UFO conspiracy theories

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UFO conspiracy theories are a subset of conspiracy theories which argue that various governments and politicians globally, in particular the Government of the United States, are suppressing evidence that unidentified flying objects are controlled by a non-human intelligence or built using alien technology.[1] Such conspiracy theories usually argue that Earth governments are in communication or cooperation with extraterrestrial visitors despite public claims to the contrary, and further that some of these theories claim that the governments are explicitly allowing alien abduction.[2]

Individuals who have publicly stated that UFO evidence is being suppressed include Senator Barry Goldwater, British Admiral Lord Hill-Norton (former NATO head and chief of the British Defence Staff), Vice Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter (first CIA director), Israeli brigadier general Haim Eshed (former director of space programs for the Israel Ministry of Defense),[3] astronauts Gordon Cooper[4][5] and Edgar Mitchell,[6] and former Canadian Defence Minister Paul Hellyer. Beyond their testimonies and reports they have presented no evidence to substantiate their statements and claims. According to the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry little or no evidence exists to support them despite significant research on the subject by non-governmental scientific agencies.[7][8][9][10]

Scholars of religion have identified some new religious movements among the proponents of UFO conspiracy theories, most notably Heaven's Gate, the Nation of Islam, and Scientology.[1] Various UFO conspiracy theories have flourished on the internet and were frequently featured on Art Bell's program, Coast to Coast AM.[11]



On the night before Halloween in 1938, Orson Welles directed The Mercury Theatre on the Air live radio adaptation of H. G. Wells's novel, The War of the Worlds (serialized in 1897). By mimicking a news broadcast, the show was quite realistic sounding for its time, and some listeners were fooled into thinking that a Martian invasion was underway in the United States. Widespread confusion was followed by outrage and controversy. Some later studies[citation needed] have argued that the contemporary press exaggerated the extent of the panic, but it remains clear that many people were caught up, to some degree, in the confusion.

In other countries, reactions were similar. In 1949, part of the script for The War of the Worlds was read out over the radio in Quito, Ecuador, without announcement, as if it were a major piece of breaking news. Huge crowds of people emerged onto the streets and sought refuge inside churches with their families. When the radio station was informed of this, its announcers broadcast the fact that no invasion was happening. An angry mob formed and burned the station to the ground, causing between six and twenty deaths. Many other countries also experienced problems when broadcasting The War of the Worlds.[citation needed]

According to U.S. Air Force Captain Edward J. Ruppelt,[12] the Air Force's files often mentioned the panicked aftermath of the 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast as a possible reaction of the public to confirmed evidence of UFOs; however, the files have not been made available to corroborate his assertions.


Donald Keyhoe later began investigating flying saucers for True magazine. Keyhoe was one of the first significant conspiracy theorists, asserting eventually that the saucers were from outer space and were on some sort of scouting mission. Keyhoe claimed to derive his theory from his contacts in Air Force and Navy intelligence. Project Sign, based at Air Technical Intelligence Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and its successors Project Grudge and Project Blue Book were officially assigned to investigate the flying saucers. Edward Ruppelt's book The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects,[13] reports that many people within these research groups did in fact support the hypothesis that the flying saucers were from outer space.

Keyhoe later founded NICAP, a civilian investigation group that asserted the U.S. government was lying about UFOs and covering up information that should be shared with the public. NICAP had many influential board members, including Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, the first director of the CIA. To date no substantiating evidence for NICAP's assertions has been presented beyond accounts that are anecdotal and documented hear-say or rumor.[7]

The Great Los Angeles Air Raid[edit]

"The Great Los Angeles Air Raid" also known as "The Battle of Los Angeles" is the name given by contemporary sources to the imaginary enemy attack and subsequent anti-aircraft artillery barrage which took place from late February 24 to early February 25, 1942 over Los Angeles, California.[14][15]

