Welcome to the October 2003 round-up of news and views on UFOs, alien abductions, crop circles, the unexplained, the weird and the wonderful.
Graham Birdsall, one of the best known figures in British ufology, died on 19 September 2003, following a brain haemorrhage a few days earlier. He was 49, and his untimely death is a tragedy not just for his family and friends, but for ufology. Graham was editor of UFO Magazine, frequently acclaimed as the finest magazine of its kind in the world. He was also the organiser of the popular UFO Magazine annual conferences in Leeds, which drew speakers and attendees from all around the world. Graham was a highly respected researcher and investigator who had an encyclopaedic knowledge of ufology, and was a tireless campaigner on the subject. He made frequent media appearances and did much to promote UFO research. Graham had other interests too, and was knowledgeable on wide range of subjects, including politics and military affairs, environmental issues, genetic engineering, and the threat posed to the Earth by comets and asteroids. His family have vowed to keep the magazine and the annual conferences going, as Graham would have wanted.
The X Conference
Stephen Bassett has announced details of what promises to be one of the biggest UFO conferences of 2004. Dubbed The X Conference it will take place on 17 and 18 April 2004 in Washington DC. A star studded line up of around 15 speakers from all around the world includes Stanton Friedman, Jim Marrs, Richard Dolan and Bruce Maccabee. I’ll be attending, giving a presentation on the history of the Ministry of Defence UFO project, and a workshop focusing on the personal experience of running this project from 1991 to 1994. Check out the website at www.x-conference.com for details of what promises to be a fascinating conference.
Sight Unseen, the new alien abduction book by husband and wife team Budd Hopkins and Carol Rainey, has now been published. The book has an intriguing subtitle of Science, UFO Invisibility and Transgenic Beings, and looks set to take forward the debate about the true nature of the alien abduction phenomenon. The book attempts to get an insight into alien technology and motives, looking at how abductions occur and why. The authors then compare some of what has been reported with advances in human scientific achievement, to show that some of the bizarre things reported by abductees are no mere science fiction fantasy, but a reality that is already upon us. UFO invisibility and genetic manipulation are the two key themes that run through this book, but there is a wealth of other fascinating material. This is a thoughtful book that acknowledges the evolving nature of the alien abduction phenomenon, by identifying emerging trends in reported cases. But running through the book are many new accounts from the abductees themselves, making this an intriguing mixture of casework and analysis. Hopkins and Rainey are at the leading edge of one of the great mysteries of our time. This well written and well researched book is a must for anyone interested in the abduction mystery. Sight Unseen is published by Atria Books and is available through all the usual internet book sites.
There has been extensive media coverage of the potential threat posed by Asteroid 2003 QQ47, a 2,600 million ton chunk of rock that some believed had a very small chance of hitting Earth on 21 March 2014. Scientists now believe that no collision will take place, but the furore has started a fierce debate about such threats. While there is a serious issue here, some astronomers are concerned that constant media alerts and subsequent denials will send the wrong message. Initially, people will be panicked, but eventually so many false alarms will appear that people will become complacent. We do need the issue to be taken seriously, but scientists involved in research into the threat from Near Earth Objects are debating the best way to present the threat to the public, media, and most importantly to the politicians who must fund NEO initiatives. I am an Associate member of Spaceguard UK, who are at the forefront of work to raise awareness of this issue and lobby for action. Check out their website at www.spaceguarduk.com for details of the issue, and information on how you can get involved.
Near Death Experiences
Dr Peter Fenwick is seeking co-operation from a number of hospitals in a new study into out of body experiences that are often reported by patients whose hearts stop but who are subsequently revived. Many people have reported imagery such as a tunnel with a bright light at the end, or of a paradise which they briefly glimpse before being resuscitated. Are these hallucinations from an oxygen starved brain, or genuine experiences? Previous studies suggest that around 15 percent of cardiac patents whose hearts stop recall out of body experiences. Dr Fenwick hopes to place marked cards out of sight near ceilings, in places where they cannot be seen by patients. If the contents of these cards can be recalled by patients whose hearts have stopped, it may suggest that out of body experiences are genuine, and that the consciousness, mind, soul or whatever word you favour can indeed leave the body, and operate independently from it. Scientific proof that death is not the end? I will keep you posted.
Farewell To Galileo
NASA deliberately crashed their Galileo space probe into Jupiter, after its 14 year mission, for an intriguing reason. They were concerned that the probe might have eventually crashed into Europa, a moon of Jupiter. NASA had not cleansed Galileo of microbes before launch, and believe there is a good chance that life of some sort may already exist on Europa, in oceans underneath its frozen surface. Contamination from terrestrial microbes could destroy any extraterrestrial life, so Galileo was destroyed.
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 genuine UFO and abduction data. They are also the only science fiction novels ever to have needed official government clearance. All four titles are available from most good bookshops and all the usual Internet book sites.
Nick’s website is www.nickpope.net
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