The UFO Mystery Grows

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The UFO Mystery Grows

In July 1997, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the alleged UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico, CNN/Time magazine took a poll that indicated that 80 percent of Americans thought the government was hiding knowledge about the UFO mystery. Other interesting data included the assertion that 64 percent believed that alien life-forms have made contact with humans. Of that 64 percent, 37 percent said the ETs have abducted humans, and 37 percent are certain that the aliens have contacted representatives of the U.S. government.

On June 10, 1998, a follow-up CNN/Time poll revealed that 27 percent of all Americans believed that space aliens have visited Earth and 80 percent believed that the U.S. government is conducting a cover-up of the alien presence.

The most prevalent conspiracy theory contends that the government learned the truth about UFOs at the site of the Roswell, New Mexico, crash in 1947 when the military recovered alien corpses. A secret group known as Majestic-12 keeps the U.S. president and other world leaders briefed on the progress of alien activity on Earth. While the governments of Earth officially deny the existence of UFOs to prevent panic among the masses, the chief executives are well aware of the existence of extraterrestrial involvement in world affairs. An arm of the U.S. "shadow" government, in association with the Illuminati, an alleged worldwide secret society, made a deal with the alien invaders to trade advanced extraterrestrial technology for such Earth resources as water, minerals, cattleand certain of its citizenry. UFO abductions are conducted by aliens as a species-monitoring program. Physical examinations of humans and crossbreeding attempts involving preselected men and women are allowed by the government as a treaty concession.

As the year 2000 grew nearer, many fundamentalist religious sects became obsessed with fears concerning the millennium and Armageddon, the great final battle between Good and Evil. Such an obsession created a mind-set of suspicion that had many members of these religious groups identifying Satan's minions gathering to fight the forces of Good as aliens arriving on UFOs. A number of fundamentalist Christian evangelists began to blend accounts of UFOs with the old fears of secret societies composed of top U.S. government officials, politicians, corporate chairmen, and international bankers who were seeking to bring into being a dreaded "New World Order." Rumors spread that extraterrestrials and powerful members of secret societies had agreed that shortly before the year 2000 a carefully staged false alien invasion would convince the masses of the world that an attack from outer space was about to begin. People of all nations would believe the leaders who advised that unconditional surrender to the aliens was for everyone's own good. Immediately following their betrayal of Earth to the aliens, the united leaders would form a One World Government, a New World Order, thus fulfilling biblical prophecies about a return to the days of Babylon. The aliens would reveal themselves as demonic entities, and the planet would be in torment until Jesus returned to deal the final blow to the armies of evil.

During that same period of paranoia in the mid-to-late 1990s, UFO believers and investigators began seeing treacherous agents of the secret government everywhere. Men in Black were joined by Black Helicopters, and hundreds of men and women who claimed to have witnessed UFO phenomena protested that they had subsequently been harassed and spied upon by mysterious unmarked black helicopters. And the once-benign space brothers were largely replaced by nasty alien abductors who wanted to perform painful physical examinations aboard motherships and steal human ova and sperm for their genetic experiments in creating a new hybrid species.

On June 24, 1997the 50th anniversary of Kenneth Arnold's sighting of the flying saucers in Washington Statethe United States Air Force conducted a special Pentagon briefing and announced its answer to the charges of a conspiracy at Roswell in the document The Roswell Report: Case Closed. This publication, stated Colonel John Haynes, would be the Air Force's final word concerning 50 years of accusations that the government was hiding evidence of extraterrestrial visitation. The debris found at the crash site outside of Roswell were fragments from a balloon from Project Mogul, a top-secret intelligence gathering operation, that had commenced immediately after the end of World War II (1945). Its mission had been to spy on the Soviets and to monitor their nuclear program; therefore, the cover-up had been necessary for purposes of national security.

The air force report went on to state that the alleged bodies seen around the crash site were not those of extraterrestrial beings, but were dummies, roughly the size of humans, that had been used in experiments with high-altitude parachutes. After each of the experimental drops, which had begun in 1953, air force personnel would retrieve the simulated human forms. Apparently, folks around Roswell had observed some of these recovery missions and thought that they had witnessed military personnel picking up alien bodies.

UFO researchers scorned such an explanation of the alleged crash debris having been a balloon and the true nature of the alien corpses having been parachute dummies. And then there was the question of how those witnesses who claimed to have seen wreckage of a flying saucer and the bodies of its extraterrestrial crew in 1947 could have confused the event with the discovery of dummies dropped over the desert near Roswell in 1953.