Initially, the target of the aerial barrage was thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox speaking at a press conference shortly afterward called the incident a "false alarm." A small number of modern-day UFOlogists have suggested the reported targets were extraterrestrial spacecraft.[16]

When documenting the incident in 1983, the U.S. Office of Air Force History attributed the event to a case of "war nerves" likely triggered by a lost weather balloon and exacerbated by stray flares and shell bursts from adjoining batteries.[17]

Ghost rockets[edit]

In 1946 and 1947, numerous reports occurred of so-called ghost rockets appearing over Scandinavian countries, primarily Sweden, which then spread into other European countries.[18] One USAF top secret document from 1948 stated that Swedish Air Force Intelligence informed them that some of their investigators felt that the reported objects were not only real but could not be explained as having earthly origins. Similarly, 20 years later, Greek physicist Dr. Paul Santorini publicly stated that in 1947 he was put in charge of a Greek military investigation into reports of ghost rockets sighted over Greece [ Timothy Good 1988, p 23; Donald Keyhoe, p 142].[18] Again, they quickly concluded the objects were real and not of conventional origin. Santorini claimed their investigation was killed by U.S. scientists and high military officials who had already concluded the objects were extraterrestrial in origin and feared public panic because no defense existed.[19]

Roswell Incident[edit]

In 1947, the United States Air Force issued a press release stating that a "flying disk" had been recovered near Roswell, New Mexico. This press release was quickly withdrawn, and officials stated that a weather balloon had been misidentified. The Roswell case quickly faded even from the attention of most UFOlogists until the 1970s. Speculation persisted despite the official denial that an alien spacecraft crashed near Roswell.

In the 1990s, the US military published two reports disclosing the true nature of the crashed aircraft: a surveillance balloon from Project Mogul. Nevertheless, the Roswell incident continues to be of interest to the media, and conspiracy theories surrounding the event persist. Roswell has been described as "the world's most famous, most exhaustively investigated and most thoroughly debunked UFO claim".[20]

Mantell Incident[edit]

In 1948, Air Force pilot Thomas Mantell was killed in a crash while pursuing what he described as "a metallic object...of tremendous size".[21] Project Blue Book concluded that Mantell had lost control of his aircraft while chasing a then-classified Skyhook balloon.[22] Some UFOlogists reject Bluebook's conclusion because of its initial suggestion that Mantell was chasing "Venus or a comet".[23]

Project Sign[edit]

The U.S. Air Force may have planted the seeds of UFO conspiracy theories with Project Sign (established 1947) (which became Project Grudge and Project Blue Book). Edward J. Ruppelt, the first director of Blue Book, characterized the Air Force's public behavior regarding UFOs as "schizophrenic": alternately open and transparent, then secretive and dismissive. Ruppelt also revealed that in mid-1948, Project Sign issued a top secret Estimate of the Situation concluding that the flying saucers were not only real but probably extraterrestrial in origin. According to Ruppelt, the Estimate was ordered destroyed by Air Force Chief of Staff Hoyt Vandenberg.[12]

Project Sign's final report, published in early 1949, stated that while some UFOs appeared to represent actual aircraft, data were insufficient to determine their origin.[24]

On April 3, 1949, radio personality Walter Winchell broadcast the claim that flying saucers were Russian in origin.[25][26]

Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit[edit]

Some UFOlogists have claimed the existence of a U.S. government group called the "Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit" allegedly established by General Douglas MacArthur that was "supposedly formed to investigate crashed and retrieved flying saucers".[27]


The 1950s saw an increase in both governmental and civilian investigative efforts and reports of public disinformation and suppression of evidence.

The UK Ministry of Defence’s UFO Project has its roots in a study commissioned in 1950 by the MOD’s then Chief Scientific Adviser, the great radar scientist Sir Henry Tizard. As a result of his insistence that UFO sightings should not be dismissed without some form of proper scientific study, the Department set up the Flying Saucer Working Party (or FSWP).[28]

In August 1950, Montanan baseball manager Nicholas Mariana filmed several UFOs with his color 16mm camera. Project Blue Book was called in and, after inspecting the film, Mariana claimed it was returned to him with critical footage removed, clearly showing the objects as disc-shaped. The incident sparked nationwide media attention.

