Antonio Huneeus | Jan 05, 2012
Rupert Matthews at his desk. (Credit: www.rupertmatthews,org)
The December 28 headline in the British press site Your Local Guardian certainly caught my attention: “UFO expert to take on European Parliament.” A similar story with an almost identical title, “UFO expert to take seat in European parliament,” had been published back in October 19 in the English website this is Leicestershire, following the announcement by East Midland Tory MEP (Member of European Parliament) Roger Helmer that he was going to retire by the end of 2011.
According to the rules of the EP, he was to be replaced by Rupert Matthews, a prolific writer and politician who has published many books on the paranormal and UFOs. “Mr. Matthews was behind Mr. Helmer on the Tory party list in the region at the 2009 European elections, a position that would normally guarantee his succession in the event of a vacancy,” reported Your Local Guardian. However, his interest in the paranormal and ufology quickly began to work against Matthews’ once promising political future. “Golly! Ghostbuster UK MEP may not be coming to Brussels” was the December 29 headline in NEWEUROPE online, dubbed “The European Political Newspaper.” The article was decidedly against the appointment of Matthews to the EP, who was described as “a sceptic over the EU, but on precious little else. He has several fascinating interests. Chief among these is ghost hunting. Of course, there is much more to him. He’s also an expert on UFOs and alien abduction.” After listing the titles of several of the paranormal and UFO books published by Matthews, NEWEUROPE added facetiously that “this led to him being nicknamed ‘The MEP for Roswell and Bigfoot’.”
On top of the bad PR brought by his paranormal interests, Matthews was also criticized because Bretwalda Books, a publishing house of which he is a director, published a book on Political Correctness featuring golliwog dolls on the cover. The golliwog is a racially demeaning black rag doll from a 19th century character in children’s books once popular in Britain, the U.S. and Commonwealth countries. Although the cover was not for one of Matthews’ books, it led the ruling Conservative Party to announce an inquiry into the matter. According to a BBC News story on December 31, MEP Roger Helmer finally announced he was delaying his resignation until his successor was chosen. “There do seem to have been one or two administrative queries arising with central office over the succession to the seat,” said Helmer. “Naturally, I want to get those sorted out before I formalize my resignation.”
Rupert Mathews (right) shaking hands with British Prime Minister David Cameron. (Credit: Bretwalda Books)
The prospect of having a member of the European Parliament well versed in ufological issues seemed promising for our field, but now it’s not certain that will happen. This seems rather unfair since, after browsing several of Matthews’ books and articles on ufology and the paranormal, you can tell right away that he is a professional writer with a balanced and objective view of the phenomenon and not a wild-eye believer or conspiracy prone type as hinted in the recent British press coverage. Let’s then take a look at his career and research.
Who is Rupert MatthewsAccording to his own official website, which describes him as “a historian and political activist”:
Rupert has written over 180 books, mostly on history or military subjects.
Rupert was born 1961 and was educated at the village Church of England junior school, then at his local grammar school. He later took up a career in publishing – which brought him face to face with militant trades unionism, especially in the print unions. That experience caused Rupert to turn against socialism, state control and restrictive laws. He began campaigning for Mrs Thatcher’s Conservatives and Norman Tebbit’s trades union reforms. Rupert has never looked back. Rupert stood for Parliament in 1997 and for the European Parliament in 2009. He has served 8 years on his local council.
Rupert Matthews with a Roman helmet. (Credit: www.rupertmatthews.com)
Matthews is a very prolific writer, although many of his books are brief titles for younger readers. The majority of them deal with popular historical subjects ranging from classical Greece and Rome to the Hundred Years’ War between England and France in the Middle Ages to World War Two. A couple of his books are political, such as Can Britain leave the EU? A Warning from History, and How To Be a Successful Election Candidate, summarized as “a simple, step by step guide on how to be a winning election candidate by one of the best campaign managers in the business.” It features a photo of the author with Prime Minister David Cameron on the cover.
The second largest category of books published by Rupert Matthews after history is undoubtedly the paranormal. Some of the many titles are Haunted Hampshire, The Ghosthunter’s Guide to England: On the Trail of the Paranormal, Paranormal Surrey, Haunted Sunderland, Haunted Places of Dorset, Mysterious Cornwall, Mysterious Yorkshire, Sasquatch, Bigfoot, Poltergeists, Encyclopedia of the Paranormal, etc. And then there are the ufological titles which include UFOs – A History of Alien Activity from
Sightings to Abductions to Global Threat, Alien Encounters – True-Life Stories of Aliens, UFOs, and Other Extra-Terrestrial Phenomena, and Roswell – Uncovering the secrets of Area 51 and the fatal UFO crash. There are also his contributions to British editions of Readers Digest’s books on the Paranormal. As you can see, Rupert Matthews is not just a casual writer on these topics but one who has made quite a professional career out of it.
In an interview with Richard Thomas’ Room 101, Rupert Matthews describes how he became interested in the paranormal. “My grandma was very interested in ghosts and the supernatural,” he said. “When I was younger she used to tell me all about boggarts (we would call them poltergeists these days), white ladies, black hounds and ghosts of all kinds. I guess that is what started me off originally.” He then went on to work for a small publishing company and began writing history books; as he traveled around the country,
I started using the time to visit any haunted hotels, pubs or open spaces in the area. Over the years I built up a large amount of photos of haunted places, interviews with witnesses and so forth. It then occurred to me that I ought to try to get it published, and one of my publishing contacts was kind enough to take the book on. It sold rather well and since then I have been doing almost as much on the paranormal and unexplained as on history. Great fun.
