~UFO's - A YEAR IN REVIEW~


~Michael Lindemann~
Editor, CNI News
http://www.cninews.com/


From the standpoint of UFO activity, 1999 seemed somewhat less eventful than other recent years. Nonetheless, this year saw its share of major sightings and significant developments. Among the biggest stories ever featured in CNI News was the release in July of the "COMETA" UFO report by leading French military officers and scientists, which categorically stated that UFOs are physically real, anomalous, of defense significance and therefore deserving of coordinated international study. The international silence that greeted COMETA's report was nothing short of bizarre. Meanwhile, important UFO sightings attracted mainstream press attention in such unlikely places as China, Azerbaijan and Romania. Huge aerial events -- perhaps extraordinary meteors, perhaps not -- repeatedly lit up the sky over the United States, Brazil, Australia, Papua New Guinea and other places. The year's biggest reported UFO investigation, certainly among the biggest in recent memory, came from Canada's Yukon Territory, where UFO researchers methodically tracked down at least 22 witnesses to a sensational series of sightings, previously unknown, that took place in December 1996.

For mainstream space exploration, 1999 brought moments of euphoria as well as devastating disappointment. NASA lost not one but two Mars missions, perhaps the biggest blow to the U.S. space agency since Challenger. Despite that, Mars looks more and more like a planet that could support life, and the push for Mars exploration keeps growing. Meanwhile, the intrepid Galileo spacecraft continues to send back astonishing new information about the weird moons of Jupiter. And astronomers have identified at least a dozen new extrasolar planets, and for the first time directly observed a planet transiting its parent star more than 150 light years from earth.

All this and much more is summarized in the following sample of over 150 CNI News headline stories from 1999.

January 1, 1999 -- CNI News Vol. 4, No. 21

UFO BLITZ CONFOUNDS NORTHERN KENTUCKY

Numerous UFO incidents occurred on December 13 and 14, 1998 in the areas of Dry Ridge, Fort Mitchell and Florence, Kentucky, as well as Batavia, Ohio. A "blue-colored object" was seen descending from the sky over Batavia, Ohio at about 10:35 pm on December 13. Later that evening, at about 11:15 pm, another blue-colored object was reportedly seen in Boone County, Kentucky. Yet another blue-colored object, this time "with flames," was witnessed at about 6 am the next morning, December 14, in the area of Dry Ridge, Kentucky.

WAS THAT SANTA OVER WESTERN AUSTRALIA?

The Western Australian newspaper of December 28, 1998 reported that a sighting of weird moving lights in the sky prompted some witnesses to wonder if Santa Claus was lost over the outback. Security officers at the Murrin Murrin nickel project filed the unusual report after they watched the multi-colored light display for about half an hour on Christmas eve.

NEW EVIDENCE IN MYSTERIOUS 1996 SCOTLAND "UFO CRASH"

On October 26, 1996, many eyewitnesses saw and heard an aerial explosion over the ocean near Scotland's Isle of Lewis. Something fell out of the sky, trailing smoke, and appeared to land in the sea. But an immediate, costly land and sea search by elements of the British MoD failed to discover any wreckage or sign of the mishap. Now, more than two years later, a French trawler has snagged parts of a military helicopter from the very area where the 1996 "crash" occurred. Yet, mysteriously, no helicopter has ever been reported missing. According to journalist Iain Maciver, writing for Atlantic Press Agency UK, the trawler's find is bound to increase speculation that the military know more than they are saying about the mysterious incident.

WHY DO THE CROP CIRCLE HOAXERS DO IT?

Veteran crop circle researcher Colin Andrews sent word of surprisingly candid statements made lately by one of England's most infamous crop circle hoaxers, Doug Bowers. Andrews wrote: "[In a] BBC television program called 'Country File' which is to be broadcast in Britain on Sunday, January 3, Doug Bowers will state that he believes [hoaxing partner] Dave Chorley and himself 'were directed by an unknown force to make crop circles.'" To which Andrews added, "[Bowers'] statement supports what [I] and others have felt for some time, i.e. the hoaxers are all part of the bigger plan, if you like, part of the mystery."