Frank Scully's 1950 Behind the Flying Saucers suggested that the U.S. government had recovered a crashed flying saucer and its dead occupants near Aztec, New Mexico, in 1948. It was later revealed that Scully had been the victim of a prank by "two veteran confidence artists".[29]

Donald Keyhoe was a retired U.S. Marine who wrote a series of popular books and magazine articles that were very influential in shaping public opinion, arguing that UFOs were indeed real and that the U.S. government was suppressing UFO evidence. Keyhoe's first article on the subject came out in True magazine, January 1950, and was a national sensation. His first book, Flying Saucers Are Real also came out in 1950, about the same time as Frank Scully's book, and was a bestseller. In 1956, Keyhoe helped establish NICAP, a powerful civilian UFO investigating group with many inside sources. Keyhoe became its director and continued his attacks on the Air Force. Other contemporary critics also charged that the United States Air Force was perpetrating a cover-up with its Project Blue Book.

Canadian radio engineer Wilbert B. Smith, who worked for the Canadian Department of Transport, was interested in flying saucer propulsion technology and wondered if the assertions in the just-published Scully and Keyhoe books were factual. In September 1950, he had the Canadian embassy in Washington D.C. arrange contact with U.S. officials to try to discover the truth of the matter. Smith was briefed by Dr. Robert Sarbacher, a physicist and consultant to the Defense Department's Research and Development Board. Other correspondence, having to do with Keyhoe needing to get clearance to publish another article on Smith's theories of UFO propulsion, indicated that Bush and his group were operating out of the Research and Development Board.[30] Smith then briefed superiors in the Canadian government, leading to the establishment of Project Magnet, a small Canadian government UFO research effort. Canadian documents and Smith's private papers were uncovered in the late 1970s, and by 1984, other alleged documents emerged claiming the existence of a highly secret UFO oversight committee of scientists and military people called Majestic 12, again naming Vannevar Bush. Sarbacher was also interviewed in the 1980s and corroborated the information in Smith's memos and correspondence. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, Smith granted public interviews, and among other things stated that he had been lent crashed UFO material for analysis by a highly secret U.S. government group which he wouldn't name.[31]

A few weeks after the Robertson Panel, the Air Force issued Regulation 200-2, ordering air base officers to publicly discuss UFO incidents only if they were judged to have been solved, and to classify all the unsolved cases to keep them out of the public eye. In addition, UFO investigative duties started to be taken on by the newly formed 4602nd Air Intelligence Squadron (AISS) of the Air Defense Command. The 4602nd AISS was tasked with investigating only the most important UFO cases having intelligence or national security implications. These were deliberately siphoned away from Blue Book, leaving Blue Book to deal with the more trivial reports.[32]

In 1954 an automatic working station for UFO monitoring was installed at Shirley's Bay near Ottawa in Canada. After this station detected the first suspicious event, all data gained by this station was classified as secret, although the cameras of the monitoring station could not make any pictures because of fog.[33]

1956 saw the publication of Gray Barker's They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers, the book which publicized the idea of sinister Men in Black who appear to UFO witnesses and warn them to keep quiet. There has been continued speculation that the men in black are government agents who harass and threaten UFO witnesses.

