Thursday, March 29, 2007

Website Crashes Because of French UFO Fever

The national space agency in France has opened its files to the public on a new web site showing UFO sightings over the last 50 years.
The French national space agency has decided to make all of the records of UFO sightings for the last 50 years public. It has set up a web site in order to make this possible and so many people have tried to look at the site that it is nearly impossible for others to get onto the site. This is the first time that France has made these files public. Other countries make the information available but usually on an individual case-by-case basis under the Freedom of Information Act.Thanks to a small team of space agency researchers who call themselves the Office for the Study of Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena, the French will be able to access some 10,000 documents about UFOs, including photographs, police reports and videos sent in by witnesses. The team offers explanations for some of the sightings - for example when 1,000 people reported seeing flashing lights in the sky one November night 17 years ago, the researchers were able to prove it had been a rocket fragment falling back into the earth's atmosphere.Currently, only 9 percent of all of France's UFO sightings have been fully explained. And of the 1,600 cases registered since 1954, nearly a quarter are known as Category D - meaning that in spite of good data and witnesses, the mysterious sightings remain inexplicable. This new website database will be updated on an ongoing basis as new cases are reported.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

UFO Symposium explores mysteries of unexplained

AZTEC, N.M. - Only the truly uninitiated would come here to the 10th annual UFO Symposium expecting to see little green men or to even meet someone who believes in such things.
"These people are serious researchers - we're not a dog-and-pony show," said Katee McClure, the event planner for the symposium.
The UFO Symposium has become part of Aztec's identity since its inception in 1999 and is the largest fundraiser for the Aztec Public Library. McClure said this year will bring between 200 and 300 people throughout the weekend and raise more than $6,000 for the library.
Aztec's place in paranormal lore was secured in March 1948 when witnesses reported hearing and seeing a crash about 10 miles northeast of town in Hart Canyon. The story, as first published in 1950 by Frank Scully, maintains that the craft was a circular disk made of a foreign metal 100 feet in diameter, and inside were found the charred remains of 16 human-like bodies. A full recounting of the story is available at
Dennis Balthaser, who has attended and been a speaker at all 10 symposia, believes there is little doubt that something happened, but reminds truth seekers that a UFO is in fact an unidentified object until it's identified.
"I'm one of the few researchers who won't say 'this is what happened,' but I will look at the possibility that it could have happened," Balthaser said. "At first I wasn't too sure about Aztec, but the more research that's being done, the more I believe something actually did happen here."
Balthaser believes the military recovered whatever crashed and took it to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio where the bodies were kept in cold storage and the craft analyzed. He compares the Aztec incident to the more famous Roswell incident, which happened 10 months earlier in 1947.
"My theory on both Roswell and Aztec is that whatever crashed, we don't know what it was, we don't know where it was found, and we don't know how it operates. Witnesses said it wasn't ours (the United States) and it wasn't Russian. At that time in history, there's really no one else it could've been," Balthaser said.
McClure has been fascinated with the Aztec crash site since she moved to the area in 1998 from Hollywood. After attending the first UFO Symposium in 1999, McClure purchased 10 acres of land in Hart Canyon near the Bureau of Land Management parcel on which the crash was alleged to have occurred. She now lives just more than a mile from the crash site.
"You used to able to see the broken and bent trees," McClure said. "And people found garbage buried 18 inches underground that was military rations. How can anyone say nothing happened here?"
The Hart Canyon crash, while a dominant topic at the symposium, is not the sole subject. Speakers covered a range of topics including abductions, ancient civilizations and their technologies, crashes, sightings and government cover-ups. While many debate if the origins of UFO mysteries are terrestrial or otherwise, most agree that official information is in short supply.
"I think cover-up has become a way of life in the U.S.," Balthaser said. "They cover up and lie about so many things, it will be hard for them to ever tell the truth. I think our only hope is to have deathbed confessions."
The UFO Symposium concludes today with a noon screening of Roy Forbes' film "Fallen Angels," which documents an incident in Kingman, Ariz., as well as the Aztec crash. The film will be followed by a panel discussion with many of the weekend's speakers.
Also speaking today is Christopher O'Brien, who gained national prominence for chronicling a series of unexplained sightings in Colorado's San Luis Valley in the 1990s.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

