15 July 2012, 10:51

UFO mysteries

UFO mysteries
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Files released from the National Archives at Kew today reveal that the Ministry of Defence in the UK took the threat of Unidentified Flying Objects very seriously. Under prime minister Tony Blair money and resources were devoted to checking whether any UFO was a reliable sighting. Dr David Clarke is a senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University and one of those involved in analysing the records. The Voice of Russia’s Tim Ecott asked Dr Clarke what lay behind the government's interest.

Quite few were reports by credible witnesses, you know, pilots, aircrew, police officers that simply defy explanation on what they concluded might relate to very rare atmospheric phenomena – plasmas. And they were interested in this from the military point of view. Because they thought that they could harness these plasmas and use them. They could be useful on the battlefield.

What is plasma?

You know, like a lightning ball that aluminates sort of phenomena that appear and disappear.

Now obviously there’s another serious aspect to this, because the Ministry of Defense were interested – I believe – in investigating some of these sightings because of the awareness that they could have been foreign aircraft, particularly from nations considered not so very friendly to Britain.

That’s right, yes, and it’s a very detailed briefing in the files from 1995 by the intelligence officers saying that if these sighting are genuine – there’re serious national security implications. If foreign countries, presumably referring to Russia, China and US were able to set up flying without us knowing – then it’s something that is needed to be investigated. They didn’t rule out the possibility that there could be extra-terrestrials. If some of them are of extra-terrestrial origin then the reason they may be visiting include military reconnaissance, scientific exploration or even tourism.

I wonder if this year’s wet summer reduces the number of aliens looking to come to Britain on holiday.

I think you’ll probably find that likely. I mean most of the sightings that have been reported in recent years – if you look at them – orange lines, formations in the sky. The obvious explanation for those is release of these Chinese lanterns.

For the public it’s quite amusing and interesting to hear some of the descriptions. I see amongst record are faceless humanoids in Wales, man in black in Lincoln chair, as well as these orbs in the sky.

The one you mentioned from Wales – this was in the 1970s. Some of your listeners remember the Nude Triangle was popular around that time. And there were particularly lurid tabloid headlines, saying ‘We don’t need the Nude Triangle. We have a Welsh Triangle’. In this particular part of West Wales was a series of sightings there. There were sightings in the sky, people said that it seemed 7-foot-tall alien creatures in silver spacesuits prowling around at night. The MoD was inundated with account of these things. And we’re certainly to look into this. A man discovered that in a local shop window that being a fire-fighting suit on display that was used on a near-by oil refineries and this suit disappeared mysteriously for a few days during the period when people had reported these bizarre encounters. Putting two and two together he concluded that a practical joker had been at work.

Something that always intrigues me: in the USA there is quite a wealth of anecdotes from people who claim to have been kidnapped by aliens for various purposes. They don’t seem to bother so much.

No, really no. But there’s one counter of alien abduction from these files. From 8/17 Scotland, there were two people returning home late one night in 1994. And they saw the subject appear above their car and drop a curtain of light across the road. And then they lost a period of time, which are all classic symptoms of alien abduction.

Where do you stand on this obviously from academic point of view? Do you have a personal view that you care to share on UFOs and aliens?

My interest in this is from the point of view of being a folklorist, you know, when you go back in time, people believed in angels and fairies and goblins. And my view on this is that these believes are modern equivalent, like space-age folklore. You know, people have always got to have something to believe in, particularly in times of tension and war. People like to think that there is other intelligence in the universe, more advanced than us, which come along and sort our problems out.

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