Also in 1956, the group Foundation for Earth-Space Relations, led by film producer Tzadi Sophit, tested their own flying saucer outside the Long Island town of Ridge Landing. It is speculated in Robertson's The Long Island Saucer that an FBI cover-up silenced witnesses.[34]

On January 22, 1958, when Donald Keyhoe appeared on CBS television, his statements on UFOs were censored by the Air Force. During the show when Keyhoe tried to depart from the censored script to "reveal something that has never been disclosed before", CBS cut the sound, later stating Keyhoe was about to violate "predetermined security standards" and about to say something he wasn't "authorized to release". What Keyhoe was about to reveal were four publicly unknown military studies concluding UFOs were interplanetary including the 1948 Project Sign Estimate of the Situation and a 1952 Project Blue Book engineering analysis of UFO motion presented at the Robertson Panel.[35]

Astronaut Gordon Cooper reported suppression of a flying saucer movie filmed in high clarity by two Edwards AFB range photographers on May 3, 1957. Cooper said he viewed developed negatives of the object, clearly showing a dish-like object with a dome on top and something like holes or ports in the dome. When later interviewed by James McDonald, the photographers and another witness confirmed the story. Cooper said military authorities then picked up the film and neither he nor the photographers ever heard what happened to it. The incident was also reported in a few newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times. The official explanation was that the photographers had filmed a weather balloon distorted by hot desert air.[36]


Throughout much of the 1960s, atmospheric physicist James E. McDonald suggested—via lectures, articles and letters—that the U.S. Government was mishandling evidence that would support the extraterrestrial hypothesis.[37]

Vallee and the "Pentacle Memorandum"[edit]

In June 1967, researcher Jacques Vallee was tasked with organizing files collected by Project Bluebook investigator J. Allen Hynek[38][39] Among those files, Vallee found a memo dated 9 January 1953 addressed an assistant of Edward J. Ruppelt, an Air Force officer assigned to Bluebook.[38] The memo was signed "H.C. Cross", but Vallee elected to refer to the author under the pseudonym "Pentacle".[38]

The memo referred to a previously-unknown analysis of several thousand UFO reports, along with calls for agreements about "what can and what cannot be discussed" with the 1953 Roberson Panel.[38] Writing in his 1967 journal, Vallee expressed the opinion that the memo, if it were published, "would cause an even bigger uproar among foreign scientists than among Americans: it would prove the devious nature of the statements made by the Pentagon all these years about the non-existence of UFOs".[38]


Jerome Clark comments that many UFO conspiracy theory tales "can be traced to a mock documentary Alternative 3, broadcast on British television on June 20, 1977 (but intended for April Fools' Day), and subsequently turned into a paperback book."[40]

Holloman Air Force Base[edit]

Clark cites a 1973 encounter as perhaps the earliest suggestion that the U.S. government was involved with ETs. That year, Robert Emenegger and Allan Sandler of Los Angeles, California were in contact with officials at Norton Air Force Base in order to make a documentary film. Emenegger and Sandler report that Air Force Officials (including Paul Shartle) suggested incorporating UFO information in the documentary, including as its centerpiece genuine footage of a 1971 UFO landing at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. Furthermore, says Emenegger, he was given a tour of Holloman AFB and was shown where officials conferred with Extraterrestrial Biological Entities (EBEs). This was supposedly not the first time the U.S. had met these aliens, as Emenegger reported that his U.S. military sources had "been monitoring signals from an alien group with which they were unfamiliar, and did their ET guests know anything about them? The ETs said no" [41] The documentary was released in 1974 as UFOs: Past, Present, and Future (narrated by Rod Serling) containing only a few seconds of the Holloman UFO footage, the remainder of the landing depicted with illustrations and re-enactments.

In 1988, Shartle said that the film in question was genuine, and that he had seen it several times.

In 1976 a televised documentary report UFOs: It Has Begun[42] written by Robert Emenegger was presented by Rod Serling, Burgess Meredith and José Ferrer. Some sequences were recreated based upon the statements of eyewitness observers, together with the findings and conclusions of governmental civil and military investigations. The documentary uses a hypothetical UFO landing at Holloman AFB as a backdrop.

