I have been fascinated with UFOs and what is referred to as Ufology since childhood. As someone who spent most of their adult life as an investigator, my fascination has often turned to a hobby that occupied much of my free time – searching for the truth. Before you begin to think that old Ross has gone off the deep end, let me explain a few things.
WHAT IS A UFO?
A UFO is exactly what it claims to be – an Unidentified Flying Object. That’s all. It simply means an object was observed in flight and it could not be identified BY THE OBSERVOR. It in no way means the object cannot be identified at all. It just means the person viewing it at the time had no idea what it was. Many have associated UFOs, in their most basic form, with interstellar spacecraft and alien civilizations. Although I would never presume to state with certainty that alien civilizations do, or do not, exist, I thought I would take a few minutes to explain to you what I do know. I think you’ll like it.
I witnessed my first UFO, a flying object I could not identify, sometime around 1976. Growing up in the hot central valley of California sans air conditioning, my family would spend our evenings outside in the cooler air as the temperature within our modest home dropped to a bearable, sleep-permitting temperature. We would lay out blankets on the front lawn and look up into the darkening sky while my father attempted to frighten us with stories of the aliens who might come take us away to be probed. Alien abduction stories were all the rage at that time and my dad got a kick out of it.
One night as we watched the stars brighten and the sky turn black, a shadow passed over our little house. It possessed no lights and made little sound but it was very large. I recall thinking that it was shaped sort of like a bat with its wings outspread, or some sort of fat boomerang. We could only make out a basic shape of the shadow as it blotted out the twinkle of the stars above it. It passed over our neighborhood and we lost sight of it as it passed beyond the buildings on the other side of the street. I was fascinated but I wasn’t frightened.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
I suppose I should, in the interest of full disclosure, inform you of my whereabouts on that interesting night. You see, I lived across the street, quite literally, from a large U.S. Air Force Base. In fact, one of its runways passed directly over our house. Planes flew in and out of the facility at all hours of the day and night. We grew accustomed to the frequent noise and would still sleep soundly at night. There were only two explanations for my first UFO encounter. Either the Air Force was flying something super cool, or aliens were secretly landing at Air Force bases across the country in order to facilitate their abductions and unwanted probings. Even as a child, I chose to believe the former over the latter. Perhaps the latter option was too frightening.
Of course, it would be some 15 years before I realized what I had seen that night. It was either a prototype of a B2 Stealth Bomber, or one of the early versions of the operational craft. Why it flew in to that base I have no idea. Perhaps it was just making its rounds and testing its ability to land at a variety of facilities? We will never know but I do know that it was terrestrial and was piloted by our nation’s military.
During the 60s and 70s, UFO sightings changed dramatically. The historic “flying saucer” encounters were being replaced with hyper-speed capable craft and triangle shaped craft, some of which were described as “huge.” Few investigators in the UFO field seemed to put two and two together in order to make any sense of them. Continuous announcements that, “No terrestrial craft can fly at those speeds” and “No known craft is capable of such maneuvering” filled up plenty of lines in any UFO story. Many retired military and civilian pilots were standing by to support those notions on national television as well. “I spent 25 years flying a variety of airplanes for our country and we don’t have anything that looks like that or flies like that!” It was all very convincing. Well, until you actually get into the military or government service and begin to understand classifications and compartmentalization. A top secret clearance means nothing from one program to the next. If you don’t have the correct compartmentalization authorization, you will know as much about a program as the average civilian. It’s just how it is done.
Civilians learned about super fast aircraft when the SR71 was revealed. The 71 flew from St Louis, MO to Cincinnati, OH in 8 minutes. It flew from Kansas City to Washington, DC in 25. It could fly from New York to London in less than 2 hours. And those are only the “Unclassified Speeds” of which this craft was capable. Although its predecessor was built in 1961 and the craft was retired TWICE by the pentagon, officially retiring the final time in 1998, much of it is still classified. I was personally told by someone unnamed many years ago that the SR71 was capable of reaching 3,000 MPH but that officially, in unclassified documents, its top speed was closer to 2,700 mph. Simply put, it was the fastest thing on the planet. And many UFO reports from the 70s were of super fast aircraft traveling at speeds unknown to the aircraft industry. The information was there. They just didn’t look for it. They were blinded by their desire to prove that aliens were visiting our planet.
LOOKING FOR PROOF
Triangular shaped craft came into the equation in the mid-70s and continue to this day. These craft were obviously flights of various stealth craft either under development, or being flown at night during test flights or while moving craft from one location to another. Just prior to the Gulf War, Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, everyone became aware of the F117 and B2 aircraft. The capabilities of these craft were on full display during the first “live feed” war of the 20th century. Much about these craft remain classified but you can see versions of them at the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson Air Base in Ohio and occasionally see them fly at air shows across the country. Again, it was all out there but people just didn’t do the research and put it together.
