Tag Archives: Featured

The disappearance of the UK’s “most spectacular” UFO photo

Hanging on the wall near the British government’s UFO Desk was what one of the men who occupied that desk called “the most spectacular UFO photo ever sent to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).” The photo has since disappeared, but the story of how the picture was obtained, and what it showed, has not.

Nick Pope ran the MoD’s UFO project from 1991 to 1994. When he was first assigned to the position, he was not excited about it. He felt the issue was ridiculous and he was not looking forward to having to deal with a bunch of UFO nuts. However, over the years, Pope found there were credible cases of incredible things, and began to see there was something truly mysterious about the phenomenon. One of the cases that lead him to this conclusion had to do with a photo that was made into a poster that he found hung in the office near his desk when he began working the UFO desk.

A recreation of the Calvine UFO photo poster. (Credit: Channel 5)

A recreation of the Calvine UFO photo poster. (Credit: Channel 5)

“I first came across this story in 1991, when I joined the UFO project,” writes Pope on his website. “A poster-sized enlargement of the best  photo was prominently displayed on the office wall.”

“The X-Files first aired in the UK in 1994 and I acquired the same nickname (Spooky) as Fox Mulder, for obvious reasons,” Nick continues. “Mulder famously had his ‘I want to believe’ UFO poster on his office wall and though uncaptioned, I suppose this was my equivalent.”

The photo showed a picture of a large diamond shaped craft with a jet in the background. When he asked about the photo, Pope was told that they had officially determined the image was real. They estimated the craft to have been 25 meters (over 80 feet) in diameter.

However, if asked, they were instructed to answer, “no definite conclusion had been reached regarding the large diamond-shaped object.”

Pope learned that the object had been photographed on August 4, 1990. Two people had been walking near the town of Calvine in Scotland when they spotted the large diamond-shaped object. They described the object as looking metallic. It sat in one position, hovering silently for several minutes before taking off vertically at, as Pope writes, “a massive speed.”

During the sighting, the witnesses also saw a military aircraft that they thought might be a harrier jet, but they were unsure whether the jet was escorting the craft, chasing it, or whether the jet pilot was even aware of the diamond-shaped UFO.

The witnesses had taken several photographs and sent them to the Scottish Daily Record newspaper. The paper contacted the MoD, and the MoD was somehow able to convince the paper to hand over the photographs along with the negatives.

” The photos were then sent to the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) who then sent them on to imagery analysts at JARIC (Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre). Yet at the time, MoD hadn’t even publicly acknowledged that there was any intelligence interest in UFOs at all,” Pope explains.

“We implied and sometimes stated that we didn’t ‘investigate’ UFOs, but merely ‘examined sightings to see if anything reported was of any defence interest’ – as if the two were somehow different!”

Pope say the MoD was actually very interested in these cases, but often less interested in where the craft came from than what they could learn from it. They had hoped to identify some sort of technology they would be able to appropriate.

Nick Pope, former MOD UFO investigator, at the International UFO Congress. (Credit: Peter Beste/Open Minds)

Nick Pope, former MOD UFO investigator, at the International UFO Congress. (Credit: Peter Beste/Open Minds)

Either way, the Calvine UFO photos impressed the UFO desk investigators enough that they hung the poster in the office.

“At one particularly surreal briefing on the UFO phenomenon my DIS opposite number indicated the photo and pointed his finger to the right: ‘It’s not the Americans’, he said, before pointing to the left and saying ‘and it’s not the Russians.’ There was a pause, before he concluded ‘and that only leaves …’ – his voice trailed off and he didn’t complete the sentence, but his finger was pointing directly upwards,” recalls Pope.

The office where the UFO desk was located also housed other non-UFO related projects.

Pope says the reaction of some colleagues who came to visit unaware of the UFO program had amusing reactions to the poster.

Pope writes, “You’d have this surreal moment when they’d stop mid-sentence, stare at it, point and say ‘what the hell’s that?’ – this wasn’t the archetypal distant, blurred UFO photo. This was up close and personal, reach out and you can touch it stuff. ‘I don’t know what it is, but it’s not one of ours’ was our stock answer to the inevitable question.”

Eventually, around 1994, Pope says his superior determined the craft was a secret American aircraft or drone. Pope says they had already asked the U.S. if the craft or something similar of theirs was being tested over the UK, and were told they were not. Pope believes his boss had decided to support a potential cover-up by the Americans and the MoD and removed the poster. It was never to be seen again.

Although Pope has discussed these photographs in the media and has posted an article on his website, no one has come forward to claim they took the photos. Nor has anyone at the Scottish Daily Record come forth to discuss any involvement. The case remains a mystery.

You can read more about this sighting and Pope’s work at www.NickPope.net. He can also be heard on several episode of Open Minds UFO Radio.

