This month the Pentagon will release a report on UFOs to the US Congress. UFO enthusiasts want to believe it will lead to disclosure while others are sceptical. Either way, it marks another event in the 100-year history of the UFO phenomenon.
From Woodbridge Air Force base in the gloomy dark of the Rendlesham forest in England, to Soviet nuclear missile silos in the Ukraine, the hot desert sands of New Mexico and the oceans off the coast of Turkey, Unidentified Flying Objects have been spotted all over the globe since the early 1900s.
The subject of books, movies and videogames, UFOs and their little green occupants are a staple of pop culture. The UFO phenomenon has beamed itself into nearly every household across the globe through media or conversation.
Most don’t take the subject seriously, equating sightings with mass hysteria events like the War of the Worlds Incident in 1938 when a radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’ famous alien invasion novel was mistaken for real news and caused nationwide panic.
But over the past five years leaked video from the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program of fighter jets tracking UFOs on infra-red cameras and radar equipment have been confirmed to be legitimate by the Pentagon.
There was a subtle shift of language in the announcements. It didn’t talk about UFOs because pop culture has cemented the imagery of circular craft with alien pilots in our minds. Instead it used the term Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.
A request from the US Senate Intelligence Committee to the Director of National Intelligence and the Sectary of Defence to deliver a report on UAPs was quietly placed into the last COVID-19 stimulus package signed off on by President Donald Trump late last year.
The report will include information from programs like AATIP and the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force and is due to be delivered to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 25.
“These objects can fly through air, water and possibly space at 13,000 miles per hour generating up to 700 G-force — something that would turn a human being to jelly.”Luis Elizondo
The admission by the US government of the existence of AATIP in 2017 and the formation of UAPTF in 2020 reveal the US military has been investigating UFOs and UAPs and sees them as a potential threat, something that has not been conceded before. Especially as the UAPs’ supposed abilities make them impossible to catch even with the most advanced fighter jets.
Luis Elizondo, the former director of AATIP, said in a recent interview with 60 Minutes in the US, the UAPs seen in the leaked videos from AATIP defy the gravitational effects of Earth without wings and control surfaces or any obvious signs of propulsion. He said: “These objects can fly through air, water and possibly space at 13,000 miles per hour generating up to 700 G-force — something that would turn a human being to jelly.”
Mick West, creator of metabunk.org — a site dedicated to debunking conspiracies — has attributed the UFOs in the leaked videos to distant jets’ exhausts being misidentified due to simple camera pans and rotations. But in an interview on West’s YouTube channel, Elizondo disagreed with West saying West doesn’t have access to all the data.
Either way, the continued sightings from civilians and military personnel alike over the last century and the continued effort by the US military to investigate UFOs speaks to the prevailing curiosity about the phenomenon.
The most infamous UFO story is the Roswell Incident. In 1947 the US Army published a press release claiming that they had recovered a crashed ‘flying saucer’ from a farmstead near Roswell, New Mexico. They later retracted the statement claiming that the object was nothing more than a weather balloon. This was picked up by the newspapers and this incident and the many other news reports on ‘flying saucer’ sightings in the 1940s started the UFO craze in the public psyche.
In reaction to the ever-increasing number of sightings the US Air Force started a secret program to investigate UFOs in 1947, according to the Central Intelligence Agency. The program was called Project Sign which would later become Project Grudge and then, most famously, Project Blue Book.
…out of the 12,618 cases investigated by Project Blue Book and the Condon Committee 701 of them remained inexplicable.
In 1966, after 19 years of Project Blue Book investigations, the US Military assembled the Condon Committee. An independent team from the University of Colorado, the committee was tasked to study Project Blue Book cases and come up with an answer once and for all.
The Condon Committee Report concluded that most UFO sightings can be explained by natural causes and that the phenomenon was not worth further scientific investigation. Project Blue Book was discontinued and the UFO case slammed shut but out of the 12,618 cases investigated by Project Blue Book and the Condon Committee 701 of them remained inexplicable.
While there have been thousands of documented cases of UFOs in the US what you may not know is that Australia has its own strange history of UFO sightings.
One of the first was the Westall UFO incident. On April 14, 1966, The Dandenong Journal reported hundreds of children at Westall High School and some of their teachers had seen a ‘flying saucer’ fly around the oval. They claim it then landed in a pine grove at the back of the school before taking off again.
According to witnesses, military and police descended on the school and told the staff and children not to speak of the event. Australian UFOlogist Keith Basterfield says the UFO may have been a high-altitude balloon made to take readings of Nuclear tests in Woomera but the flight records of such balloons from the day of the Westall sighting cannot be found.
In 1978, 20-year-old pilot and UFO fanatic, Frederick Valentich disappeared while flying his small aircraft over Bass Strait. Two days after his disappearance The Australian reported Valentich’s last transmission to flight control: “It has a green light and a sort of metallic light on the outside…It’s not an aircraft.” The Air Force had received 11 UFO sightings along Bass Strait the night of Valentich’s disappearance.
…Australia has its own strange history of UFO sightings.
Late one night in 1988 Faye Knowles and her three adult sons were driving across the Nullarbor Plain towards Ceduna when an “eggcup-shaped” UFO allegedly chased them down the Eyre Highway. They said the object attached itself to the roof of the car and lifted it off the ground shaking it violently before covering it in a black ash, according to an article by the Associated Press.
