. A key story that probably kick-started this is that of the interception of restricted radio transmissions between the Apollo Astronauts and Mission Control which suggested that the astronauts were not only being 'watched' but effectively 'warned off' by the intimidating presence of several very large 'spaceships' hovering near their landing site. Further material has since come to light including photographs and witness testimony - all of which is practically impossible to confirm as genuine.

Like the UFO phenomenon, this Moon theory has been dogged by ridicule and hoaxers over the years but - unlike supposedly Earth or sky-bound UFOs - it could be argued to be far harder to prove or debunk.  This is because history currently tells us that only 12 human beings have actually set foot on the Moon (out of a total of 24 involved in the missions). This is provided you assume that they did, given there are also conspiracy theorists who would debate this as well - but that's another story in itself!

And - given our current known level of technology, most of us are not going to be seeing the surface of the Moon for ourselves anytime soon, so the theory still sits in that grey area of being 'unproven'. However, I've listed a few key arguments for and against the theory below that might give those largely unfamiliar with the whole subject food for thought.

Arguments against

1. NASA who ran the Apollo program [sic] from 1961 to 1972, categorically deny ever having found any artifacts or evidence of an ET presence on the Moon.

2. None of the Apollo astronauts have gone on record as stating that they encountered any ET presence on the Moon.

3. All photos of the Moon released by NASA and other space missions show no evidence of any alien presence on the Moon. Also thanks to modern satellite imaging technology and NASA archived images, the whole of Moon's surface including the far side or 'dark side', has effectively been photographed and mapped and can be viewed by anyone online. No artificial structures or objects are visible on the Moon's surface, other than the remnants of the Apollo Moon landings themselves.

4. It's been 45 years since the first Moon landing and no hard evidence has come to light in all that time.

Arguments for

1. NASA may not in fact be revealing everything they discovered during the Moon landings. It certainly wouldn't be the first time in history a quasi-official agency had deliberately withheld what could be highly sensitive information from the public.

2. If the previous point is true then the Apollo astronauts themselves could be sworn to secrecy with severe penalties for going public with any sensitive information. It's been suggested that various 'clandestine agencies' other than NASA were also closely involved in some if not all the Apollo missions. Moreover, proponents of the theory have suggested that NASA and these 'other agencies' already had a good idea of what they'd find prior to the first mission.

3. Again if the previous two points are true then any 'controversial' photos of the Moon could have been re-touched or simply not released into the public domain. Additionally there could be a strict control or clearance on the release of any Moon imagery by NASA and the 'other agencies'. This however would suggest, to be in anyway effective, a monumental effort by NASA and the other agencies and a heavy reliance on international cooperation i.e. with China and Russia and other countries with space technology.

4. The 45 years since the first Moon landing could be a moot point if the previous three points are true and there has been a concerted effort to conceal certain evidence from the public because of it's extreme sensitivity and supposedly very high security classification. By way of a comparison, details of many highly classified secrets from the Second World War (e.g. the work of the Bletchley Park Enigma code-breakers and the Manhattan Project to create the first atomic bomb) have only come to light in subsequent decades and in some cases are only just being revealed now.

As a footnote - it's probably worth being aware of the little known Clementine mission which took place in 1994 and was a joint operation between NASA and the military to take high definition images of the whole of the Moon's surface. The unmanned spacecraft was called 'Clementine' as it only carried enough fuel to complete its mission before being "lost and gone forever" as in the song "My darling Clementine". This mission supposedly took 1.8 million images of the Moon but - to date - apparently only 170,000 of these have been put in the public domain. This begs the question "why?" if there is nothing worth seeing in the mass of unreleased images.

The apparent official answer to date is that at least 1 million of these other images are just 'emission spectra' taken at wavelengths from the ultraviolet to the near infrared and wouldn't make particularly interesting viewing but are useful as raw data for scientists. That's an awful lot of merely raw scientific data...

'Alien Egg' that caused a scare at a school

On a separate note - and in keeping with my previous references to the slightly bizarre inclusion of 'UFO crash drills' at schools over the last few years - a recent project involving a giant 'alien egg' at the Holy Trinity Primary School in Halstead, Essex backfired a bit scaring some of the pupils.

Have a look at the Daily Mail article for details. I couldn't help a smile at the name of the fictitious National Museum of Strange Objects representative - Dr Violet Strangeways....

Sunday, 1 June 2014

UFO near miss with Aussie plane - a case of the Oz factor?

In a case that bears some similarity to one I referred to in my article at the start of the year - New Year, New Close Encounters? - in March an Australian plane en route to Perth Airport apparently narrowly avoided a collision with a UFO. This incident has only just started getting net coverage given that the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) released a report this week on the investigation into the incident which, thus far, has not identified the object in question.

The West Australian newspaper briefly summarises this incident but the Open Minds article expands on this a little more, in particular on the point that if what the plane encountered was an 'unmanned aerial vehicle' or UAV (in other words a drone - either military or recreational) then it was operating in restricted airspace without the apparent knowledge of either civil or military aviation authorities.

