Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Closing in on E.T."

Dear readers,

Another lovely day here in Adelaide, South Australia. A maximum of 27 degrees C with nice, clear blue skies sees me at my local library reading science magazines.

As you will be aware, I keep a watchful eye on the research into extra-solar planets, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI.)

In the "Australian Sky and Telescope" magazine (click here) for April 2011 (pages 26-35), there is a major article about SETI by one of SETI's leading researchers, Seth Shostak (click here.)

Although I keep up with SETI research, even I was surprised to read that "The number of star systems deliberately examined by SETI, looking for very weak transmissions over a wide swatch of the radio band, is only about 750, and they only received brief looks at any one given frequency." (p.27.) For some reason, I thought that this number was much higher than 750.

"The fortune so far to trip over an evidence of E.T. is akin to a search for kangaroos in Australia that gives up after examining one acre of the Outback."

The Theme:

The theme of the article is that modern radio searches have so far been minuscule, but that better technology may bring results by 2036

Shostak states that within 25 years, we will have searched perhaps 1 million stars instead of the 750 of today. "A million could be enough to garner success, if our galaxy's tally of transmitting civilisations is 10,000 or more."

Part of the new technology is the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) , with 42 out of the projected 350, small 6 metre diameter dishes currently existing in place. The ATA has already begun a couple of projects including targetting strips of sky near the galactic centre, and scanning in the anti-solar direction in case someone out there has seen the earth transiting our Sun.

A second SETI approach involves "looking for flashing lights from nearby stars." (p.30.) Currently, Harvard physicist Paul Horowitz has built a 1.8m diameter optical SETI scope.

Other approaches include the detection of beamed high-energy neutrinos.

"Within a generation, our experiments will have reconnoitred just about every star out to 1,000 light years or more. " (p.33.)

Kepler:

The NASA Kepler planet-finding mission (click here) hopefully will reveal a number of earth-like planets which SETI can then target.

A final SETI idea revolves around "How can our SETI experiments optimise the chance of finding non biological sentient entities?" "...logic suggests that we should direct some of our SETI efforts to localities where matter and energy are plentiful..." (p.34.)

Conclusion:

The article concludes:

"The march of progress will soon permit us to search the sky more quickly and with better sensitivity, than ever before. Our situation is akin to that of Christopher Columbus as he sailed past the breakwater of Palos De La Frontera in August 1492 and headed into the rolling swells of the Atlantic. It's still very early days, and the great excitement lies before us." (p.34.)

I found this an excllent layperson's review article of the state of SETI today.

Monday, March 28, 2011

"Contacee religions"

Dear readers

Its a glorious time in Adelaide at the moment. On Saturday I went to Semaphore beach to watch the Adelaide kite flying festival. There were hundreds of people on the beach flying all kinds of kites (there was even a UFO kite!) It was great to see families out together, enjoying the occasion. On Sunday I went to the Adelaide botanical gardens and spent several hours walking around this fantastic outdoor venue, taking photographs and looking at some of the exotic flowers.

Contactees:

Now for today's post. You will have seen that my co-blogger, Keith Basterfield, has developed an interest in the subject of "contactees." Contactees were individuals, starting in the 1950's, who said that they were in contact with people from outer space. You may know the names of George Adamski; Truman Bethurum; and Orfeo Angelucci. However, there were hundreds of others, including women such as Dana Howard (click here); and Mollie Thompson (click here.)

Contactees predated abductees by at least ten years and the main group of abductees came twenty years after most of the contactees. Today there is still a mix of both abductees and contactees out there in the community.

Fortean Times:

The English magazine Fortean Times number 271, dated March 2011, has an interesting article on pages 51-53. It is titled "Contactee religions", being number 37 in a series called "The Fortean Times Random Dictionary of the Dammed" compiled by the Hierophant's Apprentice.

The article opens by noting that both the "Space Brothers" who interacted with contactees in the 1950's and the grey aliens of the 1990's predicted problems for humanity.

Aspects of Adamski's (click here )accounts, and the Aetherius Society ( click here) are explored in terms of "the religious potential in UFOs." (p.57.)

"One of the Aetherius Society's major projects was charging prayer batteries; which were placed on the tops of 19 very high mountains, mostly in remote parts of the world..." (p.52.)

Another example given is that of "the Unarius Academy of Science (click here) founded by Ruth Marian and Ernest L Norman in 1954..." (p.52.)

