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Just Don’t Call Them UFOs

by Marina Koren                     April 27, 2019                      (theatlantic.com)


• Apparently, enough incidents have occurred in “various military-controlled ranges and designated airspace” in recent years to cause members of Congress to ask questions and to prompt military officials to establish a formal system to collect and analyze the unexplained phenomena. The U.S. Navy is drafting new rules for Navy officials and pilots to report such sightings. The Navy is trying to assure its pilots that they won’t be laughed out of the cockpit or deemed unhinged if they bring it up.

• While the Navy indicates it’s willing to discuss the taboo topic, it is loath to make any reference to “UFOs”. Instead, they’re called “unexplained aerial phenomena,” “unidentified aircraft,” “unauthorized aircraft,” and, perhaps most intriguing, “suspected incursions.” This is peculiar since it was the military that came up with the phrase “unidentified flying objects” in the first place.

• Government programs dedicated to investigating UFO sightings in the late 1940s treated UFO sightings as a big joke. As a rule, officials dismissed and debunked any reports as hoaxes and hallucinations. The military created Project Blue Book to investigate claims of strange objects in the sky. Its director, Edward Ruppelt, introduced the term ‘unidentified flying object’ sometime around 1953. The definition carried no hint of extraterrestrial life.

• Edward Ruppelt probably didn’t imagine the journey his three-letter abbreviation would take over the years. Military reports were careful to avoid any mention of the dreaded ‘UFO’. In 1955, Ruppelt wrote: “… facts have been obscured by secrecy and confusion, a situation that has led to wild speculation on one end of the scale and an almost dangerously blasé attitude on the other.”

• Notwithstanding, UFOs infiltrated the public consciousness. They sailed into Hollywood with stories about aliens, from friendly creatures to nightmarish monsters. The lines between fiction and reality blurred. People told harrowing stories of nighttime abductions. UFOs became the focus of conspiracy theories about government secrecy. The people who believed in UFOs and aliens were regarded as ‘crazies’, a lasting stigma surrounding UFO truthers.

• After two decades in operation, Project Blue Book eventually concluded there was “no evidence that [UFOs] were intelligently guided spacecraft from beyond the Earth.” They attributed most sightings to clouds, weather balloons, and even birds. And any project that studied UFO was deemed a waste of time and money.

• Christopher Mellon, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence in the Clinton and Bush administrations and an advocate for UFO study, has said service members worry that reporting UFOs puts their careers at risk. They also worry that staying silent could threaten national security, in case one of those mysterious objects turns out to be a new form of aircraft from a rival country. “Nobody wants to be ‘the alien guy’ in the national-security bureaucracy,” Mellon wrote in a Washington Post op-ed last year. “Nobody wants to be ridiculed or sidelined for drawing attention to the issue.”

 

Pilots are about to receive a new memo from management: If you encounter an unidentified flying object while on the job, please tell us.

The U.S. Navy is drafting new rules for reporting such sightings, according to a recent story from Politico. Apparently, enough incidents have occurred in “various military-controlled ranges and designated airspace” in recent years to prompt military officials to establish a formal system to collect and analyze the unexplained phenomena. Members of Congress and their staffs have even started asking about the claims, and Navy officials and pilots have responded with formal briefings.

The Washington Post provided more details in its own story: In some cases, pilots—many of whom are engineers and academy graduates—claimed to observe small spherical objects flying in formation. Others say they’ve seen white, Tic Tac–shaped vehicles. Aside from drones, all engines rely on burning fuel to generate power, but these vehicles all had no air intake, no wind and no exhaust.

The Navy knows how this sounds. It knows what you must be thinking. But the fact stands that some pilots are saying they’ve seen strange things in the sky, and that’s concerning. So the Navy is trying to assure pilots that they won’t be laughed out of the cockpit or deemed unhinged if they bring it up. “For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report,” the Navy said in a statement to Politico.

Yet even as the Navy indicates it’s willing to discuss the taboo topic, it’s also shying away from three notorious little letters. UFO carries an airport’s worth of baggage, bursting with urban legends, government secrecy, and over-the-top Hollywood movies. The statements and quotes that the Navy provided to news outlets are devoid of any reference to UFOs. Instead, they’re called “unexplained aerial phenomena,” “unidentified aircraft,” “unauthorized aircraft,” and, perhaps most intriguing, “suspected incursions.”