"ROSWELL'S" PAUL DAVIDS REVEALS NEW ALIEN PROJECTS

Paul Davids, writer and producer of the acclaimed 1994 made-for-TV film "Roswell," told CNI News that he had optioned the film rights to "The Contact Has Begun," the controversial abduction story told by former Los Angeles Times journalist Phillip Krapf. Davids said he has at least two years in which to exercise his film option and is now in negotiations with foreign investors to finance the project. Davids has also completed work on a shooting script for "The Face on Mars," intended to become a feature-length big-screen film in a joint venture with Cydonia researcher Richard Hoagland.

January 16, 1999 -- CNI News Vol. 4, No. 22

LEADING RESEARCHERS REFLECT ON PROGRESS OF UFOLOGY

A CNI News survey of 18 leading ufologists representing eight nations found both pessimism and optimism regarding the progress of ufology but also found broad agreement on several key themes, including: the need for a more scientific approach to UFO evidence, along with the involvement of more trained scientists in UFO research; the need for greater unity within the UFO research community; and the need to focus on educating the public to the reality of UFOs.

JOE FIRMAGE QUITS USWEB TO PURSUE ET ISSUE FULL TIME

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Joseph P. Firmage, who drew major headlines in the fall of 1998 when he published "The Truth" on the web, declaring his belief that ETs had shaped human culture and would play a key role in human destiny, stepped down in early January from his post as Chief Strategist at USWeb Corporation, the company he founded and had only recently taken public, in order to devote his full attention to questions of ET contact and space exploration.

UFOLOGISTS LOOK INTO AIR BATTLE IN FINLAND

Ufologists in Finland are investigating a reported encounter between a Finnish jet fighter and a squadron of UFOs. The "dogfight" reportedly took place on Apr 16, 1998 (also wrongly reported as March 31, 1997) in northern Finland. Local researchers learned of it when the pilot, whose name was withheld, phoned a radio talk show and said he was "having trouble dealing with" the experience. The pilot claimed he saw four or five metallic-looking luminous objects flying over Lappland near the Finnish-Russian border. On orders from ground control, he attempted to fire his cannon, but it malfunctioned. The UFOs then flew away at very high speed.

FIRST CLAIMED DISCOVERY OF EARTHLIKE EXOPLANET

Astronomers reported at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society on January 9-10 that for the first time they may have discovered an earthlike planet around another star. The new planet would be the only one among some 18 "extrasolar planets" so far discovered that might fit that special category. Detected by a technique called gravitational microlensing, the planet is believed to orbit a star that is at least 25,000 light years from earth.

BETTY CASH, INJURED IN UFO ENCOUNTER, DIES

Betty Cash, one of three people seriously injured in the so-called Cash-Landrum incident, a UFO encounter that occurred near Huffman, Texas, on December 29, 1980, died on the 18th anniversary of the event in Birmingham, Alabama. A dynamic business woman in 1980, Cash's health was destroyed by the encounter and she never worked again.

INVENTOR PROPOSES TO BUILD HUGE DELTOID AIRSHIP

Dale Harris, a Texas-based inventor and entrepreneur, has proposed to NASA aerospace experts that a huge deltoid (triangular) aircraft he calls the Coopership could revolutionize air travel and even serve as a high altitude launch platform for safe, low-cost tourism into earth orbit. The Coopership would be a lighter-than-air craft filled with helium. Unlike more conventional blimps, however, this craft has both a rigid airframe and a rigid skin made of layers of composite materials and exotic aerogels. Harris told CNI News that he believes Lockheed Martin may already be flying a secret version of such a craft.

BBC SAYS MOST BRITONS DOUBT GOV'T WORD ON ETs

According to a recent BBC report, a survey conducted for the popular science magazine Focus found that 50.2% of Britons now believe extraterrestrial life exists elsewhere in the universe. But a wopping 80% of those surveyed believe the British government would not tell them if it were learned that ETs do exist.