Another is the Cosmos Research Foundation founded by Gloria Lee-Byrd (click here,) which at its height had 2000 followers.

Interestingly, the article's author notes "Ufological religions are associated with the 1`950's, but the phenomenon is by no means dead. There is certainly a cult if not a religion, surrounding the claims of Billy Meier (click here) and his contacts with 'Pleiadeians' and his connection to the Talmud Jmmanuel (click here) , a gospel that supposedly predates the canonical synophic ones..." (p.53.)

Comments:

You might ask why should we study this material which comes from an era before I was born? For one, there are similarities between contactees and abductees. Both say they are in touch with aliens, who give them messages about the future of the earth.

The contents of these messages are usually set in the context of the era of the message.. In the 1950's humanity was concerned about the threat of nuclear weapons, and the "Space brothers" as the aliens were named, were also concerned about the same thing. For abductees many of the messages speak of the ecological danger to earth; reflecting our current concerns. Human nature is just that, and you can usefully draw conclusions from this older material.

If you have never read much on this topic, then the links I have placed in this post should provide you with a good overview.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Abductions all in the brain?

Hi all

I have just been reading a book titled "The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain: A Neurologists's Search for the God Experience." By Kevin Nelson. Published by Dutton. New York. 2011. ISBN 978-0-525-95188-9.

Nelson's work explores near-death experiences and suggests neurological causes for each of the elements of an NDE.

There are some serious implications for our research into UFO abductions, in Nelson's work. Please take a look at the full post on my own blog at:

http://anomalies-australiancomments.blogspot.com

Nelson himself, is very definite in his opinion on UFO abductions:

"Nobody knows how many thousands of people have memories of being abducted by aliens, finding themselves onboard spaceships, undergoing invasive medical procedures that leave no mark, meeting non-earthly beings that convey important messages to humanity or spiritual revelations, or having extraterrestrial sexual encounters. All these can be attributed to lucid dreaming REM intrusions and REM paralysis. " (p.196.)

While this is a too simplistic a statement, to me, there would appear to be some possible insights into UFO abductions arising from Nelson's work.

What do blog readers think?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Categorised and easily referenced

One of the most ordinary things we do in our lives is to take things we know and order them into a fashion which makes them well categorised and easily referenced. Unfortunately, it is probably the best and worst thing we ever do with regard to the UFO phenomenon.

The reason I say this is because every single incident is unique and often subjective in the remarks of a witness. Yet, the best way to file these incidents is to refer to them under a summary name of sorts. I guess that's okay, but it can lead to missing the important details that indeed set it apart from all others.

Allen Hendry wrote in his publication 'UFO Handbook' (1979, Doubleday) that if ants were to notice cars , trucks and buses as strange objects that flashed past a far away vantage point in an infrequent fashion, they would probably have the same problem. According to us humans, not all cars are the same; in fact, that's almost like swearing to some fanatics! As for trucks, well, I'm not sure what ants would make of them, but even we notice the difference as stark.

Yet, observers who did not know what they were would begin to categorise as we do.
Most of the works I consider to be standout cases are referred to as a Night light or a close encounter of the 1st, 2nd or 3rd kind, or maybe something else.

Keith Basterfield extended a catalogue early this century in order to summarise the vast amount of cases we were uncovering for public viewing from the National Archives. To this day, I still believe this to be the best of its type. The reason is that the opening line describes more detail than a single phrase. For I am human in my research methods and I will be looking for something logical to follow as to where I can or indeed will find certain cases. But they will not be so easily categorised, referenced or called by just a singular phrase.



Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saucer committee in South Australia in 1954

Hi all

A while ago, I had an article published in the "UFOlogist magazine" which reviewed the history of UFO research in my home state of South Australia. During the course of my research I managed to locate and interview a number of then living individuals, who were part of this history.

In that article, I managed to reach back as far as 1953 when Frederick Phillip Stone started the Australian Flying Saucer Club, here in Adelaide.

1954- a UFO Committee:

Recently, while searching a newspaper archive database, I came across some material of interest from 1954 which I don't think has seen the light of day since then. Certainly, I have never seen any reference to it in the UFO literature. I will set out what I found, for the record.

The subject matter is a "Flying Saucer committee" which was set up to study reports of flying saucers seen in South Australia.

The first hint of the committee came in an article in the newspaper "Barrier Miner" (Broken Hill, New South Wales) dated Thursday 14 January 1954, on page 1. This story read:

"An expert committee will study reports of flying saucers in South Australia.

