A lot of people assume that the UFO phenomenon is a relatively modern mystery, starting around 50 years or so ago. Indeed, the phrase "Flying Saucer" was first used in June 1947 to describe the famous sighting by Kenneth Arnold when he reported seeing nine shining discs flying near Mount Rainier, Washington State. He later described the event to a newspaper reporter as discs which moved like a saucer would "if you skipped it across the water". This was followed a month later by possibly the most famous UFO event of the last fifty years; the UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico.
However, Unidentified Flying Objects have been reported all through history and, with a bit of investigation, reports can even be found which date back into pre-history. Perhaps the biggest problem facing modern researchers is that of interpreting ancient evidence. A lot of ancient reports refer to "fiery chariots" or "Gods visiting Earth" and as such are open to varied interpretation. Indeed, there are many such reports in The Bible if one looks carefully enough. One proponent of the link between biblical events and extra-terrestrial visitation was author Erich von Dåniken, who wrote a number of best-selling books in the 1970's, describing compelling evidence of early alien intervention on Earth, even proposing that Christ himself might have been an extra-terrestrial (not as far-fetched as you may think, and the subject of a later article - Ed.) and that even ancient man was genetically altered by visiting aliens (which allegedly helps explain the "missing link" in human evolution - again, more in a future article - Ed.)
The concept of our ancient past having been moulded by intelligence from another planet is enjoying rather a renaissance in current times, with books such as "Gods of the New Millennium" by Alan Alford, "Fingerprints of the Gods" by Graham Hancock, "Alien Dawn" by Colin Wilson and "Gods of Eden" by Andrew Collins, to name but a few. As mentioned earlier though, it seems that The Bible is a source of many events which could be described as UFO sightings, and ancient Sumerian texts describe strange events going back even further.
Although The Bible is literally scattered by accounts which could be interpreted as UFO related, the most frequently quoted passages come from the book of the prophet Ezekiel. Indeed, whole books have been written on this prophets writings; "The Spaceships of Ezekiel" was another popular book of the 1970's, written by NASA engineer J.F.Blumrich.
To quote from chapter 1, verse 4, Ezekiel describes an event which happened to him.... "And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man."
He goes on to say that, "they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass."
What was he describing? Four human-like entities which came from the clouds? Were they dressed in metallic suits?
Indeed, there are many references to 'chariot like objects coming from the heavens, in amber flames'. Did these 'gods' exist in the physical plane, or is The Bible merely making allegorical points? Unfortunately, many ancient writings are subject to the interpretation of modern day scholars and hence can get corrupted by their own perception and ideas, especially if quoting evidence to support their own theory. It is interesting to see how reports of UFOs have changed throughout the ages. Indeed, such reports are often used by sceptics as being modified by the relevant human perceptions of the day. For instance, alien intervention could be referred to as "dragons and ogres of old", fairies, sea monsters, or even ghosts. Even the shapes of their craft seem to change with the course of human evolution. Whereas UFOs have been referred to as saucer shaped or cigar shaped, the populist view in modern day research seems to be the 'flying triangle', often reported as a dark triangular shape with amber lights on the peripheral corners. Could people's perception of UFOs be somehow moulded by previous reports and popular culture. A lot of the critics think so, yet many people reporting UFOs are unaware of contemporary reports. There are often multiple witnesses (as in the widely publicised Roswell, Bentwaters and Mexico City cases) and even radar evidence (Belgian sightings of 1989).
Another argument for similar reports, even from people unfamiliar with what they are reporting, is that of the 'global consciousness' or 'morphic resonance', as Rupert Sheldrake calls it. This is a scientific way of explaining the One Hundred Monkey Effect (OHME). For those not familiar with the OHME, it derives from the effect that once something has been learned, it becomes easier for others to learn the same thing. It also proposes that as soon as a 'critical number' of people become aware of something, the knowledge somehow instantly spreads to everyone else; A kind of snowballing effect. This has been demonstrated in nature as well as within groups of people.
It is my believe that all through the ages, people have strived to describe things outside their range of experience and knowledge. People in the past seemed to have more freedom and imagination in their believes, hence we have a wide variety of myths and legends which may all stem from a few key events. Nowadays, people are more restrained within their 'hassle free zone' (see Enigma 16) and less open to consider radically different ideas and concepts. It seems that there is far more peer-pressure for us to form views and opinions which fit within a relatively narrow bandwidth of popular opinion. Dare we step outside this zone, for fear of ridicule and dismissal of our theories, irrespective of how well researched they are. The people with the most to lose (politicians, multi-national businesses and orthodox scientists - even members of organised religions) are the ones most intent on keeping the 'status quo' at all costs, even forming pseudo scientific 'think-tanks' like CSICOP (the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal) - the self-imposed thought police of established science.