Colonel Haynes explained the six-year discrepancy between the events as a manifestation of the mental phenomenon of "time compression" on the part of the witnesses. Time compression, he stated, occurs when one's memory melds events separated by many years into "compressed" segments of time. Civilians who witnessed the crash site of a weather balloon in 1947 and, six years later, saw air force personnel retrieving crash dummies dropped from the skies, recalled the two events as one in their compressed memories.

The official explanation issued by the air force in its publication The Roswell Report: Case Closed accomplished little in quelling the accusations of a government conspiracy regarding the mystery of what really occurred in July 1947. Roswell has become a Mecca for UFO believers from all over the world, and the city hosts an annual celebration to honor the alleged crash of the flying saucer in the desert.

In March 2002, a survey conducted in the United States by the National Science Foundation yielded the results that 30 percent of those individuals polled believed that space vehicles from alien civilizations regularly visit the skies of Earth. An extensive survey of paranormal beliefs in the United Kingdom taken in June 2002 found that 47 percent of its citizens believed in visitations from extraterrestrials.

As UFO investigations enter the twenty-first century, the mystery grows unabated. On July 26, 1952, UFOs made national headlines when they were sighted over Washington, D.C. The mysterious objects were detected on civilian and military radar screens and fighter planes were dispatched to investigate. Exactly 50 years later to the day, July 26, 2002, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) scrambled two D.C. Air National Guard F-16 jets out of Andrews Air Force Base to investigate unknown aerial craft over the nation's capital.

Accusations of government cover-ups and conspiracies continue, and the old stories of secret agencies and aliens conspiring to deceive humankind circulate freely. The media report strange occurrences such as crop circles and cattle mutilations. Late-night radio talk shows feature bizarre accounts of the air force's Area 51 and of scientists working in underground laboratories to back-engineer the wreckage of alien space vehicles. And some individuals argue that the alien interference in the events of planet Earth may go back even to the days of World War II (193945) and such controversial endeavors as the Philadelphia Experiment.

Delving Deeper

Fawcett, Lawrence, and Barry J. Greenwood. Clear Intent: The Government Coverup of the UFO Expe rience. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1984.

Friedman, Stanton T. Top Secret/Majic. New York: Marlowe, 1996.

Klass, Philip J. UFOs Explained. New York: Random House, 1974.

Randle, Kevin D. The Randle Report: UFOs in the '90s. New York: M. Evans, 1997.

Randle, Kevin D., and Donald R. Schmitt. The Truth About the UFO Crash at Roswell. New York: M. Evans, 1994.

Sachs, Margaret. The UFO Encyclopedia. New York: Perigee Books, 1980.

Story, Ronald D., ed. The Encyclopedia of Extraterres trial Encounters. New York: New American Library, 2001.

Area 51 and Reverse Engineering

While the government officially denies the existence of the base known as Area 51, UFO investigators are convinced that the military base near Groom Lake in Nevada is the site where the UFO that crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947 was reversed engineered to create such aerial craft as the Stealth Bomber.

Area 51, also known as Dreamland, has not really been secret since the March 1993 issue of Popular Science brought the reconnaissance aircraft Aurora out of the dark and revealed that the Mach 6 spy plane was developed at the closely guarded U.S. Air Force facility at Groom Lake, Nevada.

In his book, The Day After Roswell (1997), Colonel Philip J. Corso (U.S. Army, retired) claims that he was given "personal steward-ship" of various extraterrestrial artifacts recovered from the crash of a spacecraft outside of Roswell, New Mexico, in July 1947. Corso goes on to state that he distributed the objects of alien technology to select government contractors and that while the U.S. government has officially denied doing so, it has had large numbers of scientists secretly and ambitiously achieving reverse engineering from advanced alien technology. Among the results of such back engineering have been fiber optics, light amplification devices, Kevlar (lightweight, heavily resistant material for use in body armor), and a large number of advances in laser weaponry.

Corso served his country for many years. He was on General Douglas MacArthur's intelligence staff following the Korean War in the 1950s, and he was later assigned to President Dwight Eisenhower's Security Council, then to the Army Research and Development's Foreign Technology Desk at the Pentagon. According to Corso, when he moved into the Foreign Technology Division, he was given a file cabinet of artifacts from the Roswell crash and instructed to begin working on a plan of action and recommendations for their use. His superiors were enthusiastic about the artifacts' use in building spaceships that would not be able to be penetrated by radiation, cosmic activity, or gunfire.