 

Read More

More lights dancing around sky in UFO video, this time in Great Britain

A new UFO video submitted to the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) shows bright objects flying around the night sky. In a similar video recently taken in Arizona, it was speculated the objects were drones. However, this witness does not believe drones to be responsible for this sighting.

UFO video from Great Britain of lights in the sky. (Credit: MUFON)

Screenshot of UFO video from Great Britain of lights in the sky. (Credit: MUFON)

According to the report, the video was taken on September 18, 2017. The report was submitted the same day. The witness was walking the dogs when the lights were spotted. At first the witness thought the lights may be drones or a helicopter. However, the witness felt differently after watching the objects “manoeuvre effortlessly through the sky.”

Screenshot of UFO video from Great Britain of lights in the sky. (Credit: MUFON)

Screenshot of UFO video from Great Britain of lights in the sky. (Credit: MUFON)

The full report, verbatim, reads:

While walking dogs at night outside back of house I noticed two strange lights flying around in the night sky. At first I thought helicopters or drones but the more I watched I don’t think this is the case. They didn’t look too far away, maybe a mile or so and seemed to manoeuvre effortlessly through the sky. After watching for a few minutes I went for my phone and recorded them. After recording I went inside to put dogs in and when came back out they were gone.

Map of Livingston. (Credit: MUFON)

Map of Livingston, where the UFO video was captured. (Credit: MUFON)

While the objects do seem odd, and must have been quite a sight, they could still be drones. As mentioned in relation to another recent sighting, drone technology continues to improve, and flying them at high speed through twists and turns has become a burgeoning sport. Check out the video of a drone racing championship in the UK below.

Take a look at the video, which can be downloaded here, and let us know what you think.

 

Read More

Mystery in the Southwest: A Look Inside the Infamous Bradshaw Ranch

From the Phoenix Lights to the Mogollon Monster, Arizona has long been known as a mecca for the strange. According to the Mutual UFO Network’s reporting archives, Arizona ranked as one of the top three states in the country for UFO sightings per capita in 2013. Arguably, one of the most concentrated areas of reported anomalous activity is centered in Yavapai and Coconino counties. This area was first inhabited by indigenous tribes including the Anasazi, Hohokam, and the Sinagua, all of whom were deeply rooted in the belief that their ancestors came from the stars. Petroglyphs dot the canyon walls, hinting that visitors from other worlds had wandered amongst them and many locals maintain the belief that otherworldly visitors remain attracted to this unique area.

Sedona, a small city located within this region, has roughly ten thousand residents and attracts more than four million tourists annually. Some come solely for the natural beauty of the unique red-colored sandstone formations while others come to explore the mystical and spiritual implications of the area. Known for its vortices (sites where the energy of an area is allegedly magnified), metaphysical bookstores, crystal shops, and aura readers, the city openly embraces its eclectic personality. In fact, these traits, combined with the abundance of UFO sightings, have prompted many paranormal researchers and enthusiasts to relocate here permanently.

Just outside of Sedona down a long, rough, dirt road winding through the desert lays an expansive ranch that currently sits quietly deserted. The weeds are overgrown and the ground is parched. In the distance you can hear the eerie squeak of the windmill slowly turning. The gate towards the main ranch house is closed and a small sign indicates that trespassing is illegal as the property is owned by the United States government, specifically the U.S. Forest Service. Hiking trails line the outside of the perimeter, though they seldom see many visitors. But the ranch wasn’t always this way and there are some who firmly believe that this serene piece of land isn’t as quiet as we’re led to believe. 

Bradshaw Ranch

In 1945, Bob Bradshaw, a budding photographer and actor, moved to Oak Creek Canyon to alleviate seasonal allergies. Soon after he opened a Kodak licensed photography shop and quickly established himself as a pillar in the community. It was during this time that Hollywood gained significant interest in using the majestic red rocks as a backdrop in Westerns, television programs, and commercials. Bradshaw became integral in their productions.

Part of a western set used in commercial shoots at the Bradshaw Ranch. (Credit: Sedona Monthly)

Part of a western set used in commercial shoots at the Bradshaw Ranch. (Credit: Sedona Monthly)

In 1960, Bradshaw acquired a large parcel of land covering 140-acres. At the time, the only remaining structure was an old adobe house. He quickly put to use his Hollywood contacts and utilized the ranch as a filming destination. According to ADayintheWest.com, the tour company operated by the Bradshaws, Bob worked on twenty-eight films, nineteen television shows, and seventy-seven commercials during his lifetime, and the ranch itself hosted five films, two television series, and numerous commercials. An old western town movie set was erected on the grounds during filming of the 1967 Elvis Presley film Stay Away Joe, and remained a fixture of the property until the 1986. Bitter Creek, as the town was known, was rebuilt in the mid 1990s. It was during this time when John Bradshaw took over management of the land and utilized it as a dude-ranch: a tourist destination for horseback rides, cookouts, and jeep tours. Bradshaw Ranch wasn’t all Hollywood glamour though; it hosts an obscure history that revealed itself suddenly, though for those involved, not unexpectedly. 

