Wednesday, 8 June 2016

The first X - Files


Rob Waugh

DID German fighter pilot Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, popularly known as the Red Baron, really shoot down a flying saucer over the battlefields of World War I? And did an “Angel” really save the lives of British troops? Bizarrely, a team of British intelligence officers was assigned to investigate weird sightings in the skies during World War I -- becoming the precursor of Unidentified Flying Object investigators both real and fictional.

Most of us think of UFOs and mysterious sightings in the sky as a modern phenomenon -- but “phantom airships” became a huge panic in the early years of the 20th century and regularly featured in newspapers.
By the time of World War I, a more scientific approach was needed.
A predecessor to MI5, Military Observation Department Five (MO5), under the control of a Lieutenant-Colonel Kell, was assigned the task of classifying sightings in the air. Amid the panic about enemy airships, it was a military necessity to weed out “phantom airships” from real aircraft sightings.

Nigel Watson, author of UFOs of the First World War, says, “It can be regarded as the first ever official guide to studying UFO reports long before the Central Intelligence Agency or any other organisation got with the subject when ‘flying saucer’ sightings were all the rage after World War II. During World War I there were numerous reports of mysterious lights and objects moving about in the skies. These were studied by the Assistant Director of Military Aeronautics, a post held by Lieutenant-Colonel WS Brancker, and the Department of Military Training; and Brancker and Kell can be regarded as the first Mulder and Scully who studied the flow of UFO-type reports that flowed into their offices.”

The reports sent to Brancker and Kell sound eerily like today’s UFO sightings -- and came amid widespread panic not only about enemy airships but also more mysterious sightings. A 1914 telegram from the Chief Constable of Lancashire said, “Large red light seen at 8.45 pm today passing over Runcorn Bridge Arches. Immediately afterwards, an explosion was heard in Widnes and Runcorn.”
The guidelines set out by the war office helped MO5 officers categorise sightings as of natural origin -- or as something more mysterious.

Various legends about extraterrestrials were circulated during World War I -- of which the most astonishing (and implausible) was that the Red Baron shot down a UFO. After the war, fellow pilots claimed Baron von Richtofen shot down a flying saucer-type craft, from which two inhabitants fled. Fellow German pilot Peter Waitzrick said that the fighters saw an aircraft like an upside down saucer. “We were terrified because we’d never seen anything like it before. The Baron immediately opened fire and the thing went down like a rock, shearing off tree limbs as it crashed into the woods. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Baron shot down some kind of spacecraft from another planet and those little guys who ran off into the woods were space aliens of some kind,” he said.

But the story is highly dubious, given that Waitzrick didn’t share his story until 80 years after the event, and chose to do so in the US tabloid, Weekly World News.

UFO fans claim that aliens may have “abducted” people from the battlefields of World War I during the Gallipoli campaign. Witnesses claimed to have seen British soldiers marching towards Hill 60 at Sulva Bay in Turkey on 21 August 1915 -- before being snatched up by a “solid-looking” cloud.
A statement from a supposed eyewitness published in 1965 said, “When they arrived at this cloud, they marched straight into it with no hesitation, but no one ever came out to fight. About an hour later, this cloud very unobtrusively lifted off the ground until it joined other similar clouds, then they all moved away northwards.”

It seems likely, however, that this is a hoax. Documents released after the Armistice suggest that 180 bodies found behind enemy lines are those of the “missing soldiers” -- and the story of the cloud is a myth.
An “Angel” which many British soldiers credited with saving their lives in one of the first, brutal battles of World War I has been seized on by UFO fans as evidence of extraterrestrials… Many soldiers credited the strange apparitions with saving their lives -- and the story became a staple of parish magazines.
The battle had been one of the first in which the British faced the Germans -- and despite retreating, only 1,600 lives were lost. Decades later, the debate still rages -- some attributing the “Angel” to a short story from the Evening Standard, others to British intelligence.