One of Corso's first file cabinet discoveries was a piece of metal about the size of a postcard that was paper thin. Somehow the atoms were aligned in the metal in such a way that government scientists all failed to back engineer it. Next, according to Corso, the scientists moved on to an integrated circuit, the size of a chip, that gave rise to the transistor.

In a government program called "Applied Engineering," Corso and his staff would find people in industry who were working in a particular area of scientific research and supplement their work with the alien technology through their Research and Development projects. In some instances, the government agency would even fund it.

Although the claims made by Colonel Corso in The Day After Roswell remain extremely controversial and unverified, they continue to keep alive the accusations that the government has kept the truth about the alleged alien crash at Roswell from the public.

Delving Deeper

Corso, Philip J., with William J. Birnes. The Day After Roswell. New York: Pocket Books, 1997.

Darlington, David. Area 51: The Dreamland Chroni cles. New York: Henry Holt, 1997.

Randle, Kevin D. Conspiracy of Silence. New York: Avon Books, 1997.

. Roswell Crash Update: Exposing the Military Coverup of the Century. New Brunswick, N.J.: Global Communications, 1995.

Story, Ronald D., ed. The Encyclopedia of Extraterres trial Encounters. New York: New American Library, 2001.

Cattle Mutilations

On October 9, 1967, the Associated Press carried an item that told of the possible role of UFOs in the killing of Snippy, a three-year-old gelding. The carcass was discovered about a quarter of a mile from the ranch house of Harry King in the desolate mountain country near Alamosa, Colorado. King notified the horse's owners, Mr. and Mrs. Burl Lewis, who were disturbed by the condition of the carcass, which suggested that something out of the ordinary had been responsible for their horse's demise.

A pathologist admitted bewilderment when he found the horse's abdominal, brain, and spinal cavities to be empty. All flesh had been stripped from the horse's head and neck, but the rest of the animal was untouched except for the openings left by the mysterious surgery. Although the carcass had lain exposed for several days, it was not unduly decomposed, nor had it begun to smell. Even more unusual is the fact that no predators, vultures, or buzzards had approached the carcass.

UFO investigators stated that they had noted a high radiation count around Snippy's remains and reported finding areas where the chico brush had been squashed to within 10 inches of the ground. Fifteen circular exhaust marks were found 100 yards from the carcass of the horse. Six identical holes, each two inches wide and four inches deep, were found in a nearby area. In addition, the investigators said that they found the imprint of a circle 75 feet in diameter, and a number of smaller areas where the chico brush had been flattened in circles 15 feet in diameter.

Reports of Snippy's supposed death at the hands of alien specimen collectors received elaborate play and bold headlines across the nation. The official word was that Snippy had been killed by lightning, but UFO investigators quickly denounced such an analysis and the enigma of animal mutilations has continued into the twenty-first century.

Cattle are the most frequent victims of these mysterious mutilations, and according to forensic pathologists who have examined many of these animals, traditional surgical instruments were not usedbut the incisions appear to be the result of an advanced laser technology. Most investigators have eliminated the possibility that predators or scavengers could so neatly incise and remove select organs from their victims. And the obvious problem with blaming predators and scavengers is the fact that all the rest of the animal remains intact. A number of veterinarians and forensic scientists who have investigated the mysterious mutilations have described the blood as appearing to have been drained with no resultant vascular collapse. The known technology that could process such an accomplishment does not exist, and if it did, it would seem to have to be big and heavy to manipulate some animals weighing well over 1,500 pounds.

According to most accounts, tracks or markings of a conventional nature, such as tire imprints or human or animal tracks, have never been found near a mutilated carcass, but many farmers and ranchers have reported the indentations of a tripod nearby. And there have been numerous reports of UFOs seen in the area and in the immediate vicinity of a cattle mutilation.

Many investigators are openly skeptical about blaming cattle mutilations on aliens. In the opinion of many veterinarians, livestock association officials, forensic pathologists, chemists, and a host of county, state, and federal officers and agents, such alleged mutilations are simply the result of Mother Nature fulfilling one of her primary responsibilities of keeping the countryside clean. The true perpetrators of the mystery of animal mutilations, according to these investigators, are predators and scavengers. All the tales of bloodless carcasses, organs removed with surgical precision, and so forth, are the work of sensationalist journalists, excitable ranchers, and paranoid UFO conspiracy theorists.

