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Nick Pope's Weird World

From: Georgina Bruni <georgina@easynet.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 02 Feb 1999 01:45:48 +0000
Fwd Date: Tue, 02 Feb 1999 13:18:40 -0500
Subject: Nick Pope's Weird World

Hot Gossip UK February'99 Nick Pope's Weird World

The countdown to the new Millennium is now well underway, and
people are already beginning to ask that question we'll all be
hearing, increasingly, over the next few months: "So what are
you doing for the Millennium?". Will we be going to the mother
of all parties, or will paranoia about Y2K bug chaos keep
everyone at home for the mother of all anticlimaxes? There's
already a lot of PMT (Pre-Millennial Tension) in evidence, and
there's only one thing about which we can be certain: as the
year goes by, things can only get increasingly weird and wacky.
Amidst the chaos, I'll be keeping you up to date with the latest
news and views about UFOs, alien abductions, the paranormal, and
other weird stuff.

New MJ-12 Documents

Depending upon your point of view, the MJ-12 documents are
either the best evidence that the US government knows that some
UFOs are extraterrestrial =8A or are simply an outrageous hoax. I
tend to think it's a hoax, but now there is fresh controversy
over a new batch of documents that has appeared. For those who
don't know the background, it's claimed that in the aftermath of
the crash of an extraterrestrial spacecraft in 1947, near
Roswell in New Mexico, a small group known as Majestic-12 was
set up to study the craft and the alien bodies. The first batch
of documents were sent on film to US film producer Jaime
Shandera. When developed he had what seemed to be an eight page
briefing paper prepared in 1952 for president-elect Dwight
Eisenhower. The material was subsequently published in the US by
Shandera and Bill Moore, and in the UK by Timothy Good in Above
Top Secret. It was investigated at great length by a number of
ufologists, most notably Stanton Friedman, whose book
(co-authored with Don Berliner) Crash at Corona is probably the
best of the many books to have been written on Roswell and
MJ-12. It will be interesting to see Stanton's view on the new
documents, and fascinating to watch developments over the coming

Weird Stuff On The Web

Fans of Fortean Times and UFO Magazine might like to check out
their websites. Go to  www.forteantimes.com and www.ufomag.co.uk
for more information.

Congressional Immunity For UFO Witnesses?

Another initiative making the news in America is a campaign to
grant congressional immunity to anybody speaking out about
official involvement with UFOs. The public position of the
American Government on UFOs is the same as the British
Government's. Essentially, this consists of a denial that there
is any official knowledge of an alien presence. In that case,
argue ufologists, would there be any objection to granting
congressional immunity to any members of the military or the
intelligence community who wanted to speak openly about the
subject? After all, if the information doesn't exist, nobody
could come forward. The campaign was given a real boost by
ufologist Peter Robbins, who raised the issue at a public
discussion of secrecy policy, last year. Senators Daniel Patrick
Moynihan and Bob Kerry agreed that they would be willing to
support such a move. Will this move get wider support, and be
enacted? Could it ever happen here, in the UK? I'll keep you

Jung At Heart

Over the past few months I've been highlighting some varying
theories about UFOs and alien abductions, to illustrate the
fantastic range of beliefs about such phenomena. I've looked at
the idea that UFO sightings might be generated by sightings of
prototype military aircraft, or the theory that aliens are time
travellers from the future. This month, I want to look at
something called the psycho-social hypothesis. Supporters are
stronger on what they don't believe in than what they do, and if
they put half as much effort into building their own theory as
opposed to knocking the extraterrestrial hypothesis, they'd be
taken more seriously. They do have some interesting ideas,
believing that UFOs or alien abductions might be
internally-generated, psychological rather than physical events.
These almost visionary experiences are then shaped by personal
belief systems and popular culture, and hey presto, we get UFO
and abduction reports. There's a lot of flowery pseudo-science,
and supporters quote the psychologist Carl Jung without really
appearing to understand his theories, and seemingly unaware of
just how much Jung's ideas were disputed by other psychologists.
Check out www.magonia.demon.co.uk for more details.

