Welcome to the July 2006 round up of news and views on UFOs, alien abductions, crop circles, ghosts, the paranormal, the unexplained, the weird and the wonderful.
The Condign Report
The Condign Report continues to be one of the biggest UFO stories in recent months, though media interest is now dying down somewhat. I had appeared on GMTV to discuss the release of the report and wrote a two page article for the Daily Express on the day the MOD published it, but most of the interest was from radio stations, and I did around a dozen interviews. Most of these were for the BBC, but there were a handful of overseas ones too. I was interviewed about this by radio stations and media outlets not just in the UK and America, but Japan, Spain and South Africa. Yet more confirmation that the UFO phenomenon is global, not national. Check out http://www.nickpope.net/project_condign.htm for the inside story of this formerly classified MOD UFO Project.
Project Condign on Newsnight
Project Condign is continuing to arouse considerable media interest. I was asked to appear on Newsnight last month to discuss spyplanes in relation to the Condign Report, but felt that this was not appropriate given that I still work for the Ministry of Defence. However, there has been a lot of speculation about the alleged hypersonic Aurora aircraft, and there was some material about prototype aircraft in the Condign Report. I suggested to Newsnight that Nick Cook might be a suitable interviewee but in the end they were able to get author and aerospace journalist Bill Sweetman to discuss this, so the feature went ahead and was quite interesting.
The first formations of the 2006 season have already appeared. Check out the Crop Circle Connector website for the latest news and images. Go to http://www.cropcircleconnector.com/2006/2006.html for details of 2006 formations and check out http://www.nickpope.net/crop_circles.htm for the story of MOD involvement in the crop circle mystery.
Budd Hopkins UK Conference Appearance
Budd Hopkins will be making a welcome return to the UK for a conference on 14 and 15 October this year, organised by Dave Gillham and his CUFORG group in Truro, Cornwall. Check out http://www.cornwall-ufo.co.uk/2006/ for details of the conference and http://www.cornwall-ufo.co.uk/2006/index1.html for details of the presentations. Aside from Budd, I shall be presenting an interesting new twist on the Rendlesham Forest incident, while other speakers include Gary Heseltine, Jason Andrews and Dave Gillham.
Open Skies Closed Minds
I am very pleased to be able to announce that my first book Open Skies Closed Minds is to be translated into Portuguese, following a deal with a Brazilian publisher. My books are already available in a number of languages including German, Polish, Greek and Romanian.
Jason Chapman Sci-Fi Website
Talented science fiction artist Jason Chapman has revamped his website, which contains intriguing information about his work, including innovative images about UFOs. free to use for non-commercial purposes, his sci-fi design website is well worth a look. Check out http://www.scifi-design.com/ for details.
I was recently asked to make a position statement on the alien abduction phenomenon in the UK. I am still receiving new reports of abduction cases in the UK and am currently working with a number of people claiming to have had these bizarre experiences. In total, I have probably looked into around 100 reports. This is not as many as people like Budd Hopkins, but it certainly shows that this is not an exclusively American phenomenon. The few scientific studies done into this phenomenon have found no evidence of any psychopathology - these people are not mad. Nor are they attention seekers, because I receive many requests from TV companies wanting to feature abductees, but most people are not interested in this, despite the possibility of getting on television and earning some money. With regard to hypnosis, science does not agree. Some people think it is an altered state of consciousness while others believe it is simply a state of intense concentration. Science is also in disagreement over whether hypnosis can be used to recover lost memories. Regression hypnosis is highly controversial and many sceptics say that False Memory Syndrome renders hypnotically recovered memories useless as evidence. I am cautious about hypnosis, but would point out that all memories are subject to corruption, not just ones involving hypnosis. I do not generally recommend using hypnosis, but if abductees wants to try it, it is not for me to stop them. I simply point out the facts and let them decide for themselves. I am in contact with several hypnotherapists and a few years ago worked with one - David Howard - to introduce a Code of Practice for the National Council for Hypnotherapists, setting out guidelines for work with abductees. Check out http://www.nickpope.net/alien_abduction_and_hypnosis.htm for more details on this and on the wider debate about regression hypnosis and alien abduction.
In my column next month I will report on the Forbidden Knowledge conference held on 1 July in Stoke on Trent, which drew together a large number of experts on the world of the esoteric.
Nick Pope has written four books. Open Skies, Closed Minds is an overview of the UFO phenomenon with the emphasis on his official Ministry of Defence research and investigation. The Uninvited is an overview of the alien abduction mystery. Operation Thunder Child and Operation Lightning Strike are science fiction novels about alien invasion, incorporating UFO and abduction data. All four titles are available from most good bookshops and all the usual Internet book sites.
Nick Pope has a website, which can be accessed at www.nickpope.net