Strange Anomalies Plague the Bradshaw Family:

Dirt road leading to the ranch.

Dirt road leading to the ranch.

It was in 1992 that Bob Bradshaw Jr.’s wife Linda, along with several of her sons, began to catalog unusual activity on the property. It began slowly with sightings of unusual lights in the clear desert sky and escalated into tales of Bigfoot, UFOs, extraterrestrial beings, dinosaurs, and strange creatures. The experiences she reported, along with other witnesses, border on the strange side, even for the UFO community.

Linda firmly believed that the ranch was home to what she referred to as a light portal. She inferred that whatever the anomalous and strange activity occurring was due to an inter-dimensional window to which creatures benign and benevolent could freely travel from one dimension to another. This is not a new notion however; in 1975 the interdimensional hypothesis (IDH) was presented as a favorable theory by Jacques Vallée in his collaboration with Dr. J. Allen Hynek, The Edge of Reality: A Progress Report on Unidentified Flying Objects. IDH states that UFOs and related paranormal phenomena are not visitations from other planets, but from other dimensions that coexist as separate entities alongside our own.

In 1995, Linda, along with her close friend and UFO researcher Tom Dongo, published a book filled with their alleged encounters and photographs they claim are otherworldly beings, strange flying craft, and unexplained light anomalies. Merging Dimensions: The Opening Portals of Sedona was a book they thought would change the world, but they were both disappointed and frustrated that it released to little fanfare.

One encounter Linda described was that of being woken by one of her sons, who was in the company of a woman and her daughter, in the early hours of the morning. She alleges that at approximately 2:45 a.m. her son and the woman not only spotted an unidentified craft but had an encounter with extraterrestrial beings as well. She describes:

Strolling past the window were four short-statured aliens wearing tight-fitting one-piece uniforms of a light tan color. They were what are typically called the Zeta Reticuli (also known as the Grays), only these appeared to be a bit more ashen-colored, almost white. Once the beings were out of sight and the witnesses recomposed themselves, the three of them jumped into their car and sped to the house where I was sleeping. I remember so vividly how my son vigorously shook my arm to wake me up. I can still hear the trepidation in his voice as he said, “Mom, wake up. They’re here!” I raised up and said, “Who’s here?” He exclaimed, “The aliens, Mom.”

The encounter further evolved when Linda saw one of the beings outside, and resolved to investigate further the following day. Small unexplained footprints were spotted in the dirt and the evidence was documented via her son’s video camera. If the story is to be believed, the strangest turn occurred when the witnesses spotted what they referred to as a dinosaur in one of the washes. Two of the witnesses described a dusty-colored, five foot, lizard-like dinosaur that stood erect, while the other two only made it in time to see a long tail vanishing into the bushes. In future encounters, they would discover large reptilian-like prints on a reoccurring basis.

The strange sightings persisted, and Linda continued to document to the best of her ability. She would take photographs in random areas to see if things would develop on film that she could sense but were invisible to the naked eye. The photos were taken on 35mm film and developed at a local photo processing center. She amassed a large collection of photos of light anomalies, what she believed to be alien beings, as well as various unidentified craft. She also captured and had interactions with a Bigfoot she referred to as “Big Girl” and believed that she was in the company of young offspring as well.

As a self-described animal lover, Linda became increasingly agitated that some of her dogs and horses were falling ill with tumors and other maladies the vet could not rationally explain. She was also disturbed to discover that someone or something had torn the manes off several of her horses. She was perplexed, stating, “Her lovely, long golden mane was missing. The mare’s mane was not cut off evenly. It looked as if it had been torn off, resulting in extremely jagged edges.” She surmised that it could not be the work of humans, but what ripped the hair and the purpose of the action remains a mystery to this day.

The unusual activity on the ranch continued to be an almost everyday occurrence until the late 1990s when it seemed to stall quite suddenly.

Rumors of a Cover-Up

On September 22, 2000 in a USDA Forest Service Release, Bill Kusner, spokesperson for Keep Sedona Beautiful, alluded to the government’s interest in the property. He stated,

These public purchases will serve to preserve the spectacular open landscape well known throughout the world, to provide opportunities for additional access for recreation, and to protect archaeological resources. Keep Sedona Beautiful is hopeful that a $3.5 million appropriation in FY 2001 will allow for the purchase of 90 acres in Yavapai County locally known as the Bradshaw Ranch.

US Forest Service sign at Bradshaw Ranch. (Credit: Cottonwood Hotel)

US Forest Service sign at Bradshaw Ranch. (Credit: Cottonwood Hotel)

After years of property tax hikes and the government’s pressing interest in the property, the ranch became another parcel of federal land, acquired by the U.S. Forest Service. In May of 2003, the Bradshaw’s vacated the property.