"Formation of the committee follows the widespread public interest in phenomenon seen over South Australia in recent weeks.

"The members include Emeritus Professor Sir Kerr Grant (formerly professor of Physics at Adelaide University), Mr R M Rechner (an experienced wartime pilot and now South Australian manager of Trans-Australia Airlines), the R.A.A.F. intelligence officer at Mallala (Flight-Lieut R. Miller) with the President of the Astronomical Society of South Australia (Professor L G Huxley) as a consultant. Professor Huxley is Physics Professor at Adelaide."

This led me on to a second newspaper article from "The Mail" Saturday 16 January 1954 page 4. This article reads:

"The Mail and the News have sponsored a committee to investigate flying saucers.

"The committee so far is:
Professor Sir Kerr Grant former physics professor.
Professor L G Huxley present physics professor.
Mr R M Rechner, wartime pilot and TAA manager in SA.
Flight Lieut R Miller RAAF intelligence officer at Mallala.
Mrs J Neale, housewife of Linden Park.
Mr Frank Shaw. The Mail and The News aviation correspondent.
The weather bureau director Mr R Hogan will act as meteorological consultant.

"The committee will study and discuss all reports and try to find a satisfactory explanation of the mysterious objects reported in our skies in recent weeks.

"Readers are invited to send reports to The Mail and The News to put before the committee."

Further information:

I looked to find further newspaper items on the committee and its members. On page 1 of the Advertiser newspaper for Friday 9 April 1954 I found an item titled "Flying Saucers Dubbed "Epidemic of Delusion" which mentions Professor Sir Kerr Grant. "Flying Saucers were an "epidemic of delusion", similar to many in the past, Professor Sir Kerr Grant said last night. He was taking part in a symposium on "Flying Saucers" in the Lady Symon Hall, arranged by the Adelaide University Science Association.

"Reported sightings of Flying Saucers were due to either natural phenomena, wishful seeing, or sheer mendacity," said professor Sir Kerr Grant. The State Manager of TAA (Mr R M Rechner) said the flying saucers had appeared in SA in such exotic forms as "flying dumb-bell," and a "flying needle." Possibly they were caused by different altitudes of aircraft, heat haze from the hills, or even practical jokes.

" Mr B Rote who was a meteorological officer with the RAAF during the World War II, and is now with the Long Range Weapons Establishment, said that possibly intelligent beings did exist on another planet, and were far ahead of us in aeronautics."

Page 7 of the Saturday 5 June 1954 issue of "The Advertiser" ran the following:

"Over the next couple of months, there might be many reports from people claiming to have seen "flying saucers" the Professor of Physics at Adelaide University, Professor L G Huxley said yesterday.

" Professor Huxly said he agreed with a U S Army Air Force statement yesterday that the "flying saucer season" which coincided with the July-August meteor showers was just coming up.

" We have long been aware that "flying saucers" might be associated with meteor showers," he said. "But we do doubt whether all the reports are connected with meteors, because generally they are not visible and must be detected by radar."

A note:

The Rt Hon R G Casey, Federal Minister for External Affairs, in the Australian Government, wrote to the Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, on Saturday 30 January 1954 (page 2) and suggested one of the explanations for flying saucers were meteors.

Friday, March 18, 2011

New book alert - John B Alexander

Dear readers

I have been waiting for the arrival of this work by John B Alexander. The book is titled "UFOs:myths,conspiracies, and realities." published 2011 by Thomas Dunne Books of New York. ISBN 978-0-312-64834-3.

The long weekend here in Adelaide (we had a public holiday in honor of a horse race) was indeed an ideal opportunity to thoroughly read this new book and digest its contents. It is a must have on the book shelf for the serious UFO researcher.

Acknowledgements:

I don't very often carefully peruse the acknowledgements page of a book, but I did so for this work. Here we will find old friends in Hal Puthoff; Kit Green; Jacques Vallee; Howell McConnell and Paul Smith. We also find a number of UFO researchers including Peter Sturrock, John Mack, Dave Pritchard. In addition there are astronaut Edgar Mitchell; activist Steven Bassett and researcher Colm Kelleher.

The acknowledgements indicate the depth of "insider" knowledge brought to bear by Alexander in this tome.

Foreword;

The foreword is by renowned researcher Jacques Vallee. It's central issue revolves around the question of whether or not there was a secret study of UFOs going on in the US government? It was a question Vallee tried to answer in his "Forbidden Science-Volume 2" book.