Regardless of a great deal of official skepticism toward the subject of cattle mutilations, it does appear to comprise a genuine mystery. And every time that a mutilated cow is found with its tongue, eyes, ears, anus, udder, and genitalia removed without apparently shedding a drop of blood and without the culprits leaving any tracks whatsoever, aliens, satanic cultists, and crews of unmarked black helicopters are named as the suspects. One of the favorite theories of the alien/government conspiracy buffs is that a branch of the secret government made a deal with the aliens that would enable them to sustain themselves on Earth by ingesting a particular enzyme, or hormonal secretion, most readily obtained from the tongues and throats of cattle. Further, it seems that this same type of animal mutilation occurs worldwide with the same kinds of animals every time.

Reports from Argentina in July 2002 stated that beginning with the first detected mutilation in April, more than 200 cattle had been found with their blood drained, their tongues, organs, flesh, and skin removed by angular, nearly curved, cuts. Although the official explanation centered on a carnivorous mouse, no one, from ranchers and veterinarians to biologists specializing in rodents have ever seen mice feed upon cow carcasses. Crews from UFOs were most often named by ranchers as the most likely mutilators of their cattle herds.

The most prominent researcher in the bizarre field of animal mutilations is Linda Moulton Howe, author of Glimpses of Other Realities (1998). Howe has documented hundreds of abnormal, inexplicable deaths of animals, mostly cattle and horses on the open rangeall of which died because of bloodless excisions and the removal of eyes, organs, and genitals.

When she began her intensive research in the fall of 1979, Howe suspected that there was some sort of contamination in the environment, and that some government agency was secretly harvesting tissue and fluids for examination. But she could not fathom why any government agency working in secrecy would be so careless as to leave the carcasses of the cattle lying in the fields or ranges, thereby creating alarm and anger among the owners of the animals. Howe's early interviews were with ranchers and law enforcement officers, who reluctantly informed her of the sightings of glowing disks in the vicinity of the cattle mutilations. Some witnesses even told her of having seen nonhuman entities at the scene. Her continuing research has convinced her that something very strange is going on, which may, indeed, involve alien experimentation with Earth's animals.

Delving Deeper

Howe, Linda Moulton. Alien Harvest: Further Evi dence Linking Animal Mutilations and Human Abductions to Alien Life Forms. The Author, 1993.

. Glimpses of Other Realities. Vol. 2, High Strange ness. New Orleans: Paper Chase Press, 1998.

Lindsay, Reed. "Eerie X-File of the Pampas." Sun Jour nal, July 23, 2002. [Online]

Oyan, Katie. "Cattle Mutilations Back." Great Falls Tribune, January 3, 2002. [Online]

Sachs, Margaret. The UFO Encyclopedia. New York: Perigee Books, 1980.

Story, Ronald D., ed. The Encyclopedia of Extraterres trial Encounters. New York: New American Library, 2001.

Crop Circles

Strange circles or unusual geometric designs have been discovered in cereal crops around the world, even in the rice paddies of Japan. The designs are often hundreds of feet in diameter and length and may cover many acres. While many people believe that crop circles are a comparatively recent UFO-related phenomenon that began in the late 1970s or early 1980s, the mystery of the crop circle is hardly new. Unexplained geometric designs occurred in the fields of wheat and corn in Scotland in 1678, and rural residents of England speak of the "corn fairies" that made similar designs in the fields in the late 1800s. Researchers have discovered accounts of the discovery of so-called fairy circles in fields and meadows dating back to medieval times throughout the British Isles, Germany, Scandinavia, and France. Recent evidence indicates that Chinese farmers found crop circles in their fields as many as 3,000 years ago.

In those cases of crop circles that have appeared since the 1980s, investigators have determined that the crops were biochemically or biophysically altered. Controversy rages over how these circles appear, as they are usually formed overnight and are not cut.

In 1991, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, two retired artists in England, confessed that they were responsible for making the crop circles that had baffled the world for so long and that they accomplished the most intricate of designs with a simple board and a piece of string. While the confession of Bower and Chorley satisfied a good many skeptics and journalists, serious crop circle researchers, called "cerealogists," asked how these two elderly gentlemen could have accomplished their hoaxes throughout the world in such great numbers. While admitting that there have been hoaxes, cerealogists pointed out that pranksters have been unable to create crop circles with the same precision and undisturbed nature as those circles thought to be of alien or unknown origin.

