Half-way through watching Mirage Men, a new documentary on how U.S. Intelligence agencies have deliberately sabotaged research into the UFO topic, I literally shook my head, saying to myself with a laugh "it's a hall of mirrors". By the end of the documentary, my statement had been echoed and expanded upon by one of the interviewees, Linda Moulton Howe, who described the entire story as "a fractured hall of mirrors with a quicksand floor". Howe should know: in 1983, while researching a documentary on the subject of UFOs for HBO, she was engaged by Richard 'Rick' Doty, an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), initially with the promise of helping her investigate an alleged UFO landing near Ellsworth Air Force Base. But Howe's meeting with Doty took an unexpected turn when the AFOSI agent suddenly produced a manila folder, saying she could take a look at it but, not remove it from the office or make notes. Within it was a document titled "Briefing Paper for the President of the United States of America on the Subject of Unidentified Aerial Vehicles", which listed a number of alleged UFO crash retrievals by the government, as well as paragraphs that became "emblazoned" on Howe's mind concerning how they had discovered that Homo sapiens was a species created by extraterrestrials through genetic manipulation of primates. Amazed by the information fed to her by the government agency at the time, in Mirage Men Howe looks back with three decades of perspective and wonders at the the amount of effort that must have gone into the deception: "they must have had meetings about 'how do we stop a persistent and dogged reporter who has already demonstrated that she's going to go after a really difficult subject?'." The question that comes to mind, and which runs throughout this entire film, is 'WHY?'.
This was not the first time that AFOSI agent Doty had willingly mislead investigators of the UFO subject, and it would not be the last. As such, he serves as the focal character in the documentary; it begins with the deception he helped orchestrate on Albuquerque businessman Paul Bennewitz, goes on to discuss the Linda Moulton Howe case, the infamous Majestic-12 documents (described in the film by another AFOSI agent, Walter Bosley, as the "perfect Perception Management Device", though Doty denies any involvement with it) and extends forward to the more recent controversy over the 'Project Serpo' hoax.
And Doty is no doubt a worthy candidate for the film to revolve around. Coming to the documentary with a fair amount of knowledge about Doty's deceptions over the years – with consequences (direct and otherwise) ranging from the wasting of UFO investigators' time through to the mental disintegration, eventual hospitalisation and death of Paul Bennewitz – I already had a dislike for the man, and was ready to truly despise him. But one of the things that catches you off guard is how harmless and genial he seems - the man is sitting before the camera, telling you how he has deceived people, and yet you feel that he seems to be a nice guy that you'd happily chat with at a neighbourhood barbeque. Though as Bill Ryan, who was initially taken in by the Serpo deception, points out, that's what makes him so effective: "Rick's great strength is he's a wonderful story-teller", says Ryan. "He's a very friendly guy [and] builds relationships easily". ... Read More »
Who needs science fiction for terrifying and bizarre alien species? The sea's strangest square mile shows that Earth is an alien planet.
"Hey Ugg, where did you say you found these mushrooms?" h/t CyberPipeSmoker.
Via Lauren Davis at io9, here's a terrific piece by artist Chris Rallis, depicting first contact between ancient humans & extraterrestrial visitors. It'd look fantastic on the wall of the Grail Cave; maybe Chris can add psilocybin mushrooms for a special print. I get a Plato's cave vibe from the piece. What do you think?
Over at his blog, UFO researcher David Clarke says "the death of ‘Iron Lady’ Margaret Thatcher has deprived UFOlogists of an answer to an enduring question: what did she really know about Britain’s Roswell incident?"
Thatcher, who died on 8 April aged 87, was 19 months into her first term as Prime Minister in 1980 when US airmen at the nuclear-armed twin airbase RAF Bentwaters-Woodbridge reported ‘unexplained lights’ (UFOs) hovering above Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk.
The ‘Rendlesham Forest’ incident happened at the height of the Cold War when tensions in Poland – then behind the Iron Curtain -were reaching crisis point. In the years that followed, the Ministry of Defence drew up secret plans to base US cruise missiles at RAF Greenham Common and US airbases in eastern England and was keen to avoid drawing attention to a persistent story about a UFO landing near one of them.
...Georgina Bruni revealed that she had quizzed Thatcher face-to-face about her knowledge of UFOs and Rendlesham.
The bizarre conversation took place in London at a charity cocktail party during 1997, shortly after the former Prime Minister had returned from an engagement in Washington DC. At the time Bruni was working on a book that she hoped would expose ‘the truth’ about Britain’s Roswell.
Seizing the opportunity, Bruni asked her opinion on UFOs and claims that world leaders knew about the existence of alien technology. She received this response:
Head to David Clarke's blog to find out what Lady Thatcher said, and how people have attempted to explain it.