February 1, 1999 -- CNI News Vol. 4, No. 23

ISRAEL VIDEO OF "UFO COLLISION" APPEARS AUTHENTIC

A videotape shot in Israel in June 1996, depicting what appears to be a collision between two UFOs, was examined by noted U.S. video analyst Jeff Sainio and found to be probably authentic, according to Israeli researcher Barry Chamish. The video, shot by Spasso Maximovitch in Rosh Haayin, central Israel, shows a silvery orb hanging motionless in the sky which is approached by a fast-moving, glowing oval object. The two objects come together in a "huge explosion in the sky," according to Chamish.

AIRLINE PILOTS SEE UNIDENTIFIED TRAFFIC OVER CANADA

Michael Strainic of MUFON Canada told CNI News that pilots of an airliner flying from Alaska to California reported unusual unidentified lights in the sky on November 9, 1998. The pilots said they observed three orange objects and then two white objects in the night sky. Checks with relevant authorities appeared to rule out flares or known air traffic as the cause of the sightings.

NEW PLANS TO PROTECT EARTH FROM E.T. CONTAMINATION

Though a 1969 "Extraterrestrial Exposure Law" was quietly repealed by the U.S. Congress in 1991, NASA in 1999 is once again concerned about the real dangers posed by ET life. According to a Jan 18 story in the Boston Globe, scientists from several Federal agencies and think tanks were to meet in February to discuss ways to control and regulate such potential exposure. Among those involved in developing new regulations are the Departments of Interior and Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

ELEMENT 114 ANNOUNCED BY RUSSIAN SCIENTISTS

Russian scientists said they had fabricated one atom of element 114, and true to theory, it seems more stable than slightly lighter elements. According to news sources on January 29, the atom of element 114 persisted for 30 seconds. The work was accomplished at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research at Dubna, Russia, under the leadership of nuclear physicist Dr. Yuri Oganessian. Scientists from Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California provided assistance.

SOURCE OF NEW MJ-12 DOCUMENTS OFFERED LIE TEST

Timothy Cooper, who says a mysterious man named "Cantwheel" left over 100 pages of sensational new MJ-12 documents in his post office box between 1992 and 1996, agreed to undergo a polygraph test aimed at establishing the veracity of his story. As reported later in the year, he did not pass the test.

AUTHOR STILL SEES EVIDENCE FOR VISITORS FROM SIRIUS

In 1976, Robert Temple published the first edition of his controversial book, "The Sirius Mystery," in which he said that a West African tribe called the Dogon had in their oral traditions clear proof of ancient visits to Earth by beings from Sirius. In 1998, Temple published a revised edition of his book which, he says, contains further evidence "that the visitors really did come from Sirius and that they never went home. I think I know where they are. They have returned to suspended animation, which they must have used to get here in the first place on their interstellar voyage... I believe that they are orbiting the planet Saturn."

February 16, 1999 -- CNI News Vol. 4, No. 24

FAMED UK RESEARCHER NICK POPE SAID TO BE ABDUCTEE

Nick Pope, the British Ministry of Defence employee whose writings declare that some UFOs are alien spacecraft, may be an abductee. According to a Feb 7 story in the London Sunday Times, Pope's 1997 book "The Uninvited" tells of a man called "Peter" who was reportedly abducted while in Florida. "Peter" is Pope himself, the Times says. Leading UK researcher Jenny Randles says she'd known Pope to be an abductee and had wondered "why he chose to describe the incident as happening to somebody else."

MAJOR UFO FLAP IN PROGRESS OVER ITALY

From the end of October through mid-December, 1998, Italian UFO investigators received written and phone reports of a consistent wave of sightings all over Italy. A press release by CUN (National Ufological Centre) describing a UFO flap in several Italian regions -- mainly Lombardia, Emilia Romagna, Lazio and Sicily -- was widely reported in the media including national TV news. Numerous additional UFO reports were received through the end of January 1999. Some incidents involved encounters with alleged alien beings.