Conspiracy theorists were quick to dismiss Kusner’s words, and insinuated that the ranch was really purchased in order to conceal the powerful inter-dimensional portal alleged to exist on the property. Others speculate that it was a tactical maneuver to conceal a top-secret military base and an even larger extraterrestrial cover-up.

There have been rumors for decades of the existence of top-secret underground bases and an elaborate tunnel system, which some suggest is used by both extraterrestrials and the U.S. military. They vary in location, and some believe there to be entrances at a large cement plant in Jerome, beneath Bradshaw Ranch, and in various canyon areas around Sedona. Numerous reports of hikers encountering and being threatened by heavily armed soldiers with no visible insignias on their uniforms have strengthened this opinion in believers. UFO researcher Tom Dongo expands on these ideas in his book Mysterious Sedona: Year 2000 edition:

A machine gun, usually an M-16 (or in some cases semi-automatic pistols) is then leveled at the hikers. By the tone of the voice of the “soldiers” the hiker(s) is left with no doubt that he will be shot on the spot if he does not turn around, retrace his steps, and rapidly leave the area . . . every single one of these gunpoint encounters has taken place along the route of the probable tunnel system.

Those looking for hard evidence of these claims won’t find it. There are plenty of stories of suspicious activity, missing persons, and aliens and UFOs spotted in conjunction with soldiers, but no substantiated evidence exists to prove these theories. Military activity in the area could very well be routine training exercises and those hikers asked to turn around may be done for their own safety.

The Ranch Today

There are a variety of researchers and authors who supplement their time by providing UFO and vortex tours in the area. Several of these tours include a visit to Bradshaw Ranch for those hoping to catch something out of the ordinary. Tourists can venture out with Sedona resident Jocelyn Buckner, who wrote a guide specifically focused on the ranch. She urges visitors to respect the fence-line and claims, “There’s no reason to trespass. Invite the ‘unseen others’ to visit you. You will hear, see, or feel them if you remain open.”

The most reported “sightings” during these tours are photos of “orbs.” The orbs are not visible to the eye, but show up on photographs often looking as if they are attracted to certain individuals. The orb phenomenon is an extremely controversial topic with proponents offering up the “it’s not dust” mantra. Opponents and many professional photo analysts surmise that the majority of objects referred to as orbs have very simple, terrestrial explanations. Objects appearing in the circle of confusion, or the point where the lens of a camera cannot focus, and dust, moisture, and other particles in the area can form this optical illusion.

The ranch continues to attract international recognition as a paranormal hotspot through various television programs, books, and websites. In April of 2013, Discovery Channel’s Uncovering Aliens filmed multiple segments at the ranch. During filming, self-described extraterrestrial contactee Steven Jones alleges that he experienced his own bout of the unknown. While an interview was being conducted with Dongo, Jones had wandered off on his own, past the properties windmill above the fence-line on the hill. Jones returned thirty-or-so minutes later, interrupting the crew, flustered, asking the time and yelling for everyone to look at his wristwatch. It had stopped. He recounted that he had heard unusual voices or odd whispers coming from somewhere around him, experienced a brief period of missing time, and visually pointed out the electrical disturbance of his watch. The experience was not aired on television, and we can only speculate as to what really happened when Jones was alone in the desert.

Conclusion

Bradshaw Ranch is set to remain an enigma. The likelihood that any serious investigation could take place, akin to the in-depth scientific endeavors of the National Institute for Discovery Sciences (NIDS) at Skinwalker Ranch in Utah, is slim. The U.S. Forest Service maintains a strict no trespassing policy in order to protect the historic and anthropological landmarks on the land.

This small piece, as well as the expansive canyons surrounding Sedona, will continue to be shroud in mystery and attract the curious and likeminded. Its residents will continue to defend their experiences and beliefs wholeheartedly and unapologetically. If you do take a trip out to Bradshaw, you may not see anything mysterious, but there is a calm quiet, an eerie breeze, and maybe, locals will tell you, something watching unseen in the distance.

This story originally appeared in the last issue of Open Minds Magazine.

 

Read More

Spielberg offered to aid in United Nations UFO effort during Close Encounters era

Steven Spielberg is really into UFOs. This is not too hard to imagine given movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, ET: The Extraterrestrial and his mini-series Taken, among others. In a recent interview with journalist Lee Speigel, I discovered that he also lent a helping hand in a 1970s effort get the United Nations to investigate UFOs.