Paul Bennewitz[edit]

The late 1970s also saw the beginning of controversy centered on Paul Bennewitz of Albuquerque, New Mexico.[43]



The so-called Majestic 12 documents surfaced in 1982, suggesting that there was secret, high-level U.S. government interest in UFOs dating to the 1940s. Upon examination, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) declared the documents to be "completely bogus", and many ufologists consider them to be an elaborate hoax.[44][45]

Linda Moulton Howe[edit]

Linda Moulton Howe is an advocate of conspiracy theories that cattle mutilations are of extraterrestrial origin and speculations that the U.S. government is involved with aliens.[46][47][48][49]

Milton William Cooper[edit]

In the 1980s, Milton William Cooper achieved a degree of prominence due to his conspiratorial writings.[50]

Bob Lazar[edit]

In November 1989, Bob Lazar appeared in a special interview with investigative reporter George Knapp on Las Vegas TV station KLAS to discuss his alleged employment at S-4.[51] In his interview with Knapp, Lazar said he first thought the saucers were secret, terrestrial aircraft, whose test flights must have been responsible for many UFO reports. Gradually, on closer examination and from having been shown multiple briefing documents, Lazar came to the conclusion that the discs must have been of extraterrestrial origin. He claims that they use moscovium, an element that decays in a fraction of a second, to warp space, and that “Grey” aliens are from the Zeta Reticuli star system. According to the Los Angeles Times, he never obtained the degrees he claims to hold from MIT and Caltech.[52][53]

UFO Cover-Up?: Live![edit]

On October 14, 1988, actor Mike Farrell hosted U.S. UFO Cover-Up: Live!, a two-hour television special "focusing on the government's handling of information regarding UFOs" and "whether there has been any suppression of evidence supporting the existence of UFOs".[54]

July 1989 MUFON Convention[edit]

The Mutual UFO Network held their 1989 annual convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 1, 1989.

The Ufologist Bill Moore was scheduled as the main speaker, and he refused to submit his paper for review prior to the convention, and also announced that he would not answer any follow-up questions as was common practice. Unlike most of the convention's attendees, Moore did not stay at the same hotel that was hosting the convention.

When he spoke, Moore said that he and others had been part of an elaborate, long-term disinformation campaign begun primarily to discredit Paul Bennewitz: "My role in the affair ... was primarily that of a freelancer providing information on Paul's (Bennewitz) current thinking and activities".[55] Air Force Sergeant Richard C. Doty was also involved, said Moore, though Moore thought Doty was "simply a pawn in a much larger game, as was I."[55] One of their goals, Moore said, was to disseminate information and watch as it was passed from person to person in order to study information channels.

Moore said that he "was in a rather unique position" in the disinformation campaign: "judging by the positions of the people I knew to be directly involved in it, [the disinformation] definitely had something to do with national security. There was no way I was going to allow the opportunity to pass me by ... I would play the disinformation game, get my hands dirty just often enough to lead those directing the process into believing I was doing what they wanted me to do, and all the while continuing to burrow my way into the matrix so as to learn as much as possible about who was directing it and why."[56] Once he finished the speech, Moore immediately left the hotel and Las Vegas that same night.

Moore's claims sent shock waves through the small, tight-knit UFO community[citation needed], which remains divided as to the reliability of his assertions.


On November 24, 1992, a UFO reportedly crashed in Southaven Park, Shirley, New York.[57] John Ford, a Long Island MUFON researcher, investigated the crash. Four years later, on June 12, 1996, Ford was arrested and charged with plotting to poison several local politicians by sneaking radium in their toothpaste. On advice of counsel Ford pleaded insanity and was committed to the Mid Hudson Psychiatric Center. Critics say the charges are a frame-up.

The Branton Files have circulated on the internet at least since the mid-1990s. They essentially recirculate the information presented above, with many asides from "Branton", the document's editor.

