Tuesday, April 22, 2014

UFOs, NATO, My Dad

My new Mysterious Universe article focuses on the one, key issue that got me interested in the UFO phenomenon: a wave of UFO encounters that occurred during a NATO exercise - titled Mainbrace - which took place back in September 1952.

As for why it got me so interested, the reason is simple: my own father (pictured above in November of last year) was involved in the exercise (he spent 3 years as a radar mechanic with the British Royal Air Force) and knew of several of the incidents that attracted official, secret attention.

I prepared the following on my father's experiences, which, in various, updated and expanded incarnations, served as the prologue to my 1997 book, A Covert Agenda, and as stand-alone articles in various glossy magazines of the 1990s and 2000s.

But, the following is the 1987 original, which is comprised of my own memories of the night my dad first told me the story in 1978, as well as a follow-up, recorded interview I did with him in 1987.

UFOs: My Father's Experiences:

As someone who writes about UFOs and other weird things, I am sometimes asked: How did you become interested and involved in the worlds of the unexplained and the paranormal? It was 10.30 p.m. on a dark Wednesday evening in late 1978 as I walked with my father, Frank Redfern, through the deserted streets of the town of Walsall. A biting wind sliced through the air and I buried my hands in my coat pockets in a vain attempt to keep warm. We headed for a nearby car park.

‘Well, what did you think?’ asked my father.
‘I thought it was great,’ I replied, continuing: ‘Do you think it could really happen?’
My father looked at me out of the corner of his eye; and a knowing smile crossed his face: ‘Maybe it already has,’ he replied, his voice dropping ever so slightly.
The subject of this cryptic conversation: Steven Spielberg’s classic film, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, which told the story of humankind’s first face-to-face meeting with an alien species, and that we had just seen at Walsall’s ABC cinema. We climbed the stairs of the car park and headed for my father’s Ford Capri car, and my thirteen-year-old mind mused upon his comment.
‘What did you mean by that?’ I asked in reference to his curious words.
‘Hang on,’ he replied. ‘Let’s get out of the car park and I’ll tell you,’ he said. And as we drove home on that late autumn evening, the startling facts surrounding my father’s involvement in the UFO subject came tumbling out.
Like the majority of young men in Britain in the 1950s, my father was required to serve a three-year-term in the military under British National Service regulations. Because of his keen interest in aviation, he chose the Royal Air Force. During his service with the RAF, he served at various RAF stations, but by far the most memorable experience of his career occurred near the East Coast of England at a place called RAF Neatishead, Norfolk.
It was September 1952 and my father was working as a radar mechanic.
‘So what happened?’ I asked, as we drove home.
‘Well,’ he began, ‘I remember that we were taking part in an exercise – Mainbrace, it was called – and I was on duty. It was early in the morning – four or five o’clock – maybe a bit later. Things were pretty normal until the radar picked up something on the scopes.’
‘What was it?’ I asked eagerly.
‘At first,’ he explained, ‘we thought it might have been an aircraft, but we knew soon enough that it was something else. We had this object, this UFO, whatever you want to call it, on the scopes at fifty thousand feet, and flying over the North Sea and parallel to the English coast. The speed of it meant there was no way this was a plane.’
He continued: ‘The report went up the chain, and aircraft were scrambled from Coltishall – which was a base nearby. Coltishall sent up Venom and Meteor aircraft to try and get a look at the object. We were watching all this on the screens thinking that it would turn out to be something ordinary. But when the planes closed in, the UFO suddenly streaked away and headed towards Norway. The pilots didn’t have a chance.
‘The next day,’ he added, ‘something strange happened. A bunch of people came – a photographic team from Coltishall – and they had some really good gear which they set up to record the radar’s Plan Position Indicator tube in case the UFO came back. Well, the day following this, it did come back. We tracked it; the planes went up, but this time we had it all on film.’
‘What happened then?’ I wondered.
My father replied: ‘We never knew. The guys from Coltishall removed everything: the radar tapes, the records, all of it. Everyone was told not to discuss it outside of the base. They never told us what the result was, and the UFO never came back, but I won’t forget it.’
I sat back in the car-seat, amazed at what I had just heard. UFOs – so often the subject of ridicule – really existed. And, more significantly, Britain’s military knew it, too. The remainder of the journey was made in silence; me trying to take in these remarkable facts and my father recalling his long-gone days with the Royal Air Force.
Today, my father still vividly recalls the events of September 1952 and is convinced that something truly strange did indeed occur to both him and his colleagues on those fateful nights. I agree. And, were it not for my father, I would not have set out on the journey that has ultimately led me here. Thanks, Dad.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Policing the Paranormal

Think the MIB only take an interest in UFOs? It's time to think again.