Introduction:

Following a commentary by author Tom Clancy, Burt Rutan provides his perspective on the UFO phenomenon. "A reason that I remain an ET sceptic is that, for forty-five years I have been in a position to handle sensitive technical information and have not heard of anything related to ET hardware or reverse-engineering projects." (p.xxv.)

Prologue:

"UFOs are real! With no prevarication or qualification of terms, there are physical objects of unknown origin that do transit our universe." (p.1.)

Background:

Alexander's U.S. Army career was anything but normal. In 1980, he submitted a piece to "Military Review" called "The New Mental battlefield" which featured remote viewing and other psychic aspects of future possible warfare. This publication ultimately lead him to participate in an Army think-tank, and from there to the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) and Major General Albert "Bert" Stubblehine. "It was under the guidance and protection of General Stubblehine at INSCOM that I actively pursued a wide range of topics including various phenomena...of course, while I was assigned at INSCOM, UFOs from 1981 to 1984 were included in my mix of topics..." (p.12.)

Later, he went to work on a project which looked to coordinate next generation weapons systems. This provided a range of contacts in the technology field, such as at the Lockheed Skunk Works and Area 51.

Advanced Theoretical Physics Project:

Alexander decided to form a group, with an initial aim "...to determine who knew what about UFOs." (p.16.) "To legally avoid answering any UFO FOIA request, I adopted the term advanced theoretical physics..." (p.16.)

Membership of ATP was by invitation only, and no written records of meetings were kept by Alexander. Alexander declines to name a full list of ATP participants but "Membership included people from the Army, navy and Air Force, plus several from defense aerospace industries and some members from the Intelligence Community." (p.17.)

"Dr Bob Wood, then with McDonnell Douglas has identified himself as a participant to other UFO researchers. (p.17.) "Howell McConnell had been participating in the ATP from the beginning." (p.30.)

Intriguingly, a key question of who is the US government knew things - "The basic assumption remained the same-there was some secret organisation that had responsibility for the phenomenon. However, everyone from an organisation that seemed a likely candidate-either from the U.S. government or aerospace industry -thought it was some other agency or group that was conducting the research." (p.17.)

The ATP concluded that "some UFO cases were real anomalies..." (p.18.)

The search:

Alexander used the material gathered by ATP, prepared a briefing and set out to talk to people in the U.S. Government and private sector about UFOs. So between 1984 and 1988 he did just this. Alexander spoke to such people as Ben Rich, Lockheed Skunk Works; Dr Edward Teller; Burt Rutan; and organisation such as NORAD; the Defence Intelligence Agency; the Central Intelligence Agency; the National Security Agency; the Strategic Defence Initiative, and the Army Science Board.

"What I learned in my personal, face-to-face meetings runs counter to the wild tales that abound in conspiracy theory literature...despite their high level positions; they all seemed to think that someone else was responsible for the topic." (p.39.)

In short, he states "...finding no-one was responsible for this topic anywhere in the U.S. Government." (p.1.)

Phillip Corso:

Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Phillip Corso wrote a book called "The Day After Roswell." "The book was purported to be the quintessential insider's revelation of information that the U. S. Government did retrieve a UFO at Roswell, New Mexico." (p.40.)

"Unfortunately, few of the extraordinary claims had any truth in them." (p.40.)

"Troubling were topics that ran counter to the known history of technological developments. " (p.42.) "However, when it comes to Corso's past, little is easy to follow. The basic reported path seems accurate, with a fair amount of fluff involved." (p.43.)

"Corso's most fundamentally important claim was that ET technology assisted in many of our scientific and engineering advances. This assertion is fatally flawed." (pp45-46.)

Condon etc:

Alexander revisits the Condon report of the late 1960's; explores the issue of how the U.S. Government works; U.S. Presidents and their UFO interests; and the topic of Majestic 12; the UFO views of a number of U.S. astronauts, and conspiracy theories.

Hard data:

Chapter 10 takes a look at strong UFO cases. The UK Bentwaters 1980 events; the 1980's Cash-Landrum case; the 1973 Mansfield helicopter encounter; the 1997 Phoenix lights; some fot eh evenst at Gilf Breeze; the Malstrom Air Force base in 1967; and others are reviewed.

He reviews evidence from the United Kingdom and NATO, and goes into detail on the 1976 Tehran, Iran aircraft encounter.

