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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Apr > Apr 13

Re: HOT GOSSIP UK - April '99

From: Gerogina Bruni <georgina@easynet.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 17:35:55 +0100
Fwd Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 14:55:18 -0400
Subject: Re: HOT GOSSIP UK - April '99


Hello, and welcome to April's column, where I round up the news,
and tell you what's hot and what's not from the world of ufology
and the paranormal.

Independent UFO Network

The Independent UFO Network (IUN) has been relaunched after an
absence of some years, and this promises to be an interesting
development for British ufology.  There are some good people
involved with the project, such as David Clarke, whose
investigation of an incident that occurred on 24 March 1997
(which some people claim involved an object crashing in South
Yorkshire) is an example of how good, methodical UFO
investigations should be done.  However, one or two of those
involved struck me as being slightly out of place in an
organisation that is being launched amidst claims that it will
offer an honest and rational perspective.  Last year, at a TV
show, one of these people openly jeered at an abductee I was
talking to, and made fun of his story; and there are question
marks over the attitude that this individual and another of
those involved take towards witness confidentiality.  The issue
of witness confidentiality will be the acid test so far as the
IUN is concerned: if members know or suspect somebody has had an
anomalous experience of some kind, but also know that this
person doesn't want to talk about it, will anyone involved in
the IUN speculate about the identity of the witness in public?
If so, they would have no place in an organisation that purports
to be a positive force in ufology.  I give the IUN a cautious
welcome, but in view of these concerns will be keeping a
watchful eye on their activities and pronouncements.  I'll keep
you posted.


There's an old joke that if you want to annoy astronomer Patrick
Moore you ask him whether it's going to be a good year for
Virgos.  But now even the TV Times (6-12 March issue) has
committed the cardinal sin of referring to The Sky at Night as
an astrology series!  Whoops.

Royal Aeronautical Society Lecture

On 23rd February I gave a lecture to the Fleet Air Arm branch of
the Royal Aeronautical Society.  The lecture took place at the
Fleet Air Arm Museum, adjacent to Royal Naval Air Station
Yeovilton, and was entitled The Government and UFOs - Official
MOD Investigations. I talked about official attitudes to the UFO
phenomenon, and the policy pursued over the years by the RAF,
the Air Ministry and the Ministry of Defence.  I also discussed
some cases that I'd investigated during my stint in Sec(AS)2a.
Needless to say, the talk concentrated on radar/visual cases and
sightings with military witnesses.  Most of the audience were
naval personnel from the base, while the rest were from various
aerospace companies, mainly Westlands.  It was a rare
opportunity to bring the UFO subject to a predominantly military
and ex-military audience, and although I've dropped out of the
ufological lecture circuit, I'm taking every opportunity to
bring home to those within the world of officialdom the fact
that the UFO phenomenon - whatever it may be - raises some
important defence and national security issues.

The Contact Has Begun

I've just finished reading an extraordinary little book about
alien contact.  Entitled The Contact Has Begun, it's written by
Phillip H. Krapf, and published by Hay House.  The story itself
is a bizarre account of contact with alien beings called
Verdants, who are going to make open contact soon, with the aim
of bringing Earth into the "intergalactic Federation of
Sovereign Planets", using a series of human ambassadors to
smooth the way.  Well, I've heard this sort of stuff a million
times before, but what makes this interesting is that Krapf
spent the last 25 years of his career as a journalist on the
Metro desk at the Los Angeles Times.  Check out www.hayhouse.com
for more information and order details.


I'm an Associate Member of Spaceguard UK, a lobby group aimed at
raising awareness about the danger posed to the Earth by comets
and asteroids.  I was pleased to see that on 3 March there was a
(long overdue) debate on the subject in Parliament, where the
matter was raised by MP Lembit Opik.  This tied-in nicely with a
documentary on BBC 2's acclaimed science series Horizon,
screened on 18 March.

Underground Bases

One mention of the phrase "underground facility", and all sorts
of lunatics come out of the woodwork.  People think there's
something sinister about them, even though the military have
long recognised that such facilities are possibly the best way
to protect personnel and equipment in the face of an attack.
It's simple common sense really, and yet the whole subject still
inspires the sort of paranoid, delusional rambling that gives
ufology a bad name.  To get the real story, check out Secret
Underground Cities, written by Nick McCamley and published by
Leo Cooper.

