Cometa Report by the French Government

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Full Transcription of Cometa Report

UFOs and Defense:

What Should We Prepare For?-An independent report on UFOs written by the French association COMETA.

This report details the results of a study by the Institute of Higher Studies for National Defence.-

This paper originally appeared in a special issue of the magazine VSD published in France in July 1999.

“Stripping the UFO phenomenon of its irrational layer”Forward by Professor Andre Lebeau,
Former chairman of the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
[French National Center for Space Studies]

It is not looked on highly in certain scientific circles to be preoccupied with phenomena that are deemed to come under the heading of popular mythology or that are, at any rate, outside the realm of science. Such was the case with [the theory of] stones falling from the sky, which was long considered in our country to be the stuff of fable. However, the day that a meteorite shower over the town of Laigle permitted a collective and indisputable observation, it entered into the domain of science. One century later NASA, no doubt hastily, elevated these stones to proof of the existence of primitive life on Mars.

Phenomena of this type pose a preliminary problem for the scientific approach: does a scientific fact exist?

When the phenomenon is a matter of experimentation, the criterion to be used is simple; the reproducibility of the experiment is the touchstone and furnishes the fact that must then be interpreted. But the situation is more difficult when the phenomenon is not open to experimentation, when repeated observation is the only basis on which one can go, as is the case in astronomy and for the most part in geophysics. However, when the fact, albeit rare, is collectively and indisputably visible, it is easy to elevate it to the status of scientific object.

The existence of eclipses, comets, and novas has been recognized since ancient times, even though their interpretation long contained – and sometimes still contains – a religious dimension. Thus collective and simultaneous observation plays the same role as the reproducibility of experiments.

This is not true when the event is not only rare but discrete as well, and when there is a very small amount of evidence at each occurrence, which opens the door to various suspicions. Unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, fall into this category. One runs up against additional difficulties in the case of UFOs, firstly that of how many human activities, especially since the beginning of the space age, have generated atmospheric phenomena the origin of which is not immediately ascertainable by those who observe them. In any case, UFOs, the origin of which cannot be attributed to either a human source or a natural mechanism that has been identified by science, are mixed in with a background noise the origin of which, although difficult to identify, is not at all mysterious.

Moreover, and above all, the existence of unexplained manifestations, both in the atmosphere and occasionally on the surface of the earth, inevitably gives rise to a fundamental question: are we alone in the universe? Could some of these phenomena be the work of extraterrestrial beings? This question gives the UFO issue a sociological, media-related, end even religious dimension in a domain that is not that of science and scientific methods. And it is the very existence of this dimension that elicits reactions of rejection in the scientific community.

However, a dispassionate examination of the situation should lead those who believe in the value of scientific method to consider that the very existence of a strong irrational environment is another reason to apply the precepts of this method to the issue of UFOs.

COMETA has tried its luck at this in the report that it is presenting, supported, namely, by the work performed by GEPAN, which later became SEPRA. The significant place granted to sightings, to testimonies, end to the analysis of cases that have been explained shows the major role played here by the establishment of facts. But we also find in this document a reflection on the hypothesis of extraterrestrial intelligence and of the importance that it could have if the work came together to confirm it.

This report is useful in that it contributes toward stripping the phenomenon of UFOs of its irrational layer. When all is said and done, the question of determining whether or not those who created this layer believe in the existence of extraterrestrial visitors, concealed in a variety of phenomena that are surprising in appearance but commonplace with respect to their cause, is of no real importance. What a scientist believes is important in the conducting of his research because this is what motivates and drives him.

But his belief is not important to the results of his research nor does it have any effect on those results if he is meticulous.

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“Concrete problems are raised that call for a response in terms of action”by General Bernard Norlain
Former director of the Institut des Hautes Etudes de Defense Nationale
[Institute for Advanced National Defense Studies (IHEDN)]

When General Letty visited me in March 1995 at my office at IHEDN to explain to me his project for creating a new fact-finding committee on UFOs, I assured him of my interest and referred him to the management of the IHEDN Auditors Association (AA), which gave him its support. Knowing that some twenty years earlier the AA had produced and published a preliminary report on the subject in its bulletin, it was but time to update it.

Denis Letty seemed to me to be the perfect one to spearhead this task; one month earlier, in February, he had organized, within the framework of the Ecole de PAir [Air Force Academy] Alumni Association, a conference on unidentified aerospace phenomena. Before a large public, some of our comrades, former pilots, spontaneously related their encounters with UFOs.

The person in charge of studying these phenomena at the CNES then presented his papers, and a well-known astronomer described a scientifically acceptable version of the extraterrestrial hypothesis.

The fields of knowledge affected by the UFO phenomenon are very diverse, and General Letty was able to find within the AA, but on the outside as well, numerous experts whose efforts he coordinated. This list of high-level civilian and military degrees of the members of his committee is very impressive: officers, engineers, and specialists in the physical scientists, life sciences, and social sciences were able to deal with all aspects of the study.

This is not a purely academic study. Concrete problems are raised, and not just for civilian and military pilots, that call for a response in terms of action. The makeup of COMETA [Committee for In-Depth Studies], which is the name of the committee, took these into account. Almost all of its members have, or had during the course of their careers, important responsibilities in defense, industry, teaching, research or various central administrations.

I express the wish that the recommendations of COMETA, which are inspired by good sense, will be examined and implemented by the authorities of our country. The first report of the AA favored the creation within CNES of the only civilian government agency known in the world dedicated to the study of UFOs. May this new report, which is much more in-depth, give new impetus to our national efforts and to indispensable international cooperation.

IHEDN will then have well served the nation and, perhaps, humanity.

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“Consider all of the hypotheses “by Denis Letty
Air Force General, 2nd Section, AA (35)

The accumulation of well-documented sightings made by credible witnesses forces us to consider from now on all of the hypotheses regarding the origin of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, and the extraterrestrial hypothesis, in particular. UFOs are now a part of our media environment; the films. television broadcasts, books, advertisements, etc., dealing with UFOs amply demonstrate this.

Although no characterized threat has been perceived to date in France, it seemed necessary to the former auditors of the Institut des Hautes Etudes de- Defense Nationale (IHEDN) to take stock of the subject. Along with qualified experts from extremely varied backgrounds, they are grouped together to form a private in-depth fact-finding committee, which was christened COMETA.

This committee was transformed into a COMETA association, which I chair. I would like to thank General Bernard Norlain, former director of IHEDN, and Mr. Andre Lebeau, former chairman of the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, without whom COMETA would not have been born.

In addition, I wish to acknowledge the various people who agreed to give their testimony or to contribute to this study, and namely:

  • Jean-Jacques Velasco, Head of SEPRA at CNES
  • Francois Louange, Chief Executive Officer of Fleximage
  • Jean-Charles Duboc, Jean-Pierre Fartek, Rene Giraud, civilian and military pilots
  • Edmond Campagnac, former technical director of Air France at Antananarivo
  • Michel Perrier, Squadron Commander, Gendarmerie Nationale
  • M. Soun, of the Direction Generate de r Aviation Civile [Civil Aviation Agency]
  • Joseph Domange, Air Force General, Auditors Association delegate general.

I must also thank the commander of the Air Force Air Operations Command Center for its participation during the investigation into flight AF 3532 on January 28, 1994.

Among the members of COMETA who spared no effort for close to three years, it is possible for me to list:

  • Michel Algrin, State Doctor of Political Science, attomey-at-law, AA (35), (I)
  • Pierre Bescond, Weapons Engineer General, 2nd Section, AA (48),
  • Denis Blancber, Chief of Police, Police Nationale, Ministry of the Interior,
  • Jean Dunglas, Doctor of Engineering, Honorary Engineer General, Rural, Water, and Forest Engineering, AR (48)
  • Bruno Le Moine, Air Force General, 2nd Section, AA (41),
  • Francoise Lepine, Fondation pour les Etudes de Defense [Foundation for Defense Studies], AA (33),
  • Christian Mftrchal, Chief Mining Engineer, Research Director at ONERA [National Aerospace Study and Research Office],
  • Marc Merlo, Admiral, 2nd Section, AA (35),
  • Alain Orszag, Doctor of Physical Sciences, Weapons Engineer General, 2nd Section.
      (I). AA or AR xx: auditor of national or regional promotion no. xx.

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In 1976, a committee of the Institut des Hautes Etudes de Defense Nationale (IHEDN) chaired by General Blanchard of the Gendarmerie Nationale opened the unidentified flying objects file. The objective: to make proposals for organizing research and the collection of data on these phenomena.

The goal was achieved, because the recommendations of this committee were followed in the creation of the Groupe d’Etude des Phenomenes Aerospatiaux Non Identifies (GEPAN) [Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena Study Group], the precursor to the current Service d’Expertise des Phenomenes de Rentree Atmospherique (SEPRA) [Atmospheric Reentry Phenomena Consulting Department], an agency of the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), which is in charge of this file.

Twenty years later, it seemed useful to us to take stock once again of the knowledge regarding these sightings, which are becoming of greater and greater interest to a large public that is often convinced of the extraterrestrial origin of UFOs. Just look at the number of films or television broadcasts on this subject.

For the sake of convenience with respect to language, we will use the term UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) generally instead of the more scientific term UAP (Unidentified Aerospace Phenomenon).

Without a doubt, the phenomenon remains and the number of sightings, which are completely unexplained despite the abundance and quality of data from them, is growing throughout the world. On the ground, some sightings, like the Trans-en-Provence sighting in 1981, have been the subject of in-depth studies proving that something did in fact land on the ground and parked there. Civilian and military pilots have provided gripping testimonies, often corroborated by radar recordings, as was the case recently in France. In view of the lack of irrefutable proof regarding the origin of these phenomena, the need for understanding persists.

We will devote the first part of this report to several particularly remarkable French and foreign cases.

In the second part, after having recalled the current organization of the research on these phenomena in France and abroad, we will evaluate the work being done by scientists worldwide who are interested in UFOs and are proposing, as we will see, partial explanations that are based on known laws of physics.

Some of these (propulsion systems, non-lethal weapons, etc.) could become realities in the short, medium and long term.

We will review the principal global explanations proposed, focusing on those that are in keeping with the current scientific data, which range from secret weapons to extraterrestrial manifestations.

The UFO phenomenon involves defense in the broad sense and calls for a certain number of measures, which we will examine in the last part:

  • [providing] civilian and military pilots with sufficient information to teach them adapted conduct when faced with these phenomena and, more generally, [providing] the public and decision-makers with information,
  • developing the actions of SEPRA and promoting supplemental scientific monitoring, or even research, actions,
  • considering the strategic, political, and religious consequences of a possible confirmation of the extraterrestrial hypothesis, the bizarre connotation of which it is advisable to eliminate here and now.

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PART IFacts and Testimonies

  • Chapter 1 Testimonies of French Pilots
  • Chapter 2 Aeronautical Cases Throughout the World
  • Chapter 3 Sightings from the Ground
  • Chapter 4 Close Encounters in France
  • Chapter 5 Counterexamples of Phenomena That Have Been Explained

Before going further, it seems worthwhile to us to present several facts and testimonies that in themselves justify the interest of the in-depth study that we are going to develop below:

  • three testimonies of French civilian and military pilots who encountered UFOs in flight,
  • five major aeronautical cases in the world,
  • three sightings from the ground,
  • four cases of close encounters in France.

These few examples are among the hundreds of remarkable, that is to say credible and well-documented, cases observed around the world in recent decades. None of these cases has been explained, whereas the majority of times the investigations enable the origin of the phenomena observed by the witnesses to be determined; we will give two significant examples of this.


Testimonies of French Pilots

Three French pilots who encountered UFOs in flight came to testify before the committee. Their testimonies are all the more interesting because they can be evaluated better than other aerial phenomena since they pertain to the aeronautic world.

1.1 M. Giraud, Mirage IV pilot(March 7,1977)
The sequence of events of this incident was reconstructed from radio exchanges between the pilot and the controller, which are routinely recorded and kept for a specific period of time in accordance with the procedure in force at all control centers. The incident occurred on March 7, 1977, at around 2100 hours local time during the Dijon flyover when the Mirage IV was returning, the autopilot system engaged, to Luxeuil after a night mission. [The aircraft was] at an altitude of 9600 m and approaching the speed of “Mach 0.9.”

The flight conditions were very good. The pilot (P), Herve Giraud. and his navigator (N) observed a very bright glow at “3 o’clock” (time code) from their aircraft, at the same altitude, coming on a collision course and approaching very rapidly. We will designate it “assailant” (Al) in the rest of the account. P queried the Contrexeville military radar station that controlled them to ask whether they had a radar contact on the aircraft coming towards them. In fact, P and N thought that it was an air defense interceptor, as is current I \ being used, that was seeking to intercept their aircraft to then identify it with its identification beacon.

The radar controller (C), who did not have a corresponding radar contact on his scope, gave a negative response and asked the pilots to check their oxygen. This request on the part of the controller is a standard emergency procedure; it shows that the controller is so surprised by the crew’s question that he suspects an oxygen problem capable of causing a “hallucination.”

“Assailant Al” maintained its course towards the Mirage IV. P initiated a bank to the right toward Al, a bank which he was forced to keep tightening {3 to 4 g) in order to try to maintain visual contact on Al and to keep it from positioning itself to the rear. Despite this maneuver, Al moved behind the Mirage IV at an estimated distance of 1500 m.

At this point P reversed his bank to regain visual contact on Al. He saw the glow move away to “11 o’clock.” He resumed course to Luxeuil. But 45 seconds after he resumed course to Luxeuil, feeling like he was being “watched” according to his own words, P told N, “you wait and see, it’s going to come back. “

And in fact, an identical glow, which we will call A2, appeared at “3 o’clock.”