Poets and space opera writers take note: tears don't fall in space.
Earth is an alien planet. For evidence, look no further than the 'water bear', or tardigrade - one of the toughest creatures you'll find, able even to survive in space:
Is this an alien? Probably not, but of all the animals on Earth, the tardigrade might be the best candidate. That's because tardigrades are known to be able to go for decades without food or water, to survive temperatures from near absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, to survive pressures from near zero to well above that on ocean floors, and to survive direct exposure to dangerous radiations.
The far-ranging survivability of these extremophiles was tested in 2011 outside an orbiting space shuttle. Tardigrades are so durable partly because they can repair their own DNA and reduce their body water content to a few percent. Some of these miniature water-bears almost became extraterrestrials recently when they were launched toward to the Martian moon Phobos on board the Russian mission Fobos-Grunt, but stayed terrestrial when a rocket failed and the capsule remained in Earth orbit. Tardigrades are more common than humans across most of the Earth.
Pictured above in a color-enhanced electron micrograph, a millimeter-long tardigrade crawls on moss.
(hat tip @AnomalistNews)
While 'Area 51' may be almost a household name today, twenty years ago it was only just coming to public attention through the work of independent researchers. In the early 1990s one researcher in particular, Glenn Campbell, was instrumental in bringing press attention to the secret military base at Groom Lake in the Nevada desert - rumoured by some to be a repository of secret alien spacecraft technology - largely through his self-published guide to the location, the Area 51 Viewer's Guide. Campbell has now published this seminal document online for free as a PDF, and you can grab a copy for yourself from his website (make sure you check out the terms and conditions before doing so):
In UFO research, it can be hard to distill the truth from the overwhelming ocean of rumors, ideologies, hyperbole, hoaxes and false perceptions. All of these things are rampant here, so I have chosen in this document to stay as close as possible to concrete, undeniable fact. This is a guide not to UFOs themselves but to the many practical matters concerning the hunt for aerial objects in the vicinity of the "Black Mailbox," the remote highway location north of Las Vegas where many visitors claims to have seen UFOs. This document reviews the geography of the region, the references available, local accommodations and services and many other practical topics of interest to visitors. Much of this information should be helpful to any traveler passing through the area regardless of their views on flying saucers. It should also be of interest to aviation enthusiasts in search of secret "Black Budget" aircraft built entirely by humans.
This book is an anomaly. It is a guide to hunting for UFOs and secret aircraft, but I do not honestly believe you are going to see any. In over two years living in this area, I have never seen any light in the sky I cannot explain or any military device that I would regard as particularly secret. There are a few intelligent UFO stories emanating from the military area that I think deserve serious attention. These concern the claim that the U.S. government may have had extraterrestrial hardware in its possession and may even have been in contact with aliens themselves. That is different from the claim-fostered by the less reputable media and by a certain local merchant - that you can come here to this remote desert highway and see flying saucers in on demand. This is ridiculous. The "Alien Highway" is a myth that, regrettably, I helped create by drawing attention to this area. It serves the human need for rituals and things to buy, but it does not bring us any closer to the truth.
This document reflects a certain period in my investigation of Area 51, ending around Dec. 1993, when I was collecting a general base of geographical knowledge about the area. I continue to update this Viewer's Guide on an irregular basis to reflect changes in the facts initially reported, but I will not pursue any new avenues of investigation here.
If spotting a saucer at Area 51 is unlikely, I hear you ask, then why then bother consulting the guide in the first place? Because, as Campbell says, "a saucer-watching expedition has a certain nostalgic appeal, and nothing can be more pleasant in the summer than setting up a lawn chair under the crystal clear desert skies, miles from anywhere, with the dream of seeing something out of the ordinary". I like his thinking.
For those interested in more up to date tales of Area 51 incursions, in the spirit that Glenn Campbell mentions above, make sure you check out Blair MacKenzie Blake's wonderful article in Darklore Volume 7, "Dirt Roads to Dreamland" (grab a copy from Amazon US or Amazon UK), in which he tells of his expeditions to the famed secret base along with his good friend Danny Carey, drummer for the best band on the planet, Tool.
Watch the video above on as high a resolution as possible, full-screened on a monitor as big as possible. It's enough to make me shiver in awe.
Eruptive events on the sun can be wildly different. Some come just with a solar flare, some with an additional ejection of solar material called a coronal mass ejection (CME), and some with complex moving structures in association with changes in magnetic field lines that loop up into the sun's atmosphere, the corona.
On July 19, 2012, an eruption occurred on the sun that produced all three. A moderately powerful solar flare exploded on the sun's lower right hand limb, sending out light and radiation. Next came a CME, which shot off to the right out into space. And then, the sun treated viewers to one of its dazzling magnetic displays -- a phenomenon known as coronal rain.