Adelaide has now settled into its winter weather pattern. We have cool days of clear blue skies and sunshine, followed by south-westerly changes, which bring rain and cooler temperatures. It rained here overnight and I took the opportunity to pull out another unread UFO book from "the pile by the bed." This one has just reached the bookshops in Adelaide. So here are my impressions of it.
My local library has just joined up with the new "One card" network which allows you to see the catalogue of other libraries in South Australia, and borrow from throughout the combined network. A great initiative, which has just produced today's new book.
'UFO Strange Space on Earth" was published this year, 2012, and is written by Paul Whitehead and George Wingfield form the UK. The front inside cover tells me that "Paul Whitehead was editor of the Flying Saucer Review for many years. He lives in England. George Wingfield is an expert in astronomy and ancient sites, and has studied UFO cases for more than 20 years. He lives in England and Iowa."
The book (ISBN 978-0-8027-7788-1) is one in a series of titles being published by Walker & Company of New York, under the theme "Small books, Big ideas," and is 58 pages in length.
"Every year thousands of people see unfamiliar aircraft, stars, planets, artificial satellites and even luminous clouds, which they fail to recognise. Yet, while these certainly account for many UFOs, there remain hundreds of others that defy explanation and it is these encounters that are the subject of this book." (p.1.)
The book starts off by taking a look at ancient writings and drawings of things which are suggestive of UFOs. There are then snippets of information on Roswell; the 1959 Father Gill CE3 case; contactees; the 1964 Socorro CE2 and the 1965 CE3Valensole event.
The 1975 Walton and 1957 Villa Boas cases are used to illustrate the abduction phenomenon. "But are these real events or fantasises, and is there any historical precedent for such bizarre claims?" (p.16.) The author's views on abductions may be deduced from the next item which is headed "Away with the Faeries: getting closer to the truth." Each section of text is richly illustrated with between three and eight illustrations.
The work continues with all too brief sections on the 1976 Tehran, Iran, aircraft encounter; Rendelsham Forest; the Hudson Valley wave; the Belgium flap, and the 1993 Kelly Cahill encounter from Australia.
It moves on to discuss researching the phenomenon. "Researching the UFO phenomenon can be extremely difficult. Not only do we not know where and when to find them, but many of the more interesting events, affecting national security as they do, tend to be covered up, or "shown" to be hoaxes." (p.40.)
A review of the origins of the phenomenon includes a look at "Could UFOs be archetypal visions...djinns - naughty spirits parading as physical craft...a Mercurial communication, timely confusions brought to us by the trickster messenger of the gods..." (p.42.)
In conclusion the authors write "The UFO phenomenon therefore spans all points of view from sinister paranoid outlook ("We are being farmed") to evolutionary spiritual models of the universe ("They are waiting for us to awake.")."
The book closes with a list of "100 notable UFO sightings" between 1878 and 2010. However, some of their summaries, eg the January 1988 Knowles family event lacks knowledge of the detailed documentation on a case and seems drawn from mass media source. No doubt, due to space limitations, there are no references cited for these case summaries, which reduces their value.
A very light weight contribution to the UFO literature.