Marie Galbraith

Antonio Huneeus

Presented by

CUFOS, FUFOR, MUFON December 1995


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for the




December 15, 1995

To whom it may concern:

We believe that this Briefing Document on Unidentified Flying Objects presents the best availabl evidence for the existence of UFOs. Although just a brief sample of the scientific and military evidence available worldwide is given, it represents some of the most carefully documented incidents.

While several governments of the world have dealt with this problem, as you can see in the enclosed report we think that these governments should make available now all the UFO evidence they have collected, for a thorough and open inquiry by the scientific community.

The political constraints that imposed the rule of secrecy during the Cold War are no longer justified and the solution to the UFO mystery may represent both a scientific and social breakthrough.

We, the undersigned, endorse the information contained in this Briefing Document as the best available evidence from open sources.

CUFOS (Center for UFO President Studies): Dr. Mark Rodeghier

FUFOR (Fund for UFO Chairman Research): Mr. Richard H. Hall MUFON (Mututal UFO International Director and PresidentNetwork): Mr. Walter H. Andrus

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Without the enthusiastic assistance of many people, the creation of this Briefing Document would have been far more difficult, if not impossible. While there are too many for us to thank individually, some deserve special recognition:

Laurance S. Rockefeller, for his vision and support, financial and otherwise, and

George Lamb, for his day-to-day interest and for serving so effectively as liaison

for Mr. Rockefeller.

Marie "Bootsie" Galbraith, for the original idea and for hundreds of hours of

turning it into reality. Sandra Wright, for making her BSW Foundation available

as the umbrella under which all the work could be done. Tina Nighman, for

applying her talents and good humor to a wide range of administrative assistance.

The leadership of the UFO Research Coalition: the Center for UFO Studies, the

Fund for UFO Research and the Mutual UFO Network, for their cooperative

efforts and total support.

Major General Wilfred De Brouwer, Deputy Chief of the Royal Belgian Air

Force; Dr. Claude Poher, founder of the Groupe d'Etudes des Phénomènes

Aerospatiaux Non-identifiés (GEPAN), Jean-Jacques Velasco, Director of the

Service d'Expertise des Phénomènes de Rentrées Atmosphériques (SEPRA); the

Société Belge d'Etude des Phénomènes Spatiaux (SOBEPS), and internationally

recognized UFO authorities Stanton T. Friedman and Timothy Good, for

generously giving their time and help.

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Overview | Case Histories | Quotations | Appendices

The Letter of Endorsement Acknowledgments

Part 1. Overview (top)

Government Secrecy The Case for UFO Reality The UFO Cover-Up Summary of Quotations

Part 2. Case Histories (top)

Introduction 15th Century Art 1944-45: "Foo Fighters" Over Europe and Asia 1946: "Ghost Rockets Over Scandinavia" 1947: First American Sighting Wave 1952: Second American Sighting Wave 1956: Radar/Visual Jet Chase Over England 1957: Third American Sighting Wave 1958: Brazilian Navy Photographic Case 1964: Landing Case At Socorro, New Mexico 1967: Physiological Case At Falcon Lake, Canada 1975: Strategic Air Command Bases UFO Alert 1976: Multiple Witness Case In The Canary Islands 1976: UFO Dog-Fight Over Tehran 1980: UFO Incidents At Rendlesham Forest, England 1981: Physical Trace Case In Trans-en-Provence, France 1986: Jet Chase Over Brazil 1986: Japan Airlines 747 Case Over Alaska 1989: Multiple Witness Case At Russian Missile Base 1989-90: UFO Sighting Wave In Belgium 1991-94: Recent Cases Summary

Part 3. Quotations (top)

Quotes from Prominent World Government and Military Officials Quotes from US and USSR Astronauts Quotes from Prominent World Scientists

Appendices (top)

US Government UFO Projects and Studies Congressional Hearings on UFOs International Agreements and Resolutions Example of Air Force Policy The Roswell Case Characteristics of IFOs and UFOs Terminology of UFOs Resources CUFOS, FUFOR and MUFON


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In a democracy, the decision where to draw the line between a citizen's right to know and the government's right to secrecy for national security reasons must be made by appropriate members of the society. This issue has become the focus of much attention today and is especially relevant to an ongoing discussion, both inside and outside Congress, regarding UFO phenomena.

For obvious reasons, military services and the intelligence agencies must maintain a certain amount of secrecy. However, in recent decades, and especially since the end of the Cold War, many observers believe that the use of government secrecy has become excessive.

The power of government employees to restrict access to reports which they write by classifying them "confidential," "secret" or even "top secret" is often absolute. Once these reports are classified, they can only be declassified by the originator or by a special procedure that moves along at a glacial pace. Nor does the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) help very much. It does not apply to most classified material. Meanwhile, our criminal statutes protect against the unauthorized revelation of classified materials.

Secrecy, like power, lends itself to abuse. Behind the shield of secrecy, it is possible for an agency or service to avoid scrutiny and essentially to operate outside of the law. Accountability to the tax payers and to the Congress can be conveniently avoided.

The vast majority of people employed by the U.S. government do not have access to classified information. Even those with secret and top secret clearances will not have access to all highly classified information. Furthermore, it is doubtful whether any member of Congress can have access to all such information. Given the size of the government bureaucracy and high degree of compartmentalization that exists within it, it is conceivable that even the President himself is not fully briefed on matters classified as "above top secret." Such information, allowing access only on the strictest "need-to-know" basis, is not necessarily given to senior elected officials who come and go and can therefore be regarded as temporary, political and unreliable.

Such is the case for top secret UFO information. In 1980, for example, researchers requesting information through the FOIA learned of the existence of 156 top secret UFO-related documents held by the National Security Agency (NSA). This lead was not found through the NSA itself, but through internal references in UFO-related documents held by other government agencies. When the researchers filed a FOIA request for the 156 NSA UFO documents, they were denied access to all of them. They appealed, but Judge Gerhard Gesell of the First Federal Court, District of Columbia, after reviewing the 21-page written argument submitted by the NSA, denied their appeal. The 21-page summary was later released, but even in this summary most of the information was blacked out.1

Such action seems inconsistent with a government that officially downplays the existence of true UFOs, and officially states that there is no threat to national security.

In the case of UFO phenomena, the question must be asked: what would give an un-elected government official the right to keep this information to himself, thereby depriving the rest of the world of possible knowledge of almost inconceivable magnitude and consequence? Such elitism by the officials of any government, much less a government based on the principles of democracy and individual rights, is a gross injustice not only to its own people, but to all people.

At issue, in this case, is access to knowledge perhaps so profound that it affects not only our very perspective on man's place in the universe, but also perhaps his continued presence on this planet. If the UFO phenomenon is real, we have clear evidence that an unknown technology is at work, whose potential could be enormous for the good of mankind - a potential source, for example, for useful energy benign to the environment.

To acknowledge the enormous gap between our present understanding of science and what is being evidenced, would provide the urgently needed challenge to the scientific establishment to examine where some of its basic assumptions might be faulty and to move beyond them.

Is it possible that a few privileged individuals have access to this information while denying it to the electorate for "national security" reasons, so that it can be privately studied? In a democracy, should not this decision be made by our elected officials and be based upon an informed discussion?

"UFO research is leading us kicking and screaming into the science of the twenty

first century.

"I have begun to feel that there is a tendency in 20th Century science to forget that

there will be a 21st Century science, and indeed a 30th Century science, from

which vantage points our knowledge of the universe may appear quite different

than it does to us. We suffer, perhaps, from temporal provincialism, a form of

arrogance that has always irritated posterity."

(From a letter by Dr. J. Allen Hynek to Science magazine, August 1, 1966.)

Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Northwestern University astronomer; scientific consultant on

UFOs to the U.S. Air Force from 1948 until 1969. Founder of the private Center

for UFO Studies in 1973.


1. Judge Gesell Ruling re National Security Agency, November 14, 1980.



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As long as men and women have talked about strange sights in the skies, two primary questions have been asked about what has come to be called Unidentified Flying Objects:

  1. Are they real, or are they just honest mistakes?
  2. If they are real, could they be ships from some other world?

In this century, it started with the "foo fighters" of World War II: glowing balls that flew in formation or "played tag" with military airplanes over Europe and the Pacific. Suspected of being prototype enemy weapons, they never displayed hostility and when the war was over, they were all-but-forgotten.

In 1946, the Scandinavian countries reported many hundreds of "ghost rockets" which flew low and silently, and often slowly. Efforts to blame them on nearby Soviet tests of captured German missiles failed when it was learned that no such tests had taken place.

The first major American wave of sightings of "flying discs" began in the early summer of 1947. Within two weeks, at least 1,000 sightings were recorded of fast silvery discs seen in the daytime. The first military studies concluded they were real and of unknown nature and origin.2

From then on, UFOs seemed to fly at will over all parts of the world: fast and exotic, untouchable and unproven. By the 1990s, there had been over 100,000 reported sightings, many by airline pilots and military pilots and other qualified witnesses.

Despite the steady accumulation of a vast quantity of information about the appearance and behavior of UFOs, little light has been shed on the two questions posed at the beginning. The armed services and universities, as well as private groups and individuals, have devoted a great amount of time to investigating UFOs, yet there is no consensus about their nature, origins or purpose.

Still, if a close look is taken at the best available evidence, it is possible to deal with what is known about UFOs, and what may reasonably be assumed. The point we will make is that the evidence to support the conclusion that UFOs are unknown aircraft/spacecraft seems to be overwhelming.

Visual Evidence

Most of what is "known" about UFOs comes from individuals' descriptions of what they say they saw. If the individuals are reliable and knowledgeable about the sky, the information stands a good chance of being useful. This is the source of the case's "credibility," one of the two primary criteria recognized by the late Dr. J. Allen Hynek, long a consultant on UFOs to the U.S. Air Force, and later the founder of the private Center for UFO Studies.

Dr. Hynek's other criterion is "strangeness," meaning the extent to which a reported observation differs from normal airplanes, satellites, meteors, etc. A large aluminum-looking sphere which maneuvers violently and changes speed abruptly, rates higher for "strangeness" than a somewhat peculiar light seen in the night sky.

It is the reports which rate highest in both "credibility" and "strangeness" that form the heart of the UFO mystery. Are they indeed convincing observations of unknown aircraft/spacecraft, or are they merely strangely shaped clouds or balloons seen under unusual lighting conditions, or some other natural or manmade phenomena?

Radar Evidence

Radar has played a major role in UFO sightings, repeatedly confirming the presence of something unidentified which responds to radar much as an airplane does. Clouds and other weather phenomena show up on radar, but any experienced operator can tell the difference between weather and something solid.

One popular explanation for radar/visual reports is temperature inversion. This was first brought to public attention following two nights of UFO sightings over Washington, D.C., in 1952. Inversions, the cause of mirages, probably never caused these or any other UFO reports. According to a 1969 study by the Air Force Environmental Technical Applications Center, the conditions needed to produce the UFO-like effects attributed to inversions cannot exist in the Earth's atmosphere.3

The most thoroughly investigated recent radar/visual UFO sightings occurred in Belgium and Russia. Military jet interceptors were launched following observations from the ground. Ground-based and airborne radars then confirmed what was being seen visually, including high speeds and violent maneuvers far beyond the capability of the best modern warplanes. In both countries, high government officials admitted they were baffled.

While the human eye can be fooled, and radar can be fooled, it is considered extremely unlikely that both can be fooled, in exactly the same way, at exactly the same time. Thus radar/visual reports rate among the most convincing of all types of UFO sightings.

Physical Evidence

UFOs have been seen high in the sky, near to the ground, on the ground, and even rising from water. If some UFOs have landed, it is reasonable to suspect that some of them may have left traces behind, and indeed that is the case. Imprints, residues, charred and broken tree branches and rocks are among the bits of evidence claimed for UFO landings. Furthermore, under microscopic examination, some residues exhibit strange and unusual characteristics.

Perhaps the most well known example of a physical trace case in the United States occurred in 1964 near Socorro, New Mexico, where a policeman reported seeing an egg-shaped craft sitting on slender legs in an open field. When it had flown away, he and a second policeman inspected the area where it had been parked and found depressions in the dirt, as well as still smoldering, blackened shrubs. The sighting was investigated within two hours by men from

U.S. Army Intelligence and the FBI, followed a day later by the chief civilian scientific consultant to Project Blue Book (the official Air Force investigation of UFO sightings). All agreed that the primary witness was highly reliable. Later, the final director of Blue Book called this case the most puzzling of the approximately 12,500 in his files.4

The best documented example of a physical trace case in Europe occurred in Trans-en-Provence, France, where a farmer reported seeing a saucer-shaped craft land on his property and then fly away after a short while. Physical traces left on the ground were collected by the police within 24 hours and later analyzed in several French government laboratories. Microscopic analyses revealed anomalous biochemical and electromagnetic effects on the soil and vegetation. The director of the Service d'Expertise des Phénomènes de Rentrées Atmosphériques (SEPRA, formerly called GEPAN) at the National Center for Space Studies (CNES) describes this case as the most puzzling UFO case in the French government files.5

Government Statements

The involvement of the American government in the UFO mystery has long offered its own set of questions. Known investigations have produced ambiguous results, and explanations offered for specific cases have frequently been at odds with scientific reasoning. Sometimes, littlepublicized official statements have supported the position that UFOs are real and unexplained.

Sometimes statements not intended for the public have been brought to the surface by UFO researchers:

July 30, 1947: "This 'flying saucer' situation is not all imaginary or seeing too

much in some natural phenomena. Something is really flying around."6

Sept. 23, 1947: "The phenomenon reported is something real and not visionary or


Oct. 28, 1947: "It is the considered opinion of some elements that the object [sic]

may in fact represent an interplanetary craft of some kind."8

Dec. 10, 1948: "It must be accepted that some type of flying objects have been

observed, although their identification and origin are not discernible."9

In 1948, the U.S. Air Force opened a publicly-known UFO investigation called Project Sign. Later, it became Project Grudge and finally Project Blue Book. In 1955, the U.S. Air Force released a study of 3,200 UFO reports it had received between 1947 and 1952. The private Battelle Memorial Institute used the Air Force data to arrive at its own conclusions: of the cases for which there was some conclusion, almost 50% were either unexplained, or doubtfully explained. Moreover, it was determined that the higher the qualifications of the witnesses, the harder it was to explain the reports in terms of common phenomena.10

In 1967, as Project Blue Book was coming under increasing attack from the press and the public, the Air Force contracted with the University of Colorado to make a final study of UFOs. In contrast to the totally negative statements of the study director, Dr. Edward U. Condon, the body of the final report showed that about 30% of the cases studied were left without explanation.

Comments on individual cases by University of Colorado scientists included:

"This is the most puzzling case in the radar/visual files. The apparently rational,

intelligent behavior of the UFO suggests a mechanical device of unknown origin

as the most probable explanation.

"All factors investigated - geometric, psychological and physical - appear to be

consistent with the assertion that an extraordinary flying object, silvery, metallic,

disc-shaped, tens of meters in diameter, and evidently artificial, flew within sight

of two witnesses."11

Following the recommendation of the University of Colorado, Project Blue Book was ended in late 1969, after almost 22 years of Air Force official investigations. It left behind approximately 12,500 case files, of which 585 were officially declared "Unknown." This means that the project staff felt it had sufficient information about a case, but were unable to supply a full explanation of it. Cases lacking sufficient information for meaningful analysis were kept separate. Furthermore, an official memo was released years later, under the Freedom of Information Act, that made it clear that "reports of unidentified flying objects which could affect national security... are not part of the Blue Book system." [emphasis added]. Such reports "would continue to be handled through the standard Air Force procedures designed for this purpose."12

In summary, it is apparent that the evidence - visual, radar and physical - strongly suggests that more than mistaken observations of conventional phenomena are involved in many UFO sightings. Witness testimony, backed up by official U.S. government documents, point toward the presence in the Earth's atmosphere of apparently manufactured craft that cannot be explained as mistaken observations of acknowledged aircraft, spacecraft, atmospheric or astronomical phenomena.

The Case For Extraterrestrial UFOs

If UFOs are not anything known, then they must be unknown. What says "unknown" more powerfully than "extraterrestrial?" In the absence of any specific knowledge of even a single extraterrestrial civilization, there are no constraints on theorizing about the nature, technology, and behavior of one or more hypothesized alien cultures.

But are UFOs extraterrestrial? Lacking proof, we must deal very carefully with any answers. It remains a possibility that some or all of the otherwise unexplained UFO reports will some day be explained in terms of as-yet-unknown natural phenomena, or secret highly advanced man-made aircraft and/or spacecraft.

Nevertheless, there are impressive reasons for speculating about the extraterrestrial origin for some UFOs, namely their shapes and their performance.

Shapes of UFOs

Most UFOs observed in daylight, when shapes and details can be seen, have been described as having simple geometric shapes: discs, spheres, cylinders and more recently, triangles.

Disc-shaped airplanes have been flown, but none is known to have exceeded 150 mph, nor to have other capabilities displayed by UFOs. Difficulties in stability and control have so far prevented any disc-shaped aircraft from getting beyond the stage of low-performance prototypes.

Spherical aircraft have so far been limited to gas-filled balloons, whose performance is at the bottom of the speed and maneuverability scales. Balloons can fly only as the wind blows and can be overtaken quickly by airplanes.

Cylindrical aircraft are unknown, as the lack of wings poses huge problems when it comes to such functions as taking off and flying level. Rockets and missiles are cylindrical and certainly are able to fly, but only as the result of great power in relation to their size. They can only fly upwards up at launch, and on a ballistic curve on their way to a target.

Triangle is the shape of delta-winged airplanes, though the flight characteristics of triangular UFOs removes them from this category.

It is entirely possible that some radical military aircraft having one or more of these shapes are flying from super-secret test facilities. But this would have to be a recent development unable to explain sightings of such craft during most of the past 50 years.

Performance of UFOs

Even more striking than the shapes of UFOs is their performance: speed, acceleration, maneuverability, silence.

Speed. UFOs have been tracked on military radar travelling silently at several thousand miles per hour well within the Earth's atmosphere. An airplane attempting this would create an inescapable sonic boom before melting from friction with the air.

Extreme Acceleration. Airplanes do not visibly accelerate in the air, though they show generally impressive acceleration during take-off. Drag-racing cars and motorcycles accelerate in a manner obvious to even the least experienced observer. In the case of UFOs, airline and military pilots have reported that they fly at the same speed as an airplane, and then display acceleration common only to anti-missile missiles. Veteran pilots describe their observations with words like "astounding" and "unbelievable."

Extreme Maneuverability. While airplanes can perform abrupt maneuvers, these are generally seen only in air shows. Even then, such flying is more often described by the outside observer as "graceful" rather than "violent," though the pilot may use the latter term. Impossibilities for airplanes (but not, apparently, for UFOs) include right-angle turns at high speed, and zig-zag flight.

Silent Hovering. While helicopters and VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) airplanes can hover, they produce noises whose quality and volume positively identify them. UFOs, on the other hand, appear able to hover with little or no motion for long periods without any sound. This remains well beyond the state of known science, let alone technology.


The U.S. Government, and many other governments, claim that although not all UFO reports can be explained, there is no evidence that Earth has been visited by aliens. Most scientists and leading journalists agree with this position. However, these same scientists believe that there must be many advanced civilizations on planets orbiting the billions of stars they estimate to exist in the universe. The gap between these two positions is generally explained by the assumed inability of even the most advanced society to travel the enormous distances separating the Earth from even the nearest stars.

Yet, there are thousands of sightings of novel, high-performance craft in our skies, reported by highly skilled and experienced observers. There are also hundreds of other reports of craft seen on the ground, and sometimes of humanoid beings in their vicinity.

The great conflict between official positions and trustworthy observations constitutes the mystery of Unidentified Flying Objects. A possible solution to this mystery is the suggestion that the official position is based on an elaborate cover-up. If it is a cover-up, what then is being protected, and by whom?

The answers to these questions generally focus on the issue of national security as well as fear of the public reaction to an official disclosure of UFO reality and its extraterrestrial origin. The question of extraterrestrial intention and the frightening aspects of the alleged abduction phenomena could be extremely disturbing. However, many researchers believe that it is the science and technology behind the national security veil which lies at the heart of the secrecy, and that:

z fallen discs are being reverse engineered, repaired and/or copied, and being tested;

z the technology is so advanced that we can barely imagine the science behind it (which could be based on a fundamentally different understanding of gravity and electromagnetic fields);

z whichever nation masters this extraordinary technology will certainly be the most powerful nation on earth;

z in the opinion of those in control, the guarding of this technology for defense purposes, far outweighs its potential value for other purposes - i.e. a non-polluting, cost efficient solution to our present energy and environmental crisis.


  1. Memo from Lt. Gen. Nathan Twining, Commanding General of the Air Materiel Command, Wright Field, to Gen. Spaatz, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Air Forces, September 23, 1947.
  2. Menkello, F.V., "Quantitative Aspects of Mirages," USAF Environmental Technical Applications Center, 1969.
  3. Steiger Brad, ed. Project Blue Book, Ballantine Books, 1976.
  4. GEPAN, Note Technique No. 16, Enquête 81/01, Analyse d'une Trace, Toulouse, March 1, 1983. (English translation published in the MUFON UFO Journal, March 1984.)
  5. Air Force Base Intelligence Report, "Flying Discs," AFBIR-CO, July 30, 1947.

7. Twining, ibid.

8. Draft Intelligence Collections Memorandum issued by Brig. Gen. George Shulgen, Chief of the Air Intelligence Requirements Division of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, October 28, 1947.

9. U.S. Air Intelligence Report #100-203-79, "Analysis of Flying Objects in the U.S.," December 10, 1948.

10. Air Force Project Blue Book, "Special Report No. 14 (Analysis of Reports of Unidentified Aerial Objects)," May 5, 1955.

11. Gillmor, Daniel S., ed., Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects, New York Times Books, 1969.

12. Bolender, Brig. Gen. C.H., USAF, Memo re Project Blue Book, October 20, 1969.


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There are two major elements to the UFO mystery: the UFOs themselves and the intensive efforts by the governments of the world to withhold information about them. Neither the nature nor the purpose of the governments' actions are clearly understood. But this policy dates back to the latter part of World War II when UFO-like "foo fighters" were being reported by combat pilots.

A report about "foo-fighters" is said to have been prepared in 1945 by the United States Eighth Air Force, but no copy has been seen by the public, despite the passing of a half century. A year later, when "ghost rockets" were seen over Scandinavia, the Swedish Government invoked secrecy and only began to release information 40 years later. When "flying saucers" appeared over the USA in the summer of 1947, only the most general information was made public, while reports and analyses were kept under wraps, as was the fact that the government was taking the saucers seriously.13,14

The U.S. Air Force ongoing UFO investigation (Project Sign, Project Grudge, and Project Blue Book), collected more than 12,000 reports, most of which were "explained." It was official policy to refuse to comment on "unexplained" cases. By keeping case details secret, the public was kept from learning that many of the allegedly-explained cases had not been analyzed by generally accepted scientific standards.15

In 1976, with the amendment of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act by the U.S. Congress, a mechanism was created for unearthing government UFO information whose very existence had long been denied. Formal requests, followed by appeals and sometimes legal action, produced thousands of pages of previously-classified documents from the Air Force, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and other intelligence-oriented agencies.

It appears, however, that the released information was the least sensitive material in the official files. Almost all the released documents had been classified merely "Confidential" or "Secret," with just a few having been "Top Secret". Many pages of these documents showed the black marks of censorship. In fact, many pages of the voluminous case files of the official U.S. Air Force investigation contained black marks hiding information.16

The rapid flow of UFO documents in the 1970s dropped to a slow trickle in the 1980s, but will probably pick up again with the Administration's recent declassification measures. However, since every government agency has at its disposal a long list of reasons for refusing to release information, it will still be easy to keep the most interesting and significant material locked up.

The most striking example of continuing government secrecy is its reaction to growing public and press interest in the apparent crash in 1947 of a strange craft on a sheep ranch in New Mexico: the so-called "Roswell Incident." Most of the time since 1947, the Air Force claimed that the crash was that of a weather balloon. Despite the testimony to the contrary of dozens of first-hand and second-hand witnesses to this event, the U.S. Government has yet to release even one Air Force Report that includes the full testimony of these witnesses. Personal efforts in 1993 by U.S. Congressman Steven Schiff from New Mexico to learn about the crash were ignored. He turned the task over to the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of the

U.S. Congress.17,18

As a result of this investigation, the U.S. Air Force issued a brief report in July 1994 and a large report in 1995, both of them now stating that the wreckage found on the sheep ranch was not that of a balloon used for weather data collection, but of a balloon from a then-secret Project Mogul experiment intended to detect Soviet nuclear explosions, which used trains and clusters of standard weather balloons.19

The GAO, in its final report in July 1995, stated that it could find no evidence for a UFO wreckage, but discovered that a large quantity of potentially valuable U.S. Air Force message traffic for the period had been improperly destroyed. Furthermore, since no documentation was found to support the new Project Mogul explanation, the GAO did not endorse the current Air Force explanation and stated that "the debate on what crashed at Roswell continues."20

While there is some indication that a few governments are easing their long-held policies of withholding all UFO information, there is no sign that this could become a trend, or that it could produce truly meaningful information.

As the result of long-term and highly effective practices by many of the world's governments, the people have been kept in the dark about the extent and significance of UFO activity. Moreover, thousands of talented scientists who might contribute to the understanding of UFOs have been prevented from doing so because they are not part of the governmental system.

Since no government has openly stated that UFOs constitute a potential security threat, there is no reason to assume that there is any reasonable basis for continuing to keep UFO-related information secret.


  1. SAC Memo to FBI, "Protection of Vital Installations," January 31, 1949.
  2. Smith, Wilbert, Memo to the Department of Transport, Ottawa, November 21, 1950.
  3. Bolender, Brig. Gen. C.H., ibid.
  4. Judge Gesell Ruling, ibid.
  5. FBI teletype, July 5, 1947
  6. Claiborne, William, "GAO Turns to Alien Turf in Probe," Washington Post, January 14, 1994.
  7. Weaver, Col. Richard L., USAF, "Report of Air Force Research regarding the 'Roswell Incident,'" July 1994. USAF, "The Roswell Report: Fact versus Fiction in the New Mexico Desert," October 1995.
  8. United States General Accounting Office Report to the Honorable Steven H. Schiff, House of

Representatives. Government Records "Results of a Search for Records Concerning the 1947 Crash Near Roswell, New Mexico," July 1995.


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The Reality | Extraterrestrial Origin | Secrecy & National Security | Challenge for Today's Science | The Effects of Ridicule


General Nathan D. Twining, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1957-1960):

"The phenomena reported is something real and not visionary or fictitious... There

are objects probably approximating the shape of a disc, of such appreciable size

as to appear to be as large as a man-made aircraft... The reported operating

characteristics such as extreme rates of climb, maneuverability (particularly in

roll), and action which must be considered evasive when sighted or contacted by

friendly aircraft and radar, lend belief to the possibility that some of the objects

are controlled either manually, automatically, or remotely." (Letter to the

Commanding General of the U.S. Army Air Forces, September 23, 1947.)

Brigadier General João Adil Oliveira, Chief of the Air Force General Staff Information Service, and Director of the first official military UFO inquiry in Brazil in the mid-50s:

"It is impossible to deny any more the existence of flying saucers at the present

time... The flying saucer is not a ghost from another dimension or a mysterious

dragon. It is a fact confirmed by material evidence. There are thousands of

documents, photos, and sighting reports demonstrating its existence." ("How to

doubt?," O Globo, Rio de Janeiro, February 28, 1958.)

General Lionel M. Chassin, Commanding General of the French Air Forces, and General Air Defense Coordinator, Allied Air Forces, Central Europe (NATO):

"The number of thoughtful, intelligent, educated people in full possession of their

faculties who have 'seen something' and described it grows every day... We can...

say categorically that mysterious objects have indeed appeared and continue to

appear in the sky that surrounds us... [they] unmistakably suggest a systematic

aerial exploration and cannot be the result of chance. It indicates purposive and

intelligent action." (Chassin, L., Foreward to the book by Michel Aime, Flying

Saucers and the Straight Line Mystery, New York: Criterion Books, 1958.)

Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter, first Director of the CIA (1947-1950):

"Unknown objects are operating under intelligent control... It is imperative that we

learn where UFOs come from and what their purpose is." (Maccabee, Bruce,

"What The Admiral Knew: UFO, MJ-12 and R. Hillenkoetter," International UFO

Reporter, Nov./Dec., 1986.)


Professor Hermann Oberth, German rocket expert considered one of the three fathers of the space age. In 1955, Dr. Werner von Braun invited him to the U.S. where he worked on rockets with the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and later NASA:

"It is my thesis that flying saucers are real and that they are space ships from

another solar system. I think that they possibly are manned by intelligent observers

who are members of a race that may have been investigating our earth for

centuries." (Oberth H., "Flying Saucers Come From A Distant World," The

American Weekly, October 24, 1954.)

General Kanshi Ishikawa, Chief of Staff of Japan's Air Self-Defense Force; Commander of the 2nd Air Wing, Chitose Air Base (1967):

"Much evidence tells us UFOs have been tracked by radar; so, UFOs are real and

they may come from outer space... UFO photographs and various materials show

scientifically that there are more advanced people piloting the saucers and

motherships." (1967 interview published in UFO News, Vol. 6, No. 1, 1974.)

Gordon Cooper, Astronaut (Mercury-Atlas 9, Gemini 5), Col. USAF (Ret):

"I believe that these extra-terrestrial vehicles and their crews are visiting this

planet from other planets, which obviously are a little more technically advanced

than we are here on earth. I feel that we need to have a top level, coordinated

program to scientifically collect and analyze data from all over the earth

concerning any type of encounter, and to determine how best to interface with

these visitors in a friendly fashion." (Letter to Grenada's Ambassador to the United

Nations, November 9, 1978.)

Major-General Pavel Popovich, pioneer Cosmonaut and "Hero of the Soviet Union," President of All-Union Ufology Association of the Commonwealth of Independent States:

"Today it can be stated with a high degree of confidence that observed

manifestations of UFOs are no longer confined to the modern picture of the

world... The historical evidence of the phenomenon... allows us to hypothesize that

ever since mankind has been co-existing with this extraordinary substance, it has

manifested a high level of intelligence and technology. The UFO sightings have

become the constant component of human activity and require a serious global

study... The scientific study of the UFO phenomenon should take place in the midst

of other sciences dealing with man and the world." (Popovich, P., MUFON 1992

International Symposium Proceedings.)


Wilbert Smith, Senior radio engineer, Department of Transport, Director of Project Magnet, the first Canadian government UFO investigation in the 1950s:

"The matter is the most highly classified subject in the United States Government,

rating higher even than the H-bomb. Flying saucers exist. Their modus operandi

is unknown but a concentrated effort is being made by a small group headed by

Doctor Vannevar Bush. The entire matter is considered by the United States

authorities to be of tremendous significance." (Top Secret memorandum on "Geo-

Magnetics," November 21, 1950.)

Dr. Paul Santorini, Greek physicist and engineer credited with developing the proximity fuse for the Hiroshima atomic bomb, two patents for the guidance system used in the U.S. Nike missiles, and a centrimetric radar system. In 1947, he investigated a series of UFO reports over Greece that were initially thought to be Soviet missiles:

"We soon established that they were not missiles... Foreign scientists flew to

Greece for secret talks with me... A world blanket of secrecy surrounded the UFO

question because the authorities were unwilling to admit the existence of a force

against which we had no possibility of defense." (Fowler, R., UFOs:

Interplanetary Visitors, 1974.)

Senator Barry M. Goldwater, Sr., (R-Arizona), Republican presidential candidate, 1964:

"The subject of UFOs is one that has interested me for some long time. About ten

or twelve years ago, I made an effort to find out what was in the building at

Wright Patterson Air Force Base where the information is stored that has been

collected by the Air Force, and I was understandably denied the request. It is still

classified above Top Secret." (Good, T., Above Top Secret, Quill William

Morrow, 1988; Frontispiece, letter to Shlomo Arnon, March 28, 1975.)

Representative Steven H. Schiff, (R-New Mexico), in response to inquiries in 1993 concerning a possible cover-up of the crash of an alleged UFO outside Roswell, NM in 1947, requested information from the Department of Defense:

"It's difficult for me to understand, even if there was a legitimate security concern

in 1947, that it would be a present security concern these many years later.

Frankly I am baffled by the lack of responsiveness on the part of the Defense Dept.

on this one issue, I simply can't explain it." (Remarks on CBS radio's The Gil

Gross Show, February 1994.)


Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Chairman of the Department of Astronomy at Northwestern University and scientific consultant to the U.S. Air Force investigations of UFOs from 1948 until 1969 (Projects Sign, Grudge and Blue Book):

"There exists a phenomenon... that is worthy of systematic rigorous study... The

body of data point to an aspect or domain of the natural world not yet explored by

science... When the long awaited solution to the UFO problem comes, I believe

that it will prove to be not merely the next small step in the march of science but a

mighty and totally unexpected quantum jump." (Hynek, J. Allen, The UFO

Experience: A Scientific Inquiry, Chicago: Regnery Co., 1972.)