Devils-Tower-UFO-ftr

Devils Tower National Monument. The location of a UFO rendezvous in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. (Credit: Alejandro Rojas)

Lee Speigel

Lee Speigel

I am currently in Hulett, Wyoming, where I can see Devils Tower National Monument, which was popularized by the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Tomorrow, I will be doing a talk about Spielberg and his history of interest in the UFO phenomena at the Devils Tower UFO Rendezvous which commemorate the 40th anniversary of the movie. In my talk I will be playing a clip of Speigel describing a meeting with Spielberg who was interested in his effort to display the best UFO evidence at a general session of the United Nations.

Speigel was a young New Yorker at the time who had just put together a record album documentary on UFOs. He realized there were a lot of credible people talking about UFOs and pitched the project to CBS Inc., who liked the idea and sent him around the country to interview these people. Among those he interviewed were scientists, politicians, law enforcement and an astronaut, Gordon Cooper, who relayed his personal UFO experience.

Dr. Wernher von Braun and Astronaut L. Gordon Cooper during the MR-3 (Freedom 7) mission on May 5, 1961, which put the first American, Alan Shepard, in space. (image credit: NASA)

Dr. Wernher von Braun and Astronaut L. Gordon Cooper during the MR-3 (Freedom 7) mission on May 5, 1961, which put the first American, Alan Shepard, in space. (image credit: NASA)

A couple years after producing his record, Speigel heard about an effort to get the United Nations to officially look into the UFO issue. The effort was initiate by Grenada’s Prime minister, Sir Eric Gairy. He decided that what the effort needed was a presentation with the likes of the credible people he had in his record. So, with the confidence of a young New Yorker, he contacted the ambassadors to Granada and offered his services. The government of Granada liked his idea and the event planning began.

Two of the people Speigel enlisted for his presentation were Dr. J.Allen Hynek and Dr. Jacques Vallee. Hynek was a well-known astronomer who acted as a consultant to the U.S. Air Force’s official public UFO investigations from their inception in 1947 to their end in 1969. He then went on to form his own civilian UFO investigation organization, and is arguably the father of modern civilian UFO research. The later, Vallee was a student of his at Northwestern University, and went on to become an author and UFO researcher as well.

Hyenk and Vallee also played important roles in the conception of the movie Close Encounter of the Third Kind. Hynek actually developed the Close Encounters UFO sighting categorization system, and was a consultant for Spielberg on the movie. Vallee, being French, was the inspiration for one of the lead characters in the movie, Claude Lacombe, played by French director Francois Truffaut.

J. Allen Hynek's can be seen in a scene towards the end of the Close Encounters movie.

J. Allen Hynek can be seen in a scene towards the end of the Close Encounters movie. (Credit: Columbia Pictures)

“It was amazing,” says Speigel. “One day I got a call from Spielberg’s publicist to see if I wanted to go out to Hollywood to meet with Steven, Dr. Hynek and Dr. Vallee.”

Speigel’s first response was, “Why do you want me there?”

He didn’t think anyone knew who he was. He was told that Spielberg had heard of his upcoming U.N. presentation and he wanted to talk to the group and offer his assistance.

Speigel says the three men did meet with Spielberg to talk UFOs. Understandably, he says it was an amazing experience. At the end of the meeting, Spielberg said his office would help with anything they needed, and Speigel says they did provide some graphics and information that was incorporated in the U.N. presentation.

So what happened with the U.N. and UFOs? Well, on November 27, 1978, Speigel, Hynek, Vallee, Gairy, Cooper and other credible witnesses and researchers did put on a presentation that included photos and video.

As a result, the U.N. passed a decision on UFOs, which holds less weight than a resolution, but is official none the less.

Their decision included this verbiage: “The General Assembly invites interested member states to take appropriate steps to coordinate on a national level scientific research and investigation into extraterrestrial life, including unidentified flying objects, and to inform the secretary-general of the observations, research and evaluation of such activities.”

Meeting at the UN on UFOs. Clockwise from left: astronaut Gordon Cooper, astronomer Jacques Vallee, astronomer/astrophysicist Claude Poher, astronomer J. Allen Hynek, Grenada Prime Minister Sir Eric Gairy, UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim, Morton Gleisner of the Special Political Committee, Lee Speigel, researcher Len Stringfield, and University of Colorado psychologist David Saunders (Credit: Lee Speigel)

Meeting at the UN on UFOs. Clockwise from left: astronaut Gordon Cooper, astronomer Jacques Vallee, astronomer/astrophysicist Claude Poher, astronomer J. Allen Hynek, Grenada Prime Minister Sir Eric Gairy, UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim, Morton Gleisner of the Special Political Committee, Lee Speigel, researcher Len Stringfield, and University of Colorado psychologist David Saunders (Credit: Lee Speigel)

The U.N. was to follow up on Granada’s UFO request the following year, but by then Granada had undergone a coup that unseated Gairy and the subject was dropped.

