Thursday, 27 December 2012

Talk Radio Europe - Richard Thomas Para-News Book Interview


Is the Bermuda Triangle a good place for an alien base? Kenny Jones interviews me about my new book Para-News: UFOs, Ghosts, Conspiracy, Cryptids - and More.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

NASA’s Project Blue Beam - Will the US Government Stage UFO Sightings in 2012?

Not since the Millennium Bug panic in the years running up to the year 2000 has a specific date been the subject of so many apocalyptic theories about the end of the world as December 21, 2012. The date believed to be the end of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mayan Long Count calendar.

The Maya civilisation used many calendars to measure time and record history. The main two calendars used by most ordinary Maya would have been the 260-day Tzolkin and the 365-day Haab. Because neither of these calendars numbered years, a combination of both the Tzolkin and Haab dates was used to identify the precise date. This method was sufficient because a particular combination of the two dates would not occur again for about 52 years, which was above the general life expectancy of the time.

To specify dates that occurred more than 52 years ago the Maya used another calendar called the Long Count. This calendar identified a date by counting the number of days from the day when the Maya believed that time began, on August 12, 3114 BCE. The Long Count used a 360-day year called a Tun, in which 20 Tuns made up a Katun (72,00 days) and 20 Katuns made up a Baktun (144, 000 Tuns). The 13th Baktun will be completed on December 21, 2012, which is said to be the end of the 5,125-year-long “Great Cycle.” However, sceptics say that this is a misinterpretation and that there is no evidence that the Maya believed the world would end on that day.

Whatever the truth about 2012 it would seem that someone wants us to believe something Earth shattering will happen on December 21 in that year. The doomsday theory has been featured in bestselling books, as well as documentaries, films and popular TV shows.

In the last episode of The X-Files (tantalisingly called The Truth) it is discovered by agents Mulder and Scully that aliens plan on colonising the Earth on December 21, 2012.

When I asked Dean Haglund, who played Langly in The X-Files, about the 2012 revelation in the final episode of the sci-fi cult, he told me he was sceptical about 2012 doomsday scenarios:

Here is an excellent example of a collective fear manifesting itself into popular culture. Since this airing, 2012 has become the hot topic at all the conventions, however, as Paul Dean said in our documentary, when he was talking to a Mayan priest about all of this, he said that ‘western society has it all wrong’ and that since we cannot hold a duality in our minds, a quantum Schrodinger's Cat scenario if you will, then we can only picture the end of something as a finite disaster and not both that and the re-awakening into the light.

Haglund was less sceptical, however, about the possibility that US government agencies could have been feeding information to The X-Files writers.

“I have heard that the popular culture is used as a tool by whatever elite, business, government, Illuminati, etc., to both gauge and control the populace,” The X-Files and Lone Gunmen star told me when I asked him about his comments on The Alex Jones Show back in 2005 about the script writers being approached by members of the CIA, FBI and NASA with ideas for episodes.

But why would US Government insiders want the viewers of The X-Files to associate 2012 with an alien invasion? One popular theory on the internet is NASA’s alleged partly declassified Project Blue Beam, a supposed plan by the US Government to create a “New World Order” by staging a fake UFO invasion using holograms and other advanced technology. A researcher who appeared in the documentary film The New World Order and is a screen writer himself, told me in an interview:

“The alien invasion hoax is also another reason why so many Hollywood science fiction movies involve aliens arriving in vast armadas to destroy us and take over our planet. They were quite prevalent in the 50s and you can find modern-day examples like Independence Day, War of the Worlds and even Mars Attacks. Very few movies about extra-terrestrials actually involve aliens with peaceful intentions. E.T. certainly comes to mind, but even movies where they arrive as our benevolent ‘saviours’ like The Day The Earth Stood Still, is still another permutation of the New World Order hoax, in which case it's about giving up our sovereignty, our ‘petty little differences’ as Reagan put it, and joining a fascist global regime in order to achieve an alleged ‘world peace’. It will be world peace but with a seriously heavy price on our freedoms. Mostly, though, these movies are programming us to believe that once we see vast armadas of classified military vehicles hovering in the sky, that they will in fact be UFOs driven by ‘extra-terrestrials’ who are here to ‘kill us and take over our planet.’ And then the only solution we'll be presented with will be a heavy reliance on a Militarised 'New World Order' to save us. That's where the real agenda lies.”