Dr. Felix Y. Zigel, Professor of mathematics and astronomy at the Moscow Aviation Institute, father of Russian Ufology:

"The important thing now is for us to discard any preconceived notions about

UFOs and to organize on a global scale a calm, sensation-free and strictly

scientific study of this strange phenomenon. The subject and aims of the

investigation are so serious that they justify all efforts. It goes without saying that

international cooperation is vital." (Zigel, F., "Unidentified Flying Objects,"

Soviet Life, No. 2 (137), February 1968.)

M. Robert Galley, French Minister of Defense (1974):

"I believe that the attitude of spirit that we must adopt vis-a-vis this phenomena is

an open one, that is to say that it doesn't consist in denying apriori, as our

ancestors of previous centuries did deny many things that seem nowadays

perfectly elementary." (Bourret, Jean-Claude, La nouvelle vague des soucoups

volantes, Paris: editions france-empire, 1975.)

Dr. Peter A. Sturrock, Professor of Space Science and Astrophysics and Deputy Director of the Center for Space Sciences and Astrophysics at Stanford University:

"The definitive resolution of the UFO enigma will not come about unless and until

the problem is subjected to open and extensive scientific study by the normal

procedures of established science. This requires a change in attitude primarily on

the part of scientists and administrators in universities." (Sturrock, Peter A.,

Report on a Survey of the American Astronomical Society concerning the UFO

Phenomenon, Stanford University Report SUIPR 68IR, 1977.)


Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter (see above):

"It is time for the truth to be brought out in open Congressional hearings. Behind

the scenes high ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFOs.

But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the

unknown flying objects are nonsense." (Statement in a NICAP news release,

February 27, 1960.)

Dr. Frank B. Salisbury, Professor of Plant Physiology at Utah State University:

"I must admit that any favorable mention of the flying saucers by a scientist

amounts to extreme heresy and places the one making the statement in danger of

excommunication by the scientific theocracy. Nevertheless, in recent years I have

investigated the story of the unidentified flying object (UFO), and I am no longer

able to dismiss the idea lightly." (Paper on "Exobiology" presented at the First

Annual Rocky Mountain Bioengineering Symposium, May 1964. Quoted in

Fuller, John G., Incident at Exeter, Putnam, 1966.)

Representative Jerry L. Pettis, (R-California), stated in 1968 during the House Committee on Science and Astronautics UFO hearings:

"Having spent a great deal of my life in the air, as a pilot... I know that many pilots... have seen phenomena that they could not explain. These men, most of whom have talked to me, have been very reticent to talk about this publicly, because of the ridicule that they were afraid would be heaped upon them... However, there is a phenomena here that isn't explained." (U.S. House of Representatives, Ninetieth Congress, July 1968.)

Dr. Peter A. Sturrock (see above):

"In their public statements (but not necessarily in their private statements), scientists express a generally negative attitude towards the UFO problem, and it is interesting to try to understand this attitude. Most scientists have never had the occasion to confront evidence concerning the UFO phenomenon. To a scientist, the main source of hard information (other than his own experiments' observations) is provided by the scientific journals. With rare exceptions, scientific journals do not publish reports of UFO observations. The decision not to publish is made by the editor acting on the advice of reviewers. This process is self-reinforcing: the apparent lack of data confirms the view that there is nothing to the UFO phenomenon, and this view works against the presentation of relevant data." (Sturrock, Peter A., Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1987.)

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UFOs, under one name or another, have been described throughout history in ancient texts and paintings. Researchers place the beginning of the modern UFO era in the mid-1940s. Since then, strange sightings have been reported by tens of thousands of people from all parts of the world. Officials have exerted great effort to convince the public that UFOs have no validity and that they are no more than mistaken observations of natural phenomena and man-made objects.

To be sure, most sightings of UFOs can be explained as honestly mistaken responses to bright stars and planets, unusual clouds, unfamiliar airplanes, balloons and satellites. These are known in UFO literature as Identified Flying Objects or IFOs. Most cases are IFOs, but not all. A large number of credible UFO reports have been triggered by the appearance of "manufactured devices" which cannot be tied to known aircraft or spacecraft, after thorough analysis by competent investigators. Because of their appearance and/or behavior, they fall well outside the limits of known technology.

There is hardly a single country which has not experienced sightings in the past 50 years, most of which were never reported in UFO literature. The world's largest non-governmental collection of UFO sightings which have been reported (UFOCAT) includes more than 50,000 cases. This total far exceeds the 12,500 reports in the Project Blue Book files. Of the UFOCAT cases, there are approximately 14,240 from Europe, 4,160 from South America, 4,300 from Oceania, 735 from Africa and 27,450 from North America. The most active European countries include Great Britain with almost 7,000, France with 2,320, Germany with 1,260 and Spain with 1,200. Australia has had 3,220. In South America, the most active countries have been Argentina with 1,425 and Brazil with 1,125. Even Antarctica has had almost 50 reports.21

The case for UFO reality rests on the accumulation of reports which cannot be explained as "normal phenomena." Because of similar characteristics of appearance (shape, details) and/or behavior (maneuverability, speed, silence, etc.), they cannot be correlated with anything familiar, and therefore, must be placed in a separate category. These cases are represented in the Project Blue Book files by the approximately 600 officially unexplained cases. However, other investigating organizations report much higher numbers of unexplained cases.

Since the presentation of hundreds of cases would be completely impractical, a few prime examples which are particularly well-documented and which reveal particular characteristics are in order.


21 UFOCAT, a computerized catalog maintained by the Center for UFO Studies, Chicago, Illinois. By the end of 1993, it included 50,939 reports.


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Full Picture | Close-up of Man and Dog | Close-up of Object in Sky

Painting of the Madonna and Saint Giovannino, in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, attrbuted to the 15th Century school of filippo Lippi. Photographs courtesy of CUFOS.


A close-up of the upper left section of the painting shows an object in the sky, and below, a man and dog looking at the object


Further enlargement shows an oval or discoid craft with radiating gold spikes of light painted around its perimeter. In other words, what today would be called a UFO.


Full Picture | Close-up of Man and Dog | Close-up of Object in Sky

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Although reports of sightings, which were eventually termed "UFOs," can be traced far back into history, students of the subject have arbitrarily placed the beginning of the modern era in the mid-1940s with the appearance of UFOs over both the European and Pacific Theaters of War. These UFOs were called by many names, all of which revealed a lack of understanding of their nature and source. To the Allies, they were "kraut fireballs" or "foo fighters," with the latter term surviving. It is believed that the Germans and Japanese saw them also.

Reports of "unexplained transparent, metallic and glowing balls" began in quantity in June, 1944, at about the same time the Allies invaded France, and Nazi Germany began launching V-1 flying bombs aimed at London, thus starting the era of unmanned missiles. Reports intensified in November 1944, not long after the first German V-2 ballistic rockets were fired at London and Paris.

Pilots and their air crews reported that the "odd things" flew in formation with their airplanes, "played tag" with them, and generally behaved as if they were under intelligent control. At no time were they said to have displayed aggressive behavior. Nevertheless, most people assumed they were an experimental enemy device being prepared for operational use. Rumors of highly advanced weapons were common at this time, fed by the awesome reality of the V1 and V2 weapons. The following are typical of the scores of "foo fighter" reports on record. Rumors persist that the U.S. Eighth Air Force in England commissioned a study on these reports, but no documentary evidence has yet been found.

On August 10, 1944 over the Indian Ocean, the co-pilot of a U.S. Army Air Force B-29 Superfortress heavy bomber reported that:

"A strange object was pacing us about 500 yards [475 m.] off the starboard wing.

At that distance it appeared as a spherical object, probably five or six feet [1_ - 2

m.] in diameter, of a very bright and intense red or orange... it seemed to have a

halo effect.

"My gunner reported it coming in from about a 5 o'clock position (right rear) at

our level. It seemed to throb or vibrate constantly. Assuming it was some kind of

radio-controlled object sent to pace us, I went into evasive action, changing

direction constantly, as much as 90 degrees and altitude of about 2,000 feet [600

m.]. It followed our every maneuver for about eight minutes, always holding a

position about 500 yards [475 m.] out and about 2 o'clock (right front) in relation

to the plane. When it left, it made an abrupt 90 degree turn, accelerating rapidly,

and disappeared into the overcast."22

On December 22, 1944 over Hagenau, Germany, the pilot and radar operator of an American night fighter encountered two "large orange glows" which climbed rapidly towards them. When the pilot dove steeply and banked sharply, the objects stayed with him. The pilot stated:

"Upon reaching our altitude, they levelled off and stayed on my tail... After two

minutes, they peeled off and turned away, flying under perfect control."23

Documents regarding foo fighter incidents are still being discovered even 50 years after the end of World War II. In 1992, researcher Barry Greenwood of Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) went to the National Archives in Suitland, Maryland and located fifteen "Mission Reports" from the 415th Night Fighter Squadron, covering a period between September 1944 and April 1945. Here are two samples:

"December 22/23, 1944 - Mission 1, 17:05-18:50. Put on bogie by Blunder at

17:50 hours, had A.I. [Airborne Intercept radar] contact 4 miles range at Q-7372. Overshot and could not pick up contact again. A.I. went out and weather started closing in so returned to base. Observed 2 lights, one of which seemed to be going on and off at Q-2422.

"February 13/14, 1945 - Mission 2, 18:00-20:00. About 19:10, between Rastatt

and Bishwiller, encountered lights at 3,000 feet, two sets of them, turned into them,

one set went out and the other went straight up 2-3,000 feet [600 - 900 m.], then

went out. Turned back to base and looked back and saw lights in their original

position again."24

Suggested explanations, both at the time and subsequently, have included prototype enemy anti-aircraft devices, St. Elmo's fire (glowing balls of static electricity) and simple misidentification of other airplanes.25

In order to accept any of the above explanations, one would have to discount the observational skills of scores of veteran combat pilots and their crew members whose very survival depended on their ability to instantly identify and react to any potential threat.


  1. Clark, Jerome, and Farish, Lucius, "The Mysterious 'Foo Fighters' of World War II," 1977 UFO Annual.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Greenwood, Barry, "More Foo-Fighter Records Released," Just Cause, No. 33, CAUS, September 1992.
  4. Chamberlain, Jo, "The Foo Fighter Mystery," The American Legion Magazine,December 1965; Associated Press article, "Nazi Fire Balls May Be Kind of Ball Lightning," New York Herald Tribune,January 3, 1945;

other miscellaneous press reports.



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Barely a year after the "foo fighter" episodes, the second wave of UFO sightings began, this time in Scandinavia.

On the night of June 9, 1946, a brilliant light streaked over Helsinki, Finland, with a smoke trail and the sound of thunder; its luminous trail persisted for ten minutes. Had this not been repeated the next night, it would have been written off as an unusually large meteor. The second one, according to news reports, turned and went back in the direction from which it had come.

On June 12, the Swedish Defense Staff asked military personnel to report their sightings through official channels, admitting that they had been aware of the phenomenon since May. On July 9 alone, more than 200 reports were received, many of them describing tubular or "spindle-shaped" objects flying low and slowly, with little or no sound.

A week after the establishment of a special "ghost rocket" committee by the Swedish Government, American Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal, travelled to Stockholm to meet with the Swedish Secretary of War. According to a secret FBI memo of August 19, 1947, "the 'high brass' of the War Department exerted tremendous pressure on the (Army) Air Force's Intelligence to conduct research and collect information in an effort to identify the sightings."

On August 11, 1946, more than 300 reports of strange sightings were observed in just the Stockholm area. On August 20, General Jimmy Doolittle (in Stockholm on business for the Shell Oil Company) met with the head of the Swedish Air Force. This led to wide speculation in the Swedish press, as well as The New York Times, that "ghost rockets" were the subject of the meeting. In the 1980s, however, in an interview with UFO researchers, General Doolittle denied that his Swedish trip was officially connected with the "ghost rockets," although it is certainly likely that the subject came up in casual conversation.

Soon thereafter, Swedish newspapers began censoring most reports of "ghost rockets." However, reports appeared in other Scandinavian countries. According to a British Air Ministry Intelligence Report of September 1946:

"A large number of visual observations have been obtained from Scandinavia.

Some of the best came from Norway. An analysis suggests the most notable

characteristics of the projectiles to be: a) great speed; b) intense light frequently

associated with missile; c) lack of sound; d) approximate horizontal flight... Thus,

if the phenomena now observed are of natural origin, they are unusual;

sufficiently unusual to make possible the alternative explanation that at least some

are missiles. If this is so, they must be of Russian origin."28

There was a concerted effort on the part of the Swedish Government to blame many of the sightings on Soviet tests of captured German rockets. The Soviet Union had occupied

Peenemünde, the secret German test site across the Baltic Sea, where the V1 and V2 missiles

were developed. Years later it was learned that the captured German equipment was

immediately moved to Poland. There were no Soviet tests at Peenemünde, and thus the

"official" explanation for the "ghost rockets" proved impossible.

As reports from Scandinavia began to taper off in September 1946, they were replaced by

reports of similar sightings from Hungary, Greece, Morocco and Portugal. In 1984, when the

Swedish Government finally opened its "ghost rocket" files, researchers found more than

1,500 reports had been secretly collected from 1946 on. One of the few official American

reactions to the "ghost rockets" came in the January 9, 1947 issue of the Defense Department's

Intelligence Review (classified "Secret" until 1978). This four-page summary of the "ghost

rocket" events suggests that some of the sightings may have been of Soviet test missiles or jet

airplanes (although no jets are known to have been in or near Scandinavia at the time).29

One sighting, detailed in the FBI report cited above, suggests there may have been more to it:

"On 14, August (1946) at 10 a.m. [a Swedish Air Force pilot]... was flying at 650

feet [200 m.] over central Sweden when he saw a dark, cigar-shaped object about

50 feet [15 m.] above and approximately 6,500 feet [2 km.] away from him

travelling at an estimated 400 mph [650 km./hr.]. The missile had no visible

wings, rudder or other projecting part; and there was no indication of any fuel

exhaust (flame or light), as had been reported in the majority of other sightings.

"The missile was maintaining a constant altitude over the ground and,

consequently, was following the large features of the terrain. This statement casts

doubt on the reliability of the entire report because a missile, without wings, is

unable to maintain a constant altitude over hilly terrain."30

Many years later, sophisticated cruise missiles, with tiny wings that would be invisible at such

a distance, would be able to achieve "terrain-following" flight as a matter of routine. In 1946,

this was far beyond the capability of any existing technology.

Perhaps the lingering mystery of the "ghost rockets" was best expressed by Air Engineer Eric

Malmberg, once secretary of Sweden's Defence Staff committee on the matter, who was

interviewed forty years later. Mr. Malmberg stated:

"I would like to say that everyone on the committee, as well as the chairman

himself, was sure that the observed phenomena didn't originate from the Soviet

Union. Nothing pointed to that solution.

"On the other hand, if the observations are correct, many details suggest that it

was some kind of a cruise missile that was fired on Sweden. But nobody had that

kind of sophisticated technology in 1946."31


  1. BritishAir Ministry Report, "Investigation of Reported Missile Activity Over Scandinavia," September 9, 1946.
  2. Intelligence Review, Number 49, January 9, 1947, "Ghost Rockets Over Scandinavia."
30. FBI Report, ibid31. Liljegren, Anders & Svahn, Clas, "Ghost Rockets and Phantom Aircraft," paper in the anthology Phenomenon- Forty Years of Flying Saucers, Avon Books, 1989.


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Cover of International UFO Reporter

Cover of International UFO Reporter showing a photograph of Kenneth Arnold, his original sketches and a reconstruction of the flying wing he saw, which led to the name of flying saucers. Insert lower right shows Arnold's original sketch for Army Intelligence. Courtesy of CUFOS.

The first major wave of American sightings produced more than a thousand reports, the term "flying saucer," and the first confirmed investigations by the U.S. Government. The reports were from all 48 states, mainly of round objects seen in the daytime. For two weeks, especially around the July Fourth weekend, newspapers and radio broadcasts were full of stories of flying saucers and flying discs. Early official studies concluded that they were real and unexplained.

It began on the afternoon of June 24, 1947 with the sighting of a formation of strange highspeed objects. Kenneth Arnold, flying his single-engine Callair airplane over southwestern Washington State, had interrupted his business trip to assist in the search for a missing military transport plane. From the official U.S. Army Air Force's report on the event:

"I hadn't flown more than two or three minutes on my (new) course when a bright

flash reflected on my airplane. It startled me as I thought I was too close to some

other aircraft. I looked every place in the sky and couldn't find where the reflection

had come from until I looked to the left and the north of Mt. Rainier where I

observed a chain of nine peculiar looking aircraft flying from north to south at

approximately 9,500 feet [3,000 m.] elevation and going, seemingly, in a definite

direction of about 170 degrees.

"They were approaching Mt. Rainier very rapidly, and I merely assumed they were

jet planes. Anyhow, I discovered that this was where the reflection had come from,

as two or three of them every few seconds would dip or change their course

slightly, just enough for the sun to strike them at an angle that reflected brightly at

my plane.

"I thought it was very peculiar that I couldn't find their tails but assumed they were

some kind of jet plane. I was determined to clock their speed, as I had two definite

points I could clock them by; the air was so clear that it was very easy to see

objects and determine their approximate shape and size at almost 50 miles [80

km.] that day.

"[The clock]... on my instrument panel, read one minute to 3 p.m. as the first

object of this formation passed the southern edge of Mt. Rainier... I would estimate

their elevation could have varied a thousand feet [300 m.], one way or another, up

or down, but they were pretty much on the horizon to me, which would indicate

they were near the same elevation as I was.

"They seemed to hold a definite direction but rather swerved in and out of the high

mountain peaks. Their speed at the time did not impress me particularly, because I

knew that our army and air forces had planes that went very fast.

"What kept bothering me as I watched them flip and flash in the sun right along

their path was the fact that I couldn't make out any tail on them, and I am sure that

any pilot would justify more than a second look at such a plane.

"I observed them quite plainly, and I estimated my distance from them, which was

almost at right angles, to be between 20 and 25 miles [30-40 km.]. I knew they

must be very large to observe their shape at the distance, even on as clear a day as

it was that Tuesday. In fact I compared a... fastener or cowling tool I had in my

pocket with them - holding it up on them and holding it up on the DC-4 (airliner) -

that I could observe at quite a distance to my left, and they seemed smaller than

the DC-4; but, I should judge their span would have been as wide as the furthest

engines on each side of the fuselage of the DC-4. [Note: this span is about 55 ft. or

16 m.].

"I could quite accurately determine their pathway due to the fact there were

several high peaks that were a little this side of them as well as higher peaks on

the other side of their pathway.

"As the last unit of this formation passed the southernmost high snow-covered crest of Mt. Adams, I looked at my sweep second hand and it showed that they had

travelled the distance in one minute and 42 seconds. Even at the time, this timing

did not upset me as I felt confident that after I landed there would be some

explanation of what I had seen. [Note: 48 miles in 1:42 seconds works out to

1,700 mph or 2,700 km./hr., at a time when the official World Speed Record was

624 mph or 1,000 km./hr.]

"A number of newsmen and experts suggested that I might have been seeing

reflections or even a mirage. This I know to be absolutely false, as I observed

these objects not only through the glass of my airplane but turned by my airplane

sideways where I could open my window and observe them with a completely

unobstructed view, without sun glasses... They seemed longer than wide, their

thickness was about 1/20th of their width."32

To accompany his statement, Arnold added a simple sketch of one of the objects: a circle with the rear flattened or clipped off. (See above.)

It was not known at the time, but others had seen formations of strange objects in the Pacific Northwest on the same day. That morning, five or six discs were seen banking and circling from the same Cascade Mountain Range over which Arnold had been flying during his sighting; at 2:30 p.m., three flat discs were seen tilting as they flew from Richland, Washington, 100 miles [160 km.] to the east; at 3 p.m., a man saw nine discs in formation from Mineral, Washington, almost directly beneath Arnold's airplane.

The conclusion drawn later by Project Blue Book was that Arnold had failed to identify some conventional airplanes. No specifics were suggested, as there were no circular, disc or similarly shaped airplanes flying in or near the U.S., nor any airplanes in the world capable of even half the speed at which he clocked the formation. The other sightings of formations in the same area do appear in newspaper reports, but not in the official files.

This marked the beginning of the 1947 UFO sighting wave. A study of newspapers by Ted Bloecher lists 832 sighting reports between June 15 and July 15. An expansion of his study, still in progress, is expected to raise the total to at least 1,500 separate reports, including many from outside the United States.33

The files of Project Blue Book show barely 50 reports for the period. Nevertheless, the first known official study of the 1947 sighting wave concluded, from just 13 of those reports: "From detailed study of reports selected for their impression of veracity and reliability, several conclusions have been formed:

"(a) This 'flying saucer' situation is not all imaginary or seeing too much in some

natural phenomena. Something is really flying around.

"(b) Lack of topside inquiries, when compared to the prompt and demanding

inquiries that have originated topside upon former events, give more than

ordinary weight to the possibility that this is a domestic project about which the

President, etc., know.

"Whatever the objects are, this much can be said of their physical appearance:

"1. The surface of these objects is metallic, indicating a metallic skin, at least.

"2. When a trail is observed, it is lightly colored, a blue-brown haze, that is similar to a rocket engine's exhaust. Contrary to a rocket of the solid type, one observation indicates that the fuel may be throttled which would indicate a liquid

rocket engine.

"3. As to shape, all observations state that the object is circular or at least

elliptical, flat on the bottom and slightly domed on the top. The size estimates

place it somewhere near the size of a C-54 or a Constellation. [Note: 1940s

airliners had a wingspan of 120 ft. or 35 m., and length of 95 ft. or 30 m.]

"4. Some reports describe two tabs, located at the rear and symmetrical about the

axis of flight motion.

"5. Flights have been reported, from three to nine of them, flying good formation

on each other, with speeds always above 300 kts. [350 mph or 650 km/hr.].

"6. The discs oscillate laterally while flying along, which could be snaking."34

Official interest in the phenomena was demonstrated in a famous September 1947 memo from General Nathan D. Twining, Chief of the Air Materiel Command at Wright-Field, Ohio, who stated:

"a. The phenomena reported is something real and not visionary or fictitious.

"b. There are objects probably approximating the shape of a disc, of such

appreciable size as to appear to be as large as a man-made aircraft.

"c. There is a possibility that some of the incidents may be caused by natural

phenomena, such as meteors.

"d. The reported operating characteristics such as extreme rates of climb,

maneuverability (particularly in roll), and action which must be considered

evasive when sighted or contacted by friendly aircraft and radar, lend belief to the

possibility that some of the objects are controlled either manually, automatically,

or remotely."35

Following other studies and reports, the U.S. Air Force instituted its first announced UFO investigation in January 1948: Project Sign.


  1. Arnold, Kenneth, report to the U.S. Army Air Force, June 1947. Reprinted in Steiger, Brad, ed., Project Blue Book, Ballantine Books, 1976.
  2. Bloecher, Ted, Report on the UFO Wave of 1947, NICAP, 1968.
  3. Study by Air Force Base Intelligence Report, "Flying Discs," ibid.
  4. Twining, Gen. Nathan, Memo to Commanding General Army Air Forces re "AMC Opinion Concerning 'Flying Discs'," September 23, 1947.
  5. Ruppelt, Edward J., The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, Doubleday & Co., 1956.


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From 1947 through 1951, the U.S. Air Force UFO investigation (at first Project Sign, then Project Grudge and by 1952 Project Blue Book) had logged 700 UFO reports, an average of just over 150 per year. The staff had yet to encounter much pressure, or much attention from the press or the public. It was a fairly routine military intelligence gathering effort.36

This was the situation until the middle of 1952. The year started out as the previous one had begun, with fewer than one sighting per day in the first three months. In April and May, the flow increased to three per day, with the rate doubling in June. For the first half of the year, there had been 300 reports, at four times the annual rate, and still the peak had not been approached.

For the first three weeks of July, there was an average of eight reports per day, many of them coming from Air Force jet interceptor pilots sent aloft in response to radar or visual sightings from the ground. Starting on the 22nd and lasting through the 29th, reports jumped to an average of 27 per day. By the end of that extremely busy month, almost 400 reports had been recorded, which was more than in any previous full year.

The Project Blue Book office at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, was headed by Captain Edward Ruppelt, whose tiny staff was completely overwhelmed by the volume of work. Reports poured in by mail, teletype, telephone and messenger faster than they could be processed, let alone investigated. They were stacked up with vague plans to investigate when things finally calmed down.

As important as the sheer number of reports received was the particular nature of some of them, especially those from three nights of intense activity over Washington, D.C. On July 19/20, July 26/27 and August 2/3, the skies above the nation's capital were crowded with UFOs darting here and there, over the White House, over the Capitol Building, over the Pentagon.

They were seen from the ground and from control towers at Washington National Airport, Bolling Air Force Base across the Potomac River, and from nearby Andrews Air Force Base. They were also tracked on radar from all three airfields, as radar operators conferred by telephone to ensure they were tracking the same targets. (See below) In many instances, airline pilots flying in the area were able to provide visual confirmation of radar tracking.

The appearance of unidentified objects flying with impunity over the heart of the American government and its military establishment was embarrassing to the Department of Defense, whose responsibility it was to protect the country from airborne intrusion. A flood of questions from reporters led the U.S. Air Force to call its biggest press conference since World War II.

Captain Edward J. Ruppelt [standing], director of Project Blue Book, and Major General Samford, Chief of Air Intelligence. Photograph courtesy of United Press InternationalPhoto.

Diagram of the UFOs tracked by Washington's National Airport radar scope on July 20, 1952. At A, 7 objects approach the Nation's capital from the south. At B, some are seen over the White House and Capitol. At C, they appear over Andrews Air Force Base. At D, one UFO tracks an airliner. At E, one is seen to make a sharp right-angular turn. Courtesy of UFOs -A Pictorial History From Antiquity to the Present, by David C. Knight. (McGraw Hill Book Co., 1979.)

It was held in Room 3E-369 of the Pentagon, and was presided over by Air Force Intelligence Chief, Major General John Samford. The main explanation given for the rash of sightings over Washington was something called a "temperature inversion," which is the immediate cause of a mirage. General Samford suggested that lights on the ground may have looked like they were in the air because an inversion can act like an "air lens" and bend light rays. He added that something similar could have "tricked" radar into thinking it was tracking aerial targets, which were actually ground objects.37

The press left the 1_ hour conference confused, but convinced that the UFOs were no more than atmospheric phenomena. It wasn't until 1969 that an Air Force scientific report made it clear that inversions strong enough to create the effects with which General Samford credited them, could not exist in the earth's atmosphere! Moreover, probably no UFO report had ever been caused by a temperature inversion or mirage.38

The same day that General Samford held his press conference, the wheels began to turn at the Central Intelligence Agency. A memo from Ralph Clark, Acting Assistant Director for Scientific Intelligence to the Deputy Director for Intelligence, stated:

"In the past several weeks, a number of radar and visual sightings of unidentified

aerial objects have been reported. Although this office has maintained a

continuing review of such reputed sightings during the past three years, a special

study group has been formed to review this subject to date."39

A few days later, a note was sent to Mr. Clark by Edward Tauss:

"...so long as a series of reports remains 'unexplainable' (interplanetary aspects

and alien origin not being thoroughly excluded from consideration), caution

requires that intelligence continue coverage of the subject."40

CIA interest in the UFO phenomenon increased and led to a secret panel of five prominent scientists, convened in January 1953. The "Scientific Panel on Unidentified Flying Objects" was chaired by astrophysicist Dr. H. P. Robertson and included Dr. Luis Alvarez, (who received the Nobel Prize for Physics many years later), Dr. Thornton Page of John Hopkins University and later NASA Johnson Space Center, and other top scientists. The negative conclusions of the so-called Robertson Panel would exert tremendous influence on all federal policy vis-a-vis UFOs. The Panel recommended in part:

"That the national security agencies take immediate steps to strip the unidentified

flying objects of the special status they have unfortunately acquired."41


  1. Ruppelt, Edward J., The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, Doubleday & Co., 1956.
  2. Transcript of General Samford's press conference at the Pentagon, July 29, 1952.
  3. Menkello, F.V., ibid.
  4. CIA memorandum to the Deputy Director/Intelligence, July 29, 1952, re "Recent Sightings of Unexplained Objects."
  5. Informal CIA memorandum to Deputy Assistant Director/SI, August 1, 1952, re "Flying Saucers."
  6. Central Intelligence Agency, "Report of the Scientific Panel on Unidentified Flying Objects," January 1953.

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On the night of August 13-14, 1956, radar operators at two military bases in the east of England repeatedly tracked single and multiple objects which displayed high speed, as well as rapid changes of speed and direction. Two jet interceptors were sent up, and were able to see and track them in a brief series of maneuvers. According to official U.S. Air Force reports, the sightings could not be explained by radar malfunction or by unusual weather.42

It began at 9:30 p.m. when Airman 2nd Class John Vaccare, of the U.S. Air Force at RAF Bentwaters, tracked one UFO on his Ground Controlled Approach radar (type AN/MPN-11A) as it flew 40-50 miles (65 to 80 km.) in 30 seconds, i.e. 4,800 to 6,000 mph (7,500 to 9,500 km./hr.).

A few minutes later Vaccare reported to T/Sergeant L. Whenry that a group of 12 to 15 unidentified targets was tracked from 8 miles (13 km.) southwest of Bentwaters to 40 miles (65 km.) northeast, at which time they "appeared to converge into one very large object, according to the size of the blip on the radar scope, which seemed to be several times larger than a B-36 aircraft [the largest operational bomber in history, with a wingspan of 230 feet or 70 m.]." The single large blip stopped twice for several minutes while being tracked, before flying off the scope.

At 10 p.m., a single unidentified target was tracked from Bentwaters as it covered 55 miles (90 km.) in just 16 seconds. This works out to over 12,000 mph (19,000 km./hr.).

Then, at 10:55 p.m., the Bentwaters GCA radar picked up an unidentified target on the same east-to-west course as the previous one, at an apparent speed of "2,000 to 4,000 mph" (3,200 to 6,400 km./hr.). Someone in the Bentwaters control tower reported seeing "a bright light passing over the field from east to west at about 4,000 feet [1,200 m.]." At about the same time, the pilot of a C-47 twin-engine military transport plane over Bentwaters said, "a bright light streaked under my aircraft travelling east to west at terrific speed." All three reports coincided.

Soon after, radars at Bentwaters and RAF Lakenheath reported a stationary object 20-25 miles (32-40 km.) southwest of the latter base. It suddenly began moving north at 400 to 600 mph (650 to 1,000 km./hr.), but "there was no build-up to this speed - it was constant from the second it started to move until it stopped." It made several abrupt changes of direction without appearing to slow for its turns.43

Around 11:30 p.m., the RAF launched a deHavilland Venom jet interceptor, from RAF Waterbeach. According to the U.S. Air Force UFO report:

"Pilot advised he had a bright white light in sight and would investigate. At 13 miles [20 km.] west he reported loss of target and white light. Lakenheath (radar) vectored him to a target 10 miles [16 km.] east of Lakenheath and pilot advised (that) target was on his radar and was 'locking on.' Pilot then reported he had lost target on his radar.

"Lakenheath GCA reports that as the Venom passed the target on radar, the target began a tail chase of the friendly fighter. Radar requested pilot acknowledge this chase. Pilot acknowledged and stated he would try to circle and get behind the target. Pilot advised he was unable to 'shake' the target off his tail and requested assistance.

"One additional Venom was scrambled from RAF station. Original pilot stated:

'Clearest target I have ever seen on radar.'"

The following conversation between the two Venom fighter pilots was heard by the Lakenheath watch supervisor:

"Did you see anything?" [Pilot #2]

"I saw something, but I'll be damned if I know what it was." [Pilot #1]

"What happened?" [Pilot #2]

"He - or it - got behind me and I did everything I could to get behind him and I

couldn't. It's the damndest thing I've ever seen." [Pilot #1]44

The 1969 report by the Air Force-funded study at the University of Colorado under Dr. Edward U. Condon concluded:

"In summary, this is the most puzzling and unusual case in the radar-visual files. The apparent rational, intelligent behavior of the UFO suggests a mechanical device of unknown origin as the most probable explanation of this sighting. However, in view of the inevitable fallibility of witnesses, more conventional explanations of this report cannot be entirely ruled out." 45


  1. USAF Air Intelligence Information Report filed by Captain Edward L. Holt, August 31, 1956.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Gillmor, Daniel S., ibid.



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The third of the major American waves of UFO reports peaked in the first week46 of November 1957, with at least 30 accounts of electrical devices experiencing temporary failure in connection with a UFO sighting.

The files of Project Blue Book show 330 reports for that week, while the files of the private National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) list almost 90 unexplained reports.

It started four weeks after the Soviet Union shocked the world by launching the first earthorbiting satellite, Sputnik I, and a day before Sputnik II was orbited with a small dog as passenger. Public enthusiasm for searching the night sky for a glimpse of the first satellite had waned, and that for the second had not yet begun.

