In more recent years, I’ve tended to become a lot more ambivalent when it comes to UFO sightings. Going back through history, although this book starts in 1892, Man has always seen odd things in the skies. Once they were thought to be gods and monsters, then airships and, from the 1930s on, alien spacecraft. Spotting a pattern here? Mixed into this mire, are misinterpretations and fakes which certainly clouds the issue as to what is going on. Rather oddly, it is the saucer shapes that are almost certainly of the fake kind and yet the reports of the more tubular kind rarely if ever get photographed. From that perspective, something odd is going on, but whether it is illusional or something else, chances are it probably won’t be extra-terrestrial. If aliens have been here that long, you would think we would have spotted bigger signs of them as they became bolder in their field studies.
I’ve also pointed out in the past, that if aliens were visiting this planet then I would expect to see a lot more consistency amongst their vessel sightings and that’s only happened a couple times. Scanning through the photos in Nigel Watson’s book ‘UFO Investigations Manual’, if any of the photographs actually depicted the SR-71 Blackbird or any of the unusual aircraft configurations that America were covertly flying, then none look like that. This doesn’t mean that the CIA hasn’t used UFO sightings to conceal their own surveillance flights but you would have thought some of the photographs would resemble them. The CIA might be exploiting the myth but clearly not of the photographic kind.
With this in mind, my reading of this book is more to see what is said and see if I can see anything else with a different interpretation this time. I mean, across the world, there have always been UFO sightings. I wish there was information given for Asia and Africa, if only to see if the less developed areas of the world had people seeing things in the sky as well. At least it would prove that seeing odd things in the sky was common across the world and just the interpretation of what it was was at fault. Even more so, when you consider pilots who are trained to recognise aerial phenomenon see things as well. It does indicate that this happens whether you’re on the ground or in the air.
One very pertinent thing that Watson makes in this book is that it is more important to go to the source material for information than from book to book who passes the information from one to the other, even if there is a massive bibliography at the end of each chapter containing same. When you consider that this is the way information is spread on the Net, it does become worrying about what you can trust as unexaggerated ‘evidence’ any more because it will soon crop up all over the place. More annoyingly, as revealed later in, there is a mobile phone application to fake UFO photos although I’m glad they don’t look that convincing.
An interesting thought occurred to me about the so-called Men In Black. Considering that they are supposed to be quashing evidence, they ended up becoming part of the evidence and myth. This is hardly like they were doing their job very effectively. Logistically, I do think it’s more likely that was their purpose in the first place. I mean, considering how the press, for which there are examples in this book, have a tendency to mock sightings, you would have thought that alone would have made people more reluctant to come forward or even the continual denials by various public investigations over the years carried out in the USA. Equally, this must surely reduce the coverage of hoaxers and the delusional. Having the added fear of some dark-suited intelligence officer or extra-terrestrial coming to warn you off suddenly becomes something that will show you to be jumping on the bandwagon by seeing everything associated with UFOs and your report quickly ignored.
It’s interesting seeing Nick Pope’s original assertion again that the main reason to investigate UFOs is to see what kind of hazard they constitute for air traffic. When you hear so much about planes being downed by birds being sucked into their jets, one would have to ask why planes haven’t collided with whatever the UFOs are in the skies.
Seeing all the UFO flaps or waves collectively and looking for patterns is very odd because there isn’t any pattern, more so when there are so many successive years. As Watson also points out in this book, fearing ridicule, people don’t report seeing UFOs to the press, let alone the research agencies, so any pattern is likely to be inconclusive. What I do find odd is that considering how many people have mobile phone cameras now, you would have thought the number of photographs of aerial phenomena would have gone up but hasn’t. Granted, it can also be seen that digitally, it is a lot easier to fake photos these days, this also hasn’t changed the number of photos taken neither.
Looking at the charts for reporting information of where you have seen a UFO, I do wonder how many people get their directions wrong. Look at where you live and work out the four points of the compass without a compass then check to see how accurate you were. With sat-navs these days, I’m sure more precise measurement can be given, but for these report graphs, I can’t help feeling if additional information like saying, ‘The town is that way and it was over that way’ would allow the means to get a more precise direction. There is something along these lines in the questions you should ask someone about an encounter but mostly to where the sun or moon was.
Chapter 5 is something every UFO spotter should read because it looks at all the things that have been mistaken photographed as UFOs. The triangular UFOs, for instance, look like they could be aircraft being fuelled in flight. Remember that optical illusion where you have cut circles in three corners so you think there is a white triangle. Same kind of thing, except in black. All well and good, but unless they fly beyond the horizon, after fuelling, which doesn’t take many minutes, surely you would see the contrails of the jets accelerating away. After all, the sky is never going to be totally black.
One obvious thing about the trails of satellites and such is they are curved cross the sky which tends to give away the nature of their orbit. Probably the most unusual UFO is on page 92 where an unidentified aircraft was radar-tracked in Western Australia in 1946. Originally thought to be a Japanese plane, it later turns out it wasn’t. This one is considered to be a radar anomaly than aeroplane but it still looks like a puzzle to me. With the way radar and satellite usage is done these days, you would think all unusual blips would have their secrets revealed these days.
Seeing the selection of faked UFO photos should help tell the difference. Although not identified as such, the cover photographs looks like a George Adamski UFO even if it looks a bit like a speaker cone. Considering one of the interior photos shows a button masquerading as a UFO, it might be better to start off thinking what the mysterious object looks like first than think it’s something mysterious.
There is one problem with thinking that all aliens look like those from ‘Close Encounters Of The Third Kind’ is because the grays existed before that film and it was based off their description. If films played a major part in the alien resemblance why don’t they look like ‘E.T.’ who must surely be more easily recognised shapes seen world-wide.
Watson covers practically all aspects of UFOlogy and the only things he doesn’t examine are astronaut sightings, which also includes some worm-like lightning in the Earth’s atmosphere but that’s a minor point. If you want to get a grounding on the subject and be able to tell the difference between fake and possibly real UFOs, then this book does more than do the task. I do wish Watson had given his own opinions but I think he’s shown both sides and therefore leaves it to you to make a judgement call. Watch the skies with care and get evidence when you can.
(pub: Haynes. 163 page illustrated indexed large hardback. Price: £21.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-85733-400-8)