Blast From The Past

This month's blast from the past quote comes from John Fuller's
classic book, The Interrupted Journey.  The book tells the story
of the experiences of Betty and Barney Hill, whose 1961
encounter was the first widely publicised account of what came
to be known as an alien abduction experience.  The quote comes
from one of Barney's hypnotic regression sessions with Dr
Benjamin Simon:

"I didn't think of anything.  I didn't think of the man in the
sky in the machine that I saw.  I just saw these eyes, and I
closed mine."

Alien Investigator

Tony Dodd is one of the UK's best known ufologists, and has been
researching and investigating the subject for many years.  Tony
is a former sergeant with the North Yorkshire police force, and
has had a spectacular UFO encounter himself, in 1978.  Now, he's
written an account of his experiences, detailing his own
encounters, and some of the cases that he's looked at, over the
years.  Alien Investigator is published by Headline, and is an
interesting read.  I have to say that I have my doubts about
some of the information passed to Tony by his sources, and
disagree with some of his conclusions.  Notwithstanding this,
Tony is one of the good guys in ufology - a good-natured and
honest man who calls things as he sees them.  His book is well
worth a read.

Operation Thunder Child

A lot of people have been asking about my next project, and a
few others have been giving their opinions without having a clue
what the book's about.  In fact, I've signed a two book deal
with Simon & Schuster and will be turning my attention to
fiction for the time being.  The books are part techno-thriller,
part science fiction, and tell the story of a national crisis in
which the Royal Air Force and the Ministry of Defence try to
come to terms with a mysterious and hostile force which is
launching devastating attacks on the United Kingdom.  It
combines my knowledge about UFOs with experience of crisis
management which I gained in the Joint Operations Centre during
the Gulf War.  The first novel is called Operation Thunder
Child, and will be published in October this year.  The second
is as yet untitled, and is currently scheduled to be published
in Autumn next year.  There have been one or two sarcastic
comments from people implying that this departure into fiction
somehow means that my non-fiction books can no longer be taken
seriously.  I find this a bizarre and totally illogical view.  A
number of former SAS soldiers have done exactly the same thing,
and after writing non-fiction have gone on to write thrillers
drawing upon their military experience.  These books are written
by insiders who, whether they're writing about technical details
or tactics, certainly know their stuff.  I'm trying to do the
same.  I've read a lot of thrillers where the authors tell a
good story, but are let down by lack of knowledge about the way
in which governments actually respond to a crisis.  In drawing
upon official knowledge and experience I'll be able to inject
some realism into the books, and give readers what amounts to a
seat at the Top Table in the Ministry of Defence, as the crisis
unfolds.  And as it's fiction, I'll be able to speculate on
areas which could never have appeared in Open Skies, Closed
Minds or The Uninvited.  A lot of people are getting distinctly
nervous about Operation Thunder Child, and I get the impression
that my life will be getting quite interesting over the next few
months, in the run-up to publication.  I'll keep you posted.

The Final Frontier

Scientific American have produced an excellent publication,
available now from newsagents, and entitled The Future of Space
Exploration. It's packed with interesting articles on space
missions, some underway, some scheduled to begin shortly, and
some which are just ideas at present.  The final page lists
thirty space-related websites, covering everything from
astronaut biographies to the latest Hubble Space Telescope


It's long been claimed that some abductees are fitted with
implants, designed perhaps to control their actions, or track
their movements. American ufologist Derrel Sims is best known
for these claims, and Whitley Strieber has also covered them in
his latest book, Confirmation.  Now a new book claims to shed
some light on the mystery.  It's written by Dr Roger Leir, and
entitled The Aliens and the Scalpel.  The publishers are Granite
Publishing.  Leir is a medical professional and a member of the
Mutual UFO Network, and has surgically recovered implants from a
number of abductees.  Whether they are of extraterrestrial
origin is, of course, another matter, as all sorts of foreign
bodies can enter the body through wounds.  Furthermore,
fragments of bone or pieces of hardened tissue can also find
their way to a position just underneath the skin.  Although I
haven't read this book yet, it's clearly one that should be read
by anybody with an interest in the alien abduction phenomenon.