The most striking feature of this sighting wave was the concentration of "electromagnetic effect" cases around the west Texas town of Levelland. There were at least eight such reports in the space of 2.5 hours in an area to the west, north and east of Levelland:

"At 10:30 p.m. came the report from truck driver Pedro Saucedo, who described

seeing a blue torpedo-shaped object with yellow flame and white smoke coming

out of its rear. He estimated it was 200 feet [60 m.] long and 6 feet [2 m.] wide. He

said it rose from a nearby field and roared low over his truck with a loud,

explosive sound, and produced so much heat he got out of his truck and lay on the

ground. 'It sounded like thunder, and my truck rocked from the blast.' He thought

it came within 200-300 feet [60-90 m.]. His truck lights and engine failed while the

UFO was in view; after it disappeared, his lights worked perfectly, and he was

able to re-start the engine.

"At Pettit, Texas, 10 miles [16 km.] to the northwest, two grain combines failed as

a UFO flew past.

"Shortly before midnight, Jim Wheeler reported seeing a large 200 ft. [60 m.]

elliptical object on the road; as he drove toward it, his car lights and engine

failed. The UFO rose and flew off, and when it blinked off, his lights came back on

and he was able to re-start his engine.

"At the same time, Jose Alvarez's car lights and engine died when he saw a

glowing, 200-foot [60 m.] UFO nearby. After the object flew away, his lights came

back on and he was able to re-start his engine.

"At about 12:05 a.m., college student Newell Wright's car lights and engine failed.

He got out to fix them, looked up and saw a glowing, bluish-green, flat-bottomed,

oval object on the highway. The object was in sight for four or five minutes.

During that time, Wright tried to start his engine, and while the starter made

contact, the motor was unaffected. The object disappeared, straight up, and

immediately the car lights came back on, the engine started, and then operated


"At 12:25 a.m., Frank Williams' car experienced a failure of its lights and engine,

when a glowing, egg-shaped object appeared on or near the ground pulsating

brightly. When it rose straight up, the car returned to normal. 'When it took off, it

sounded like thunder.'

"At 12:45 a.m., Ronald Martin's truck lights and engine stopped working when a

round, glowing UFO landed and changed from orange to blue-green. He said the

glow was so bright it lit up the inside of his truck. The UFO then changed back to

orange and took off straight up. The car lights came back on, and his engine re

started by itself!

"At 1 a.m., some 17 miles [27 km.] to the north, Fire Marshall Ray Jones reported

seeing a streak of light and at the same time his car lights dimmed and his engine

almost quit.

"At 1:15 a.m., James Long said he saw an elliptical UFO on the road ahead, and

when he drove to within 200 feet [60 m.] of it, the lights and engine of his truck

died. The UFO then shot up vertically with a sound like thunder, and the lights

and engine returned to normal.

"By 1:30 a.m., Hockley County Sheriff Weir Clem had heard so many reports that

he decided to see for himself. He drove out with a deputy sheriff, and saw a large

oval red light, though he did not experience electrical system problems. Years

later he said: 'The object was shaped like a huge football and had bright white

lights. The blinding lights flashed on, it went right over the car and was gone. No

living human being could believe how fast it traveled. The whole thing was as

bright as day; it lit up the whole area.'"48

Project Blue Book sent a single investigator to Levelland to check the reports. His explanation, accepted as the official Air Force conclusion, was that:

"... the major cause for the Levelland case was a severe electrical storm. The

storm stimulated the populace into a high level of excitement. This excitement

reflected itself in their reactions to ordinary circumstances, and resulted in the

inflation of the stories of some of the witnesses concerning their experiences."49

Ten years after these incidents, atmospheric physicist Dr. James McDonald completed a study and determined that there had been no storm in the area, and thus no source of excessive moisture to interfere with the automobiles' electrical systems. With no "severe electrical storm" to "stimulate the populace into a high level of excitement," the official explanation falls apart.


46. Project Blue Book case files, U.S. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

47 Webb Walter N NICAP Field Investigation Report 1957

48. Project Blue Book report, "Levelland, Texas, November 2-4, 1957."49. McDonald, James, "UFOs: Greatest Scientific Problem of Our Time?," lecture to the American Society ofNewspaper Editors, Washington, D.C., April 22, 1967.


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On February 21, 1958, the Brazilian newspapers Correio de Manha and O Jornal published a sequence of clear daytime photographs showing an oval object with a ring in the center, flying off the island of Trindade in the South Atlantic Ocean. The photos were taken by a professional civilian photographer, Almiro Barauna, on

Map of Trindade Island showing the location of the ship and the board the Brazilian trajectory of the UFO with the position where Barauna's photographs Navy training ship

were taken. NE Almirante

Saldanha, which

was conducting

research for the International Geophysical Year (IGY). The Navy at first kept the matter secret, but the photos were eventually given to the press by the President of Brazil, Juscelino Kubitschek.(See map and pictures.)50

Other high-ranking officials such as the Minister of the Navy, Admiral Alves Camera, were quoted in the press vouching for the photos. Following his weekly meeting with the President, the Minister told the United Press that "the Navy has a great secret which it cannot divulge because it cannot be explained."51 On February 27th, Deputy Sergio Magalhaes of the House of Representatives formally requested the Navy Ministry to answer several questions about the photos and other prior UFO observations at the IGY post, maintained by the Navy in Trindade Island.52

The Navy eventually released a detailed report on the matter entitled "Clarification of the observation of unidentified flying objects sighted on the Island of Trindade, in the period of 12/5/57 to 1/16/58," prepared by Captain of Corvette (CC), Carlos Alberto Ferreira Bacellar, Commander of the Oceanographic Station at Trindade. The report begins with a short summary of four UFO sightings by Navy crewmen and workers at the station from early December 1957 to mid-January 1958, including a phenomenon seen by Captain Bacellar with a theodolite (a surveying instrument for measuring vertical and horizontal angles). Four observations occurred in daytime and one at night; one was considered likely to be a seagull.

The report then introduces Almiro Barauna as "a professional civilian photographer who was on deck in the stern of the ship, ready to photograph the operation of hoisting the launch," when he was "alerted about the UFO" and was able to take four photographs showing the object. The crucial details of the development of the film are discussed:

"That, after having taken the above-mentioned photographs, the photographer, in

the presence of CC Bacellar and other persons, took the roll of film from the

camera; later, in the company of this official he went to the darkroom of the ship

(improvised in the infirmary), dressed as he was in shirt and shorts, and where he

remained only ten minutes, presenting at once the negative of the film to CC

Bacellar, who affirms having seen the above-mentioned UFO represented on the

negative, although with much less clarity because the film was somewhat dark."53

An analysis of the facts in the report confirms there were may witnesses on deck of the Almirante Saldanha of "various qualifications - workmen, sailors, dentist, doctor, aviation officer and professional photographer," but no exact number is given. A report by Dr. Willy Smith, published by the Center for UFO Studies, indicates that "all in all, 48 ocular witnesses were on deck during the incident," although no source for this figure is provided. These included sailors, workers and the ship's dentist, as well as members of a civilian submarine diving group to which Baruana and Brazilian Air Force Captain (Ret.) J.T. Viejas belonged.54

Captain Viejas' eyewitness description of the incident was published in the Brazilian press:

"The first view was that of a disc shining with phosphorescent glow, which -even

at daylight - appeared to be brighter than the moon. The object was about the

apparent size (angular diameter) of the full moon. As it followed its path across

the sky, changing to a tilted position, its real shape was clearly outlined against

the sky: that of a flattened sphere encircled, at the equator, by a large ring or

platform. Its speed was around 700 miles an hour [1,100 km./hr.] at the moment it

disappeared into the horizon."

Captain Viejas added that the sighting occurred at 12:20 p.m., causing "a tremendous confusion aboard. Mr. Barauna found it very difficult to operate his camera, being pushed and pulled by excited observers around him."55 Neither CC Bacellar nor the Captain of the Almirante Saldanha, Jose Saldanha da Gama, observed the phenomenon, although they did see the commotion caused by the event.

Baruana gave detailed interviews to Brazilian reporters. His camera was a Rolleiflex 2.8 camera, model E, "set at speed 125, with the aperture at f/8." He shot the first two photos before the object disappeared behind the peak "Desejado." The UFO then reappeared, "bigger in size and flying in the opposite direction, but lower and closer than before, and moving at a higher speed. I shot the third photo." The fourth and fifth photos were lost when Barauna was pushed by other witnesses. The last photo in the roll of film was taken when the object was moving back toward the sea.

Barauna also disclosed that he had been interrogated for four hours at the Navy Ministry and that:

"Some days later I was called again. This time they [Navy] also asked for my

Rolleiflex. They wanted to make tests in order to estimate, if possible, the speed of

the flying saucer at the moment of the sighting. The tests were performed. They

showed that I had taken my six pictures in 14 seconds, and that the saucer was

flying at 900 to 1,000 km./hr. [550 to 600 mph]."56

The negatives were analyzed by Navy and civilian experts from the Cruzeiro do Sul Aerophotogrammetric Service. The previously cited Navy document states that a technician from the Hydrographic Navy Department concluded there were no signs of tampering with the negatives which showed "the object photographed." A "more complete and thorough examination" was made by photo technicians from Cruzeiro do Sul (a private airline company), "including microscopic, for the verification of granulation, verification of signs, luminosity, and details of contour." The Cruzeiro experts concluded:

"There was on the above-mentioned negatives no sign of montage, all indicating it

to be a negative of the object really photographed;

"Any hypotheses of later montage were removed; it would be impossible to prove

either the existence or nonexistence of prior montage, which requires, however,

extreme technical skill and circumstances favorable to its execution."

The Navy's final conclusion was very cautious, due to Barauna's reputation as a highly skilled photographer with some experience in UFO montages, which he had previously shown while refuting the 1952 Barra de Tijuca UFO photo case. The report's two final conclusions regarding the photos are:

"That the strongest and most valid testimony, that of the photographer, loses its

definitely convincing character given the technical impossibility of proving if

there was or not previous photographic montage.

"That, finally the existence of personal testimonies and of a photographer, of some

value given the circumstances involved, permit the admission that there are

indications of the existence of the UFO [underlined in the original]." 57

Enlargement of first UFO photograph taken by Barauna from a Brazilian Navy ship off Trindade Island.

Insert shows enlargement of UFO itself.

Enlargement of second UFO photograph taken by Barauna.

Photographs (both) courtesy of ICUFON Archives.

In contrast to the careful and neutral style of the Brazilian Navy report, the U.S. Naval Attaché in Rio, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) and Project Blue Book at the Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC), did not hesitate to label the Trindade Island UFO photos as a notorious hoax. The ONI Information Report from the Naval Attaché, while containing valuable data about the case and the position of the Brazilian Navy, is written in a very slanted negative style. It labels Barauna as a man with "a long history of photographic trick shots" and suggests that "the whole thing is a fake publicity stunt put on by a crooked photographer, and the Brazilian Navy fell for it." The coup de grace, however, is the final concluding remark by Captain Sunderland, USN:

"It is the reporting officer's private opinion that a flying saucer would be unlikely

at the very barren island of Trindade, as everyone knows Martians are extremely

comfort loving creatures."58

Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Northwestern University astronomer serving as consultant to Project Blue Book, observed appropriately that "such bias and flippancy have no place in scientific investigations." 59

Likewise, Blue Book was quick to determine that "analysis of the Brazil picture by ATIC led to the conclusion that it was probably a hoax," although a "Record Card" admits that "this center [ATIC] has been unable to obtain copies of the photos."60 This, despite the fact that Barauna's photos were widely available to the press and several UFO organizations both in Brazil and the United States.

Olavo T. Fontes, the late pioneer Brazilian UFO investigator and medical doctor, compiled an extensive report on the case for the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) in the U.S., with transcripts of all the official statements and interviews published in the Brazilian press. Fontes disclosed additional sightings off Trindade Island, as well as other observations in the Atlantic Ocean from the Navy ships Tridente and Triunfo, and on the island of Fernando Noronha, located between Brazil and Africa, where "a U.S. guided missile and satellite tracking station" had just been set up. No official confirmation of the Noronha reports, however, was provided by Fontes.61


  1. Fontes, Olavo T., M.D., "UAO Sightings Over Trindade," originally published in three parts in The A.P.R.O. Bulletin, Alamogordo, New Mexico, January, March, and May 1960; reprinted in full as "The Brazilian Navy UFO Sighting At The Island Of Trindade," Flying Saucers, Amherst, Wisconsin, Feb.'61.
  2. United Press News wire from Rio de Janeiro, February 25, 1958; reprinted in Fontes, O.T., ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. 6 page document from the Brazilian Department of the Navy, General Staff of the Fleet, Subdivision of Information, "SUBJECT: Clarification of the observation of unidentified flying objects sighted on the Island of Trindade, in the period of 12/5/57 to 1/16/58." English translation in the papers of the late Dr. Edward U. Condon at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.
  5. Smith, Willy, "Trindade Revisited," International UFO Reporter, CUFOS, July/August 1983.
  6. Fontes, O.T., ibid.
  7. Interview with Almiro Barauna, O Globo, Rio de Janeiro, February 24, 1958; reprinted in Fontes, O.T., ibid.
  8. Brazilian Navy report, ibid.
  9. Sunderland, M., Capt., USN, ONI Information Report re "Brazilian Navy - Flying Saucer Photographed from ALMIRANTE SALDANHA," March 11, 1958; reprinted in Hynek, Dr. J. Allen, The Hynek UFO Report, Dell, 1977.
  10. Hynek, ibid.
  11. ATIC documents in the Condon papers at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.
  12. Fontes, O.T., ibid.

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Until the experience of a small-town policeman in New Mexico, reports from persons claiming to have seen small beings in connection with UFOs on the ground (CE-III or Close Encounters of the Third Kind) were looked upon with considerable disfavor within the UFO research community. After the landing near Socorro, New Mexico, confirmed by a second reputable witness, attitudes changed. The years following this event produced an unprecedented flow of reports of high credibility and strangeness.

At about 5:45 p.m. on Friday, April 24, 1964 Socorro policeman Lonnie Zamora was chasing a speeding car when his attention was drawn to a peculiar sight in the sky. "At this time I heard a roar and saw a flame in the sky to the southwest some distance away." Thinking it might be an explosion connected with a building known to contain explosives, he forgot about the car chase, and sped off in the direction of the UFO.

The next time he saw it, it was on the ground, and from a distance it looked like a car that had overturned. As he drove closer, he could see that it resembled a large egg, sitting on one end and supported by slender legs. He stated:

"I saw two people in white coveralls very close to the object. One of these persons

seemed to turn and look straight at my car and seemed startled -seemed to quickly

jump somewhat. I don't recall noting any particular shape or possibly any hats or

headgear. These persons appeared normal in shape -but possibly they were small

adults or small kids."

As he drove closer, a small hill blocked his view of the object, though at one point he heard a noise like a door closing. When he could again see the object, there was no one near it. He drove as close as the rough terrain would permit, stopped, parked his police cruiser and got out, intending to walk toward the craft. At this point "I heard about two or three loud 'thumps,' like someone possibly hammering or shutting a door or doors hard. These 'thumps' were possibly a second or less apart."

The white-suited individuals were not seen after he heard the thumps. As he started towards the object, it began to roar:

"It started at a low frequency, but quickly the roar rose in frequency and in

loudness... Flames were under the object... light blue and at bottom was a sort of

orange color."

Assuming it might be about to explode, Zamora quickly hid behind his cruiser for protection. The roaring then stopped and he looked up to see it hovering a few feet above the ground. "It was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop." The vehicle then moved away slowly, gathering speed as it headed toward the dynamite shack, which it cleared by a few feet.

Map of Socorro landing site and Zamora's sketches of the object and its

insignia, from the Project Blue Book case file. Courtesy of Brad Steiger.

At this time, Zamora was joined by a police sergeant who watched the craft fly away into the distance. Zamora and the sergeant then walked to where it had been parked, and noted charred and singed grass, underbrush and imprints in the ground corresponding to where the vehicle had landed.62

Within hours, Zamora was interviewed by U.S. Army Captain Richard T. Holder, Up-Range Commander of the White Sands Missile Range, and by FBI Special Agent Arthur Byrnes, Jr., the latter requesting that the FBI's involvement be kept secret. Zamora described the object to them:

"It was smooth - no windows or doors. As the roar started, it was still on or near

the ground. There was red lettering of some type. The insignia was about 2.5 feet

[75 cm.] high and about 2 feet [60 cm.] wide. It was in the middle of the object.

The object was... aluminum-white."

He then drew a sketch of the object with the red "insignia": half of a circle over an inverted V with a vertical line inside and horizontal line below.63 (See map above.)

A day or two later, Dr. J. Allen Hynek arrived to investigate the report for the Air Force's Project Blue Book. In addition to questioning Zamora, Hynek measured and photographed the landing site. He located what appeared to be impressions in the ground made by the landing gear, as well as several small footprints.

The case received rapid and extensive press coverage, and the Air Force was under pressure to explain it as something less momentous than a landed spacecraft. Among the explanations considered and rejected were a rancher's helicopter and an experimental NASA lunar lander.

In the end, Project Blue Book declared the report "unsolved," and Major Hector Quintanilla, the project's final director, stated that there is no doubt that Lonnie Zamora saw an object which left quite an impression on him:

"There is also no question about Zamora's reliability. He is a serious police

officer, a pillar of his church, and a man well versed in recognizing airborne

vehicles in his area. He is puzzled by what he saw, and frankly, so are we. This is

the best-documented case on record, and still we have been unable, in spite of

thorough investigation, to find the vehicle or other stimulus that scared Zamora to

the point of panic."64


  1. Written statement by Lonnie Zamora to Project Blue Book, 1964; reprinted in Steiger, Brad, ed. Project Blue Book, ibid.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Quintanilla, Hector, "The Investigation of UFO's," Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 10, No. 4, Fall 1966.

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The experience of Stephen Michalak in the Falcon Lake area in Manitoba, at noon on May 20, 1967, is a CE-II (Close Encounter of the Second Kind) on two counts: physical traces were found on the area where the UFO reportedly landed, and the witness experienced a series of physiological effects apparently linked to his close encounter with a metallic-looking,

Drawing with notes by Michalak of the landed UFO he encountered disc-shaped object.

at Falcon Lake. Notice grill pattern (encircled) and compare to burn

Michalak is an industrial

marks above. From the declassified files of the RCAF and RCMP. mechanic from Courtesy of ICUFON Archives. Winnipeg who was doing some amateur prospecting in the area.

The case was investigated extensively by Canadian authorities, the Condon Commission, and several civilian UFO groups from the U.S. and Canada. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Department of National Defense (DND), the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), and the Manitoba Department of Health were some of the agencies involved. Canadian officials reacted quickly after some radioactive traces were detected in soil samples from the landing area as well as on Michalak's garments. Many reports and documents on the case were eventually released by the Canadian government. One document provides a full summary of the case and investigation:

"A Mr. Steven Michalak of Winnipeg, Manitoba reported that he had come into

physical contact with a UFO during a prospecting trip in the Falcon Lake area,

some 90 miles east of Winnipeg on the 20 May 67. Mr. Michalak stated that he

was examining a rock formation when two UFOs appeared before him. One of the

UFOs remained airborne in the immediate area for a few moments, then flew off

at great speed. The second UFO landed a few hundred feet away from his

position. As he approached the UFO, a side door opened and voices were heard

coming from within.

"Mr. Michalak states he approached the object but was unable to see inside due to

a bright yellow bluish light which blocked his vision. He endeavored to

communicate with the personnel inside the object [in English, Russian, German,

Italian, French and Ukrainian], but without result. As he approached within a few

feet of the object, the door closed. He heard a whining noise and the object

commenced to rotate anti-clockwise and finally raised off the ground. He reached

out with his left gloved hand and touched the object prior to its lifting off the

ground; the glove burned immediately as he touched the object.

"As the object left the ground, the exhaust gases burned his cap, outer and inner

garments, and he sustained rather severe stomach and chest burns. As a result of

these he was hospitalized for a number of days. The doctors who attended and

interviewed Mr. Michalak were unable to obtain any information which could

account for the burns to his body. The personal items of clothing which were

alleged to have been burnt by the UFO, were subjected to an extensive analysis at

the RCMP Crime laboratory. The analysts were unable to reach any conclusion as

to what may have caused the burn damage.

"Soil samples taken by Mr. Michalak from the immediate area occupied by the

UFO were analyzed and found to be radioactive to a degree that the samples had

to be safely disposed of. An examination of the alleged UFO landing area was

made by a radiologist from the Department of Health and Welfare and a small

area was found to be radioactive. The Radiologist was unable to provide an

explanation as to what caused this area to become contaminated.

"Both DND and RCMP investigation teams were unable to provide evidence which

would dispute Mr. Michalak's story."65

The RCAF investigation of Michalak, undertaken by Squadron Leader P. Bissky, was tough and highly skeptical. There were a few problems: Michalak failed to locate the landing site on two occasions when accompanied by the RCMP, but found it later with a friend. Much was made of this by physicist Roy Craig of the Condon committee, who

eventually dismissed the Photograph of Stephen Michalak showing the geometric burn

case.66 However, pattern on his body. Courtesy of ICUFON Archives. Canadian researcher Chris Rutkowski makes a reasonable case of "disorientation in the wilderness" in discussing the details of the initial searches. Michalak had literally been taken from the hospital and flown in a helicopter by the RCAF to search for the spot. By the time of the third search, Michalak had partially recovered from his burns.67

S/L Bissky looked at the possibility of a hoax, searching for small details; for example whether Michalak had handled "radium sources" at the cement company where he worked as a mechanic. Although S/L Bissky was trying to find holes in the story, he had to admit that "notwithstanding the evidence as it appears, the abdominal burns sustained by Mr. Michalak remain unexplainable as to the source of the burn."68

Michalak underwent several medical examinations in the course of the following months. The first took place on the evening of May 20 at Misericordia General Hospital in Winnipeg, where Michalak was taken by his son following his return from Falcon Lake on the same day of the incident. The RCAF file includes a memorandum by a Deputy Base Surgeon who interviewed the physician who examined Michalak. The physician was not aware that the injuries were reportedly linked to a close encounter with a UFO, but had just been told that it was an accident. Surgeon D.J. Scott reported:

"At examination the physician found an area of first degree burns over the upper

abdomen, covering an area of 7-8 inches [17-20 cm.] and consisting of several

round and irregular shaped burns the size of a silver dollar or less. These were a

dull red in color, the hair over the lower chest was singed as was the hair on the

forehead with some questionable redness of the right cheek and temple."69

It is interesting to note that the geometrical burn marks on Michalak's chest and abdomen appear to conform to "a grid-like exhaust vent" observed by Michalak. (See picture above) According to Rutkowski's report:

"Unexpectedly, the craft shifted position, and he was now facing a grid-like

exhaust vent which he had seen earlier to his left. A blast of hot air shot on to his

chest, and set his shirt and undershirt on fire, and also caused severe pain. He

tore off his burning garments, and threw them to the ground. He then looked up in

time to see the craft depart like the first, and felt a rush of air as it ascended... He

walked over to where he had left his things, and noticed that his compass was

behaving erratically; after a few minutes, it became still. He went back to the

landing site, and immediately felt nauseous and a surge of pain from a


Rutkowski summarized other physiological effects such as weight loss, "a drop of his blood lymphocyte count from 25 to 16 per cent," swelling of his body, and other ailments. He described as well the circumstances surrounding a series of physical and psychiatric tests undertaken by Michalak at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in 1968, at his own expense. Since Michalak was found in general good health, normal medical explanations such as neurodermatitis and hyperventilation were hypothesized. The psychiatrists determined that, despite the stress caused by all the publicity generated by his UFO experience, "there was no other evidence of delusions, hallucinations or other emotional disorders."71

One of the weaknesses of the case is that Michalak was the only witness. No one corroborated his crucial testimony of the landing or overflight of a disc-shaped object. Professor Craig chose to dismiss the whole incident with curious reasoning in his final "Conclusion of 'Case 22'" for the Condon Report:

"If Mr. A's [Michalak] reported experience were physically real, it would show

the existence of alien flying vehicles in our environment. Attempts to establish the

reality of the event revealed many inconsistencies and incongruities in the case, a

number of which are described in this report. Developments subsequent to the

field investigation have not altered the initial conclusion that this case does not

offer probative information regarding unconventional craft."72

Yet a careful review of all the physical and medical evidence collected by the RCMP and others could easily lead one to the opposite conclusion. Moreover, some of the physiological effects reported in the Falcon Lake incident are not isolated events in the UFO literature. Aerospace engineer John Schuessler has been documenting UFO medical cases for many years, compiling a Catalog of Medical Injury Cases. The 1995 version of the catalog contains approximately 400 cases.73 Although this particular field requires further research, it is one area where at least "partial proof" can be offered.


  1. "UFO Report - Falcon Lake, Man." Document in the RCMP case file; no author, agency or department are identified.
  2. Gilmor, Daniel S., ibid.
  3. Rutkowski, Chris, "The Falcon Lake Incident," 3-part article published in Flying Saucer Review, July, August and November 1981.
  4. Bissky, S/L P., "Report of an Investigation Into the Reported UFO Sighting by Mr. Stephen Michalak on May 20, 1967 in Falcon Lake Area," in the RCAF file.
  5. Scott, DJ, Deputy Base Surgeon, Memorandum to S/L P. Bissky, May 26, 1967; in the RCAF file.
  6. Rutkowski, C., ibid.
  7. Rutkowski, C., ibid.
  8. Craig, Roy, "Case 22 North Central Spring 67," in Gilmor, D.S., ibid.
  9. Schuessler, John F., "Developing a Catalog of UFO-Related Human Physiological Effects," MUFON 1995 International UFO Symposium Proceedings.

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Visual sightings and radar tracking of UFOs in the vicinity of military installations have been reported since the beginning of the modern era. The number and nature of most of these events has been kept from the public by military security, but on occasion information has been released, although its significance is usually played down.

From late October through the middle of November 1975, high-security bases along the U.S.-Canada border were the scene of intrusions of what were euphemistically called "mystery helicopters," despite their unhelicopter-like appearance and behavior.

The most complete recounting of the events from anyone in the U.S. or Canadian Governments is from the Commander-in-Charge of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), on November 11, 1975:

"Part I. Since 28 Oct. '75, numerous reports of suspicious objects have been

received at the NORAD CU. Reliable military personnel at Loring AFB, Maine,

Wurtsmith AFB, Michigan, Malmstrom AFB, Montana, Minot AFB, North Dakota,

and Canadian Forces Station Falconbridge, Ontario, Canada, have visually

sighted suspicious objects.

"Part II. Objects at Loring and Wurtsmith were characterized to be helicopters.

Missile Site Personnel, Security Alert Teams, and Air Defense Personnel at

Malmstrom AFB, Montana report an object which sounded like a jet aircraft. FAA

advised there were no jet aircraft in the vicinity. Malmstrom search and height

finder radars carried the object between 9,500 ft. [2,900 m.] and 15,600 ft. [4,850

m.] at a speed of seven knots [9 mph or 14 km./hr.]. There was intermittent radar

contact with the object from 080753Z through 0900Z November 1975. F-106's

scrambled from Malmstrom could not make contact due to darkness and low

altitude. Site personnel reported the object as low as 200 ft. [60 m.] and said that

as the interceptors approached, the lights went out. After the interceptors had

passed, the lights came on again, one hour after the F-106's returned to base.

Missile site personnel reported the object increased to a high speed, raised [sic] in

altitude and could not be discerned from the stars.

"Part III. Minot AFB on 10 Nov. reported that the site was buzzed by a bright

object the size of a car at an altitude of 1,000 to 2,000 ft. [300 to 600 m.]. There

was no noise emitted by the vehicle.

"Part IV. This morning, 11 Nov. '75 CFS Falconbridge reported search and height

finding radar paints on an object 25 to 30 nautical miles [30 to 35 statute miles or

48 to 56 km.] south of the site ranging in altitude from 26,000 ft. to 72,000 ft.

[6,500 m. to 18,000 m.]. The site commander and other personnel say the object

appeared as a bright star but much closer. With binoculars, the object appeared

as a 100 ft. diameter sphere and appeared to have craters around the outside.

"Part V. Be assured that this command is doing everything possible to identify and

provide solid factual information on these sightings. I have also expressed my

concern to SAFOI [Secretary of the Air Force, Office of Information] that we

come up soonest with a proposed answer to queries from the press to prevent over

reaction by the public to reports by the media that may be blown out of proportion.

To date, efforts by Air (National) Guard helicopters, SAC helicopters and NORAD

F-106s have failed to produce positive ID [identification]."74

The most important fact omitted from the NORAD report was that many of the sightings were of objects over or near areas used for the storage of nuclear weapons. This fact is clearly established by other declassified documents which mention that, "in the interest of nuclear weapons security the action addressees will assume Security Option III during hours of darkness until further notice." A SAC message on the subject of "Defense Against Helicopter Assault," captures the alert mood:

"Several recent sightings of unidentified aircraft/helicopters flying/hovering over

Priority A restricted areas during the hours of darkness have prompted the

implementation of security Option 3 at our northern tier bases. Since 27 Oct. 75,

sightings have occurred at Loring AFB, Wurtsmith AFB, and most recently, at

Malmstrom AFB. All attempts to identify these aircraft have met with negative


With the exception of the object reported form CFS Falconbridge, only limited descriptions were given of the appearance of the UFOs. From a variety of military sources come these descriptions:

"October 28, Loring AFB, Maine. Unknown craft with a white flashing light and

an amber or orange light. Red and orange object, about four car-lengths long.

Moving in jerky motions, stopped and hovered. The object looked like all the

colors were blended together; the object was solid.

"October 30, Wurtsmith AFB, Michigan. One light pointing downward, and two

red lights near the rear. Hovered and moved up and down in an erratic manner. A

KC-135 aerial tanker crew established visual and radar contact with UFO: 'Each

time we attempted to close on the object, it would speed away from us. Finally, we

turned back in the direction of the UFO and it

really took off... I know this might sound crazy, but I would estimate that the UFO

sped away from us doing approximately 1,000 knots [1,150 mph or 1,800


"November 7, Malmstrom AFB, Montana. A Sabotage Alert Team described

seeing a brightly glowing orange, football field-sized disc that illuminated the

Minuteman ICBM missile site. As F-106 jet interceptors approached, the UFO

took off straight up, NORAD radar tracking it to an altitude of 200,000 feet [38

miles or 60 km.]. An object... emitted a light which illuminated the site driveway.

The orange-gold object overhead also has small lights on it.

"November 8, Malmstrom AFB. Radar showed up to 7 objects at 9,500 to 15,000

feet [2,900 m. to 4,700 m.]. Ground witnesses reported lights and the sound of jet

engines, but radar showed objects flying at only 7 kts. [8 mph or 13 km./hr.].

"November 10, Minot AFB, North Dakota. A bright, noiseless object about the size of a car buzzed the base at 1,000-2,000 feet [300-600 m.]."76


  1. Official U.S. Air Force report, NORAD, November 11, 1975.
  2. CINCSAC Offutt AFB message, "Subject: Defense Against Helicopter Assault," November 10, 1975.
  3. Extracts: 24NORAD Region Senior Director Log November 1975.

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A large unidentified luminous phenomenon was observed throughout the Spanish Canary Islands on the night of June 22, 1976. Newspaper headlines proclaimed the following day that "thousands of people" had seen a "spectacular luminous phenomenon" which "lasted twenty minutes and was observed from Tenerife, La Palma and La Gomera."77 The most sensational aspect was the experience of a medical doctor and his taxi driver, who reported a transparent sphere with two tall entities inside.

On June 25, 1976, the Commanding General of the Canaries' Air Zone named an "Investigative Adjutant" to investigate the case. Copies of some of the depositions, though technically confidential, were given by a Spanish Air Force General to journalist J.J. Benitez in October 1976, who

Photograph of large luminous phenomenon seen subsequently published them in his over the Canary Islands in June 1976. From the book UFOs: Official Documents of the declassified file of the Spanish Air Force. Courtesy Spanish Government.78 The complete

of Antonio Huneeus. Air Force file on the case, comprising

over 100 pages of questionnaires,

evaluation, appendices, illustrations,

etc., was officially declassified in June 1994, as part of the ongoing public release of the Spanish Air Force UFO files which began in 1992.

The Air Force file contains depositions with fourteen witnesses. In a previously established methodology, it divides observers into four categories according to their reliability: from high credibility rating (pilots, aeronautical engineers, astronomers) all the way to a very unreliable rating (those who were illiterate, mentally impaired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs). Likewise, each observation is also divided into four levels, according to the number and quality of additional witnesses, radar evidence, etc. The dossier also included a color photograph of the phenomenon, taken by a tourist and obtained with the assistance of the Civil Guard; according to the photo lab where the film was developed, "no trickery or modification of any kind was added."