Popular author Arthur Machen claimed that this legend was created by his fictional The Bowmen story published in The Evening News on 29 September 1914. In it, British soldiers call on St George for aid and are helped by ghostly bowmen from the Battle of Agincourt. One fact that lends weight to this theory is that few reports of the incident exist before Machen’s story.
Nigel Watson says, “Even today the legend is swathed in controversy. Theories about it range from it being a myth based on Machen’s story, the product of hallucinations due to stress and exhaustion, real angelic visitations, ghosts, swamp gas, airships or alien UFOs projecting or shaping themselves to the expectations of the witnesses.”

Back in April 2010, Britain released hundreds of previously secret “UFO files”, including a letter saying that Winston Churchill had ordered a 50-year cover-up of a wartime encounter between a UFO and a military pilot. The files, published by the National Archives, span decades and contain scores of witness accounts, sketches and classified briefing notes documenting mysterious sightings across Britain.
One Ministry of Defense note refers to a 1999 letter stating that a Royal Air Force plane returning from a mission in Europe during World War II was “approached by a metallic UFO”. The unidentified author of the letter said his grandfather attended a wartime meeting between Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower, during which the two expressed concern over the incident and “decided to keep it secret”.
The Ministry of Defense subsequently investigated the case but found no written record of the incident, the files say. In a 1999 note, the ministry said it “does not have any expertise or role in respect of ‘UFO/flying saucer’ matters or to the question of the existence or otherwise of extraterrestrial life forms, about which it remains totally open-minded”.

Britain has been slowly releasing long-classified files related to sightings of mysterious craft in the skies above its cities, compiled and investigated by the Ministry of Defense over past decades. Some cases subsequently received rational explanations, such as meteors burning up in the atmosphere, but many are unsolved.
One memo, dated 1997, contains reports of “sonic booms” and a mysterious plane crash in northern England. No wreckage was found in an ensuing search by the police and rescue teams.
Another incident refers to sightings of a “black triangular UFO” over the home of the shadow home secretary in Kent in the late 1990s. An investigation showed no breach of security.

In a case filed in 1995, the captain of a plane approaching Manchester’s airport reported a near-miss with an “unidentified object” and a witness on the ground separately provided a sketch showing a UFO “20 times the size of a football field” An inquiry failed to indentify the object, the memo said.
Buried deep among meticulous sketches and ministry memos, some files refer to curious episodes in Britain’s history. During the Cold War, it sent fighter jets to intercept Soviet aircraft as often as 200 times a year, one document from the ministry showed. The note, filed in 1996, said mystery sightings picked up on radar during the Cold War were invariably proved to be Soviet anti-submarine or long-range reconnaissance planes. “Prior to the demise of the former Soviet Union, aircraft were scrambled some 200 times annually to intercept and investigate uncorrelated tracks penetrating the UK air defence region from the north,” it said.

Winnipegger details Canada's most famous UFO sightings


The 1947 UFO incident in Roswell, New Mexico is the most famous of its kind, but Chris Rutkowski believes there are more compelling cases that have happened in Canada — they just haven't received the same attention because they happened north of the U.S. border.

Rutkowski, a Winnipegger who has researched UFOs since the 1970s, spent a few months studying UFO crashes in Canada. He was surprised to find "more than a dozen well-witnessed and well-documented examples of odd or unexpected objects apparently descending from the sky and landing or crashing on Canadian soil."

An example of a UFO crash that Chris Rutkowski considers more compelling than Roswell is from Wallaston Lake, Sask., where this fragment from a “space vehicle” was found and taken to the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa.

Rutkowski, who listed the incidents on his blog (, defined the crashes as anything unexplained that was witnessed to have fallen from the sky and didn't fly away.

"Certainly the Roswell one is the most famous one, but the purpose of this report was to show that there are many such cases not just around the world, but here in Canada," Rutkowski, research co-ordinator for UFOlogy Research of Manitoba, said Thursday. "To find more than a dozen, I think that's pretty interesting.

"Roswell has such a tremendous machine behind it to promote it ... it's taken on a mythology of its own. The fact is we actually have better cases, it's just that we're not Roswell."

The only Canadian example that received its share of attention globally happened in Shag Harbour off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1967, Rutkowski said, adding it's sometimes called "Canada's Roswell."