P then initiated a very tight bank (6.5 g) to disengage his aircraft from what he now considered to be a real threat. The glow followed the Mirage IV’s maneuver in order to position itself to the rear at an estimated distance of 2000 m. P reversed, as before, and once again saw the glow disappear under the same conditions. C still did not have a radar contact on “assailant A2.” P and N continued their flight and returned normally to the Luxeuil base.

Those are the facts. Two points should be emphasized:

  • only a combat aircraft could have had performance comparable to that of Al and A2 (speed, maneuverability). In this case, C would have had a radar contact on this aircraft, especially at that altitude, a contact that he would have seen all the better since there was no other traffic in the vicinity of the Mirage IV.
  • given the apparent maneuvers of Al and A2, regardless of whether or not they were the same craft, their speed could only be supersonic, which, in the case of combat aircraft, would be manifested on the ground by a very loud sonic boom due to the phenomenon of the focusing of the shock wave generated by the bank. This would have been noticed in the surrounding area, especially since it was nighttime. But no sound was heard in the region.

1.2Testimony of a Fighter Pilot(March 3,1976)

Since this pilot (P) wanted to preserve his anonymity, the following lines are extracted from the written deposition that he wished to send to us (he revealed his name subsequently; he is Colonel Claude Bosc). On March 3, 1976, P, then a student pilot at the Combat Flight School at Tours, was making a solo night flight in a T-33 training aircraft. The mission consisted of navigating at an attitude of 6000 m following a Rennes-Nantes-Poitiers itinerary, then landing at Tours. Several aircraft were following the same itinerary at 5-minute intervals.

The night was dark but cloudless, and the towns could be detected very clearly at the flight altitude in question. Visibility was greater than 100 km. While he was flying stabilized at an altitude of 6000 m, at a speed of 460 km/h, P first saw straight ahead, very far off in the distance (at the detection limit of lights on the ground) what he at first thought was the launching of a green signaling flare.

In 1 to 2 seconds, this flare exceeded the altitude of his aircraft by 1500 m and seemed to level off in space before descending in his direction. It approached at a dizzying speed on a collision course with the aircraft and filled the entire front windshield of the cockpit. Thinking that impact x was inevitable, P let go of the joystick and crossed his arms in front of his face in a reflex protection gesture.

The aircraft was completely enveloped in a very bright and phosphorescent green light. P saw a sphere (S) that avoided his aircraft at the very last moment and passed over his right wing grazing it, all within a fraction of a second.

P retained the following memory of this incident:

  • S was not very large (1 to 2 m in diameter),
  • S was extended by a tail, which was comparable to that on a comet, that was also a fluorescent green color,
  • the center of S consisted of a very bright white light (magnesium-fire type),
  • the sighting lasted a total of less than S seconds.

P. who was very shocked by this phenomenon, informed the radar controller, ensuring the control of the mission on the ground; the controller had not detected anything on his radar scope. Upon return, two other pilots who had followed the same itinerary as P stated that they had seen the phenomenon, but from a distance.

1.3 Air France Flight AF 3532(January 28,1994)

Jean-Charles Duboc (P), captain of Air France flight AF 3532, was assisted by Copilot Valerie Chauffour (CP) in making the Nice-London connection on January 28, 1994. At 1314 hours, while they were cruising at an altitude of 11,900 m in the vicinity of Coulommiers in Seine-et-Marne [Department] under excellent meteorological conditions, the chief steward, who was present in the cockpit at the time, pointed out a phenomenon that appeared to him to be a weather balloon. His sighting was immediately confirmed by the copilot. P, who in turn saw it, first thought that it was an aircraft banking at a 45° angle. Very quickly, however, all three agreed that what they were seeing did not resemble anything that they knew of.

The excellent visibility and the presence of altocumulus clouds permitted P to estimate that the phenomenon was at an altitude of 10,500 m and at a distance of approximately 50 km. Taking into account its apparent diameter, they deduced that the craft was large. They were struck by the changes in the shape of the craft, which first appeared in the form of a brown bell before transforming into a chestnut brown lens shape, then disappearing almost instantaneously on the left side of the aircraft, as if it had suddenly become invisible. P reported to the Reims Air Navigation Control Center, which had no information on any mobile air presence in the vicinity.

However, following the existing procedure, Reims informed the Taverny Air Defense Operations Center (CODA) of the sighting made by the crew and asked P to follow the “‘Airmiss” procedure upon landing.

CODA did in fact record a radar track initiated by the Cinq-Mars-la-Pile control center at the same time that corresponded in location and time to the phenomenon observed. This radar track, which was recorded for 50 seconds, did cross the trajectory of flight AF 3532 and did not correspond to any flight plan filed. It should be noted that the phenomenon disappeared from the view of the crew and the radar scopes at the same instant.

The investigations conducted by CODA enabled both the hypothesis of a weather balloon to be ruled out and the precise crossing distance of the two trajectories to be determined, consequently bringing the approximate length of the craft to 250 m in length.

It should be noted that the Northern Regional Air Navigation Center (CRNA), which handles 3000 movements per day, has investigated only three cases over the last seven years, one of which was that of flight AF 3532.

CHAPTER IIAeronautic Cases Throughout the World

It is appropriate to specify that those cases that have been sighted from aircraft are considered to be aeronautic cases. This chapter describes five significant cases that occurred in different parts of the world and which were the subject of an investigation by the authorities of the countries in question. In four cases, the objects were detected both visually and by radar.

In the fifth case, they were observed by a number of independent witnesses.

2.1 Lakenheath (United Kingdom)(August 13-14,1956)

The joint USAF – U.S. Air Force – and RAF [Royal Air Force] military bases of Lakenheath and Bentwaters are located 30 km northeast of Cambridge with respect to the first and near the coast to the east of this city with respect to the second.- Unknown aerial objects followed by their radars during the night of August 13 to 14, 1956, were judged “unidentified” by the report published in 1969 by the Condon Commission tasked with evaluating the research of the U.S. Air Force on UFOs (cf. Chapter 9).

In September 1971, the magazine Astronautics and Aeronautics published a study of the case by Thayer, the radar expert on the Condon Commission, which was based in part on a study presented in 1969 by Professor MacDonald, an atmospheric physicist. For the record, we point out that on several occasions, and namely in 1976, Philippe Klass, editor of the journal Aviation Week and Space Technology, attempted to criticize this work and to reduce the case to a series of ordinary events (meteorites, radar propagation anomalies, etc.).

The incidents began at the Bentwaters base, preceded, between 2100 and 2200 hours, by unusual sightings of the approach control radar [center], which we will not go into in further detail.

They took place as follows:

  • At 2255 hours, the radar detected an unidentified object moving east to west passing over the base, always almost into the wind at an apparent speed of 2000 to 4000 miles per hour (mph), or 3200 to 6400 km/h. No sonic boom was mentioned. The personnel of the Bentwaters control tower said they saw a bright light flying over the ground from east to west “at an incredible speed” at an altitude of approximately 1200 m. At the same time, the pilot of a military transport plane flying over Bentwaters at an altitude of 1200 m stated that a bright light passed under his plane tearing east to west “at an incredible speed. ” The two visual sightings confirmed the radar detection.
  • The Bentwaters radar operator reported these concurring radar and visual sightings to the shift supervisor at the Lakenheath [air] traffic radar control center, an American noncommissioned officer to whom we are indebted for a quite detailed report of these sightings and those that follow. The report, which was sent to the Condon Commission in 1968 by the then retired NCO, is coherent and does not contradict the documents in the USAF [Project] Blue Book file except in a few minor points: among these documents, the regulation telex sent by Lakenheath to the Blue Book team on the day of the incident and the report forwarded two weeks later to that same team by American Captain Holt, an intelligence officer at Bentwaters.
  • The shift supervisor at the Lakenheath base alerted his radar operators. One of them detected a stationary object approximately 40 km southwest of the base, almost in the axis of the trajectory of the supersonic object seen at 2255 hours. The shift supervisor called the Lakenheath approach radar [center], which confirmed the sighting. The radar technicians at the air traffic control center suddenly saw the object immediately go from immobility to a speed of 600 to 950 km/h. The shift supervisor notified the base commander. The object changed direction several times, describing line segments ranging from 13 to 30 km, separated by abrupt stops for 3 to 6 minutes; the speed always went from a value of zero to a value of some 950 km/h without any transition.
    Visual sightings were made from the ground and confirmed the high speed and astounding accelerations. The regulation telex sent by Lakenheath concluded: “The fact that rapid accelerations and abrupt stops of the object were detected by radar and by sight from the ground give the report definite credibility. One can only believe that these sightings may have some meteorological or astronomical origin. “
  • After 30 to 45 minutes, the RAF sent a night fighter, a Venom two-seater, in pursuit of the object. The Lakenheath air traffic radar control center guided it in the direction of the object 10 km east of the center. The pilot acquired the target visually and on radar, then lost it. The center then directed the plane 16 km to the east of Lakenheath; the pilot again acquired the target and said, “my machine guns are locked onto him. ” A short time afterward, he once again lost his target; but the target was followed by the radar operators at the center. They informed the pilot that the object had made a rapid movement to position itself behind him and was following him at a short distance. The pilot confirmed [this]. Watched by the radar technicians, the pilot tried every maneuver for about 10 minutes in order to move back behind the object (steep climbs, dives, sustained turns), but he didn’t succeed: the UFO followed him at a constant distance according to the ground radars. Finally, low on fuel, he returned to base, asking that someone tell him whether the object continued to follow him. The UFO did, in fact, follow him for a short distance, then came to a standstill. The radar technicians then saw the object make several short moves, then leave in a northerly direction at about 950 km/h and disappear from radar range at 0330 hours.
  • A Venom sent to replace the first had to quickly return to base due to mechanical problems before having been able to establish contact with the object. Thayer concluded his article in the journal Astronautics and Aeronautics in this manner:
    • “If one considers the strong credibility of the information and the coherence and continuity of the reports, as well as their high degree of “strangeness, ” this UFO case is certainly one of the more troubling cases known to date. “

2.2 The RB-47 Aircraft in the United States(July 17,1957)

This case, which appears as “unidentified” in the Condon report, has been cited and studied extensively for 40 years. Physicist James MacDonald published the results of his investigation in 1971 in the journal Astronautics and Aeronautics. Philippe Klass, the aforementioned journalist, then endeavored in 1976 to trivialize the facts, which was highly contestable from the outset. The bulk of this interpretation was refuted at the end of 1997, upon completion of an in-depth investigation contained in a memorandum from the aerospace technology researcher Brad Sparks.

We will summarize here the important sequences of events of the case, which show a luminous unidentified flying object detected at night not only by sight and on radar, but also by pulsed microwave emissions coming from its direction:

  • The RB-47 was a bomber the bomb bays of which had been converted to hold three officers each equipped with means enabling emissions from ground radars to be detected and their azimuth direction, but not their distance or the nature of the signals, to be specified. In the south central region of the United States, where the aircraft was making a training flight that day, numerous radar stations were emitting signals the frequencies of which were close to 3000 MHz and the pulses of which lasted 1 microsecond and occurred every 600 microseconds. The radars scanned the horizon four times per minute.
  • Three other officers (pilot, copilot, navigator) were in the cockpit and, as a result, could themselves see out of the aircraft. The six officers were questioned by MacDonald in 1969.

They related that:

  • The first incident took place above Mississippi, probably at around 0930Z (0330 local time). when the aircraft, going back to the north from the Gulf of Mexico, was approaching the coast a little to the east of the Mississippi delta, flying at Mach 0.75. Captain MacClure detected on his screen a blip corresponding to a pulsed microwave source located behind and to the right of the RB-47 (at “5 o’clock”) that rapidly passed the aircraft and turned around it, departing again on its left in the other direction (between “6 o’clock and 9 o’clock”). The source was therefore airborne and supersonic. MacClure noted the characteristics of the signal: they were those of the aforementioned ground radars, with the exception of the length of the pulses, which were 2 microseconds. He did not report this incident immediately, thinking that it was perhaps a malfunction of the electronics. As Klass writes, at the time there were no supersonic aircraft either in the United States or in the USSR large enough to transport a radar the signal from which possessed the characteristics that were observed.
  • The following incident occurred at 1010Z in Louisiana, when Commander Chase, pilot, and Captain MacCoyd, copilot, saw an intense bluish-white light aim at the aircraft from “11 o’clock.” then jump from their left to their right and disappear while it was at “2 o’clock.” Klass showed that this object was perhaps a meteorite the trajectory of which caused an optical illusion, but, at the time, Chase and MacCoyd wondered whether it wasn’t a UFO. Hearing them, MacClure remembered his prior detection and looked for a signal of the same type.
  • He found this signal at 1030Z, which was identical to the previous one and, perhaps by coincidence, came from “2 o’clock.” This signal was confirmed by Captain Provenzano, whose detector was itself also able to operate at around 3000 MHz. It could not have been the signal from a fixed radar, because its “2 o’clock” direction remained unchanged when the aircraft followed its route to the west for several minutes. The aircraft entered Texas, then came within range of the “Utah” radar [center] located near Dallas. The crew reported to Utah, which detected both the aircraft and an object maintaining a constant distance of 18 km from it.
  • At 1039Z, still in Texas, Commander Chase perceived a large red light, which he estimated was moving 1500 m below the aircraft at approximately “2 o’clock.” The aircraft was flying at an altitude of 10,500 m, and the weather was perfectly clear. Although the commander was not able to determine either the shape or the size of the object, he had the distinct impression that the light was emanating from the top of the object.
  • At 1040Z, he received authorization to pursue this object and notified Utah. He slowed down, then accelerated; Utah informed him that the object was mirroring his movements, all the while maintaining a constant distance of 18 km.
  • At 1042Z, Chase accelerated and saw the red object turn to the right in the direction of Dallas;
    this was confirmed by MacClure.
  • At around 1050Z, a little to the west of Dallas, the object stopped and simultaneously disappeared from the view of the radars (Utah and the onboard radar that had just detected the object when the RB-47 had approached it) and from MacClure’s screen (the disappearance of an object from a radar screen is less surprising nowadays; it calls to mind the active stealth technologies currently in development and even in operation). The aircraft then banked to the left. MacClure picked up a signal that was perhaps the one from Utah. Visual and radar contact were regained.
  • At 1052Z, Chase saw the object drop to around 4500 m. He had the RB-47 make a dive from 10.500 to 6000 m. The object then disappeared from his view, from the Utah radar, and from MacClure’s screen simultaneously.
  • At 1057Z, still near Dallas, the object reappeared on MacClure’s screen, and Utah indicated that it had prepared a “CIRVIS'” (Communications Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sightings) report, a secret urgent radio report sent to the Air Defense Command, which is mandatory in the event of a sighting by the Air Force of an unidentified aerial object.
  • At 1058Z. the pilot regained visual contact at “2 o’clock.” A few minutes later, seeing his fuel reserves drop, he decided to return and headed roughly north toward Oklahoma City. The object then positioned itself behind the aircraft at a distance of 18 km, as reported by Utah, which tried to send fighter jets in pursuit of the unknown [object]. The object, flowing lower than the RB-47 and behind it. could not be seen from the cockpit, but it was detected on MacClure’s screen until Oklahoma City, well outside the range of the Utah radar. Then it suddenly disappeared from the screen at 1140Z.