The Investigative Adjutant reconstructed the sequence of events in his final report. The first observation was made at 21:27 hrs. on June 22, 1976 by the entire crew of the corvette Atrevida of the Spanish Navy, which was located 3 nm (3.5 statute miles or 5.5 km.) off Punta Lantailla on the coast of Fuerteventura Island. The ship's captain provided a detailed description of the event:

"At 21:27 (Z) hrs. on 22 June, we saw an intense yellowish-bluish light moving out

from the shore towards our position. At first we thought it was an aircraft with its

landing lights on. Then, when the light had attained a certain elevation (15 - 18

degrees), it became stationary. The original light went out and a luminous beam

from it began to rotate. It remained like this for approximately two minutes. Then

an intense great halo of yellowish and bluish light developed, and remained in the

same position for 40 minutes, even though the original phenomenon was no longer


"Two minutes after the great halo, the light split into two parts, the smaller part

being beneath, in the center of the luminous halo, where a blue cloud appeared

and the part from which the bluish nucleus had come, vanished. The upper part

began to climb in a spiral, rapid and irregular, and finally vanished. None of these

movements affected the initial circular halo in any way, which remained just the

same the whole time, its glow lighting up parts of the land and the ocean, from

which we could deduce that the phenomenon was not very far away from us, but

was close."79 (see diagram 1)

The file also includes the deposition of a lieutenant, the Atrevida's first officer, and indicates "the phenomenon was initially observed by the entire crew" of the Navy warship. The report adds that no echo was detected on the ship's surface radar. Three minutes later, at 21:30 hrs., a very similar phenomenon was observed by many people in the Grand Canary Island. The majority of the witnesses interviewed by the Air Force were from the villages of Galdar, Las Rosas and Agaete. They were from different professions: medical doctor, school teacher, farmer, sergeant, two taxi drivers, police guard and laborers. Newspapers and UFO investigators located additional witnesses in the islands.

The Investigative Adjutant determined that there was no aerial traffic or military exercises at the time that could account for the phenomenon. The observation itself was divided into two categories: the large luminous halo in the sky, seen by many people; and the smaller luminous globe with two figures inside, observed by a doctor, a taxi driver and one woman. The Adjutant had no problem accepting the reality of the first event. Noting that it was vouched for officially by the crew of the Atrevida, he added:

"Then, numerous witnesses belonging to different positions and cultural strata,

saw it with similar characteristics in the Grand Canary island. Therefore, the fact

that a very strange and peculiar aerial phenomenon occurred on the night of 22

June is a true and proven fact, as incredible as its behavior and conditions may


The Adjutant considered four possible explanations - aircraft, missile test, aurora, and meteor fall - only to reject each hypothesis, one at a time. The report also considered and rejected other explanations such as weather balloons and meteorological phenomena, admitting that "its nature is totally unknown." 80 The Investigative Adjutant, however, had more problems accepting the reality of the CE-III (Close Encounter of the Third Kind) described by some of the witnesses. Not because he questioned their veracity or suspected them of hoaxing, but simply because of the nature of the report. The CE-III's main witness was a physician from the town of Guía, Dr. Francisco Padrón León. His deposition is the longest in the file. The Air Force had also checked his background and psychological condition. Dr. Padrón explained that he had been called to attend a patient and was riding in a taxi to see her in the town of Las Rosas:

"We were talking about hunting... as we entered the last part of the road, the car

lights pointed at a slightly luminous sphere that was stationary and very close to

the ground, although I can't say for sure if it was touching it; it was made of a

totally transparent and crystalline-like material, since it was possible to see

through it the stars in the sky; it had an electric blue color but tenuous, without

dazzling; it had a radius of about 30 m. [100 ft.], and in the lower third of the

sphere you could see a platform of aluminum-like color as if made of metal, and

three large consoles. At each side of the center there were two huge figures of

2.50 to 3 m. [8.5 to 10 ft.] tall, but no taller than 3 m. [10 ft.], dressed entirely in red and facing each other in such a way that I always saw their profile." (see diagram 2)

They were humanoid in shape with the head proportionate to the thorax and wearing some kind of head gear. Dr. Padrón asked the taxi driver if he was seeing the same thing, and he exclaimed, "My God! What is that?" As the car reached the patient's house, the doctor noted:

"Then I observed that some kind of bluish smoke was coming out from a semi

transparent central tube in the sphere, covering the periphery of the sphere's

interior without leaking outside at any moment. Then the sphere began to grow

and grow until it became huge like a 20-story house, but the platform and the

crew remained the same size; it rose slowly and majestically and it seems I heard

a very tenuous whistling."

Dr. Padrón entered the house and alerted the residents, who went outside and saw:

"The sphere, now high, was moving slowly toward Tenerife; suddenly it reached

enormous speed like none I ever saw in an airplane; the sphere dissolved into a

bluish spindle-shape with red underneath; a brilliant white halo was formed close

to the object, which bit by bit was forming another very brilliant blue halo. It

disappeared in the direction of Tenerife."81

Dr. Padrón's testimony was confirmed by the taxi driver, who also saw "a craft that looked as if it was made of transparent crystal," about 25 m. (85 ft.) high and 20 m. (65 ft.) wide, with "two persons dressed in brilliant red inside." In addition, there was a third witness, an illiterate woman who was a relative of the doctor's patient. She was watching TV when the screen went blank and the dogs began to bark. She ran to the window in time to:

"... see the doctor's car and just above it the great blue ball... It was like a

perfectly round globe, but very big, transparent, the stars could be seen through

it. She saw two man-like figures inside, but she is not completely sure as she

panicked, closed the windows and doors of the house and began to pray."82

Diagram 1

Diagram 2: Diagram of the phenomenon seen by the crew of the Spanish Navy corvette Atrevida.

Diagram 1: The transparent sphere with two tall occupants seen by a medical doctor and two other witnesses. From the declassified file of the Spanish Air Force. Courtesy of Antonio Hunneus.

Because of the strange nature of the CE-III, the Investigative Adjutant had reservations accepting it. He remarked that:

"We should forcefully consider the VERY PROBABLE [sic] circumstance that

both witnesses, facing the presence of an unusual phenomenon in the sky,

narrated what their 'minds' made them see, mutually influencing each other. This

Investigative Adjutant doesn't have the slightest doubt about their seriousness and

sincerity. They told what they unquestionably 'believed' to have seen."83

The Adjutant's final conclusion, however, was that what the crew of the corvette Atrevida and many other witnesses observed in the sky on the night on June 22, was indeed an "Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon." It is important to note that this incident was neither the first nor the last UFO report investigated officially in the Canary Islands. On November 19, 1976, the Commanding General of the Canaries' Air Zone, Gen. Carlos Dols de Espejo, and his aides observed first-hand another large halo while flying on an Air Force T-12 transport plane. The crew of a Spanish Navy training ship and the personnel at the Gando Air Base also reported the phenomenon. The Investigative Adjutant in that case concluded his report:

"If we study as a whole the three reports issued up to the present (1/75, 1/76, and

2/76), we should have to think seriously of the necessity of considering the

possibility of accepting the hypothesis that a craft of unknown origin, propelled by

an equally unknown energy, is moving freely over the skies in the Canaries."84


  1. Benítez, J.J., OVNIS: Documentos Oficiales del Gobierno Español, Barcelona, Plaza & Janes, 1977.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Deposition No. B-07 of the Captain of Corvette in the Spanish Air Force file; English translation by Gordon Creighton, Flying Saucer Review, Vol. 23, No. 3, 1977.
  4. Adjutant's Report, Las Palmas Aerial Sector, July 16, 1976.
  5. Deposition No. A-01 by Dr. Francisco Padrón León in the Spanish Air Force file.
  6. Deposition No. A-02 by taxi driver and No. B-05 by woman in Galdar, in the Spanish Air Force file.
  7. Adjutant's Report, ibid.
  8. Benítez, J.J., "Informe 02/76 de las Fuerzas Aéreas españolas," Mundo Desconocido, Barcelona, September

1979; quoted in Huneeus, Antonio, "Top Spanish General sees UFO", The News World, New York, December 5, 1981.

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One of the best documented UFO-aircraft incidents took place over the skies of Tehran, Iran, on the night of September 18-19, 1976, when a UFO was observed flying over the capital's restricted airspace. Two U.S.-made F-4 Phantom II jet fighters of the Imperial Iranian Air Force were scrambled, but as the pilots closed in on the target, their communications and weapons systems were suddenly jammed. The incident was confirmed by high ranking officers of the Iranian Air Force and later documented by several agencies of the U.S. military.

Lt. General Azarbarzin, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Operations of the Imperial Iranian Air Force, confirmed in a 1977 interview the strong electromagnetic effect experienced by the two F-4s:

"That is true. They both were scrambled and they locked on the target but they

received a very strong jamming. And then they lost almost every avionics system

they had on the airplane... The jets couldn't fire their missiles because they had

very strong jamming... this technology it [UFO] was using for jamming was

something we haven't had before and we don't have it. It doesn't exist because it

was a very wide band and could jam different bands, different frequencies at the

same time. It's very unusual."85

General Nader Yousefi, Base Operations commander and the number three man in the Imperial Iranian Air Force, authorized the scramble mission and was also an eyewitness, as described in a recent TV interview:

"I put down my phone [with the Control Tower] and I ran to my balcony to see if I

can see that object. I saw a big star among the other stars, which it was at least

twice as large as the normal stars... It was around 12 miles [19 km.], we lost

communication and I heard nothing from the pilots, so I was so scared what's

going to happen and what happened to the pilots. I asked from the tower

controller to tell them to continue their mission and see if they can get more

information from the flying object... and it [UFO] was coming toward them, they

try to shoot them down, when they squeezed the trigger it didn't work and the

trigger was inoperative, they couldn't shoot the missiles."86

The sequence of events can be reconstructed from both Iranian sources and declassified U.S. intelligence documents:

Between 10:30 and 11:15 p.m. on September 18, several calls were received by the Control Tower at Mehrabad Airport, reporting an unknown object hovering 1,000 feet (300 m.) above the ground in the northern section of Tehran. The night shift supervisor, Hossain Perouzi, initially didn't pay too much attention. The radar system was turned off since it was under repair. After he received the fourth telephone call at 11:15 p.m., Perouzi went to the terrace next to the tower and observed the UFO with binoculars:

"Suddenly I saw it. It was rectangular in shape, probably seven to eight meters [24

to 27 ft.] long and about two meters [7 ft.] wide. From later observations I made, I

would say it was probably cylindrical. The two ends were pulsating with a whitish

blue color. Around the mid-section of the cylinder there was this small red light

that kept going around in a circle... I was amazed. I didn't know what to think.

There definitely was a very strange object there in the sky right over Tehran."87

At 12:30 a.m. on September 19, Perouzi called the Air Force Command post to report the UFO. The Base Commander, in turn, called General Yousefi, who authorized the scramble of an F-4 Phantom jet from Shahrokhi AFB to investigate. The first scramble is summarized in a "Memorandum for Record" from the U.S. Defense Attaché Office (DAO) in Tehran:

"The F-4 took off at 01:30 a.m. and proceeded to a point about 40 nm [45 statute

miles or 75 km.] North of Tehran. Due to its brilliance the object was easily visible

from 70 miles [110 km.] away. As the F-4 approached a range of 25 nm [29

statute miles or 46 km.], he lost all instrumentation and communications (UHF

and Intercom). He broke off the intercept and headed back to Shahrokhi. When the

F-4 turned away from the object and apparently was no longer a threat to it, the

aircraft regained all instrumentation and communications."88

At 01:40 a.m., Gen. Yousefi authorized a second F-4 scramble piloted by Lt. Jafari, who quickly established radar contact with the UFO. The DAO Memorandum describes the events of the second scramble:

"The size of the radar return was comparable to that of a [Boeing] 707 tanker. The

visual size of the object was difficult to discern because of its intense brilliance.

The light that it gave off was that of flashing strobe lights arranged in a

rectangular pattern of alternating blue, green, red and orange, in color. The

sequence of the lights was so fast that all the colors could be seen at once.

"The object and the pursuing F-4 continued a course to the south of Tehran when

another brightly lighted object, estimated to be .5 to .33 the apparent size of the

moon, came out of the original object. The second object headed straight toward

the F-4 at a very fast rate. The pilot attempted to fire an AIM-9 missile at the

object, but at that instant his weapons control panel went off and he lost all

communications (UHF and Interphone). At this point, the pilot initiated a turn and

negative G dive to get away."89

The aircraft electric system went back to normal once the F-4 reached a certain distance from the UFO. The small object returned to the primary object, but a second one emerged and flew toward the ground. Gen. Yousefi observed the landing from the balcony of his Tehran residence:

"He went down and landed on the ground and now it is a communication between

the mothership and that small flying object, and it shows the lights between those

two is connected."90

More strange events were still reported that night. A UFO seemed to follow the F-4 as it approached the runway, and a civil airliner experienced communications failure but did not see anything. The DAO Memorandum describes the investigation early that morning:

"During daylight, the F-4 crew was taken out to the area in a helicopter where the

object apparently had landed. Nothing was noticed at the spot where they thought

the object landed (a dry lake bed), but as they circled off to the West of the area they picked up a very noticeable beeper signal. At that point, where the return was

the loudest was a small house with a garden. They landed and asked the people

within if they had noticed anything strange last night. The people talked about a

loud noise and a very bright light like lightning."91

The trail ends there. Although the Attaché Office added that the area had been checked for possible radiation and that "more information will be forwarded when it becomes available," the details surrounding the beeper signal and the ground witnesses have not been released. A report published in a 1978 classified U.S. military journal, MIJI Quarterly, basically repeats the facts contained in the original DAO message, although its author begins the article with this interesting remark:

"Sometime in his career, each pilot can expect to encounter strange, unusual

happenings which will never be adequately or entirely explained by logic or

subsequent investigation. The following article recounts such an episode as

reported by two F-4 Phantom crews of the Imperial Iranian Air Force during late

1976. No additional information or explanation of the strange events has been

forthcoming; the story will be filed away and probably forgotten, but it makes

interesting, and possibly disturbing, reading."92

Recent taped testimonies by Iranian Air Force Generals Nader Yousefi and Mahmoud Sabahat, now retired and living in exile in the United States, reveal that Gen. John Secord, then chief of the USAF mission in Iran, attended a high level briefing with Iranian authorities and the pilots and air traffic controllers involved in the incident. A Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) "Evaluation" summarized the salient features of the Iranian incident:

"An outstanding report. This case is a classic which meets all the criteria

necessary for a valid study of the UFO phenomenon:

"a) The object was seen by multiple witnesses from different locations (i.e.

Shemiram, Mehrabad and the dry lake bed) and viewpoints (both airborne and

from the ground).

"b) The credibility of many of the witnesses was high (an Air Force General,

qualified aircrews, and experienced radar operators).

"c) Visual sightings were confirmed by radar.

"d) Similar electromagnetic effects (EME) were reported by three separate


"e) There were physiological effects on some crew members (i.e. loss of night vision due to the brightness of the object).

"f) An inordinate amount of maneuverability was displayed by the UFOs."93


  1. Cathcart, John, transcript of interview with Lt. Gen. Azarbarzin, January 4, 1977, filed with the Fund for UFO Research.
  2. International Noor Productions, Sherman Oaks, California, videotaped interview with Gen. Yousefi, shown in the TV program Sightings, 1994.
  3. Petrozian, transcript of interview with Hosain Perouzi, December 22, 1976, filed with the Fund for UFO Research.
  4. Mody, Lt. Colonel Olin, USAF, Memorandum for Record, "Subject: UFO Sighting," undated; the text appears virtually identical to an "unclassified" message from the Defense Attaché Office in Tehran, September 23, 1976.
  5. Ibid.
  6. International Noor Productions, ibid.
  7. Mody, ibid.
  8. Shields, Captain Henry. USAFE, "Now You See It, Now You Don't." United States Air Force Security Service, MIJI Quarterly, October 1978.
  9. Defense Information Report Evaluation, DIA, October 12, 1976; reprinted in The UFO Cover-up, by Lawrence Fawcett & Barry Greenwood, Simon & Schuster, 1992.

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Several UFO incidents, including multiple-witness sightings by military personnel and ground traces with above normal radioactive readings, were reported in late December 1980 at the Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk, England. The site was near two then-important NATO bases leased to the U.S. Air Force: RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge. Although details and dates reported by various investigators in the past decade are somewhat confusing, there is an official record of the case in a memorandum to the British Ministry of Defence (MOD), signed by USAF Lt. Col. Charles I. Halt, Bentwaters Deputy Base Commander:

"SUBJECT: Unexplained Lights


"1. Early in the morning of 27 December, 1980 (approximately 0300L, or 3 a.m.

local time), two USAF security police patrolmen saw unusual lights outside the

back gate at RAF Woodbridge. Thinking an aircraft might have crashed or been

forced down, they called for permission to go outside the gate to investigate. The

on-duty flight chief responded and allowed three patrolmen to proceed on foot.

The individuals reported seeing a strange glowing object in the forest. The object

was described as being metallic in appearance and triangular in shape,

approximately two to three meters [7 to 10 ft.] across the base and approximately

two meters [6.5 ft.] high. It illuminated the entire forest with a white light. The

object itself had a pulsing red light on top and a bank of blue lights underneath.

The object was hovering or on legs. As the patrolmen approached the object, it

maneuvered through the trees and disappeared. At this time, the animals on a

nearby farm went into a frenzy. The object was briefly sighted approximately an

hour later near the back gate."94

In addition to Col. Halt's summary, testimony was provided by the USAF patrolmen involved in the case. Law enforcement airman John Burroughs wrote an official deposition of his experience after spotting some lights while on patrol near Woodbridge's East Gate:

"We stopped the truck where the road stopped and went on foot. We crossed a

small open field that lead into the trees where the lights were coming from and as

we were coming into the trees there were strange noises, like a woman was

screaming, also the woods lit up and you could hear the farm animals making a

lot of noise and there was a lot of movement in the woods. All three of us hit the

ground and whatever it was started moving back towards the open field and after

a minute or two we got up and moved into the trees and the lights moved out into

the open field."95

Burroughs drew a sketch of the object in his official statement. (see sketch below) In a 1990 interview, Burroughs described the object as:

"A bank of lights, differently colored lights that threw off an image of like-a-craft.

I never saw anything metallic or anything hard."

Yet the most interesting part of his testimony is not the presence of the lights, but rather his sensation of an altered state of consciousness:

"Everything seemed like it was different when we were in that clearing. The sky

didn't seem the same... it was like a weird feeling, like everything seemed slower

than you were actually doing, and all of a sudden when the object was gone,

everything was like normal again."96

The testimonies of Burroughs and the other members of the USAF security patrol were confirmed the following day by the finding of ground traces with radioactive readings in the forest. Col. Halt summarized the events in his memorandum to the MOD:

"2. The next day, three depressions 1.5 feet [.5 m.] deep and 7 feet [2 m.] in

diameter were found where the object had been sighted on the ground. The

following night (29 December, 1980) the area was checked for radiation.

Beta/gamma readings of 0.1 milliroentgen were recorded with peak readings in

the three depressions and near the center of the triangle formed by the

depressions. A nearby tree had moderate (.05-.07) readings on the side of the tree

toward the depressions."97

Col. Halt, moreover, became directly involved in the UFO incidents when he led a second patrol into the forest two nights later. He made an audio tape recording describing live the puzzling events of that night. While the tape runs for about 20 minutes, it covers a span of over three hours, so there are obviously cuts in between. The tape describes their efforts to carry on the radiation readings quoted above and, as the night goes on, the voices become increasingly excited as strange lights appear in the forest:

"OK, we're looking at the thing, we're probably about two or three hundred yards.

It looks like an eye winking at you. It's still moving from side to side and when you

put the starscope [a night vision device] on it, it's like this thing has a hollow

center, a dark center. It's a bit like a pupil of an eye looking at you, winking, and

the flash is so bright through the starscope that it almost burns your eye."98

Sketch with notes by USAF law enforcement patrolman John Burroughs of the UFO he encountered at the Rendlesham Forest after Christmas 1980. Courtesy of Antonio Huneeus.

Col. Halt summarized these events in the third part of his memo to the MOD:

"3. Later in the night, a red sun-like light was seen through the trees. It moved

about and pulsed. At one point, it appeared to throw off glowing particles and

then broke into five separate white objects and then disappeared. Immediately

thereafter, three star-like objects were noticed in the sky, two objects to the north

and one to the south, all of which were about 10 degrees off the horizon. The

objects moved rapidly in sharp angular movements and displayed red, green and

blue lights. The objects to the north appeared to be elliptical through an 8-12

power lens. They then turned to full circles. The objects to the north remained in

the sky for an hour or more. The object to the south was visible for two or three

hours and beamed down a stream of light from time to time. Numerous

individuals, including the undersigned, witnessed the activities in paragraphs 2 &


Charles Halt discussed the case again after retiring from the USAF with the rank of full colonel. He told the TV program Unsolved Mysteries in 1991:

"I was very skeptical. I found what allegedly had taken place hard to believe, and

I was really going to debunk it quite frankly; and as events unfolded I became

more and more concerned that there maybe is something to this... I kept telling

myself that there had to be some type of explanation for it, but I certainly couldn't

find one and even to this day I can't explain what happened."

Col. Halt alluded to the military implications of the event when describing beams from the object pointing to the weapons storage area a Woodbridge:

"We could very clearly see it... I noticed other beams of light coming down from

the same object falling on different places on the base. My boss was standing in

his front yard in Woodbridge and he could see the beams of light falling down,

and the people in the weapons storage area and other places on the base also

reported the lights."100

Many accounts and commentaries have been published on the Rendlesham Forest or Bentwaters incidents. Some, like the appearance of ghost-like entities, are still enveloped by controversy. The Rendlesham events have been mentioned in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and looked into by Nebraska Senator James Exon.101

A re-examination of the Rendlesham Forest UFO incidents was undertaken recently by Nick Pope during his 3-year tour as head of the MOD Secretariat Air Staff (AS2) office, which inherited the UFO reporting function from DS8. Mr. Pope checked with radiation experts as to the significance of the 0.1 milliroentgen of beta/gamma readings taken by Col. Halt's patrol:

"I went to an organization called the Defense Radiological Protection Service,

which is a unit attached to the Institute of Naval Medicine near Gosport,

Hampshire, and they told me that the levels of radiation reported by Col. Halt in

that memo were ten times what they should be in that area compared to their

background samples."102

British author and researcher Ralph Noyes was for four years the head of Defense Secretariat 8 (DS8), retiring in 1977 with the rank of Under Secretary of State. He wrote regarding this case:

"Our worried skeptical colleagues have already had to advance an extraordinary

hotch-potch of explanations: space debris, a bright meteor, a police car, drink

and drugs, a lighthouse, other lights on the coast, dear old Sirius.

"Occam, you will remember, urged us to cut away unnecessary complications in

our attempts to explain phenomena and to look for the simplest explanation. The

simplest explanation of Halt's memorandum is that he was reporting - as precisely

as wondrous events permit - what he and 'numerous individuals' encountered on

December 29/30, together with such facts as he had been able to ascertain from

his subordinates about the occurrences of December 26/27."103


  1. Halt, Lt. Col. Charles I., USAF, Memorandum to MOD, "SUBJECT: Unexplained Lights," January 13,1980.
  2. Huneeus, Antonio, "The Testimony of John Burroughs," Fate, September 1993.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Halt, C. I., ibid.
  5. Transcript of Col. Halt's audio recording published in Good, T., Above Top Secret, Quill, William Morrow, 1988.
  6. Halt, C. I., ibid.

FOOTNOTES94. Halt, Lt. Col. Charles I., USAF, Memorandum to MOD, "SUBJECT: Unexplained Lights," January 13,1980.95. Huneeus, Antonio, "The Testimony of John Burroughs," Fate, September 1993.96. Ibid.97. Halt, C. I., ibid.98. Transcript of Col. Halt's audio recording published in Good, T., Above Top Secret, Quill, William Morrow,1988.99. Halt, C. I., ibid.100. Interview with Col. (Ret.) Halt, Unsolved Mysteries, "U.S. military officers discuss a 1980 sighting of anunidentified flying craft near a U.S. air base in England," originally broadcast on NBC-TV on September 18,1991.101. See Butler, Street & Randles, Sky Crash, Neville Spearman, 1984; Randles, J., From Out of the Blue, GlobalCommunications, 1991; "The Bentwaters Incident," articles by Jenny Randles, Ray Boeche and AntonioHuneeus, Fate, September 1993.102. Pope, Nick, lecture at the New Hampshire MUFON Conference, Portsmouth, September 10, 1995.103. Noyes, Ralph, "UFO lands in Suffolk - and that's Official," chapter in Timothy Good's anthology, The UFOReport 1990, Sidgewick & Jackson, 1989.100. Interview with Col. (Ret.) Halt, Unsolved Mysteries, "U.S. military officers discuss a 1980 sighting of an

unidentified flying craft near a U.S. air base in England," originally broadcast on NBC-TV on September 18, 1991.


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Diagram: The UFO landing at Trans-en-Provence with insert of craft seen by farmer Nicolai. Courtesy of CNES/SEPRA

On the afternoon of January 8, 1981, a strange craft landed on a farm near the village of Trans-en-Provence in the Var region in southeastern France. Physical traces left on the ground were collected by the Gendarmerie within 24 hours and later analyzed in several French government laboratories. Extensive evidence of anomalous activity was detected.

The case was investigated by the Groupe d'Etudes des Phénomènes Aérospatiaux Non-identifiés (GEPAN), or Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena Study Group, established in 1977 within the National Center for Space Studies (CNES) in Toulouse, the French counterpart of NASA. (The functions of GEPAN were reorganized in 1988 into the Service d'Expertise des Phénomènes de Rentrées Atmosphériques or SEPRA). The primary investigator was Jean-Jacques Velasco, the current head of SEPRA.

The witness was the farmer Renato Nicolai, 55, on whose property the UFO landed and then took-off almost immediately. Thinking that it was a military experimental device, Nicolai notified the local gendarmes on the following day. The gendarmes interviewed Nicolai and collected soil and plant samples from the landing site within 24 hours of the occurrence, notifying GEPAN on January 12 as part of a cooperation agreement for UFO investigation between the two agencies. Further collection of samples and measurements of the site were undertaken by the GEPAN team, and the samples were thoroughly analyzed by several government laboratories.

The first detailed report on the case was published by GEPAN in 1983 in its "Technical Note No. 16, Inquiry 81/01, Analysis of a Trace." Nicolai's testimony to the police was simple and straightforward:

"My attention was drawn to a small noise, a kind of little whistling. I turned

around and I saw, in the air, a ship which was just about the height of a pine tree

at the edge of my property. This ship was not turning but was descending toward

the ground. I only heard a slight whistling. I saw no flames, neither underneath or

around the ship.

"While the ship was continuing to descend, I went closer to it, heading toward a

little cabin. I was able to see very well above the roof. From there I saw the ship

standing on the ground.

"At that moment, the ship began to emit another whistling, a constant, consistent

whistling. Then it took off and once it was at the height of the trees, it took off

rapidly... toward the northeast. As the ship began to lift off, I saw beneath it four

openings from which neither smoke nor flames were emitting. The ship picked up

a little dust when it left the ground.

"I was at that time about 30 meters [100 feet] from the landing site. I thereafter

walked towards the spot and I noticed a circle about two meters [7 feet] in

diameter. At certain spots on the curve of the circle, there were tracks (or traces).

"The ship was in the form of two saucers upside down, one against the other. It

must have been about 1.5 meters [5 feet] high. It was the color of lead. The ship

had a border or type of brace around its circumference. Underneath the brace, as

it took off, I saw two kinds of round pieces which could have been landing gear or

feet. There were also two circles which looked like trap doors. The two feet, or

landing gear, extended about 20 centimeters [8 inches] beneath the body of the

whole ship."104 (See diagram and photograph)

The samples of soil and wild alfalfa collected from the landing site, as well as the control samples from varying distances from the epicenter, were subjected to a number of analyses: physico-chemical analysis at the SNEAP laboratory, electronic diffraction studies at Toulouse University, mass spectrometry by ion bombardment at the University of Metz, and biochemical analysis of the vegetable samples at the National Institute of Agronomy Research (INRA), among others.105

The Trans-en-Provence case is very likely the most thoroughly scientifically documented CEII (Close Encounter of the Second Kind) ever investigated. Some of the scientific findings included:

"Traces were still perceptible 40 days after the event.

"There was a strong mechanical pressure forced (probably the result of a heavy weight) on the surface.

"A thermatic heating of the soil, perhaps consecutive to or immediately following the shock, the value of which did not exceed 600 degrees.

"The chlorophyll pigment in the leaf samples was weakened from 30 to 50 percent... The young leaves withstood the most serious losses, evolving toward the content and composition more characteristic of old leaves."

"The action of nuclear irradiation does not seem to be analogous with the energy source implied with the observed phenomenon; on the other hand, a specific intensification of the transformation of chlorophyll... could be tied to the action of a type of electric energy field.

"On the biochemical level, the analysis was made on the entirety of the factors of photosynthesis, lipids, sugars and amino acids. There were many differences between those samples further from the spot of the landing and those that were closer to the spot.

"It was possible to qualitatively show the occurrence of an important event which brought with it deformations of the terrain caused by mass, mechanics, a heating effect, and perhaps certain transformations and deposits of trace minerals.

"We cannot give a precise and unique interpretation to this remarkable combination of results. We can state that there is, nonetheless, another confirmation of a very significant event which happened on this spot."106

Photograph: Ground traces found in Trans-en-Provence in January 1981. Courtesy of CNES/SEPRA.

Most of the puzzling biochemical mutations were discovered by Michel Bounias of INRA. Describing the young leaves to a journalist from France-Soir magazine, Bounias stated in 1983 that:

"From an anatomical and physiological point, they [leaves] had all the

characteristics of their age, but they presented the biochemical characteristics of

leaves of an advanced age: old leaves! And that doesn't resemble anything that we know on our planet."107

In a technical report published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, Bounias concluded that:

"It was not the aim of the author to identify the exact nature of the phenomenon

observed on the 8th of January 1981 at Trans-en-Provence. But it can reasonably

be concluded that something unusual did occur that might be consistent, for

instance, with an electromagnetic source of stress. The most striking coincidence

is that at the same time, French physicist J.P. Petit was plotting the equations that

led, a few years later (Petit, 1986), to the evidence that flying objects could be

propelled at very high speeds without turbulence nor shock waves using the

magnetohydrodynamic effects of Laplace force action!" 108 (See chart 1.)

Chart 1: Summary and Conclusion of Trans-en-Provence case. Courtesy of CNES/SEPRA.

Out of a total of 2,500 reports collected officially in France since 1977 and investigated by GEPAN, this case and three other ground trace incidents (where strange ground traces were left after alleged UFO landings) continue to puzzle the original investigator, Jean-Jacques Velasco. At a meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE) in Glasgow in 1994, Velasco summarized the "four noteworthy cases" with "effects observed on vegetation": (See chart 2.)

Chart 2: Four UFO cases with physiological signs on vegetation. Courtesy of CNES/SEPRA.

"These cases have all been the subject of enquiries by the police, then GEPAN or SEPRA. In each of these situations, a UAP [Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena] was observed in direct relation in a zone perturbed by the phenomenon.

"1. 'CHRISTELLE' case of 27/11/1979: Persistence of flattened grass several days after the observation. The samples taken and analyzed by a plant biology laboratory at Toulouse University did not give unequivocal evidence of chemical or biological disturbance of the samples taken from the marked area relative to controls. A study of the mechanical properties of grass tissue subjected to strong mechanical pressure showed that the duration is a more important factor than the mass.

"2. 'TRANS EN PROVENCE' case of 8/01/81: Apparition of a circular print in a crown shape after observation of a metallic object resting on the ground. The vegetation, a kind of wild alfalfa, showed withering of the dried leaves in the central part of the print. The analyses revealed damage of a specific kind affecting the functional relationships of the photosynthetic system.

"3. 'AMARANTE' case of 21/08/82: Severe drying of the stems and leaves on a bush (amaranth), punctuated by the appearance of raised blades of grass before the phenomenon disappeared. Biochemical analyses revealed that no reported outside agent could be the cause of such effects. Only a corona effect due to powerful electromagnetic fields could partially explain the observations.

"4. 'JOE LE TAXI' case of 7/09/87: Leaf damage on a tree (birch) and functional disturbance of the photosynthetic system after an intense light and sound phenomenon had been observed. This case demonstrated the importance of good sample collection and preservation for biochemical analysis."109

Of these four cases, Trans-en-Provence still remains the best documented one. Velasco concluded that, after years of investigations:

"The laboratory conclusion that seems to best cover the effects observed and

analyzed is that of a powerful emission of electromagnetic fields, pulsed or not, in

the microwave frequency range." 110

SEPRA's latest thrust in the investigation has centered on "experimentally reproducing in the laboratory, continuous and pulsed emissions of microwave fields at various powers and frequencies so as to verify biochemical effects on plants." While the studies are still preliminary, Velasco concluded his SSE presentation with the following statement:

"However these initial studies carried out to validate the hypothesis of microwave

action on the biological activity of plants in relation with UAPs need to be

extended if we are to understand the mechanisms involved at molecular scale.