My new Mysterious Universe article tackles this very issue and starts like this...

"Over the years, I have written extensively on the mystery of the Men in Black and their deep and longstanding connections to the UFO phenomenon. There is, however, one MIB-themed issue that I have not publicly focused on to a significant degree – even though I have a mountain of relevant reports. It concerns those cases of the paranormal kind that involve the MIB, but where there is a zero connection to the UFO mystery.

"That’s right: contrary to what many people might think or assume, the MIB don’t just silence or threaten people who have had profound UFO experiences. Rather, the MIB are all over the paranormal map like a nasty rash. Indeed, you can find them in the realms of cryptozoology, alchemy, poltergeist-based phenomena, Ouija-boards and more."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Black Ring: No Aliens!

If you have followed the stupid fuss over the "Black Ring" seen over Leamington Spa, England, check out the new post from Kithra, which clears the matter up in definitively down to earth fashion.

For the record, there's nothing weird about such smoke rings: my father took the above photo way back in the 1960s - at an airshow in England.

And click here for more examples...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nessie on Land...

Although the overall mystery of the Loch Ness Monsters fascinates me, the one issue that really intrigues me is that of the beasts allegedly being seen on land - and possibly even feeding on land too!

As to why I mention this right now: Roland Watson has an excellent new post on this very issue over at his Loch Ness Mystery blog.

You can find the article here and it begins like this:

"It is back to this blog's occasional series on land sightings and there is one interesting aspect to the Loch Ness Monster on land and that is its role as hunter. Of the thirty five alleged land cases I know about, three are reported with an indication of prey being carried away.
"Now sightings of a large creature in Loch Ness are interesting, stories of this monster lumbering about on land are even more fascinating. But stories of the monster helping itself to cows, sheep, deer and other animals around the loch boggles the mind and may make some a bit wary of  wild camping along secluded parts of the shore! Critics have often complained there are not enough fish in the loch to sustain a group of large predators, but what about on land? It is now time to indulge in some wild speculation!"

Monday, April 14, 2014

The NJ UFO Paranormal and Consciousness Conference

My photos from the NJ UFO Paranormal and Consciousness Conference this past weekend, which was a great gig (thanks to Patty, Dave and all the team), and got to hang with friends old and new...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dead Kittens

Weird: I found two little black kittens dead this morning, next to a bush at the foot of the steps that lead to my second-floor apartment. They didn't look injured at all. They were almost curled up together and looked like they died in their sleep. Odd they were dead together though. Perhaps they had been living wild, as  I do see feral cats here now and again...

Mysterious Universe Articles...

There are several cool new articles over at Mysterious Universe:

1. One man's quest for the Japanese Wolf (by Brent Swancer);

2. Tom Head goes in search of a Martian lake;

3. And Martin Clemens on the legend of Utsuro-bune.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lake Monsters Or Giant Eels?

My latest Mysterious Universe article focuses on the theory that at least some so-called "lake-monsters" may actually be giant eels. It starts like this:

"When it comes to the matter of lake monsters, two things can be said with a high degree of certainty: (a) sightings have been reported from pretty much all around the world; and (b) the theories for what they may be are as many as they are varied. Ogopogo, Champ, Morag, and the monsters of Loch Ness, Scotland have all captured the collective imagination of the public and the media, as well as the attention of cryptozoologists, the scientific community, and monster-hunters. But, if lake monsters really do exist – and I think they do – then what are they? That’s a good question…

"Certainly, and beyond any shadow of doubt (and particularly so when it comes to the matter of what lurks within Loch Ness) the most popular theory is that the creatures are plesiosaurs: marine reptiles that lived from the Triassic Period, thrived in the Jurassic Period, and finally met their demise at the end of the Cretaceous Period. If such beasts did survive extinction, such a discovery would not just be amazing – it would be beyond amazing!" (END OF EXTRACT)

The giant eel theory is one that has interested me for a long time and you can find other material on this very subject from me in my 2012 book Monster Diary (which includes an entire chapter on the subject, titled "The Great Eel Hunt"). The photo below relates to the story in the book.

Also check out this 2012 article from me (also at Mysterious Universe), one (from 2008) at my now-closed down blog, There's Something in the Woods, and a second one at the same blog, this one from 2007.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Moon Pilot

At his Silver Screen Saucers blog, Robbie Graham has a fascinating new article on an obscure UFO-themed romantic comedy movie from 1962. Contactees, human-alien hybridization, the Air Force, and the FBI: they all get a mention.  To be sure, this is a weird one!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Face on Mars: Q&A Pt. 2

And here's the second part of my latest Mysterious Universe article on the Face on Mars...