You can read more about the U.N. event at Lee Speigel’s website, and on various interviews on the Open Minds UFO Radio Podcast. It is also part of my presentation on Official Government UFO Agencies seen below.

Read More

Lee Speigel – Close Encounters and UFO History – September 12, 2017

Lee-Speigel-hsOpen Minds UFO Radio: Lee Speigel is a journalist who has spent much of his career covering UFOs. He has worked for ABCNews.com, AOL News, and, most recently, the Huffington Post. He is now working with filmmaker James Fox on a script for an upcoming UFO documentary.

In 1975, Lee produced a documentary record album, “UFOs: The Credibility Factor,” for CBS Inc. It marked the first time that military and scientific voices came together to disclose their personal UFO encounters and to call for government recognition of the phenomenon. Soon after he aided the Prime Minister of Granada in an attempt to get the United Nations to officially investigate the UFO phenomenon. During this effort he worked with UFO research pioneers Dr. J. Allen Hyenk and Jacques Vallee, and was invited to meet Steven Spielberg, who wished to aide the group in their efforts.

In this interview, we discuss the recent re-release of Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Lee’s visit with Spielberg, and how Hynek and Vallee felt about the movie. Hynek served as a consultant to Spielberg on the film, and Vallee was the inspiration for one of the main characters.

For more information about Lee, visit: LeeSpeigel.com

Read More

Lights dance around the sky in Arizona UFO video

A witness in Arizona submitted a video to the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) of lights dancing around the night sky. The video is very impressive, but the lights are most likely drones.

Screen shot from UFO video submitted to MUFON. (Credit: MUFON)

Screen shot from UFO video submitted to MUFON. (Credit: MUFON)

The witness submitted the video on September 10, 2017, indicating the sighting had taken place on the evening of September 3. The witness wrote that the UFOs were witnessed while driving in the Oro Valley, a suburb of Phoenix. The witness stopped the car to take a look and film the objects.

Marker indicates approximate location of witness. The objects were likely around the park at the bottom of this image. (Credit: Google Maps)

Marker indicates approximate location of witness. The objects were likely around the park at the bottom of this image. (Credit: Google Maps)

The witness described the objects as “3 balls of light with glimmer of red and blue hovering, flying near tangerine rd and copper spring dr.”

The witness stated the objects were seen for about 10 minutes. The video lasts almost 2 minutes, and can be downloaded here.

The park where drones were most likely launched. (Credit: Google Maps)

The park where drones were most likely launched. (Credit: Google Maps)

The lights dance around the sky, and the video is impressive, but so are modern day drones. Another giveaway is that the objects seem to launch from a park in the distance.

Drone technology has come a long way. In fact, drone racing has become a popular sport. Drone racers can don a virtual reality goggles and view the race first person. It is like a real-life video game. Check out this great video below of drone racing from GoPro. The drones are very maneuverable, and because Phoenix enjoys great weather, it is a hot spot for nighttime drone racing.

 

Read More

Canadian UFO researcher and author to teach UFO continuing education course

Chris Rutkowski is a science writer and UFO researcher. He has authored several books on UFOs and has also taught courses on the subject. Next month Rutkowski will begin teaching his latest UFO course for the continuing education program for the St. James-Assiniboia School Division in Winnipeg.

UFOs are still somewhat of a taboo topic and often met with ridicule in the world of academia, so UFO courses are few and far between. However, ridicule is something Rutkowski combats well with a well developed sense of humor. And, being a science writer, Rutkowski also understand how to bring credibility to a topic that is often misunderstood.

When-They-Appeared-Book-Cover“I often get asked, ‘What is really going on? And where do I get good information?,’” says Rutkowski. “Such courses are a way to educate the public about a very confusing subject.”

Although the public’s curiosity is healthy when it comes to UFOs, it was Rutkowski’s relationship with the St. James-Assiniboia School Division that helped get the course created.

“I have been teaching courses on writing for several years. They asked me if I had ideas about other courses I could do and I suggested a course on UFOs,” explained Rutkowski. “Because my latest book came out a few months ago and is about a major UFO case in our area, and because it’s been getting a lot of attention, they knew about it and thought it would make a good special interest class.”

Rutkowski’s latest book, co-authored with Stan Michalak, is titled When They Appeared. It is about a famous alleged UFO encounter in 1967 near Falcon Lake, which is a bit less than 100 miles east of Winnipeg. According to the book’s description, the incident was the most investigated UFO event in Canada’s history.

The story is very odd. On May 20, 1967, Stefan Michalak, father of the co-author, says he came across a strange craft. It had some sort of vents on the side. It took off and in the process injured Stefan, who suffered from burns on his chest in the pattern of the vents on the craft.

Stefan Michalak's sketch of the strange craft he encountered.

Stefan Michalak’s sketch of the strange craft he encountered.

Stefan Michalak was treated at a hospital for burns to his chest and stomach that later turned into raised sores on a grid-like pattern.