The object eventually returned the car to the road and the Knowles family, terrified, ran into the bush to avoid being pursued by the craft. After the object had disappeared, they continued to Ceduna and reported the incident to Police who took the claims seriously as the car had sustained noticeable damage and a UFO had also been reported by a fisherman the same night independently of the Knowles family.
Peter Maxwell Slattery saw his first UFO when he was just 12 years old. He was living with his father in the tiny rural town of Aubrey in Victoria. A small service station that the locals called the ‘road pantry’ sat under the shadow of Red Light Hill about six kilometres away. One afternoon, Slattery was walking down to the road pantry. He had walked less than 100 metres when he noticed something hovering over Red Light Hill.
“Just to the right of me was this massive disk,” he says.
“It looked like a weight from a weight bar.”
Slattery describes the object he saw as a flat disk with no protrusions on either side and a matte grey finish.
“This thing was about three times the size of an Aussie rules football field. It wasn’t no small thing. It was huge.”
Since that day, Slattery has caught hundreds of UFOs on film in countries all over the world including Dubai, Mexico, Italy, the US and, of course, Australia.
“Since about 2010 it’s been a sometimes-daily occurrence,” he says.
“What’s different with my case … is that there’s a lot of witnesses, like over 300 people over that 11-year span in my home, let alone thousands of people around the world.”
Many of Slattery’s photos and videos of UFOs have been analysed by ex-UK Air Force Senior Aircraftman, Jason Gleaves. An image analysis expert, Gleaves looks at the originals and meta-data of Slattery’s images and determines their authenticity.
Gleaves says he is 100 per cent convinced of the authenticity of Slattery’s footage and that the objects captured are not conventional civilian or military aircraft. Gleaves also believes Slattery is “in the top 1 per cent of authentic experiencer cases in Ufology to date”.
Slattery has appeared on TV programs all over the world showing the UFOs he has captured on film and in photographs.
“I’ve had Mexican TV, Japanese TV, the former host of 60 Minutes and his group, go through everything with a fine-tooth comb and a lot of the top analysis. So, the stuff that I’m able to present, they can go, ‘look we can’t explain it, but at the same time, it hasn’t been faked’.”
“And there’s been interactions with what’s behind the craft, which took a lot of time to try and absorb.”
Slattery has questioned himself on the authenticity of the phenomenon he experiences and pursued the possibility it may be imaginary.
“I got brain scans and my family was saying, ‘Hey, we’ve seen this with you, we can’t explain it but we know you’re not nuts because the camera is picking it up as well.’”
After an incident where Slattery and a friend saw a UFO in broad day light, they experienced what is called ‘missing time’. ‘Missing time’ is where there is a substantial amount of time that cannot be accounted for or remembered by the experiencer. ‘Missing time’ is most commonly associated with UFO abduction cases.
“So up to that point, I remembered all of my experiences. And that’s what pissed me off, why can’t I remember this? I’m not one of those people that need hypnosis to remember.”
After this incident Slattery sought out hypnosis therapy to help discover what had happened that day.
“This was the only time I got regression done, once with Mary.”
Mary Rodwell is the founder and principal of the Australian Close Encounter Resource Network and says the public views UFO sightings as being unique to the US and other Western countries but they are a truly global phenomenon.
Rodwell has worked with over 3500 people from countries all over the world including Russia, Africa and South America who claim to have had close encounters with UFOs and extra-terrestrials.
“The reason I got into this was people were coming to me with these experiences, so I decided to create ACERN as a professional organisation.”
Rodwell says the abductees who come to her first go to UFO enthusiast groups for support, but they don’t have the psychology skills to help the experiencers and aren’t comfortable with the idea of abduction.
“Whereas I’ve worked in hospice grief and bereavement counselling, family counselling … but not just that, hypnosis as well,” she says.
“They’re a good package to offer people who have ‘missing time’… I can take them back to that experience, and they can find out what happened.
“More than anything, I offer a professional resource, where they can feel safe, non-judged, that will offer them information, as well as help to integrate this new reality.”
Slattery says Rodwell has her patients’ health and well-being as priority number one.
“Those are the type of hypnotherapists you want to be working with because they’re not leading you on or having an agenda.”
“The phenomenon is real and not visionary or fictitious.”Former US Air Force Chief of Staff, General Nathan Twining, 1947.
Rodwell says she won’t hold her breath on the upcoming report from the Pentagon. Although she believes that we are being “drip fed” information she doesn’t believe there will be any new compelling revelations.
“It is starting the process of official disclosure but the real disclosure, I believe, will come from the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of people that have had experiences with these beings and start talking about it and more and more of them are doing that,” she says.
Although their origin still remains unknown, Elizondo, the former Director of AATIP, says there is no doubt the UAPs in the leaked videos are real.
“The government has already stated for the record that they’re real. I’m not telling you that, the United States government is telling you that … the question is what is it? What are its intentions? What are its capabilities?”
This echoes a memo written by the US Air Force Chief of Staff, General Nathan Twining in 1947 that states “The phenomenon is real and not visionary or fictitious.”
Slattery says even if one case is true it would change our perception of reality.
“If one person’s case is real, just one. What does that mean? Just that one case.”