Copyright 1988, Reproduced by permission from Richard Hall
If we suppose that UFOs carry visitors from elsewhere (extraterrestrial intelligences, or ETIs for convenient shorthand), why are they here? Does the accumulated data provide any clues as to their interests or purposes? Seeking answers may be akin to tea-leaf reading, but we now have 40 years of descriptive information. If we analyze the circumstances of UFO sightings it might be possible to discern some patterns that reveal something about ETI psychology.
We know that the long history of visitation has produced little evidence of overt hostility. Some aircraft accidents and bothersome physiological effects could be evidence of accidental harm or of self-defense. Maybe the ETIs are to us as we are to ants, and if we interfere with their picnic they stomp on us. From the obvious high technology displayed it is possible to infer that if their goal were to destroy us or take us over, this could have been done long ago.
Watching UFO events over a period of decades, you get the feeling of a detached or long-term program of some sort that at times of UFO sighting waves seems about to reach a culmination, but never does. Sudden spurts of confrontational behavior and direct intercession in human activities, as if some final contact or communication were imminent, give way to long lull periods during which the waves are forgotten until next time. The waves usually are sufficiently spectacular to make international headlines, but do not penetrate our cultural inertia to the point of upsetting the routines of society, or even to the point of stimulating a larger scale scientific study.
People react and internalize the events, maintaining a high awareness of UFOs as shown by Gallup polls, but governments do not. The few times that governments have reacted and initiated investigations, the inquiries have floundered in a sea of confusion about what to believe and how to go about a study. Busy scientists have half-heartedly looked at the subject and, noting its ebbs and flows, assumed it must have something to do with mass psychology.
Almost everyone knows about UFOs, and that they might be extraterrestrial in origin, but this is taken to be a popular belief rather than a serious theory justified by things seen. So society marches on undisturbed by the ghostly apparitions, through petroleum crises, Middle East war, crippled economies, and assorted forms of human violence and riots.
If the ETIs wanted to raise our consciousnesses without upsetting world governments, they couldn't adopt a better plan than the manner in which they have manifested themselves to us so far.
The major displays that constitute UFO waves (see Table 6) typically include episodes of blatant interactions with humans and their vehicles. This blatancy factor embedded in UFO waves alternates with periods in which UFO behavior seems more subtle, even furtive. During the lull periods when conventional news media lose interest in the subject, sighting information is difficult to obtain and is only slowly and painfully reconstructed by UFOlogists using their own limited resources. When the information is in, we learn that startling events have continued to occur but, for reasons unknown, they have not attracted the same degree of attention. Human reactions to UFO sightings perhaps are more cyclical than the sightings themselves.
As indicated in Table 6, each wave period has corresponded roughly to major historical events. A far more comprehensive study of such historical correlations is needed before too much significance is attached to them. Something about the nature of news reporting of crises and earth-shaking events may incidentally zero in on UFO reports. But a certain rationale for ETI interest in the rapidly exploding development of human aerospace technology also can be read into the apparent coincidences.
By repeated manifestations in specific contexts of human affairs, UFOs have shown apparent interest in --
* Strategic technology
* Human physiology
In addition to the vehicle encounter cases reported in chapters 1 and 2, some of the earliest significant UFO sightings on record involve aircraft and rocket pacings at such test ranges as White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico, and later at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The ETIs, it could be argued, have displayed curiosity about all forms of human propulsion, from piston engines to jets and rockets.
Every major war in modern times has included UPO sightings at the scene of combat. The "foo-fighters" of World War II were the first widely reported UFOs of the 20th Century.
William D. Leet, late Arkansas State Director for the Mutual UFO Network, was a bomber pilot during World War II. On a "lone wolf" bombing mission over Klagenfurt, Austria, November 24, 1944, he and his B-17 crew were on their bomb run when the plane suddenly was caught in a blinding light for 2-3 seconds, and Leet felt a sensation of heat. If it had been searchlights, the Germans would not have broken off contact. They completed the bomb run safely, encountering no flak, and turned to scurry back to their home airfield in Amendola, Italy.