Similarly, an investigation of the frequency range, the power and the exposure

time would be useful to confirm the hypothesis of microwaves combined with other

fields of electromagnetic forces coming into play in the propulsion of UAPs."111


104. GEPAN, Note Technique No. 16, Enquête 81/01, Analyse d'une Trace, March 1, 1983.

105. Velasco, Jean-Jacques, "Report on the Analysis of Anomalous Physical Traces: The 1981 Trans-en-Provence UFO Case," Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 4, No. 1, 1990.

106. GEPAN, ibid.

107. Roussel, Robert, Les Vérités Cachées de l'Enquête Officielle, Albin Michel, 1994; quoted in Huneeus, A., "The French government UFO dossier," Fate, October 1994.

108. Bounias, Michel, "Biochemical Traumatology as a Potent Tool for Identifying Actual Stresses Elicited by Unidentified Sources: Evidence for Plant Metabolic Disorders in Correlation with a UFO Landing," Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 4, No. 1, 1990.

109. Velasco, J-J., "Action Of Electromagnetic Fields In The Microwave Range On Vegetation," paper presented at a meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration in Glasgow, Scotland, August 1994.

110. Ibid.

111. Ibid.

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As many as twenty UFOs were seen and tracked by ground radar and at least six airplanes during the night of May 19, 1986 over several states in southeastern Brazil. Unidentified radar returns were tracked by airports in São Paulo and the Integrated Air Defense & Air Traffic Control Center (CINDACTA) in Brasilia. Two F-5E and three Mirage jet fighters were scrambled from Santa Cruz AFB in Sao Paulo State, and Anápolis AFB in Goias State.

The case was discussed openly by high ranking government 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 jet, when he and the pilot saw and pursued unidentified objects for about 25 minutes. The incident was covered widely in the Brazilian media, 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.

The Minister of Aeronautics, Brigadier General Otávio Moreira Lima, was very outspoken:

"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."112

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), was equally candid:

"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 [the

Commander Brito VASP airliner radar-visual incident in 1982]. 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."113

Aeronautics Commission report was not released. However, the accounts of air force pilots and radar controllers were published widely in the press and later studied by Brazilian researchers.

A comprehensive report was made by Basílio Baranoff, an airline captain, member of the Aerospace Technical Center, and consultant for the Brazilian UFO organization CBPDV. Baranoff provided a chronology of events for the night of May 19, 1986:

"6:30 p.m. local time - First visual sightings by control tower personnel at the São

José dos Campos airport in São Paulo State. Controllers notice two intense lights

aligned with the runway axis at 330 degrees azimuth and approximately 15 km.

[10 m.] distance from the tower.

"7:00 p.m. - The control towers in São Paulo and Brazilia confirm to São José that they have three primary targets on their screens, and that there are no scheduled aircraft in those areas.

"8:00 p.m. - CINDACTA (Brasilia) detects up to eight targets (echoes) on its


"8:30 p.m. - A new object is observed with binoculars at the São José tower; it

shows defined edges and red-orange color; it approaches the tower and then


"9:00 p.m. - The oil company Xingu executive jet with Col. Silva requests landing

conditions at São José. Both Silva and Commander Alcir Pereira, the Xingu pilot,

confirm visually the luminous objects at 330 degrees azimuth. The Xingu jet

attempts to follow the UFOs for 10 minutes.

"9:10 p.m. - The Xingu jet returns for landing when a new, large luminous object

heads toward the aircraft. The São Paulo tower confirms two echoes: the Xingu

and an unknown, which disappears from the screen 15 minutes later.

"9:20 p.m. - The Air Control Center in Brasilia (ACC-BR) informs the Air Defense Command about the situation.

"9:25 p.m. - The Xingu returns for a second landing attempt when the São Paulo

tower reports yet another object at 180 degrees south, which is observed and

followed by Commander Pereira.

"9:30 p.m. - The Xingu returns for a third landing attempt when ACC-BR reports

the appearance of new objects. The Xingu, now at 3,000 meters [10,000 ft.] of

altitude, makes visual contact with three luminous objects flying low over

Petrobrás refineries and heading towards Serra do Mar. The Xingu finally lands

in São José dos Campos.

"9:40 p.m. - More visual sightings of a round object at 320 degrees azimuth.

"9:50 p.m. - A luminous yellow object surrounded by smaller lights is observed at

110 degrees azimuth.

"10:23 p.m. - The first F-5E jet fighter, piloted by Air Force Lt. Kleber Caldas

Marinho, is scrambled from Santa Cruz AFB in Rio State.

"10:45 p.m. - The second F-5E jet, piloted by Captain Brisola Jordão, is

scrambled from Santa Cruz. The first Mirage F-103, armed with Sidewinder and

Matra missiles, is scrambled from Anápolis AFB in Goias State.

"10:55 p.m. - Anápolis AFB detects the objects on radar. The Mirage piloted by

Captain Viriato does not make visual contact with the UFO, but a target is

detected on its onboard radar... Captain Viriato later explained at the press

conference in Brasilia that he was chasing the UFO 'at 1,350 km./hr. [850 mph],

approaching the object up to a distance of 6 miles [9.5 km.]. The object was

heading up front and moving from one side to the other (zig-zagging) on my radar

scope. Suddenly, the blip disappeared from my radar scope.'

"11:00 p.m - The second Mirage F-103 is scrambled from Anápolis.

"11:15 p.m. - Lt. Kleber's F-5E makes visual contact with a ball of light and

chases the UFO at Mach 1.1 (1,320 km./hr. or 850 mph)... Kleber later declared at

the press conference: 'I had one visual contact and one contact with my aircraft

radar of something that looked like a luminous point, which was 12 miles [19 km.]

in front of me, a distance confirmed by ground radar. The object was moving from

left to right and then began to climb... [it] was at 10 km [6 mi.] of altitude and

flying over 1,000 km./hr. [600 mph]. I followed it up to 200 miles [320 km.] over

the Atlantic Ocean [limit of Brazil's territorial waters]. I wasn't afraid because I

like the unknown.'

"11:17 p.m. - The third Mirage jet is scrambled from Anápolis AFB.

"11:20 p.m. - Captain Jordão's F-5E establishes radar contact... At the press

conference a few days later, he stated: 'Near to São José dos Campos, radar

detected several targets, 10 to 13 targets, at a distance of 20 miles [32 km.]. The

sky was clear but I didn't see anything. Ground radar informed me that the objects

were closing in: 20 miles, 15, 10, 5, suddenly there were 13 objects behind my

aircraft, 6 on one side and 7 on the other, during several minutes. After I

maneuvered the aircraft, the objects had disappeared.' [Captain Jordão flew for 1

hour 20 minutes.]

"11:36 p.m. - The third Mirage is scrambled from Anápolis AFB.

"1:00 a.m. (May 20) - By this time all jet fighters have returned to their bases."114

These are the basic known facts surrounding the multiple UFO jet scramble incidents over southeastern Brazil on the night of May 19-20, 1986. It is noteworthy that Captain Baranoff added that "two nights after, ten to eleven unidentified luminous objects returned for a new round over São José dos Campos; they were observed visually and detected by the São Paulo, ACC-BR and by CINDACTA 1 radars." This time there was no official confirmation from Air Force authorities.115

Lacking the final Ministry Commission report with all the pertinent data, it is difficult to make a final conclusion about this case. Many hypotheses were offered in the Brazilian media by skeptical astronomers and scientists, ranging from a meteor shower, a reflection of the full moon and ball lightning, to radar malfunction, space debris and spy planes. Most of these explanations seem quite insufficient to explain the events of May 19. One of the more plausible was offered by British space researcher Geoffrey Perry. According to Perry, the Soviet space station Salyut-7 ejected several boxes of debris on that night, which re-entered the earth's atmosphere around central-western Brazil. The re-entry of NASA's Solarwind satellite was also discussed in the Brazilian press.116

However, Brigadier José Cavalcanti from Brazil's Air Defense Command, was not impressed with the Salyut-7 and Solarwind explanations. He told the weekly magazine Veja:

"It could have been space debris, but it wasn't only that. A metallic box with space

debris can be detected by radar, but it will always fall in the same direction and at

constant velocity. That was not the case of what was seen in Brazil, where the

objects detected by radar had speeds that varied from very slow to extremely


Another interesting view is the final comment in a short message from the USDAO (U.S. Defense Attaché Office) in Rio to DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) on the subject, entitled "BAF [Brazilian Air Force] has a Close Encounter of the First Kind":

"COMMENT: [Censored] While RO [Reporting Officer] does not believe in

UFO's or all the hoopla that surrounds previous reporting, there is too much here

to be ignored. Three visual sightings and positive radar contact from three

different types of radar systems, leads one to believe that something arrived over

Brazil the night of 19 May."118


112. Covo, Claudeir, "Maio de 86 - A Mobilizaçao No Céu Brasileiro," o assunto é... UFOLOGIA, No. 14, Editora Trés, Sao Paulo, 1986; contains transcripts of all the statements by military officers at the May 23, 1986 press conference.

113. Ibid.

114. Baranoff, Basílio, "Casuistica UFO - OVNIs em Maio de 1986", PSI-UFO, No. 4, CBPDV, Campo Grande, Jan./Feb. 1987. CBPDV stands for Centro Brasileiro para Pesquisas de Discos Voadores.

115. Ibid.

116. Huneeus, Antonio, "UFO Alert in Brazil," UFO Review, New York, 1986.

117. Veja, "Lixo espacial - Surgem novas explicações para os OVNIs da FAB," September 10, 1986; English translation in Huneeus, A., ibid.

118. Department of Defense JCS [Joint Chiefs of Staff] Message Center, "Info Report" re "Subject: BAF has a Close Encounter of the First Kind," May 1986.

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Japan Air Lines Flight 1628 was near the end of the Iceland-to-Anchorage leg of its flight from Paris to Tokyo with a cargo of wine, when its flight crew saw and tracked three unidentified objects. On the night of November 17, 1986, the sighting of at least one of the UFOs was initially confirmed by FAA and U.S. military ground radar.

According to Captain Kenju Terauchi, First Officer Takanori Tamefuji and Flight Engineer Yoshio Tsukuda, two small lights and one huge lighted object were in sight on their radar for more than a half hour. They watched as they flew 350 miles (550 km.) southward across Alaska from Ft. Yukon toward Anchorage.

Drawings by Captain Terauchi and the crew of JAL flight 1628 of the UFOs they observed over Alaska in November 1986. Courtesy of FAA.

Captain Terauchi, a veteran of 29 years flying, said "It was a very big one--two times bigger than an aircraft carrier." (see drawing above) He changed altitude and made turns, with FAA permission, in an effort to identify the objects which continued to follow him. He said the objects moved quickly and stopped suddenly. At one time, the light from the large object was so bright that it lit the airplane's cockpit and Captain Terauchi said he could feel heat from it on his face. He added that he had been watching the UFO for six minutes before notifying anyone on the ground; this would make the start of the sighting about 6:13 p.m.

The FAA at first confirmed the claims that several of its radar traffic controllers tracked the 747 and the large object, and that U.S. Air Force radar did as well. Later official statements hedged on this, and tried to ascribe the radar targets to weather effects. At the end, however, an FAA spokesman stated, "We are accepting the descriptions of the crew, but are unable to support what they saw."119

The summary of the communication between JAL Captain Terauchi and ground controllers was published by the Federal Aviation Administration:

"6:19 p.m. local time - The pilot of JL1628 requested traffic information from the

ZAN (FAA Air Route Traffic Control Center, Anchorage) Sector 15 controller.

"6:26 p.m. - ZAN contacted the Military Regional Operations Control Center

(ROCC), and asked if they were receiving any radar returns near the position of

JL1628. The ROCC advised that they were receiving a primary radar return in

JL1628's 10 o'clock (left-front) position at 8 miles [13 km.].

"6:27 p.m. - The ROCC contacted ZAN to advise they were no longer receiving

any radar returns in the vicinity of JL1628.

"6:31 p.m. - JL1628 advised that the 'plane' was 'quite big,' at which time the ZAN

controller approved any course deviations needed to avoid the traffic.

"6:32 p.m. - JL1628 requested and received a descent from FL350 to FL310

(flight level 350 and 310, meaning altitude of 35,000 and 31,000 feet, or 10,500 m.

and 9,500 m.). When asked if the traffic was descending also, the pilot stated it

was descending 'in formation.'

"6:35 p.m. - JL1628 requested and received a heading change to two one zero

(210 degrees, or southwest). The aircraft was now in the vicinity of Fairbanks and

ZAN contacted Fairbanks Approach Control asking if they had any radar returns

near JL1628's position. The Fairbanks Controller advised they did not.

"6:36 p.m. - JL1628 was issued a 360 degree turn and asked to inform ZAN if the

traffic stayed with them.

"6:38 p.m. - The ROCC called ZAN advising they had confirmed a 'flight of two' in

JL1628's position. They advised they had some 'other equipment watching this,'

and one was a primary target only.

"6:39 p.m. - JL1628 told ZAN they no longer had the traffic in sight.

"6:42 p.m. - The ROCC advised it looked as though the traffic had dropped back

and to the right of JL1628, however, they were no longer tracking it.

"6:44 pm.. - JL1628 advised the traffic was now at 9 o'clock (left).

"6:45 p.m. - ZAN issued a 10 degree turn to a northbound United Airlines flight, after pilot concurrence, in an attempt to confirm the traffic.

"6:48 p.m. - JL1628 told ZAN the traffic was now at 7 o'clock (left rear), 8 miles

[13 km.].

"6:50 p.m. - The northbound United flight advised they had the Japan Airlines

flight in sight, against a light background, and could not see any other traffic.

"6:53 p.m. - JL1628 advised that they no longer had contact with the traffic."120

Official statements became increasingly negative as the days passed, casting doubt on the radar confirmation of the visual observations. But at a press conference held by the FAA on March 5, spokesman Paul Steucke stated: "As far as we know, the whole crew are people of integrity and did report what they saw accurately." 121

The JAL case was analyzed by optical physicist Dr. Bruce Maccabee, who divided it into four phases. In the first phase, Captain Terauchi saw some distant lights below and to his left, which seemed to pace the 747. Terauchi initially thought they were military aircraft, but was told by the Control Center that there was no traffic in the area. The second phase was the multiplewitness sighting by the whole crew when the lights moved abruptly in front of the aircraft. Maccabee wrote:

"The multiple-witness sighting of the arrays of lights seems inexplicable. The

sighting cannot have been a hallucination by the whole crew. The lights could not

have been stars or planets. These stars and planets were visible before the 'ships'

appeared in front of the plane and were still visible after the 'ships' had moved

away. There is no natural phenomenon that can account for the rectangular

arrangement of lights in horizontal rows, for the occasional sparking, for the

vertical rectangular dark space between the rows, for the reorientation of the

pairs of arrays from one above the other to one beside the other, for the heat

which the captain felt on his face, and so on."122

The third phase occurred as the "ships" receded and could only be seen as "two dim, pale, white lights," but an echo was picked up by the aircraft on-board radar. While Maccabee concedes that the echo could have been caused by "a temporary (self-repairing) failure" (as suggested by the FAA), he added that "it seems much more likely that there was some object out there."

The last phase is perhaps the most controversial one, as Captain Terauchi was the only witness of the so-called giant spaceship "two times bigger than an aircraft carrier." Maccabee conceded:

"It seems at least plausible that he may have misinterpreted oddly lighted clouds

which the crew had reported to be below the aircraft. Although the several ground

radar returns behind the jet were intriguing, the failure of the radar to show a

continuous track of some unknown primary target makes the radar confirmation

ambiguous at best. Therefore it seems that, at the very least, the last portion of the

sighting is not so convincing as the earlier portions.

"Even if one arbitrarily ignores that latter part of the 'Fantastic Flight of

JAL1628' one is still left with an intriguing sighting of the two 'ships' which paced

the aircraft. It seems, then, that the JAL1628 was accompanied during part of its

flight by at least two TRUFOS (True UFOs)."123

FOOTNOTES 119. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) report, December 29, 1986. 120. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), "Chronological Summary of the Alleged Aircraft Sightings by Japan Airlines Flight 1628, January 6, 1987. 121. Statement by FAA Regional Director, Paul Steucke, at March 5, 1987, press conference in Anchorage, Alaska. See Anchorage Daily News, March 6, 1987.

122. Maccabee, Bruce, "The Fantastic Flight of JAL1628", International UFO Reporter, Vol. 12, No. 2, CUFOS, March/April 1987. 123. Ibid.

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Very little was known about UFO investigations in Russia and the republics of the former USSR during the communist era. UFOs were officially labeled "capitalist propaganda" in the 1950s and 1960s. A few scientists such as Professor Felix Zigel and Yuri Fomin documented UFO incidents, but their results were rarely published and circulated mostly in samizdat form. Ufology began to prosper in the early 1980s when "Commissions on Anomalous Phenomena" were established under the patronage of a few academicians.

Stories of secret military UFO investigations began to spread with glasnost, increasing with the break-up of the USSR. Retired military and intelligence officers were now speaking up and offering documents. One collection, covering a 10-year period of military UFO investigations between 1978 and 1988, was sold by its former director, Colonel Boris Sokolov, to American journalist George Knapp and to ABC News.124 In 1991, the Committee of State Security (KGB) declassified 124 pages of documents of "Cases of Observations of Anomalous Occurrences in the Territory of the USSR, 1982-1990," covering a total of 17 regions.125

One of the most interesting cases in the KGB file is a multiple-witness CE-I (Close Encounter of the First Kind) at an army missile base in the district of Kapustin Yar, Astrakhan Region, on the night of July 28-29, 1989. The file is surely incomplete, but still offers an interesting glimpse into the maneuverability of UFOs. The dossier consists of the depositions of seven military witnesses (two junior officers, a corporal and four privates) plus illustrations of the object by the observers, and a brief case summary by an unnamed KGB officer. (Neither the author nor the department are identified, but the document is at the beginning of the KGB file on the Kapustin Yar incident). It states in part:

"Military personnel of the signal center observed UFOs in the period from 22:12

hrs. to 23:55 hrs. on 28 July 1989. According to the witnesses' reports, they

observed three objects simultaneously, at a distance of 3-5 km. [2-3 mi.]."

A nearby base reported the UFO from 23.30 hrs. on July 28 until 1.30 hrs. on July 29. The report continues:

"After questioning the witnesses, it was determined that the reported

characteristics of the observed UFOs are: disc 4-5 m. [13-17 ft.] diameter, with a

half-sphere on top, which is lit brightly. It moved sometimes abruptly, but

noiselessly, at times coming down and hovering over ground at an altitude of 20

60 m. [65-200 ft.]. The command of [censored] called for a fighter... but it was

not able to see it in detail, because the UFO did not let the aircraft come near it,

evading it. Atmospheric conditions were suitable for visual observations."126

The KGB file on the case is obviously incomplete, since there is no data on the jet scramble mission or whether ground or airborne radar detection was also reported. Nevertheless, the hand written descriptions by the seven witnesses from the signal center do provide interesting reading about the flight behavior exhibited by the UFOs. The most detailed communication was submitted by the Officer-on-Duty, Ensign Valery N. Voloshin. A Captain from the telegraph center informed him at 23:20 hrs. that "an unidentified flying object, which he called a flying saucer, was hovering over the military unit for over an hour." After confirming the sighting with the operation signal officer on duty, Ensign Voloshin and Private Tishchayev climbed the first part of an antenna tower. According to his deposition:

"One could clearly see a powerful blinking signal which resembled a camera flash

in the night sky. The object flew over the unit's logistics yard and moved in the

direction of the rocket weapons depot, 300 meters [1,000 ft.] away. It hovered

over the depot at a height of 20 meters [65 ft.]. The UFO's hull shone with a dim

green light which looked like phosphorous. It was a disc, 4 or 5 m. [13-17 ft.] in

diameter, with a semispherical top.

"While the object was hovering over the depot, a bright beam appeared from the

bottom of the disc, where the flash had been before, and made two or three

circles, lighting the corner of one of the buildings... The movement of the beam

lasted for several seconds, then the beam disappeared and the object, still

flashing, moved in the direction of the railway station. After that, I observed the

object hovering over the logistics yard, railway station and cement factory. Then

it returned to the rocket weapons depot, and hovered over it at an altitude of 60

70 m. [200-240 ft.]. The object was observed from that time on, by the first guard

shift and its commander. At 1:30 hrs., the object flew in the direction of the city of

Akhtubinsk and disappeared from sight. The flashes on the object were not

periodical, I observed all this for exactly two hours: from 23:30 to 1:30."127

A drawing of the UFO was attached:

Drawing by Ensign Voloshin of UFO with beam seen over a Russian missile base in Kapustin Yar in July 1989.

Reconstruction of the event published in the Moscow magazine Aura-Z. Both illustrations courtesy of Antonio Huneeus/Aura-Z.

Private Tishcahayev essentially confirmed Ensign Voloshin's testimony. The guard-shift of

Corporal Levin and Privates Bashev, Kulik and Litvinov basically tell the same story. They

were all alerted by 1st Lt. Klimenko and they all saw up to three UFOs performing fantastic

acrobatics in the sky, such as:

"Suddenly, it flew in our direction. It approached fast and increased in size. It then

like divided itself in three shining points and took the shape of a triangle. Then it

changed course and went on flying in the same sector."

"After veering, it began to approach us and its speed could be felt physically. (It

swelled in front of our eyes). Its flight was strange: no aircraft could fly in this

manner. It could instantly stop in the air (and there was an impression that it

wobbled slightly up and down); it could float (exactly that: float, because the word

'fly' would not be adequate, it was as if the air was holding it, preventing it from

falling). At all times that I observed it, it was blinking, blinking without any order

and constantly changing colors (red, blue, green, yellow). The point itself was not

blinking but something above it."

"Here is what I observed: there was a flying object, resembling an egg, but flatter.

It shone brightly alternating green and red lights. This object gathered a great

speed. It accelerated abruptly and also stopped abruptly, all the while doing large

jumps up or down. Then appeared a second and then a third object. One object

rose to low altitude and stopped. It stayed there in one place and was gone. Later

a second object disappeared, and only one stayed. It moved constantly along the

horizon. At times, it seemed it landed on the ground, then it rose again and


All the testimonies coincided with the appearance of a jet fighter attempting to intercept the

UFOs. The fighter made a first pass above the object apparently without seeing it. Then,

according to Lt. Klimenko's deposition, "the airplane, which could be identified by its noise,

approached the object, but the object disengaged so fast, that it seemed the plane stayed in one


It is difficult to make a final evaluation of the Kapustin Yar CE-I, since no information about

the scramble mission and possible radar tracking has been released by the KGB. But the

detailed testimony of seven military witnesses, who were familiar with rocket launches and

various aircraft because of their post (Kapustin Yar is somewhat equivalent to the White Sands

Proving Grounds in New Mexico), appears to confirm the unusual flight characteristics and

extraordinary maneuverability displayed by UFOs in many instances. Moreover, as in the SAC

flap of 1975 and the Bentwaters affair in England in 1980, the UFOs seemed capable of

"demonstrating a clear intent in the weapons storage area," as described in a 1975 declassified

teletype concerning Loring AFB in Maine. 131

One of the official milestones of Soviet/Russian ufology occurred less than a year later, as a

result of a radar-visual and jet scramble incident on the Pereslavl-Zalesskiy region, east of

Moscow, on the night of March 21, 1990. A statement issued by Colonel-General of Aviation

Igor Maltsev, Chief of the Main Staff of the Air Defense Forces, was published in the

newspaper Rabochaya Tribuna. Unit commanders compiled "more than 100 visual

observations" and passed them on to Gen. Maltsev, who stated:

"I am not a specialist on UFOs and therefore I can only correlate the data and express my own supposition. According to the evidence of these eyewitnesses, the UFO is a disc with a diameter from 100 to 200 meters [320 to 650 feet]. Two pulsating lights were positioned on its sides... Moreover, the object rotated around its axis and performed an 'S-turn' flight both in the horizontal and vertical planes. Next, the UFO hovered over the ground and then flew with a speed exceeding that of the modern jet fighter by 2 or 3 times... The objects flew at altitudes ranging from 100 to 7,000 m. [300 to 24,000 ft.]. The movement of the UFOs was not accompanied by sound of any kind, and was distinguished by its startling maneuverability. It seemed the UFOs were completely devoid of inertia. In other words, they had somehow 'come to terms' with gravity. At the present time, terrestrial machines could hardly have any such capabilities."132


124. Knapp, George, "What the Russians Know About UFOs," MUFON 1994 International UFO Proceedings; "KGB UFO Files," ABC News Prime Time Live, broadcast originally in October 1994.

125. KGB UFO File released in 1991; excerpts of the documents published in English in "Classification: 'Secret' - From the KGB Archives," AURA-Z, No. 1, Moscow, March 1993.

126. KGB file entitled "Communication on Observation of Anomalous Event in the District of Kapustin Yar (July 28, 1989)"; English translation by Dimitri Ossipov.

127. Ensign Voloshin's Report in the Kapustin Yar KGB file, ibid.

128. Deposition by Pvt. Bashev, Kapustin Yar KGB file, ibid.

129. Deposition by Cpl. Levin, Kapustin Yar KGB file, ibid.

130. Deposition by Lt. Klimenko, Kapustin Yar KGB file, ibid.

131. Fawcett, L. and Greenwood, B., ibid.

132. "UFOs on Air Defense Radars," Rabochaya Tribuna, Moscow, April 19, 1990; English translation by the

U.S. Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS).

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From October 1989 throughout 1990, hundreds of reports of lighted objects, frequently described as enormous and triangular in shape were recorded in Belgium. Air Force supersonic F-16 jets chased these strange objects, which were simultaneously tracked by both airborne and ground radars. The Belgian Government cooperated fully with civilian UFO investigators, an action without precedent in the history of government involvement in this field.

The Chief of Operations of the Royal Belgian Air Force, Colonel Wilfred De Brouwer (now Major General and Deputy Chief of the Belgian Air Force), set up a Special Task Force Unit to work closely with the Gendarmerie to

Montage of eyewitness drawings and reconstructions of investigate the sightings as

triangular craft seen in Belgium between 1989 and 1993. soon as they were reported.

Courtesy of SOBEPS. Among the thousands of

witnesses were many military

and police officers, pilots, scientists and engineers. The wave was documented by the Belgian Society for the Study of Space Phenomena (SOBEPS), a private organization from Brussels, which published two thick volumes on the UFO wave. 133 (see montage)

The first important case was a multiple-witness observation of a strange aircraft, reported by gendarmes on patrol near the town of Eupen, not far from the German border. Auguste Meessen, professor of physics at the Catholic University in Louvain and a scientific consultant of SOBEPS, summarized the case:

"On November 29, 1989, a large craft with triangular shape flew over the town of

Eupen. The gendarmes von Montigny and Nicol found it near the road linking Aix-

la-Chapelle and Eupen. It was stationary in the air, above a field which it

illuminated with three powerful beams. The beams emanated from large circular

surfaces near the triangle's corners. In the center of the dark and flat

understructure there was some kind of 'red gyrating beacon.' The object did not

make any noise. When it began to move, the gendarmes headed towards a small

road in the area over which they expected the object to fly. Instead, it made a half

turn and continued slowly in the direction of Eupen, following the road at low

altitude. It was seen by different witnesses as it flew above houses and near City


Sightings continued to be logged by SOBEPS and the Gendarmerie during the fall and winter of 1989-1990. Most witnesses described seeing dark, triangular objects with white lights at the corners and a red flashing light in the middle. Many of the objects were said to have hovered, with some of them then suddenly accelerating to a very high speed. Most of the objects made no sound, but some were said to have emitted a faint humming like an electric motor.

Public interest in the wave reached its peak with a radar/visual and jet scramble incident on the night of March 30-31, 1990. This scramble was seen and reported by hundreds of citizens. A preliminary report prepared by Major P. Lambrechts of the Belgian Air Force General Staff was released to SOBEPS. The "Report concerning the observation of UFOs during the night of March 30 to 31, 1990," includes a detailed chronology of events and dismisses several hypotheses such as optical illusions, balloons, meteorological inversions, military aircraft, holographic projections, etc.

The incident began at 22:50 hrs. on March 30 when the Gendarmerie telephoned the radar "master controller at Glons" to report "three unusual lights forming an equilateral triangle." More gendarmes confirmed the lights in the following minutes. When the NATO facility at Semmerzake detected an unknown target at 23:49 hrs., a decision to scramble two F-16 fighters was made. The jets took off at 0:05 hrs. from Beauvechain, the nearest air base, on March 31 and flew for just over an hour. According to Major Lambrecht's report:

"The aircraft had brief radar contacts on several occasions, [but the pilots]... at

no time established visual contact with the UFOs... each time the pilots were able

to secure a lock on one of the targets for a few seconds, there resulted a drastic

change in the behavior of the detected targets... [During the first lock-on at 0:13

hrs.] their speed changed in a minimum of time from 150 to 970 knots [170 to

1,100 mph and 275 to 1,800 km./hr.] and from 9,000 to 5,000 feet [2,700 m. to

1,500 m.], returning then to 11,000 feet [3,300 m.] in order to change again to

close to ground level."135

The Electronic War Center (EWC) of the Air Force undertook a much more detailed technical analysis of the F-16 computerized radar tapes, led by Col. Salmon and physicist M. Gilmard. Their study was completed in 1992 and was later reviewed by Professor Meessen. (See below.)

Montage of radar-visual incident in Belgium on the night of March 30-31, 1990:

Two computerized radar images of the UFO tracked by an F-16 fighter.

Apparent trajectory of the UFO, from the technical Gilmard-Salmom study of the Royal Belgian Air Force.

Trajectory of the two F-16's. Courtesy of RBAF/SOBEPS.

Although many aspects of this case still remain unexplained, Meessen and SOBEPS have basically accepted the Gilmard-Salmon hypothesis that some of the radar contacts were really "angels" caused by a rare meteorological phenomenon. This became evident in four lock-ons, "where the object descended to the ground with calculations showing negative [emphasis added] altitude... It was evidently impossible that an object could penetrate the ground, but it was possible that the ground could act as a mirror." Meessen explained how the high velocities measured by the Doppler radar of the F-16 fighters might result from interference effects. He points out, however, that there is another radar trace for which there is no explanation to date.

As for the visual sightings of this event by the gendarmes and others, Meessen suggests that they could possibly have been caused by stars seen under conditions of "exceptional atmospheric refraction."136

In a recent interview, Major General De Brouwer summarized his reflections on this complex case:

"What impressed me the most were the witnesses, some of whom I know

personally and convinced me that, in fact, something was going on. These were

credible people and they told clearly what they saw.

"We always look for possibilities which can cause errors in the radar systems. We

can not exclude that there was electromagnetic interference, but of course we can

not exclude the possibility that there were objects in the air. On at least one

occasion there was a correlation between the radar contacts of one ground radar

and one F-16 fighter. This weakens the theory that all radar contacts were caused

by electromagnetic interference. If we add all the possibilities, the question is still

open, so there is no final answer."137

The Belgian UFO wave yielded a rich volume of good quality cases and many videos and photographs. One strikingly clear photograph of a triangular-shaped craft was taken at Petit-Rechain in early April 1990. As of 1994, it remained unexplained after numerous analyses, including a thorough computerized study at the Royal Military Academy. (see below)

Although public interest in the Belgian wave reached its peak in the 1990-91 period, SOBEPS was still documenting cases in late 1993. Marc Valckenaer listed the main characteristics of the Belgian UFOs in the latest SOBEPS study. Various shapes such as round, rectangular and cigar were reported, but the wave was dominated by triangular objects. Some of their characteristics included:

"Irregular displacement (zig-zag, instantaneous change of trajectory, etc.).

"Displacement following the contours of the terrain.

"Varying speeds of displacement (including very slow motion).

"Stationary flight (hovering).

"Overflight of urban and industrial centers.

"Sound effects (faint humming... to total silence)."138

Because the bulk of the Belgian sightings described triangular-shaped objects, many European and American researchers and journalists speculated that these were caused by either F-117A stealth fighters or some other revolutionary U.S. secret military aircraft. However, the only truly unusual characteristic of the F-117 is its near-invisibility to radar and infrared detection - it looks, flies and sounds like any other sub-sonic jet airplane. Similar claims about the presence of other American advanced airplanes are even harder to substantiate: the A-12 Avenger II was never built, and the existence of the TR-3A "manta" is unconfirmed. Neither has even been rumored to be able to fly in the manner reported for the Belgian UFOs.

Photographs of the triangular UFO photo taken in Petit-Rechain in early April 1990

Computer enhancement analysis made at the Royal Military Academy by Prof. M. Acheroy. Courtesy of Guy Mossay/Sofam.

Despite the fact that the secret military aircraft hypothesis has been denied officially over and over again by the Belgian Ministry of Defense and Air Force, as well as by the U.S. Embassy in Brussels and the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, some publications continue to champion the stealth fighter theory.

