But coming to a neighborhood near you?

By Michael Smith

It happened on Sunday, October 30, 1938, at 8 p.m., a time to kick back and listen to a favorite radio program. Many had tuned their radio to an anthology series, The Mercury Theatre on the Air. Suddenly the music on that station was interrupted. There was an announcement about a large metal cylinder from outer space, perhaps Mars, which had crashed in a farmer’s field in Grovers Mills, New Jersey. A Professor Farrell of Mount Jenning Observatory was said to have lately detected explosions on Mars.

Now this radio announcer had begun describing what he said appeared to be a Martian exiting the cylinder that had just crashed:  “Good heavens, something’s wriggling out of the shadow like a gray snake. Now here’s another and another one and another one. They look like tentacles to me . . . I can see the thing’s body now. It’s large, large as a bear. It glistens like wet leather. But that face, it . . . it . . . ladies and gentlemen, it’s indescribable. I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it, it’s so awful. The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent. The mouth is kind of V-shaped with saliva dripping from its rimless lips that seem to quiver and pulsate.”

Naturally, the public soon learned that it was nothing more than Orson Welles’ radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds. A ruse. Still, it was reported that the announcement caused widespread panic from fear of an extraterrestrial invasion. Naiveté? Perhaps. But what if a similar credible-appearing deception were perpetrated today? Would you panic?

Perhaps not; most folks today probably doubt the existence of extraterrestrial beings and roll their eyes at those that don’t. Then again, what to make of a 2005 Gallup poll showing that fully a fourth of Americans thought outer space beings had already visited Earth; and a 2015 poll which revealed that 54 percent believe there is extraterrestrial intelligent life?

What do you believe?

Many have hedged their bets. More than 40,000 Americans have forked over $19.95 to Florida’s UFO Abduction Insurance Company for $10 million of protection against alien abduction. Elizabeth April should have paid for a policy, but it’s too late now. Elizabeth’s already become a UFO “abductee” or “experiencer,” as they’re called.

The “Tall Whites” beamed her up to their ship when she was only 18, implanted something in her ear and returned her unharmed. Soon after, she came to understand that in a previous life she was a Tall Grey from the 6th or 8th dimension. UFO enthusiasts pay to hear Elizabeth speak at conferences for believers. She says in her present life, she exists as an interdimensional being or “energetic hybrid.”

David M. Jacobs isn’t buying it. Jacobs, a bona fide Ufologist, has explained that though Elizabeth was possibly abducted, there is absolutely no way she is a hybrid. “Hybrids can control humans neurologically, and we cannot control them. True hybrids use abductees to help them blend into regular society.” Jacobs says Elizabeth is confused. As to Jacobs, himself, he is a former American history professor at Temple University. According to Jacobs, he had tenure so they couldn’t get rid of him, as his colleagues had fervently wished.

It’s also too late for Susan Stockton to apply for abduction insurance. Susan’s trip up to a space ship came in 1989. After swirling straight up, she “went through this opening, and all of a sudden I was in this room. I was medically probed by two beings.” Susan says her abductors were green in color. “Do you know Gumby? They were that color green. They had no hair, or genitalia, but I knew immediately that one was a woman and one was a man. The woman communicated with me telepathically the whole time. She said, ‘Don’t worry.’ She told me to eat chicken livers.” The Eat Mor Chikin cows would undoubtedly agree.

David Huggins takes issue with Susan’s claim about the absence of genitalia. Rightly so, as he lost his virginity to a female extraterrestrial. David’s close encounter of a different kind materialized in the woods near his rural Georgia home. It was 1961 “when an alien woman appeared and seduced him.” Since, life has been good for him. At 74, he wrote in his book, Love and Saucers, “these visits from extraterrestrials, and sexual relationship(s) with them, continued into adulthood.” David says he’s fathered hundreds of alien babies.

John Mack has studied about 200 cases of people claiming to be experiencers and found them “of sound mind, they ask many questions, they doubt themselves. They describe a seemingly real, intense experience, a light, something happening to their bodies.” John knows a sound mind when he confronts one. Dr. Mack is a former psychiatrist and Harvard professor. Nonetheless, as with most folks afflicted with this or that nowadays, there are help sources for experiencers.

CERO-France is one such source. Myriame Belmyr heads up CERO, an organization devoted to helping abductees. She easily relates to experiencers experiences, as she, herself, claims to have been abducted in 1987. According to Ms. Belmyr, extraterrestrial Earth visits are “definitely for genetic engineering.” Also, “they are particularly intrigued by our emotions and our art. They don’t know about any of that.”