2.3 Tehran(September 18 to 19,1976)

This incident took place during the night of September 18 to 19, 1976. Different newspapers worldwide reported it more or less accurately:-for example, France-Soir in the September 21st issue. An American citizen took laborious steps with the U.S. authorities to obtain a report, invoking the freedom of information act. He finally obtained it from the Defense Intelligence Agency (D1A). Other U.S. documents have been obtained since then.

Interviews with generals and the Iranian air [traffic] controller involved in this affair enabled the DIA report to be confirmed and supplemented a bit, namely with the mention of proper names.

The following summary resulted from a reading of the all the information:

  • At around 11:00 p.m. on September 18, the Tehran airport control tower received several calls reporting a strange immobile luminous object in the sky above the Shemiran residential district in the northern part of the capital. The person in charge of the night shift, Hossain Perouzi, went out to look at the object with binoculars. He testified that he saw a rectangle, probably corresponding to a cylindrical object, the ends of which pulsed bluish-white lights. In the middle of the object, a small red light described a circle. Perouzi reported this strange sighting to the Imperial Air Force Command, which alerted General Youssefi, the third in command of this air force. He went out on his balcony and saw an object similar to a star, but much bigger and brighter; he ordered a Phantom F-4 reaction aircraft, the mission of which he directed through Perouzi as intermediary.
    When the F-4 came to 45 km from the object, its flight instruments and all its means of communication (radio and intercom) suddenly stopped working. The pilot aborted the interception and headed for his base. The crew then regained use of their instruments and means of communication.
  • A second F-4 was sent by General Youssefi. The UFO’s echo on its screen was similar to that of a Boeing 707. The F-4 approached the UFO at a relative speed of 280 km/h. When it came to 45 km from it, the UFO accelerated and maintained a constant distance of 45 km from the F-4. The crew was not able to determine the size of the object because it shone so intensely. Its brightness came from lights arranged in a rectangle, changing rapidly from glue to green, to red, and to orange.
  • Suddenly a bright object with an apparent diameter one half or one third of that of the moon exited the UFO and headed rapidly for the F-4. The pilot tried to shoot a Sidewinder missile at the object, but at the *ame instant his fire control console-and his-means of communication (radio and intercom) became inoperable. He promptly initiated a bank and a dive, but the object changed direction and pursued the aircraft at a distance of approximately 6 km. Finally, the object moved inside the F-4’s bank and departed in order to reenter the UFO from which it had exited.
  • A short time afterwards, an object again exited the UFO and rapidly headed straight down to the ground. The F-4 crew waited to see it explode, but the object seemed to touch down gently and shine a very bright light over an area 2 to 3 km in diameter. The crew, momentarily blinded, orbited long enough to recover their night vision before landing at the Tehran airfield. It noted that it lost communications (radio and intercom) whenever their aircraft crossed a certain zone. It should be pointed out that a civilian aircraft also lost communications when it crossed that zone. The next day, the crew was taken by helicopter to the place where the object had apparently landed, a dried up lake, but it didn’t find any trace [of the object].
      An attached note from D1A was just as astonishing as the report itself; it indicated that the information had been confirmed by other sources and ended with this assessment: “A remarkable report. This case is a classic that meets all the necessary conditions for a legitimate study of the UFO phenomenon:
    1. the object was seen by multiple witnesses in different locations…,
    2. the credibility of many of the witnesses was strong (an aviation general, qualified crews, and experienced air navigation crews),
    3. the visual sightings were confirmed by radar,
    4. similar electromagnetic effects were reported by three different crews,
    5. several crew members experienced physiological effects floss of night vision due to the brightness of the object),
    6. an extraordinary degree of maneuverability was demonstrated by the UFOs.”
    The attempt by Klass to trivialize this case shows how solid it is.

2.4Russia(March 21,1990)

This case took place at night in the Pereslavl-Zalesski region east of Moscow. It was reported in an article by Aviation General Igor Maltsev, Air Defense Forces commander, which appeared in the newspaper Rabochaya Tribuna (“Workers’ Tribune”) on April 19, 1990, entitled “UFOs on Air Defense Radars ” (cf. the book by Marie Galbraith referenced in Chapter 9.1).

The article mentions the dispatch of combat aircraft on a mission to intercept the UFOs detected.

General Maltsev, who summarized over one hundred visual sightings collected by unit commanders, stated:

“I am not a specialist in UFOs, and therefore I can only link the data together and express my own hypothesis. Based on the data collected by these witnesses, the UFO was a disk 100 to 200 meters in diameter. Two lights were flashing on its sides… In addition, the object turned around its axis and performed an S-shaped maneuver in both the vertical and the horizontal planes. Next the UFO continued to hover above the ground, then flew at a speed two to three times greater than that of modern combat aircraft…

The objects flew at altitudes ranging from 100 to 7000 m. The movement of the UFOs was not accompanied by any type of noise and was characterized by an astounding maneuverability. The UFOs appeared to completely lack inertia. In other words, in one fashion or another they had overcome gravity. At present, terrestrial machines can scarcely exhibit such characteristics. “

2.5San Carlos de Bariloche(July 31, 1995)

Source SEPRA

Aerolineas Argentinas flight AR 674, a Boeing 727 en route from Buenos Aires, was 140 km from San Carlos de Bariloche, a tourist resort in the central Andes where it was preparing to land. At that precise instant, a power outage plunged the town into darkness, and the pilot received the order to stay on standby for a few minutes before making his final approach.

When he began his approach, the pilot noticed a strange star. At the same time, the control center put a second airplane that had arrived in the sector on standby. Flight AR 674 continued its approach, but when it had completed its turn and was in the axis of the runway, an object resembling a large aircraft appeared on its right side and flew parallel to it! This object had three lights, one of which was red. in the middle of it. The airport lights failed again, and the runway and approach ramp lights also went out. The airplane on standby observed the same phenomenon from its position.

Since the pilot could not land, he pulled up and turned again in order to reposition himself in the axis of the runway. At that moment, the object, which had become luminous, moved behind the airplane, stopped, ascended vertically, and once again stopped. It moved back in front of the airplane before finally disappearing in the direction of the Andes Cordillera. The crew and passengers of flight AR 674, those on the other airplane, the airport controllers, and some of the inhabitants of San Carlos watched this unusual aerial ballet dumbfounded.

This case is interesting in more than one respect:

  • the sighting was corroborated by multiple independent observers both in flight and on the ground,
  • the phenomenon lasted several minutes,
  • there were different trajectories, some of which closely followed those of the airplane,
  • there was an observation of an electromagnetic phenomenon (the lights of the town and the airport went out) directly related to the presence of the object.

Chapter III

Sightings from the Ground

This chapter deals with sightings from the ground, two of which were reported to the committee by direct witnesses of the phenomena observed. Here again, their testimonies are all the more interesting since they pertain to the aeronautic world and the phenomena were observed during the day.

3.1 Phenomenon Observed by Numerous Witnesses at Antananarivo(August 16, 1954)

Testimony before the committee
Edmond Campagnac (C), a former artillery officer and former chief of technical services for Air France in Madagascar who is now retired, came to testify before the committee. The phenomenon described below occurred on August 16, 1954, in Antananarivo. It was seen by several hundred witnesses.

At 1700 hours, when the personnel of the Air France office were waiting for the mail to arrive, someone spotted a “large” green “ball” in the sky moving at high speed. The first thought of the witnesses was that it was a meteorite. The phenomenon disappeared behind a hill, and they thought that the green ball was going to crash into the ground and that they were going to feel the impact.

However, it reappeared after a minute. In passing directly over the observers, it revealed itself to be “a sort of metal rugby ball preceded by a clearly detached green lensf-shaped portion] with sparks issuing from the rear. ” In the estimation of the witnesses, the “ball” was the length of a DC4 airplane, or some forty meters long. The green lens[-shaped portion] separated itself [and remained] a little less than 40 m out in front, with fairly long sparks [coming out] in the rear.

The craft flew over Antananarivo at an estimated height of 50 to 100 meters, an estimation that was made possible by comparison with the height of a nearby hill. When the craft was moving, shop lights went out. and animals exhibited a real anxiety.
After having flown over Antananarivo, the craft departed in a westerly direction. When it flew over the zebu park in the town, the craft caused a violent fright reaction among them.

This is a surprising detail, since normally these animals do not show any agitation when Air France planes pass by. Two or three minutes later, an identical craft was observed 150 km from there above a farm school. There, too, the herds were overcome with panic. If the craft sighted was the same one as the one in Antananarivo, its speed would have had to be on the order of 3000 km/h. According to C’s account.

General Fleurquin, Commander-in-Chief in Madagascar, assembled a “scientific commission” to conduct an investigation into these phenomena. No trace of this investigation could be found in the Air Force archives; however, GEPA (Groupe d’Etudes des Phenomenes Aerospatiaux [Aerospace Phenomena Study Group]) bulletin no. 6 of the 2nd half of 1964 described this sighting.

3.2Sighting by a Pilot of a Saucer Close to the Ground(December 9,1979)

GEPAN/SEPRA investigation and testimony before the committee
At the time of the incident, former Air Force Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Pierre Fartek (F) was a Mirage III pilot in the 2nd fighter squadron at Dijon. F is currently a pilot for a private company. F was living, and still lives, in the same village near Dijon. His house is located at the end of a housing development looking out onto fields. Approximately 250 m away is a grove of trees with an average height of 15 m at maximum.

On December 9, 1979, at around 9:15 a.m., F and his wife saw an unusual object (hereinafter called M) in the field near their house. The weather and visibility were excellent. M, the dimensions of which they estimated to be 20 m in diameter by 7 m thick, was hovering approximately 3 m above the ground in front of the grove of trees, which partially concealed it.

In complete agreement with his wife, witness F described it as:

  • having the shape of two superposed saucers with very distinct contours inverted one on top of the other and not exhibiting any portholes or lights,
  • being metallic gray on the upper portion and darker (bluish) on the lower portion, with a perfectly delimited separation between the upper side and the underside of the craft. This color difference could not be due to a difference in lighting given the position of the sun,
  • in constant motion as a result of three slight oscillations, the frequency of which was not very rapid, like something trying to balance,
  • not making any noise,
  • not causing any turbulence on the ground either when it hovered or when it departed,
  • not having left any trace on the ground.

After observing it for a period of time which was hard for him to determine, F saw M oscillate faster; he had the impression that M tilted slightly forward (as a helicopter does after lift-off when it begins level flight). F saw M leave in a horizontal direction at a very low altitude without making any noise, without leaving any trail, and at a very high speed and disappear on the horizon in a few seconds.

F reported [the incident] to the Gendarmerie de l’Air at the Dijon air base. He thought he knew that other people had seen the phenomenon but had not dared to go report it. name K. his neighbors and their children, who reportedly made the same sighting.

This sighting by a pilot professionally well informed of aeronautical phenomena was never explained.

3.3 ACase of Multiple Witnesses at a Russian Missile Base(July 28-29, 1989)
Heading the UFO reports declassified by the KGB in 1991 is a file relating to an army missile base near Kapustin Yar in the region of Astrakhan, which was related in Marie Galbraith’s book (cf. Chapter 9.1).

The English-speaking public learned of it through the Muscovite journal A URA-Z of March 1993. Military personnel from two centers on the base prepared written depositions of their visual sightings, which were made under good visibility conditions. The file, which is incomplete, does not mention any possible radar detections.