Regardless of general dismissal of the crop circle phenomenon by conventional scientists who remain skeptical because human beings could be perpetrating hoaxes, it would appear that there is a genuine mystery in the formation of many of the incredible designs that suddenly appear in fields around the world. Four of the principal theories regarding the origins of crop circles are the following:

  1. extraterrestrial entities offering clues to their identity and intentions toward earth-lings;
  2. natural phenomena, ranging from insects to lightning, from plasma vortices (a kind of ball lightning) to electromagnetic anomalies;
  3. hoaxsters;
  4. an ancient nonhuman intelligence indigenous to Earth that is utilizing archetypal designs in order to warn contemporary humankind to be more responsible to and more respectful of the planet.

English researcher Lucy Pringle believes that many crop circle formations are due to natural causes, such as the discharge of some electromagnetic energy, but she also noted that a particular design formed around April 21, 1998, appeared close to the prehistoric mound of Silbury Hill. She likened the double-ringed circle with 33 scroll-like bands between the rings to a Beltane wheel, an ancient symbol used at Celtic fire festivals on May Day.

Pringle has not been alone in suggesting that a nonhuman intelligence is perpetrating these mysterious manifestations, perhaps a familiar nonhuman intelligence, such as that group of beings commonly called fairies, elves or devas, which has played a significant role in the myths and legends of every planetary culture for centuries.

On July 1921, 2002, a three-day conference of leading crop circle investigators was held in Somerset, England. Andy Thomas, an organizer of the meeting, commented that his 11 years of experience in investigating the enigma had convinced him of only one thingthat not all the circles were made by pranksters. Other than that, he stated, it was hard to say whether the phenomenon was caused by extraterrestrials, some kind of super-consciousness, collective psychokinesis (mind over matter), natural forces, or something presently beyond human awareness. Most cerealogists in attendance insisted that it is relatively easy to tell the difference between circles made by hoaxers and those made by what appears to be some kind of superior intelligence, imprinting geometric designs presently beyond the capacity of human beings.

On August 2, 2002, Touchstone Pictures released M. Night Shyamalan's Signs, starring Mel Gibson as a Pennsylvania farmer who discovers a crop circle in his field. The motion picture re-ignited controversy regarding crop circles and quite likely inspired numerous imitators who created mysterious designs of their own in fields throughout the United States and Canada.

Delving Deeper

Andrews, Colin, and Pat Delgado. Circular Evidence. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 1990.

"Experts 'Amazed' by Crop Circle Designs." BBC News, July 19, 2002. [Online]

Howe, Linda Moulton. Mysterious Lights and Crop Cir cles. Penn.: Linda Moulton Howe Productions, 2002.

Lin, Rosanne. "China Says Crop Circles Appeared There 3,000 Years Ago." The Shanghai Star, August 2, 2002. [Online]

Manistre, Hugh. Crop Circles, a Beginner's Guide. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1999.

Pringle, Lucy. Crop CirclesThe Greatest Mystery of Modern Times. New York: HarperCollins, 2000.

Silva, Freddy. Secrets in the Fields: The Science and Mysticism of Crop Circles. Charlottesville, Va.: Hampton Roads, 2002.


According to UFO researcher and documentary filmmaker Jamie Shandera, in December 1984 he received an anonymous packet in the mail containing two rolls of undeveloped 35mm film. The film, once developed, revealed what appeared to be a briefing report to President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower (18901969; president 195361), which had been prepared by a group of 12 prestigious and top-secret investigators who worked under the code name of "Operation Majestic-12" (MJ-12). The document, which appeared to be authentic, described details of the recovery, analysis, and official cover-up of the 1947 UFO crash outside of Roswell, New Mexico. The report also described the recovery of the bodies of four humanlike beings that had been found near the wreckage of the downed extraterrestrial spacecraft.

According to these documents, all four of the entities were dead, and their corpses had been mutilated by desert scavengers and were badly decomposed due to exposure to the elements. Although the creatures were humanlike in appearance, the secret report stated that the biological and evolutionary processes responsible for their development had apparently been quite different from those of humankind.