'It was like a flying toilet roll': France opens up its UFO files

France has become the first country in the world to open to the public its official archives on unidentified flying objects.
Flying saucer fanatics now have access to some 400 files - about a quarter of the 1,600 cases of UFO sightings reported in France since the 1950s - which have been published on a website by the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES). The centre is confident that, between now and the end of the year, the remaining 1,200 cases will be made available to view online.
The first 400 documents are chiefly the declarations and testimonies of witnesses of UFO sightings,but photographs and videos will be introduced later this year.
The problem facing UFO researchers may be the vague and often bizarre descriptions used in many of the witness statements. The reported sighting of an object shaped "like a flying toilet roll", for example, gives little in the way of precise or scientific detail.
Jacques Patenet, head of the Research Group for the Study of Unidentified Space Phenomena, said: "Everything will appear online. But UFO experts will find no scoops or undiscovered cases on this database."
The archives can be searched by region, date, or key words. They can also be viewed in four categories, ranging from A (objects that were definitely not UFOs) to D ("unidentifiable").
The spokesman for CNES, Pierre Tréfouret emphasised that the centre does not wish to be involved in debates about the existence of extra-terrestrial life forms. "Our only role is to provide the general public and the scientific community with data," he said.
The archives are online at - but the server was yesterday overwhelmed by visitors.

France's space agency puts UFO archive on the Web

PARIS – The saucer-shaped object is said to have touched down in the south of France and then zoomed off. It left behind scorch marks and that haunting age-old question: Are we alone?
This is just one of the cases from France's secret “X-Files” – some 100,000 documents on supposed UFOs and sightings of other unexplained phenomena that the French space agency is publishing on the Internet.
Advertisement France is the first country to put its entire weird sightings archive online, said Jacques Patenet, who heads the space agency's UFO cell – the Group for Study and Information on Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena.
Their oldest recorded sighting dates from 1937, Patenet told The Associated Press in an interview Friday. The first batch of archives went up on the agency's Web site this week, drawing a server-busting wave of traffic.
“The Web site exploded in two hours. We suspected that there was a certain amount of interest, but not to this extent,” Patenet said.
The archive includes police and expert reports, witness sketches (some are childlike doodlings), maps, photos and video and audio recordings. In all, the archive has some 1,650 cases on record and about 6,000 witness accounts.
The space agency, known by its French initials CNES, said it is making them public to draw the scientific community's attention to unexplained cases and because their secrecy generated suspicions that officials were hiding something.
“There's always this impression of plots, of secrets, of wanting to hide things,” Patenet said. “The great danger would be to leave the field open to sects and charlatans.”
He said many cases were unexplained lights in the sky. “Only 20 to 30” could be classified as “Objet Volant Non Identifie” – UFOs that appeared to be physical objects, leaving “marks on the ground, radar images,” he said.
Even Charles de Gaulle, France's wartime hero who became president, got the UFO bug.
“In 1954, there was a wave of sightings of phenomena in France, and it went up to the highest levels of state. Gen. de Gaulle himself assigned ... an aide and told him, 'Look into this for me, study it to see if something needs to be done,'” Patenet said.
That year, there were hundreds of sightings over several months, but generally there are 50 to 100 reported each year.
Only 9 percent of France's strange phenomena have been fully explained, the agency said. Experts found likely reasons for another 33 percent, and 30 percent could not be identified for lack of information.
Other cases were impossible to crack. The most baffling were labeled “Class D aerospace phenomena” – which the agency defines as “inexplicable despite precise testimonies and the (good) quality of material information gathered.” Some 28 percent of sightings fall into this category.
Patenet singled out the January 1981 case of the saucer-shaped object that a witness said he saw land in Trans-en-Provence, a village inland from the French Riviera.
Some 8 feet across, the zinc-colored object made a whistling noise as it landed. The witness later drew a picture: It resembled a wok with a lid and legs.
“The machine stayed a few seconds on the ground and then left very quickly but it left marks that were analyzed and allowed us to determine that the ground had been heated up, that the object must have weighed several hundred kilos (pounds), and that surrounding plants underwent biological changes,” said Patenet.
“So something really happened. It really defies analysis,” he said.
The agency said everything in the archive would be published, except for psychological reports about witnesses and their names.
Most of the time, witnesses were sincere about what they saw, Patenet said.
“Very few look for publicity because they fear most of all that they will not be taken seriously.”
Still, there were frauds.
In 1979, in Cergy-Pontoise outside Paris, a man showed up at a police station claiming his friend had been abducted by a UFO – a bright light that appeared on the road and swallowed up his car. Several days later, the man purportedly reappeared in a field, emerging out of a sphere of light.
Investigators went so far as to test the man's blood for signs that he had recently experienced weightlessness – and they found none. The agency labeled it a hoax.
Some cases took years to unravel. In 1985, two farmers near the Atlantic coastal city of Royan saw a burning object drop into a field nearby.
Experts initially concluded that it was part of the propulsion device of a recently launched satellite. Eventually they realized it was a piece of German World War II ordnance that spontaneously exploded four decades after the war.
Among the unexplained cases, one of the most perplexing concerned a 1994 Air France flight. While flying over the Paris region, the crew noticed a large brown-red disk hovering on the horizon and constantly changing shape. The case “has never been explained to this day, and leaves the door open to all possible hypotheses,” the agency wrote.
So, do we have neighbors out there, after all?
“I don't have an answer to that,” said Patenet. “Even if there is such a planet, given the size of the universe, what is the probability that two civilizations ... will meet or come across each other? I really don't know. It's very complicated. It's incalculable.”
By John Leicester