Some of Matthews' books (credit: Book Sales, Inc., Heinemann, Arcturus Publishing Ltd., David Brown Book Co.)
Rupert Matthews’ views on UFOsRupert Matthews’ UFO books are basic introductions to the subject geared for a younger and general audience. In the interview with Richard Thomas he discussed some of his views on the subject. When asked about the closing of the UFO desk at the Ministry of Defence a year or so ago, Matthews said:
I spoke to a fairly senior RAF officer about this. His view was that UFOs were not the business of the RAF. He said that the RAF was there to fly missions over Afghanistan, keep an eye on Russian spy planes and such like. He was prepared to accept that there MIGHT be an objective reality to the UFO phenomenon, but seemed to think it was a job for the intelligence services. Until we know what UFOs are and why they are here, he did not think the RAF should be involved. The RAF has more than enough to keep itself busy. Whether that is the real reason I have no idea, but that was his view.Thomas then asked him about “rumours of an ultra covert British UFO group and recovered alien technology,” to which Matthews responded:
I know that the US and UK intelligence services share a lot of information, but not everything. I would expect them to share the broad outlines about what they know about UFOs, but would maybe keep juicy details to themselves. As for alien technology, that presupposes that UFOs are alien spacecraft and that one or more has crashed and been recovered. I’m not entirely convinced by either of these suggestions. I know the alien spacecraft theory is the most popular among UFO researchers, but while it may well turn out to be the case, I think it is a case of “not proven” for now.We also found and read a number of interesting UFO articles by Matthews posted on Richard Thomas’ blog. In one of them, “The truth behind Roswell,” he described the research he did for his book on Roswell, concluding that “in the final analysis something fell out of the sky in early July 1947. The United States Air Force did move quickly to collect the wreckage, then quickly launched a determined effort to kill the story and keep the find secret. Can I tell you what it was that fell from the sky? No. There are several possibilities that would fit the evidence – and an alien spacecraft is but one of those.”
Another article, “UFO Crashes in Britain,” described the evidence, such as it is, for these types of incidents in the UK. He noted that there isn’t anything remotely close to Roswell in terms of evidence and fame (the 1980 Rendlesham Forest case is sometimes compared to Roswell, but it clearly didn’t involve a UFO crash). Probably the most interesting case reviewed by Matthews is the Berwyn Mountain incident of January 23, 1974 in northern Wales, when many witnesses reported “spherical or saucer shaped” lights “moving erratically in odd patterns and formations. Then, at 8.38pm,” continued Matthews, “residents around the Berwyn Mountain in Wales heard a deafening rumbling explosion and the ground shook. People came out into the streets. One man said he had seen lights over the mountain just before the crash and speculated that an aircraft had crashed.” The local police went to the mountain with a nurse to check if there were casualties. The plot thickened shortly thereafter as explained by Matthews:
Not long afterwards a convoy of army trucks arrived, the men cordoned off the mountain and refused admittance to anyone. The policeman and nurse came back down under army escort. They said that they had seen lights and debris as if from a crash, but had been instructed to leave. The nurse would later say that she had got close to the crash and seen bodies that did not seem to be human.
The official explanation for the events at Berwyn are that an unusually large meteor hurtled across the sky at the same time that an earthquake struck Berwyn. Some geologists have speculated that the lights were the rare, and largely unexplained phenomenon, of earthquake lights which are sometimes reported in the air just before earthquakes strike. Others remain convinced that it was a UFO that crashed at Berwyn, though very little of the craft seems to have survived the impact.
The gate to Rudloe Manor in Bath. (Credit: Derek Hawkins/Wikimeda Commons)
The mystery of RAF Rudloe ManorAnother fascinating article posted by Rupert Matthews in 2010 is “RAF Rudloe Manor and the UFO Files,” which describes the history of this top secret RAF installation in Bath. Its link as a UFO reporting center was first outed by Timothy Good in his 1987 bestseller Above Top Secret. Matthews tells the history of the base since it was first set up by the RAF during World War II; how he used to poke around the area in the 1970s when visiting relatives in Bath; and how “I began to hear rumours that the well guarded base at Rudloe Manor might have some UFO link.” Although the details are obviously classified, Matthews mentions underground facilities housing “the Central Computer Complex” and how “Rudloe Manor has long been the HQ of the RAF Provost & Security Services (PSS), which is responsible for all aspects of security affecting the RAF. It includes personnel from MI5 and MI6 who liaise with the PSS and – at least from time to time if nor permanently – CIA personnel as well. We know from declassified government documents that the PSS collated and sifted UFO reports for several decades.” Then comes the punch line:
In the early 1990s UFO investigators in Britain began to notice that there was a cluster of high quality sightings over the Box-Rudloe-Corsham area of Wiltshire. This reminded some of a similar cluster of sightings over Warminster, a few miles to the south, in the 1960s. Intrigued, investigators began paying more attention. The sightings were found to centre over Rudloe and to consist largely of UFOs without wings that pulsated with colours of blue, red or green. Often they were said to be diamond or conical in shape.These are just some samples of the type of research conducted by Rupert Matthews, a prolific author, paranormal expert, ufologist and, yes, politician with the ruling Tory Conservative Party. Whether he can navigate successfully around the series of obstacles preventing him to become a member of the European Parliament remains to be seen. According to the British rules, the EP seat for East Midland should be his upon the resignation of the current member Roger Helmer, but politics as we know can be a dirty game and the Tory machinery may block him. If he does make it, however, there is no doubt that he will instantly become the best informed MEP on all matters relating to UFOs and the paranormal.