Welcome to the latest round up of news and views on UFOs, alien abductions, crop circles, ghosts, the paranormal, the unexplained, the weird and the wonderful.
Back To Bentwaters
John Burroughs, one of the key witnesses to the Rendlesham Forest incident - Britain's best known UFO case - has announced his intention to organise a reunion next year, to mark the 30th anniversary of the events. He plans to bring together as many of the witnesses as possible, together with others posted to RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge at the time. Some UFO researchers may also be invited and I will probably attend (in the absence of an official spokesperson), to give the definitive position on the MoD's response to the events. John has set up a dedicated website devoted to the event. Go to backtobentwaters.blogspot.com/ for more details.
Rendlesham Forest - a Movie?
In a parallel development to the above story, Charles Halt - Deputy Base Commander at the time of the incident and himself a witness to the events - is announced in an initiative to make a feature film about the Rendlesham Forest incident. He has teamed up with UFO researcher Gary Heseltine, a serving police officer in the British Transport Police, to collaborate on a film script. A press release was sent out a few weeks ago, giving an overview of the project. Go to www.rendlesham-incident.co.uk for more details.
I'm not sure how I feel about promoting a book, the (lengthy) subtitle of which is displayed on the front page and reads "It's 2009 and it is time to rewrite history. Nick Pope and the MoD attempt to change the official UK crop circle and UFO histories. But they are taken to task through the documented historical evidence from the National Archives!" - but what the hell, Colin Andrews and I are friends. The book stems from an 'official history' I wrote some years ago, detailing the military and the MoD's involvement in the crop circle phenomenon. I wrote the article at a time when I was still working for the MoD and it's no secret that MoD has downplayed its interest and involvement in the crop circle issue, as it has with the UFO phenomenon. This has been the policy for many years and clearly I had to play my part in this when I worked for the government. In this interesting and important new book, Colin Andrews takes me and the MoD to task for this. He has a point and has highlighted fascinating new evidence documenting greater official interest in crop circles than has previously been acknowledged. Some of the issues Colin highlights have arisen because the line between official and private interest (even within government, the military and the intelligence agencies) can be blurred. There are particular sensitivities and political difficulties when members of the Royal Family are involved. Nonetheless, I recommend this book, even though I come across as the bad guy. Order from Amazon or check out Colin's website at www.colinandrews.net for further details.
The Front Cover of Government Circles
Nick Pope with Colin Andrews, Washington DC, April 2009
Crop Circles 2009
The crop circle season reaches its climax, with increasing numbers of formations being reported as the crops mature. Whether you believe they are made by aliens, earth energies or a dedicated and very human bunch of 'circlemakers', the formations continue to delight and intrigue. Whether the explanation proves to be paranormal or mundane, the designs are amazing. Check out www.temporarytemples.co.uk and www.cropcircleconnector.com for news on the latest formations. And whether you're a believer or a sceptic, do try to visit a crop circle this year. It's one of those things everyone should try to do once in their lives. You'll have fun and you'll probably meet some interesting people. Try going to the Silent Circle Cafe or The Barge Inn beforehand, as these are the two main meeting points for crop circle enthusiasts, who will gladly direct you to the nearest or most interesting formations. Check out www.silentcircle.co.uk and www.the-barge-inn.com for details.
I recently returned from the city of Roswell, New Mexico, where I was speaking at a conference to commemorate the day when, in 1947, something mysterious crashed near the town. Whether you think it was an alien spacecraft or a weather balloon, Roswell is something that most people have heard of, even if they're not involved in ufology. This year's events included no fewer than 3 separate conferences, together with a parade and a concert by the Jefferson Starship. I was speaking at the MUFON conference along with Jesse Marcel Jr (son of the US Army intelligence officer who recovered the wreckage) and abductee Travis Walton, on whose story the movie Fire in the Sky was based. What struck me first (apart from the oppressive heat) was how multi-faceted the whole affair was. At the top level one has the Festival, but there were three separate conferences going on: a Mutual UFO Network program sponsored by the City of Roswell, the UFO Museum's conference and a UFO-related Christian symposium. I enjoyed taking part in the parade and for those who haven't experienced it, being in America on 4th July is quite an experience. But Roswell is unique. It's not just a festival, a concert, a parade or a conference, it's an experience.
UK Conferences - Treble Whammy
Having done four overseas conferences in a fairly short period of time (Washington, Istanbul, Roswell and Barcelona) I'm now going to be making some UK appearances. I'll be speaking at the Weird '09 Conference in Swindon (29th/30th August), the Beyond Knowledge Conference in Liverpool (12th/13th September) and the Muncaster Castle Paranormal Conference (18th - 20th September). These are fairly varied events and to give an idea of this, Beyond Knowledge is being organised by many of the people involved with the Exopolitics UK movement, while the Muncaster Castle event is being organised in collaboration with UK Skeptics. I'll be giving broadly similar presentations, updating the audience on the ongoing programme to declassify and release the entire archive of MoD UFO files, explaining the background to the policy initiative and picking out some of the cases that I selected for the National Archives as ones worth highlighting to the media. The release programme has now reached the files from my own time on the UFO project, so it's particularly interesting to me from a personal point of view, to see documents I wrote years ago finally see the light of day. Check out www.mystical-county.org.uk and beyond-knowledge and www.muncaster.co.uk for details.
Race To Witch Mountain
The Blu-ray, DVD and movie download of one of the best sci-fi movies in recent years, the Walt Disney blockbuster Escape to Witch Mountain, have now been released. It tells the story of two alien children whose UFO has crashed. They go on the run from sinister government agents, enlisting help from a cab driver and a UFO researcher, as well as using some of their special powers to outwit their pursuers. There are various in-jokes in the movie, including the fact that one of the bad guys is an FBI agent called Pope. Check out disneydvd.disney.go.com for more details. As ever, there are lots of extras available on these new format releases.
The new History Channel (US) series That's Impossible is now being broadcast. The six part series looks at various fringe science and exotic technologies. If you're interested in subjects such as robotics, nanotechnology, mind control, invisibility and weather warfare, this will be well worth checking out. I contributed to several episodes in my capacity as a defence analyst, commenting on the history and potential military applications of some of these concepts, as well as the moral issues raised. The series has been trailed in this column previously under its original title, Science: Impossible.