A topic about outer-space and everything in it, from little green men to big spirally galaxies

Google Celebrates Roswell with Alien Doodle

Roswell Google Doodle

Forteans will enjoy today's Google Doodle, which celebrates the 66th anniversary of the Roswell 'UFO' Incident with a little alien treasure-hunt game.

If you come to this story late, you should be able to find it in the Google Doodle archive.

UK UFO Files Part 10

The final instalment of the UK Ministry of Defence's UFO files has been posted to the UFO page at the British National Archives, and can be freely downloaded by anyone interested in the topic. This latest release brings to a close the 'disclosure' of what has been labeled "Britain's X-Files":

The final tranche of UFO files released by The National Archives contain a wide range of UFO-related documents, drawings, letters, and photos and parliamentary questions covering the final two years of the Ministry of Defence's UFO Desk (from late 2007 until November 2009).

Discover the reasons behind the closure of the UFO desk, the handling of the largest number of UFO sighting reports received in 30 years and the disclosure campaign for ‘the truth’, which was sparked by the closure of the UFO Desk.

Start by reading our highlights guide (PDF, 363kb) to help navigate your way through the files.

As mentioned above, many of the files are taken up with the matter of the UFO desk's closure, but you'll also find a number of other things covered, from a mass of Chinese Lantern sightings through to interesting cases involving things like (what seems to be) ball lightning. Dr David Clarke has a good summary in the video above, and also check out the highlights guide (PDF) for pointers on where to find certain cases. Note that there is also now an app available for exploring the files on Apple devices.

With this final release being the 10th instalment of UFO files made available, I've added links below to our coverage of previous releases so that this post can be a definitive reference point for Grailers:

Total Perspective Vortex Redux

Centre of the Milky Way Galaxy

For those that like to take in a vista of galactic proportions: a photo I took last weekend of the centre of our galaxy, as seen from the dark skies of northern Australia (camera was a Canon 6D). Sharp-eyed folk will be able to see the constellation Scorpius among the throng of stars in the middle of the image (hint, look for the red giant Antares).

You can click the image for a larger version. I consider the pic to be public domain, so feel free to use it in any way you want.

A Fractured Hall of Mirrors

Half-way through watching Mirage Men, a new documentary on how U.S. Intelligence agencies have deliberately sabotaged research into the UFO topic, I literally shook my head, saying to myself with a laugh "it's a hall of mirrors". By the end of the documentary, my statement had been echoed and expanded upon by one of the interviewees, Linda Moulton Howe, who described the entire story as "a fractured hall of mirrors with a quicksand floor". Howe should know: in 1983, while researching a documentary on the subject of UFOs for HBO, she was engaged by Richard 'Rick' Doty, an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), initially with the promise of helping her investigate an alleged UFO landing near Ellsworth Air Force Base. But Howe's meeting with Doty took an unexpected turn when the AFOSI agent suddenly produced a manila folder, saying she could take a look at it but, not remove it from the office or make notes. Within it was a document titled "Briefing Paper for the President of the United States of America on the Subject of Unidentified Aerial Vehicles", which listed a number of alleged UFO crash retrievals by the government, as well as paragraphs that became "emblazoned" on Howe's mind concerning how they had discovered that Homo sapiens was a species created by extraterrestrials through genetic manipulation of primates. Amazed by the information fed to her by the government agency at the time, in Mirage Men Howe looks back with three decades of perspective and wonders at the the amount of effort that must have gone into the deception: "they must have had meetings about 'how do we stop a persistent and dogged reporter who has already demonstrated that she's going to go after a really difficult subject?'." The question that comes to mind, and which runs throughout this entire film, is 'WHY?'.

This was not the first time that AFOSI agent Doty had willingly mislead investigators of the UFO subject, and it would not be the last. As such, he serves as the focal character in the documentary; it begins with the deception he helped orchestrate on Albuquerque businessman Paul Bennewitz, goes on to discuss the Linda Moulton Howe case, the infamous Majestic-12 documents (described in the film by another AFOSI agent, Walter Bosley, as the "perfect Perception Management Device", though Doty denies any involvement with it) and extends forward to the more recent controversy over the 'Project Serpo' hoax.