While many UFO researchers are sceptical about some of the specifics about Project Blue Beam, the basic premise that the US Government might be fostering the belief that UFOs represent aliens from outer space is another matter. The US government definitely has technology a lot more advanced than what they admit to having. In 1993 the “father of stealth” Ben Rich, director of Lockheed's Skunk Works from 1975 to 1991, stated at the University of California School of Engineering in 1993: “We already have the means to travel among the stars, but these technologies are locked up in black projects . . . and it would take an Act of God to ever get them out to benefit humanity.”

Other government insiders have also made comments implying the US Government were behind UFOs or at least hyping the ETH. In his book, The Secret Team, Colonial Fletcher Prouty, who was the real life basis for the Mr X character in Oliver Stone’s film JFK, speculated that with the fall of communism in the early 1990s UFOs and aliens would take the place of the Soviet Union as the new major threat to the United States.
 
"This is the fundamental game of the Secret Team. They have this power because they control secrecy and secret intelligence and because they have the ability to take advantage of the most modern communications system in the world, of global transportation systems, of quantities of weapons of all kinds, and when needed, the full support of a world-wide U.S. military supporting base structure. They can use the finest intelligence system in the world, and most importantly, they have been able to operate under the canopy of an assumed, ever-present enemy called ‘Communism.’ It will be interesting to see what ‘enemy’ develops in the years ahead. It appears that ‘UFO's and Aliens’ are being primed to fulfil that role for the future. To top all of this, there is the fact that the CIA, itself, has assumed the right to generate and direct secret operations."
   
More recently Mark Pilkington in his new book Mirage Men has argued that instead of perpetrating a UFO cover-up the US intelligence agencies have really been promoting ideas like alien abductions, UFO crashes and recoveries, and secret bases all along.

“In the book I'm specifically referring to those people from military and intelligence organisations who have used the UFO lore as a cover for their operations and, in extreme cases, have seeded new material within the UFO culture to further muddy the waters,” Mark Pilkington told me when I interviewed him in 2010. Although Mark didn’t think all UFOs were explainable.

“I'm not sceptical about UFOs themselves – people see them every day – nor am I sceptical of the existence of ET life, I believe it's out there, and I can accept that it will come here and perhaps even has done at some point in our past. What I am very sceptical of is the popular notion of ET visitation as presented in the UFO lore that has emerged since the late 1940s. This has developed out of a multi-directional feedback loop between UFO experiencers, UFO book authors, mainstream popular culture and those in the military and intelligence worlds who would exploit and shape these beliefs and ideas.”

So will the US Government or one of its alphabet agencies really stage a massive UFO sighting on December 21, 2012? We’ll have to wait to see. But with the London Olympics, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the US presidential election all taking place in 2012 perhaps we shouldn’t be so focused on December 21 in particular.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

1986 UFO Cases

The 1980s were a boom period for UFOs with bestselling books like The Roswell Incident by Charles Berlitz and William L. Moore and input from Stanton Friedman, Timothy Good’s Above Top Secret and Whitley Strieber’s Communion. There were also movies and TV series like Steven Spielberg’s ET: The Extraterrestrial, Predator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Cameron’s Aliens, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and documentaries such as Unsolved Mysteries.
 
And if all that wasn’t enough in 1987 US President Ronald Regan even spoke about "an alien threat from outside this world" in a speech to the United Nations, and that same year the major US soap opera The Colbys featured a storyline in which the character Fallon reported being the victim of an alien abduction! In a guest article for this blog UFO author and historian Rupert Matthews wrote: "The Colbys TV series and Whitley (Strieber) book launched the abduction phenomenon into the mass media. Suddenly the television, magazine and newspaper world could not get enough abduction stories. Many researchers took to hypnotic regression of witnesses in an effort to get more details and more coherent versions of events. Sadly some researchers had little or no training in hypnotic treatments and made some key errors of technique that would later discredit their findings. Nevertheless UFOlogy in the later 1980s became dominated by abduction stories obtained largely by hypnotic regression. It seemed that the answer to the entire UFO riddle might finally be within grasp of researchers."
 