In a letter to French researcher Renaud Marhic, the Minister of Defense at the time of the UFO wave, Leo Delcroix, wrote:

"Unfortunately, no explanation has been found to date. The nature and origin of

the phenomenon remain unknown. One theory can, however, be definitely

dismissed since the Belgian Armed Forces have been positively assured by

American authorities that there has never been any sort of American aerial test


FOOTNOTES 133. SOBEPS, Vague d'OVNI sur la Belgique - Un Dossier Exceptionnel, Brussels 1991; Vague d'OVNI sur la Belgique 2 - Une Enigme Non Résolue, Brussels, 1994. 134. Meessen, Auguste, "Observations, analyses et recherches," Chapter 10 in Vague d'OVNI 2, ibid. 135. Lambrechts, Major P., "Report Concerning the Observation of UFOs During the Night of March 30-31, 1990," preliminary report dated May 31, 1990. 136. Meessen, A., ibid. 137. Huneeus, A., telephone interview with Major General De Brouwer, October 5, 1995. 138. Valckenaers, Marc, "Etude des particularités remarquables," Chapter 2 in Vague d'OVNI 2, ibid. 139. Marhic, Renaud, "Ovnis belges: nouvelle rumeur," Phénomèna No. 13, Jan./Feb. 1993, SOS OVNI, Aix-en- Provence, France.

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1991-1994: RECENT CASES

While this report only discusses UFO cases up through the Belgian Wave of 1989-1990, many impressive sightings have continued to be logged by both official and private entities around the world.

These cases have not been included because thorough investigations are still underway. In order to make a proper evaluation of the validity of a promising UFO case, an in depth study with scientific scrutiny must be made, which requires a great deal of time. However, in order not to ignore some of these noteworthy "pending" cases, some of them are presented herewith in outline form:

1991: Paraguay. A radar/visual UFO sighting was reported on the night of June 8 from two airplanes: a private Cessna 210 carrying three passengers, and a Paraguayan Air Lines flight from Asunción to Miami. Air traffic control at Asunción's airport detected an unknown radar track and also saw an object hovering over a runway. An official document from the Civil Aeronautical Agency of the Ministry of Defense confirms the radar detection. The Cessna's automatic direction finder (ADF) malfunctioned during the sighting. Pilot César Escobar reported:

"During close approaches, the Cessna instruments 'went crazy'... The (ADF) was

moving around indiscriminately, without any sense of direction. When the light

moved a little farther away, everything returned to normal. It repeated this 'game'

several times. It seemed to be under intelligent control."140

1992/1993: Mexico. In 1992/93, there were many UFO sightings over Mexico City. The sightings reported over the Benito Juárez International Airport on March 4-5, 1992 were confirmed by radar detection. One case was reported by pilots of two airliners while preparing to land around 4:00 p.m. on September 16, 1993. One pilot described the UFO as shaped like a praying mantis. He added:

"It was a beautiful day. I first thought it was a balloon, but... it was going too fast.

We saw it really good and it was not a plane."141

1993: United Kingdom. Lights were widely reported moving erratically over Great Britain on the night of March 30-31, and were investigated by the Ministry of Defense. Five members of a family described a huge diamond-shaped object flying slowly over their heads with an unpleasant low humming sound. An RAF meteorologist reported an object, at first stationary, then moving erratically toward him, with speeds of several hundred miles per hour. It then shone a beam of light toward the ground, which tracked across a field. He also heard a low humming sound.142

1994: United States. On the night of March 8, police in southwestern Michigan were flooded with calls from dozens of witnesses about strange lights and vague objects. Officer Jeff Velthouse was dispatched to the sighting area, where he confirmed the presence of three objects moving in the same direction. These objects were also recorded by a U.S. Weather Service radar. The radar operator commented:

"There were three and sometimes four blips, and they weren't planes. Planes show

as pin points on the scope; these were the size of half a thumb nail... They were

moving all over the place. I never saw anything like it before, not even during

severe weather."143


140. Ramírez, Jorge A., "UFO Intercepts Aircraft Over Paraguay," MUFON UFO Journal, No. 310, February 1994.

141. Maussán, Jaime, "OVNIS Sobre la Tierra," Epoca, Mexico, Nov. 15, 1993; quoted in Hunneus, Antonio, "UFO Chronicle: More UFOS and IFOs from Mexico (Part II)," Fate, December 1994.

142. Pope, Nick, lecture at the New Hampshire MUFON Conference, Portsmouth, September 19, 1995.

143. Coyne, Shirley, "Michigan Visual & Radar Sightings," MUFON UFO Journal, No. 317, September 1994.

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These cases are among the most detailed, best authenticated and most puzzling of the many thousands of unexplained UFO reports. They are by no means the only such cases. In fact, it is the great mass of baffling reports from expert witnesses, past and present, that form the basis of the UFO mystery.

When studied as a group, these case histories exhibit clear patterns which strongly suggest that they belong to a distinct new class of phenomena, rather than being a formless collection of disparate observational errors.

Each of the cases detailed here is representative of one or more characteristics of UFO reports: radar/visual detection, physical traces, air-to-air sightings, attempted intercepts, multiple witness observations, etc. Each of these characteristics can be found in dozens of other well authenticated multiple witness cases, and well investigated reports. Most of these cases, as well as many hundreds more, involve some degree of government activity.

The primary question remains: if UFOs are so different from all known phenomena, what are they? The great majority of sightings reported as UFOs can be explained as IFOs, but a significant percentage cannot, and it is those which constitute the mystery.

Some of them may be secret aircraft, since at any time there are legitimately classified projects being conducted by several governments. Others may be unknown natural phenomena, since there is no way to completely rule out things which are, by definition, unknown. Still others may well be hoaxes, though these have played, statistically, a minor role in the history of UFOs.

But this still leaves thousands of highly detailed descriptions of apparently manufactured devices which are capable of speed and maneuverability far in excess of anything known to have been built in the 1990s, let alone the 1940s.

It is this large quantity of evidence of the existence of something completely baffling which motivates many of us to urge the governments of the world to release all they know about UFOs so that the people of the world, and especially scientists, can begin to come to grips with a mystery that has for too long been subjected to secrecy and ridicule.

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Quotes from Prominent World Government and Military Officials

US Military/Intellegence | US Presidents | US Congress Argentina | Belgium | Brazil | Canada | England | France Hungary | Indonesia | Japan | Spain | USSR | Zimbabwe

UNITED STATES Military / Intelligence

General Nathan D. Twining, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1957-1960). As Lieutenant General in charge of the Air Force Air Materiel Command at Wright-Field, Ohio, he reported in 1947 on his investigation of UFO sightings to date:

"a. The phenomena reported is something real and not visionary or fictitious.

There are objects probably approximating the shape of a disc, of such appreciable size as to appear to be as large as a man-made aircraft.
There is a possibility that some of the incidents may be caused by natural phenomena, such as meteors.
The reported operating characteristics such as extreme rates of climb, maneuverability (particularly in roll), and action which must be considered evasive when sighted or contacted by friendly aircraft and radar, lend belief to the possibility that some of the objects are controlled either manually, automatically, or remotely." (Letter to the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Air Forces, September 23, 1947.) (top)

J. Edgar Hoover, in response to a government request to study UFOs:

"I would do it, but before agreeing to do it, we must insist upon full access to discs

recovered. For instance, in the L.A. [or La.] case, the Army grabbed it and would

not let us have it for cursory examination." (Handwritten note to Clyde Tolson,

July 15, 1947.) (top)

General Walter Bedell Smith, Director of the CIA from 1950-53 stated:

"The Central Intelligence Agency has reviewed the current situation concerning unidentified flying objects which have created extensive speculation in the press

and have been the subject of concern to Government organizations... Since 1947,

approximately 2,000 official reports of sightings have been received and of these,

about 20% are as yet unexplained.

"It is my view that this situation has possible implications for our national security which transcend the interests of a single service. A broader, coordinated effort should be initiated to develop a firm scientific understanding of the several phenomena which apparently are involved in these reports..." (1952 memorandum to the National Security Council.) (top)

General Douglas MacArthur:

"Because of the developments of science, all the countries on earth will have to

unite to survive and to make a common front against attack by people from other

planets. The politics of the future will be cosmic, or interplanetary." (The New

York Times, October 8, 1955.)

"You now face a new world - a world of change. The thrust into outer space of the

satellite, spheres and missiles marked the beginning of another epoch in the long

story of mankind - the chapter of the space age... We speak in strange terms: of

harnessing the cosmic energy... of the primary target in war, no longer limited to

the armed forces of an enemy, but instead to include his civil populations; of

ultimate conflict between a united human race and the sinister forces of some

other planetary galaxy... " (Address by General Douglas MacArthur to the United

States Military Academy at West Point, May 12, 1962.) (top)

Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, Chief of Project Blue Book, from his book, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, 1956:

"Every time I get skeptical, I think of the other reports made by experienced pilots

and radar operators, scientists, and other people who know what they are looking

at. These reports were thoroughly investigated and they are still unknowns.

"We have no aircraft on this earth that can at will so handily outdistance our

latest jets... The pilots, radar specialists, generals, industrialists, scientists, and

the man on the street who have told me, 'I wouldn't have believed it either if I

hadn't seen it myself,' knew what they were talking about. Maybe the Earth is

being visited by interplanetary space ships.

His comments on the Lubbock lights case:

"When four college professors, a geologist, a chemist, a physicist and a petroleum

engineer report seeing the same UFOs on fourteen different occasions, the event

can be classified as, at least, unusual. Add the fact that hundreds of other people

saw these UFOs and that they were photographed, and the story gets even better.

Add a few more facts - that these UFOs were picked up on radar and that a few

people got a close look at one of them, and the story begins to convince even the

most ardent skeptic." (Ruppelt, Edward J., The Report on Unidentified Flying

Objects, New York: Doubleday, 1956.) (top) Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter, first Director of the CIA (1947-50). In 1957, he joined the Board of Governors of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon (NICAP), a UFO investigating group. In 1960, he stated:

"Unknown objects are operating under intelligent control... It is imperative that we

learn where UFOs come from and what their purpose is... " (Maccabee, Bruce,

"What The Admiral Knew: UFO, MJ-12 and R. Hillenkoetter," International UFO

Reporter, Nov./Dec., 1986.)

He also recommended:

"It is time for the truth to be brought out in open Congressional hearings. Behind

the scenes high ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFOs.

But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the

unknown flying objects are nonsense." (Statement in a NICAP news release,

February 27, 1960.) (top)

General Curtis LeMay, Air Force Chief of Staff, in his 1965 autobiography, Mission With LeMay, stated that although the bulk of UFO reports could be explained as conventional or natural phenomena, some could not:

"We had a number of reports from reputable individuals (well-educated serious

minded folks, scientists and fliers) who surely saw something.

"Many of the mysteries might be explained away as weather balloons, stars,

reflected lights, all sorts of odds and ends. I don't mean to say that, in the unclosed

and unexplained or unexplainable instances, those were actually flying objects. All

I can say is that no natural phenomena could be found to account for them...

Repeat again: There were some cases we could not explain. Never

could." (Statement from 1965 autobiography Mission With LeMay, with

MacKinlay Kantor, New York: Doubleday, 1965.) (top)

Major General E.B. LeBaily, USAF Director of Information:

"Many of the reports that cannot be explained have come from intelligent and

technically well-qualified individuals whose integrity cannot be

doubted." (September 28, 1965, letter to USAF Scientific Advisory Board

requesting a review of the UFO project. Gillmor, Daniel S., ed. "Scientific Study

of Unidentified Flying Objects" (The Condon Report), New York Times Books,

1969.) (top)

General George S. Brown, USAF Chief of Staff, addressed the appearance of UFOs during the Vietnam War at a press conference:

"I don't know whether this story has ever been told or not. They weren't called

UFOs. They were called enemy helicopters. And they were only seen at night and

they were only seen in certain places. They were seen up around the DMZ

[demilitarized zone] in the early summer of '68. And this resulted in quite a little

battle. And in the course of this, an Australian destroyer took a hit and we never

found any enemy, we only found ourselves when this had all been sorted out. And

this caused some shooting there, and there was no enemy at all involved but we always reacted. Always after dark. The same thing happened up at Pleiku at the

Highlands in '69." (Department of Defense transcript of press conference in

Illinois, October 16, 1973.) (top)

Lt. Col. Lawrence J. Coyne, U.S. Army Reserve helicopter pilot with 3,000 hours of flying time. He and other three airmen had a close encounter with a UFO on the night of October 18, 1973, while flying in a U.S. Army Bell Huey utility helicopter in the vicinity of Mansfield, Ohio. Lt. Coyne described his experience at a United Nations UFO hearing in 1978:

"With the aircraft under my control, I observed the red-lighted object closing upon

the helicopter at the same altitude at a high rate of speed. It became apparent a

mid-air collision was about to happen unless evasive action was taken.

"I looked out ahead of the helicopter and observed an aircraft I have never seen

before. This craft positioned itself directly in front of the moving helicopter. This

craft was 50 to 60 feet long with a grey metallic structure. On the front of this

craft was a large steady bright red light. I could delineate where the red stopped

on the structure of this craft because red was reflecting off the grey structure. The

design of this craft was symmetrical in shape with a prominent aft indentation on

the undercarriage. From this portion of the undercarriage, a green light, pyramid

shaped, emerged with the light initially in the trail position. This green light then

swung 90 degrees, coming directly into the front windshield and lighting up the

entire cockpit of the aircraft. All colors inside the cabin of the helicopter were

absorbed by this green light. That includes the instrument panel lights on the


"As a result of my experience, I am convinced this object was real and that these

types of incidents should require a thorough investigation. It is my own personal

opinion that worldwide procedures need to be established to effectively study this

phenomena through an international cooperative effort. The establishment of a

Transponder Code for aircraft flying worldwide is needed, to identify to ground

controllers that a pilot is indeed experiencing a UFO phenomena and that pilot

anxiety can be reduced to provide safe effective flying, knowing he is under radar

control." (Statement to the Special Political Committee of the United Nations,

November 27, 1978.) (top)

Victor Marchetti, former CIA official:

"We have, indeed, been contacted - perhaps even visited - by extraterrestrial

beings, and the U.S. government, in collusion with the other national powers of the

earth, is determined to keep this information from the general public.

"The purpose of the international conspiracy is to maintain a workable stability

among the nations of the world and for them, in turn, to retain institutional control

over their respective populations. Thus, for these governments to admit that there

are beings from outer space... with mentalities and technological capabilities

obviously far superior to ours, could, once fully perceived by the average person,

erode the foundations of the earth's traditional power structure. Political and

legal systems, religions, economic and social institutions could all soon become

meaningless in the mind of the public. The national oligarchical establishments,

even civilization as we now know it, could collapse into anarchy.

"Such extreme conclusions are not necessarily valid, but they probably accurately

reflect the fears of the 'ruling classes' of the major nations, whose leaders

(particularly those in the intelligence business) have always advocated excessive

governmental secrecy as being necessary to preserve 'national

security.'" (Marchetti, Victor: "How the CIA Views the UFO Phenomenon,"

Second Look, Vol. 1, No.7, Washington, D.C., May 1979.) (top)


Harry S. Truman, at the time he was President, commented:

"I can assure you that flying saucers, given that they exist, are not constructed by

any power on earth." (April 4, 1950, White House Press Conference.) (top)

President Gerald Ford, in a letter he sent as a Congressman to L. Mendel Rivers, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, on March 28, 1966:

"No doubt, you have noted the recent flurry of newspaper stories about

unidentified flying objects (UFOs). I have taken special interest in these accounts

because many of the latest reported sightings have been in my home state of

Michigan... Because I think there may be substance to some of these reports and

because I believe the American people are entitled to a more thorough

explanation than has been given them by the Air Force to date, I am proposing

that either the Science and Astronautics Committee or the Armed Services

Committee of the House, schedule hearings on the subject of UFOs and invite

testimony from both the executive branch of the Government and some of the

persons who claim to have seen UFOs... In the firm belief that the American

public deserves a better explanation than that thus far given by the Air Force, I

strongly recommend that there be a committee investigation of the UFO

phenomena. I think we owe it to the people to establish credibility regarding

UFOs and to produce the greatest possible enlightenment on this

subject." (Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives, Eighty-

Ninth Congress, Second Session, Hearing on Unidentified Flying Objects, April 5,

1966.) (top)

President Jimmy Carter during his election campaign in May 1976:

"If I become President, I'll make every piece of information this country has about

UFO sightings available to the public, and the scientists. I am convinced that

UFOs exist because I've seen one... " (The National Enquirer, June 8, 1976, "The

Night I Saw a UFO." Statement confirmed by White House special assistant

media liaison, Jim Purks, in an April 20, 1979 letter.) (top)

President Ronald Reagan was often quoted referring to the possibility of an alien threat. Describing discussions held privately with General Secretary Gorbachev, he stated:

"... when you stop to think that we're all God's children, wherever we may live in

the world, I couldn't help but say to him, just think how easy his task and mine

might be in these meetings that we held if suddenly there was a threat to this

world from some other species from another planet outside in the universe. We'd

forget all the little local differences that we have between our countries and we

would find out once and for all that we really are all human beings here on this

earth together." (White House transcript of "Remarks of the President to Fallston

High School Students and Faculty," December 4, 1985.)

In an address to the United Nations General Assembly in September 1987:

"In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much

unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal

threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly

our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from

outside this world." (Speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Forty

second session, "Provisional Verbatim Record of the Fourth Meeting", September

21, 1987.) (top)


Representative John W. McCormack, (D-Massachusetts), Speaker of the House stated in a November 4, 1960 letter to Major Donald Keyhoe:

"Some three years ago, [1957], as chairman of the House Select Committee on

Outer Space out of which came the recently established NASA, my Select

Committee held executive sessions on the matter of 'Unidentified Flying Objects.'

We could not get much information at that time, although it was pretty well

established by some in our minds that there were some objects flying around in

space that were unexplainable." (Hall, Richard, The UFO Evidence, NICAP,

1964.) (top)

Representative Jerry L. Pettis, (R-California), stated in 1968 during the House Committee on Science and Astronautics hearing on UFOs:

"Having spent a great deal of my life in the air, as a pilot... I know that many

pilots... have seen phenomena that they could not explain. These men, most of

whom have talked to me, have been very reticent to talk about this publicly,

because of the ridicule that they were afraid would be heaped upon them...

However, there is a phenomena here that isn't explained." (U.S. House of

Representatives, Ninetieth Congress, Second session, July 29, 1968.) (top)

Senator Barry M. Goldwater, Sr., (R-Arizona), Republican presidential candidate (1964). In a letter to researcher Shlomo Arnon, dated March 28, 1975, he stated:

"The subject of UFOs is one that has interested me for some long time. About ten

or twelve years ago, I made an effort to find out what was in the building at

Wright Patterson Air Force Base where the information is stored that has been

collected by the Air Force, and I was understandably denied the request. It is still classified above Top Secret. I have, however, heard that there is a plan under way

to release some, if not all, of this material in the near future. I'm just as anxious to

see this material as you are, and I hope we will not have to wait too much

longer." (Good, T., Above Top Secret, New York: Quill William Morrow, 1988;


In an April 11, 1979 letter to Mr. Lee M. Graham, he added:

"It is true I was denied access to a facility at Wright-Patterson. Because I never

got in, I can't tell you what was inside. We both know about the rumors.

"Apart from that, let me make my position clear: I do not believe that we are the

only planet of some two billion that exist that has life on it. I have never seen what

I would call a UFO, but I have intelligent friends who have, so I can sort of argue

either way." (Good, T., ibid.) (top)

Representative Steven H. Schiff, (R-New Mexico), in response to inquiries from his constituents in 1993 concerning a possible cover-up of the crash of an alleged UFO outside Roswell, NM in 1947, requested information from the Department of Defense. In a CBS radio interview in February 1994, he stated:

"I wrote to the Dept. of Defense, laying out these allegations and asking them if

someone could come over with the file and brief me on it. My intent was to simply

release this back to whomever inquired, which is very routine in Congress.

"The response I got was not routine. The response I got was a very brief letter

from the Air Force saying that my request had been referred to the National

Archives, without any further comment... and without any offer of any kind of

assistance in retrieving it... So I went to the National Archives and the National

Archives wrote a letter back to me saying they didn't have anything in their files

on the Roswell incident... I just have to say this much: the way the Dept. of

Defense has responded has not been routine."

Having been given a "runaround" in his search, he instigated an inquiry by the GAO (General Accounting Office) in 1994 into the handling of Air Force files relating to this matter.

"I did not ask the General Accounting Office to try once and for all to resolve this

matter... What I asked the GAO to do was to assist me in locating whatever Air

Force and Defense Department files would have existed on the subject, or an

accounting of what happened to them.

"To me the issue is government accountability. I think that people who want to see

government records are entitled to see government records or to get an

explanation of what happened to them, regardless of their reason, regardless of

the subject matter. It was my intention simply to make that information public if I

could... unless there is a present security reason why not - and I have to add real

fast if the matter is classified 'military secret,' we members of Congress can't just

go monkeying around in there anytime we want. There are procedures for us too

and that's fine with me.

"I was not told that we have a file that's classified. I was simply referred to an

agency which I have to believe - now that I know the prominence of the Roswell

incident - I have to believe the Dept. of Defense knew very well that I wasn't going to find anything in the National Archives when they sent me there twice.

"It's difficult for me to understand even if there was a legitimate security concern

in 1947, that it would be a present security concern these many years later.

Frankly I am baffled by the lack of responsiveness on the part of the Defense Dept.

on this one issue, I simply can't explain it." (Excerpts of Congressman Schiff's

remarks on CBS radio's The Gil Gross Show, February 1994.) (top)


Argentine Navy. In the 1960s, the Argentine Navy was charged with the official investigation of UFO sightings, particularly those reported by its own personnel. A 1965 "Official UFO Report" prepared by Captain Sánchez Moreno from the Naval Air Station Comandante Espora in Bahía Blanca, revealed that:

"Between 1950 and 1965, personnel of Argentina's Navy alone made 22 sightings

of unidentified flying objects that were not airplanes, satellites, weather balloons

or any type of known (aerial) vehicles. These 22 cases served as precedents for

intensifying that investigation of the subject by the Navy. In the past two years,

nine incidents have been recorded that are being studied by Captain Pagani and a

team of military and civilian scientists and collaborators. Likewise, a meticulous

questionnaire was drafted, printed and distributed to different bases. In a short

time, the Service of Naval Intelligence was in possession of a stack of highly

significant reports of testimonies. On the basis of this important documentation, it

was possible to obtain a coherent overview of the problem." (Captain Sánchez

Moreno, Informe Oficial O.V.N.I., Sumario S# A. 02778-DTO. OVNI, Naval Air

Station Comandante Espora, in ICUFON Project World Authority for Spatial

Affairs (W.A.S.A.), New York, 1979.) (top)

Captain Engineer Omar R. Pagani, Director of the Argentine Navy UFO investigation team in the 1960s. As a result of a series of observations at Argentine and Chilean meteorological stations on Deception Island, Antarctica, in June and July 1965, Captain Pagani disclosed at a press conference that:

"The unidentified flying objects do exist. Their presence and intelligent

displacement in the Argentine airspace has been proven. Their nature and origin

is unknown and no judgement is made about them." (Sánchez Moreno, ibid.)

In addition, the Argentine Navy Bulletin #172 of July 7, 1965 reported:

"From the Navy post at the South Orkney Islands comes a message of extreme

importance: during the passage of the strange object over the base [earlier the

same day], two magnetometers in perfect working condition registered sudden and

strong disturbances of the magnetic field (at 17:03 hrs.), which were recorded on

their tapes." (Perissé, Captain D. A., "Deception Island UFO Sightings," in the

MUFON 1987 International UFO Symposium Proceedings, Washington, D.C.,

June 1987.) (top)


Major-General Wilfred De Brouwer, Deputy Chief, Royal Belgian Air Force:

"In any case, the Air Force has arrived to the conclusion that a certain number of

anomalous phenomena has been produced within Belgian airspace. The numerous

testimonies of ground observations compiled in this [SOBEPS] book, reinforced

by the reports of the night of March 30-31 [1990], have led us to face the

hypothesis that a certain number of unauthorized aerial activities have taken

place. Until now, not a single trace of aggressiveness has been signalled; military

or civilian air traffic has not been perturbed or threatened. We can therefore

advance that the presumed activities do not constitute a concrete menace.

"The day will come undoubtedly when the phenomenon will be observed with

technological means of detection and collection that won't leave a single doubt

about its origin. This should lift a part of the veil that has covered the [UFO]

mystery for a long time. A mystery that continues to the present. But it exists, it is

real, and that in itself is an important conclusion." (De Brouwer, W., "Postface" in

SOBEPS' Vague d'OVNI sur la Belgique - Un Dossier Exceptionnel, Brussels:

SOBEPS, 1991.) (top)


Brigadier General João Adil Oliveira, Chief of the Air Force General Staff Information Service (with the rank of Colonel), led the first official military UFO inquiry in Brazil in the mid-50s. In a "Briefing" to the Army War College in Rio de Janeiro on November 2, 1954, Col. Oliveira stated:

"I wish to give you a summary of what is known in the world about 'flying discs,' of

what is known about the opinion of qualified experts who have dealt with this

matter. The problem of 'flying discs' has polarized the attention of the whole

world, but it's serious and it deserves to be treated seriously. Almost all the

governments of the great powers are interested in it, dealing with it in a serious

and confidential manner, due to its military interest." (Col. Oliveira's Briefing

included short summaries of several UFO incidents in the USA and Brazil. The

full text was published in O'Cruzeiro magazine, Rio de Janeiro, December 11,

1954; reprinted in Martins, João, As Chaves do Mistério, Rio: HUNOS 1979.)

Later promoted to the rank of Brigadier General, he was interviewed by the Brazilian press on February 28, 1958:

"It is impossible to deny any more the existence of flying saucers at the present

time... The flying saucer is not a ghost from another dimension or a mysterious

dragon. It is a fact confirmed by material evidence. There are thousands of

documents, photos, and sighting reports demonstrating its existence. For instance,

when I went to the Air Force High command to discuss the flying saucers I called

for ten witnesses - military (AF officers) and civilians - to report their evidence

about the presence of flying saucers in the skies of Rio Grande do Sul, and over

Gravataí AFB [Air Force Base]; some of them had seen UFOs with the naked eye,

others with high powered optical instruments. For more than two hours the

phenomenon was present in the sky, impressing the selected audience: officers,

engineers, technicians, etc." ("How to doubt?," O Globo, Rio de Janeiro, February

28, 1958; cited in Fontes, Olavo, M.D., "UAO Sighting Over Trindade," The


A.P.R.O. Bulletin, May 1960.) (top)

System of Investigation of Unidentified Aerial Objects (SIOANI). In 1969, the IV Aerial Zone in São Paulo (changed in 1973 to the IV Regional Aerial Command, IV COMAR) established a specialized UFO bureau called SIOANI, under Major (later Colonel) Gilberto Zani. A letter signed by Colonel João Glaser from the IV COMAR to the Brazilian UFO group CPDV, dated November 28, 1984, gives a summary of SIOANI's functions:

"From 1969 to 1972, the ufological activities of this organization (SIOANI) were

most varied, including the elaboration of information bulletins, a draft of SIOANI

regulations, contacts with interested parties, panels, catalogs of contacts and

others, always attempting to contribute in this field of research that was already

well known in Brazil." (Os Documentos Oficiais da Força Aérea Brasileira,

Centro para Pesquisas de Discos Vaodores (CPDV), Campo Grande, 1991.) (top)

Ministry of Aeronautics. A letter signed by Air Force Colonel Sergio Candiota da Silva, Assistant to the Minister of Aeronautics, to Brazilian UFO researcher Irene Granchi, dated December 19, 1988, acknowledges that the Ministry investigates UFO reports:

"His Excellency recognizes the importance of the [UFO] matter, to the extent that

within the Ministry of Aeronautics there exists a Bureau in charge of studying the

matter, receiving, analyzing and archiving chronologically the phenomena

observed in Brazilian airspace that comes to the attention of this Ministry." (Os

Documentos Oficiais, ibid.) (top)


Wilbert Smith, Senior radio engineer with the Department of Transport, headed Project Magnet, the first Canadian government UFO investigation in the 1950s. He stated in a Top Secret Memorandum:

"The matter is the most highly classified subject in the United States Government,

rating higher even than the H-bomb. Flying saucers exist. Their modus operandi

is unknown but a concentrated effort is being made by a small group headed by

Doctor Vannevar Bush. The entire matter is considered by the United States

authorities to be of tremendous significance." (Department of Transport

memorandum on "Geo-Magnetics," November 21, 1950.) (top)


Sir Winston Churchill, when Prime Minister, asked to be thoroughly briefed:

"What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to? What can it mean? What

is the truth?" (July 28, 1952 memo to Secretary of State for Air, Lord Cherwell;

reprinted in Good, T., ibid.) (top)

Prince Phillip, His Royal Highness, Duke of Edinburgh. Having been interested in the subject of UFOs since the early 1950s, he has stated:

"There are many reasons to believe that they (UFOs) do exist: there is so much

evidence from reliable witnesses." (Sunday Dispatch, London, March 28,

1954.) (top)

Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding, Commander-in-Chief of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain, made the following comment to the press in 1954:

"More than 10,000 sightings have been reported, the majority of which cannot be

accounted for by any 'scientific' explanation... I am convinced that these objects

do exist and that they are not manufactured by any nation on earth. I can therefore

see no alternative to accepting the theory that they come from some

extraterrestrial source." (Sunday Dispatch, London, July 11, 1954.) (top)

Earl of Kimberly, former Liberal Party spokesman on aerospace, and member of the House of Lords:

"UFOs defy worldly logic... The human mind cannot begin to comprehend UFO

characteristics: their propulsion, their sudden appearance, their disappearance,

their great speeds, their silence, their manoeuvre, their apparent anti-gravity,

their changing shapes." (House of Lords, Debate on Unidentified Flying Objects,

HANSARD (Lords), vol. 397, no. 23, January 18, 1979.) (top)

Lord Davies of Leek, Member of the House of Lords.

"If one human being out of tens of thousands who allege to have seen these

phenomena is telling the truth, then there is a dire need for us to look into the

matter." (Ibid.) (top)

Lord Rankeillour, Member of the House of Lords.

"Many men have seen them [UFOs] and have not been mistaken. Who are we to

doubt their word?... Only a few weeks ago a Palermo policeman photographed

one, and four Italian Navy officers saw a 300-foot long fiery craft rising from the

sea and disappearing into the sky... Why should these men of law enforcement and

defense lie?" (Ibid.) (top)

Lord Hill-Norton (GCB), Chief of Defense Staff, Ministry of Defense, Great Britain (197173); Chairman, Military Committee of NATO (1974-77); Admiral of the Fleet; Member of House of Lords. In 1987, he wrote the Foreword to a book written by British UFO researcher Timothy Good, Above Top Secret, in which he stated:

"The evidence that there are objects which have been seen in our atmosphere, and

even on terra firma, that cannot be accounted for either as man-made objects or

as any physical force or effect known to our scientists seems to me to be

overwhelming... A very large number of sightings have been vouched for by

persons whose credentials seem to me unimpeachable. It is striking that so many

have been trained observers, such as police officers and airline or military pilots.

Prince Phillip, His Royal Highness, Duke of Edinburgh. Having been interested in the subject

Their observations have in many instances... been supported either by technical

means such as radar or, even more convincingly, by... interference with electrical

apparatus of one sort or another..." (Good, T., ibid.) (top)


General Lionel M. Chassin, Commanding General of the French Air Forces, and General Air Defense Coordinator, Allied Air Forces, Central Europe (NATO). From 1964 until his death in 1970, he was president of the French private UFO research group GEPA.

"The number of thoughtful, intelligent, educated people in full possession of their

faculties who have 'seen something' and described it, grows every day... We can...

say categorically that mysterious objects have indeed appeared and continue to

appear in the sky that surrounds us."

He observed that some UFO sightings by different persons over a 24-hour period, when plotted on a map, revealed that the UFO appeared to travel in either a straight line or a large circle. Concerning these patterns, he concluded:

"Webs and networks... unmistakably suggest a systematic aerial exploration and

cannot be the result of chance. It indicates purposive and intelligent

action." (Chassin, L., Foreword to the book by Michel Aime, Flying Saucers and

the Straight Line Mystery, New York: Criterion Books, 1958.) (top)

M. Robert Galley, French Minister of Defense, interviewed on radio by Jean-Claude Bourret, on February 21, 1974, stated:

"I must say that if listeners could see for themselves the mass of reports coming in

from the airborne gendarmerie, from the mobile gendarmerie, and from the

gendarmerie charged with the job of conducting investigations, all of which

reports are forwarded by us to the National Center for Space Studies, then they

would see that it is all pretty disturbing."