All at once a round, amber light appeared off the left wing of the B-17, showing a perfectly circular outline, and paced alongside the plane for about 45 minutes before abruptly vanishing. During debriefing, Leet was informed that no searchlights were known to be at Klagenfurt. The intelligence officer suggested that the amber disc was a new German fighter or remote control device radioing position information to antiaircraft guns, but Leet replied that the object did not fire on them, nor had they encountered any flak.
"Foo-fighters" also were seen in the Asian Theater. On August 10, 1944, Capt. Alvah M. Reida was piloting a B-29 on a bombing mission over Sumatra. After leaving the target area he and his crew saw an orange spherical object with a halo effect that paced off the starboard wing. Reida took evasive action, but the UFO followed every maneuver for about 8 minutes. "When it left;" he said, "it made an abrupt 90 degree turn, up and accelerating rapidly:"
Wayne Thomas, Jr, a former group intelligence officer for B-29's stationed on Tinian also has confirmed that "foo fighter" reports were common in the Asian Theater. They would typically move along with the bombers for several minutes at a time before breaking off.
A number of very similar Korean War UFO sightings appear in the records of the Air Force Project Blue Book, now on microfilm in the National Archives. In Project Grudge Report No.4 (Grudge was the immediate predecessor of Blue Book) is the following report:
"On the night of 29 January 1952, 30 miles WSW of Wonson, Korea, three members of a B-29 crew ... observed a light orange colored sphere for a period of five minutes. The object was on a parallel course to the B-29 at 8 o'clock level. The color of the object was further described as being the color of the sun with an occasional bluish tint. The outer edge of the object appeared to be fuzzy and it seemed to have an internal churning movement like flames or fiery gases.
The object closed in on the B-29 to an undetermined distance, and then faded away in the distance:'
The bomber was at 22,500 feet in CAVU weather (clear and visibility unlimited) at 2300 hours local time. At 2324 hours, another B-29 crew observed an identical object near Sunchon.
During his testimony at the 1968 Congressional UFO Symposium, Dr. Robert L. Hall recounted the following experience:
"When I was on the faculty at the University of Minnesota, a student came to me, having heard that I had some interest in this question. He informed me that his father, a colonel, an artillery colonel in Korea ... had flown over a hill in Korea in his observer plane, and found (right next to him virtually) a characteristic unidentified flying object with the usual kind of configuration. It had promptly retreated upwards. It had frightened him, but he was an experienced and trained observer, so he took notes on it ... . When he returned he was so ridiculed and laughed at for a long period of time that he completely gave up trying to have this taken seriously. He refused to talk about it:"
During October 1973 when UFOs were once again making headlines after a long lull, Gen. George S. Brown, Air Force Chief of Staff, said at a press conference: "I don't know if this story has ever been told, but UFOs plagued us in Vietnam during the war!" He cited an incident in early summer of 1968 when a series of sightings set off quite a battle (with) an Australian destroyer taking a hit;' and another in 1969 that resulted in "some shooting."
A spectacular sighting occurred in June 1966 at Nha Trang, an active base on the coastline of South Vietnam. About 9:45 p.m. there was a flash of light and a UFO approached, descended in plain view of numerous soldiers, and hovered a few hundred feet off the ground, its glow illuminating the entire area. The base generator failed and the base was blacked out. Idling aircraft engines, bulldozers, trucks, everything (including some diesel engines) failed for about 4 minutes. The UFO finally "went straight up" and rapidly disappeared from view.
Colonel Robert M. Tirman, an Air Force flight surgeon, was among those who observed a "huge" cylindrical UFO over southeast Asia on March 14, 1969. Tirman was a passenger on a KC-135 whose pilots and crew also saw the object. The cylinder hovered in a vertical orientation about 2 miles from the plane at about 15,000 feet altitude. When they tried to circle for a closer look, the UFO disappeared. Jet interceptors also were scrambled but could not locate the UFO.