TRIANGULAR UFO CAUGHT ON VIDEO IN IRELAND

Kenneth Mundell says he was outside his house in County Antrim, Northern Ireland on Jan 20, 1999 when he saw and videotaped a large, slow-moving triangular aircraft. It was 4:50 pm and dark, but the object was clearly visible as a dark mass with three bright lights marking each of the corners. Mundell said the UFO was about 1000 feet in the air and made no sound as it passed directly over his house.

SILVERY SAUCER REPORTED OVER WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Several witnesses, including a private pilot, reportedly saw a silver disc-shaped flying object at dusk on Feb 10 near New Norcia, Western Australia. The object, with five lights along the side, was first seen hovering about 100 meters above a wheat field at about 500 meters distance from the witnesses. It appeared to be a classic flying saucer. It later climbed steeply into the sky and disappeared.

FLYING DISC PHOTOGRAPHED IN NEW ZEALAND On Jan 16, people relaxing on the beach in Greymouth, South Island, New Zealand, were startled by the cries of children who were "pointing to the western horizon" where "a UFO was enjoying itself." The UFO, described as "a large opaque and shiny disc," zipped about in the blue sky over the Pacific Ocean for several minutes. One person took several photos as the object flew away to the north.

CONTROVERSY OVER LIFE-SIGNS IN MARS ROCK CONTINUES

The Mars meteorite ALH84001 remains at the center of a running controversy concerning possible evidence of life on the Red Planet. A key objection to the claim of life in the meteorite has been that tiny worm-like structures observed in the rock are much smaller than any bacteria known on earth. However, a Feb 11 story in BBC News Online says that researcher Kathie Thomas-Keprta of Lockheed Martin Space Mission Systems has found new evidence that earth bacteria sometimes leave very similar remains in rocks when they die. Features "similar in size and shape to those in the Martian meteorite do exist within the biological record on Earth," she said.

DELIBERATE MESSAGE FROM EARTH WILL BEAM TO STARS

This April, if plans hold, an elaborate message including scientific data and greetings from ordinary citizens will be beamed to a set of sunlike stars approximately 50 to 70 light years from Earth. It will be the first time since 1974, and only the second time in history, that such a message has been broadcast into space. A Texas-based company called Encounter 2001 is behind the effort. They have contracted with Canadian scientist Dr. Yrvan Dutil to construct the scientific part of the message, which will be broadcast three times from a radio telescope in the Ukraine.

NASA PLEDGES $600,000 FOR ANTIGRAVITY RESEARCH

New Scientist magazine reported on Feb 3 that NASA has put $600,000 toward a project intended to duplicate the controversial experiments of a Russian scientist who claims to have invented a means of blocking gravity. NASA is paying an Ohio-based company, Superconductive Components, to try to replicate the alleged anti-gravity device created by E. E. Podkletnov, a materials scientist at the Moscow Chemical Scientific Research Centre.

TEXAS NEWS PHOTOGRAPHER SHOOTS GLOWING UFO

M.L. Gray, a photographer for the Fort Worth, Texas Star-Telegram newspaper, was driving home on Nov 30, 1998 when he saw something in the sky he couldn't explain. It began as a motionless, brilliant spot in the sky. Then it dimmed; then it dropped very fast toward the ground; then it looked like a flattened, orange cigar. Grabbing his camera, Gray shot 15 pictures; but he's not sure what they show. "The more I review the images, the more extraterrestrial they seem," he told FOX-TV News.

March 1, 1999 -- CNI News Vol. 5, No. 1

BRITISH PRESS REPORTS "DRAMATIC" SCOTTISH UFO VIDEO

A Feb 24 report in Britain's Daily Record and Sunday Mail Online says that "an amazing film of dozens of silver orb-like objects shooting across the sky in Stirling has excited UFO watchers all over the UK." Stirling is near Bonnybridge, a Scottish town that has been a center of UFO activity for several years. Five hours of video of the silver objects, shot by a roadworker called Brian, was passed to researchers at England's respected UFO Magazine last December.