An excellent candidate for CERO’s ministrations might be Ms. Jo Ann Richards, who says her husband, now in jail for 30 years, was falsely convicted of masterminding a murder. Says Jo Ann, “We know that the shadow government just wants him out of their hair. My husband’s been around aliens ever since he was a kid. He was trained in the U.S. military and the Raptor military.”

Obviously, Jo Ann suspects the United States government of suspect behavior regarding UFOers. So do many others. In 1955 President Dwight Eisenhower approved adding “Area 51” to the Nevada Test Site, located about an hour’s drive from the Las Vegas strip. There, the government tested secret aircraft and other military weapons. And there the government consciously fanned the fires of doubt as to what exactly was going on in Area 51. For starters, it denied the area even existed. Then, as is most frequently the case, that lie led to another lie, one many believe is perpetrated to this very day — that the government stonewalled about debris one William “Mac” Brazel had previously discovered.

Mr. Brazel, a farmer near Roswell, New Mexico, discovered a miscellany of metal rods and such that he could not identify. One thing led to another till the military arrived and carted the stuff away. Many years later the government announced that the debris was nothing more than a crashed weather balloon. Trouble was, pictures had been taken of the debris and published in newspapers, and the objects in no way resemble parts of a weather balloon.

UFOers think the articles found during the Roswell “incident,” as it is now famously known, were really the remnants of a crashed flying saucer that wound up in Area 51 where experiments on aliens and their accoutrements are secretly conducted. The government dismissed all this and did nothing to dispel the characterization of UFO believers as tin-hat flakes.

In December 2017 the Washington Post published a story about the government’s secret Advanced Threat Identification Program. (That’s government speak for “Pentagon Alien Program.”) Apparently the government had blown through $22 million from 2007 to 2012 to study what else but “anomalous aerospace threats.” (That’s government speak for UFOs.)

Funding for that particular government SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) program dried up in 2012. What didn’t dry up is speculation about the results of the program. As recently as December 2017, Luis Elizondo, the fellow that served as head of the secret Pentagon program, said the existence of UFOs had been firmly established. Elizondo said, “In my opinion, if this was a court of law, we have reached the point of ‘beyond reasonable doubt.’ I hate to use the term UFO but that’s what we’re looking at,” he added. “I think it’s pretty clear this is not us, and it’s not anyone else, so no one has to ask questions where they’re from.”

It turns out that there have been numerous secret government SETI programs: Project Sign, in the 1940s, succeeded by Project Grudge, then Project Blue Book, which ran from 1952 to 1969. Edward J. Ruppelt, first head of Project Blue Book, is on record as saying that UFOs reported in the study were estimated to have been “interplanetary.”

So what do we have here? For certain, there are tin-hat flakes among us. Equally certain is that there are too many credible reports to lightly dismiss. A former Georgia peanut farmer turned POTUS comes to mind. In 1969, Jimmy Carter and 10 to 12 other people stood and watched a UFO for 10 to 12 minutes, as he later reported. Like President Carter, most credible UFO reports have come from current or former military officers or civilian airline pilots.

Such men are not given to glibness. Nor was the man who was inadvertently responsible for the term “flying saucer.” Civilian pilot Kenneth Arnold is widely credited with having reported the first credible sighting of unidentified flying objects in the United States. On June 24, 1947, he reported seeing, while flying, nine objects, glowing bright blue-white, flying in a “V” formation over Washington’s Mount Rainier. He estimated the objects’ flight speed at 1,700 mph and compared their motion to “a saucer if you skip it across water.” Newspaper reports of Arnold’s sighting mistakenly interpreted Arnold’s account to mean that the objects were shaped like saucers, thus, flying saucers.

As far as the public knows, the U.S. government presently has no SETI program. Of course NASA is still about, blasting off to hither and yon, but presumptively has no SETI. Not to fear, however, private interests are taking up the slack. The biggie effort to find aliens is the $100 million project called Breakthrough Listen. The program was spearheaded by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and the late Stephen Hawking. How’s that for creds?

Beyond the Milky Way, Breakthrough Listen “listens for messages from the 100 closest galaxies to ours. The instruments used are sensitive enough to hear a common aircraft radar transmitting to us from any of the 1000 nearest stars. Spectroscopic searches are being conducted for optical laser transmissions. They could detect a 100 watt laser (the energy of a normal household bulb) from 25 trillion miles away.”

P.S. In case you missed it this year, you might want to plug in to next year’s World UFO day. It is celebrated by believers on June 24, the date of Arnold’s UFO sighting, or on July 2, the date of the Roswell incident. Live long and prosper.  PS

Michael Smith lives in Talamore, Southern Pines, with his wife, Judee. They moved here in 2017 and wish they had moved here years earlier.

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