It begins with a brief summary of the case, the author of which was an anonymous KGB officer, followed by an account of seven written testimonies:

  • Five testimonies from the first center were provided by Lieutenant Klimenko, two corporals, and two soldiers. On the night of July 28 to 29, these military personnel sighted UFOs between 2215 and 2355 hours at a distance of 3 to 5 km. Up to three objects were seen simultaneously. One object silently made jerky movements, with very abrupt starts and stops, and periods of immobility. All of the witnesses saw a fighter jet attempt to approach one UFO, which escaped at lightning speed, “giving the impression that the aircraft was hovering. ” Only the noise from the aircraft was heard, whereas the UFO must have reached supersonic speed.
  • Two other testimonies from a center near the first one concern the sighting of a UFO from 2330 to 0130 hours at a distance ranging from a few kilometers to 300 m. This UFO was described by Second Lieutenant Volochine as a disk 4-5 m in diameter, surmounted by a brightly lit hemispherical dome. The second lieutenant attached a sketch of the saucer to his deposition. The saucer sometimes moved abruptly, but soundlessly, and sometimes remained immobile 20-60 m above the ground. In the company of soldier Tichaev, Volochine saw it emitting a phosphorescent green light, hovering 300 m from them and some 20 m above a missile depot; it illuminated this depot for several seconds with a moving beam of light.

In a report that was consistent with the report of his superior, soldier Tichaev stressed the lack of noise made by the object, even when a short distance away, which prevented him from confusing it with a helicopter.

The two witnesses, who were joined after some time by the guard team, had watched the maneuvers of the object above the center and the surrounding area for two hours.

Chapter IV

Close Encounters in France

4.1Valensole, AIpes-de-Haute-Provence[Department](July 1, 1965)

In-depth investigation by the Gendarmerie Nationals
At Valensole on July 1, 1965, Maurice Masse, who left his home at 5:00 a.m.. headed for his lavender fields located on the plateau near the village. Before starting his tractor at around 6:00 a.m., he lit a cigarette and at that moment heard a hissing sound that attracted his attention. Emerging from behind a screen, he saw an object resting in his field approximately 90 m from him. Its shape was reminiscent of that of a “Dauphine” automobile standing on six legs with a central pivot.

He approached it with caution, at a distance often meters or so, thinking he might surprise people about to steal his lavender from him. He then saw two small beings, one of whom, who was turned in his direction, reportedly pointed a tube at him that he took from a son of bag hanging on his left side. Maurice Masse indicated that he was totally immobilized in place, numbed and paralyzed, but completely aware of the events that were unfolding before his eyes.

The two beings then got back in their craft. He watched them while they were behind a sort of dome, and he heard a heavy noise when the object lifted up off the ground. He also remarked that the tube that was under the object, touching the ground, began to turn, as well as the six legs, which retracted under the machine. The object then ascended in a vertical direction before tilting diagonally and disappearing more rapidly than a jet.

Maurice Masse remained immobilized in this manner for about 15 minutes before coming to, then resuming his work and going to tell his story in the village, where the gendarmes, having learned of the incident, questioned him during the day.

The Valensole gendarmerie force, then the Digne investigations squad, investigated this case for several days. The investigations of the gendarmerie established the existence, at the spot indicated by Maurice Masse, of a depression impressed into the ground, which had been soaked in that place. In the center of it was a cylindrical hole 18 cm in diameter and 40 cm deep with smooth walls. At the bottom of the hole were three other bent holes 6 cm in diameter.

Along the object’s axis of flight, over some one hundred meters, the lavender beds were dried up. This phenomenon lasted for several years, during which time the witness tried in vain to replant the plants within a radius of several meters around the tracks.

Despite a few contradictory elements in Maurice Masse’s account, the data collected by the two gendarme brigades confirmed the plausibility of the facts, particularly the effect on the environment and on the witness himself, who slept twelve to fifteen hours a night, followed by the paralysis of which he had been a victim, for several months.

The investigation into the witness’s character did not turn up any specific information that would permit one to suspect him of mythomaniac behavior or of staging a hoax.

4.2Cussac, Cantal[Department](August 29, 1967)

GEPAN/SEPRA investigation
The Cussac incident has occupied a special place among the UFO cases, since a counter-investigation was conducted in 1978, as an example, at the request of the GEPAN scientific council. On August 29, 1967, at around 10:30 a.m., during a beautiful sunny morning on the high plateaus in the center of France, two young children were watching the family’s herd. The dog that accompanied them alerted them that a cow was getting ready to jump over the low wall of the enclosure.

The boy, who was 13 years old at the time, got up to make the cow come back, when he spotted four children whom he did not recognize on the other side of the road. Surprised by what he saw, he called his sister, when he noticed an extremely bright sphere back behind the unknown children. They then realized that these were not children but small black beings whose height did not exceed 1.20 m. Two of them were standing next to the sphere, another was kneeling before it, and the fourth, who was standing, held in its hand a sort of mirror that blinded the children. The boy tried to call out to them, but the small beings then hurriedly returned to the sphere.

The children saw them rise from the ground and penetrate the ball from the top, diving in head First. The sphere took off with a hissing sound, then rose into the sky describing a continuous spiral movement at high speed. The dog barked, the cows started to moo, and a very strong odor of sulfur filled the air. The counter-investigation began in 1978 with a team of investigators from GEPAN and qualified outside advisors, one of whom was a former examining magistrate.

The highlights of this counter-investigation did not have to do with the facts or the account, but with new elements such as secondary witnesses found at the site who provided supplemental information and strengthened the credibility of the case. In particular, a gendarme who arrived on the scene immediately following the incident found tracks on the ground at the place indicated by the children and noted the very strong odor of sulfur. Likewise, another witness also came forward who admitted being in a granary close to the site and clearly remembered a hissing sound very different from that of a helicopter of the time.

The reconstructions at the site in the presence of the two main witnesses confirmed both the descriptive accounts and the circumstances that followed the sighting. At the time the children gave off a strong odor of sulfur, but, above all, they suffered from physiological disorders, and their eyes ran for several days. These facts were certified by the family doctor and confirmed by their father, who was mayor of the village at the time.

In the conclusion of this counter-investigation, the judge gave his opinion on the witnesses and their testimony:

“There is no flaw or inconsistency in these various elements that permit us to doubt the sincerity of the witnesses or to reasonably suspect an invention, hoax, or hallucination. Under these circumstances, despite the young age of the principal witnesses, and as extraordinary as the facts that they have related seem to be. I think that they actually observed them. “

4.3Trans-en-Provence, Var [Department](January 8, 1981)

CEPAN/SEPRA investigation
In Trans-en-Provence on January 8, 1981, at around 5:00 p.m., a man who was building a small shed for a water pump in his garden reportedly was witness to what is perhaps one of the most unusual cases ever observed and studied in France. A reflection of the sun on something moving in the sky supposedly attracted his attention, allowing him to observe the descent, then the abrupt landing on a platform of earth located below his house, of a silent metal object.

The object, which was ovoid in shape, did not exhibit any apparent projections, wings, control surfaces, or engine that would permit one to liken it to some type of aircraft. The object rested on the platform of earth for a few short seconds, still without emitting any noise, then it took off and disappeared at high speed in the azure blue sky. The account could stop at this simple visual sighting if there hadn’t been visible mechanical tracks and imprints in the shape of a crown, which pushed the case into the domain of the unexplained.

The gendarmerie and then GEPAN conducted an in-depth investigation including numerous interviews with the witness and his neighbors. The expert’s appraisals of the ground – the taking of soil and plant samples followed by analyses – showed unequivocally that it really was a case of an unidentified heavy metal object that had actually landed on the platform of earth. The analyses of plant samples taken at the site indicated that they were not dealing with any type of [known] aircraft, or even a helicopter or military drone, which were hypotheses that were considered and analyzed.

The vegetation at the landing site – a sort of wild alfalfa – had been profoundly marked and affected by an external agent that considerably altered the photosynthesis apparatus. In fact, the chlorophylls, as well as certain amino acids of the plants, exhibited significant variations in concentration, variations which decreased with the distance [of the plants] from the center of the mechanical track. These effects disappeared completely two years later, thus revealing a specific and particular type of trauma.

According to Professor Michel Bounias of the ecology and plant toxicology laboratory of INRA [National Institute for Agronomic Research] who performed the analyses, the cause of the profound disturbances suffered by the vegetation present in that ecosystem could likely be a powerful pulsed electromagnetic field in the high frequency (microwave) range. Studies and research are still being conducted in regard to this case and numerous leads have been explored.

None of these leads has been able to satisfy all of the conditions that would enable the object that landed in Trans-en-Provence on January 8, 1981, to be identified with certainty, and this is all the more true with respect to the determination of its origin.

4.6Nancy, Meurthe-et-Moselle [Department], the so-called “Amaranth” Case(October 21, 1982)

GEPAN/SEPRA investigation
The “Amaranth” Case concerns the sighting during the day by a witness, a cellular biology researcher, of an object that hovered above his garden for 20 minutes. The testimony recorded by the gendarmerie less than 5 hours after the sighting is summarized as follows:

  • The witness was in his garden in front of his house at around 12:35 a.m. after work on October 21, 1982; he saw a flying craft, which he first took for an airplane, come from the southeast. He saw a shiny craft. He indicated that there were no clouds, that the sun was not in his eyes, and that visibility was excellent. The craft’s speed of descent was not very great, and he thought that it was going to pass over his house. Once he realized that the trajectory of the craft was bringing it toward him, he backed up 3 to 4 meters. This craft, which was oval in shape, stopped approximately one meter from the ground and remained hovering at this height for about 20 minutes.
  • The witness stated that since he had looked at his watch, he was absolutely certain about the length of time the craft hovered. He described the craft as follows: ovoid in shape, approximately 1 m in diameter, 80 cm thick, the bottom half metallic in appearance like polished beryllium and the upper half the blue-green color of the inner depths of a lagoon. The craft did not emit any noise, nor did it seem to emit any heat, cold, radiation, magnetism, or electromagnetism. After 20 minutes, the craft suddenly rose straight up, a trajectory which it maintained until it was out of sight. The craft’s departure was very fast, as if it were under the effect of strong suction. The witness indicated, finally, that there were no tracks or marks on the ground and the grass was not charred or flattened, but he did remark that when the craft departed, the grass stood straight up, then returned to its normal position.

The interest of this sighting, apart from its strangeness, lies in the visible traces left on the vegetation and, namely, on an amaranth bush, the tips of whose leaves, which had completely dried up. led one to think that they had been subjected to intense electrical fields. However, despite short time delays before intervention, the sampling conditions and then the storage of the sample did not permit this hypothesis to be verified definitively.

Based on an earlier study on the behavior of plants subjected to electrical fields, it emerged that:

  • the electrical field, which was what probably caused the blades of grass to lift up, had to have exceeded 30 kV/m,
  • the effects on the amaranth that were observed were probably due to an electrical field that had to have far exceeded 200 kV/m at the level of the plant.

Chapter VCounterexamples of Phenomena That Have Been Explained

The cases reported in the preceding chapters have remained unexplained, despite the richness of their data. Such cases are in the minority. Many sightings of aerial phenomena made in France that the witnesses could not understand and reported to the gendarmerie have been explained after a short investigation by the gendarmerie and/or GEPAN/SEPRA: the causes of these have been the moon, planets, aircraft, weather balloons, reflections from automobile headlights on clouds, etc.. and, very rarely, hoaxes. Sometimes the investigation yielded more unusual explanations.

We will give two examples.

5.1A Strange Object Crosses a Highway(September 29, 1988)

GEPAN/SEPRA investigation
An auto mechanic driving on the Paris-Lille freeway saw an enormous red ball cross the road a few dozen meters away from him and roll down below the road. Casting reflections of light and enveloped in dense smoke, it finally came to a halt in a field. Troubled by this disturbing observation, the auto mechanic apparently reported it to the highway gendarmes. On the chiefs orders, the gendarmerie then sealed off the freeway and a zone several kilometers around the object.

The principal witness and his family were taken to the hospital, where they underwent a series of examinations. Civilian and military security officers went to the site of the incident, equipped primarily with Geiger counters. At that time, in fact, they were waiting for the Soviet satellite Cosmos 1900, which was equipped with a nuclear power generator, to fall, and precise instructions had been given. When consulted, CNES very quickly informed them that Cosmos 1900 was over-flying the Indian Ocean at that very moment.

Did the red ball come from space?

Advancing with caution, monitoring their nuclear radiation detectors, the security specialists drew near a sphere approximately 1.50 m in diameter. Under the bright light from the searchlights, they saw that it bore no sign of the considerable heat build-up or mechanical effects that atmospheric reentry would have produced. It appeared to be intact, and small mirrors covered its surface. No smoke or radioactivity were detected near it.

It was later learned that this sphere, which was intended to serve as a decoration at a Jean-Michel Jarre concert, had fallen from the truck that was carrying it to London.

The small mirrors stuck to its polystyrene casing were for reflecting the show’s lighting effects…

5.2 ABright Glow in a Village in the Dombes Region(March 10,1979)

GEPAN/SEPRA investigation
On March 13, 1979, the local [gendarmerie] force of a small village in the Dombes region was alerted by an inhabitant who said he had seen an unidentified flying object over the town during the night of March 10 to 11. In the course of its investigation, the (gendarmerie] force recorded a total of four testimonies, three of which were totally independent of one another.

The first witness, a restaurateur in the village, described the phenomenon as a bluish and purplish luminous mass slightly oval in shape and around 15 meters in length. The light was so bright that the village square was lit up as if it were broad daylight, to such a degree that the public lighting, which goes on automatically, went out. Two other witnesses, who were in a car close to the village, reported that this luminous mass preceded their vehicle on the road about 2 m ahead of them.

They informed the gendarmes that this light went out suddenly after an orange-colored light appeared on each side of the glow. Finally, a fourth witness, a fish farmer, said he had been awakened that night by a dull noise and had seen a bright bluish glow. The next day, all the fish in one of his fish hatchery tanks. catfish, were found dead. The presence of a power line hanging over the tank enabled the gendarmes to focus their investigation on phenomena of an electrical origin.