The decade also ended with Bob Lazar's famous allegations that he had worked at the secret Nevada Area 51 or Groom Lake base back in the late 1980's on a back-engineering program involving captured alien saucers. There’s no doubting then that the 1980s marked a turnaround in the popularity of the UFO subject after years of declining interest in UFOs following the US Air Force’s decision to close down their UFO investigation Project Bluebook in 1969.
 
One year that seems to stand out is 1986. What with it being 25 years now since the UFO events of that year I asked Nick Redfern, who blogs for UFOMystic, if there were any good 1986 cases I should research. Nick replied: "Probably the only two good ones I can think of for that year, is one which was a Jumbo Jet sighting of a UFO over Alaska. I'm pretty sure a Google search will find it. And I know there was a very good Brazilian military UFO chase/sighting in that year, and that the US Defense Intelligence Agency released its files on the case a few years ago, so they may be at the DIA website, as they have their FOIA-UFO files posted there."
 
A Google search found an AP article entitled "FAA Presses Investigation of Lights Seen Over Alaska" about the Jumbo Jet sighting Nick Redfern had told me about. The sighting took place on November 17, 1986 and involved an encounter between a Japan Airlines Boeing 747 freighter aircraft and three UFOs as it flew over Alaska, en route from Iceland to Anchorage.

According to the crew, "two small objects and one huge Saturn-shaped object were in sight and on radar for more than 30 minuets". The unidentified lights were "yellow, amber and green" and the largest one "showed up on the plane's weather radar".

The pilot changed course and altitude multiple times in an attempt to explain the unidentified objects and VHF radio communications were garbled at the time of the sightings.
 
In 2006 the pilot, Capt. Kenju Terauchi, was interviewed by two Kyodo News journalists about the sightings. The interview was picked up by various UFO websites. Here is an extract from the interview on UFOcasebook.com:
"Suddenly,” Terauchi said, "600 meters below, I saw what looked like two belts of light. I checked with the Anchorage control tower. They said nothing was showing on their radar." But something was emitting those lights, and whatever it was seemed interested in the jumbo, for it adjusted its speed to match to match the plane's – "like they were toying with us," said Terauchi.   That went on for seven minutes or so. "Then there was a kind of reverse thrust, and the lights became dazzlingly bright. Our cockpit lit up. The thing was flying as if there was no such thing as gravity. It sped up, then stopped, then flew at our speed, in our direction, so that to us it looked like it was standing still. The next instant it changed course. There's no way a jumbo could fly like that. If we tried, it'd break apart in mid-air. In other words, the flying object had overcome gravity."
 
But the strange events of flight 1628 were not over yet for Capt. Terauchi and his crew. UFO authority Richard H. Hall wrote about the third "gigantic" UFO Terauchi witnessed that night in the second volume of his The UFO Evidence:
About 5:30pm, while in the vicinity of Fairbanks, AK, Capt. Terauchi checked a white light behind the plane and saw a silhouette of a gigantic spaceship. It was walnut-shaped, symmetrical above and below, with a central flange. Capt. Terauchi said, “It was a very big one, two times bigger than an aircraft career.” At its closet point, the large object cast such a bright light that it illuminated the cockpit, and Terauchi could feel heat on his face. Radio communications again became garbled during the close approach. The veteran crew became frightened by the large object and requested permission to change course. After the course change they looked back and saw the object still following them. Increasingly fearful, they requested a descent to get away from the UFO (“We had to get away from the object.”) After they descended and turned again, the object disappeared. The FAA at first confirmed that several of its radar traffic controllers had tracked the B-747 and the large object, and that US Air Force radar had also done so. Later official statements backed away from this and tried to a ascribe the radar targets to weather effects. On December 29, 1986, the FAA issued a report saying, We are accepting the descriptions of the crew, but are unable to support what they saw.

More recently the Japan Air Lines flight 1628 sighting was featured on the History Channel's UFO Files series in an episode entitled "Black Box Secrets" and the case has gained a reputation as being perhaps one of the best UFO sightings ever.

Another good pilot aircraft sighting in 1986 happened on May 11, in Sedona, AZ. A pilot, Robert H. Henderson, and his wife travelling in a Cessna 172 saw a dome-shaped object make a head-on pass at them and fly beneath their plane at an estimated 1,200 mph.
 