During large-scale NATO maneuvers ("Operation Mainbrace") in the North Sea in September 1952, UFOs were sighted for over a week by ships and aircraft of the fleet. Color photographs were taken from the deck of the U.S. aircraft carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt of an unidentified silvery spherical object moving at high speed. No technical analyses of the photographs or other sightings have ever been released.
Air Force and CIA documents obtained by lawyer Peter Cersten under the Freedom of Information Act reflect the fact that by the early 1950s the U.S. Government was concerned about the pattern of UFOs being sighted at strategic locations. (Gersten, reference A, bibliography)
On May 25, 1950, the Kirtland, New Mexico, district office of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) reported a series of UFO sightings by scientists, pilots, security personnel, and others to the OSI Director, expressing concern about "...the continued occurrence of unexplained phenomena of this nature in the vicinity of sensitive installations ..."
In a memo dated December 2, 1952 (on the heels of the major UFO wave of that year) the CIA Assistant Director of Scientific Intelligence alerted CIA Director Walter B. Smith to the pattern of sightings at strategic locations: "Sightings of unexplained objects at great altitudes and traveling at high speeds in the vicinity of major U.S. defense installations are of such nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomena or known types of aerial vehicles."
During the 1952 wave, including the Washington, D.C., radar-visual sightings, Air Force intelligence had received a steady flow of reports from jet interceptor pilots who had been scrambled to chase unidentified objects detected by radar. Time after time the pilots obtained visual sightings of the UFOs, often locked onto them with airborne radar, but could not catch them. The UFOs sometimes played a cat-and-mouse game, fleeing just out of range of the fighter aircraft, then turning and following the plane as it returned to base.
Several times during the Washington, D.C., sightings, interceptors were scrambled from Dover AFB, Delaware, and roared into the skies over Washington. Just as they arrived the UFOs would vanish off the radar scopes. Later research in the morgue of a Maryland eastern shore newspaper turned up references to UFOs showing up there, some 70 miles southeast of Washington, moments after they disappeared in Washington.
An exception was reported in one case when an F-94 pilot from Dover did intercept a group of UFOs when vectored to them by radarmen. A group of civilian and military aviation experts at National Airport watched on radar as the UFOs surrounded the F-94. The terrified pilot was heard on the intercom meekly asking permission to break off contact and return to base. His personal testimony, which has never been released, would make a fascinating addition to the record. What did he see and experience?
The eerie truth is that the UFOs have reacted differently to armed military interceptors than they have to civilian aircraft. In 1952 they literally followed airliners as they approached Washington National Airport, sometimes hovering in plain sight of them. But they usually stayed out of the way of military jets, behaving almost as if testing their capabilities, or taunting them.
The CIA case files for 1952, once maintained by the Physics and Electronics Division, have never been released to the public. Do they contain reports of effects on the intercepting aircraft or other odd occurrences? In the widely publicized September 19, 1976, Iranian jet case, American-built F-4's were scrambled to chase UFOs which displayed an "inordinate amount of maneuver- ability!" They also displayed an ability to defend themselves; when one F-4 pilot attempted to fire at a UFO, his weapons control panel abruptly became "inoperable." Another pilot experienced total instrument failure as he closed in on a UFO. A Defense Intelligence Agency evaluation labeled this "an outstanding report."
These reports border on proof that the ETIs know what our weapons are, perhaps even know when we are getting ready to use them. Another indication of weapons awareness is the SAC base reports also belatedly known to the public through FOIA lawsuits. Quoting lawyer Peter Gersten (Reference B, bibliography):
Many other examples could be cited from UFO history to demonstrate an apparent pattern of the ETIs "watching" our technological development, especially our propulsion (delivery) capabilities, our actions in warfare, our nuclear technology ... and our reaching out into space. Wherever they come from, it may be that we are beginning to pose a threat to them because (a) we can now send space vehicles to the outer planets and beyond, (b) we are warlike, and (c) we have nuclear weapons.