GEPAN/SEPRA did the same during the investigation that it conducted on the site a few days later. It discovered very quickly that the 10-kV power line hanging over the tank had melted. The information provided by [the French electricity company] EDF enabled them to demonstrate that since this line was some thirty years old, it was very likely that corrosion and oxidation of the aluminum wires had caused a power arc effect in the line, probably in conjunction with a corona effect.

This would explain, on the one hand, the bluish glow and the noise heard by the witness and, on the other hand, the public lighting going out. The glow was, in fact, bright enough to trigger the photoelectric control cell, which was located close to the melted line.

Finally, the fish died as a result of being poisoned by drops of aluminum that fell in the tank for several minutes.

Back to Contents

Part IIThe Extent of Our Knowledge

  • Chapter 6 Organization of the Research in France
  • Chapter 7 Methods and Results of GEPAN/SEPRA
  • Chapter 8 UFOs: Hypotheses, Modeling Attempts
  • Chapter 9 Organization of the Research Abroad

Chapter 6Organization of the Research in France

In 1977, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales was tasked with the mission of setting up a permanent structure for the study of unidentified aerospace phenomena (UAP): the Groupe d’Etudes de Phenomenes Aerospatiaux Non Identifies (GEPAN). This establishment had within it the skills and resources appropriate to this mission, in particular, engineers and personnel with high-level technical knowledge who were in close touch with scientific circles.

A scientific council chaired by Hubert Curien and composed of twelve members who were representative of the social and exact sciences guaranteed that this complex and delicate subject would be handled with all the necessary precision. This council had the job of guiding, organizing, and reviewing the work of GEPAN annually.

Three phases can be distinguished in the progression of the activity connected with the study of UFOs in France, which culminated in 1988 in the creation of the Service d’Expertise des Phenomenes de Rentre Atmospherique (SEPRA), which succeeded GEPAN, still within CNES:

  • a phase that consisted of setting up the organization and defining the procedures for the collection and processing of data, which is described in this chapter,
  • a phase that consisted of defining the scientific method for studying cases,
  • a phase that consisted of implementing the previously defined methods and procedures, the last two of which are discussed in the next chapter.

SEPRA plays a more limited role in the study of UFOs than does GEPAN, the scientific council of which has accomplished its mission

6.1 The Setting Up the Organization Phase

GEPAN’s first job was to form a partnership among the different public, civilian, and military agencies with a view to organizing the collection and analysis of reliable data. The Gendarmerie Nationale, the civil and military aviation authorities, the National Weather Service, etc., were approached and brought together in this organization via agreements and protocols established with GEPAN.

The first goal set was the rapid acquisition and provision of data collected at the sites where a phenomenon was sighted.

To do this, in accordance with the directives of the scientific council, GEPAN was tasked with the mission of forming teams of specialized investigators for the collection of psychological and physical data, such as, for example, taking samples of tracks in the ground.

In parallel to this organization, various civilian and military research laboratories were asked to participate in expert’s appraisals and analyses of the data collected in investigations, such as, for example, the processing of photographic documents and radar recordings.

6.2Participation of the Gendarmerie Nationale

It was in February 1974 that the first instructions were given tasking the Gendarmerie Nationale with the job of collecting and centralizing spontaneous testimonies on UFOs. Previously, these testimonies had been collected on an occasional basis in the regional [gendarmerie] forces and rarely gave rise to the drafting of reports or to in-depth investigations (the Valensole case in [ 1965]). The administrative or technical authorities did not process or use these documents.

Beginning in May 1977, one of the six copies of the report drafted by the regional gendarmerie forces was forwarded to GEPAN, which from then on became the recipient of all information collected on UFOs.

6.2.1 Role and Action of the Gendarmerie Nationale
Each gendarmerie force possesses a manual, the “gendarmerie handbook,” which contains all of the instructions on the procedures to be followed in the collection of data on unidentified aerospace phenomena.

Depending on the degree of complexity of the case reported, the level of intervention may range from the simple transcript of a testimony to an actual investigation, which may be conducted jointly with the GEPAN/SEPRA departments at the locations of sightings and often results in an in-depth report.

6.2.2 Use of Data Collected by the Gendarmerie Nationale
Once the information has been collected locally by the gendarmerie, it is forwarded in the form of a report to the Gendarmerie Nationale headquarters in Paris, which issues a copy of it to GEPAN/SEPRA.

The latter processes it at two different levels:

  • at the first level, the report is analyzed, then entered into a database, and perhaps is processed statistically for the purpose of establishing classifications and typologies of phenomena,
  • at the second level, which relates to more complex “UAP D” (category D unidentified aerospace phenomena) cases, the investigation in the field generates a set of research activities with respect to elements for further processing that results in the drafting of a detailed, in-depth investigation report; the report may be used for track interpretation studies.

6.2.3 Assessment and Results of the Cooperation with the Gendarmerie Nationale
Since 1974, over 3,000 gendarmerie reports representing an average of [three] spontaneous testimonies per document have been collected and forwarded to GEPAN/SEPRA. Added to this are some one hundred investigations and interventions in the field, conducted jointly with the local [gendarmerie] forces. All of these have permitted the characterization of a set of rare, natural and artificial phenomena that have occurred with varying frequency which would not have been able to be identified without this type of organization.

Thanks to this collaboration, it has been possible to study UFO cases like the Trans-en-Provence and “Amaranth” cases (see Chapter 4) under excellent conditions, showing that there was a remnant of events the nature of which had yet to be identified. A volume of information describing the objectives sought by CNES in the study of UFOs was widely disseminated to all of the regional [gendarmerie] forces.

Supplemental information and training, [end of line cut off] direction of officers and lower-level gendarmes, is regularly provided by the Gendarmerie Nationale schools to sensitize the [gendarmerie] force commanders to this subject.

The results of this collaboration could be more effective. Regular updating of the data collection procedures would be desirable, as well as shorter time delays before intervention for investigations between the time the local [gendarmerie] force learns of the case and the time when SEPRA intervenes. This reduction in the intervention time would considerably diminish the loss of information, particularly with respect to effects on the environment. It would also be important for the gendarmerie forces to be routinely informed of the results of work and investigations carried out by SEPRA.

However, the resources currently available in terms of personnel and budget allocations do not permit a response with the efficacy desired.

6.3 Participation of the Air Force

Just after World War II. the first reports of French aeronautic UFO sightings were collected and archived by the Air Force Chief of Staff s Office of Planning and Studies (EMAA/BPE).

When GEPAN was created, a memorandum of understanding defined the respective roles of the two agencies for the processing of information relating to cases of military aeronautic sightings. In principle, all UFO sightings must be reported to the military air [traffic] control center in question, which forwards the information to the Air Operations Center (CCOA) in Taverny.

The latter is responsible, in collaboration with the Air Force Chief of Staffs Space Office, for forwarding it to GEPAN/SEPRA. At the same time, all radar information is recorded in the radar control centers and kept for a minimum of one month and longer on request. This information is made available to investigators if needed.

A protocol established with the Army defines the conditions for the forwarding of information collected in flight by pilots of the Army Air Corps (ALAT).

6.4 Participation of the Civil Aviation Authority

The same type of organization and procedures is used by the civil aviation authority to collect and process the information relating to UFO sightings made by civilian pilots. A protocol signed between the Civil Aviation Directorate (DGAC) and CNES permits GEPAN/SEPRA to have access to UFO sighting reports drafted by national and foreign airlines crews.

To this end, a sighting report form prepared jointly by DGAC and GEPAN/SEPRA is made available to crews at the air [traffic] control centers of the civil aviation authority and airlines. In addition, the radio conversations between the crew and the air [traffic] control [center] are routinely recorded and attached to the detailed sighting report.

There is also a regulation concerning flight incidents that could involve safety. In this case, the flight captain must follow the “Airmiss” procedure, which routinely triggers an investigation by the DGAC.

6.5 Additional Research Resources

Numerous civilian (public or private) and military bodies contribute to the expert appraisals performed in investigations and work by GEPAN/SEPRA. This involvement takes place at two levels, either in the collection of data in the field and the utilization of sighting reports or in the analysis of data after the expert’s appraisal and the theoretical and experimental research that are deemed necessary.

Cooperation agreements have been established, particularly with various bodies that can benefit in return from the results of investigations of interest to their own area of study, for example:

  • lightning (EDF, CEA [French Atomic Energy Commission), the National Weather Service. ONERA, CEAT [Toulouse Aeronautic Test Center]),
  • meteors (CNRS [National Center for Scientific Research], DGA [French General Delegation for Armaments]),
  • line disturbances (EDF, France Telecom [French telecommunications company]),
  • group sociology and, in particular, sects (CNRS, universities),
  • photography, the study of films, the processing of satellite imagery (Fleximage).

The following three applications should be emphasized:

6.5.1 Sample Analysis
GEPAN/SEPRA is supported by various civilian and military laboratories, including those of the Etablissement Technique Central de PArmement [Central Technical Armaments Institution] (ETCA), for analyzing soil and plant samples collected during the course of investigations.

6.5.2 Use of Photographs
Image processing work was performed at ETCA between 1981 and 1988. This work enabled the techniques and procedures, listed in GEPAN technical memorandum no. 18, for studying supposed UFO photographs to be defined. Diffraction filters were installed in the gendarmeries to permit the collection of information over the light spectrum emitted.

6.5.3 Sky Surveillance System
A system called “ORION” was studied and deployed by [the Ministry of] Defense for the purpose of monitoring, identifying, and predicting the passage of satellites, particularly over national territory. It should meet, at least partially, the need for the surveillance of UFO-type light phenomena.

The system consists of:

  • the current surveillance and tracking radar systems and listening antenna on the ship Monge,
  • two radar and optical surveillance systems and one optical imaging system:
    • the “GRAVES” surveillance radar system, which will be capable of detecting objects from 1 m^ [in size] at a distance of 1500 km,
    • the “SPOC” [Sky Observation Probe System] optical surveillance system, which uses CCD cameras to detect and determine the trajectory of orbiting satellites or magnitude 7 to 8 space debris (the installation of equipment at two sites is currently under way),
  • finally, the development of the 4 m diameter “SOLSTICE” telescope, which may be provided with adaptive optics, for the observation of objects in geostationary orbit (36,000 km).

Chapter 7

Method and Results of GEPAN/SEPRA

7.1Method Developed by GEPAN

GEPAN developed an original method for studying rare, randomly occurring phenomena. Meteorites are among these phenomena. Scientists have long refused to consider sightings of stones that have fallen from the sky, which are generally reported by rural inhabitants. Fortunately, in 1803, the physicist Jean-Baptiste Biot conducted an in-depth investigation in the village of Laigle in Orne [Department] about three weeks after someone had reported stones that had fallen from the sky.

Biot examined numerous stones and certain evidence (broken branches, perforated roofs, fires) and questioned many independent witnesses. He prepared a convincing report that gave scientific existence to meteorites.

The method developed by GEPAN was approved by its scientific council. It basically consists of identifying initially unknown phenomena and performing a joint analysis of four types of data concerning:

  • witnesses: physiology, psychology, etc.,
  • testimonies: accounts, reactions to questions, general behavior, etc.,
  • the physical environment: weather, air traffic, photographs, radar data, traces left on the environment, etc.,
  • the psychosociological environment: readings and beliefs of witnesses, possible influence of the media and various groups on these witnesses, etc.

Gendarmerie reports often contain sufficient data in order to be able to identify the phenomenon sighted. In many cases, the phenomenon turns out to be an airplane, a planet, a satellite, etc. In other cases, a fairly large supplemental investigation is conducted by GEPAN/SEPRA. An in-depth study can take up to two years. The analysis of traces left on the environment may result in specialized laboratories being called on for assistance (see the Trans-en-Provence and “Amaranth” cases in Chapter 4).

Finally research was conducted in collaboration with the universities in order to perfect the investigation method. CNES, out of a concern for scientific precision, adopted the term “UAP” instead of the term UFO. which is more well known but more restrictive. GEPAN is the group that studies UAPs.

7.2 First Classification of UAPs (Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena)

After a study is conducted, each case is classified by GEPAN/SEPRA into one of the following four categories, depending on the extent to which it has been identified:

  • Category A: completely identified phenomenon,
  • Category B: phenomenon that can probably be identified but which cannot be identified with certainty due to a lack of evidence,
  • Category C: phenomenon that cannot be identified due to a lack of data,
  • Category D: phenomenon that cannot be identified despite the abundance and quality of the data.

Category D UAPs represent 4 to 5% of the cases and are called UAP Ds. They include sightings of phenomena, some of which were close to the ground a few meters from the witnesses.

The strangest and most mysterious cases in this category are generally labeled CE3s (close encounters of the third kind) according to the classification proposed by ProfessorA. Hynek, an astronomer and consultant to the USAF, within the context of the Blue Book Project (cf. Chapter 9.1).

7.3Typology of UAP Ds

The detailed statistical analysis of UAP Ds enables a precise determination of the distribution of their physical characteristics: speed, acceleration, silence, shape, effects on the environment. It is interesting to note that statistical studies in the USSR yielded distributions comparable to those determined by Claude Poher, the first head of GEPAN, from some 200 French cases, or 1,000 cases worldwide.

It would be desirable to be able to develop UAP D statistical studies in France.

7.4 Investigations of Remarkable Cases

Around one hundred investigations have been conducted by GEPAN/SEPRA. Some of them have highlighted rare physical atmospheric phenomena associated, for example, with lightning; others have revealed unusual psychological behavior of witnesses caused, for example, by taking hallucinogenic drugs.