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ever seen an UFO this close?

Slowed Down WTC UFO very interesting japanese version

Did Nebraska Have A 'Roswell Episode' Long Ago?

Very few people have heard of Max, Nebraska.
A cursory look at the Google Map of the town shows just how small it is - under 20 blocks, a blip in southwest Nebraska. It's just eight miles from the seat of Dundy County: Benkelman, population 914.
But Max, the blip it may be, is the closest town to an incident in that occurred 1884.
The Nebraska Nugget reported:
"About 35 miles northwest of Benkelman, Dundy County, on the 6th of June (1884) a very startling phenomenon occurred. It seems that John W. Ellis and three of his herdsmen and a number of other cowboys were out engaged in a roundup. They were startled by a terrific whirring noise over their heads, and turning their eyes saw a blazing body falling like a shot to Earth. It struck beyond them, being hidden from view by a bank."
One of the herdsmen, Alf Williamson, was burned as he approached the craft, which had created a split in the ground as it dragged to a stop. He was taken back to Ellis' home and treated for his burns.
E.W. Rawlins, the brand inspector for the district, came to inspect it.
The Nebraska State Journal reported on the event in 1887, saying:
"One piece that looked like the blade of a propeller screw, of a metal of an appearance like brass, about 16 inches wide, three inches thick and three-and-a-half feet long, was picked up by a spade. It would not weigh more than five pounds, but appeared as strong and compact as any known metal. A fragment of a wheel with a milled rim, apparently having had a diameter of seven or eight feet, was also picked up. It seemed to be of the same material and had the same remarkable lightness."
The lack of physical evidence means there's nothing much left today, and John Buder, a field researcher with the Mutual UFO Network of Nebraska, said that the people of Dundy County shy away from talking about the event.
Most of his investigation into it has been research. He first stumbled across the story in a tourist's guide to Nebraska. From there, he's found it in multiple books on the subject.
"There has been a lot of studies made on UFO crashes," Buder said. "The people who I would claim know the most have not identified it as a hoax."
It was the second UFO crash Buder knows of, and the first to be recorded in newspapers of the time. The story started a worldwide wave of similar stories - some more reputable than others.
One such case is the 1897 crash near Aurora, Texas, where four alien bodies are supposedly buried in a graveyard. Eyder Peralta, a reporter for the Houston Chronicle, investigated that crash and turned up nothing.
But the Nebraska crash is the first reported. It was only after the incident near Max that it became a sort of mythology.
"That means that all these other hoax crashes that started seem to have gotten their start at Max, Nebraska," Buder said.
It's a piece of Nebraska history only occasionally touched on, Roswell before there was a Roswell to speak of.
"I'd say right now there's only a few dozen people in Nebraska who even know about it," Buder said.
But how does a craft just disappear, just dissolve in a crash? What about the "cogs" that the craft threw off as it approached the ground? Did those, too, simply disappear?
It's a legend taken more seriously than most of the era in ufology circles, which is not to say there aren't skeptics.
Alan Boye wrote in his recent book, "The Complete Roadside Guide to Nebraska," that "there are, of course, many people who do not believe the story, and others who claim it is yet another UFO story neglected and laughed at by skeptics."
Skeptical or not, Buder asserts that it was the beginning of the wave of stories, ground zero for what would turn into airship sightings as time went on.
He sees the building of the railroad coinciding with the sightings of the era. In fact, the crafts were often described as "railroad engines without wheels" at the time.
"It's ironic that this same story, this being the first, was repeated many more times worldwide at later dates," Buder said.
And as for the remnants, Buder thinks there might be some things tucked away in the Republican River valley.
"I wouldn't doubt that out there in one of those tool sheds or barns out there, there's a piece of metal that no one knows where it came from," he said.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Conspiracy theories: the rumors are out there