Now, THIS, this is an interesting case. Word began to travel throughout the UFO community about a new type of craft being flown. This was known to be a terrestrial aircraft under the control of the Air Force and being flown out of such spooky places as Groom Lake, or, as it is better known, Area 51. Aurora was fast. Really fast. Faster than the SR71. Much of the evidence surrounding Aurora was generated via seismologists who began picking up strange readings on their instrumentation across southern California. Something, something fast and leaving a weird signature, was entering California from the Pacific Ocean, passing over, and entering Nevada on a direct path toward Area 51. The seismograph readings looked like a heartbeat on an EKG machine instead of a constant thrust from a jet or rocket engine. Ufologists and sky watchers called it a “pulse drive” propulsion system. Did I mention it was fast? Experts who analyzed the data claimed it was traveling somewhere around 7,000 MPH. That is really, really fast.
No one ever saw Aurora. There were no pictures or video of any worth. People speculated and created drawings of their imaginings with regard to the craft. There was even a model kit you could buy and put together of the “best guess” in its design. No craft of this type was ever revealed to the public. But… and this is important… If you would like to see a prototype drone that utilized a pulse drive engine for propulsion, you can see one at that Museum at Wright Patterson. The description in the museum doesn’t reveal any actual figures but it states that the drone was capable of achieving “record breaking speeds.” It also shows a photo of what the propulsion looks like coming out of the rear of the drone. Get this, it looks exactly like the seismograph readings from 20 years ago. Aurora, although not officially recognized and probably not designated with a name even remotely like Aurora, appears to be real. The evidence is there and there is at least, based on the Air Force’s own admissions, a tacit confirmation that such craft were being flown, and probably still fly today.
NOTHING CAN FLY LIKE THAT!
Generally speaking, that statement is almost never true. There are videos of lights in the sky performing strange maneuvers and seemingly impossible stunts that even your average pilot will claim are simply not possible. Well, not possible with your standard issue, publicly known aircraft. And, since we now know many of our most advanced aircraft no longer use a human pilot, the sky, no pun intended, is the limit. You see, one of the major limitations of aircraft design has always been the human element. A craft couldn’t complete extremely high G-force maneuvers because it would kill or disable the pilot, or knock them unconscious and cause them to crash the plane. With the cockpit no longer occupied by fragile humans, the only limitations to an aircraft’s performance is the design. If they can build a craft strong enough to maintain its structural integrity during extreme maneuvering, there is nothing stopping them from doing so.
Human piloted craft have also advanced beyond what the average person believes possible. The F22 Raptor and the Russian Su-27 Terminator for instance, are capable of maneuvers unthinkable just a few short years ago. New materials, thrust vectoring, and innovative control systems have made fighter and interceptor craft that can virtually stand still in the sky, turn on a dime, and float around at odd angles. Seeing this at a distance would certainly make you believe that the light in the sky is an alien space ship searching for more cows to turn inside out. Because that happens all of the time.
For a brief introduction to what is called “Super Maneuverability” watch the two videos below. If you are not familiar with the capabilities of these modern war planes, you may be shocked.
Again, if they can do that with a human-piloted craft, what could they do with an unmanned vehicle? There are few limitations.
FLYING SAUCERS ANYONE? A TIN CAN, MAYBE?
A few years ago, a video surfaced in the Ufology community that clearly showed an object, flying, and performing all manner of strange tricks. In the high-zoom, digital video, the object had the appearance of a giant beer can that was spinning on its vertical axis. This object rose from the ground behind some hills, hovered momentarily, then slipped sideways for a distance before stopping to hover again. It then went back along the path from which it came, hovered some more, then slowly lowered itself down behind the hills and out of view. It was pretty amazing video.
Oddly enough, NASA released a similar video that same week. It was testing new designs in reusable launch platforms for the space program. They were attempting to develop craft that could take off, reach the upper atmosphere, launch its payload, and then land itself without having to be fished from the ocean or basically being destroyed as it crash-landed back to earth. There are actually several designs for such vehicles and various companies have been developing them for a number of years. You can find those test flight videos by simply searching for “reusable launch vehicle test flight” in google or YouTube.
“But, I saw a UFO!”
Yes. Yes, you did.
“A FLYING SAUCER!”
Yes, you did!
Have you paid any attention to the types of vehicles being used in our space programs for the last, oh, I don’t know, 50 years? Many of them look like what we call a flying saucer. In fact, the latest vehicle used to deliver a new Mars rover both looks like, and performs like, what we traditionally called a flying saucer. I was shaped like a flattened bell, could hover, and could maneuver while maintaining that hover. It stabilized in a hover and lowered the rover to the Mars surface via cables before cutting it free and then flying away to crash land in another area so as to not endanger the rover. Pretty amazing stuff and the stuff that we would fully expect an alien spacecraft to do, minus the abduction and probing thing. All of these vehicles have to be fully tested. They don’t just spend several billion dollars developing these craft based on theory alone and then shoot them off into space with their fingers crossed hoping they actually work. They test them thoroughly. They test them at secret facilities and do much of that testing away from prying eyes in order to protect the technology. Everything is a competition in our modern world. Competition between countries and aerospace companies within those countries results in a massive amount of secrecy surrounding their various projects. People “accidentally” see these craft and are shocked at their flight characteristics and, voila! Houston, we have a problem. And then they go check on their cattle.