"This classic case is actually a bit better than Roswell, because a number of official documents have been located suggesting something really happened, unlike Roswell," he wrote in his report.

A glowing disc-shaped object was witnessed to have been flying over the harbour before it crashed into the water about 200 feet from shore, then floated for a moment. RCMP were called to the scene and attempts were made to reach the object, thought to be a crashed plane.

However, they failed to reach it before it sunk into the ocean, leaving a thick yellow foam.

Another example Rutkowski considers more compelling than Roswell is from Wallaston Lake, Sask., where a fragment from a "space vehicle" was found and taken to the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa. One of the pages of RCMP documents is titled: "U.F.O. Found in Northern Saskatchewan."

Manitoba had an incident in 1792 in Thicket Portage "when something fell to earth that sounded like it was a massive jelly, according to explorer David Thompson," Rutkowski said.

The brilliant object broke into many luminous pieces after hitting the river ice, Thompson noted in his diary. When he went to see the hole in the ice the object should have made, there was no sign of impact.

"If he says that happened, we can be fairly sure that it actually did happen," Rutkowski said, noting Thompson was a respected explorer who wrote extensively about his discoveries in Manitoba.

The most famous Manitoba UFO case happened in May 1967 at Falcon Lake. Stephen Michalak claimed he witnessed a UFO land and take off again while prospecting in the Whiteshell Provincial Park, but this incident isn't included in Rutkowski's report as it wasn't considered a crash.

Unlike the U.S., records of UFO incidents in Canada are easy to obtain, Rutkowski said.

"In Canada, there's a tremendous amount of information that's been available since the 1940s on objects seen in the sky and crashing," he said.

"It's good that we have relative open access to information."