By Diana Washington Valdez / El Paso Times

El Pasoans and other readers around the world recently chuckled over a story about an alleged crop circle in the Upper Valley that turned out to be the work of El Paso artist Michael Alford.
The enormous interest in the El Paso Times online story served to demonstrate the eagerness with which people pursue conspiracy theories. Though the artist claimed he created the circle, the newspaper received numerous e-mails insisting its origin was unusual.
Many people also persist in believing that facts have been hidden from the public about the alleged UFO incident at Roswell, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800, and the purpose of currency symbols such as the all-seeing eye used by the Federal Reserve. Cattle mutilations reported in the 1970s and 1990s in Southern New Mexico provoked suspicion.
Because of pressure from a skeptical public, a special inquest into Princess Diana's death is under way in Great Britain.
It's a good bet that the Feb. 8 death of celebrity Anna Nicole Smith will lead to another slew of unproved theories, said Rick Shimitz, 41, a former Army reservist who is a conspiracy theory buff.
"There will definitely be conspiracy theories about her, the way she died, the drugs, and all that," he said. "They're already starting."
Shimitz said the most widespread conspiracy theories attempt to explain UFOs and the JFK assassination.
"In the case of JFK, I think it's hard to believe that one person did it," he said. "The theories continue because people still wonder who could actually be behind it. To make up my mind, I look at newspapers, books, TV programs and the Internet. I like to look at different options before I decide."
Why do people persist in promoting conspiracy theories through radio programs, Web sites, books and films?
Dr. Michael Shermer, who has a doctorate in the history of science, is founder and director of the Skeptics Society in Altadena, Calif. He listed several reasons for the popularity of conspiracy theories.
"One is our pattern-seeking psychology, which is built into the brain," he said. "People look for patterns and connect the dots in things. ... The problem is, we also find false patterns that are like random noises in the brain.
"Also, there is a tendency to oversimplify explanations," Shermer said. In a complex world, it can be comforting to believe a simple theory about who's really in control.
In addition, finding presumably "secret or insider information is cognitively titillating. And, most of us have a low tolerance for ambiguity," he said.
Shermer said the theories about Princess Diana's death offer a good example. Officials say her death was caused by the facts that the chauffeur was driving drunk, that the car was speeding and that she did not wear a seat belt.
But some people don't want to accept that a princess can be brought down by such mundane things. They want to attribute such a death to something bigger.
The same people also have trouble believing that a man of President Kennedy's stature could be killed by "a lone nut and not by some great event," Shermer added.
The Skeptics Society describes itself as a "scientific and educational organization" that serves as a tool for people seeking clarification and viewpoints on controversial ideas and claims. The current issue of the society's magazine tackles 9/11 theories.
"We refute them one by one," Shermer said.
UTEP professor Tom Ruggiero and another academic presented a scholarly paper in 2004 on the outcome of the late Pierre Salinger's promotion of a conspiracy theory about the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800.
Salinger, a former journalist who was once an aide to President Kennedy, is said to have based his theory on a document that conspiracy buffs and others sent over the Internet.
"I believe (Salinger) was suckered ... by a forgery on the Internet," said Ruggiero, who teaches investigative journalism at UTEP. "We live in a world where (some) people are still doubting that we went to the moon."
Serious fact-checking should help avoid the kinds of pitfalls that have trapped Salinger and others, he said.
The paper by Ruggiero and professor Samuel P. Winch -- "The Media Downing of Pierre Salinger: Journalistic Mistrust of the Internet as a News Source" -- explores the role of the Web in contributing to unreliable information, and the increasing use of that medium for information.
"I never jump to any conclusions until after I conduct a field test," said Yolica Stone, a UFO field investigator and former member of the Mutual UFO Network-El Paso Chapter. The local chapter disbanded for several reasons, including a change in leadership and members moving away.
"Some people are reluctant to report unusual sightings because it is an unknown and they fear being ridiculed, but it is more acceptable today than before for people to speak more openly about these things," she said.
Stone remembers the reports of mutilated farm and ranch animals in El Paso and Southern New Mexico in the 1970s and 1990s. She was not involved in investigating the mutilations, but she said law agencies took complaints from residents in El Paso's Lower Valley, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.
Hollywood has cashed in on the popularity of conspiracy theories with TV shows and movies that include "The X-Files," "The Da Vinci Code" and "Roswell."
In the movie "Conspiracy Theory," actor Mel Gibson played a paranoid cabdriver who was obsessed with supposed government plots against an unsuspecting public.
Syndicated radio show host Art Bell has produced a popular late-night program, "Coast to Coast AM with George Noory," which is wholly devoted to exploring subjects about the paranormal, UFOs and conspiracies. It airs at 11 p.m. on KTSM-AM (690). During the week, the program lasts five hours; on Saturday, when Bell leads the show, it is one hour long.
"I've been listening to the Art Bell show for about three years," said Juan Rubalcava, 31, a security guard. "I work late at night, and it's interesting to listen to. One of the most popular theories out there is about how the government is using the Patriot Act to spy on us."
Rubalcava also agrees that the Internet has made it easier to spread correct and incorrect information over the Internet.
"That's where I saw an item that said the massive 2003 blackout in Canada and the Northeast was caused by the U.S. government testing a new satellite weapon."
The U.S. government has denied that allegation.
Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at; 546-6140.

