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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