There were a concentration of sightings in Brazil in 1986, including many physiological effects cases between March 19 and June 15. The best of which was the UFO chase case Nick Redfern had mentioned. The Telegraph ranked this case, known as São Paulo sighting after the airport where the UFOs were tracked from, number eight in a 2009 "list of 10 of the most famous UFO incidents in history". Telegraph contributor Sasjkia Otto wrote in the newspaper that on the night of May 19, 1986 “around 20 UFOs were seen and detected by radar in various parts of Brazil. They reportedly disappeared as five military aircraft were sent to intercept them."
 
The São Paulo case was discussed openly by high ranking Brazilian officials. It was first reported by Colonel (Ret.) Ozires Silva, president of the state-owned oil company Petrobrás, who was flying on an executive Xingu turbo-prop, when he and the pilot saw and pursued the mysterious lights for about 25 minutes. The incident was covered widely in the Brazilian media at the time, leading to a press conference at the Ministry of Aeronautics in Brasilia on May 23, with air traffic controllers and air force pilots involved in the scramble mission.

At the press conference the Minister of Aeronautics, Brigadier General Otávio Moreira Lima, said: “Between 20:00 hrs (5/19) and 01:00 hrs (5/20) at least 20 objects were detected by Brazilian radars. They saturated the radars and interrupted traffic in the area. Each time that radar detected unidentified objects, fighters took off for intercept. Radar detects only solid metallic bodies and heavy (mass) clouds. There were no clouds nor conventional aircraft in the region. The sky was clear. Radar doesn't have optical illusions. We can only give technical explanations and we don't have them. It would be very difficult for us to talk about the hypothesis of an electronic war. It's very remote and it's not the case here in Brazil. It's fantastic. The signals on the radar were quite clear."

The Minister also announced that a commission would study the incident. Air Force Major Ney Cerqueira, in charge of the Air Defense Operations Center (CODA), added: "We don't have technical operational conditions to explain it. The appearance and disappearance of these objects on the radar screens are unexplained. They are Unidentified Aerial Movements... The technical instruments used for the identification of the lights had problems in registering them. CODA activated two F-5E and three Mirages to identify the objects. One F-5E and one Mirage remained grounded on alert. A similar case occurred four years ago (1982 Commander Brito VASP airliner radar-visual incident). The lights were moving at a speed ranging between 250 and 1,500 km/hr. [150 to 1,000 mph] The Air Force has not closed the case."

Today São Paulo continues to be a UFO hotspot. In March 2011 a video shown on Brazilian TV of a disc-shaped object hovering in the clouds for a minute or so – before disappearing in a bright flash was widely circulated. The Telegraph writing that: "The television station explained the clip originated from two motorists who saw the object as they were driving near the town of Agudos in Sao Paulo state. They hopped out of the car to shoot the video with their hand-held camera. According to the TV station, the cameramen reported the earth shaking at the same time the unidentified flying object vanished in a blast of light."

In 2010 Brazil's government ordered its air force to officially record any sighting of unidentified flying objects.

There were other sightings in 1986. In Butler, PA, on January 7, a UFO emitted six light beams toward the ground. And around 20 minuets later in Pittsburgh, a silver-gray disk with body lights and mist formed around it was seen hovering above the city, before moving out of sight.

There was also a good landing case in Calalzo di Cadore, Italy on August 15 of that year. Strong physical traces were left at the landing site, and after a two hour memory loss the witnesses reported seeing two humanoid beings.
 
The 1980s then saw an increase in the popularity of the UFO subject, and while blockbuster films such as ET and bestselling books like Communion played a large part in this turnaround, solid UFO cases like those of 1986 were also important.

Sources:
http://www.nytimes.com/1987/01/05/us/faa-presses-investigation-of-lights-seen-over-alaska.html
http://www.ufocasebook.com/jal1628surfaces.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/ufo/6041498/UFO-Files-top-10-UFO-sightings.html
http://www.phenopedia.com/index.php/1986_S%C3%A3o_Paulo_UFO_sighting
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/ufo/8357480/UFO-spotted-in-Sao-Paulo.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-10947856
Richard H. Hall, The UFO Report: A Thirty Year Report Volume II, (Scarecrow Press, Inc, 2001) p.142-143.