Speculations:

Alexander puts forward an hypothesis. "There is a concept I propose for consideration termed precognitive sentient phenomena (PSP)...The Precognitive Sentient Phenomena concept suggests that there is some external controlling agent that initiates these events that are observed and reported. It appears as though that agent not only determines all factors of the event, but is already (ie precognitively) aware of how the observers or researchers will respond to any given stimuli." (p.227.)

Alexander says "What is suggested is that there is a need to cast a broader net for content and not just limit the input to sightings of hard physical objects." (p.229.)

"We agree that at times hard, physical craft exist, but there is much more to the phenomena. Unfortunately the true boundaries are unknown. It seems certain that human consciousness is at least part of the formula." (p.229.)

"It is therfore my contention that if there is any hope of understanding the phenomena, it is imperative thatt he search be expanded nor delimited." (p.229.)

Alexander even puts forward proposals for studing PSP and outlines these ideas on page 238.

Disclosure:

"In reality, the disclosure movement is both a distraction and disingenious." (p.239.)

"For the record, I do not believe that there are pervasive secrets held by government officials that would change how people regard this issue." (p.240.)

Roswell:

"There are several alternatives that seem to make more sense than a crashed UFO...First of all, the location must be suspect." (p.243.) By this the author means that it occurred in the heart of a military test area.

However, his final words are: "Explaining Roswell is never easy, and given the high degree of cross-contamination of information, the truth will probably remain forever clouded. "(p248.)

Alien abductuions:

"Like UFOs, there are tantilizing indications that some tangible evidence points to the physical reality of at least some of these events." (p.249.)

Epilogue:

"There is little doubt that some unidentified flying objects are real, three dimensional solid objects, which are physically present and observable." (p269.)

As regards to moving UFO research forward, Alexander states "There is an urgent need to support scientists who are willing to investigate phenomena, including UFOs." He also suggest that the "Office of the Secrtary of Defence should issue a directive releasing every official witness from any prior security restriction, thus allowing free discussion of previously untold accounts."

In conclusion:

"Based on credible witnesses and backed by physical evidence, I conclude that the UFO observations are manifestations of issues that are anfractuous and beyond current comprehension. The extraterrestrial hypothesis is but one possibility, and probably not the best fit with the facts." (p.273.)

Comments:

I thorughly enjoyed this most important book. Alexander provides a no-frills, hard hitting examination of the UFO phenomenon from the perspective of an individual who has done the hard work in arriving at his current conclusions.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sky phenomenon in 1793 in Australia

Hi all

I visited the rooms of the Royal Geographic Society on North Terrace, Adelaide, the other day to take a look at a report of a sky phenomenon I'd read about in a UFO book. After 20 minutes of searching, I located a book which contained an account of the phenomenon. The book was published in 1798, 213 years ago!

The book was titled "An account of the English Colony in New South Wales: with remarks on the disposition, customs, manners, &c of the native inhabitants of that country." The author was David Collins who was listed as the late Judge Advocate and Secretary of the colony. The book was printed by T Cadell, Jun. & W Davies. London. 1798.

The phenomenon was described on page 285 as follows. I have corrected the use of the letter "f" for some uses of the letter "s" to make it easier to read.

"An extraordinary appearance in the sky was observed by several people between five and six o'clock in the evening of Friday the 12th of the month. It was noticed in the north-west, and appeared as if a ray of forked lightning had been stationary in that quarter of the sky for about fifteen minutes, which was the time it was visible. It was not to be discerned, however, after the sun had quitted the horizon."

The date of observation was 12 April 1793.

I also checked two later editions of the book. The same description appeared on page 211 of the 1804 edition, and on pages 181-182 in the 1910 edition.

Howell McConnell - ex NSA -2

Dear readers

After completing my last post about Howell McConnell from the NSA, and being unable to find out anything about his UFO interests post 1974, imagine my surprise when I picked up John B Alexander's new book "UFOs:myth, conspiracies, and realities," and who should be in there but Howell McConnell.

The ATP:

Alexander tells of setting up an "Advanced Theoretical Physics Project (ATP.) "This was a small internal group drawn from the government and aerospace industry, all of whom were interested in the topic." (p.6.) "Membership was highly restricted and it was literally an old boy network." (p.16.) "Membership included people from the Army, Navy,and Air Force plus several from defense aerospace industries and some members from the Intelligence community." (p.17.) "The first set of meetings and briefings were conducted from 1984 through 1988." (p.21.)