"I believe that the attitude of spirit that we must adopt vis-a-vis this phenomena is

an open one, that is to say that it doesn't consist in denying apriori, as our

ancestors of previous centuries did deny many things that seem nowadays

perfectly elementary." (Bourret, Jean-Claude, La nouvelle vague des soucoups

volantes, Paris: editions france-empire, 1975.) (top)

French Space Agency. Since 1977, France has maintained an office for investigating UFO reports attached to the National Center for Space Studies (CNES) in Toulouse. The original bureau GEPAN (Groupe d'Etudes des Phénomènes Aérospatiaux) was changed in 1988 into the current SEPRA (Service d'Expertise des Phénomènes de Rentrées Atmosphériques). GEPAN/SEPRA has analyzed the best UFO reports collected by the National Gendarmerie, relying on laboratories and scientific centers throughout France for many of its investigations. After reviewing hundreds of UFO reports collected by the Gendarmerie between 1974 and 1978, nineteen experts at GEPAN completed a report of five volumes for the GEPAN Scientific Committee, supervised by Dr. Claude Poher, Ph.D. in astronomy, the founder and first director of GEPAN. The expert team concluded:

"Taking into account the facts that we have gathered from the observers and from

the location of their observations, we concluded that there generally can be said to

be a material phenomenon behind the observations. In 60% of the cases reported

here (references cited), the description of this phenomenon is apparently one of a

flying machine whose origin, modes of lifting and/or propulsion are totally outside

our knowledge.

"The study of the observed phenomenon seems to us, by its extraordinary

characteristics, potentially able to bring to humankind knowledge and eventually

techniques of considerable importance. We suggest that a deep study of this

phenomenon be undertaken with a high degree of priority." (GEPAN Report to the

Scientific Committee, June 1978, Vol. 1, Chapter 4.) (top)

Jean-Jacques Velasco, the last head of GEPAN and current director of SEPRA at CNES Headquarters in Toulouse. In an interview with the French magazine Phénomèna, Velasco stated that SEPRA's primary task was tracking "satellite re-entries, which are more and more numerous, and secondly, to continue the activities of GEPAN, stopped in 1988." He further stated:

"There are cases which remain unexplained... Let's say simply that the events

which were registered and measured, particularly at Trans-en-Provence, but also

in the case of l'Amarante [a CE-II on Oct. 21, 1982] and two others, allow us to

suppose that there are phenomena which escape our understanding completely. I

must say that this permits us to suppose that there is an intelligence behind the

phenomena. But I believe it would be largely speculation to go beyond this

point." (Petrakis, Perry & Marhic, Renaud, "Le SEPRA, côte coulisses,"

Phénomèna, No. 4, July-August 1991.) (top)


George Keleti, Minister of Defense:

"I believe that we are not alone in the universe and other galaxies are also

carrying life on the planets. I never saw any alien green men here on the Earth.

Yes, I was a columnist [in Budapest's Ufomagazin] and I published UFO cases

that were observed and registered within the Hungarian armed forces. I never

stated that we are preparing any kind of action against UFO forces, I only pointed

out to the public that, as a civilization, we would be unable to defend ourselves

here on the Earth... Around Szolnok many UFO reports have been received from

the Ministry of Defense, which obviously and logically means that they [UFOs]

know very well where they have to land and what they have to do. It is remarkable

indeed that the Hungarian newspapers, in general newspapers everywhere, reject

the reports of the authorities." (Lenart, Attila, "Ask a Question to the Minister of

Defense, George Keleti, are you afraid of a UFO invasion?," Nepszava, Budapest,

August 18, 1994.) (top)


Air Marshall Roesmin Nurjadin, Commander-in-Chief of the Indonesian Air Force, stated in 1967:

"UFOs sighted in Indonesia are identical with those sighted in other countries.

Sometimes they pose a problem for our air defence and once we were obliged to

open fire on them." (Letter to Yusuke J. Matsumura, May 5, 1967; reprinted in

Good, T., ibid.) (top)

Air Commander J. Salutun, Member of Parliament and Secretary of the National Aerospace Council of the Republic of Indonesia, stated in 1974:

"I am convinced that we must study the UFO problem seriously for reasons of

sociology, technology and security... " (Letter published in UFO News, Vol. 6, No.

1, 1974, CBA International, Yokohama, Japan.) (top)


General Kanshi Ishikawa, Chief of Staff of Japan's Air Self-Defense Force; Commander of the 2nd Air Wing, Chitose Air Base. In 1967, he stated:

"Much evidence tells us UFOs have been tracked by radar; so, UFOs are real and

they may come from outer space... UFO photographs and various materials show

scientifically that there are more advanced people piloting the saucers and

motherships." (1967 interview published in UFO News, ibid.) (top)

Toshiki Kaifu, Prime Minister, gave a brief interview to students of Waseda University in Tokyo in November 1989. The question of whether Japan had an official UFO organization was discussed:

"Japan does not have such organizations at a government level... If young people

display a serious interest in similar phenomena, we should perhaps think of

forming a UFO-data collecting group under the auspices of the Ministry of

Education." (Ovsyannikov, Vladimir, "Toshiki Kaifu: 'I want to believe in my

dream'," New Times, Moscow, April 16-22, 1991.)

A year later, concerning an upcoming Symposium on Space and UFOs, he stated:

"First of all, I told a magazine this past January that, as an underdeveloped

country with regards to the UFO problem, Japan had to take into account what

should be done about the UFO question, and that we had to spend more time on

these matters. In addition, I said that someone had to solve the UFO problem with

far reaching vision at the same time. Secondly, I believe it is a reasonable time to

take the UFO problem seriously as a reality... I hope that this Symposium will

contribute to peace on earth from the point of view of outer space, and take the

first step toward the international cooperation in the field of UFOs. From the

point of view of 'people' in outer space, all human beings on earth are the same

people, regardless of whether they are American, Russian, Japanese, or

whoever." (Letter to Mayor Shiotani, dated June 24, 1990, endorsing a

forthcoming Space & UFO Symposium in Hakui City, Ishikawa prefecture.) (top)


General Carlos Castro Cavero, General in the Spanish Air Force, at one time Commander of Spain's Third Aerial Region. In a 1976 interview with journalist J.J. Benítez, he acknowledged that UFOs were taken quite seriously by the Spanish military. He added:

"Everything is in a process of investigation both in the United States and in Spain,

as well as in the rest of the world... Look, as a General, as a military man, I have

the same position as the one officially held by the Ministry [of Defense]. Now,

from a personal position, as Carlos Castro Cavero, I believe that UFOs are

spaceships or extraterrestrial craft... The nations of the world are currently

working together in the investigation of the UFO phenomenon. There is an

international exchange of data. Maybe when this group of nations acquire more

precise and definite information, it will be possible to release the news to the


During the same interview, the General described a daytime UFO sighting at his ranch near Zaragoza:

"I myself have observed one [UFO] for more than an hour... It was an extremely

bright object, which remained stationary there for that length of time and then

shot off towards Egea de los Caballeros, covering the distance of twenty

kilometers in less than two seconds. No human device is capable of such a speed."

He added that the Spanish Air Ministry investigated UFO cases, including

instances in which pilots had flown alongside UFOs, but when they tried to get

closer, the UFOs moved away at fantastic speeds. The investigations were kept

confidential at the time, but in 1992 the Spanish Air Force finally began to

declassify its UFO files systematically. (Benítez, J.J., La Gaceta del Norte, Bilbao,

Spain, June 27, 1976.) (top)


Mikhail Gorbachev, in a speech to the International Forum, "For a Nuclear-Free World and the Survival of Humanity," at the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow on February 16, 1987 stated:

"In spite of all the differences between us, we must all learn to preserve our one

big family of humanity. At our meeting in Geneva, the U.S. President said that if

the earth faced an invasion by extraterrestrials, the United States and the Soviet

Union would join forces to repel such an invasion. I shall not dispute the

hypothesis, though I think it's early yet to worry about such an intrusion. (Soviet

Life Supplement, May 1987.)

In reply to the question, "Does the USSR government study UFOs?," asked while visiting the Uralmash plant in Sverdlovsk on April 26th, 1990, he answered:

"I know that there are scientific organizations which study this problem." (Pravda,

April 27, 1990; Major General Pavel Popovich in a letter to Colman S. Von

Keviczky, July 31, 1991.) (top)


On July 22, 1985, in western Zimbabwe, a UFO was witnessed by dozens of persons on the ground and in the control tower at Bulawayo Airport, as well as by the pilots of two Hawk jets that were scrambled to pursue it. The UFO was also tracked on radar. The UFO was very bright and rounded, with a short cone above it, and evaded the Hawk jets.

Air Marshal Azim Daudpota:

"This was no ordinary UFO. Scores of people saw it. It was no illusion, no

deception, no imagination." (The Times, London, August 3, 1985.) (top)

Air Commodore David Thorne, Director General of Operations in a October 24, 1985 letter to Timothy Good stated:

"[Although not speaking officially], as far as my Air Staff is concerned, we believe

implicitly that the unexplained UFOs are from some civilization beyond our

planet." (Good, T., ibid.) (top)

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Quotes from US and USSR Astronauts

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Gordon Cooper, Astronaut (Mercury-Atlas 9, May 15, 1963; Gemini 5, August 21, 1965), Col. USAF (Ret); letter to Granada's Ambassador Griffith at the United Nations, November 9, 1978:

"I wanted to convey to you my views on our extra-terrestrial visitors popularly

referred to as ' UFOs,' and suggest what might be done to properly deal with


"I believe that these extra-terrestrial vehicles and their crews are visiting this

planet from other planets, which obviously are a little more technically advanced

than we are here on earth. I feel that we need to have a top level, coordinated

program to scientifically collect and analyze data from all over the earth

concerning any type of encounter, and to determine how best to interface with

these visitors in a friendly fashion. We may first have to show them that we have

learned to resolve our problems by peaceful means, rather than warfare, before

we are accepted as fully qualified universal team members. This acceptance

would have tremendous possibilities of advancing our world in all areas.

Certainly then it would seem that the UN has a vested interest in handling this

subject properly and expeditiously.

"I should point out that I am not an experienced UFO professional researcher. I

have not yet had the privilege of flying a UFO, nor of meeting the crew of one. I

do feel that I am somewhat qualified to discuss them since I have been into the

fringes of the vast areas in which they travel. Also, I did have occasion in 1951 to

have two days of observation of many flights of them, of different sizes, flying in

fighter formation, generally from east to west over Europe. They were at a higher

altitude than we could reach with our jet fighters of that time.

"I would also like to point out that most astronauts are very reluctant to even

discuss UFOs due to the great numbers of people who have indiscriminately sold

fake stories and forged documents abusing their names and reputations without

hesitation. Those few astronauts who have continued to have participation in the

UFO field have had to do so very cautiously. There are several of us who do

believe in UFOs and who have had occasion to see a UFO on the ground, or from

an airplane. There was only one occasion from space which may have been a


"If the UN agrees to pursue this project, and to lend their credibility to it, perhaps

many more well qualified people will agree to step forth and provide help and

information." (Good, T., ibid.)

On several occasions, he described his own sighting in Germany in 1951:

"Several days in a row we sighted groups of metallic, saucer-shaped vehicles at

great altitudes over the base, and we tried to get close to them, but they were able

to change direction faster than our fighters. I do believe UFOs exist and that the

truly unexplained ones are from some other technologically advanced civilization.

From my association with aircraft and spacecraft, I think I have a pretty good idea

of what everyone on this planet has and their performance capabilities, and I'm

sure some of the UFOs at least are not from anywhere on Earth." (Omni, Vol. 2,

No. 6, March 1980.) (top)

Donald (Deke) Slayton, "Mercury Seven" astronaut, stated in an interview, that he had seen a UFO in 1951:

"I was testing a P-51 fighter in Minneapolis when I spotted this object. I was at

about 10,000 feet on a nice, bright, sunny afternoon. I thought the object was a

kite, then realized that no kite is gonna [sic] fly that high. As I got closer, it looked

like a weather balloon, gray and about three feet in diameter. But as soon as I got

behind the darn thing, it didn't look like a balloon anymore. It looked like a

saucer, a disc. About that same time, I realized that it was suddenly going away

from me - and there I was, running at about 300 miles an hour. I tracked it for a

little while, and then all of sudden the damn thing just took off. It pulled about a

45-degree climbing turn and accelerated and just flat disappeared. A couple of

days later, I was having a beer with my commanding officer, and I thought, ' What

the hell, I'd better mention something to him about it.' I did, and he told me to get

on down to intelligence and give them a report. I did, and I never heard anything

more on it." (National Enquirer, October 23, 1979.) (top)

Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 lunar module pilot and founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences:

"I've changed my position in the last two or three years - the last two years to be

precise - to suggest that the evidence is strong enough that we really need to have

serious open discussion and release of information that it is quite clear the

government and other governments do hold, and that this become a part of our

official knowledge... Now, whether it's true or not, it deserves to be handled with a

serious investigation. There is too much smoke here not to be fire, and so I

personally in the last couple of years have come out - I don't know the answers,

but I've come out - and I say, this has gone far enough. If it's real, let's get it out in

the open; let's break the deadlock that bureaucracy has on this. There is enough

evidence pointing in the direction that clearly there is information being withheld.

How far we can go with it, I don't know." (Excerpt from his lecture "Science and

the Inner Experience" sponsored by the friends of The Institute of Noetic Sciences,

New York City, December 4, 1991.) (top) Al Worden, Apollo 15 astronaut who later became a poet. In a lengthy interview in a documentary produced for the 20th anniversary of the landing on the Moon, Worden discussed his views that Earth was probably visited in the past by extraterrestrial explorers. He began by commenting on the well known "UFO interpretation" of the vision of the prophet Ezekiel in the Bible:

"And a literal translation describes very clearly a spacecraft with the ability to

land vertically and take-off vertically, and it was an object that looked very much

like the Lunar Module that we used on the Moon; and if it's going to land

vertically and take-off vertically, it had to come from some place and go back

some place.

"In my mind the universe has to be cyclic, so that in one galaxy if there is a planet

maybe that has arrived at the point of becoming unlivable, you will find in another

part of a different galaxy a planet that has just formed which is perfect for

habitation. I see some kind of intelligent being, like us, skipping around the

universe from planet to planet as, let's say, the South Pacific Indians do on the

islands, where they skip from island to island. When the first island blows up due

to a volcano, they will have their progeny on all these other islands and they will

be able to continue the species. I think that's what the [alien] space program is all


"I think we may be a combination of creatures that were living here on Earth some

time in the past, and having a visitation, if you will, by creatures from somewhere

else in the universe, and those two species getting together and having progeny. I

am not at all convinced that we are not the result of that particular union some

many thousands of years ago. If that is the case in fact, a very small group of

explorers could land on a planet and create successors to themselves that would

eventually take up the pursuit of, let's say, inhabiting the rest of the

universe." (Excerpts from his interview in the documentary "The Other Side of the

Moon," produced by Michael G. Lemle, and broadcast by PBS in July 1989.) (top)

Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Commander:

"I'm one of those guys who has never seen a UFO. But I've been asked, and I've

said publicly I thought they were somebody else; some other

civilization..." (Chriss, Nicholas, "Cernan Says Other Earths Exist," Los Angeles

Times, January 6, 1973.) (top)

Story Musgrave, Space shuttle astronaut who flew on the repair mission of the Hubble Space Telescope:

"I try to communicate with the life that's out there. I'm serious. It is not that far

out. When I'm circling around out there, I try in whatever ways I can to get them to

come down here and get me." (The Houston Post, December 1, 1993.) (top)


Yevegni Khrunov, Soyuz-5 spacecraft pilot in 1969:

"Is the presence of extraterrestrial civilizations conceivable? Of course. Before the

uniqueness of the earth is demonstrated, this assumption should be taken as quite

legitimate. As regards UFOs, their presence cannot be denied: thousands of

people have seen them. It may be that their source is optical effects, but some of

their properties, for instance, their ability to change course by 90 degrees at great

speed, simply stagger the imagination." (Sputnik, "UFOs Through the Eyes of

Cosmonauts," December 1980.) (top)

Vladimir Kovalyonok, Major-General of Aviation stated:

"On May 5, 1981, we were in orbit [in the Salyut-6 space station]. I saw an object

that didn't resemble any cosmic objects I'm familiar with. It was a round object

which resembled a melon, round and a little bit elongated. In front of this object

was something that resembled a gyrating depressed cone. I can draw it, it's

difficult to describe. The object resembles a barbell. I saw it becoming transparent

and like with a ' body' inside. At the other end I saw something like gas

discharging, like a reactive object. Then something happened that is very difficult

for me to describe from the point of view of physics. Last year in the magazine

Nature I read about a physicist... we tried together to explain this phenomenon and

we decided it was a ' plasmaform.' I have to recognize that it did not have an

artificial origin. It was not artificial because an artificial object couldn't attain this

form. I don't know of anything that can make this movement... tightening, then

expanding, pulsating. Then as I was observing, something happened, two

explosions. One explosion, and then 0.5 seconds later, the second part exploded. I

called my colleague Viktor [Savinykh], but he didn't arrive in time to see anything.

"What are the particulars? First conclusion: the object moved in a suborbital

path, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to see it. There were two clouds, like

smoke, that formed a barbell. It came near me and I watched it. Then we entered

in to the shade for two or three minutes after this happened. When we came out of

the shade we didn't see anything. But during a certain time, we and the craft were

moving together." (Videotaped interview with Giorgio Bongiovanni in the village

of Kosnikov, near Moscow, 1993. Videotape courtesy of Michael

Hesemann.) (top)

Major-General Pavel Popovich, pioneer Cosmonaut, "Hero of the Soviet Union," and the President of All-Union Ufology Association of the Commonwealth of Independent States:

"Today it can be stated with a high degree of confidence that observed

manifestations of UFOs are no longer confined to the modern picture of the world,

or the simple refutation of the orthodox natural science paradigm. The historical

evidence of the phenomenon, the singularity of its newly gained kinematic,

energetic, and psychophysical features allows us to hypothesize that ever since

mankind has been co-existing with this extraordinary substance, it has manifested

a high level of intelligence and technology. The UFO sightings have become the constant component of human activity and require a serious global study. In order to realize the position of man on earth and in the universe, ufology, the scientific study of the UFO phenomenon, should take place in the midst of other sciences dealing with man and the world...

"The influence the UFO has on people, as well as the effects it produces, should become the items of special research. The UFO's interaction with the environment, the behavior that it motivates, and its genesis, also present interesting areas for concentrated study. Today, many specialists have come to the opinion that [UFO] phenomenon research should be taken up along with understanding and comprehension of other unexplained phenomena... The development of new approaches for the identification and study of energy and information processes will allow for an enthusiastic move toward the comprehension of the phenomenon. The results of these studies should aid the survival of the people on earth...

"It's necessary to carry out the popular ufological enlightenment, since the probability for a meeting of a person with a UFO exists, and this person should be ready for this event. Precautionary measures are especially important. It's necessary to tell the truth, which has been distorted previously by the politically engaged sciences and most recently by ufological dilettantes. The main purpose of the primary local groups, that of controlling the ufological situation, mustn't be forgotten. The ufologists should know all the UFO's landing places and contacts in their regions. They should have relations with the local authorities, and in particular, with the police, the civil defense bodies, as well as information, scientific, and medical organizations." (Popovich, P., "Ufology in the Commonwealth of Independent States: Organization Problems," in the MUFON 1992 International UFO Symposium Proceedings.) (top)

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Quotes from Prominent World Scientists

United States | Belgium | China | France | Germany | Greece | Switzerland | USSR


Dr. Clyde W. Tombaugh, American astronomer who discovered the planet Pluto. On August 20, 1949, he observed a UFO that appeared as a geometrically arranged group of six-to-eight rectangles of light, window-like in appearance and yellowish-green in color, which moved from northwest to southeast over Las Cruces, New Mexico. He stated:

"I doubt that the phenomenon was any terrestrial reflection, because... nothing of

the kind has ever appeared before or since... I was so unprepared for such a

strange sight that I was really petrified with astonishment." (The UFO Evidence,

ibid.) (top)

Dr. Carl Sagan, Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences at Cornell University:

"It now seems quite clear that Earth is not the only inhabited planet. There is

evidence that the bulk of the stars in the sky have planetary systems. Recent

research concerning the origin of life on Earth suggests that the physical and

chemical processes leading to the origin of life occur rapidly in the early history

of the majority of planets. The selective value of intelligence and technical

civilization is obvious, and it seems likely that a large number of planets within

our Milky Way galaxy - perhaps as many as a million - are inhabited by technical

civilizations in advance of our own. Interstellar space flight is far beyond our

present technical capabilities, but there seems to be no fundamental physical

objections to preclude, from our own vantage point, the possibility of its

development by other civilizations." (Sagan, Carl, "Unidentified Flying Objects,"

The Encyclopedia Americana, 1963.) (top)

Dr. Frank B. Salisbury, Professor of Plant Physiology at Utah State University:

"I must admit that any favorable mention of the flying saucers by a scientist

amounts to extreme heresy and places the one making the statement in danger of

excommunication by the scientific theocracy. Nevertheless, in recent years I have

investigated the story of the unidentified flying object (UFO), and I am no longer

able to dismiss the idea lightly." (Paper on "Exobiology" presented at the First

Annual Rocky Mountain Bioengineering Symposium, held at the United States

Putnam, 1966.)Air Force Academy, in May 1964. Quoted in Fuller, John G., Incident at Exeter, Putnam, 1966.) (top)

Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Chairman of the Department of Astronomy at Northwestern University and scientific consultant for Air Force investigations of UFOs from 1948 until 1969 (Projects Sign, Grudge and Blue Book). Over his long career, he made numerous comments about the scientific implications of the UFO phenomenon:

"Despite the seeming inanity of the subject, I felt that I would be derelict in my

scientific responsibility to the Air Force if I did not point out that the whole UFO

phenomenon might have aspects to it worthy of scientific attention." (Hearings on

Unidentified Flying Objects, Committee on Armed Services, House of

Representatives, Eighty-ninth Congress, Second Session, 1966.)

"I have begun to feel that there is a tendency in 20th Century science to forget that

there will be a 21st Century science, and indeed a 30th Century science, from

which vantage points our knowledge of the universe may appear quite different

than it does to us. We suffer, perhaps, from temporal provincialism, a form of

arrogance that has always irritated posterity." (Hynek, J. Allen, letter to Science

magazine, August 1, 1966.)

"When one gets reports from scientists, engineers and technicians whose

credibility by all common standards is high and whose moral caliber seems to

preclude a hoax, one can do no less than hear them out, in all

seriousness." (Hynek, J. Allen, "The UFO Gap," Playboy, Vol. 14, No. 12,

December 1967.)

"There exists a phenomenon... that is worthy of systematic rigorous study... The

body of data point to an aspect or domain of the natural world not yet explored by

science... When the long awaited solution to the UFO problem comes, I believe

that it will prove to be not merely the next small step in the march of science but a

mighty and totally unexpected quantum jump." (Hynek, J. Allen, The UFO

Experience: A Scientific Inquiry, Chicago: Regnery Co., 1972.) (top)

Dr. Leo Sprinkle, Professor of psychology at the University of Wyoming had his first UFO sighting in 1951 when he and a friend saw "something in the sky, round and metallic looking." In 1956, he had a second sighting while driving with his wife near Boulder, Colorado:

"We watched it for quite a few minutes. We could see it was larger than the

headlights of the cars below. And we could see it was not attached to anything.

And there was no sound. I became frightened actually, because it wasn't anything I

could understand... from a personal viewpoint, I am pretty well convinced that we

are being surveyed." ("Flying Saucers," Special Issue of Look magazine,

1967.) (top)

Dr. James E. McDonald, Senior Physicist at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the University of Arizona, testified at the UFO hearings convened by the House Committee on on Science and Astronautics in 1968:

"The type of UFO reports that are most intriguing are close-range sightings of

machine-like objects of unconventional nature and unconventional performance

characteristics, seen at low altitudes, and sometimes even on the ground. The

general public is entirely unaware of the large number of such reports that are

coming from credible witnesses... When one starts searching for such cases, their

number are quite astonishing. Also, such sightings appear to be occurring all over

the globe." ("Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects," Hearings before the

Committee on Science and Astronautics, U.S. House of Representatives, July 29,

1968.) (top)

Dr. Robert M. L. Baker, Jr., President of West Coast University; author of two astrodynamics textbooks; head of Lockheed's Astrodynamics Research Center (1961-64); member of the faculty of Astronomy and Engineering at UCLA (1959-71).

He has specialized in the study of motion pictures of UFOs and anomalistic radar images, and has concluded that two of the most famous UFO motion pictures, taken in the 1950s, cannot be explained in terms of conventional phenomena.

In 1968, he made the following statement concerning the one U.S. radar system in operation at that time that, to his knowledge, exhibited sufficient continuous coverage to reveal UFOs operating above the earth's atmosphere:

"The system is partially classified and, hence, I cannot go into great detail... Since

this particular sensor system has been in operation, there have been a number of

anomalistic alarms. Alarms that, as of this date, have not been explained on the

basis of natural phenomena interference, equipment malfunction or inadequacy,

or man-made space objects." (1968 Congressional Hearings, ibid.) (top)

Stanton T. Friedman, nuclear physicist and well known UFO researcher, responsible for the original investigation of the Roswell, New Mexico incident. In a prepared statement submitted to the House Science and Astronautics Committee UFO Hearings in 1968, he posed and answered a series of key questions about the UFO phenomenon:

"1. To what conclusions have you come with regard to UFOs? I have concluded

that the earth is being visited by intelligently controlled vehicles whose origin is

extraterrestrial. This doesn't mean I know where they come from, why they are

here, or how they operate.

"2. What basis do you have for these conclusions? Eyewitness and photographic

and radar reports from all over the earth by competent witnesses of definite

objects whose characteristics such as maneuverability, high speed, and hovering,

along with definite shape, texture, and surface features, rule out terrestrial


"6. Were there any differences between the unknowns and the knowns? A 'chi

square' statistical analysis was performed comparing the unknowns in this study to

all the knowns. It was shown that the probability that the unknowns came from the

same population of sighting reports as the knowns, was less than 1%. This was

based on apparent color, velocity, etc... Maneuverability, one of the most

distinguished characteristics of UFOs, was not included in this statistical

analysis." (1968 Congressional Hearings, ibid.) (top)

Dr. Margaret Mead, world-renowned anthropologist, stated:

"There are unidentified flying objects. That is, there are a hard core of cases -

perhaps 20 to 30 percent in different studies - for which there is no explanation...

We can only imagine what purpose lies behind the activities of these quiet,

harmlessly cruising objects that time and again approach the earth. The most

likely explanation, it seems to me, is that they are simply watching what we are up

to." (Mead, Margaret, "UFOs - Visitors from Outer Space?," Redbook, vol. 143,

September 1974.) (top)

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics UFO Subcommittee. The AIAA established a subcommittee in 1967 to look into the UFO question. The UFO Subcommittee issued several reports and statements, including in-depth studies of two UFO incidents. The UFO Subcommittee stated that its "most important conclusion" was that government agencies consider funding UFO research:

"From a scientific and engineering standpoint, it is unacceptable to simply ignore

substantial numbers of unexplained observations... the only promising approach is

a continuing moderate-level effort with emphasis on improved data collection by

objective means... involving available remote sensing capabilities and certain

software changes." (Story, Ronald D., The Encyclopedia of UFOs, New York:

Doubleday, 1980.) (top)

The Subcommittee of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics criticized the conclusion of The Condon Report as the personal views of Dr. Condon, and added:

"The opposite conclusion could have been drawn from The Condon Report's

content, namely, that a phenomenon with such a high ratio of unexplained cases

(about 30 percent) should arouse sufficient scientific curiosity to continue its

study." (Story, Ronald D., ibid.) (top)

Dr. Richard Haines, Psychologist specializing in pilot and astronaut "human factors" research for the Ames NASA Research Center in California, from where he retired in 1988 as Chief of the Space Human Factors Office. He has stated:

"We're not dealing with mental projections or hallucinations on the part of the

witness but with a real physical phenomenon." (Haines, Dr. Richard, Observing

UFO's, Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1980.)

A principal focus of his UFO research concerns aircraft cases:

"Reports of anomalous aerial objects (AAO) appearing in the atmosphere continue

to be made by pilots of almost every airline and air force of the world in addition

to private and experimental test pilots. This paper presents a review of 56 reports

of AAO in which electromagnetic effects (E-M) take place on-board the aircraft

when the phenomenon is located nearby but not before it appeared or after it had


"Reported E-M effects included radio interference or total failure, radar contact

with and without simultaneous visual contact, magnetic and/or gyro-compass

deviations, automatic direction finder failure or interference, engine stopping or

interruption, dimming cabin lights, transponder failure, and military aircraft

weapon system failure." (Haines, Dr. Richard, "Fifty-Six Aircraft Pilot Sightings

Dr. Margaret Mead, world-renowned anthropologist, stated:

Involving Electromagnetic Effects," MUFON 1992 International UFO Symposium

Proceedings.) (top)

Dr. Peter A. Sturrock, Professor of Space Science and Astrophysics and Deputy Director of the Center for Space Sciences and Astrophysics at Stanford University; Director of the Skylab Workshop on Solar Flares in 1977. He has stated:

"The definitive resolution of the UFO enigma will not come about unless and until

the problem is subjected to open and extensive scientific study by the normal

procedures of established science. This requires a change in attitude primarily on

the part of scientists and administrators in universities." (Sturrock, Peter A.,

Report on a Survey of the American Astronomical Society concerning the UFO

Phenomenon, Stanford University Report SUIPR 68IR, 1977.)

"Although... the scientific community has tended to minimize the significance of the

UFO phenomenon, certain individual scientists have argued that the phenomenon

is both real and significant. Such views have been presented in the Hearings of the

House Committee on Science and Astronautics [and elsewhere]. It is also notable

that one major national scientific society, the American Institute of Aeronautics

and Astronautics, set up a subcommittee in 1967 to 'gain a fresh and objective

perspective on the UFO phenomenon.'

In their public statements (but not necessarily in their private statements),

scientists express a generally negative attitude towards the UFO problem, and it is

interesting to try to understand this attitude. Most scientists have never had the

occasion to confront evidence concerning the UFO phenomenon. To a scientist,

the main source of hard information (other than his own experiments'

observations) is provided by the scientific journals. With rare exceptions, scientific

journals do not publish reports of UFO observations. The decision not to publish

is made by the editor acting on the advice of reviewers. This process is self

reinforcing: the apparent lack of data confirms the view that there is nothing to the

UFO phenomenon, and this view works against the presentation of relevant

data." (Sturrock, Peter A., "An Analysis of the Condon Report on the Colorado

UFO Project," Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1987.) (top)

Dr. Jacques Vallee, astrophysicist, computer scientist and world renowned researcher and author on UFOs and paranormal phenomena. He worked closely with Dr. J. Allen Hynek. Commenting on the need for science "to search beyond the superficial appearances of reality":

"Skeptics, who flatly deny the existence of any unexplained phenomenon in the

name of 'rationalism,' are among the primary contributors to the rejection of

science by the public. People are not stupid and they know very well when they

have seen something out of the ordinary. When a so-called expert tells them the

object must have been the moon or a mirage, he is really teaching the public that

science is impotent or unwilling to pursue the study of the unknown." (Vallee, J.,

Confrontations, New York: Ballantine Books, 1990.)

In his last book, he reveals from his diaries how the government has deliberately misled the scientific world, the media and the public regarding their information on UFOs and paranormal research:

"It is unusual for scientists to keep diaries and even more unusual for them to

make them public... I have followed this rule of silence for the last thirty years, but

I have finally decided that I had no right to keep them private anymore... They

provide a primary source about a crucial fact in the recent historical record: the

appearance of new classes of phenomena that highlighted the reality of the

paranormal. These phenomena were deliberately denied or distorted by those in

authority within the government and the military. Science never had fair and

complete access to the most important files.

"The thirteen years covered here, from 1957 to 1969, saw some of the most

exciting events in technological history... Behind the grand parade of the visible

breakthroughs in science, however, more private mysteries were also taking

place:... all over the world people had begun to observe what they described as

controlled devices in the sky. They were shaped like saucers or spheres. They

seemed to violate every known principle in our physics.