On June 14, 1987, at the 24th Annual National UFO Conference in Burbank, California, Shandera, together with Stanton Friedman and William Moorethe two prominent UFO researchers Shandera had enlisted to help him test the truth of the MJ-12 documentsmade public their investigations into what purported to be documentary proof of a government cover-up of UFOs that began in 1947. According to the documents leaked to Shandera, the members of Majestic-12 consisted of the following individuals:

Lloyd V. Berkner, known for scientific achievements in the fields of physics and electronics, special assistant to the secretary of state in charge of the Military Assistance Program, executive secretary of what is now known as the Research and Development Board of the National Military Establishment.

Detley W. Bronk, a physiologist and biophysicist of international repute, chairman of the National Research Council, and a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the Atomic Energy Commission.

Vannevar Bush, a brilliant scientist who was, from 1947 to 1948, chairman of Research and Development for the National Military Establishment.

Gordon Gray, three times elected to the North Carolina Senate, succeeded Kenneth Royall as secretary of the Army in June 1949.

Dr. Jerome C. Hunsaker, an innovative aeronautical scientist and design engineer, who served as chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

Robert M. Montague, Sandia base commander, Albuquerque, New Mexico, from July 1947 to February 1951.

General Nathan F. Twining, commander of the B-29 superfortresses that dropped the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In December 1945 he was named commanding general of the Air Material Command headquartered at Wright Field. In October 1947 he was appointed commander in chief of the Alaskan Command, remaining in that position until May 1950, when he became acting deputy chief of staff for personnel at U.S. Air Force headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Donald H. Menzel, director of the Harvard Observatory at Cambridge, Massachusetts, a leading authority on the solar chromosphere, formulated (with Dr. Winfield W. Salisbury) the initial calculations that led to the first radio contact with the Moon in 1946.

James V. Forrestal served first as undersecretary, then secretary of the U.S. Navy for seven years. In September 1947 he became secretary of defense, responsible for coordinating the activities of all U.S. Armed Forces.

Sidney W. Souers, a rear admiral, who became deputy chief of Naval Intelligence before organizing the Central Intelligence Office in January 1946.

Hoyt S. Vandenberg, a much-decorated U.S. Air Force officer, rose to the rank of commanding general of the Ninth U.S. Air Force in France before he was named assistant chief of staff of G-2 (Intelligence) in 1946. In June 1946 he was appointed the director of Central Intelligence.

Rear Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter was summoned from the post of naval attache at the American Embassy in Paris to become the first director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), serving from May 1947 to September 1950.

Many UFO researchers agreed upon seeing the list of MJ-12's alleged personnel that if a UFO had crashed and been recovered in Roswell in 1947, this would have been the kind of panel that could have accomplished a thorough investigation of the craft. Each of these individuals had been at the top in their respective areas of expertise during the late 1940s and had the added benefit of government experience behind them.

The more skeptical investigators agreed that "Document A," which purported to be a letter dated September 24, 1947, from President Harry S Truman to Secretary of Defense Forrestal, appeared to be genuine; but even though Truman did refer to "Operation Majestic Twelve" in the letter, there was nothing clearly stated that linked the group to UFO investigations.

Others questioned why Hillenkoetter, head of the CIA, listed as the briefing officer on the MJ-12 document, would remain quiet about the crashed flying saucer and the alien bodies when he became active in civilian UFO research in 1957.

The biggest shocker to longtime UFO researchers was the discovery of the name of Donald Menzel, the Harvard astronomer, on the MJ-12 list. Menzel was well known as a passionate debunker of flying saucers and the author of three anti-UFO books.

In spite of its defenders in the UFO research field, the authenticity of the MJ-12 documents remains highly controversial. Skeptical researchers have labeled the documents as clearly false and fraudulent, pointing out that a thorough search of the records of the Truman administration reveals no executive order for such a UFO investigative group as MJ-12. Researchers who have served in the military have stated that the clearest indication of a hoax lies in the many incorrect military terms and language used in these alleged "official" documents, suggesting that the creators of the hoax have never served in the military.

Delving Deeper

Beckley, Timothy Green. MJ-12 and the Riddle of Hangar 18. New Brunswick, N.J.: Inner Light Publications, 1989.

Friedman, Stanton T. Top Secret/Majic. New York: Marlowe, 1996.

Friedman, Stanton T., and Don Berliner. Crash at Corona: The U.S. Military Retrieval and Cover-Up of a UFO. New York: Marlowe, 1994.