Philip Schneider of the patriot movement, an engineer and geologist formerly working for the U.S. government, made a few appearances at UFO conventions in the 1990s, espousing essentially a new version of the theories mentioned above. He claimed to have played a role in the construction of Deep Underground Military Bases (DUMBs) across the United States, and as a result he said that he had been exposed to classified information of various sorts as well as having personal experiences with EBEs. He claimed to have survived the Dulce Base catastrophe and decided to tell his tale.[58] He died by suicide on January 17, 1996, after a series of lectures given in late 1995 on topics including the Black Budget and underground alien bases. Others believe that Schneider did not take his own life and that he was actually murdered by the government.[59]


2003 saw the publication of Alien Encounters (ISBN 1-57821-205-7), by Chuck Missler and Mark Eastman, which primarily re-stated the notions presented above (especially Cooper's) and presents them as fact.

MoD secret files[edit]

Eight files from 1978 to 1987 on UFO sightings were first released on May 14, 2008, to the National Archives' website by the British Ministry of Defence. Two hundred files were set to be made public by 2012. The files are correspondence from the public sent to government officials, such as the MoD and Margaret Thatcher. The information can be downloaded.[60] Copies of Lt. Col. Halt's letter regarding the sighting at RAF Woodbridge (see above[where?]) to the U.K. Ministry of Defence were routinely released (without additional comment) by the USA's base public affairs staff throughout the 1980s until the base closed. The MoD released the files due to requests under the Freedom of Information Act.[61] The files included, among other things, alien craft flying over Liverpool and Waterloo Bridge in London.[62]


In the early 2000s, the concept of "disclosure" became increasingly popular in the UFO conspiracy community: that the government had classified and withheld information on alien contact and full disclosure was needed, and was pursued by activist lobbying groups.

In 1993, Steven M. Greer founded the Disclosure Project to promote the concept. In May 2001, Greer held a press conference at the National Press Club in D.C that demanded Congress hold hearings on "secret U.S. involvement with UFOs and extraterrestrials".[63][64][65] It was described by an attending BBC reporter as "the strangest ever news conference hosted by Washington's august National Press Club."[66] The Disclosure Project's claims were met with by derision by skeptics and spokespeople for the U. S. Air Force.[67][68]

In 2013, the production company CHD2, LLC[69] held a "Citizen Hearing on Disclosure" at the National Press Club in D.C from 29 April to 3 May 2013. The group paid former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel and former Representatives Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Roscoe Bartlett, Merrill Cook, Darlene Hooley, and Lynn Woolsey $20,000 each to participate, and to preside over panels of academics and former government and military officials discussing UFOs and extraterrestrials.[70]

Other such groups include Citizens Against UFO Secrecy, founded in 1977.

Allegations of evidence suppression[edit]

Allegations of suppression of UFO related evidence have persisted for many decades. Some conspiracy theories also claim that some governments might have removed and/or destroyed/suppressed physical evidence; some examples follow.

On July 7, 1947, William Rhodes photographed an unusual object over Phoenix, Arizona.[71] The photos appeared in a Phoenix newspaper and a few other papers. An Army Air Force intelligence officer and an FBI agent interviewed Rhodes on August 29 and convinced him to surrender the negatives, which he did the next day. He was informed he wouldn't get them back, but later he tried, unsuccessfully, to retrieve them.[72][73] The photos were analyzed and subsequently appeared in some classified Air Force UFO intelligence reports. (Randle, 34–45, full account)[74]

A June 27, 1950, movie of a "flying disk" over Louisville, Kentucky, taken by a Louisville Courier-Journal photographer, had the USAF Directors of counterintelligence (AFOSI) and intelligence discussing in memos how to best obtain the movie and interview the photographer without revealing Air Force interest. One memo suggested the FBI be used, then precluded the FBI getting involved. Another memo said "it would be nice if OSI could arrange to secure a copy of the film in some covert manner," but if that wasn't feasible, one of the Air Force scientists might have to negotiate directly with the newspaper.[citation needed] In a recent interview, the photographer confirmed meeting with military intelligence and still having the film in his possession until then, but refused to say what happened to the film after that.[75]

In another 1950 movie incident from Montana, Nicholas Mariana filmed some unusual aerial objects and eventually turned the film over to the U.S. Air Force, but insisted that the first part of the film, clearly showing the objects as spinning discs, had been removed when it was returned to him.[76]