Indeed, the observant UFO researcher will notice that every interesting or well documented UFO report always seems to be accompanied by either media disinformation or convenient government cover stories. If something hasn't gained much publicity, the government seems happy to ignore the event in the hopes it will be quietly forgotten. However, should an event trigger the publics imagination too much (and lead people to think and research for themselves), there is always "someone in authority" who will issue "an official statement", which usually dismisses the event as a mis-sighting or offers a mundane explanation. The government often reveal their own interest in these matters, by being able to issue a prepared statement, often many pages long and offering detailed explanations. How come they've taken the time and effort to investigate these cases? The most famous case of this type was the Roswell crash of July 2nd 1947. A rancher, Mac Brazell, found what appeared to be the remains of a flying saucer on his range in Roswell, New Mexico. Within hours, high ranking Pentagon officials and officers of the nearby 509th atomic bomb squadron had sealed off the area and removed parts of the wreckage under great secrecy. There were many witnesses and over the subsequent 50 years, the event has been well researched and it is no doubt a thorn in the side of the US Government because they have issued no less than three different explanations for what happened, despite their own press office issuing the famous "US Airforce captures Flying Saucer" statement to the local paper at the time of the incident. First of all, merely a few days after the event, they retracted the flying saucer story and announced that it was merely a weather balloon that had crashed. This account had so many holes in it, that the story refused to go away. More witnesses came forward, including people who worked on the nearby air base. It was not until the 1970's that the government tried refining their story, claiming that it was actually some top secret spy balloon - code-named Mogul. Even this did not adequately explain the eye-witness reports and the fact that some high-ranking officials (who incidentally controlled the atomic bomb squadron) could not tell the difference between some secret earthly material and some extra-terrestrial metal with unique properties and strength.
During the 1990's the event was still one of the most hotly debated UFO events in history, and even a US senator (Steven Shiff) became involved in the discussion, forcing a General Accounting Office enquiry into the matter. It was not until 1997, fifty years after the original event, that the US Government issued yet another story to explain it. This one was the most laughable yet. They even tried to account for the alleged alien bodies recovered from the original crash, by claiming that some experimental dummies had fallen out of a plane in the 1950's (forgetting of course that eye-witness accounts date from 1947). With the government denials and counter denials it makes you wonder just what they do know and what it is they are obviously ensuring that the general public don't find out.
However, lets go back to 1947 for a moment and look at another event, which occurred a few days later and was overshadowed by the excitement of Roswell. On July 8th 1947, at one of the United States' most secret airbases; Muroc in California, a Lieut. J.C.McHenry saw two silver objects, spherical in shape, travelling at over 300 mph at a height of 8000 feet. These objects were witnessed by three other men stationed at the base, and they were travelling against the wind - thus they could not have been weather balloons. In fact, earlier on the same day, two military engineers had seen another metallic disc hovering and oscillating over the base for ten minutes. It is curious that no planes took off from the ground to try to intercept them. One wonders what the orders of the day were?
The sheer weight of evidence, many of it from reliable military and commercial aviation pilots, makes the fact that UFOs are invading our airspace indisputable, yet there is no official policy or even uniform comment from the authorities.
Many second world war pilots reported seeing strange balls of light or fire, accompanying their aircraft - often out manoeuvring them at high speed. These were reported by all sides; each believing the objects to be some kind of experimental device by the enemy. It was not until one pilot, stationed at Dijon in France, was chatting to some pilots in the mess of the 415th U.S. Night Fighter squadron in 1944 when he referred to the mystery objects as "Foo Fighters". The nickname seems to have stuck and there are many reports of Foo Fighters throughout the remaining years of the war. The word 'Foo' possibly comes from the French word 'feu', or fire. Even in 1945, when scientists tried to unravel the mystery, they merely tried to dismiss the objects as St.Elmo's lights. Possibly, if reported today, people might try dismissing them as ball lightening or some other, equally rare, phenomenon. Again, what scientists and sceptics seem to omit is the reports that these objects appear to be under intelligent control, by being able to follow, out-manouvre and generally play cat and mouse with our aircraft.
One puzzle with the UFO phenomena is indeed the variety of shapes reported as seen in the sky. Although the shapes do vary immensely over the years, reports within a shorter period of time do seem to be similar in certain aspects. Unless there are different types of aliens, piloting different types of craft, or that alien technology has progressed throughout the years in a similar way that we now have stealth fighter planes instead of propeller driven bi-planes, there is some area for discussion in the sceptics claims that the description of UFOs mutates over time, moulded by popular culture of the era.