Randle, Kevin D. Case MJ-12: The True Story Behind the Government's UFO Conspiracies. New York: Avon, 2002.

Strieber, Whitley. Majestic. New York: Berkley Pub lishing, 1990.

Story, Ronald D., ed. The Encyclopedia of Extraterres trial Encounters. New York: New American Library, 2001.

The Philadelphia Experiment

According to one of the most pervasive myths in UFO research, in October 1943, the U.S. Navy secretly accomplished the teleportation of a warship from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to its dock near Norfolk, Virginia, by successfully applying Einstein's Unified Field Theory. While the experiment succeeded in causing the Eldridge to become invisible, a number of the crew burst into flames in spontaneous human combustion , and several others later lapsed into invisibility in front of their familiesand, in one case, before the patrons of a crowded bar. Over half the officers and crew members had to be committed to psychiatric wards for the rest of their lives as a result of the fantastic experiment.

The legend of the Philadelphia Experiment began on January 13, 1956, when Morris K. Jessup received the first of a series of strange letters signed by Carlos Miguel Allendeor as he sometimes signed his name, Carl Allen. The initial letter was in response to Jessup's book The Case for the UFO (1955). Jessup approached the UFO mystery from the viewpoint of an astronomer, a mathematician, a physicist, and an archeologist and called upon his readers to place pressure upon their political representatives to demand research into Einstein's Unified Field Theory so that humankind might discover the nature of gravity and thereby apply that knowledge to the conquest of outer space. Allende began his initial letter by taking Jessup to task for invoking the public to request research into Einstein's Unified Field Theory. Such research had already been conducted by the U.S. Navy, Allende stated, and the results were disastrous.

In October 1943, according to Allende, scientists working for the navy accomplished the complete invisibility of a destroyer-type ship and all of its crew while at sea. Allende was blunt in his assessment of the effect of the force field upon the crew members. The mysterious letter writer explained to Jessup that seamen who had been within the force field of the experiment too long went "blank," suddenly finding themselves fading into invisibility. To "get stuck," Allende explained, was a side effect that suddenly prevented a sailor from being able to move of his own volition. If two or more of his fellow crew members did not come to his aid at once and lay their hands upon him, the unfortunate sailor would "freeze." Those who had entered into this condition were like semi-comatose persons who are able to live, breathe, look, and feel, but are not aware of time and exist in a kind of netherworld. Fully as horrifying as the deep-freeze effect on the sailors involved in the experiment were the incidents of men who went "into the flame," spontaneously becoming combustive.

As cross-references for his fantastic story, Allende listed a number of personnel on observer ships' crews and the crew of a Matson Lines Liberty ship out of Norfolk. Allende implied that he himself witnessed the experiment from aboard the S.S. Andrew Furnseth. Allende affixed a lengthy postscript that stated his reconsidered opinion that the navy was probably quite blameless in the incident and really did not envision the ghastly effect the experiment would have upon the crew members. Before he closed, Allende tossed one more bombshell: The experimental ship had disappeared from its Philadelphia dock and, only a few minutes later, appeared at its other dock in the Norfolk/Newport News/Portsmouth area. The ship had been clearly identified as being at that place; then the ship again disappeared and returned to its Philadelphia dock in only a few minutes.

Jessup was puzzled by the letter. It had been sent from Texas, but its author gave a home address in Pennsylvania. Jessup had brought an abundance of academic distinction to his study of the UFO. After having served as an instructor in astronomy and mathematics at the University of Michigan and at Drake University, he was awarded a Ph.D. in astrophysics and was sent to South Africa by the University of Michigan. Here he was assigned to erect and operate the largest refracting telescope in the Southern Hemisphere. The Jessup-directed research produced the discovery of several double-stars, which were catalogued by the Royal Astronomical Society.

Jessup sent Allende a letter requesting more information. It was four months before he received a reply. In his second letter, Carlos Miguel Allende had Americanized his name to Carl M. Allen. He had also tempered the tone of his correspondence and seemed less piqued at Jessup. Allende offered to subject himself to hypnosis or sodium pentathol in order to dredge names of personnel involved in the experiments out of his subconscious. He stated that under narcohypnosis he would perhaps be able to remember names, addresses, and service numbers of his shipmates.