"It Defies Language!" by Greg Bishop


BOOK REVIEW: It Defies Language! Essays on UFOs and Other Weirdness by Greg Bishop (Excluded Middle Press) 2016
My first true encounter with the work of writer, researcher, blogger, fringe-culture historian, radio host and Ufologist Greg Bishop was via his excellent 2005 book Project Beta: The Story of Paul Bennewitz, National Security, and the Creation of a Modern UFO Myth, which I reviewed at the time for a Louisiana newspaper.
What impressed me most that was despite Bishop’s obvious interest in the topic of UFOs and related “high weirdness,” he was willing to do the yeoman’s work and produce a book that exposed a lot of the rumors out there about a New Mexico physicist – Paul Bennewitz – who urgently believed an alien invasion was imminent and that an underground base near the town of Dulce, N.M. (read our review of Greg Valdez’s Dulce Base here) was already populated with sinister aliens.
And yet, in Project Beta, we learn it was all a government disinformation campaign to get Bennewitz off the trail of down-to-earth technology (the strange lights over Albuquerque) being tested at nearby Kirtland Air Force Base. Sad thing is, the experience left Bennewitz a paranoid and broken man, and committed to a mental institution.
So, upon learning about Bishop’s latest UFO-tinged book project, It Defies Language!, I knew I would be of great interest to me, since it featured a bunch of his posts from the defunct website (2006-2011), one that was prominently linked here at Red Dirt Report, and also featured work by our friend Nick Redfern, prolific author and regular at Mysterious Universe.
Broken up into nine chapters, It Defies Language! starts off in the introduction with Bishop straight-up saying, “Some people build model railroads.Others collect stamps or bottlecaps. I write and think about UFOs.” And I can relate to that to a certain extent.
I can also relate to Bishop’s approach to the topic that he is not necessarily a “nuts-and-bolts” UFO guy, that there is likely a metaphysical angle to the phenomenon, noting "there is no real, verifiable evidence that UFOs and apparent associated beings come from other planets."
Anyway, Bishop jumps around with the posts, but even though it isn’t necessarily chronological, we get insight into the intellectually honest process he undertakes when it comes to tackling the difficult subject of UFOs and related phenomena and even fellow UFO researchers who aren’t always as honest about their objectives as they should be, some even covertly working for the US government to sidetrack researchers. It happens.
Being an obsessive fan of the David Lynch TV show Twin Peaks (1990-91), which will be rebooted for Showtime next year, I was interested in one 2007 UFOMystic post Bishop includes titled “David Lynch, Twin Peaks, and UFOs (and the Government).” In the post he notes that an unnamed source told a friend of his, Miles Lewis, that Lynch created his “Agent Dale Cooper” character based on someone who worked in the government, someone he simply calls “Agent Cooper.”* (EDITOR'S NOTE: Mr. Lewis informed this writer that "To clarify (for the record) no source told me (SMiles Lewis) any such thing, I simply passed along an anonymous article alleging these things." - 3:26 p.m. June 6, 2016)
Notes Bishop: “However, from what I understand, under this ‘Agent Cooper’s” urging, Lynch infused certain codes and secret messages pertaining to different things he had learned from ‘Agent Cooper’ – and they are scattered throughout the series.
Don S. Davis as Maj. Garland Briggs - UFO seeker - in Twin Peaks. (Lynch/Frost Productions)
It is true that Twin Peaks features a rather esoteric storyline where Air Force Maj. Garland Briggs (Don S. Davis) works, in a classified manner, with “deep space monitoring” and also for the infamous Project Blue Book, where the Air Force was allegedly looking into UFO sightings between 1952 and 1969. But the real purpose, Bishop is told, is “to test to the general public’s perception and reaction to UFO reports and sightings, and to use the data gleaned from this study as a mean to maximize the effectiveness of using such UFO stories to manipulate the population.
In another 2007 post, Bishop delves into the aforementioned subject of “underground bases.” What is their purpose? What is hidden there? Was there a “firefight” between US soldier and “alien humanoids” at an underground base in Dulce, N.M. as claimed by one Philip Schneider? And was Schneider “killed for talking about alien bases”? He goes into that, as well as the issue of cattle mutilations, the 1950's "contactee" movement, crop circles, and even a bit on “alien writing.” It is that subject where Bishop, in talking about the "alien symbol" research of the late Dr. Mario Pazzaglini, also notes that “one of the earliest concrete examples of what was purported to be extra-human communication was channeled by medium Edward Kelley, and his boss, Elizabethan astrologer and all-around magician John Dee, from 1582-1589.
Like those who come across alleged alien “symbols” following an encounter, it was Dee who said the “Enochian” symbols he received from an "angel," dictated through medium Kelley. Is there a connection between the 400-plus year old findings of Dee and the symbols being discussed today? Bishop is of the opinion that this "as-yet unknown, non-human intelligence or consciousness that interacts with us from time-to-time" has likely been around for a very long time.
Bishop has a smart and easy-to-understand style that will appeal to both serious UFO researchers and those with, perhaps, simply a passing interest in the topic. For Bishop, putting this online essay collection together was a labor of love, for someone who has a passion for investigating the unknown.
Regardless, in It Defies Language!, there is plenty of thoughtful - and even humorous and lighthearted - information to sink your teeth and your mind into.
Have fun! 

UFO Fraudsters viral video debunked

YouTube video has users questioning object seen near WPAFB. Contributed photo from YouTube

Barrie Barber & Jim Otte

An astrophysicist and a UFO investigator in Ohio have debunked a YouTube video that purports to show an angular object floating as a UFO near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The video, posted by a website called Secureteam 10, went viral this weekend with nearly 800,000 views as of Tuesday afternoon since it was posted Saturday. A narrator claims the video was shot by an unidentified Dayton area couple last week near Wright-Patterson. The video was played on the Fox News Channel and picked by by media outlets from England to Australia this weekend.

Joesph Childers, an astronomy educator at Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton, wasn’t a true believer of the video.

“Not even myth-busters time,” he said in an interview. “It’s garbage.”

Thomas Wertman, a UFO investigator in Cleveland and Ohio state director of the Mutual UFO Network, also doubts the video’s authenticity, and said someone is making money from the advertising each time it’s viewed.

“I don’t know how much. I know it’s more than me because I’m a volunteer,” he said.

The website, which does not reveal its name or address or the original source of the video, did not respond to a request for an interview Tuesday.