Howell McConnell:

"Howell McConnell had been participating in the ATP from the beginning. McConnell was a career employee at No Such Agency, as some people refer to this super secret organization, which was located a stone's throw outside the Washington Beltway at Fort Meade, Maryland.

"Based on his own initiative and personal concern about UFOs, Howell had written a position paper on the topic that was made available to his superiors. Upon a document search responding to a written request under FOIA, that paper had been released by NSA. Thus, he was known to the public as informed in the area. For personal reasons, Howell and Jack, a coworker of his, had a deep interest in the topic." (p.30.)

"When it came to record keeping, Howell was also a saving grace in NSA. While civilians seem to believe that every piece of information that goes into the U.S. Government is saved, that is not true. Especially in the days of paper files, Washington, D.C., would have sunk into the swamp on which it is built just under the sheer weight of the documents. Rather, most material was scheduled for routine destruction after a specified date. Using an old boy net, McConnell had become known inside NSA for his interest in UFOs and incoming reports were regularly funnelled to him.

"He kept many of those reports long after their expiration date. It is important to note that the vast majority of those documents were from intelligence officers around the world who were sending in reports that appeared in their local newspapers. There were a few that got our attention, as they came from trusted sources. However, even having reports with high credibility, and possible military significance, was not sufficient to get formal collection requirements related to UFOs." (p.31)

"As ATP progressed, Howell, jack and I did meet with a very senior official in the NSA regarding what had been concluded thus far in our study. Like the senior officials from the other agencies, he was interested but had nothing to offer. There was no problem with Howell keeping track of information regarding UFOs, but no requirement to do so. Most of the UFO reports that came into NSA were generated by people located at foreign sites passing on routine information they thought worth observing." (p.31.)

Strategic Defense Initiative:

In a page dedicated to a briefing of Lieutenant General Jim Abrahamson, head of SDI, the briefing included the subject of UFOs, there is a statement "While the Air Force data from Space command got some interest, it was the NSA material that received the most attention." (p.33.)

What was this material? It was "...statements from Dr F Yu Zigel, a senior Soviet astronomer and laboratory director..." (p.33.)

"Obviously the Soviet scientists that NSA was listening to did not doubt the reality of the UFOs. "How did you get this?" General Abrahamson asked, seemingly shocked by the verbatim transcript. McConnell responded, explaining our technical eavesdropping methodologies..." (p.34.)

Documentation:

"For UFO buffs, that means a lot of material that they are looking for simply doesn't exist. Previously mentioned was Howell McConnell, who worked at NSA and is known to some UFO researchers. McConnell did have a small number of highly sensitive files regarding UFOs in his possession. In some cases they had passed their normal date for destruction. Had he not kept the files on his personal safe, they would have been routinely destroyed, and with-out a record of their prior existence." (p.205.)

Frauds:

"...when people came forward with extraordinary tales about how they encountered UFO projects in the Black World, they can easily be spotted by those who understand the system and have really worked in it. When former officials like Colonel Bill Coleman of the Air Force or Howell McConnell of NSA discuss their activities in the field, their descriptions fit entirely..." (p.208.)

Comments:

This and the previous post do indicate that there were indeed individuals in various agencies such as the NSA, who had a deep interest in the UFO phenomenon, even though there was not an official requirement to collect data on the subject.

It is noted that if one didn't come across Howell McConnell in sources such as Vallee's dairies or Alexander's book, then the average researcher would never know of this interest.

An internet search on "Howell McConnell" turned up two entries:

1. McConnell was a key speaker in February 2001 at the Las Vegas "Black Hat Windows 2000 security conference." By then he had retired from the NSA. Click here.

2. He became a tour guide at the National Cryptologic Museum at Fort Meade, the home of the NSA. Click here.

Click here for what I believe is McConnell's 1968 NSA paper.

Have readers come across anything else on his UFO interests?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Howell McConnell - the UFO man from the NSA

Dear readers

Here in Adelaide, South Australia, we have a period of cultural entertainment known as "The Fringe." 250 shows of a variety of types, take over the City's venues, and provide a deliciously different perspective on life. With names such as "The Freak and the Showgirl" these shows take one away from everyday life into worlds where anything is possible. A little like the UFO phenomenon.

