Top Secret Photos of Calvine UFO Sighting Left Me “Shell-Shocked”
Article by Nick Pope October 10, 2020 (thescottishsun.co.uk)
• The top secret color photographs of the so-called ‘Calvine Incident’, when a flying saucer was clearly seen in the skies above the Scottish Highlands in August 1990 were set to be released in 2021. But now the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has postponed the photographs’ release for another fifty years. Nick Pope worked for the Ministry of Defence for 21 years, from 1991 to 1994, and ran its UFO office. Pope (pictured above) tells the inside story.
• Two men had been out hiking near Calvine in Scotland. Suddenly, they saw a massive UFO hanging in the sky, silent and motionless above their heads. Awestruck, they shot six photographs before the object accelerated away, vertically, at immense speed. The hikers sent the photos to a Scottish newspaper. A journalist contacted the MoD press office looking for a comment. The MoD managed to extract all the photos and the negatives from the newspaper, who never got them back.
• The photos had been taken in broad daylight and showed a large, crystal clear, diamond-shaped craft. At the government intelligence photo lab, the images were enlarged and analyzed. The analysis revealed that the photos had not been faked. They showed a structured craft of unknown origin, unlike any conventional aircraft. There was no fuselage, no wings, no tail, no engines and no markings of any sort. The size of the craft was estimated to be 100 feet in diameter. An enlargement of the photos revealed two military jets in the background. It wasn’t clear if they were escorting the UFO, trying to intercept it, or whether their presence was coincidental and the pilots had been too far away to see it. Pope’s predecessor at the MoD-UFO office had been prevented from tracing the military jets in the photos. This suggested that someone inside the MoD had sabotaged the investigation and blocked the UFO project from getting to the truth. Dark forces were at work.
• The MoD’s standard line on UFOs was that the phenomenon was of ‘no defense significance’ – a meaningless Whitehall soundbite that meant whatever we wanted it to mean. At best it was misleading, and at worst it was a downright lie. Pope says that the MoD consistently played down the true level of its interest in UFOs, telling Parliament, the media and the public that the subject was of little interest, “while all the time, behind closed doors, we struggled to make sense of cases like the Calvine incident”.
• MoD officials never found a definitive explanation for what was seen at Calvine. Of the several hundred UFO sighting reports received each year, most turned out to be misidentifications of satellites, meteors, Chinese lanterns and other ordinary objects and phenomena. But around five percent of the cases remained unexplained. “We didn’t assume these unexplained cases were extraterrestrial,” says Pope, “but neither did we rule out the possibility.”
• In the mid-nineties, a ‘believer faction’ had emerged at the MoD. This led to some extraordinary scenes. One time Pope and his boss walked over to Defence Intelligence Staff headquarters building in Whitehall. These were the ‘spooks’ who provided scientific and technical advice. A military intelligence briefer pulled out a copy of one of the Calvine photos from a folder. The intelligence officer ran through the possibilities. The object in the photograph wasn’t Russian. And it wasn’t American. That only left one other possibility. The briefer pointed straight up. Nothing further was said, and Pope and his boss walked back to their office in silence.
• A bitter struggle between UFO skeptics and UFO believers had erupted within the MoD. In relation to the Calvine photos, the only possible skeptical theory was that the object was a secret prototype aircraft or drone. Could it be American? The U.S. authorities were asked if they’d been testing a secret ‘Aurora’-type aircraft over the UK, but the U.S. denied any such prototype craft over Scotland. Since this was the skeptics’ only possibility, they persistently asked again. The Secretary of the US Air Force, Donald Rice, was ‘incensed’ by the questioning and the implication that he’d lied to the US Congress when Rice told them Aurora didn’t exist.
• Until now, a clear color photo of the Calvine UFO adorned the office wall at the UFO division of the MoD. But due to the diplomatic dust-up between Britain’s RAF and the US Air Force caused by the photos, the head of the division took it off of the wall. This division head still believed that it had to be a secret American craft. It couldn’t have been an extraterrestrial UFO, because they don’t exist. So he locked the photo in a safe, and it’s rumored that he later put it through the shredder.
• Plenty of other copies of the Calvine UFO survived, however. Pope came out of retirement in 2008 to help publicize the declassification and release of the MoD’s UFO files. But when the relevant files were released, the Calvine photos were missing. All that remained were some poor-quality black and white photocopies of a line drawing of one photo. It was as if the MoD wanted to ridicule the subject. A few years ago, Pope teamed up with a graphic artist in Los Angeles. They reconstructed the photo for a TV show, using the line drawing and memory as a guide. The result was spot-on, but it’s still not the real thing.
The top secret colour photographs, said to show a flying saucer above the Scottish Highlands in August 1990 – the so-called Calvine Incident – were set to be released in the New Year.
However, they have now been blocked for a further 50 years.
Here, former MoD official Nick Pope, who previously ran its UFO project, tells The Sun the inside story…
In the cult sci-fi series The X-Files, Fox Mulder has a poster of a UFO on the wall of his basement office. Underneath are the words “I want to believe”.
In the Ministry of Defence office, which served as the nerve centre of the UK’s UFO project, we had something very similar. But our picture was real.
Most UFO photos are either obvious fakes, or blurry and indistinct – a vague light in the night sky, or a fuzzy dot in the distance.
Not this one. It was up-close-and-personal, had been taken in broad daylight, and showed a large diamond-shaped craft.
I soon got the story out of my predecessor and read the file myself. It was an extraordinary tale: two men had been out hiking near Calvine in Scotland.
Suddenly, they’d seen a massive UFO hanging in the sky above their heads, silent, motionless and menacing. Awestruck, they shot off six photographs before the object accelerated away at immense speed – vertically!
The shell-shocked witnesses sent the photos to a Scottish newspaper and a journalist contacted the MoD press office, looking for a comment.
Somehow – perhaps using a D-Notice or perhaps using some real-life Men-in-Black trickery – someone at the MoD managed to extract all the photos and the negatives from the newspaper, who never got them back.
The MoD’s technical wizards leapt into action. The images were enlarged and analyzed, using the full resources and capabilities of intelligence community specialists.
Even now, years after these events, I can’t discuss the details of this process, as so much of the information is top secret.
The analysis was nothing short of sensational. The photos hadn’t been faked.
They showed a structured craft of unknown origin, unlike any conventional aircraft. There was no fuselage, no wings, no tail, no engines and no markings of any sort.
8:44 minute Nick Pope lecture on the Calvine UFO incident from Nov 3, 2015 (‘The Vortex’ YouTube)
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