Stefan Michalak was treated at a hospital for burns to his chest and stomach that later turned into raised sores on a grid-like pattern.

The news soon got ahold of the story and it became a media sensation.

“It just flipped our lives over,” Stan recently told CBC News. “It took several years before it finally died down.”

Rutkowski's UFO class will be held at John Taylor Collegiate. (Credit: John Taylor Collegiate)

Rutkowski’s UFO class will be held at John Taylor Collegiate. (Credit: John Taylor Collegiate)

I asked Rutkowski if he felt teaching the public about UFOs was important. He replied, “Yes, in that there is a real thirst from the public for information about UFOs beyond tabloid news.”

As a science writer, and someone who takes the UFO phenomenon seriously, I also asked what approach Rutkowski takes in presenting the course material.

“I include some discussion on critical thinking and how to evaluate UFO reports and claims,” Rutkowski replied. “I do acknowledge that there is much we don’t know, but that there is much we do.”

If you live in the Winnipeg area, you can register for Rutkowki’s UFO course, which starts September 25, 2017,  at www.localcourses.com, and you can find the book at the publisher’s website, McNallyRobinson.com. To find out more about his work, you can follow Rutkowski’s UFO Blog at uforum.blogspot.com.

Read More

UFO witness spots large “spherical object” during hike in Portugal

A hiker in Portugal took some photos of an odd object recently. The witness submitted the photos and report to the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) yesterday. According to the report, the sighting took place on August 20, 2017.

Picture submitted by witness. Click to enlarge. (Credit: MUFON)

Picture submitted by witness. Click to enlarge. (Credit: MUFON)

Second picture submitted by witness. Click to enlarge. (Credit: MUFON)

Second picture submitted by witness. Click to enlarge. (Credit: MUFON)

The witness says the object appeared to be the size of a helicopter. The witness described it as an “irregular sphere” in the title of the report, and as a spherical object in the description. However, the odd shape that can be seen in the photos is difficult to describe.

Close-up of object in first picture. (Credit: MUFON)

Close-up of object in first picture.

Close-up of object in second picture.

Close-up of object in second picture.

The witness wrote, verbatim:

I was hiking on the mountain and taking pictures when I observed a spherical object the size of a helicopter. It flew silently and too fast, so I immediately started shooting. While doing this I lost the visual reference of the object. When I returned to look at the sky in search of the first object appeared a second object at the same speed and following the same path. The objects traveled from SE to NW at a speed of over 300 km / h, at an altitude of 100m to 200m and at a distance of less than 3km from the observation point.

Map of area submitted by witness. Click to enlarge. (Credit: MUFON)

Map of area submitted by witness. Click to enlarge. (Credit: MUFON)

Mylar balloons can look odd floating around and are often reported as UFOs. However, they are typically a regular shape and smooth. Could this one be a half deflated balloon? If so, it would not have been as large as a helicopter as the witness describes, and it does look to be rather large in the photo.

The marker shows the location of Vila Real, the area the witness says the sighting took place. (Credit: Google Maps)

The marker shows the location of Vila Real, the area the witness says the sighting took place. (Credit: Google Maps)

The vast majority of UFO sightings turn out to be mundane objects, but once in awhile there are sightings that are much more difficult to explain. MUFON conducts investigations on sightings submitted to their website, and if they share their conclusions, we will let you all know. Meanwhile, others will likely chime in and we will try to keep you up to date with any discoveries. Please feel free to share your thoughts on the object in the comments below.

 

Read More

UFO News, Mysterious Space Signals and Mars – September 5, 2017

OMRadio_logo_2Open Minds UFO Radio: Alejandro and Martin discuss the latest UFO news, including the recent detection of mysterious signals from space and humanity’s plans for Mars. No special guest in this episode, besides the always special ufo news presenter Martin Willis of Podcast UFO. Martin and Alejandro talk at length about some of their favorite topics that have recently made headlines and/or were featured articles on OpenMinds.tv. This includes the discovery of signals from space by an organization searching for intelligent extraterrestrial life. Signals that some scientists speculate could be the result of advanced extraterrestrial technology. We also discuss Mars, Alejandro’s visit to the set of the National Geographic Channel’s Mars TV show set, and current plans to get humans to Mars within the next 10 years!

Read More

New mysterious signals detected by search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) project

New unidentified signals from deep space have been detected by the Breakthrough Listen project, an attempt to detect evidence of an extraterrestrial civilization. Similar signals have been detected before, but more signals than ever were recorded recently, and, according to the Breakthrough Listen project, an intelligent extraterrestrial civilization has not been ruled out as a potential source.