THE REAL GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY
It’s true. There is a government conspiracy surrounding modern UFO sightings. At various times, the government has actually admitted it. But, far from the standard X-Files suggestion that the Men in Black are concealing Alien life from the masses, it has all been an effort to divert attention from classified programs either in use, or in development. At times, the government has actually fed the UFO community with disinformation and encouraged the idea that these craft are, “Not of this world.” I think they thought it was a hoot! The thing that crashed in Roswell, NM in 1947 actually looked like a flying saucer. The Air Force released photos of it in their “Final Report” on the incident that was designed to put an end to the Roswell UFO story. Of course it had no effect on Ufology. You can read just as many books and articles about Roswell today as you could in the 70s. Mostly because people don’t believe the government even when the government is actually telling the truth.
FINAL ANALYSIS – SORT OF
The information I have just given you is unclassified. These are things that are public knowledge, if you know where to look, and have been fully revealed by the various governments concerned. Why all the secrecy? Two reasons – national security, and money. These programs are developed by private industry. Those design and trade secrets mean the difference between being first to the paycheck line, or being left out in the cold while others bathe in riches. One leak, one accidental high definition photo, can bring a development program to a screeching halt, or give our national rivals the clues they need to begin developing their own similar program. So, if someone starts talking about a UFO flying over their town and aliens, Lockheed Martin isn’t going to come forward and say, “Oh, no. Sorry. That’s our new spy plane.” They are going to giggle and start encouraging others to come forward and tell their own story of abduction, probing, and the inevitable, inside-out bovine.
If these are the types of craft that are Unclassified and are public knowledge, what do you imagine they have that is classified and so secret most of the government doesn’t even know about it? Your mind can race away with that one. Typically, by the time the public is fully aware of a super-cool new craft, they have replaced it by probably two generations. You know about the stealth aircraft. You now know about the presence-reducing, stealth Blackhawk helicopters used during the mission to kill bin Laden. You know about the hyper-fast SR71. Those craft can do amazing things that people did not believe possible during the time they were highly classified programs. But, the government has revealed them to you. You can download the video game and build the model and watch documentaries about them on the History Channel. It’s public knowledge.
Now think of what you DON’T know. How advanced could our secret craft actually be?
We no longer utilize the Space Shuttle, for instance. Could it be because we have something better? The Space industry has been trying to develop a craft that can take off under its own power, accelerate to the necessary speed to break free of the atmosphere, and land safely back to earth. Have they done it? Ram jets and Scram jets were experiments being conducted almost 30 years ago in hopes of developing just that type of craft. How much more advanced have we become since the creation of the stealth bomber? We won’t know about it until it is no longer necessary, generally. Let your mind wander with the possibilities.
From my own experiences, I can say these few words: We have things that fly in the sky that you wouldn’t believe. We have craft that can do things you would not believe possible. And, in another example of government complicity in the charade, some programs that were supposedly cancelled during their development are actually in use, right now, in the skies over our country and others. I’ve seen them myself. I probably wasn’t supposed to see them, but I saw them. I know they exist. Perhaps with enough encouragement I will write part two of this article and explain a bit about that. There is much risk involved, however. The Men in Black are very real in the non-fiction form of the FBI, DoD, and CID personnel who get very angry when government secrets are revealed.
I don’t know. It is the greatest question ever posed by mankind. “Are we alone?” “What’s out there?” “Do they know we are here?” I do know that UFO sightings have been a part of human existence for centuries, long before the Air Force and CIA started their own Top Secret programs. UFO sightings predate powered flight and the Wright brothers. Strange things have been reported in the skies since before the Egyptians cut images into clay tablets and carved stone. Those incidents will never be fully understood. Is there life in the universe? Most scientists would say there is, and a lot of it. The question remains, could they possess the technology needed to travel those distances and pay us a visit here on earth? That is a very big question.
What if they used to visit us? What if thousands of years ago, earth was along a well traveled route used by more advanced beings and they would stop in for a visit, or a road-side potty break, before they continued on their journey? Maybe now, thousands of years later, our solar system has moved sufficiently that it is no longer along that route? Maybe we are now too far out of their way for a quick stop to frighten the primitive people. Those answers are far bigger than I could ever hope to address. Anything is possible. Maybe they stopped coming when they saw what we, as a civilization, had become? Maybe there is a giant, “Enter at your own risk” sign on the interstellar map of our galaxy encouraging other beings to avoid the maniacal, violent, and still very ignorant human race?
The Truth Is Out There. Somewhere.
I Want To Believe.
Curiosity is one of the defining characteristics of the human race. Some of us are born with more of it than others. Virtually all cultures and known civilizations throughout our history have believed, at one point or another, that beings from beyond our planet came here and interacted with humans. Who am I to say they are wrong? Perhaps someday we will all know the answer. Hopefully, it will be an enlightening experience, not a tragic one.
For now, I only know what I DO know, and that is that there are things of which we all have little or no knowledge. Secret programs, secret craft, and secret capabilities known only to a select few and protected by the most intense security apparatus at our nation’s disposal. It’s a good thing. It may save us all someday.