The Face on Mars: Q&A

My latest Mysterious Universe article is a Q&A with the late Mac Tonnies on his research into the "Face on Mars" controversy.

And it starts like this:

"This summer will mark the 10th anniversary of the publication of Mac Tonnies’ book on the 'Face on Mars.' Its title: After the Martian Apocalypse. While, today, the 'Face' may not provoke the scale of controversy that it did a decade ago, there are still significant things to say about it. One of them is an interview I did with Tonnies just after the book was published.

"The Q&A was for a magazine that folded just after it barely began, which meant it never saw the light of day. But, I kept the interview on file and figured: why not bring it to your attention? It’s a long interview, so I’ve split it into two-parts. In the Q&A below, I am, of course, 'NR,' and Mac is 'MT.'"


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

On the Road...

Been on the road the last few days: Santa Fe, New Mexico and Denver, Colorado, but back to blogging tomorrow. Here's a few photos:


Friday, March 28, 2014

Paradigm Symposium 2014

For those who may be interested, I'll be speaking at the annual Paradigm Symposium (in Minneapolis) on October 2-5. I'll be speaking about my forthcoming book, Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind.

It's always an excellent gig, so get along if you can!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Atmospheric Lifeforms

Tony Morrill has a cool, thought-provoking new article at Forteania, which begins as follows:

"As anyone who has visited this blog in the past is likely aware, I’m a fan of alternative theories. Usually the more out there, the better! With this in mind I want to take a look at the old-fashioned (out-dated?) concept of Atmospheric Lifeforms. That is, actual living entities which make their home far above the ground high up in the atmosphere. At first blush this idea sounds a bit preposterous, but let’s look into the history of the concept a bit and reserve judgement until a little later."

Check it out!

Gargoyles - A Movie Favorite

There's a new Mysterious Universe article from me on one of my all-time favorite movies.

It starts like this...

"Very often I get asked: what do you think of the way in which the movie industry treats the world of Cryptozoology? Well, that’s an extremely good question! There’s no doubt that, in my opinion, there are some excellent creature-themed movies out there. Unlike a lot of my friends and colleagues in the field, I really enjoyed The Mothman Prophecies that starred Richard Gere, Laura Linney and Alan Bates. Bob “Bobcat” Goldthwait’s Bigfoot-themed movie, Willow Creek, is fantastic. And I have a lot of great memories of The Valley of Gwangi. But, my favorite all-time movie of the cryptozoological kind? Without doubt it’s Gargoyles.

"Now, some might say that Gargoyles is not strictly cryptozoological. Instead, it might be argued that it’s a straightforward monster movie. I, however, disagree! And I’ll tell you why I disagree."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Eighth Tower - Reviewed

My latest Mysterious Universe article is a review of Anomalist Books' recent re-release of John Keel's often overlooked 1970s book: The Eighth Tower.

When Keel submitted his manuscript for The Mothman Prophecies to his publisher, they edited out around 50 pages.

So, Keel opted to significantly expand upon that missing/abducted 50 and turned it into The Eighth Tower

And it's a bloody good job that he did, as it's classic Keel and definitive reading!

Here's the review...

Friday, March 21, 2014

Monster Reptiles Down Under?

Do giant reptiles - ones that are presumed to have become extinct in the distant past - still exist in certain parts of Australia?

Check out this new article, which makes for excellent reading!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

UFOs: The Disinformation Angle

There's another new Mysterious Universe article from me. This one follows on from my "alien bodies or special-effects?" article of a few days ago. The subject: a wider look at how the UFO subject has been manipulated...

Here's the link and here's how it starts:

"My recent article on how the UFO subject (and specifically the issue of 'alien bodies on ice') has been used as a tool of disinformation has provoked a lot of people to email, Twitter and Facebook me on this thorny, controversial issue. And many of those same people seem to be missing the point. Hardly surprising, since disinformation is a murky mixture of fact and fiction. It’s chiefly designed to confuse the targeted individual or group – whether the Nazis during the Second World War, the Soviets at the height of the Cold War, or, in today’s world, maniacs who want to provoke terror.

"But, to what extent has the UFO phenomenon been used and manipulated to confuse both enemy targets and the UFO research community? The answer is: to a huge extent! If you read my latest article on this very subject (as linked to above), you’ll know it focused on claims that, in the mid-1950s, the U.S. Air Force secretly commissioned the creation/manufacture of a number of very lifelike 'dead alien bodies.'"