The conspiracy files
"The truth is out there." -- From "The X-Files" Many enduring conspiracy theories are also out there. Here are a few:
The JFK assassination: The government covered up the real facts about who killed President Kennedy and why.
The death of Princess Diana: She was killed to prevent her marriage to Fayed Dodi.
UFO incident at Roswell: The government covered up the fact that a UFO carrying space aliens crashed near Roswell in the '50s.
Animal mutilations: UFOs are behind the surgical mutilations of cattle, goats and horses.
Area 51 military base: The Air Force has a secret desert base that is off limits to the public.
TWA Flight 800 crash: A U.S. missile accidentally shot down the plane.
The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks: The military-industrial complex and complicit politicians covered up the facts.
"The DaVinci Code": Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene and had offspring with a traceable family tree.
Weather manipulation: Secret government experiments involve the use of weather as a military weapon.
Big Brother government: All sorts of techniques are being used to keep track of everyone's movements and communications.
Conspiracy Web sites

40th year of law falls in period of secrecy

WASHINGTON - It's been used to reveal how many times disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff visited the White House, to search for previously undisclosed details on President John F. Kennedy's assassination and to aid UFO buffs in their never-ending effort to find out what's really happening in Roswell, N.M.
The Freedom of Information Act, which gives citizens access to federal government files, turns 40 this year. Born during Lyndon Johnson's presidency, FOIA came of age after the Watergate scandal and is a vital tool for individuals, journalists, corporations and academics who seek information that the government may be reluctant to release.
This week, the American Society of Newspaper Editors observes Sunshine Week to celebrate FOIA and promote the need for open government and freedom of information. This comes amid the Bush administration's drive to withhold documents, records and other information from public view.
"As a matter of policy, they are more secretive," said Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, a conservative nonpartisan group that fights for government transparency. "They just say no, which undermines the spirit and letter of FOIA."
The Freedom of Information Act was signed into law on July 4, 1966, and went into effect the next year. It allows for full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the federal government, with nine exemptions for national security, personnel information, trade secrets and other limited categories.
The use of FOIA is closely associated with journalism; news outlets have filed FOIA requests in high-profile stories such as the disputed 2000 presidential election. But journalists account for only a small percentage of FOIA requests. The bulk of them come from academics, advocacy groups and businesses, which use the act for research, to gain information on competitors or to promote their causes.
Those who believe in alien life forms have used FOIA to try to pry open National Security Agency files on Roswell, citing a famous UFO "crash" in 1947 that U.S. military officials said was really a weather balloon.
"FOIA is an essential tool for citizens to find out what their government is doing," Fitton said.
He and others say monitoring the government has gotten harder under President Bush. A report last year by a bipartisan group called OpenTheGovern indicated that the federal government spent $7.7 billion in 2005 to mark documents secret. The same year, citizens filed 2.7 million requests for government records and materials through FOIA, an increase of 65,000 requests over the previous year, according to the same report.
"They are quite secretive. Most of it is their own predilection; some of it is the result of Sept. 11," said Patrice McDermott, OpenTheGovern's director. "I'm not sure if it's unprecedented, but it is one of the most secretive administrations in recent history."
On the state level, the Associated Press conducted a survey of all 50 states and found that though laws in every state say government records and meetings must be open to all, reality often falls far short: Laws are sporadically enforced, penalties for failure to comply are mild and violators almost always walk away with nothing more than a reprimand.
Advocates for open government say public trust is at the heart of our democracy, that scrutiny keeps officials honest, and that information is the foundation of informed debate.
"We're in an era, clearly, where there's a lot of distrust in government," said Bill Chamberlin of the Marion Brechner Citizen Access Project at the University of Florida. "The more the public officials are open in their conversation and show the documentation that they're basing decisions on, it's going to help the public have faith in what officials are doing."
The AP analysis found that nearly all states have crafted penalties for those who violate sunshine laws, but the majority do little to keep track of how often the law is broken and what the punishment might be.
By William Douglas