A base spokeswoman said Tuesday that Wright-Patterson was not involved in any activities that would contribute to the activity purportedly seen in the video.

Wright-Patterson has long disavowed any connection to UFOs or aliens hidden on base, once home to the former Project Blue Book which investigated more than 12,600 reported UFO sightings between 1947 and 1969 around the world.

In 1985, Wright-Patterson issued a statement that said the Air Force concluded Project Blue Book showed no UFO sighting was a threat to national security, demonstrated technology beyond present-day sciences, and no evidence indicated extraterrestrial vehicles.

“Periodically, it is erroneously stated that the remains of extraterrestrial visitors are or have been stored at Wright-Patterson AFB,” the statement concluded. “There are not now, nor ever have been, any extraterrestrial visitors or equipment on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.”

The truth of UFOs was hushed-up decades ago

By Sabir Hussain
CHENNAI: On January 7, 1610 while observing the four moons of Jupiter, Galileo found out that they were showing a very anti-Vatican attitude. Instead of going round the Earth as the Vatican had decreed, they were going around Jupiter. Today the same audacity is shown by UFOs. On the one side we have the American government telling the world UFOs do not exist, and on the other side we have UFOs appearing all over the world and violating sensitive air space over nuclear missile bases, nuclear power plants, air force bases and governmental buildings. They appear and disappear out of military and civilian radars, playing cat and mouse game with Air force jets like 1976 Tehran, 1980 Peru and 1989-90 Belgium, all authenticated by eye witness and radar evidence. In 1947 while the American government was decreeing UFOs are not real, 3-star General Nathan Twining who later became chief of Air Force writes a secret memo to a 2-star General stating: The phenomenon reported is something real, not visionary or fictitious and describes the objects as metallic or light reflecting circular or elliptical with a flat bottom and doomed top.

Today when people easily tend to dismiss the UFO phenomenon as pseudoscience and myth, what they do not realise is, their present day mindset is the intended result of the successful and efficient implementation of the recommendations of a CIA sponsored meeting in 1953 under the chairmanship of well known Caltech Physicist H P  Robertson.
The panel comprised of eminent scientists who gathered around with only one purpose in mind, How to scientifically and systematically reduce people’s interest in UFOs. After four days of meetings they made the following classified recommendations; Creation of a broad based educational programmes, aimed to deny and debunk the UFO phenomenon to the public as well as the media (Indian media must note this).  Television programmes, motion pictures and articles both in the newspaper and books should be used covertly as a tool for controlling public perception and act as a mouth piece for Government policy and propaganda in ridiculing UFOs.
Public interest, involvement and enthusiasm for UFOs must be strongly discouraged using the expertise of marketing experts, psychologists, amateur astronomers and even Disney cartoons.

Nathan Twining
The panel proposed making documentary type motion pictures and TV programmes in which all kinds of misleading and false explanations were to be given to authentic UFO sightings and these films must be shown in high schools, colleges, business clubs and other public gathering.
A good example was the two-hour CBS special programme hosted by the famous and trusted Walter Cronkite, titled UFO — Friend, Foe or Fantasy where the UFO phenomenon was debunked with false and misleading claims like there was no radar or photographic evidence to support the physical reality of the UFOs.  Civilian UFO research groups formed by scientists and former military officers must be watched and monitored at all times, while intelligence operatives must ensure, that the facts about UFOs be kept from leading scientists and researchers through a campaign of disinformation. Astronomer and UFO researcher Allen Hynek remarked, the panel’s greatest achievement was it made the subject of UFOs scientifically unrespectable.
How does Sabir Hussain living in 2016 know what a 3-star general wrote to a 2-star general in 1947 or the highly classified conclusions of the CIA sponsored Robertson panel in 1953?
To know that we must travel back to the night of Saturday, June 17, 1972, a security guard seeing some mysterious happenings in the office of the Democratic National Committee headquarters, in the Watergate office complex in Washington DC, did the only thing a man in his position must do, call the police…
(The writer is the Director of INSETS-Indian Society for Extraterrestrial Studies and author of Accidental Apocalypse )