Welcome to the joint December 2005 and January 2006 round up of news and views on UFOs, alien abductions, crop circles, ghosts, the paranormal, the unexplained, the weird and the wonderful.
Rendlesham Forest UFO Incident - 25th Anniversary
Christmas and the New Year sees the 25th anniversary of the Rendlesham Forest UFO incident and the subsequent official investigation. This is the most compelling UFO encounter ever to have taken place in Britain and has generated a massive amount of interest not just from UFO researchers but from the media and the public. There are several books on the incident, the best known of which is You Can't Tell The People, authored by Hot Gossip Editor in Chief Georgina Bruni. The title reflects a conversation Georgina had with former PM Baroness Thatcher at a charity function in 1997, when they were discussing UFOs. Baroness Thatcher said "you can't tell the people" in response to a question Georgina posed about UFOs, but refused to elaborate on her cryptic remark. Various events are planned to mark the 25th anniversary, including a vigil and skywatch at RAF Bentwaters, a commemorative event organised by the Forestry Commission, and various media features.
Daily Express Rendlesham Article
On Saturday November 19 the Daily Express carried a major, double page feature on the Rendlesham Forest incident. I was pleased about this, not least because I wrote it. The paper had commissioned the 2000 word article from me the week before and was therefore the first newspaper to run the story in the run up to the anniversary. UFO researchers often complain that the media misrepresent ufology or take their comments out of context. Obtaining a commission gets around these problems and the only changes to my article were minor editorial ones. I am pleased to have been able to play a part in kick starting the media interest in the anniversary. The article has generated much wider interest and Georgina Bruni and I have already conducted a live interview on BBC Radio Suffolk. December and January will see further media features on this intriguing case.
The Material World
The prestigious BBC Radio 4 science programme The Material World recently ran a feature on the alien abduction phenomenon, with Professor Chris French and I debating the subject with presenter Quentin Cooper. Needless to say, it is a major coup to get the subject discussed on such a mainstream programme. Click on http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/ science/thematerialworld_20051103.shtml to listen to the show.
California Lecture Tour
I have just returned from a brief lecture tour in California, where I gave talks in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. I had a hectic schedule but very much welcomed the chance to promote British ufology to American audiences, meet some old friends and meet some new ones. Click on www.mufonla.com/videoorder.htm for details of how to order the 2 hour DVD of my lecture, which was entitled The Real X-Files: The Inside Story of the British Government's UFO Project.
I do not normally do restaurant reviews, and this is more by way of a thank you. During my recent lecture tour in California I arrived quite late at my hotel in Costa Mesa. I looked around the neighbourhood, but there was only one restaurant within walking distance. I went in and ordered a beer. It had been a long day and I was still recovering from my ten hour flight to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the kitchen had closed and the staff were clearing up. I was resigning myself to the situation when the manager realised that I had been travelling all day and had come from the UK. Five minutes later, a delicious and piping hot plate of spaghetti and meatballs appeared, while the manager stayed on after hours, until I finished. So thank you Sopranos, for your great food and hospitality. Check www.sopranoseatery.com for details. As I arrived, two regulars were leaving. They said the food was fantastic and I should eat there again. I am only sorry that, because of my schedule, I never got the chance.
Threshold is an exciting new science fiction show that is getting a lot of people talking. It is running on CBS in America and on Sky One in the UK. The lead character is Molly Caffrey, a worst-case scenario planner, paid to think the unthinkable. When an unidentified object enters the atmosphere and encounters a trawler, the woman who wrote the contingency plan is tasked by the US Government with running the operation to deal with the situation. She puts together a mixed team of experts and investigates. With the trawler crew either dead or missing and with strange events occurring on the mainland, time is running out. The media in the UK have drawn parallels between Molly Caffrey and me and I have given a number of interviews based around the question, what would we do if aliens really invaded? The media wanted to know about the real worst-case scenario planner thought of the series, and what my plan was. I helped in so far as I could, though I was reluctant to go into too many details.
The Science of Aliens
A new exhibition called The Science of Aliens has recently opened at the Science Museum. The exhibition covers a wide range of areas, including SETI and speculation as the what alien life might be like, but includes some material about UFOs and alien abductions. Check out http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/aliens/ for details of the exhibition. I took part in a debate organised as part of this event and am doing some other work to help promote the exhibition.
An American Demonology
Now published and written by the self-styled bad man of ufology comes possibly one of the most important UFO books to have hit the bookshelves for some time. An American Demonology is a biography of Captain Edward Ruppelt, a United States Air Force officer who ran Project Blue Book, the US Government UFO Project. Ruppelt went on to write The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects, arguably the most important UFO book ever written. Bennett delves into the work and the mindset of this extraordinary character and in doing so says much about UFOs, ufology and America in the Fifties. Jerome Clark wrote the foreword and I wrote the introduction. Bennett is an experienced biographer whose previous subjects have been Charles Fort and George Adamski. Check out Amazon and all the other usual book sites for details of how to order.
Crop Circle Sale
Crop circle researcher Colin Andrews is selling his extensive database and archive, covering 22 years of research into the crop circle mystery. The collection is up for sale on eBay. This has itself generated much debate among crop circle researchers and ufologists, and an article in the Western Daily Press, to which Colin Andrews took great exception. Check out www.cropcircleinfo.com for details of the auction.
Finally, I would like to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. In particular, my thoughts are with the brave men and women currently serving with British, American and other allied Forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and other overseas locations. You may be far from home, but you are still in our thoughts. Stay safe.