According to some conspiracy theorists, during the military investigation of green fireballs in New Mexico, UFOs were photographed by a tracking camera over White Sands Proving Grounds on April 27, 1949. They claim that the final report in 1951 on the green fireball investigation claimed there was insufficient data to determine anything. Conspiracy theorists claim that documents later uncovered by Dr. Bruce Maccabee indicate that triangulation was accomplished. The conspiracy theorists also claim that the data reduction and photographs showed four objects about 30 feet in diameter flying in formation at high speed at an altitude of about 30 miles. According to conspiracy theorists, Maccabee says this result was apparently suppressed from the final report.[77]

On January 22, 1958, when NICAP director Donald Keyhoe appeared on CBS television, his statements on UFOs were censored by the Air Force. During the show when Keyhoe tried to depart from the censored script to "reveal something that has never been disclosed before," CBS cut the sound, later stating Keyhoe was about to violate "predetermined security standards" and about to say something he wasn't "authorized to release." Conspiracy theorists claim that what Keyhoe was about to reveal were four publicly unknown military studies concluding UFOs were interplanetary (including the 1948 Project Sign Estimate of the Situation and Blue Book's 1952 engineering analysis of UFO motion). (Good, 286–287; Dolan 293–295)[18][78]

A March 1, 1967 memo directed to all USAF divisions, from USAF Lt. General Hewitt Wheless, Assistant Vice Chief of Staff, stated that unverified information indicated that unknown individuals, impersonating USAF officers and other military personnel, had been harassing civilian UFO witnesses, warning them not to talk, and also confiscating film, referring specifically to the Heflin incident. AFOSI was to be notified if any personnel were to become aware of any other incidents. (Document in Fawcett & Greenwood, 236.)[79]

John Callahan, former Division Chief of the Accidents and Investigations Branch of the FAA, Washington D.C., also a Disclosure Project witness, said that following the Japan Air Lines flight 1628 incident that involved a giant UFO over Alaska, recorded by air and ground radar, the FAA conducted an investigation. Callahan held a briefing a few days later for President Reagan's Scientific Study Group, the FBI, and CIA. After the briefing, one of the CIA agents told everybody they "were never there and this never happened," adding they were fearful of public panic.[80]

According to one theory related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the CIA killed Kennedy in order to prevent him from leaking information to the Soviet Union about a covert program to reverse-engineer alien technology (i.e., Majestic 12).[81]

Nick Cook, an aviation investigative journalist for Jane's Information Group and researcher of Billion Dollar Secret[82] and author of The Hunt for Zero Point[83] claims to have uncovered documentary evidence that top-secret US Defense Industry technology has been developed by government-backed Defense Industry programs, beginning in the 1940s using research conducted by Nazi scientists during WWII and recovered by Allied Military Intelligence, then taken to the U.S. and developed further with the collaboration of the same former German scientists at top-secret facilities established at White Sands, New Mexico, and later at Area 51, allegedly resulting in production of real-world prototype operational supersonic craft actually tested and used in clandestine military exercises, with other developments incorporated later into spy aircraft tasked with overflying hostile countries: the UFO story that evidence of alien technology is being suppressed and removed or destroyed was generated and then promoted by the CIA, beginning 1947, as false-lead disinformation to cover it all up for the sake of National Security, particularly during the Cold War, at a time when (his investigations found) the Soviet Union too was developing its own top-secret high-tech UFO craft. Cook's conclusions, alleging suppression of evidence of advanced human technology instead of alien, together with what he presents as declassified top-secret documents and blueprints, and his interviews of various experts (some of doubtful reliability), was developed and broadcast as a feature documentary on British television in 2005 as "UFOs: The Secret Evidence" and in the US in 2006 as a two-part episode on the History Channel's UFO Files, retitled "An Alien History of Planet Earth", with an added introduction by actor William Shatner. The History Channel program teaser promised "...a look at rumors of classified military aircraft incorporating alien technology into their designs."

