Welcome to the June 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
Defence Intelligence Staff papers relating to a formerly classified UFO study (codenamed Project Condign) have been released by the MOD under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents were placed on the MOD website under the Publication Scheme. I had left the UFO Project by the time this report was written but was involved in the work that led to it being commissioned, and indeed recommended to my bosses that the study be carried out. It had its roots in concerns over a series of high profile UFO sightings in the preceding years, and in discussions that I had with Defence Intelligence Staff colleagues over this. We wanted to resolve the debate about UFOs for once and for all, hence the in depth study. Unfortunately, as I had been promoted and moved to another job by the time the study began, I was not able to play any part in this work. Had I done so, I believe I would have been sceptical of some of the material about electrically charged plasmas and effects on the temporal lobes. Such matters are not fully understood and there is no agreement on them, among the scientific community. Be that as it may, this is the lengthiest and most highly classified UFO document ever to have been released in the UK, and its publication should be welcomed by all. The report runs to approximately 450 pages and has therefore been split into several sections, to make it easier to download. It can be accessed on the MOD website in the Freedom of Information Section. Check out http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/
PhenomenauapInTheUkAirDefenceRegion.htm for the details. I undertook extensive media work to promote the release of this document, including a live interview on GMTV, a two page article in the Daily Express, and dozens of radio interviews. This release has rightly generated huge public and media interest, and is good news both for ufology and for Freedom of Information. The text of the Daily Express article has been posted on my website and gives the detailed background to the Project Condign UFO study.
UFOs Are Back
Project Condign has reignited a debate about the state of ufology and the future of the subject as a field of study. Despite claims that ufology is dead, interest in the subject seems to be reaching new heights, with various high profile TV, newspaper and radio features on the subject, and much more in the pipeline. I wrote an article about this for the publishing industry, and this has now been posted on my agent's website. Check out http://www.andrewlownie.co.uk/
articles/2006/april_07UFO.shtml for details of the feature.
Coast To Coast
I recently gave a 3 hour interview on the hugely popular Art Bell Show on Coast to Coast AM. This is the most comprehensive radio interview that I have given for some time, and is downloadable from their website. Check out http://www.coasttocoastam.com/shows/2006/03/18.html to go straight to my interview, or go to http://www.coasttocoastam.com/shows/2006/03/ and select it from the menu of March shows. My interview was on 18 March.
Daniel Augusto Chiesa
For those interested in UFOs and Egyptology, and a possible link between the subjects, check out http://www.danaug.com/ for details of the thoughts, experiences and related artwork of Daniel Augusto Chiesa. I featured his work in a previous column, but his site has now been completely updated to include many new paintings and essays. Fascinating stuff.
Switzerland UFO Conference
I have just returned from a most interesting and enjoyable conference in the beautiful Swiss city of Paradiso. Organised by Candida Mammoliti, the speakers included Derrel Sims, Roberto Pinotti and Candida herself. My presentation was about the Rendlesham Forest UFO incident and other noteworthy UFO cases from Britain, but I also included material on the recently released MOD file on Project Condign.
While in Switzerland I met the talented illustrator Luca Oleastri, who specialises in UFO and alien artwork. Check out his website at http://www.innovari.it/ for details of his work and examples of his art.
Forbidden Knowledge Conference
I do occasionally still lecture in the UK, though I have had to cut back my appearances recently, due to the pressure of other commitments. One conference I am very much looking forward to attending is the Forbidden Knowledge conference, due to take place on 1 July, in Stoke on Trent. Organised by Philip Gardiner, author of The Serpent Grail, the conference will feature presentations by Andrew Collins, Alan Alford, Graham Phillips, Michael Cremo and many more. Although I will give a brief overview of the newly released Project Condign, the primary focus of my presentation will not be UFOs, but the other weird and wonderful things that came my way by virtue of having run the MOD UFO Project: alien abductions, crop circles, animal mutilations, reports of ghosts on military establishments, questions about the government's plans to deal with rogue comets or asteroids, and enquiries from people volunteering to use remote viewing techniques to become psychic spies for the UK. Check out http://gardinerosborn.com/forbidden_conference.html for details. The conference will concentrate on esoteric and forbidden knowledge as opposed to ufology, but given the popularity of books such as The Da Vinci Code, this one is bound to be popular. The media will be there in force and I know of at least one TV station that is intending to cover the event. Tickets are selling fast, so book now.
Crop Circles - 2006
As we move into June, expectation mounts among crop circle enthusiasts. When will the first patterns appear? And where? Will they be as spectacular as in previous years, and might we see something even more amazing? And will we be any closer to learning the truth about the phenomenon? My column next month will feature the news on this subject, though this will be early days so far as the 2006 crop circle season is concerned. Traditionally, some of the most spectacular formations appear later in the summer, in July or even August. Watch this space.
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