Welcome to the September 2005 round up of news and views on UFOs, alien abductions, crop circles, ghosts, the paranormal, the unexplained, the weird and the wonderful.
Metro - 60 Second Interview
On 10 August I appeared in Metro, the popular free newspaper read by most London commuters. I was featured in their regular 60 Second Interview slot, and used the opportunity to tell people about my time on the Ministry of Defence UFO Project. I was also pictured on the front cover, which I had not expected. This is a tremendously high-profile feature - other recent interviewees include Norman Cook and Sandra Bullock - so was a wonderful opportunity to promote ufology and the paranormal more generally. Click on http://www.metro.co.uk/metro/interviews/
interview.html%3Fin_page_id=8&in_interview_id=1144 to see the interview in its entirety.
One of the biggest esoteric conferences ever held in the UK will be held on Saturday 1 July 2006. Speakers include Alan Alford, Andrew Collins, Michael Cremo, Paul Devereux, Philip Gardiner, Lionel Fanthorpe, Gary Osborn, Karen Ralls and myself. The conference will be held at Kings Hall in Stoke on Trent and is already attracting massive interest from all those interested in forbidden knowledge, Earth mysteries, the paranormal, mysticism, ancient mysteries and other esoteric subjects. On a related subject, a new book by Philip Gardiner and Gary Osborn, entitled The Serpent Grail, will be published on 15 September by Watkins Publishing. Click on the official Philip Gardiner website at http://www.philipgardiner.net for more details on the book and on http://www.phil.fah-designs.com/forbiddenknews1.pdf for details of the conference.
For those of you who are unable to wait to 2006 for a big conference on various esoteric subjects, check out QuestCon05. Organised by Andrew Collins, the event will be held in London on Saturday 5 November. Speakers include Andrew Collins, Graham Phillips, Colin Wilson, Philip Gardiner and Gary Osborn. Click on http://www.andrewcollins.com/page/
conference/conferencenews.htm for more details of what promises to be an informative and intriguing conference.
Curried Meatballs and Alien Abduction
The Ministry of Defence has run a news feature on some of the Freedom of Information requests it has received since the Act came fully into force on 1 January this year. A light-hearted news feature entitled Curried Meatballs and Alien Abductions appeared recently on the MOD website, highlighting the wide range of requests that the MOD has received. Many requests have related to information on UFOs and alien abductions, and the MOD news feature picks out a couple. Click on http://news.mod.uk/
news_headline_story2.asp?newsItem_id=3474 for details of the story.
Ufology is Dead - Again
Another local UFO group ran short of sightings, prompting media speculation that ufology is dead. Several national newspapers ran articles on this and I was quoted in The Guardian, commenting on the story. I subsequently discussed this on BBC Radio Scotland and pointed out that stories like this were often the making of the UFO group concerned, as they get publicity which prompts people to send them the very UFO reports they complain are not forthcoming.
MSN Space Race
The UFO competition run by Microsoft has now closed. Entrants were asked to send in photographs of UFOs or aliens, real or fake, and to follow a series of clues to guess the location of a secret base where UFOs were being kept. The prizes included a holiday in Florida with VIP access to the NASA Space Center at Cape Canaveral, a digital camcorder, MP3 players and lots of trendy Qee key rings. I was asked to judge this competition, along with former Ministry of Defence scientist Peter Varnish. There was a fair bit of coverage of this competition in the media, but provoked quite a negative reaction on various discussion groups and blogs. The apparent coming together of Microsoft, NASA and the MOD in a UFO-related venture made many conspiracy theorists suspicious. There were rumours that the competition was aimed at gathering information about ufologists, or amassing a collection of genuine UFO photographs that had not previously been seen by officialdom. There were accusations that the whole competition was a disinformation project aimed at undermining ufology by blurring the line between fact and fiction, and some people even went so far as to encourage people to complain to Microsoft. In fact, the whole thing was a fun idea, and when we came to the judging, Peter and I assessed the entries not just for realism but for creativity, originality and humour. Check out the MSN Space Race website at http://www.msnspacerace.co.uk/ for a look at the winning entries and the runners-up.
Crop Circle Formations of 2005
There may not have been much in the newspapers, but the crop circle phenomenon is still very much with us. The summer of 2005 has seen some beautiful formations appearing in the fields of England. Whether you believe crop circles are made by people, Earth energies or extraterrestrials, they are undeniably fascinating. Click on http://www.cropcircleconnector.com/2005/2005.html or http://www.temporarytemples.co.uk/2005/ for details of 2005 formations.
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