Several very in-depth investigations based on analyses of evidence have demonstrated, in the end, the physical presence of a phenomenon the nature and origin of which remain unknown. Two cases related in Chapter 4 stand out in our minds, the Trans-en-Provence case of January 8, 1981, and the “Amaranth” case of October 21, 1982. The investigations lead us to believe that double-saucer-shaped objects were close to the ground for some time, then departed toward the sky leaving traces on the vegetation and, in the Trans-en-Provence case, on the ground itself.

They are detailed in GEPAN technical memoranda no. 16 and no. 17 (see the reference list in Chapter 6).

7.5 Aeronautical Cases

7.5.1 Data on French Aeronautical Cases

  • Twelve French aeronautical cases have been brought to the attention of GEPAN/SEPRA; only three or four of these can be considered to fall into category D.
  • The first UAP D case identified dates back to 1951. It involved Vampire military aircraft in the Orange area. In two other very extraordinary sightings, which are presented in Chapter 1, military pilots reported the presence of objects with aeronautical performances inconsistent with the maneuvers of classic aircraft over the region of Tours in 1976 and of Luxeuil in 1977. However, not until January 28, 1994, was the crew of a regularly scheduled Air France commercial airplane able to collect the first case of a visual sighting correlated with a radar detection over 50 seconds lone (see Chapter 1.3).

7.5.2 Aeronautical UAP D Cases Worldwide
The aeronautical UAP D cases known since 1942 were initially enumerated in a document entitled Rencontres dans le del [Encounters in the Sky], by Dominique Weinstein, the French portion of which SEPRA contributed to. The list of sightings worldwide includes the description of 489 well-documented cases of aeronautical UAP D sightings the sources of which were duly verified.

Most of the information on these aeronautical UAP Ds is drawn from official sources, government authorities, the Air Forces of different States, or agencies like SEPRA.

This list offers a classification according to criteria with respect to the quality of the sighting. It ranges from simple visual sightings, describing the specific performances or maneuvers of the phenomenon observed (speed, acceleration, maneuverability, silence, etc.). to more elaborate sightings, mentioning environmental disturbances caused by the aeronautical UAP Ds. such as radio interference or radar jamming, navigation instrument malfunctions, or even physical effects on the crew (heat, blinding, etc.).

Between 1947 and 1969, that is, during the time of the U.S. Air Force

Blue Book Projecton UFOs, 363 sightings were identified. 1952 is the year in which the greatest number of sightings were recorded: 68. A total of 63 countries are cited as having been the scene of at least one aeronautical sighting.

7.5.3 “Radar/Visual” Cases Worldwide
“Radar/visual” cases are those in which a visual sighting is associated with an onboard radar and/or ground radar detection.

It is noted that:

  • the first sightings in Japan and the USSR date back to 1948,
  • 30 of the 68 countries cited in the list reported “radar/visual” cases,
  • of the 489 cases in the report, 101 were “radar/visual” cases (21%),
  • of the 363 cases in the Blue Book report, 76 were “radar/visual” cases (21%).
  • in 1952, 16out of 68 cases were “radar/visual” cases (23.52%).

In conclusion, we can clearly establish that from 1942 to 1995, at least 500 well-documented and recognized aeronautical UAP D sightings were identified throughout the world, nearly 20% of which were “radar/visual” cases.

They furnish proof of a physical reality of phenomena that exhibited paradoxical maneuvers.

7.6 The Physical Reality of UAP Ds

7.6.1 An Initial Report as Early as September 1947 in the United States
We have seen that the work of GEPAN/SEPRA showed that there was an entire category of rare physical phenomena occurring at varying frequency that could not be classified as known natural or artificial phenomena.

These phenomena, UAP Ds, which we have highlighted, both in the aeronautical sphere (military and civilian aeronautical cases) and close to the ground (cases of close encounters), support other cases of welt-documented sightings that have been verified by official authorities throughout the world. It is interesting to note that as early as November [sic] 1947, right at the start of the very first wave of modem UFO sightings, in the United States.

General Twining. head of the Air Material Command, drafted a report on “flying disks, ” the conclusions of which are very explicit:

  1. The phenomenon reported is something real; it is not a matter of visions or imagination.
  2. Disk-shaped objects the size of which is comparable to that of our aircraft do exist.
  3. It is possible that some sightings correspond to natural phenomena.
  4. The very high rate-of-climb observed, the maneuverability, and the escape maneuvers when the disks are detected lead one to assume that they are piloted or operated by remote control.
  5. Most witnesses describe objects with a metal surface that are circular or elliptical in shape, the upper portion of which is dome shaped, flying without making any noise in a formation of three to nine objects…

7.6.2 GEPAN/SEPRA’s Work
We do not have irrefutable tangible proof in the form of material, either whole or in fragments. that confirm the physical nature of UAP Ds and their artifactual character. Nevertheless, the collection and expert appraisal work carried out at GEPAN/SEPRA for over 20 years confirms the statements General Twining made in 1947.

7.6.3 French Aeronautical Cases
The study of French military aeronautical UAP D [sightings] (Orange in 1951, Tours in 1976. Luxeuil in 1977) support General Twining’s conclusions, namely the fourth one.

The testimonies of the pilots do in fact lead one to assume that the objects were “either piloted or operated by remote control”: all of the pilots reported that it was “the object” that appeared to be moving toward them and not the other way around. Moreover, all of them considered the maneuvering abilities of the object to be far superior to those that they were familiar with.

7.6.4 Cases of Close-Up UAP D Sightings in France
For their part, the cases of close-up UAP D sightings in France are very much in keeping with Twining’s conclusions 4 and 5. In Trans-en-Provence (Chapter 4), the expert appraisals made at the site support the local testimony and show that the object with a metallic appearance and circular shape landed, then took off silently within a very short space of time not very far from a wall 2.5 m in height.

No modem aircraft is capable of these silent maneuvers, nor of this degree of precision when landing. It is hard not to imagine a piloted or remote-controlled flying machine, or else one having highly advanced cybernetics.

The other French cases of close encounters described in Chapter 4 also strongly suggest the existence of an intelligent [civilization] behind the UAP Ds. In the Valensole, “Amaranth” and Cussac cases, once the witness or witnesses are brought face to face with the UAP D, everything generally happens very quickly, and the object escapes without having shown the slightest aggressiveness toward the witnesses.

7.6.5 Foreign Cases – Conclusion
The study of certain foreign cases leads to conclusions similar to those drawn from the French cases. One may reread in this spirit the description of the aeronautical cases presented in Chapter 2. We could also relate foreign cases of close encounters, such as the Socorro (New Mexico) case, which is similar to the Trans-en-Provence case, but the critical overview of which would needlessly weigh down this report.

One strong conclusion emerges from this set of facts: some UAP Ds do seem to be completely unknown flying machines with exceptional performances that are guided by a natural or artificial intelligence.

Chapter 8

UFOs: Hypotheses, Modeling Attempts

8.1Partial Models

Credible sightings of aerial objects can be reinforced by plausible technical explanations of the phenomena reported. Among the most striking observations in relation to the current state of our knowledge, we cite:

  • aerial movements carried out silently with very rapid accelerations and/or very high speeds.
  • the shutting off of the engines of nearby land vehicles,
  • the locomotor paralysis of witnesses.

Insofar as the sightings that are the most well documented, and the most credible owing to the obvious competence of the witnesses, come from aircraft pilots, it is their sightings of aerial movements, sightings which are, moreover, supported by radar plots, that should be explained first.

8.1.1 Travel
There are, from the standpoint of the concept, various principles of propulsion that do not require propellers or jet engines that could thus be silent. The most advanced uses magneto-hydrodynamics, abbreviated MHD, but many others can also be considered.

We will review these. MHD Propulsion
The principle of MHD propulsion, which cannot be envisioned in a vacuum, consists of causing an electrical current to flow in the medium surrounding the rotor. At the same time, the rotor emits a magnetic field.

According to Laplace’s law, this field exerts a force on the current and thus on the medium in which it is flowing; this is the principle of most electric motors. The medium being displaced in this way in relation to the rotor, it is in fact the latter that undergoes, by reaction, a force that enables it to be propelled.

You still have to cause the necessary field and current to appear:

  • for the magnetic field, this is easily accomplished by installing windings (like those in electric motors), over which a suitable electrical current travels, in or under the walls of the rotor,
  • for the electrical current, it all depends on the medium.

In sea water it is easy to cause a current to flow using electrodes positioned on the rotor housing. This is why MHD propulsion has been experimented with, so far successfully, in the United States and Japan on both surface and submarine ship models.

In air, which is naturally insulating, it is more difficult to cause an electrical current to flow, but it is known how to make air conducting by using, for example, strong electrical fields generated here as well by suitable electrodes (air, when rendered conducting, can become more or less luminous, which has frequently been observed around unknown objects). As for the magnetic field, this can be created as for boats.

However, propulsion is much more difficult to achieve in air, since it must not only propel the rotor but first of all compensate for its weight. The electrical and magnetic fields required are therefore much stronger than for a ship and, in practice, obtaining the very strong fields that are essential is scarcely conceivable without having recourse to superconducting windings. Still theoretical until a only few years ago, their use in an aerial vehicle has been a credible prospect since 1991, with the discovery of superconductors capable of operating at near-ambient temperatures.

Propulsion in the atmosphere without propellers or jet engines is, therefore, completely possible in principle with MHD, and the calculations show that the power necessary is not in certain cases. incompatible with our current aeronautical engines. The fact that no cooling system has been seen (or heard) on the objects that have been observed close up can be explained as long as the length of the craft’s flights does not exceed a few dozen minutes. Furthermore, other motors that we already use -electric motors, due to energy stored on board or to inertia if they are not yet powerful enough – would not need immediate cooling, which duly proves that this problem is not insurmountable.

Numerous witnesses have been struck by the silence accompanying the maneuvers of the objects. which do not create a “bang” even at supersonic speeds {cf. Part 1, Chapters 1, 2, and 3). MHD propulsion could account for this silence: preliminary experiments in noise reduction by eliminating the wake and shock wave, albeit under very special conditions, are encouraging.

There has been extensive work on the different aspects of MHD propulsion of aircraft abroad: in the United States at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy (NY), and according to the journal New-Scientist (February 1996), in Great Britain and in Russia.

To sum up, based on the current state of our knowledge, an MHD aircraft model is conceivable in the short term, while the creation of a craft having the same movement capabilities as the aerial vehicles described by the witnesses seems quite likely to us within a few dozen years. For the time being, only the quasi absence of perceptible air flow and noise while hovering close to the ground pose problems. Other Propulsion Methods
In a vacuum, the absence or scarcity of molecules or atoms prevents current flow in the medium as well as the projection of a mass of sufficient substance pulled from this medium. MHD propulsion is therefore not possible, and it is necessary to formulate other hypotheses.

Jet propulsion by means of chemical reactions, comparable to our rocket engines – even though its performance is more advanced – should not be ruled out a priori. In fact, the space phase of the travel of unknown objects takes place very far from sight.
In addition, skins for stealth purposes render them invisible to telescopes and radars beyond a few kilometers or a few dozen kilometers.

Consequently, at these distances, these objects could very well use classic propulsion systems without being detected. Mainly, then, problems with respect to power consumption and mass to be expelled are raised, but the method reviewed below in would enable these problems to be partially solved.

More advanced technologically are propulsion systems that call for very high velocity exhaust -a considerable fraction of the speed of light – of particle beams. Due to the extremely high exhaust velocity, the mass expelled is low and expulsion can be continued for a very long time. Such particle beams that can be loaded on board satellites have been developed for space warfare in the former USSR (at the von Ardenne laboratory in Soukhoumi, Georgia) and the United States, especially at the Argonne National Laboratory.

At present, of course, these beams are much less powerful than what would be necessary here, but they are already of interest as low-power engines once out of the proximity of planets. The U.S. probe “Deep Space 1”, which should narrowly miss asteroid 1992 KD on July 29, 1999, was equipped with an engine of this type.

Other methods of space propulsion are being studied very actively: nuclear propulsion using Fission (“NERVA,” “ORION,” and “DAEDALUS” projects) and, more recently, fusion, which would offer respective gains of one and over two orders of magnitude in comparison with the best engines at present. Beyond this, the use of power stored in the form of antimatter – which has become credible since CERN [European Council for Nuclear Research] created an antihydrogen atom and demonstrated the means for storing it – will offer gains even one hundred times greater.

This is why a growing number of research centers are doing work on this subject: the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lawrence Livennore Laboratory, the Air Force Astronautical Laboratory (Edwards Air Force Base), where antigravitation is also being studied, according to the June 10. 1996 issue of Jane ‘s Defence Weekly. The latter topic is reportedly also being pursued in Great Britain and in the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States]. Use of Planetary or Stellar Impulse
Closer to our current technologies, even though, strictly speaking, it does not have to do with propulsion, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory imagined, in 1961, that a spacecraft sling-shooting off of the potential [gravity] wells of suitably selected planets could attain higher and higher speeds without expending any energy. This method is now routinely used for missions to the remote planets in our [solar] system.

One can then envision that by using “reflections,” not only off of planets but also off of stars, as Dyson proposed in 1963, considerable speeds could be attained (limited only by escape velocities) and interstellar distances could be crossed using relatively little energy at the price, of course, of the time necessary for the departure and arrival slingshots.

