Welcome to the August 2004 round up of news and views on UFOs, alien abductions, crop circles, ghosts, the paranormal, the unexplained, the weird and the wonderful.
Crop Circle Apocalypse
The annual battle between farmers and crop circle enthusiasts is under way, with the usual accusations and counter accusations concerning the provenance of formations, damage to crops, revenue made for charging access to crop circles, etc. There are no easy answers here, though everybody wants you to have one.
Rendlesham Forest Skywatch
British UFO Research Association and Strange Phenomena Investigations members were out in force on Saturday 14 August at Rendlesham Forest. Former United States Air Force security policeman Larry Warren gave a talk about the incident and then led a tour of the forest, pointing out some of the sites associated with the famous UFO incident from 1980. Interest in this incident refuses to go away.
Bonnybridge UFO Theme Park
Another UK UFO hotspot, Bonnybridge in Scotland, has been at the centre of rumours concerning a new theme park, centred around the UFO phenomenon. Newspaper reports claim that a multi million pound deal has been struck to create an attraction that could be on the scale of Disneyland and might create as many as twelve thousand new jobs. Local councillor Billy Buchanan has consistently lobbied to raise the profile of the UFO phenomenon and has lent his support to the project. Watch this space.
A conference on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence was held at Harvard University on 6 August. One of the key players present was Frank Drake, widely regarded as the father of SETI. The theme of the conference was quite provocative, as it focused on the reasons for the negative results achieved thus far. Drake and others believe that the time may have come for looking not just for radio signals but for powerful bursts of light that night be used as a beacon, to announce the presence of an extraterrestrial civilisation. Some SETI optimists believe that our capacity to conduct meaningful searches is advancing so rapidly that we will be able to detect signals from extraterrestrial intelligences within twenty years at the maximum. Again, watch this space.
The Tunguska Event
On 30 June 1908 something crashed in the Tunguska region of Siberia, flattening a vast area of forest and led to weird atmospheric phenomena witnessed all around the world. Theories have ranged from comets and meteorites through to black holes, anti matter and alien spacecraft. The latter theory has now had a boost with reports from Russia suggesting that a new scientific expedition has discovered artificial objects believed to have come from an extraterrestrial spacecraft. Is this a publicity stunt or has something actually been recovered? Watch this space, because I suspect we shall be hearing more about this in the next month or so.
Sunday Express Ghost Story
You expect from time to time to see stories about ghosts in the national newspapers. You expect that such stories will be a little lighthearted or written in an over the top style. What you do not expect is for the editor to come out and discuss a personal sighting. And yet that is precisely what happened on 15 August in the Sunday Express. The editor, Martin Townsend, devoted his column to giving an account of an encounter he and his then girlfriend had. They were walking through the village where he lived when they saw both saw a well known local man. Townsend said that something was troubling him about this, but for a moment he could not place the source of his anxiety. And then it hit him. The man had died a month or two beforehand. Townsend made no sensational claims and was not trying to make any profound points about religion or the afterlife. He was simply giving a no frills account of what he had seen. Sometimes the most sensational stories are the ones written in the least sensational way.
Questing Conference 2004
Andrew Collins is already planning Questcon04, the latest in a long line of successful conferences focusing on alternative history, forbidden archaeology and hidden teachings. Speakers include Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince talking about the Priory of Sion, Alan Alford discussing secret chambers in the Great Pyramid, Robert Feather speaking about the Spear of Destiny and Andrew Collins giving a presentation on the True Grail. Graham Phillips will attend if his other commitments permit. The conference is being held on Saturday 6 November at Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regents Park Road, Camden, London. The conference is being sponsored by Nexus Magazine. Check out www.questingconference.com 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