The message is, if you see something, say something, but for God’s sake, lower your voice. Don’t call it a UFO. Which is funny, since the military came up with the name in the first place.

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Mysterious “Discs” of the Second World War

by Nick Redfern            March 9, 2018                (mysteriousuniverse.org)

• Where did the terms flying “discs” and “Unidentified Flying Object” used to reference a mysterious aerial craft come from? If you said they were coined with the Kenneth Arnold sighting over Washington State in 1947, you would be wrong.

• A newsletter of the British Royal Air Force’s 115 Squadron during the latter part of World War II described an anomaly as British bombers were flying over Bremen, Germany of “many reports of silver and red discs above the formations. These have been seen before but up to now no-one has been able to decide their purpose.” The British 348th Group also reported “a cluster of discs observed in the path of the formation near Schweinfurt (Germany).

• Sometimes the mysterious discs were described as being several feet in diameter or more. On another occasion the discs were described as “silver coloured – one inch thick and three inches in diameter. They were gliding slowly down in very uniform cluster. A/C 026 was unable to avoid them and his right wing went directly through the cluster with absolutely no effect on engines or plane’s surface”

• Two months after the June 1947 Kenneth Arnold sighting, the U.S. Air Transport Command’s Weekly Intelligence Summary entitled “Flying Objects in Guam” stated: “Unidentified flying objects have been observed by three enlisted men of the 147th Airways and Air Communications Service Squadron at Harmon Field, Guam.”

 

Over the years UFOs have had various names, depending on the era and the description of the craft. In the latter part of the 19th century there were the “Phantom Airships.” During the Second World War pilots encountered what became known as “Foo Fighters.” In 1946 the skies of Scandinavia were filled with reports of “Ghost Rockets.” In the summer of 1947 the terms “Flying Saucer” and “Flying Disc” were both used. Today, people talk about the “Flying Triangles.”

Yes, “Foo Fighter” was the primary term used to describe what was seen during the Second World War. But, the term “Disc” was also used during the hostilities with the Nazis. I mentioned this to a certain UFO researcher recently and who practically had a shit fit. I was wrong, he assured me, stating that when it comes to unidentified “things” in the sky, the word “Disc” was not used until 1947. Actually, that’s wrong, as I pointed out. Granted, many people – even within Ufology – may not know just how widely “Disc” was used during the Second World War. I’ll share two examples with you; two of many.

From the latter part of the Second World War (the exact date is missing) comes the following from the in-house newsletter of the British Royal Air Force’s, 115 Squadron: “Under this heading there occur from time to time reports of weird and wonderful apparitions seen during our (and the American) attacks on Germany. We have asked our local Inner Circle bloke to comment on the latest species of wizardry. Here is his story…believe it or not.”

The document continues in slightly humorous fashion: “On the 11th December the Yanks paid one of their daylight visits to Emden. Visibility was good and the weather clear. An unidentified object was seen in the target area. It was about the size of a Thunderbolt and passed 50 – 75 yards beneath the formation. It flew straight and level (No chaps it was not a Lanc.gone mad…) at a terrific speed, leaving a streak like a vapour trail which remained visible for a long time. The object passed so quickly that the observer could not determine it more accurately.

Finally, there is this, also from the same document: “Suggestions will be welcome…serious ones…as to what this Loch Ness Monster of Emden might have been. (Prize… one year’s free issue of this News Sheet…if the publication survives as long.) Another of the attacking aircraft was hit by a length of wire which bit deeply into the nose. Twenty feet were coiled around the nose and something caused the bomb door to open. The wire may have been towed behind a fighter which had just made an attack upon the bomber; some form of explosive charge or weight may have been attached to a parachute fired from a rocket projectile, though no parachute was seen. An examination of the wire is taking place and it is hoped that this will shed some light on the occurrence. In another attack, this time on Bremen, there were many reports of ‘silver and red discs above the formations [italics mine].’ These have been seen before but up to now no-one has been able to decide their purpose. Suggestions please.”

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