"Governments took notice, organizing task forces, encouraging secret briefings

and study groups, funding classified research and all the time denying before the

public that any of the phenomena might be real... The major revelation of these

Diaries may be the demonstration of how the scientific community was misled by

the government, how the best data were kept hidden, and how the public record

was shamelessly manipulated." (Vallee, J., Forbidden Science, Berkeley: North

Atlantic Books, 1992.) (top)

Dr. John E. Mack, Professor of psychiatry at The Cambridge Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and founding director of the Center for Psychology and Social Change. A 1977 Pulitzer Prize winner for his biography of Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Mack has studied the subject of UFO abductions in recent years:

"I will stress once again that we do not know the source from which the UFOs or

the alien beings come (whether or not, for example, they originate in the physical

universe as modern astrophysics has described it). But they manifest in the

physical world and bring about definable consequences in that domain." (Mack,

J., Abduction - Human Encounters With Aliens, New York: Scribners,

1994.) (top)


Dr. Auguste Meessen, Professor of physics at the Catholic University in Louvain and one of the scientific consultants for the Belgian Society for the Study of Space Phenomena (SOBEPS). In an interview with French journalist, Marie-Therese de Brosses, Professor Meessen discussed the recent UFO wave in Belgium:

"There are too many independent eyewitness reports to ignore. Too many of the

reports describe coherent physical effects, and there is an agreement among the

accounts concerning what was observed... But of course there are also physical

effects. The Air Force report [of the F-16 jet scramble incident on the night of

March 30-31, 1990] allows us to approach the problem in a rational and scientific

way. The simplest hypothesis is that the reports are caused by extraterrestrial

visitors, but that hypothesis carries with it other problems. We are not in a rush to

form a conclusion, but continue to study the mystery." (Brosses, M.-T. de, "F-16

Radar Tracks UFO," Paris Match, July 5, 1990. English version in the MUFON

UFO Journal, No. 268, August 1990.) (top)


Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. One of the branches of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is the China UFO Research Organization (CURO). As of 1985, CURO had 20,000 members, and two publications, the Journal of UFO Research and Space Exploration. The Journal's first issue in 1981 included an article by Comrade Bang Wen-Gwang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Beijing Astronomical Research Society. The article stated in part:

"In this field [Ufology], prejudice will take you farther from the truth than

ignorance... But with a topic such as UFOs, where does the scientific method

begin? And where does it end? This grand endeavor would consist of the serious

recording of the enormous available data and the use of all scientific procedures

for the purpose of analysis... China is so vast, and UFOs are certainly being

witnessed again and again all throughout China, and China most definitely will

evolve her own indigenous school of UFO researchers. This is our sincerest and

deepest hope." (Wen-Gwang, B., "The Aspirations & Hopes of the Chinese UFO

Investigator," The Journal of UFO Research, No. 1, People's Republic of China,

1981.) (top)

UFO Scientific Conference in Darlian. In 1985, the government newspaper, China Daily, reported that a UFO Scientific Conference was held in Darlian, with some forty papers presented on various aspects of UFO research. Professor Liang Renglin of Guangzhou Jinan University, Chairman of CURO, stated in the Darlian Conference that more than 600 UFO reports had been made in China during the past five years. The article concluded:

"UFOs are an unresolved mystery with profound influence in the world." ("UFO

Conference Held in Darlian," China Daily, August 27, 1985; quoted in Good, T.,

ibid.) (top)


Dr. Pierre Guérin, senior researcher at the French National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS), has written extensively about the need for scientific research in the UFO field. He concluded a summary of the UFO evidence published in Sciences & Avenir in 1972 with the following words:

"At the very least, it is already possible to show scientifically the evidence for

physico-chemical modifications affecting sometimes the ground of alleged landing

sites, as well as the effects produced on the vegetation. Such research has already

begun and doesn't necessarily require large sums.

"The UFO problem in its totality, nevertheless, cannot be really understood unless

our science someday is able to propose physical models that take into account the

observed phenomena. We are not able to know if this will ever occur, and in any event, we are still very far from that stage." (Guérin, P., "Le Dossier des Objets

Volants Non Identifiés," Sciences & Avenir, No. 307, Paris, September

1972.) (top)

Dr. Claude Poher, expert on aeronautics, astronomy and astronautics, engineer at the French Space Agency (CNES) for thirty years, specializing in rocket propulsion and nuclear space energy; former Chairman of many working groups in the International Astronautical Federation; founder of GEPAN in May 1977 and its first Director until 1979.

Before creating GEPAN, he had studied the UFO phenomenon for many years and had access to French military and police UFO files, including classified reports. In a report on UFOs for French officials, he wrote:

"The phenomenon seems to be real... The general coherence of sighting reports

worldwide should not leave researchers indifferent. One does not conceive

objective arguments to justify an attitude that would avoid at all cost these

observations... The risk is, at worst, to confirm the existence of unknown vehicles

appearing erratically into our atmosphere - a hypothesis that seems to explain

nearly all reported aspects of the phenomenon and could be linked to the current

(1970) exobiology branch of space research." (1971 Statistical Study prepared for

the CNES and French officials.)

He further comments on the science and technology implied by the eyewitness descriptions of the phenomenon:

"Given the volume of the objects described in the observations... I can affirm that

our futuristic space generators are far from being able to produce the amount of

energy seen by the UFO witnesses. The light power seen is probably the tip of the

iceberg, because no thermodynamic system can produce energy without

dissipating a part of it. The megawatts of observed light are most likely the energy

'leak' from the energy conversion system used by the flying object, which means

that the useful energy produced is much greater than what is seen.

"The knowledge of such an energy production method is crucial for the future of

mankind. The UFO observation reports tells us that ambitious, entirely new,

solutions are possible [underlined in the original]. This is very important." (Letter

to Marie Galbraith, November 26, 1995.) (top)


Professor Hermann Oberth, German rocket expert considered (with Robert Goddard and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky) one of the three fathers of the space age. In 1955, Dr. Werner von Braun invited him to the U.S. where he worked on rockets with the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and later NASA. Oberth's active interest in UFOs began in 1954:

"It is my thesis that flying saucers are real and that they are space ships from

another solar system. I think that they possibly are manned by intelligent

observers who are members of a race that may have been investigating our earth

for centuries. I think that they possibly have been sent out to conduct systematic,

long-range investigations, first of men, animals, vegetation, and more recently of atomic centers, armaments and centers of armament production." (Oberth H.,

"Flying Saucers Come From A Distant World," The American Weekly, October

24, 1954.)

As a rocket scientist and space pioneer, Prof. Oberth paid close attention to the propulsion aspect of UFO research:

"They are flying by means of artificial fields of gravity... They produce high

tension electric charges in order to push the air out of their paths, so it does not

start glowing, and strong magnetic fields to influence the ionized air at higher

altitudes. First, this would explain their luminosity... Secondly, it would explain

the noiselessness of UFO flight... Finally, this assumption also explains the strong

electrical and magnetic effects sometimes, though not always, observed in the

vicinity of UFOs." ("Dr. Hermann Oberth discusses UFOs," Fate, May 1962.)

"It is my conclusion that UFOs do exist, are very real, and are spaceships from

another or more than one solar system. They are possibly manned by intelligent

observers who are members of a race carrying out long-range scientific

investigations of our earth for centuries." (UFO News, 1974.) (top)


Dr. Paul Santorini, Greek physicist and engineer credited with developing the proximity fuse for the Hiroshima atomic bomb, two patents for the guidance system used in the U.S. Nike missiles, and a centimetric radar system.

He has stated that he believes UFOs are under intelligent control. In 1947, he investigated a series of UFO reports over Greece that were initially thought to be Soviet missiles. He stated:

"We soon established that they were not missiles. But, before we could do any

more, the Army, after conferring with foreign officials, ordered the investigation

stopped. Foreign scientists flew to Greece for secret talks with me... A world

blanket of secrecy surrounded the UFO question because the authorities were

unwilling to admit the existence of a force against which we had no possibility of

defense." (Fowler, R., UFOs: Interplanetary Visitors, New York: Bantam Books,

1974.) (top)


Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, Pioneer of psychiatry, stated in 1954:

"A purely psychological explanation is ruled out... the discs show signs of

intelligent guidance, by quasi-human pilots... the authorities in possession of

important information should not hesitate to enlighten the public as soon and as

completely as possible." ("Dr. Carl Jung on Unidentified Flying Objects," Flying

Saucer Review, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1955.)

"Unfortunately, however, there are good reasons why the UFOs cannot be

disposed of in this simple manner. It remains an established fact, supported by

numerous observations, that UFOs have not only been seen visually but have also

been picked up on the radar screen and have left traces on the photographic plate.

It boils down to nothing less than this: that either psychic projections throw back a

radar echo, or else the appearance of real objects affords an opportunity for

mythological projections." ("A Fresh Look at Flying Saucers," Time, August 4,

1967.) (top)


Dr. Felix Y. Zigel, Professor of mathematics and astronomy at the Moscow Aviation Institute, known as the father of Russian Ufology. In a November 10, 1967 broadcast on Moscow Central Television, with Soviet Air Force General Porfiri Stolyarov, Zigel stated:

"Unidentified flying objects are a very serious subject which we must study fully.

We appeal to all viewers to send us details of strange flying craft seen over the

territories of the Soviet Union. This is a serious challenge to science and we need

the help of all Soviet citizens." (Good, T., ibid.)

"Observations show that UFOs behave 'sensibly.' In a group formation flight, they

maintain a pattern. They are most often spotted over airfields, atomic stations and

other very new engineering installations. On encountering aircraft, they always

maneuver so as to avoid direct contact. A considerable list of these seemingly

intelligent actions gives the impression that UFOs are investigating, perhaps even

reconnoitering... The important thing now is for us to discard any preconceived

notions about UFOs and to organize on a global scale a calm, sensation-free and

strictly scientific study of this strange phenomenon. The subject and aims of the

investigation are so serious that they justify all efforts. It goes without saying that

international cooperation is vital." (Zigel, F., "Unidentified Flying Objects,"

Soviet Life, No. 2 (137), February 1968.)

In an interview with Henri Gris in 1981, he stated:

"We have seen these UFOs over the USSR; craft of every possible shape: small,

big, flattened, spherical. They are able to remain stationary in the atmosphere or

to shoot along at 100,000 kilometers per hour... They are also able to affect our

power resources, halting our electricity generating plants, our radio stations, and

our engines, without however leaving any permanent damage. So refined a

technology can only be the fruit of an intelligence that is indeed far superior to

man." (Gente, July 31, 1981 and August 7, 1981.) (top)

Institute of Space Research of the Soviet Academy of Sciences published in 1979, a 74-page statistical analysis of over 250 UFO cases reported in the Soviet Union. After stating that hallucinations, errors, and conventional explanations (aircraft, satellites, etc.) could not account for many of the reports, the study concluded:

"Obviously, the question of the nature of the anomalous phenomena still should be

considered open. To obtain more definite conclusions, more reliable data must be

available. Reports on observations of anomalous phenomena have to be well documented. The production of such reports must be organized through the

existing network of meteorological, geophysical, and astronomical observation

stations, as well as through other official channels... In our opinion, the Soviet

and foreign data accumulated so far justifies setting such studies." (Gindilis,

L.M., Men'kov, D.A. & Petrovskaya, I.G., "Observations of Anomalous

Atmospheric Phenomena in the USSR: Statistical Analysis," USSR Academy of

Sciences Institute of Space Research, Report PR 473, Moscow, 1979. The English

translation of the full report in "NASA Technical Memorandum No. 75665," was

reprinted by the Center for UFO Studies in June 1980.) (top)

USSR Scientific Commissions. The Soviet press was informed in the mid-80s that the All-Union Council of Scientific and Technical Societies (now the Council of Scientific and Engineering Societies) had set up a non-governmental Commission on Paranormal Events, headed by V.S. Troitsky, a Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences. A glimpse at the activities of the Commission was published in 1989 by members A. Petukhov and T. Faminskaya:

"Of special value are the archives set up by the Commission. They contain over 13

thousand reports connected with PEs [Paranormal Events] and with UFOs in

particular... UFOs have been seen to hover over ground objects, to chase or fly

side by side with airplanes and cars, to follow geometrically regular trajectories,

and to send out ordered flashes of light. In other words, such 'paranormals'

behave, from the viewpoint of human beings, quite often showing capabilities yet

beyond the reach of the machines built on the Earth." (Faminskaya, T. &

Petukhov, A., "At 4.10 Hours and After," Almanac Phenomenon 1989, Moscow

Mir, 1989.) (top)

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The involvement of the U.S. Government in the UFO mystery dates back to the latter part of World War II, when "foo-fighters" (luminous orbs at night, shiny and reflective in daylight) puzzled Allied airmen by approaching and pacing their aircraft during missions, then suddenly darting away. The objects, though assumed by debriefing intelligence officers to be enemy weapons or observation devices, never posed a threat. Sightings of them were recorded in military unit records, but it is not clear that they were ever systematically studied.

When the first major, well-recorded UFO sighting wave began in July 1947 in the Pacific Northwest, the reports stirred memories of "foo-fighters" among World War II veterans. Once again shiny, maneuverable unidentified objects were reported to be pacing aircraft and widely seen by ground observers as well. When thousands of citizens reported daylight sightings of disc and oval-shaped, apparently metallic objects coursing through the skies, the Army and the spin-off Air Force (formerly Army Air Corps) initiated urgent studies.

At first it was feared that the Soviet Union, despite its bedraggled state, had somehow made a major aeronautical breakthrough - perhaps with the assistance of captured German engineers. At the onset of the Cold War, this posed a threat to U.S. and Allied interests. The initial readings quickly ruled out a Soviet origin, but left an important mystery. These early intelligence findings remained totally secret for many years.

The top-level evaluations produced such conclusions as: "This 'flying saucer' situation is not all imaginary or seeing too much in some natural phenomena. Something is really flying around." "The phenomenon reported is something real and not visionary or fictitious." 144

In October 1947, a U.S. Air Force document classified "secret" included the statement: "...it is the considered opinion of some elements that the object [sic] may in fact represent an interplanetary craft of some kind." 145

In the succeeding years, there were at least six U.S. Air Force projects and studies ostensibly aimed at solving the UFO mystery. Although these studies have been perceived by the news media and important segments of the public as having fully explained UFOs in "prosaic" terms, a closer study reveals their serious flaws and shortcomings. The following brief summaries describe the six studies.

Project Sign

Project Sign was the first U.S. Air Force investigation of UFOs and lasted from January 1948 to April 1949. Based at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio, it collected several hundred sighting reports from government and non-government sources, and claimed to explain most of them. Due to its unwillingness to accept UFO reports not sent directly to it, the Project Sign files include only a few dozen reports from 1947, while newspapers received more than 1,500 reports in just two weeks.

Project Grudge

Project Grudge replaced Project Sign in April 1949. In December 1949, a magazine article on UFOs written by the famous aviation writer, Donald Keyhoe, based on his private investigations and military contacts, elicited enormous media attention. In it, Keyhoe insisted that UFOs were alien spacecraft and that the U.S. Government was keeping this knowledge secret. In response to the furor that Keyhoe's article caused, and to demonstrate that there was nothing to get excited about, the Air Force reduced Project Grudge to a routine intelligence effort. However, in October 1951, Project Grudge was returned to its original status as a special project. This investigation ended in March 1952. The final report suggested that most sightings had been explained. However, a large percentage of the reports were left either unexplained or only conditionally explained.

Project Blue Book

The final open U.S. Air Force UFO investigation took over from Project Grudge in 1952 and lasted until December 1969. By this time, almost 13,000 sighting reports had been collected by all three projects combined. Approximately 600-700 cases remained unexplained (depending on which Air Force statistics are accepted). However, it is notable that hundreds of other cases have been labelled as explained without adequate justification and often in ways counter to known facts. Thousands of reports received conditional explanations (e.g., "possible balloon"; "probable aircraft"). But when the annual statistics were compiled, the qualifiers were dropped and "possible balloons" would become definite balloons, as if speculative answers were established facts.

The project was closed down in late 1969, concluding that the continuation of Project Blue Book "cannot be justified, either on the ground of national security or in the interest of science... A panel of the National Academy of Sciences concurred in these views, and the Air Force has found no reason to question this conclusion." The memorandum recommending this action made it clear that the system which had long dealt with "reports of UFOs which could affect national security would continue to be handled through the standard Air Force procedures designed for this purpose," namely as it had all along - separately, "not part of the

Blue Book system and in accordance with JANAP 146 or Air Force Manual 55-11." 146

After the end of Project Blue Book, its case files were opened to public inspection at the Air Force Archives. They were withdrawn in 1974, to reappear in 1976 in the U.S. National Archives, after the names of all witnesses had been censored, thus preventing the reinvestigation of cases.

Project Stork

In late 1952, Project Blue Book director, Capt. Edward J. Ruppelt, ordered a study of all the cases in the files for 1947-1952, under a contract with the Battelle Memorial Institute. The data were supplied by the Air Force, while the conclusions were those of the Battelle scientists. The Air Force issued the final report as "Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14." It was released in 1955, accompanied by an Air Force news release. Although the Air Force stated their own conclusion that there was nothing to warrant interest or concern, this was contrary to the conclusions of the Battelle study. The Battelle scientists had stated that of almost 2,000 reports that were deemed to have sufficient information to permit analysis, 22.8% were judged to be "unexplained," and another 31.3% were judged to be "doubtfully" explained. In total,

therefore, 54% of the sightings were said to lack convincing explanations! 147

The Robertson Panel

In July 1952, a major sighting wave occurred and Air Force jet interceptors chased UFOs all over the country. Around Washington, D.C., UFOs were tracked by several radar installations simultaneously, and seen visually from the air and ground. The Central Intelligence Agency apparently became concerned that whether UFOs were real or not, the reports might clog the Nation's intelligence channels, allowing an enemy to attack undetected.

In January 1953, the CIA convened a panel of scientists, chaired by H.P. Robertson, a scientist at Cal Tech, to look at some of the Government's UFO data. The scientists were briefed by an Air Force team. After three days, the panel concluded that its original concern was correct, but that there was no convincing evidence that UFOs themselves were a threat to national security. The panel's recommendation that the Government treat UFOs more openly was never

implemented. 148

The Condon Committee

By the mid-1960s the Air Force was becoming increasingly embarrassed by its poorly thought out public statements on UFOs, which were highly criticized by the public. After Congressional hearings were held in response to public complaints, plans were begun to have one or more universities review the Air Force project and study the UFO situation independently. Eventually, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research gave a grant to the University of Colorado for a study to be headed by Dr. Edward U. Condon. From the very beginning, the project was under a cloud of suspicion due to Dr. Condon openly expressing his view in public forums that UFOs were nonsense.

A letter was discovered in the project files in which a prominent leader of the study suggested to university officials that skeptical scientists could be disarmed by assuring them that the study would only appear to be an objective one, and that the researchers were not expecting to find anything significant, in any case. Recently, further documentation has been found which makes it clear that the Air Force was encouraging the university to help them justify closing

down Project Blue Book and abandoning open UFO studies. 149

In early 1969, the $500,000 study was completed and the public received a strangely conflicting report, reminiscent of the conflicting Air Force/Battelle statements 15 years earlier. Dr. Condon dismissed UFOs, reporting that they were without substance or significance. In the body of the report, however, more than 30% of the cases were left without satisfactory explanation. In some instances, the University of Colorado scientists made it clear that they were completely baffled by many things, such as sightings in which visual observations were

confirmed by radar trackings. 150

The Roswell Crash and Project Mogul

In July 1947, something crashed on a ranch outside of Roswell, New Mexico, giving rise to a long-term controversy: Was it an alien spacecraft, or a weather balloon as claimed by the U.S. Government? At first, the U.S. Army Air Force said it had recovered the remains of a "crashed flying disc," which was an early term for UFOs. This explanation was soon changed to "a weather balloon," which remained the official position for several decades.

Witnesses, interviewed long after the fact, describe debris of several types, including metallic materials of extreme strength and very light weight. They also tell of extraordinarily high security in connection with the recovery and shipment of a large quantity of debris (and in some versions, alien bodies) from the crash site.

In 1994, the U.S. Air Force announced that in fact, the debris was from a cluster of balloons being tested for a long-secret project called Project Mogul, designed to detect nuclear explosions within the Soviet Union. 151

In 1995, the Air Force published an exhaustive 1,000-page report documenting the Mogul balloon project, purporting to prove the Mogul explanation for Roswell. Once again, the Air Force summary conclusions conflict with information in the body of the report. The data clearly indicates that the only test balloon clusters that conceivably could have landed at the ranch near Roswell were never tracked, and so their landing sites remain unknown. Moreover, the balloons consisted only of familiar materials (not exotic metals) and would have quickly decomposed in the hot sun. The balloon clusters were held together by a braided line. The debris described by witnesses at the scene included neither braided line nor standard balloon material.


While the U.S. Air Force unquestionably had the capability to investigate UFOs scientifically, there is no evidence that it has ever done so. Published reports and related documents suggest studies that were hastily done, each time forced by short-term political considerations and public pressures rather than scientific inquiry. The resulting studies were superficial at best, inept at worst.

At various stages of UFO history, the Air Force high command considered UFOs to be possibly extraterrestrial spaceships... and at the other extreme an annoying public relations problem. Even Air Force officers at the Air University, Air Command and Staff College, wrote reports puzzling over the Air Force position and raising serious issues about the significance of

UFO data. 152


144. Air Force Base Intelligence Report, ibid.; Twining, ibid.

145. Shulgen, Brig. Gen. George, ibid.

146. Bollender, Brig. Gen. C.H., ibid. 147. Project Blue Book Special Report 14, ibid. 148. Report of the Scientific Panel on Unidentified Flying Objects - Robertson Panel, January 17, 1953. 149. Memo to E. James Archer and Thurston E. Manning from Robert J. Low, August 9, 1966; Letter to Dr.

Condon from Lt. Col. Robert R. Hippler, USAF Science Division, January 16, 1967. 150. Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects, "Condon Report." 151. Weaver, Col. Richard L, USAF, ibid. 152. Air Force Research Reports on UFOs, Fund for UFO Research, 1995.

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Only two formal hearings on UFOs have ever been held:

I. The House Armed Services Committee convened the first hearing in 1966 in response to widely publicized sightings and strong public and editorial criticism of the handling of the Air Force Project Blue Book UFO program. This effort was supported by the House Minority Leader, Gerald Ford (R-Mich.), whose home state was the focus of many sightings.

Only witnesses connected to the Air Force project testified. Thereupon, the Secretary of the Air Force announced the formation of an outside review of Project Blue Book and an independent study of current cases. This resulted in the University of Colorado "Scientific Study of UFOs" which became known as the Condon Committee project, after the name of its director.

April 5, 1966. House Armed Services Committee (89th Congress, 2nd Session). Committee Print No. 55. "Unidentified Flying Objects."


L. Mendel Rivers (D-S.C.)


Harold Brown, Secretary of the Air Force.

Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Scientific Consultant to the Air Force.

Maj. Hector Quintanilla, Jr., Chief, Project Blue Book

II. The House Science and Astronautics Committee convened a second hearing two years later, during the final stages of the Condon Committee project, to review the scientific evidence for UFOs. It took the form of a scientific symposium in which six scientists testified and six others submitted prepared papers.

July 29, 1968. House Science and Astronautics Committee (90th Congress, 2nd Session). Committee Print No. 7. "Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects."


George P. Miller (D-Calif.)

Hearing Chairman: J. Edward Roush (D-Ind.)


Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Head, Dept. of Astronomy, Northwestern University

Dr. James E. McDonald, Senior Physicist, Institute of Atmospheric Physics,

University of Arizona

Dr. Carl Sagan, Dept. of Astronomy, Cornell University

Dr. Robert L. Hall, Head, Dept. of Sociology, University of Illinois-Chicago

Dr. James A. Harder, Assoc. Professor, Civil Engineering, University of


Dr. Robert M. L. Baker, Jr., Professor, Dept. of Engineering, University of

California-Los Angeles

(Submitted statements from: Dr. Donald Menzel, Harvard College Observatory; Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle, Psychology, University of Wyoming; Dr. Garry C. Henderson, Senior Research Scientist, General Dynamics; Stanton T. Friedman, Nuclear Physicist, Westinghouse Astronuclear Laboratory; Dr. Roger N. Shepard, Psychology, Stanford University; and Dr. Frank B. Salisbury, Plant Sciences, Utah State University.)

Findings of the Condon Committee:

In 1969, the Condon Committee published its findings. The project director, physicist Dr. Edward U. Condon, concluded that there was no convincing scientific evidence for UFOs and therefore recommended the termination of Project Blue Book.

However, critics of the Condon Report pointed out that up to 30% of the cases investigated by the committee had remained unexplained! According to the critics, such as Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Dr. Condon's conclusions were politically oriented rather than scientific (i.e., the Air Force wanted Blue Book terminated and needed a good reason).

Opinions of the Scientific Symposium:

Of the six scientists who testified in the Symposium, five were of the opinion that there was a valid scientific anomaly that should be further investigated. Only Dr. Sagan, while conceding that some cases remained unexplained, was more skeptical. In fact, Dr. McDonald's thoroughly prepared paper with case histories is considered a milestone in UFO research. McDonald concluded: "My own study of the UFO problem has con- vinced me that we must rapidly escalate serious scientific attention to this extra- ordinarily intriguing puzzle."

Dr. Baker, whose testimony highlighted the unexplained nature of UFO movie films he had analyzed, recommended: "[establishment of] an interdisciplinary, mobile task force or team of highly qualified scientists...on a long-term basis, well funded, and equipped to swing into action and investigate reports on anomalistic phenomena....We must get a positive scientific program off the ground...."

Unfortunately, to date no such officially funded and open investigation has been undertaken.


In 1976, Marcia Smith, a specialist in aerospace with the Congressional Research Service, prepared a comprehensive report on UFOs entitled "The UFO Enigma." It was revised and updated by George D. Havas in 1983 into a 143-page Report No. 83-205 SPR. It contains sections on types of encounters, witness credibility, pre-1947 accounts, history of Air Force UFO investigations, international perspectives, appendices with selected case summaries, etc. "The UFO Enigma" provides a well researched and unbiased overview of the phenomenon.

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Although this Briefing Document contains a small sample of UFO cases, the global nature of

the phenomenon is shown by its geographical distribution. The cases studied include:

Germany (foo fighters), Scandinavia (ghost rockets), several regions of the United States

(Alaska, Washington, Washington, D.C., Texas, New Mexico, northern tier near Canadian

border), England (Suffolk), Canada (Manitoba), Brazil, Spain (Canary Islands), Iran, France,

Belgium and Russia. UFO cases can be easily found for the rest of the world.

While the air forces (and in some cases other military, intelligence, space, and/or scientific

agencies) in these countries have dealt with the UFO problem at one time or another, there is

little evidence of any long-standing open international cooperation effort. However, some

examples of bilateral, regional and global approaches have been found.

I. 1975: Bilateral: USA-USSR

A curious clause about "unidentified objects" exists in an Agreement on Measures to Reduce

the Risk of Nuclear War between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet

Socialists Republics. The Agreement was part of the policy of detente during the Nixon and

early Brezhnev administrations. It was signed on September 30, 1971 by Secretary of State,

William Rogers, and Foreign Minister, Andrei Gromyko.

The Agreement has nine articles on issues such as informing each other "against the accidental

or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons under its control," notification in advance of missile

launches that go beyond the national territory of each country, and other measures of

cooperation in order to avert "the risk of outbreak of nuclear war." Article 3 reads:

"The Parties undertake to notify each other immediately in the event of detection

by missile warning systems of unidentified objects [emphasis added], or in the

event of signs of interference with these systems or with related communications

facilities, if such occurrences could create a risk of outbreak of nuclear war

between the two countries."153

The interpretation of Article 3 as including the possibility of UFO incursions seems

inescapable. It is indeed reassuring in view of the cases where UFOs hovered over military

facilities with nuclear weapons (SAC bases in USA, NATO bases in England, missile bases in

Russia). On the other hand, attorney Robert Bletchman has pointed out that "unidentified

objects" (UOs) include non-UFO situations as well (such as an accidental overflight by a

civilian aircraft or a terrorist attack), but in the final analysis,UOs do include UFOs. What

degree of cooperation about UOs/UFOs existed between the USA and USSR (and currently

duration."with Russia), is hard to say, but Article 9 stated: "This Agreement shall be of unlimited

http://web.archive.org/web/20010208205214/www.isso.org/inbox/ubd/app/agree.htm 28/04/05


II. 1977-78: Global: United Nations

In the mid-1970s, the Prime Minister of the new member state of Grenada, Sir Eric Gairy, began a lobbying initiative to incorporate the UFO problem in the United Nations agenda. Prime Minister Gairy and UN Ambassador Wellington Friday raised the UFO issue at a meeting of the thirty-second General Assembly Special Political Committee on November 28, 1977. Grenada was proposing the "establishment of an agency or a department of the United Nations for undertaking, coordinating and disseminating the results of research into

Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) and related phenomena." 154

Grenada made further statements on November 30 and December 6, 1977. As a result of this effort, at the 101st plenary meeting on December 13, 1977, "the General Assembly adopted Decision 32/424," which acknowledged "the draft resolution submitted by Grenada" and further stated that:

"3. The General Assembly requests the Secretary-General to transmit the text of

the draft resolution, together with the above-mentioned statements, to Member

States and to interested specialized agencies, so that they may communicate their

views to the Secretary-General."155

Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim duly forwarded "Decision 32/424" to the Member States by a "note verbale" on March 13, 1978. However, only three governments responded (India, Luxembourg and Seychelles) and only two specialized agencies (International Civil Aviation

Organization and UNESCO) replied with a flat "no comments to offer."156 Not deterred, Grenada launched a new offensive during the thirty-third General Assembly.

A group of recognized experts was brought to testify before a Hearing of the Special Political Committee on November 27, 1978. Besides Sir Eric Gairy and Wellington Friday, the Hearing included testimony by Drs. Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee, and a first-hand witness account by Lt. Col. Lawrence Coyne of the U.S. Army (Reserve) on the famous 1973 UFO-helicopter near collision case in Ohio (see Quotations, section on Military/Intelligence). A letter of endorsement by astronaut Gordon Cooper, who was then Vice-President of Research & Development of Walt Disney Enterprises, was also read into the record (see Quotations, section on Astronauts).

At the 87th plenary meeting of the General Assembly on December 19, 1978, Decision 33/426 was adopted with the same heading to the previous Decision 32-424 cited above, "Establishment of an agency or a department of the United Nations for undertaking, coordinating and disseminating the results of research into unidentified flying objects and related phenomena." The "consensus text" informed in its Point 1 that the General Assembly had "taken note" of the "draft resolutions submitted by Grenada" and that:

"2. The General Assembly invites interested Member States to take appropriate

steps to coordinate on a national level scientific research and investigation into

extraterrestrial life, including unidentified flying objects, and to inform the

Secretary-General of the observations, research and evaluation of such activities.

"3. The General Assembly requests the Secretary-General to transmit the statements of the delegation of Grenada and the relevant documentation to the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, so that it may consider them at its

session in 1979."157

Point 4 finally stated that the Outer Space Committee would permit Grenada "to present its views" in 1979 and the Committee's deliberation would be included in its report to the thirtyfourth General Assembly. The Grenada initiative was gradually opening the door to UFO cooperative international investigation, but unfortunately the effort came to an abrupt halt when the Gairy government was overthrown by a Marxist revolution led by Maurice Bishop. The new government launched a publicity campaign to discredit Gairy as a believer in voodoo and flying saucers. Decision 33/426 was never implemented, but its mere existence provides a useful framework for any future initiative on the matter.

III. 1990-93: Regional: European Parliament

As a result of all the activity registered during the UFO wave in Belgium, the European deputy, Mr. Di Rupo, who served as Minister of Education for Wallonia (the French-speaking region of Belgium where the wave occurred), proposed a motion in 1990 to set up a "European UFO Observation Center" under the aegis of the Committee on Energy, Research and Technology (CERT). The Di Rupo motion proposed that this Center "should collect together the isolated observations made by members of the public and by military and scientific institutions and

organize programmes of scientific observation." 158

The matter was eventually entrusted to another Eurodeputy, Professor Tullio Regge, an Italian member of the European Parliament with a Ph.D. in physics, who released a "Draft Report" on August 17, 1993. Professor Regge sought the advice of Jean-Jacques Velasco, who heads SEPRA (Service for Assessment of Atmospheric Re-entry Phenomena) at the French National Center for Space Research (CNES) in Toulouse, as the only official European organization with experience in UFO investigations. The section titled "Motion for a Resolution" further stated that:

"The European Parliament... proposed that SEPRA be regarded as a responsible

partner of the EC [European Community] so far as UFOs are concerned and that

it be given a statute enabling it to carry out inquiries throughout the Community's

territory. Any additional costs which might arise as a result of SEPRA's increased

role must be covered by agreements between the French government and the other

EC Member States or, where necessary and with the approval of the governments

involved, directly between SEPRA and other EC research institutes or


The section titled "Explanatory Statement" in Regge's report, consisted of a 7-page discussion of the UFO subject covering the following scientific, sociological and political items:

  1. "Military secrets;
  2. Alien civilizations;
  3. Supertechnologies;
  4. The role of the mass media;
  5. Various explanations;
  6. Link between show business and sightings;
  7. Analogy with group religious experiences;
  8. The recent spate of sightings in Belgium;
  9. Unknown atmospheric phenomena;
  10. Interviews with witnesses;
  11. Air forces in the EC;
  12. Conclusions."

The tone of the report was very cautious and did not endorse the extraterrestrial hypothesis. However, the report did recognize that a small percentage of UFO cases remain unexplained and warrant further scientific attention. The section on "Various explanations" concluded:

"A second conclusion is that the few remaining inexplicable sightings (about 4%)

must for the time being be regarded as UFOs (unidentified flying objects) in the

literal sense of the term. The lack, perhaps temporary or accidental, of an

explanation in no way allow us to regard a sighting as certain proof or even an

indication that aliens exist, with technological capabilities vastly superior to our

own. However, scientists still have a duty to continue researching into these

events in order to arrive at a satisfactory explan- ation."160

Regge's final conclusion was to propose that SEPRA expand its UFO activities to cover all the EC Member States:

"It might be worthwhile, however, setting up a central office to compile and

collate information concerning UFOs throughout the EC. Such an office could

help, first and foremost, to stem the flood of uncontrolled rumors that confuse the

public and become a point of reference when, as very frequently happens,

sightings are reported... Lastly, the office could have an inv