Fact – Fact

UFOs are an undeniable fact. Anomalous phenomena have been seen in our skies since earliest recorded times. More recent sightings have been reported by highly credible witnesses. Such witnesses include commercial and military pilots, NASA astronauts and police officers. I’m sure none of these people were intoxicated, hallucinating or insane when they experienced their sightings. Woe betide us all if they were. However, before going any further, it is necessary to clarify something. ‘UFO’ is simply shorthand for ‘unidentified flying object’. Therefore ‘UFO’ is not synonymous with ‘spacecraft piloted by aliens’. It simply describes something that witnesses are unable to identify or explain.

It is a common misperception that UFOs first appeared in our skies in 1947. Much publicity was given, in that year, to an incident which gave rise to the term ‘flying saucer’. Civilian pilot, Kenneth Arnold, spotted nine silvery discs flying in formation, as he flew over the Cascade Mountains. He likened their movement to that of a saucer skipping over water. But UFO sightings have been recorded formillennia. On pages 81-82 of his book, “The Flying Saucer Story”, Brinsley Le Poer Trench includes an excerpt from an ancient Egyptian papyrus detailing the reign of Thutmose III, believed to be around 1504-1450 B.C:

“In the year 22 of the 3rd month of winter, sixth hour of the day… the scribes of the House of Life found it was a circle of fire that was coming in the sky… It had no head, the breath of its mouth had a foul odor. Its body one rod long and one rod wide. It had no voice. Their hearts became confused through it; then they laid themselves on their bellies… they went to the Pharaoh… to report it… Now after some days had passed, these things became more numerous in the skies than ever. They shone more in the sky than the brightness of the sun, and extended to the limits of four supports of the heavens… Powerful was the position of the fire circles. The army of the Pharaoh looked on with him in their midst. It was after supper. Thereupon, these fire circles ascended higher in the sky towards the south…”.

In AD, 776, as a fierce battle raged at Sigisburg, between the Saxons and the Franks, blazing, shield-shaped objects appeared over the battlefield. In 1493, the German scholar, Hartmann Schaede, reported seeing a fiery sphere travelling along a straight, south-to-east trajectory. The sphere then turned west, into the direction of the setting sun. A few years later, numerous huge, black discs were seen in the sky. They appeared at Nuremberg in 1561, and on three separate occasions at Basel, in 1566. The phenomenon at Basel was witnessed by the Swiss scholar, SamuelCoccius. He reported:

“Suddenly, they started racing towards the sun with great speed, with some turned toward each other as though in combat. Some were seen to turn fiery red and then they vanished”
(Keith Thompson, “Angels and Aliens: UFOs and the Mystic Imagination”, p.70).

Witnesses at Basel and Nuremberg also reported seeing huge, cylindrical objects overhead. The cylinders disgorged smaller objects – discs and spheres – which engaged in mock dogfights.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not just crazy people, hoaxers, attention-seekers or the intoxicated who see UFOs. Many of these mysterious objects have been reported by sane, sober and highly credible professional observers. Most notable of these observers are the numerous commercial and military pilots who have reported seeing a whole range of objects, which do not conform to the description of any known craft or natural phenomenon. Frighteningly, a number of commercial aircraft have experienced near-misses whilst being buzzed by these unknown objects. In 1981, such a near-miss occurred over Lake Michigan, when Phil Schultz, captain of a TWA flight, spotted a “large, round, silver metal object” descending towards his aircraft at speed. The object had many dark portholes spaced at equal distance around its circumference. The pilot and his first officer believed a mid-air collision was imminent. To their relief, the intruder made an abrupt, high speed turn and fled.

Military pilots have reported similar, potentially hazardous encounters with UFOs. In 1976, pilots from the Iranian Air Force pursued a large UFO that appeared over Tehran. The UFO was detected by military and civilian radar, and was also confirmed visually, by numerous military and civilian witnesses. When military pilots attempted to intercept the objects, all the electronics systems on their planes failed, including weapons systems. However, the planes were not incapacitated, and could still be flown. As soon as they turned away from the UFO, all systems returned to normal functioning. Commercial pilots in the vicinity also reported seeing the UFO, although their instrumentation was not affected by it.

Several police officers have also reported close encounters with UFOs, often risking ridicule by doing so. In 1964, patrolman Lonnie Zamora was pursuing a speeding motorist on the outskirts of Socorro, New Mexico. He abandoned the chase when he heard an almighty roaring sound, and saw a huge, blue flame in the sky. Zamora feared a nearby dynamite shack had exploded, a matter far graver than issuing a speeding ticket. When he investigated, he found a white, ovoid craft, resting on four legs in an arroyo. Nearby vegetation was ablaze. Zamora was amazed to see two small, white-clad, humanoid figures near the craft, which he initially mistook for children. When the figures saw Zamora, they returned to the craft and took off. Zamora was a much-respected officer, well-known for his sobriety and dedication to duty. He had no reputation as a joker or hoaxer. His sighting was investigated by J. Allen Hynek. Trace evidence left at the landing site included burnt vegetation, calcified sand, broken rocks, landing gear imprints, and several small footprints. None of this proves the presence of an alien spacecraft and occupants. But it certainly proves Zamora saw something concrete that he was unable to identify.

The belief that humans are the only sentient beings in the Universe, epitomises human arrogance. No-one knows how many suns there are in the Universe, but a typical galaxy is believed to house a few hundred billion stars. And if that figure isn’t dizzying enough, the observable universe is believed to contain at least a hundred billion galaxies. If only a tiny percentage of the billions upon billions of planets in the Universe are inhabited, that’s still a huge number of potential civilizations. Given those odds, we simply cannot be alone in the Universe. I’m not a religious person, but surely, if God, or some kind of supreme being exists, he or she would have created more than one intelligent species? The Vatican, generally a conservative voice, recently endorsed the idea of life elsewhere in the Universe.

But is any of that potential life coming here, to Earth? Put it this way. In 1907, man achieved powered, manned flight for the very first time, when the Wright brothers made their inaugural flight. On April 12th, 1961, Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, became the first human in space, and the first to orbit Earth. In 1969, NASA successfully landed men on the moon. Since then, we have sent our probes and telescopes to investigate Mars, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter and even beyond our solar system. We have a permanent, manned space station, and recently, landed a probe on an asteroid. If humans can achieve such remarkable feats in such a short time after inventing manned, powered flight, what might a civilization a hundred, a thousand, a million, perhaps even a billion years ahead of us, have achieved? At our current level of development we probably couldn’t even begin to comprehend their technology. Just because we, at our current level of scientific understanding, cannot travel faster than the speed of light, or traverse huge distances in space in a very short time, it doesn’t mean no-one else can.

Before you dismiss UFO sightings as the ramblings of nutcases, liars or drunks, take time to read around the subject. Amongst all the nonsense about people meeting Jesus and Elvis aboard UFOs, and other silly tales, there is some hard evidence of a real phenomenon, uncovered by eminent researchers such as nuclear physicist, Stanton Friedman, and historian, Dr. Richard Dolan. People the world over, from all walks of life, report UFOs every day, and have done for a very long time. Is it possible that some of the sightings are of extra-terrestrial craft, manned or unmanned? Who knows. But it’s a possibility we cannot afford to dismiss. Whatever the nature and origins of UFOs, we cannot deny that they exist. The only – and greatest – mystery is what they represent.