As early as 1958 a Yale University social scientist, Dr. Harold D. Lasswell, in discussing space travel, suggested:
That ETIs would be interested in our sources and applications of energy follows logically from their interest in our strategic technology, but it is difficult to establish any clear correlation. My private studies convince me that an interest has been displayed in atomic energy facilities and petroleum-related activities. Map plotting shows a significant concentration of sightings in New Mexico, counter to population trends. New Mexico is extraordinarily high in both strategic facilities and mineral production.
Another State with a significant number of close-range UFO sightings in comparison to its population (see Table 7) is Missouri. A separate study by Ted Phillips of 2,108 CE II physical trace cases shows that Missouri ranks third in number of such reports while ranking 13th in population. Missouri contains major aerospace activities, a leading weapons production facility, and is a significant producer of strategic metals and minerals. For the most part, as Table 7 illustrates, sighting frequency tends to reflect population.
Vehicle encounter cases, taken as a whole, could be interpreted as showing an interest in our uses of energy, what makes our vehicles tick. So can the numerous cases of aircraft and rocket pacings.
A possible progression of interest with time is intriguing, but remains only an intuition. During the 1940s and 1950s UFOs were particularly observed around aircraft and rockets. During the 1960s automobile encounter cases came to the fore. Also during the 1960s, when our space program reached the stage of lunar rockets and deep space probes, major waves of UFO sightings occurred after a lull of 7 years. Then, in the 1970s, the "petroleum connection" began to emerge.
It was almost as if the ETIs gradually figured out the motive power of our vehicles, monitoring the sites of advanced propulsion technology (White Sands, Cape Canaveral), checking our energy resources, and tracing our peculiar dependence on fossil fuels to the U.S. oil fields of the West and Southwest (e.g., Levelland and Damon, Texas sightings), and to the Arab nations of the Middle East. Whether a similar pattern has evolved in other countries is unknown.
At any rate, the 1973 UFO wave coincided with the OPEC embargo and the beginning of the U.S. petroleum supply crisis, and the 1978 Eastern Hemisphere wave (largely unreported in the U.S.) was focused in the oil-rich Arab nations. Was this only coincidence?
A series of UFO sightings occurred in Kuwait starting on November 9, 1978. As reported by P. G. Jacob, a marine biologist employed by the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, "All the sightings occurred in the oil fields of Kuwait Oil Company, the major oil producing concern in Kuwait:" The final sighting was November 21 over the Al Sabriyah oil field near the Iraqi border, and the UFO was photographed as it flew over a 20-foot water tower and hovered in the area for 30 minutes.
At one point Kuwait Oil Company technicians observed the landing and take-off of a soundless domed UFO which had a flashing red body light. Telecommunications were interrupted during the sighting, and an electrically operated oil pumping station near the landing site ceased to function. Similar E-M effects were noted during the other sightings.
From November 1978 through January 1979, UFOs were seen and photographed from several Arab nations over a wide area near the Persian Gulf coast opposite Iran. During the same time frame there were widespread sightings in Australia and New Zealand, including the famous New Zealand movie films taken from an aircraft in December. The movies received international news media attention, but the Arab oil field sightings and landing did not, at least not in the United States.
Early in 1979 a UFO landing also was reported at a major Argentine oil field. On May 1, engineers of the YPF government oil fields at Vizcacheras, in a remote area accessible only to company employees, were awakened at 4:00 a.m. from the noise made by goats in a corral. When they went outside to investigate, they saw a UPO hovering silently about 70 meters from the encampment and 20 meters above the ground. They waved a lantern and the UFO seemed to respond by blinking a light, then slowly landed nearby. More light signals were exchanged, then the UFO took off and disappeared toward the Andes mountains at 4:35 a.m.
The group went to inspect the landing spot and found a large circle in which the sand had been petrified or hardened into chunks. Soil samples were taken to a Professor Corradi for analysis. Corradi, identified as Director of the Institute for Extrahuman Studies, said the samples were being analyzed by the Office of Mining. He noted that after the sighting, the goats (about 1,500) refused to return to their corral.