On a rather oddly cool, but still warm day, where it is trying to rain, but not quite succeeding, I am enjoying our local long weekend, with a glass of Moscato, a white wine, and thinking of the National Security Agency. A rather odd combination one might think, but here is why.

Old posts:

With my interest in all things Jacques Vallee, and intelligence agencies, I decided to take another look at one aspect of the relevance of the National Security Agency (NSA) and UFOs.

The NSA website:

The NSA lists all of its Freedom of Information Act UFO documents (click here.)
I reviewed the content of the NASA UFO documents in a series of posts on this blog between 29 December 2009 and 4 January 2010.

The documents cover the period 1955 to 1994. So, as late as 1994, someone in the NSA was collecting documents relating to UFOs. The 1994 document, by the way, was a 22 page summary of the USAF's report on "Roswell."

One of these documents is a "Memorandum for the Record" dated 29 August 1978. It originated with an unnamed NSA employee with an interest in UFOs who attended a MUFON UFO Symposium in Ohio in July 1978 (click here for more on this symposium.). The employee discussed their interest with their supervisor and others in the NSA.

At the symposium the employee gathered copies of some letters from a Mr Barry, which the NSA employee, thought were fraudulent. Eventually, some agency, NSA or another, wrote to Mr Barry and advised him that the letters were indeed fraudulent.

I wondered who that NSA employee could be?

Vallee:

Jacques Vallee, in his "Forbidden Science-Volume 2" diaries makes mention of an NSA employee who like then CIA Dr Christopher "Kit" Green, (see my previous posts on Green)showed an interest in UFOs. (Vallee, J. 2008. "Forbidden Science-Volume Two- Journals 1970-1979-The Belmont Years." Documentica Research, LLC. ISBN 978-0-615-24974-2.)The volume has the following relevant entries:

27 October 1972

"At the Hilton desk I found a note from Puthoff with instructions to call a certain "locator number" and to ask for Howell McConnell. I was supposed to say I was referred to him by "R.T." I have just called the locator, which rings inside NSA and left a message." (For more on Puthoff click here.)

28 October 1972

"Howell McConnell does work at the National Security Agency, one of the most secretive components of the Intelligence Community whose initials are said to stand for "Never Say Anything" or "No Such Agency." He arrived looking like a jovial math teacher, a rotund character with spectacles and gray mustache, oddly sweet for a man in the spook business. We sat in the dining room, ordered a pot of coffee, and spent the whole morning there.

I was ready for almost anything, except for that discussion about mysticism, he nature of the universe, poetry, cosmic consciousness...I had prepared an introduction: "I want to talk to you on a confidential, personal basis, not as a member of any research group," I began. We seemed to be on trusting terms, but I remained on guard. Aren't these people trained to project an impression of trust? I explained why professional scientists rejected the idea of a phenomenon which threatened their mental structures."

"Bureaucrats are just like your scientists," he said. "I work for a bunch of bureaucrats whose tendency, too, is to deny. But an Agency like ours can take no risks. So we keep an eye on things. If something does happen, they'll be able to say they were aware of the situation, that one of their analysts was informed, his documentation up to date..."

He asked me if I'd ever heard of a group based at Wright-Patterson, which is supposed to do secret analyses on behalf of the Air Force. He's heard that the office in question confiscated UFO negatives in order to analyze them secretly.

"Perhaps we should continue this discussion in my room," I suggested, aware that a group of people had come in, sitting down at a table close to us. Howell laughed.

"In a hotel like this the rooms are equipped with listening devices. The security men need to find out about any improprieties. Who knows who may be paying them to get information? We're much more private here, right in the restaurant.

That remark threw me into a world of new questions. I thought back about the incident of the previous night. In the rest of our discussion we went deep into the topics of psychic reality. I told him about my computer compilation.

"This catalogue of yours is more important in terms of the consciousness evolution it represents than as computer data..."

That remark led us towards psychic phenomena, where he knew a great deal, and mysticism, his favourite topic. "What an unfortunate word, mysticism!" he said. "I prefer to speak of contemplation. Nothing exists in itself, only in relationship to other entities, so if you think about it, everything goes back to the triad, the Trinity."

This turned our talk to religion. He belongs to the Charismatic Community, which strives to reach a higher level of consciousness through prayer, miraculous cures of the sick. He compared my catalog to prehistoric paintings of animals on cave walls, a magical representation of the hunter and the hunted, except that my own magic was that of the computer. He added: "If you ever need help, don't hesitate to call me." But I don't plane to require help from the NSA."

