Welcome to the May 2006 round up of news and views on UFOs, alien abductions, crop circles, ghosts, the paranormal, the unexplained, the weird and the wonderful.
The new Ant and Dec film Alien Autopsy was released in the UK on 7 April and re-ignited the debate over one of the most iconic pieces of film footage of the modern era. Some people claimed the so-called alien autopsy film was proof that an alien spacecraft really had crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947, while others said the whole thing was a sophisticated hoax. The original film footage was first shown in public in 1995. I was no longer running the Ministry of Defence UFO Project but was nonetheless invited to the screening at the Museum of London. Now, over ten years on, the fact that this film is the subject of a Hollywood movie shows the extent to which images from ufology are embedded in the popular culture.
Alien Autopsy Documentary
In parallel with the abovementioned film, two television documentaries were made, focusing on the alien autopsy film. Channel Five were to screen a programme in late March, but the programme was pulled for legal reasons. I am not sure if it will be shown at some future date. Sky One showed a documentary on 4 April, in which the main promoters of the alien autopsy film, Ray Santilli and Gary Shoefield, admitted having made the film themselves. So is the debate over? Well, not quite. As in the Ant & Dec film (with which they are both involved) they claim that there was an original film, but that it deteriorated to such an extent as to be unwatchable, forcing them to recreate what had been on the film. A clever statement, because they said enough to get the publicity for having hoaxed it, but keep the door open just wide enough to keep the true believers interested. Ufologists have been scathing. Even Philip Mantle, originally a key supporter of Ray Santilli and the film, says the issue is now dead, so far as he is concerned. I appeared on the Sky One programme, explaining why the film had to be a hoax, on the basis that the story told about how the film was acquired made no sense when taking into account military information security policy.
Alien Autopsy Film and the MOD
One of the most intriguing stories about the alien autopsy film was run by The Times on 28 March 1995 but was never followed up. Entitled "Film of 'aliens' offered to MOD", the suggestion was that the film was "to be offered to the Ministry of Defence for analysis". The claim was not attributed and no supporting evidence was offered. I am almost certain that no such offer was ever made. Had the MOD been given any film, analysis would soon have ascertained the age of the film stock, and settled immediately the debate over whether it was 1947 stock, or something more recent.
Coast To Coast
I recently gave a 3 hour interview on the 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 for details of the show.
Rendlesham Forest Website
A new website on the Rendlesham Forest incident is well worth a visit if you are interested in this fascinating UFO encounter. Check out http://www.rendlesham-incident.co.uk/ for details of the site, which is packed with documents, photographs and information about the case. There is also a forum, where guests can have their own say.
The Science Of Doctor Who
I like this book firstly because I am a great Doctor Who fan and secondly because I am quoted in it. But seriously, if Doctor Who interests you, this is the book for you. It is packed with information about the show, but also about the science behind the show, explaining what is possible, and what is less likely. A similar book about the science of Star Trek did phenomenally well a few years ago, and I have no doubt that this too will be a huge success. Entertaining and informative in equal measures, the author Paul Parsons takes you on a fascinating voyage of discovery through the Whoniverse. If you ever wondered how daleks get up stairs, how a sonic screwdriver works or whether something like the TARDIS could ever be built, check out this fascinating title, which is available from all good book stores and from all the usual internet book sites. Popular science magazine Focus put this on the front cover in their March issue.
UFOs on TV
I have been keeping busy on the media front, and as well as contributing to various UFO documentaries have appeared on entertainment programmes such as The New Paul O'Grady Show and Totally Doctor Who. I see this as a sign of returning media interest in UFOs. There is much more to come.
Rome UFO Conference
I have just returned from a most interesting and enjoyable conference in Rome. Organised by Paola Harris, other speakers aside from myself included Esen Sekerkarer, Maurizio Baiata, Lavinia Pallotta and Paola herself. I always enjoy the opportunity to promote British ufology overseas, and later this month shall be speaking at Lugano in Switzerland.
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. 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. Tickets are selling fast, so book now.
Another UK conference at which I am speaking is the Paraquest conference, taking place on Sunday 14 May at Sale Masonic Hall, Sale, in Cheshire. Check out http://www.paraquest.org.uk/ for more details.
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