At that point, Jessup was invited to the Office of Naval Research in Washington. The astrophysicist was surprised when an officer handed him a paperback copy of his own book, The Case for the UFOS. Jessup was informed that the book had been addressed to Admiral N. Furth, Chief, Office of Naval Research (ONR). The manilla envelope in which it had arrived had been postmarked Seminole, Texas. A cheery "Happy Easter" had been written across the face of the envelope.

When Jessup opened the book, he observed that someone had taken the time and effort to completely annotate his study of the UFO and that it appeared to have been passed back and forth among at least three persons. The ONR asked that Jessup examine the notations and see if he might have any idea who had been responsible for making the comments.

Each man wrote in a different color of ink, and they were designated as Mr. A. (assumed to be Carlos Miguel Allende), Mr. B., and Jemi. The three individuals referred to "LMs," who seemed to be extraterrestrials who were friendly or indifferent to earthlings; and to the "SMs," a group of hostile aliens. Throughout the text, the three used terms such as mothership, home-ship, dead-ship, Great ark, great bombardment, great return, great war, little-men, force-fields, deep freezes, undersea building, measure mark-ers, scout ships, magnetic and gravity fields, sheets of diamond, cosmic rays, force cutters, undersea explorers, inlay work, clear-talk, telepathing, and vortices. Such terms certainly have encouraged UFO researchers to speculate that the mysterious Carl Allen and his two friends were representatives of an extraterrestrial power that took root on Earth centuries ago and has long since established an advanced underground subculture.

Dr. Morris K. Jessup was found in his station wagon in Dade County Park, Florida, on the evening of April 20, 1959. Police officers reconstructed the death as a suicide. A hose had been attached to the exhaust pipe of the station wagon and looped into the dosed interior. Some associates mentioned despondency over an approaching divorce as the principal reason. Most of his colleagues, however, were shocked and surprised that Jessup would seek the ultimate escape of a dosed car and carbon monoxide. And ever since Jessup's death UFO researchers have argued that the alleged suicide was the price the astrophysicist had paid for getting too close to the truth about flying saucers.

There really was a destroyer named the Eldridge, and it remained on active duty until 1946. After it had been removed from military service, it was mothballed until it was transferred to the Greek Navy.

Many UFO researchers maintain that some kind of secret experiment took place with a Navy warship in 1943, thus planting the seed for the legend of the Philadelphia Experiment. Most speculate that it was probably an experiment in attempting to make ships invisible to enemy submarines and that it very well could have involved incredibly high voltages of electricitywhich could have burned and scorched seamen and even delivered a kind of shock that drove some of the crewmen insane.

Other researchers have insisted that a government conspiracy is at work and that the secret experiment ripped a hole in the spacetime continuum that permitted alien intelligences to begin their invasion of the planet.

Numerous UFO investigators have searched without success for that tantalizing proof of the Philadelphia Experiment in invisibility which Allende claimed could be found in the Philadelphia newspapers. "Check for a tiny one-paragraph (upper half of sheet, inside the paper near the rear third of the paper, 1944) story describing the sailors' actions after their initial voyage," he had teased Jessup. "The invisible sailors raided a beer joint and caused such shock and paralysis of the waitresses that little of a comprehensible nature could be gotten them."

Although the newspaper clipping or any other proofs of the Philadelphia Experiment have never been located, in 1980 writer Robert A. Goerman managed to find the home and the surviving family of Carl M. Allen, alias Carlos Miguel Allende. Although there will probably always be those who swear that they or their kin participated in the remarkable secret navy experiment in invisibility and teleportation in 1943, Goerman's research has quite likely provided a reasonable explanation. It was all a hoax, a fantasy, molded by a former sailor who loved to read about UFOs and strange, unsolved mysteries so much, that he created one that may never die.

Delving Deeper

Berlitz, Charles, and William Moore. The Philadelphia Experiment: Project Invisibility. New York: Fawcett, 1981.

Commander X. Philadelphia Experiment Chronicles. New Brunswick, N.J.: Inner Light Publications, 1994.

Deary, Terry. The Philadelphia Experiment. London: Kingfisher, 1996.

Goerman, Robert A. "Alias Carlos Allende: The Mys tery Man Behind the Philadelphia Experiment."

Fate magazine, October 1980. [Online]

Wells, Jr., K. B. The Montauk Files: Unearthing the Phoenix Conspiracy. Tempe, Ariz.: New Falcon, 1998.