Now I couldn't resist the use of the pun in the title of this post but there's a point to be made here in the context of Ufology in general. For those unfamiliar with the expression, the 'Oz factor' was first coined by our very own (by which I mean the UK's) Jenny Randles formerly of BUFORA.

The Wikipedia entry for Ms. Randles refers to the 'Oz factor' as:-

"...a term invented by Randles in 1983 to describe the strange, seemingly altered state of consciousness commonly claimed by some witnesses of unidentified flying objects and other similar paranormal events. Randles has noted the strange calmness and lack of panic described by the witnesses, relative to the bizarre circumstances that they described and says that they described and defined the Oz factor as "the sensation of being isolated, or transported from the real world into a different environmental framework...where reality is but slightly different, [as in] the fairy tale land of Oz." She has further noted that "the Oz factor certainly points to consciousness as the focal point of the UFO encounter..."

Now it would be supremely arrogant to say that all currently inexplicable UFO encounters might have a psychological explanation or be put down to an altered state of consciousness on the part of an observer or observers. In fact it would be quite a disturbing stretch to state this was the case for any given aerial encounter - as that would suggest psychological issues on the part of aviation personnel involved - including the pilots.

It could however be one explanation for some ground based 'abduction' or 'contact' cases allegedly involving extraterrestrials - a facet of the UFO subject I am still completely circumspect about.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Triangle UFO blasts Taliban?

My contract's been extended (they seem to like my work) which has meant l've been short on spare time to write. Thankfully I've now got some leave for a short while.

Whilst commuting I've still managed to find time to read Richard Dolan's excellent "The Cover-Up Exposed, 1973-1991" the 2nd volume in his planned 3 volume series, "UFOs and the National Security State," covering developments in the UFO phenomenon from the 1940s to the present day. Whilst the first book covered the post-war period - and arguably the start of the modern phenomenon - the second looks at the UFO events, politics, and research that occurred during the last two decades of the cold war.

I plan to review this and his previous book, as well as Nick Redfern's On the Trail of the Saucer Spies soon.

Triangle 'UFO' bombs Taliban

Meanwhile, a video has hit the net in the last few days, supposedly filmed by U.S. Marines and showing a triangular UFO attacking a Taliban camp. Personally I think it's nothing more than a half-decent CGI fake intended to go viral so - it wouldn't surprise me if there's some original footage of the explosion(s) shown around somewhere - minus the UFO.

Here's the video in question on YouTube

Another strange triangle UFO

More compelling is the imagery of the triangular 'aircraft' with a contrail, captured by an amateur wildlife photographer. What's particularly interesting is that the witness claims that, as well as making unusual 180 degree manoeuvres, the aircraft was 'absolutely silent'. KSN - which filmed this article - also spoke with nearby McConnell Air Force Base. Assuming they were being truthful, McConnell state that they were also unable to identify the craft. They suggested it may be a B-2 bomber ( i.e. the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit or 'Stealth Bomber'), however, they could not confirm it and added that if it is a B-2, it is not one of theirs. So if it was a B-2 whose was it? If it wasn't a B-2 what was it?

The full video article is on the Open Minds website

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Flight MH370 - 5 days on and still a mystery...

Update 15 March 2014

An image of a Malaysia Airlines 777
This is looking more and more like a hijack/terrorist scenario given that communications on the plane may have been deliberately disabled and that the authorities are now looking at the crew/passenger manifest in more detail.

BBC Breakfast interviewed an 'expert' in the last hour who referred to the 'point of maximum confusion' during the plane's journey.

This would be the point at which communications with the plane would be handed over from one country or region's airspace control to another and during which a hostile takeover might possibly have taken place.

This may offer the hope (however faint) that the passengers and crew are still alive and that they - and the aircraft itself - are being held for a ransom at a secret location...

Main article

By now you may have heard about the 'disappearance' of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 five days ago.

Rather than repeat the story here, this BBC article covers developments so far in full.

The BBC have also posted an article about other mysterious airline incidents - some not resolved until many years later.

It remains to be seen what category of incident flight MH370 falls into. It would clearly be premature to even speculate at this stage about what might have happened but, of course, conspiracy theories - including those relating to UFOs - are already viral on the net.

What this most likely tragic story highlights however, is how the world's air travel infrastructure is still vulnerable in the 21st century, nearly a hundred years after the start of the first 'fixed wing' airline. It also shows that, despite all our modern technology which includes radar and satellite tracking systems, finding a large passenger aircraft (or potential wreckage thereof) with 239 people on board, in a search area recently expanded to 92,000 sq km, is an extremely challenging task.

Assuming the plane never made it to dry land, the ocean is a very big and very deep place to be looking through.

My thoughts go out to those relatives of the people on flight MH370 waiting for any news at this time.