Abductions All Around the World

I'm often asked why it is that alien abductions (and indeed UFO
sightings) seem to occur almost exclusively in Britain and
America. The answer is that they actually take place all around
the world, but we think they only happen in the UK and the US
because these are the countries whose media we can most easily
access. My caseload of abduction reports for the last year has
included accounts from people not just in Britain and America,
but also from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and
Japan. So why no reports from, say, Chad, Yemen or Nepal? A key
factor is language, as the best-known researchers come from
English-speaking countries, so that material in other languages
doesn't get much of a look-in. A related constraint is simply
that abductees in countries such as Chad are less likely to be
aware of the work of Western researchers. So our lack of reports
from any particular country doesn't necessarily mean that
nothing's going on. It may just mean that the reports aren't
getting to us. Dr J Allen Hynek, Scientific Adviser to the
USAF's Project Blue Book, was fond of pointing out that we don't
study UFOs, but rather reports of UFOs. The same is true of
alien abductions, and we must never underestimate the way in
which good or bad lines of communication plays a part in
determining what cases we do - or don't - get to hear about. As
the Internet makes communication easier (although it's still
dominated by the English language) it will be interesting to see
whether reports will emerge from a wider range of countries.

New Crop Circle Controversy

A BBC1 programme broadcast on 3rd January has renewed the debate
about crop circles. Some people believe they are caused by
extraterrestrials, while others favour the idea that wind
vortices could create the patterns - certainly the more
straightforward circles. Others believe the cause is more down
to earth, and think the patterns are made by people (whether you
call them hoaxers, vandals or conceptual artists depends on your
point of view). Country File Special featured an interview with
self-confessed circlemaker Doug Bower. Doug's confession that he
and Dave Chorley had made the patterns (not all of them, of
course) with a plank of wood and a piece of rope effectively
ended mainstream interest in the phenomenon. But in a throwaway
line, Doug said he felt he'd been "programmed" by some unknown
force to make the patterns. Was it a serious opinion, or is this
likeable practical joker still winding everybody up? We'll
probably never know.


Always worth a read, the magazine Focus carries a range of
interesting articles and features on the weird and wonderful.
The emphasis is on popular science, but they're not afraid to
tackle the world of the paranormal. In the February edition of
the magazine, which is out now and available from all good
newsagents, there's an in-depth feature on my official Ministry
of Defence research and investigation into UFOs and alien
abductions. It's based on one of the lengthiest and most
detailed interviews I've ever given, so if you want some
insights into what have been dubbed "the real X-Files", check it

Blast From The Past

A new and regular feature of this column will be a
re-examination of some classic old UFO books, and each month
I'll recommend a title and pick out a particular quote -
sometimes prophetic, sometimes profound, and sometimes humorous.
I'll start with a book that every serious ufologist should read
- The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects. It was written by
Edward J. Ruppelt, one of the former heads of Project Blue Book.
It's an important book that tells of his struggles to conduct a
meaningful evaluation of UFO data for the United States Air
Force, while also trying to keep the politicians, the media and
the public happy - a difficult balancing act, and one that gave
me similar problems at the Ministry of Defence, forty years
after Ruppelt's groundbreaking work. But my favourite quote from
the book is one which while acceptable in the Fifties, now
sounds dated and more than a little politically-incorrect:

"In Air Force terminology a "flap" is a condition, or situation,
or state of being of a group of people characterized by an
advanced degree of confusion that has not quite yet reached
panic proportions. It can be brought on by any number of things,
including the unexpected visit of an inspecting general, a major
administrative reorganisation, the arrival of a hot piece of
intelligence information, or the dramatic entrance of a well-
stacked female into an officers' club bar."