This method would lead to intersidereal voyage lengths probably figuring in thousands of yours, thus with an order of magnitude greater than lengths anticipated for the envisioned antimatter propulsion. Conclusion Regarding Travel
To sum up, for travel both in the atmosphere and in space, we can formulate reasonable hypotheses on flight without any apparent means of lift in the first case and on the crossing of great distances, up to an interstellar scale, in the second.

8.1.2 The Shutting Off of Land Vehicle Engines

To explain this phenomenon, which has been reported frequently abroad, it is necessary to visualize a remote action. [Since] no beams of light appear to be associated with these engine immobilizations, we can imagine radio-frequency radiation, such as microwaves, which we know can cause effects of this type and which can be easily formed into beams to act from a distance.

Under these conditions, microwave emissions from unknown objects would be likely to create an electrical field around the craft strong enough for the ignition voltages, in being added to it, to cause ionization of the air around the high voltage circuit of the engine ([ignition] coil, distributor, spark plug wire),1husshert-eircuiting the firing pulses to the engine mass and shutting it off.

Since electronic ignition came into widespread use in the 70s, the action of microwaves, apart from the mechanism previously described, may be exerted directly, paralyzing the electronic circuit generating the high voltage. We can therefore envision the action of unknown objects on land vehicles, including nowadays those with diesel engines, which are made vulnerable due to their very often electronic regulation circuit.

Let us recall that the ability to generate microwave beams that can act from a distance is within the capabilities of our own technologies, as demonstrated by the intensive work being carried out in the United States and the former USSR to develop microwave weapons intended precisely to destroy or immobilize enemy electronic systems from a distance, and even to act on personnel. In France, high power microwave generators that can be used for this purpose are being studied.

This does not rule out the possibility of other types of radiation being used. Charged particle beams would be capable of analogous effects, passing through, if necessary, living matter, such as the bodies of some witnesses, without being felt by the latter or leaving any notable or lasting sequel.

This can be illustrated by the beams of accelerators used in proton therapy, which begin by passing through tissue without causing too much damage and becoming destructive only when their energy falls below a certain threshold as a result of their penetration.

This mode of action corresponds, moreover, to certain testimonies that report the observation of beams of light passing through physical obstacles; in fact, by ionizing the air, proton beams generally do become visible in the form of truncated beams of light the length of which is a function of their initial energy.

8.1.3 Locomotor Paralysis of Some Witnesses

This phenomenon is less common. It is remarkable in that the paralyses reported only affect certain voluntary movements, but not respiration or posture (balance, in particular, is not compromised; the witnesses do not fall down) or eye movements.

From the standpoint of concepts, it can be remarked that in human beings posture and respiration are controlled by the cerebellum, an organ that is independent of the cerebrum, which governs voluntary movements. The paralysis effects observed can reasonably be attributed to microwaves acting from a distance on certain parts of the human body (this is also one of the objectives of the work mentioned above on microwave weapons).

We should note that these effects, among others, are being studied at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland AFB.

8.2Modeling and Credibility

The fact that we can formulate a credible hypothesis on the propulsion of the objects sighted is obviously only a positive indication, but not proof of their existence, no more than that of their conformity to the model that we imagine.

In this regard, the history of the technique teaches humility, but it can also yield quasi certainties:

  • humility in noting prognostic errors committed in the past. It suffices to recall the affirmations (or readiness to [affirm]…) of several very great scientists: “You cannot breath in tunnels, ” “science is almost finished,” “something heavier than air cannot fly,” etc. It would therefore be presumptuous to claim to foresee, based on our knowledge and our current accomplishments, what might be technologies that are only slightly more advanced than our own – or our own technologies in one or two centuries. Let us consider that only 150 years ago, engines, electricity, the existence of the atom, and Hertzian waves were unknown! We can also reread Jules Veme: Paris au XXs siecle [Paris in the 20th Century] or Hier et demain [Yesterday and Tomorrow]…
  • certainties, since scientific and technical progress can only continue, supported by more scientists and engineers than there have ever been, spurred by competition among nations. This competition, which is now “closed” in our world, will focus on all of the resources that once were free: potable water, the deep sea, the polar regions, air, space, radio frequencies, etc.

Although it is risky to predict the results of an increasingly accelerated scientific and technical development, it is, at least, almost certain that our own knowledge will have advanced greatly even within a few decades.

There’s no telling what progress will be made beyond that time! Under these circumstances, we can conclude with a high degree of certainty that movements of objects that at present are just beyond our capabilities will be technically possible within a few decades, or even a few centuries, even if the knowledge put into play is not what we are predicting.

To the extent that the preceding conclusion is acceptable, let us go further and comment that only a few million years will have elapsed (barring a catastrophe) between the appearance of man and the future stellar expeditions of our descendants {cf. Chapter 8.3.6 and Appendix 4). This interval between the appearance on earth of a conscious intelligence and the time when we will be able to perform the same feats as those performed by the objects we are dealing with here is infinitesimal (one to two thousand years) compared with the age of the earth or even with the 600 million years that separate us from the appearance of the first living organisms at the beginning of the Cambrian period.

But the development of other intelligent [beings] on other worlds cannot have taken place at exactly the same rate as on earth. If the age of these other worlds, like that of the earth, is on the order of 4 billion years, and if a conscious life [form] appeared, neither the rate of its development nor the epoch in which that world was created cannot have been exactly the same as ours.

Under these conditions, even a minuscule deviation of 0.1%, for example, in regard to these initial data would make it possible to place such a civilization between several million years ahead of ours and several million years behind ours.

Thus the probability of the extent of development of two civilizations in the universe, and the same solar system, being equal appears to be very low, and in all likelihood we have only two possibilities;

  • our “neighbors” are several thousand or several million years behind us (or do not yet exist as a conscious species), and it will be we who discover them,
  • our neighbors are ahead of us, but then the probability is that this advance figures in the thousands of years or more, rather than in years or even hundreds of years, and if we can judge from the rate of our own development, their level of development would certainly exceed our forecasting capabilities in every domain.

8.3 UFOs – Overall Hypotheses

For several dozens of years, the systematic collection and scientific study of unusual atmospheric phenomena have permitted a number of major advances. Of course, on analysis, a good proportion of the sightings have proven completely explicable: satellite reentries, sounding balloons, etc. This has furthermore enabled the precision of the observers, as well as the veracity and consistency of the testimonies, to be tested.

Cases of hoaxes are, on the whole, very rare and quite easy to detect. The majority of the observers provide reliable reports, although it is necessary to taken into account the problems of diverse assessments.

Most of the sightings of all types have also enabled the credible and well-documented sightings called UAP Ds (category D unidentified aerospace phenomena) for which no explanation has been found to be classified separately. However, these phenomena are often attested by means of consistent testimonies all the way up to visual sightings coupled with radar sightings.

Of course, if there had only been ten or so UAP D [sightings], this ambiguous file could just have been classified as “no action,” but we are no longer at that point and are far beyond that. Thus we are forced to seek plausible explanations.

All sorts of hypotheses have been constructed, and they may be classified as follows:

8.3.1 Ascientific Hypotheses

“We are being manipulated without realizing it” (by a very secret, very powerful, and very knowledgeable group of people; by strange, unknown, or even extraterrestrial beings; by spirits; by the devil; by our psychological fantasies; etc.). Obviously, we cannot say a priori whether these hypotheses are true or false [since] they cannot be proven; their main drawback is that they aren’t much good to us.

Parapsychological phenomena and collective hallucinations should be classified in this category. The same is true of the idea that is sometimes expressed that the futuristic craft sighted are actually products of the future activity of humanity. Our descendants of the distant [future], who have found the way to go back in time, come to observe us…

It is obviously classic to try to reconstruct and observe the past via any of the traces that it leaves, and one could theoretically observe it directly (for example, by discovering a well-oriented mirror on a planet located a few light years a way). It is, however, out of the question for such an observation to be able to influence a bygone time in any way, except by being detectable.

8.3.2 Secret Weapons of a Superpower
UAP Ds would then be piloted or remote-controlled craft of terrestrial origin. There is no lack of observers to believe that the object with fantastic performances that they saw maneuvering in the sky is the state of the art of military progress, which would explain the secrecy in which they are cloaked. Certainly studies such as those regarding the stealth aircraft or magneto-hydrodynamics actually lead to impressive progress.

But besides the fact that it would be extremely unwise to expose to the eyes of laymen and foreign experts in this way what there has been so much interest in concealing, it can be added today that throughout the decades during which these phenomena have occurred, the secret would have inevitably come out, especially if the political upheavals of recent years are taken into account.

8.3.3 Disinformation Attempts
Into this category fall special effects and montages, which are generally accompanied by a lot of media publicity. Some researchers believe that without necessarily lending themselves to the manufacture of ultramodern weapons, the performances of high-tech craft might serve to brainwash public opinion in the same way as other propaganda techniques. Of course, this point of view is a direct result of the cold war period. Any means were good at that time for destabilizing the other camp, including fear of an invasion by extraterrestrials or the instilling of doubt about leaders “who hide anything manifestly serious from us. “

This type of hypothesis is even less satisfying than the preceding ones because it runs up against the objections to each of those.

8.3.4 Holographic Images
At the junction between disinformation attempts and extraterrestrial hypotheses lies the technique of holographic images, whether they be the work of a superpower or extraterrestrial crews. In actual fact, this technique is difficult to employ. It requires considerable preparation because air is very transparent and diffuses light only very poorly. Therefore it is necessary to have large equipment covering the optical field used or at least to project an appropriate screen on it. for example, a film of water.

The first method corresponds to theoretical holographic images, while the second is simpler and is frequently used for spectacular effects, but it obviously leaves traces behind… We can also envision using clouds or a curtain of rain, but this, of course, poses multiple hazards. Without necessarily being able to judge them at present, the method of holographic images and associated methods have only very limited use.

8.3.5 Unknown Natural Phenomena
This hypothesis cannot be ruled out completely and must therefore be cited. However, it is difficult to support in cases where the UFO sighted behaves in an apparently intelligent manner (approach, pursuit, evasion, and escape maneuvers, etc.).

8.3.6 Extraterrestrial Hypotheses
A large number of people today are convinced that UFOs are piloted by intelligent beings who have come from a very remote part of the universe and are tasked with watching us and even initiating contact with us. As appealing as they may be. these hypotheses run up against all sorts of huge difficulties. The hypothetical Martians only recently disappeared from the realm of possibility, and apart from earth, the solar system appears to be totally unable to have produced organized life and even more unable to have produced an advanced civilization. It is therefore necessary to look farther, to the stars, but the closest star is already one hundred million times further away than the moon.

The only contacts that we may try to establish from such distances at present are radio contacts. Astronomers have attempted contacts via message transmission and radio listening in the “SETI” and “MEGASETI” programs. Although some enthusiasts have suggested futuristic ideas to “bypass” the vast expanse, such as, for example, the use of “black holes,” the crossing of interstellar distances by possible extraterrestrials has elicited much skepticism and the majority of astronomers reiterate that “to date there has been no UFO case that is sufficiently well established to imply that it came from an extraterrestrial civilization. “

Two professional astronomers, Jean-Claude Ribes and Guy Monnet, have, however, proposed a scenario in our future in space that includes plausible interstellar voyages. In this scenario, which is summarized in Appendix 4, they envision the establishment of large communities in verdant “islands in space, ” enormous artificial structures orbiting the earth, as described by the physicist O’Neill, and even inside large asteroids,-where an abundance of different materials, including water and oxygen, as well as ready protection against meteorites and cosmic radiation, are found.

Later on, when our descendants have mastered the production, storage and use of antimatter as energy, they will utilize it to propel some of their habitats to another solar system. They will settle in an asteroid belt, start families there, and then visit the planets of the receiving system aboard craft that are perceived by any possible natives the same way we perceive UFOs today.

This scenario, which in essence relies only on laws of physics that are currently well accepted, gives the extraterrestrial hypothesis a certain degree of plausibility; it is possible to imagine thai a civilization that came from somewhere else colonized the region of our asteroid belt and used it as a staging base to our planet. Current progress in the conquest of space and physics reinforces this idea.

We should point out that some people envisage another hypothesis, which is much debated: the UFOs do belong to a civilization located in the asteroid belt, but this civilization itself comes from our planet. Older than any known terrestrial civilizations and highly advanced, it supposedly disappeared from earth (nuclear war, radioactivity, pollution, etc.) but resettled in the solar system.

Both hypotheses have to their credit the fact that they place the UFO problem outside the realm of the paranormal and promote thought about the future of our planet.

Chapter 9

Organization of the Research Abroad

9.1Organization of the Research in the United States

The subject of UFOs is presently very popular in the United States. This is evidenced by the number and success of fiction films such as Independence Day, Men in Black, and Contact, which deal with this topic. A survey conducted in June 1997 for Time magazine showed that nearly one American in four believes that an extraterrestrial craft crashed at Roswell {New Mexico) at the beginning of July 1947.

A professor of psychiatry at Harvard, Dr. Mack, treats the problem of the temporary abduction, whether real or imagined, of his fellow countrymen by UFOs very seriously. In view of the public’s expectations, what are the authorities doing?

They deny that the UFO phenomenon poses a threat to national security, or that it is evidence of an extraterrestrial origin. This position has been taken almost continuously by the Air Force, which was tasked with the study of UFOs from 1948 to 1969 within the framework of a project which bore the overall title Blue Book.

It was confirmed in the summary and conclusions of the university commission in charge of evaluating the Blue Book [Project], the Condon Commission. The physicist Condon wrote in his conclusions that the study of UFOs had little chance of advancing science. All official studies thus came to a halt in the United States as of December 1969, and the Air Force referred those who were curious to private ufological associations.