The type of signals recently observed are called fast radio bursts (FRBs). They are extremely short bursts, but also extremely bright. Most of the FRBs detected thus far have been singular events, which is not so mysterious. Scientists often discover mysterious radio transmissions, but they are typically due to cosmic events. What makes the newly discovered signals mysterious is that they repeat, unlike a cosmic event which sends out one large signal when the event takes place.

FRB 121102 was discovered on November 2, 2012, giving it its name. In 2015, it was found that FRB 121102 repeats, then in 2016 it was traced back to a galaxy billions of light years away. However, scientists know of nothing in that area which would be creating a repeating signal.

On August 26 of this year, scientists with Breakthrough Listen used the Green Bank Telescope to observe FRB 121102. They recorded ten 30-minutes scans and detected 15 bursts. This may not sound like much, but up until this point there had been less than two dozen FRBs recorded.

The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Radio Telescope (GBT) focuses 2.3 acres of radio light. It is 485ft tall, nearly as tall as the nearby mountains and much taller than pine trees in the national forest. The telescope is in a valley of the Allegheny mountains to shield the observations from radio interference. (Credit: National Radio Astronomy Observatory)

The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Radio Telescope (GBT) focuses 2.3 acres of radio light. It is 485ft tall, nearly as tall as the nearby mountains and much taller than pine trees in the national forest. The telescope is in a valley of the Allegheny mountains to shield the observations from radio interference. (Credit: National Radio Astronomy Observatory)

So what could these FRBs be?

“Several explanations for FRBs have been suggested,” explains a recent article in Newsweek. “One is a cataclysmic event, such as a neutron star collapsing into a black hole. But such an event would produce only one burst and therefore does not explain the repeating pattern of FRB 121102. Another possible explanation is that they are coming from a young, highly magnetized neutron star, but so far nothing like this has been detected in this region of space.”

After acknowledging the mystery of the discovery, Newsweek goes on to conclude, “Despite widespread speculation, the possibility of the signals coming from an advanced alien civilization has been largely ruled out.”

Of course, not everyone agrees. A recent article in New Scientist covers some ideas scientists have come up with which would include potential alien sources for the signals.

Breakthrough Listen is part of what is called the Breakthrough Initiative. It is financed by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner. While Musk, Bezos and Bigelow have decided to spend their fortunes on building spacecraft and/or habitats for humans to get to and inhabit space, Milner has decided to look for aliens.

Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking announcing the $100 million Breakthrough Initiative in London. (Photo via Breakthrough Initiative)

Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking announcing the $100 million Breakthrough Initiative in London in 2015. (Photo via Breakthrough Initiative)

There are thee parts to the Breakthrough Initiative. The first two announced were Listen and Message. The first aimed at listening for signals from extraterrestrial civilizations, much like what the SETI Institute is known for. The second, Breakthrough Message, entailed a $1 million prize for the creation of messages to send to space. However, the messages will not be sent, probably because Stephen Hawking, an associate of the initiative, has expressed concern about what will happen if aliens find out we are here.

The third, Breakthrough Starshot, plans to send hundreds of tiny spaceships to the closest star system, Alpha Centauri, to look for signs of life. These spacecraft would largely consist of sails that are pushed along by lasers here on Earth. Once they reach their destination, the little spacecraft will have a few hours to record video and whatever other telemetry they will be able to obtain. The data will then be sent back to earth via lasers. However, because we are talking about such vast distances, the data will take four years to reach Earth, even at the speed of light.

Artist depiction of Breakthrough Startshot. (Credit: Breakthrough Initiatives)

Artist depiction of Breakthrough Startshot. (Credit: Breakthrough Initiatives)

Coincidentally, or not, the New Scientist article explains that this type of spacecraft could be responsible for the FRBs.

The article posits:

…maybe they are using these powerful radio beams to power light sails, which push spacecraft along by bouncing light off a large, reflective sheet. A sail that requires a beam as powerful as an FRB would be much bigger than any we’ve ever considered making on Earth. Such an alien light sail could carry almost a million tonnes – in contrast, the International Space Station only weighs about 420 tonnes.

If there were many extraterrestrial civilizations with colossal alien cruise ships, there could be many powerful radio beams sweeping through the sky, each following the path of a sail. When the beam’s path intersects with the Earth’s, we’d see a bright but fleeting burst of radio waves.

The Breakthrough Initiative’s press release includes this bit of speculation In their recent announcement on this latest discovery. According to the Breakthrough Initiative press release, “Possible explanations for FRBs range from outbursts from rotating neutron stars with extremely strong magnetic fields, to more speculative ideas that they are directed energy sources used by extraterrestrial civilizations to power spacecraft.”

So, in the end, we can not be sure what is causing the FRBs, but an alien civilization is not being ruled out. At least not by everyone, especially the Breakthrough Initiative.

A technical summary of Breakthrough Listen’s discovery has been releases in an Astronomer’s Telegram, and will be released in further detail in an upcoming article in a scientific journal.

Read More