By The Right, Quick March

The fact that one of ufology's loudest characters used to be a
member of the extreme right wing British National Party is old
news, but is a story that won't go away, even though I'm sure
the individual concerned is doubtless wishing it would.  The
individual concerned claims that he only joined the organisation
to expose their violent and racist views, and that he is in fact
a left-winger.  Other people have told me that this denial is
rubbish, and a predictable attempt to disassociate him from an
embarrassing past which has resulted in him having changed his
name.  Although this controversy has been around for some time,
it's recently resurfaced, and some very specific claims have
suddenly appeared.  I have been sent a bulky dossier which goes
into even more detail, but have refrained from circulating the
material for the time being, because we should always give
people the benefit of the doubt and treat them as innocent until
proven otherwise.  Furthermore, although there can clearly be no
place in ufology for those who actively preach the politics of
hate, what if somebody who used to hold nazi views subsequently
changed his mind?  In this situation, should we perhaps accept
that this matter belongs in the past, and forgive his previous
sins?  It's a difficult issue, and raises issues about whether
researchers and investigators should "police" ufology,
ostracising those whose views or behaviour goes beyond the pale.
I'll keep you posted.


Newly published is a book which will doubtless be lapped up by
conspiracy theorists.  Dark Moon by Mary Bennett and David Percy
examines in detail the claims that NASA hoaxed the 1969 Apollo
moon landing.  The book covers a lot of ground, from the mystery
surrounding the Sphinx, to the controversy over the so-called
Face on Mars.  The authors even manage to bring in Roswell.  I
confess to being extremely sceptical about claims such as these.
There are certainly some anomalies in the official films and
photographs of the moon landings, but it's likely that this is
due to nothing more sinister than NASA retouching some of the
images, so that the demanding press and public had something
impressive to look at.  This enhancement is hardly a crime, and
certainly doesn't mean the mission took place in a TV studio.
Issue 97 of Fortean Times contains an excellent article
refuting, point by point, the arguments that had previously
(Issue 94) been put forward by David Percy.  All this puts me in
mind of one of the most amusing pieces of television I've ever
seen, when Matthew Williams was invited onto Channel 4's The Big
Breakfast, and allowed to trot out all the usual nonsense about
how the moon landings were faked.  He was midway through a
nervous and rambling summary of other people's research when a
caption was put up, telling viewers that what Williams didn't
know was that Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, was in
the next room!  How the presenter managed to keep a straight
face, I'll never know. Aldrin was duly brought on, and I'll
never forget the look on little Matty's face as long as I live,
as he was totally and utterly humiliated on live national
television.  He doubtless wished that the ground would open and
swallow him up.  I was hoping that Aldrin would press the point,
look Williams in the eye, and simply ask if he was calling him a
liar.  Given that Aldrin had put his life on the line to fly
what was certainly a dangerous mission, he could have been
excused for being somewhat aggrieved at anybody who suggested
he'd lied about the whole thing, and had never been.  But he was
the perfect gentleman, and didn't push the point.  Nonetheless,
it was game, set and match to Aldrin, and a total disaster for
conspiracy theorists.  How I laughed!

The Unconvention

Talking about Fortean Times, their annual conference, The
Unconvention, will be held in London on 24/25 April - details at

Mars Attacks

The controversy surrounding ALH84001 (the Martian meteorite that
NASA scientists believe contains fossilised traces of bacteria
that originated on the Red Planet) continues, and there's been
an interesting new development.  Dr Andrew Steele, a British
scientist working with the NASA team studying the meteorite, has
discovered living bacteria within the meteorite.  Before you get
too excited, I should say that these are decidedly terrestrial
micro-organisms.  But the fact is that they've been feeding on
the meteorite's organic carbon molecules, formed in an era when
Mars almost certainly had running water on its surface.  The
fact that the bacteria can thrive off Martian rock is compelling
evidence that life is not some unique miracle that can only
exist here on Earth, but something that can exist in all sorts
of different environments.  We are not alone.

Ed's Note:

Nick Pope's two books, Open Skies, Closed Minds and The
Uninvited,  are available from all good bookshops.  Simon &
Schuster are his UK publishers, while The Overlook Press publish
his books in America.

Permission to distribute this information on the Internet is
granted providing the authors and Hot Gossip UK are credited.
Photographs may be copyright, and cannot be published without
permission. Hot Gossip UK - www.hotgossip.co.uk

Georgina Bruni -Editor in Chief

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