Although it was endorsed by the Academy of Sciences, the Condon report was harshly criticized by numerous scientists, particularly at the powerful AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics). The latter justly pointed out that the summary and conclusions of the report, which were drafted by Professor Condon himself, conflicted with a number of analyses within its body. The AIAA recommended moderate, but continuous scientific work on UFOs.

An amendment to the Freedom of information Act (FOIA) passed in 1974 permitted declassified official documents on UFOs to be obtained as of 1976. One of these, in particular, attracted attention. It was a letter from Air Force Brigadier General Bolender from October 1969 stating that the imminent conclusion of the Blue Book Project would not put an end to military reports concerning UFOs that constituted a threat to national security.

These were not part of the Blue Book system and would continue, as in the past, to be handled in accordance with the directive JANAP 146 and Air Force Manual 55-11.

“As Regards Authenticity, Only Negative Conclusions Are Definitive”byFrancois LouangeChief Executive Officer of Fleximage

Among the investigations conducted on the subject of UFOs, photograph analysis represents one of the more delicate areas. In fact, in the public’s eyes, photographs constitute indisputable proof par excellence of the existence of the phenomenon, which gives them a very special emotional factor.

But photography is in reality a field where one still finds many errors and hoaxes, because many natural or technical effects can give rise to surprising documents: it is becoming easier and easier for a specialist who has computer equipment to produce a doctored negative that stands I up well to investigations.

This can sometimes even prove lucrative.

Francois Louange

Moreover, experience shows that most of the negatives that stand up to analysis contain only extremely poor and unusable information, often limited to a saturated bright spot on a black background or vice versa, which makes this area of investigation relatively disappointing.

For about forty years, alleged photographs of UFOs. which are sometimes renowned in ufological circles, have occasionally been the subject of expert appraisals on the part of specialists interested in this topic. The physical and technical fields that come into play are quite varied, ranging from atmospheric propagation to photography or video and including digital image processing.

The analysis of a photographic document or video is broken down into two steps:

  1. Establishing or disproving authenticity, uncovering hoaxes, fake maneuvers or parasitic phenomena that could have affected the photographing equipment or the original data storage medium (film, video cassette). This concept of authenticity is furthermore completely relative, because only negative conclusions are definitive and in the best of cases a document can stand up to analyses at any given moment.
  2. With respect to a document deemed to be authentic, extracting the maximum amount of information permitting a known phenomenon to be identified or a phenomenon that is a priori inexplicable to be characterized (size, position, speed, albedo, energy emitted, etc.). This phenomenon will then be compared with other unexplained phenomena in order to draw possible parallels.

It is important to emphasize that the photographic as well as the video documents available come only from fortuitous witnesses; there arc very few opportunities for significant data to be exploited by reason of simple statistical considerations: the chances of being witness to a rare phenomenon, the likelihood of having [camera] equipment in hand ready to use, the probability of being able to make the proper adjustments and calmly take professional quality photographs, etc.

In any case, it seems reasonable to limit in-depth investigations to cases in which the following two conditions are met:

  1. The original document (negative, slide, video cassette, etc.) is available.
  2. There is at least one other independent source of information (visual testimony or another sensing device).

Trick of the eye: lens-shaped clouds

Central bulge. Broad and narrow disk, this is the definition of lenticular galaxies.

It is also the definition of a type of cloud, cirrocumulus lenticularis, which forms above 7000 m altitude and up to the limits of the troposphere.

Their very specific shape is due to factors such as pressure, temperature, turbulence, and very strong winds.

But this shape is definitely open to every interpretation for those who wish to see it as a flying saucer…

When military craft play UFOsLeft: Photographed in 1989 offshore from Los Angeles, this unpiloted surveillance unit is a Canadair CL-227 Sea Sentinel military drone.
Right: This Sikorsky “Cypher” surveillance drone is used by the U.S. Army in urban conflict situations.

JANAP (Joint Army, Navy, Air Force Publication) 146 applies to military personnel but also to some civilians (flight captains of commercial aircraft, merchant marine captains) in the United States and Canada.

It stipulates that an urgent report should be filed with certain authorities, which must in turn file a report, namely with the Air Operations Command (now NORAD [North American Air Defense]) in Colorado Springs, when objects requiring very urgent defensive action and/or an investigation by the armed forces of the United States or Canada are sighted.

Among these objects, UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) are listed along with missiles and hostile or unidentified submarines, etc. Disclosure of the contents of these reports is subject to the penalties of the laws cracking down on espionage. JANAP 146 entered into effect in recent years and perhaps is still in force. This regulation may explain the frequent reticence of American military personnel, aviators in particular, to bring up the subject of UFOs.

The members of American ufological associations number several thousand. These associations are used to fill the gap left by the public authorities in the field of “UFO” studies. The FOIA brought them a resurgence of activity, showing them that contrary to their statements, the Air Force and various special departments, namely the CIA, are very much interested in the subject of UFOs and have been for some time.

It permitted them to learn of certain spectacular cases, such as the over-flights of missile bases in 1975, or the 1976 Tehran incident related in Chapter 2.

DIA deemed this a “radar/visual” case:

“A classic case that meets all the conditions required for a legitimate study of the UFO phenomenon.”

In recent years, the three main ufological associations have been brought together by a leading U.S. personality, Marie Galbraith, to conduct a joint study. She is the wife of Evan Griffith Galbraith, who was U.S. ambassador to France from 1981 to 1985. Thus she is well-acquainted with our country and our language, since she lived on Avenue Gabriel. Supported both morally and financially by Laurance Rockefeller, brother of the famous David Rockefeller, she traveled the world to meet the principal scientists interested in UFOs and to collect the best cases.

She then oversaw the drafting of a clear and documented book entitled Unidentified Flving Objects, Briefing Document, the best available evidence, which was endorsed in 1995 by the chairmen of the three associations CUFOS [Center for UFO Research], FUFOR [Fund for UFO Research], and MUFON [Mutual UFO Network]. She had this work sent to more than a thousand prominent figures throughout the world and, namely, to a large number of U.S. congressmen. Her goal is to get the U.S. government and possibly other governments to end the secrecy surrounding UFOs.

For the editors of the book, this secrecy is essentially military in origin: the nation that is first to reproduce the exceptional characteristics of UFOs will dominate the world. The secrecy was justified during the cold war, but it is no longer justified now given the scientific and technical breakthroughs useful to humanity that one can expect [to obtain] from the study of UFOs.

On the whole, Marie Galbraith’s book is descriptive. It does not interpret the phenomena sighted (physical modeling or hypotheses regarding the origin of the objects). Such was also the spirit of the international scientific colloquium organized in September 1997 by

Laurance Rockefellerat Pocantico, near West Point, on the property of the Rockefeller Bros. Fund. Moderated by astrophysicist Peter Sturrock, this colloquium focused on physical evidence concerning UFOs.

Specialists on radar, the biological effects of microwaves, photography, etc., who often were not very familiar with the UFO problem, formed a scientific council there that judged the papers presented by the UFO researchers. French participation was quite noteworthy; it consisted of the head of SEPRA and two members of the scientific council.

A summary document expressed the desire that many countries have a UFO research organization comparable to that of France.

Colonel Corso’s theory

In July 1997, for the fiftieth anniversary of the Roswell incident, an astonishing book entitled

The Day After Roswellwas published. It was written by

Colonel Corso, who from 1953 to 1957 was the military member of the National Security Council Staff and thus was in constant contact with President Eisenhower.

The forward of this book was written by Strom Thurmond, the current chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who, already a member of this committee. appointed Corso as congressional attaché when he left the Army in 1963. The author states that the object found at Roswell was indeed an extraterrestrial vessel.

He reportedly saw for himself, in July 1947, the cadaver of one of the occupants preserved in a glass coffin. From 1961-1962. as chief of foreign technology in the Army R&D Department, he apparently was tasked with discretely allowing U.S. industry to benefit from the extremely high-tech objects found in the wreckage (according to him: printed circuits, a laser, light intensifier, etc.).

Colonel Corso affirms that high-ranking military officers and some U.S. congressmen know about the existence of extraterrestrial craft in our skies. They have concealed it from the public to avoid panics, but full disclosures are going to be able to be made, because the United States, which has been striving to do this for 50 years, reportedly now has the means to counter a possible UFO attack.

Some of these claims are surprising at the very least, but the entire contents of the book cannot be easily dismissed when one considers the remarkable career of its author and Senator Thurmond’s tribute to him. It is true that the latter requested that his forward not appear in reprints of the book, a request that was granted. The author allegedly had not told him that the book was about UFOs…

But it is difficult to believe that the forward writer, the third in line in the U.S. Government to succeed the President, and the publisher, Simon & Schuster, were not acting with full knowledge of the facts at the time of the first printing. As soon as the book came out, the U.S. Air Force published a second report on Roswell again denying the plausibility of the hypothesis of the crash of an extraterrestrial craft. The first report, which was published in 1994, was presented as the first official study on UFOs since the end of the Blue Book [Project] in 1969 (see “Roswell and Disinformation” in Appendix [5]).

This reaction is not incompatible with Colonel Corso’s theories: it may be intended to reassure those whom Corso’s revelations might worry.

9.2 Organization of the Research in the United Kingdom

Great Britain has been the scene of several remarkable cases. We presented the Lakenheath “radar/visual” case (1956) in Chapter 2. The RAF and the Ministry in charge of it therefore became interested in UFOs very early on, but we do not possess much information on their work.

Since its creation in 1964, the British Ministry of Defence (MOD) has had a UFO study unit, whose [designator] abbreviation Sec(AS)2a stands for Department 2a of the Secretariat (Air Staff) division. Its activity was recently described by Nick Pope, who was its head from 1991 to 1994, in a warning book. Open Skies, Closed Minds.

This department receives telephone calls or letters from witnesses, but more generally reports prepared from the depositions of these witnesses taken at police stations, airports or RAF bases. It conducts classic investigations if it deems them useful. They then question radar stations or weather stations, the RAF space object surveillance base at Flyingdales, other RAF bases, the Greenwich Observatory, etc. Its unique mission is to determine whether the reports are of interest for defense purposes (“area of defense significance”).

Nick Pope, who is currently a MOD career employee, has broken new ground in comparison with his predecessors. He has given interviews to the press and participated in television programs. He has cooperated with the ufological associations, giving their address and phone number to witnesses who have written to him. In his letters of response he admitted that a small proportion of UFO sightings defied explanation and that the MOD was keeping its mind open regarding these.

His predecessors wrote:

“If we had sufficient data, all of the cases could undoubtedly be explained. “

In his book, Nick Pope evokes various hypotheses to explain certain unidentified cases that were the subject of credible and detailed reports. He strongly favors the extraterrestrial hypothesis and expresses the desire that his ministry take seriously the potential threat that UFOs represent in his eyes.

Is there a department that is further developed than his (where he is alone) in the Ministry of Defense that would conduct secret studies on the UFO phenomenon? His statements on the subject are contradictory (pp. 129 and 181). Ralph Noyes, who was one of Nick Pope’s predecessors from 1969 to 1972 and ended his career at MOD in 1977 as Undersecretary of State for Defense. considers the existence of such a department likely. Lord Hill-Norton, Admiral of the Fleet, who was Chief of Defense Staff from 1971 to 1973, shares this opinion.

This information is found in a book the forward to which was written by Lord Hill-Norton himself (Above Top Secret, by Timothy Good). Admiral Hill-Norton was among some thirty lords active in a House of Lords intergroup studying UFOs in the 1980s. If this secret study department does exist, it can be presumed that it works in collaboration with the United States (Above Top Secret, pp. 48-49).

9.3Organization of the Research in Russia

The Academy of Sciences of the USSR has conducted studies on UFOs since 1979 at least. During that time, Vladimir Migouline, a member of this academy, expressed his opinion in La Recherche regarding the sightings made in the Soviet Union of luminous phenomena and unusual objects:

“The vast majority of these sightings correspond to real phenomena just about the same as those sighted in other countries. But there is no indisputable proof that some of them involve technological manifestations of a highly developed civilization. It is also necessary to try to connect them with atmospheric phenomena, ” he said.

This is the goal that his assistant Platov aimed for in a work published in 1992. UFOs and Modern Science. At that time, Migouline and Platov, heads of the expert’s group on abnormal phenomena in the Academy of Sciences, proposed a scientific and technical cooperation program to SEPRA, but the CNES management did not follow-up on the offer. It should be noted that in the Siberian section of the Academy of Sciences, the studies, which are less well known in the West, do not rule out the extraterrestrial hypotheses, and even favor it.

During “Glasnost,” information was disseminated on the studies being conducted by both the KGB and by the military. In 1991, the KGB declassified 124 pages of documents from Cases of Sightings of Abnormal Events over USSR Territory, 1982-1990, which covered a total of 17 regions.

One of these cases, which we detailed in Chapter 3, concerns the extraordinary aerial maneuvers of three bright disks over an Army missile base near Astrakhan in 1989. The objects, which were sighted by seven military members, went from hovering to high speed and back again all without making any noise. When it was approached by a Soviet fighter jet, one object escaped so quickly that it seemed to Jeave the fighter jet standing still in its tracks.

In 1994, Colonel Boris Sokolov sold ABC News a collection of investigations conducted by military personnel from 1978 to 1988.

Earlier, in 1990, the newspaper Rabochaya Tribuna had published an article by Aviation General Maltsev, who commanded the territorial air defense, concerning a well-documented visual/radar case with multiple witnesses (Pereslav-Zalesski, the night of March 21, 1990) in which a silent discoid object went from hovering to a speed two or three times faster than that of a modern fighter jet. We described this case in Chapter 2.

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