CANADA PRIME MINISTER WARNED ABOUT MESSAGES TO E.T.

Dr. Yrvan Dutil, recently hired to write a scientific message to be sent to ETs via radio telescope (see above), has written to Canada's Prime Minister Jean Chretien saying such actions are not a good idea. According to a Feb 26 story in Canada's National Post newspaper, astrophysicist Dutil and colleague Stephane Dumas warned Chretien of the dangers of unregulated communications with extraterrestrials. Such communications might prompt an invasion by nasty aliens, they said.

UFOs VIDEOTAPED IN THE SKIES OF PERU

For several days starting on Feb 9, UFOs were seen by hundreds of witnesses in many parts of Peru. Videos of the UFOs were shown on Peruvian TV news and were featured in major newspapers. Frightened witnesses speculated on the end of the world. Some said it was all caused by low-flying helicopters; but many disagreed.

LARGE "BOOMERANG" SEEN IN CARPINTERIA, CALIFORNIA

A witness called Kirk said that he, his mother and other witnesses had seen a giant "boomerang-shaped ship" fly overhead at about 7:20 pm on Feb 23 in the seaside town of Carpinteria, California, near Santa Barbara. "They estimated it was 2 football fields across and 15 feet thick, top to bottom. It was very low -- between 300 and 500 feet altitude -- and emitted a low rumble which shook the ground and things in the house," said local researcher Don Robertson.

WERE SOME OF MEXICO'S UFOS BUILT BY MIKE WALDEN?

Weird but true? Mike Walden, president of a Las Vegas-based company called LTAS (Lighter Than Air Solar Corporation of Nevada), builds very large flying-saucer shaped airships, capable of carrying several people in relative comfort. The biggest one he ever built, dubbed the MLA-32-B, was over 100 feet in diameter and was reportedly destroyed several years ago in a freak accident in Mexico. A Mexican potato chip company had paid Walden 5 million dollars to build it.

DANISH PHYSICIST SLOWS DOWN SPEED OF LIGHT

A Feb 18 story in the New York Times said that Danish physicist Dr. Lene Vestergaard Hau and her team recently slowed down the speed of light almost to a standstill. Sending a laser beam through an odd state of matter called a "Bose-Einstein condensate," Hau slowed the light to about 120 feet per hour. The technique may become useful in optical computers, high-speed switches, communications systems and many other applications.

UNUSUAL SKULL AND SKELETON: ARE THEY "ALIEN"?

Researcher Lloyd Pye announced he was in possession of a pair of very old skulls, one obviously adult human and the other "markedly divergent from the human norm." Pye speculated that the odd skull might represent an alien or alien-human hybrid and said he would pursue detailed testing. [A full report on tests of the so-called "Starchild" skull was featured in the Dec 16 CNI News.] Meanwhile, MUFON's Director Walter H. Andrus reported on an ongoing investigation of a nearly complete skeleton appearing to be that of a "little person" with numerous unusual anatomical features. Some people familiar with the "little person" skeleton said they doubted it was authentic.

TWO UFO INCIDENTS IN OHIO REPORTED TO POLICE

On the nights of March 11 and March 14, police in north-central Ohio were alerted to possible UFO activity. In the second case, a patrol officer filed an eyewitness report. Both incidents took place in Sandusky County, southeast of Toledo and about 20 miles south of the Lake Erie shore. The March 11 sighting involved a triangle-shaped UFO with three lights underneath. The March 14 incident involved "a strange array of lights in the sky," according to the police witness.

FAMOUS UK UFO PHOTO, SAID TO BE HOAX, MAY BE REAL

A March 4 press report from Yorkshire, UK said that a famous UFO photo taken in 1962 by then-12 year old Alex Birch, and later admitted to be fake, may be real after all. Alex, now an antique dealer and grandfather, claims pressure and ridicule forced him to claim the UFO sighting in 1962, which made him a worldwide celebrity, was a hoax. Now, he says, he wants to set the record straight, "because I think it is important that the public should know."




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