31 October 1972

"This morning I walked over to Puthoff's office...I told him about my talk with McConnell... I was reminded of the parting words of Howell McConnell: "I am surprised by such meetings, by the meaning of apparent coincidences," he said "And I wonder who we are."

21 February 1973

"Hal has come back from another trip to Washington. After our failure to get anywhere with well-intentioned McConnell, who evidently knows nothing, Hal has spoken to other "Government officials in a position to discover the true state of affairs" about UFOs."

3 May 1973

"Two letters have arrived, both touching on the topic of evil. One is from Aime Michel and the other from Howell McConnell...Howell's letter revolves around a classified meeting he recently had with Geller, presumably in the Washington area.

"My conversation with him convinces me that we are about to cross the border to the new world mentioned in "the future of man." He forces us to confront the pitfalls we must meet when we lift the cover of Pandora's box."

Howell sends me some books by Christian novelist C.S. Lewis, who uses science-fiction as a vehicle for ideas about the grand cosmic fight. Then he asks for detailed biographies of Geller and Ingo Swann! I don't intend to play along. Doesn't NSA have its own channels to get that kind of information?" (For more on Michel click here.)

16 October 1973

"Today I had lunch with Hal Puthoff...I told Hal about my frustration with NSA and McConnell, a nice guy with strong religious beliefs but no hard data..."

2 February 1974

"In a recent letter McConnell mentions a delightful story he found in a book by Thomas Merton about the Fathers of the Desert. A hermit was once visited by an Angel of Light who told him: "Behold, I am Archangel Gabriel and I have a message for thee!" The humble man was unimpressed : "I have done nothing to deserve such a great honor," he told his celestial visitor. "Go and take your message to someone else!" Quite a lesson for our New Age gurus."

2 February 1974

Speaking of Dr Christopher "Kit" Green, "The most important thing I learned was that Green had counterparts in every branch of the Executive. Like Howell McConnell they mainly operated "out of personal interest."" (For more on Green click here.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Valerie Ransone - an update

Hi all

Valerie Ransone was a 1970's contactee who featured in accounts by both former astronaut Gordon Cooper and ufologist Jacques Vallee. I previously posted a piece on this blog about Ransone, dated 22 January 2011.

This post provides an update on two additional pieces of Internet information which have been located since. The first was found by blog reader Mic who ascertained that ufologist Bruce Maccabee had encountered Ransone at one stage (although he recorded her name as Ranson.)

In the winter 1997-1998 issue of the International UFO Reporter, Maccabee published an article "You Don't Mess with Ashtar!" It concerned the concept of channelled information from elsewhere.

"Many years earlier I had gone to a public lecture by a lady, Valerie Ranson, who in the late 1970's was travelling through the USA trying to raise money for a project to usher in the new age of space brothers etc.

She was a trance channel and did channeling during the lecture. She talked about the ancient powers and Atlantis and destruction of the earth and saving souls etc. I was one of the lucky persons to get to ask a question to whoever it was she was channeling at the time (I forget the name.) I asked whether or not life in the universe had been "seeded" by "panspermia." She didn't recognise the word so I gave a brief explanation ...she mumbled and spluttered a bit and then made some comment to the effect that I shouldn't ask such incomprehensible questions and then went on to the next question. I, of course, didn't think it was incomprehensible and beside I figured the source of her information should "know everything." As far as I was concerned she flunked the "channel test."

(Source: http://brumac.8k.com/ashtar.html)

I found the second item in the MUFON Journal, December 1980, page 20. In the "In Other Words" column by Lucius Farish there was the following:

"The October 7 issue of National Inquirer reports that a California-based group, the Interplanetary Network, claims that more than 1,500 people around the world have been contacted by extraterrestrial beings. Valerie Jean Ransone of the Network termed the contact "part of a precise program of communication" on the part of the aliens."

(Source: http://www.theblackvault.com/encyclopedia/documents/MUFON/Journals/1980/December_1980.pdf

These two items add further details to those revealed in my original post.

Have any readers come across a reference to "The Interplanetary Network.?"

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lightforms

Hi all

I have just been reading a book titled "Spiritual Encounters with Unusual Light Phenomena: Lightforms" by Mark Fox. The book was published in 2008 by the University of Wales Press, but I have only recently become aware of it.

As it mainly is off the topic of UFOs I have posted an article about it at http://anomalies-australiancomments.blogspot.com

Worth a look.