Welcome to the April/May Weird World column and the latest round-up of news and views on the unexplained, conspiracy theories, the weird and the wonderful.
Encounter in Rendlesham Forest
15 April sees the publication of Encounter in Rendlesham Forest, a book that I co-wrote with retired US Air Force officers John Burroughs and Jim Penniston, about the UK's best-known and most compelling UFO case, the Rendlesham Forest incident. The book is published by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin's Press, which is itself a part of the giant Macmillan publishing group - one of the so-called "Big Six" in the global publishing industry. John Burroughs and Jim Penniston are the two former US Air Force witnesses at the heart of the Rendlesham Forest incident, and while previous books and TV shows have contained much information about the UFO case that many regard as being bigger than Roswell, this is the first time that John and Jim have revealed the full facts about what happened at the twin bases of Bentwaters and Woodbridge, over a series of three nights in December 1980. The full story of what took place, and the subsequent attempts to cover up the truth, will shock a lot of people, and change a lot of people's perceptions about the UFO phenomenon, and the role that government, the military and the intelligence agencies play in relation to the phenomenon. There were considerable sensitivities involved and this is the only UFO book ever to have required security clearance from both the US and the UK government.Click on www.andrewlownie.co.uk for further details of this book, which is now available to order on Amazon in the US, the UK, and Canada; via the Barnes & Noble website, and on a wide range of other book-related sites. Expect to see mainstream media coverage of this story.
A leading figure in the UFO community, Roger Leir, has died. Roger Leir was a podiatrist who was a regular at the UFO conference circuit, and appeared frequently on TV documentaries on UFOs and alien abductions. He undertook a number of surgeries on people, removing small objects that he and others believed to be alien implants, inserted into abductees for purpose or purposes unknown, though the theory that they were tracking devices of some sort is probably the favourite theory in the believer community. Leir's theories were challenged by skeptics, who challenged him to make the objects available to the mainstream scientific community, with a view to getting a paper published in a major scientific journal such as Science, Nature, or Scientific American. Some went further, and claimed that performing these surgeries was irresponsible at best. An overview of Leir's work can be found at his www.alienscalpel.com website, which is currently being kept open. It is not clear what will happen to the objects that Dr Leir removed from various patients, or if and how his research is to be taken forward.
Contact in the Desert
Plans are shaping up for one of the most ambitious UFO conferences to be held in recent years. The Contact in the Desert event was trialled last year and returns this summer, bigger, bolder and even better. The extravaganza will take place in Joshua Tree, California, from 8th to 11th August, timed to coincide with the Perseid meteor shower. Viewing conditions at the venue should be ideal. The line-up reads like a who's who of ufology, with speakers including Erich von Däniken, George Noory, Jim Marrs, Linda Moulton-Howe, Steven Greer, David Jacobs, Stephen Bassett, Giorgio Tsoukalos, Laura Eisenhower and many more. I'll be there too, and many speakers will be giving multiple presentations. I'm giving a standard lecture, a workshop and an intensive. Check out contactinthedesert.com for details of what should be the conference of the year.
Weird Week - The Sun
The Sun, the UK's best-selling national newspaper, continues to champion UFOs and the unexplained, and recently ran a series of features as part of what they called "Weird Week". One feature of this is their UFO Bureau, set up to take over research and investigation into the UFO phenomenon following the termination of the Ministry of Defence's UFO project in December 2009. The UFO Bureau acts as a focal point for people to send in photos and videos of UFOs. The Sun will run regular features in which the most spectacular and intriguing images will be published. A selection of photos was published as part of Weird Week. The Sun is one of the few mainstream newspapers not to shy away from the subject of UFOs, and indeed has run a UFO story as it's main front page headline on a couple of occasions.
Author, journalist and TV personality Nick Pope used to investigate UFOs for the British government and is now recognised as one of the world's leading experts on the unexplained, conspiracy theories, fringe science and sci-fi.