Corradi also noted a strategic connection that other South American investigators
have commented upon in the past:
Earlier, on March 10, 1977, crew members of two oil tankers anchored a mile apart in the offshore Anuna oil field of Indonesia at 7:40 p.m. saw a large dark object with a red body light, and emitting yellowish-white beams of light. The UFO approached from the west beneath a 1,000 foot cloud cover, circled the oil field twice, and flew away to the east.
The "petroleum connection" may or may not be significant. The possibility exists that the ETIs have been conducting a broad survey of human technology that, among other things, has touched on petroleum as well as other energy- related factors. The survey might be of such broad scope, so comprehensive, that no particular pattern would emerge from our large scale data analysis and UFO sightings would correlate with almost everything under the sun. But if the skeptical assumption is made, no science is done and we are left only with speculation. The effort to seek out such patterns in the data seems well worthwhile.
Meanwhile, the attempt to analyze extraterrestrial psychology remains a
speculative art that necessarily involves critical assumptions at various
points. The scenario presented here amounts to an educated guess and a survey
of reasonable possibilities. We are not likely to have any final answers until
the full resources of science are applied to the problem ... or the ETIs reveal
Brown, Gen. George S. Quoted by UPI (Chicago) about Vietnam War UFO sightings. Washington Star-News, Oct.17, 1973.
Fawcett, Lawrence and Greenwood, Barry J. Clear Intent: The Government Cover Up of the UFO Experience (N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1984). SAC base UFO sightings.
Gersten, Peter. (A) "What the Government Would Know About UFOs if They Read Their Own Documents;" 1981 MUFON UFO Symposium Proceedings (Seguin, Tex.: MUFON, 1981). Includes Sept.19, 1976 Iranian jet case.
----------------(B) "What the U.S. Government Knows About Unidentified Flying Objects," Frontiers of Science, v. III, no.4, May-June 1981.
Hall, Richard H. The UFO Evidence (Washington, D.C.: NICAP 1964). Reida "foo-fighter" report (p.23); Thomas "foo-fighters" letter (p.26); 1952 Washington, D.C. sightings (p.159); 1952 NATO sightings (p.162).
________ "UFOs in Arab Nations, "MUFON UFO Journal, No.133, Jan.-Feb., 1979. See also Arab Times, Nov.23, 25, 1978; Dec. 5, 10, 1978; Jan.20, 21, 24, 1979; Kuwait Times, Nov.16, 18, 1978.
Hall, Robert L. Statement to House Science and Astronautics Committee, Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects, July 29, 1968, pp.103-104.
International UFO Reporter, v.3, no.2, Feb.1978 (Center for UFO Studies, Evanston, Ill.) Indonesian oil field case, reported to CUFOS by an Indonesian Air Force officer.
Lasswell, Harold D. "Men In Space," Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, v.72, art. 4, Apr.10, 1958.
Leet, William D. "The Flying Fortress and the Foo-Fighter;" MUFON UFO Journal, No.133, Jan.-Feb., 1979.
Maccabee, Bruce S. "Photometric Properties of an Unidentified Bright Object Seen Off the Coast of New Zealand;" Applied Optics, v.18, no. 15, Aug. 1, 1979; comments (v.18, no.23) and author's reply (v.19, no.11). Dec.31, 1978 movie film of UFO taken from aircraft.
Phillips, Ted R. "Close Encounters of the Second Kind: Physical Traces;" 1981 MUFON UFO Symposium Proceedings (Seguin, Tex.: MUFON, 1981).
Sinclair, Ward and Harris, Art. "What Were Those Mysterious Craft?" Washington Post, Jan.19, 1979. SAC base UFO intrusions, 1975, and Iranian jet case, 1976.
Tirman, Col. Robert. Report of southeast Asia UFO sighting taken from Jacksonville Daily News, Arkansas, Mar.27, 1969. Details confirmed in interview by Dr. James E. McDonald.