In 1993, Steven M. Greer founded the Disclosure project to promote the concept of disclosing allegedly suppressed evidence of extraterrestrials. In May 2001, Greer held a press conference at the National Press Club in D.C that featured "20 retired Air Force, Federal Aviation Administration and intelligence officers" who demanded that Congress begin hearings on "secret U.S. involvement with UFOs and extraterrestrials"[63][64][65]

In 2013, Sen. Mike Gravel claimed that the government was suppressing evidence of extraterrestrials.[84]

Benjamin Radford has pointed out how unlikely such suppression of evidence is given that "[t]he UFO coverup conspiracy would have to span decades, cross international borders, and transcend political administrations" and that "all of the world's governments, in perpetuity, regardless of which political party is in power and even among enemies, [would] have colluded to continue the coverup."[85]

In popular fiction[edit]

Popular fiction has often included scenarios where a government does not disclose the discovery of non-human intelligence to its populace.

In 1968, director Stanley Kubrick explored the idea in his film 2001: A Space Odyssey and the accompanying novel by Arthur C. Clarke. In those works, the discovery of a non-human artifact prompts a government coverup, with secrecy extending even to the astronauts tasked with investigating the discovery.[86][87] In 1977, Steven Spielberg's film Close Encounters of the Third Kind tells the story of Roy Neary, an everyday blue-collar worker in Indiana, whose UFO experience sets him on a quest to overcome government secrecy and disinformation.

In the 1980 film Hangar 18, the government recovers a crashed alien craft in the desert of the US Southwest and attempts to cover up the discovery. Like 2001, it is learned that the aliens have affected the course of human evolution. In the 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, government scientists hide the discovery of an alien being. In the 1990 film Total Recall, government forces cover-up the discovery of ancient alien artifacts on Mars.

Beginning in 1993, the television series The X-Files followed FBI Agent Fox Mulder as he attempted to overcome a government effort to hide the truth about UFOs. Conversely the 1997 sci-fi/comedy film Men in Black followed government agents tasked with maintaining the coverup to prevent a panic. A government coverup and reverse-engineering attempt after Roswell was a central element of the 1996 film Independence Day.

Other television programs and films Stargate, Project Blue Book and any number of novels have featured elements of UFO conspiracy theories. Fictionalized elements may include the government's sinister operatives from the men in black, the military bases known as Area 51, RAF Rudloe Manor or Porton Down, a rumored crash site in Roswell, New Mexico, the Rendlesham Forest Incident, a political committee dubbed "Majestic 12", or the successor of the UK Ministry of Defence's Flying Saucer Working Party (FSWP).[88] The novel The Doomsday Conspiracy by Sidney Sheldon includes a UFO conspiracy in its plot.[89]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Robertson, David G. (2021). "They Knew Too Much: The Entangled History of Conspiracy Theories, UFOs, and New Religions". In Zeller, Ben (ed.). Handbook of UFO Religions. Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion. 20. Leiden and Boston: Brill Publishers. pp. 178–196. doi:10.1163/9789004435537_009. ISBN 978-90-04-43437-0. ISSN 1874-6691. S2CID 234923615.
  2. ^ Paul Harris: Cold War hysteria sparked UFO obsession, study finds
  3. ^ "Aliens exist and Trump knows this but won't say anything in case we panic, claims Israeli scientist". The Independent. 2020-12-09. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  4. ^ David, Leonard. "Gordon Cooper Touts New Book Leap of Faith". Archived from the original on 27 July 2010. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  5. ^ Martin, Robert Scott. "Gordon Cooper: No Mercury UFO". Archived from the original on 27 March 2010. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  6. ^ Dunning, Brian. "Skeptoid #218: The Astronauts and the Aliens". Skeptoid. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  7. ^ a b CSI | UFOs and Aliens in Space
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