Nowadays, I'm sure such a politically-incorrect phrase wouldn't
get past the copy-editor and into a serious non-fiction book,
but I have to admit that it really does convey the sense of what
Ruppelt was trying to convey. And my (female) research assistant
thinks it's hilarious!

The High Moral Ground (Not!)

 A noted UFO "anorak" criticised the excellent new Grenada TV
series Watch the Skies in a recent Internet post, stating that
he and another UFO group had decided not to play any part in the
project because they didn't agree with the angle which they felt
the series was taking. Admirable, if true. Unfortunately for
him, he let the cat out of the bag a few lines later, with a
sniffy comment about how Grenada weren't prepared to pay a
"research fee". Oh dear!

Abduction Conference

The Intruders Foundation are to hold their first conference, in
what promises to be the most important event on abductions since
the Abduction Study Conference held at MIT in 1992. Featured
speakers include Budd Hopkins, Stanton Friedman, David Jacobs
and Jerome Clark, together with Linda Cortile, Greg Sandow,
Carol Rainey and John Velez. The conference is to be held in New
York on Saturday 10th April, and further details can be found at

New Opinion Poll on Alien Life

The February edition of the popular science magazine Focus
contains details of an extraordinary new opinion poll on alien
life. While 50% of those polled believed in alien life on other
planets, a massive 80% said that if governments knew about this,
they wouldn't tell the public.

Spaceguard UK

I'm an Associate member of Spaceguard UK, a group set up to
raise awareness of the danger posed to the Earth by comets and
asteroids, and to lobby for some official action. Films such as
Deep Impact and Armageddon have done a lot to raise the profile
of this issue, but there is some deadly serious science behind
the science fiction. For those who want further information, or
want to join this worthy organisation, check out

Revenge of the Anoraks

Ufologists, and those with an interest in the subject, are a
smashing bunch of people. Generally speaking they're a bright
and friendly bunch, and I'm proud to be involved in this
fascinating area of study. However, as with most things in life,
there are a small bunch of people who seem determined to spoil
it for everybody else, and are bringing the subject into
disrepute. These are the so-called "anoraks", who find it easier
to criticise other people's research than to produce any of
their own. Their dogmatic beliefs and sloppy research shame
ufology, and when they disagree with something, they launch
destructive and personal attacks as opposed to producing
constructive criticism.

I normally stay out of this rather unpleasant side of ufology,
even though I've probably been the victim of more ill-informed
sniping than most (generally from closed-minded people who
believe that because I investigated UFOs for the Ministry of
Defence, I must automatically be lying). So in last month's
column I decided to have a few sly digs at some of these

So, could those who dish out the criticism take a little
themselves? Could they hell! There was a flurry of spam on the
Internet and the mass stamping of petulant little feet. There
was also a flood of absolutely bonkers accusations - yes, even
more bonkers than claims about being shot at by guards at an
underground city. My favourite was the one about my brother
being in the Navy - presumably making him part of some secret
UFO cover-up being perpetuated by the Pope family? His naval
career is obviously so secret that even he doesn't know about
it, and the nearest he's got to a life on the ocean wave has
been a few trips on the Isle of Wight ferry!

But absolutely the most hilarious response to my gentle mocking
was what happened when I referred to one well-known "anorak"
(who I generously didn't name) as a windbag. Hot Gossip UK then
received two separate protests from people who both thought I
was talking about them! Hey, if the cap fits ... !

Ed's Note:

Nick Pope's books, The Uninvited and Open Skies, Closed
Minds,are available from all good bookshops, in paperback. His
publishers in Britain are Simon & Schuster. The Uninvited is
available in the US, published by The Overlook Press, who plan
to publish Open Skies, Closed Minds later this year.


Permission to distribute this text providing the authors and
publication are credited. Photographs may be copyright and
cannot be used without consent.  =A9 Hot Gossip UK 1998 

The above text is taken from 'Nick Pope's Weird World' section


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Georgina Bruni
E-mail: georgina@easynet.co.uk
E-mail: 104707.336@compuserve.com
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