And Doty is no doubt a worthy candidate for the film to revolve around. Coming to the documentary with a fair amount of knowledge about Doty's deceptions over the years – with consequences (direct and otherwise) ranging from the wasting of UFO investigators' time through to the mental disintegration, eventual hospitalisation and death of Paul Bennewitz – I already had a dislike for the man, and was ready to truly despise him. But one of the things that catches you off guard is how harmless and genial he seems - the man is sitting before the camera, telling you how he has deceived people, and yet you feel that he seems to be a nice guy that you'd happily chat with at a neighbourhood barbeque. Though as Bill Ryan, who was initially taken in by the Serpo deception, points out, that's what makes him so effective: "Rick's great strength is he's a wonderful story-teller", says Ryan. "He's a very friendly guy [and] builds relationships easily". ... Read More »

Earth Is An Alien Planet

Who needs science fiction for terrifying and bizarre alien species? The sea's strangest square mile shows that Earth is an alien planet.

Ancient Aliens Meet Cavemen

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"Hey Ugg, where did you say you found these mushrooms?" h/t CyberPipeSmoker.

Via Lauren Davis at io9, here's a terrific piece by artist Chris Rallis, depicting first contact between ancient humans & extraterrestrial visitors. It'd look fantastic on the wall of the Grail Cave; maybe Chris can add psilocybin mushrooms for a special print. I get a Plato's cave vibe from the piece. What do you think?

Margaret Thatcher and UFO Secrets

Thatcher Letter on UFO controversy

Over at his blog, UFO researcher David Clarke says "the death of ‘Iron Lady’ Margaret Thatcher has deprived UFOlogists of an answer to an enduring question: what did she really know about Britain’s Roswell incident?"

Thatcher, who died on 8 April aged 87, was 19 months into her first term as Prime Minister in 1980 when US airmen at the nuclear-armed twin airbase RAF Bentwaters-Woodbridge reported ‘unexplained lights’ (UFOs) hovering above Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk.

The ‘Rendlesham Forest’ incident happened at the height of the Cold War when tensions in Poland – then behind the Iron Curtain -were reaching crisis point. In the years that followed, the Ministry of Defence drew up secret plans to base US cruise missiles at RAF Greenham Common and US airbases in eastern England and was keen to avoid drawing attention to a persistent story about a UFO landing near one of them.

...Georgina Bruni revealed that she had quizzed Thatcher face-to-face about her knowledge of UFOs and Rendlesham.

The bizarre conversation took place in London at a charity cocktail party during 1997, shortly after the former Prime Minister had returned from an engagement in Washington DC. At the time Bruni was working on a book that she hoped would expose ‘the truth’ about Britain’s Roswell.

Seizing the opportunity, Bruni asked her opinion on UFOs and claims that world leaders knew about the existence of alien technology. She received this response:

Head to David Clarke's blog to find out what Lady Thatcher said, and how people have attempted to explain it.

All Those Moments Will Remain, Like Tears in Space...

Poets and space opera writers take note: tears don't fall in space.

I'm Not Saying It Was Aliens...

Help Me You Idiots...

...but it was aliens.

(via @AnomalistNews/@OverTim)

Aliens on Earth: The Tardigrade

Tardigrade

Earth is an alien planet. For evidence, look no further than the 'water bear', or tardigrade - one of the toughest creatures you'll find, able even to survive in space:

Is this an alien? Probably not, but of all the animals on Earth, the tardigrade might be the best candidate. That's because tardigrades are known to be able to go for decades without food or water, to survive temperatures from near absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, to survive pressures from near zero to well above that on ocean floors, and to survive direct exposure to dangerous radiations.

The far-ranging survivability of these extremophiles was tested in 2011 outside an orbiting space shuttle. Tardigrades are so durable partly because they can repair their own DNA and reduce their body water content to a few percent. Some of these miniature water-bears almost became extraterrestrials recently when they were launched toward to the Martian moon Phobos on board the Russian mission Fobos-Grunt, but stayed terrestrial when a rocket failed and the capsule remained in Earth orbit. Tardigrades are more common than humans across most of the Earth.

Pictured above in a color-enhanced electron micrograph, a millimeter-long tardigrade crawls on moss.

APOD - Tardigrade in Moss

(hat tip @AnomalistNews)