Looking at this aspect of the phenomenon myself, personally I doubt if alien technology would change that much in the fifty years or so that we have obtained well documented reports. Surely if some superior alien being, no doubt light years ahead of us in terms of technology and intelligence, had developed a method of intersteller travel then they are not going to keep adapting the craft for each flight to our planet. They would do their development work in their own backyard and wait until the technology was tried and tested before travelling the vast distances involved to visit us.
If on the other hand, they use some technology that is so far advanced of our own that it is beyond comprehension, then perhaps it is not such a long trip after all, and they can experiment with different types of craft. Perhaps they utilize worm holes or space/time vortexes from parallel dimensions, or some other exotic method of getting here in a relatively short time.
A short time after the end of World War II, objects looking like "large bats" were reported over the skies of San Diego, California. In 1946, sixteen people witnessed what they described as "an extremely long plane, carrying two reddish lights and travelling at amazing speed. It was bluish-white in colour."
One woman witness said, "The strange object was certainly no airplane. The wings, which moved, were too wide for any bird. Indeed, they were rather like the wings of a butterfly. The whole object emitted a red glow."
A number of people all corroborated the story from different parts of the city, all describing a similar shaped object. Although differing dramatically from the Foo Fighters reported during the later war years, the bat-like object sounds similar to a report made by a Dr. F.B.Harris in the 1912 issue of Popular Astronomy; "In the evening of January 27th, 1912, I saw an intensely black object, like a crow, poised upon the moon. I estimated it at 250 miles long by 50 miles wide. I cannot but think that a very interesting phenomenon happened."
Although there are many hundreds of UFO reports dating from before the 1940's, UFOs didn't really spark the imagination of the public until Kenneth Arnold's famous sighting in June 1947. This also seems to be the time that the government coverup started and the subject started to be ridiculed by the media. After Arnold's sighting of the nine metallic 'saucer-shaped' objects while flying in the vicinity of Mount Rainier, Washington State, the news spread like wild fire and within a day Arnold had received phone calls from around the world. However, it was not until approximately two weeks after the event that he was approached by the Bureau of Federal Investigations at Washington D.C. - the equivalent of the Special Branch at Scotland Yard. Here is where the hand of military censorship intervened for the first time. Even though the US press violently reacts upon any form of censorship or inability to exert their First Amendment Freedom of Speech, overnight, flying saucer stories stopped appearing in the American newspapers. From that day on, anyone who reported seeing flying saucers or UFOs was branded a lunatic or irresponsible visionary.
This is interesting. What did the government fear? First thoughts would perhaps indicate that they worried about losing the faith of the public - who expected the military to protect them against invasion from enemy forces. If these UFOs really could out-manouvre and out accelerate even the fastest of our fighter planes, then what defence would we have if they really did want to invade us? This is surely a self-defeating argument, because if they did want to invade or take control of the Earth, they could easily have done so by now, so it seems to me that they are either just monitoring us or just ignoring us, working to their own agenda.
Of course, governments may fear mass panic by the population, similar to that witnessed in 1938 after the famous broadcast of H.G.Wells "War of the Worlds", which made people flee their houses in panic, believing the Earth really was under threat of invasion from Martians. On the other hand, what is far more likely to make a government keep secret about superior technology is the fact that if the secret of free energy or some new kind of power is derived from UFO technology becomes public knowledge, then every Western economy will collapse overnight. Imagine being able to power your car or house on an abundant supply of free energy? Multinational oil companies and banking conglomerates would no longer be able to manipulate the public into spending more and more money and getting more and more in debt - and thus under the control of 'the system'. If people didn't have to slave away just to earn enough money to pay for the essentials of living, then people would be free to control their own lives, free of the burdens society artificially creates around us, free to step outside the hassle-free zone and become the unique, spiritual beings that we all are deep inside anyway.
Before you dismiss the idea of "Free", or "Zero Point" energy, consider how far we have come in just the last hundred years. Victorians would have scoffed at you if you had spoken of extracting invisible 'solar' energy from the sun, yet today you can even buy disposable pocket calculators powered by small solar cells. What if there is an abundant supply of energy we could extract from the magnetic or gravitational fields around the Earth. We need not even violate the laws of physics, merely discover some hitherto unknown way of extracting energy. More research on this and related topics will appear in future issues, especially with regards to some of the pioneering work carried out by Nikola Tesla - one of the most unspoken heros of the scientific age.
Next time you see a UFO reported by the media. Examine the story from all angles. How many witnesses were there? Are they reliable, ordinary people? Do any official organisations issue statements explaining it away in a less than satisfactory way? Is the witness ridiculed? Often, the more sane and rational the person, the more the powers that be will try to make the person look stupid or deluded. After all, we can't have normal, rational people believing in flying saucers and little green men can we? I dare you to think for yourself!
Reproduced with permission from Enigma Magazine.
©1999 Enigma Publications