Merseyside Unidentified Flying Objects Research Group
MUFORG Bulletin, October 1966
Edited by John Harney
More and more attention is being devoted to reports of alleged landings of UFOs and particularly to those in which the witnesses claim some sort of contact with the occupants of the craft. This vital aspect of our subject will, we understand, be examined in great detail in the forthcoming special issue of Flying Saucer Review. It is at present being brought to the attention of the general public by the serialisation of the sensational case of Mr and Mrs Barney Hill, in the American Look magazine and in the Sunday Mirror.
At this stage in the UFO mystery it is of course right that we should concentrate on this aspect, for the reasons we outlined in the August issue of this Bulletin. There are, however, some pitfalls. Mysterious objects seen flashing across the sky at great heights are one thing. They could be flying saucers, but there are many other possible explanations for most of these sightings. They generally excite only academic interest. On the other hand, stories of UFOs and their occupants seen on the ground at close range are liable to generate more heat than light. Remarkably few students of the subject have managed to consider these reports coolly and objectively. When it comes to the possibility of contact with a superior civilisation, it seems there are very few people who do not have some sort of axe to grind.
In his Editorial in the Spring, 1966, issue of BUFORA Journal, Dr J. Cleary-Baker reported: “Not long ago I delivered a lecture to an audience composed largely of Association members, in which I ventured to suggest that the UFOs, or some of them, might be piloted by beings who are ill-disposed towards humanity. One might compare the effect of my observations on my audience to that which would be produced if a vicar climbed into his pulpit one Sunday morning and launched into the questionable stanzas of ’Eskimo Nell’!”
This deep-rooted desire, by many ufologists, to believe that not only are UFOs real, but that their occupants are friendly and are here to help us has for long stood in the way of any serious investigation or discussion of the more important landing reports by many groups. Time which should be spent in critical examination and analysis of these reports is wasted in enthusing over the fatuities served up by various “cosmic philosophers” and “new-age” thinkers. Some groups even form reception committees to welcome the space people if they should choose to accept this hospitality. (Have these people considered, we wonder, that if our governments were to accept, openly or otherwise, that these people actually exist, that the activities of these committees might be regarded as treasonable?)
Of course, we realise that the “space brothers” theory could conceivably be correct, but so, at this stage, could others. It is important that we should not inhibit the progress of our investigations by taking a particular hypothesis and persuading ourselves to believe in it. A theory that receives too little consideration is the possibility that all these landing reports and contact experiences may be wholly, or mainly, a psychological phenomenon, the precise nature of which is not, at present, fully understood. If this theory were properly developed and applied carefully to these cases, any which withstood the test would assume a new importance and significance. If it became clear that this unpopular theory was entirely unworkable we would be one step nearer the final proof. And if the theory should prove consistent and reliable? — Hard luck!
New Chairman. Mr J. Harnwell was elected Chairman at the Group’s September meeting.
Northern Conference. Several members attended the BUFORA Northern Conference at Bradford on September 10th.
Skywatch. This year’s Skywatch was marred by bad weather. Some observations are being checked with orbital data on artificial satellites.
1966 Meetings. General Meetings will be held at 8.0 p.m. in the Committee Room at the Free Church Centre, Tarleton Street, Liverpool, 2, on the following dates:- Wednesday, 9th November; Wednesday, 14th December.
RECENT NORTH WEST REPORTS
BUFORA NORTHERN CONFERENCE
The BUFORA Northern Conference was held at the Textile Hall, Bradford, on September 10th. The event was efficiently organised by the Halifax Branch of BUFORA. To those who have never attempted to organise an event of this nature it may seem a simple task, but in reality there is much unobtrusive work involved. The members of the Halifax Branch well deserve the gratitude of all who attended this meeting.
The proceedings opened with an informal get-together. Displays of UFO magazines and photographs provided useful conversation pieces and coffee was served.
After lunch came the talk by Arthur Shuttlewood of the Warminster Journal, who for two solid hours recounted his incredible tale of events in Warminster. This was followed by a panel discussion. On the panel were Alan W. Sharp, BSc, BEng, FGS, FRAS, J. Leslie Otley, ARPS, Editor of Orbit, J. Cleary-Baker, PhD, Editor of BUFORA Journal, and Stephen Smith, BA, Hon. Treasurer of BUFORA. The Chairman was Malcolm Bull, Chairman of the Halifax Branch of BUFORA.
The main topics which were raised in the discussion were contact claims, the Charlton crater, Warminster and the Oldfields’ “spaceship” film.
An interesting idea emerged during the discussion on contact claims. Stephen Smith said that each claim should be considered in the same way as the police consider a murder charge, which led Dr Cleary-Baker to suggest mock trials of claimants, complete with prosecution and defence.
On Warminster, sceptic Alan Sharp said he had been there but had drawn a blank. What had impressed him was its proximity to an Army range and other local features which might give rise to unusual phenomena. He agreed, though, that there were aspects which deserved further investigation.
Several questions revealed that the Charlton crater controversy is still going strong and that the BBC’s explanation of Mrs Oldfield’s cine film does not satisfy everybody – least of all Mr and Mrs Oldfield.
After the symposium the conference ended with informal discussions. It is hoped that it will be possible to organise such events more often.
As the audience settled down to listen to Arthur Shuttlewood’s lecture at the Bradford Conference, no doubt many were expecting merely a sort of roundup of the sightings and incidents which have occurred there. If so, they were due for a shock.
His talk began reasonably enough, with details of some of the better-known incidents which focused public attention on Warminster. He said he had not seriously considered UFOs until September 28th, 1965, when he saw one himself. He attacked the cynics who alleged that the whole business was deliberately cooked up to act as a tourist attraction. He also vented his spleen on the editors of the national newspapers. He claimed that a representative of one of them (not named) had offered him £500 for a UFO photograph, saying that it didn’t matter whether it was genuine or faked.
Then he went on to assert that he had seen 288 UFOs since February and had obtained over 70 photographs of them in the same period. “Witnesses have come to Warminster, knowing we can guarantee a sighting”, he said.
Mr Shuttlewood does his saucer spotting on a hill near Warminster. He claims to have spent every clear night there since February of this year, equipped with camera and telescope, sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by other sky-watchers. Indeed, a friend of his is said to have sighted no fewer than 322 UFOs. Out of Warminster’s population of 11,000, over 800 are said to have seen UFOs. Sceptics see and are “converted”.
There is much more to it, though, then just looking out for UFOs and listening for the “Warminster sound”. There are the space people themselves. “By next May”, says Shuttlewood, “the whole world will have to believe in the people above.” From what he has heard and “sensed” he is certain they (the space people) can monitor our thoughts. Not content with merely monitoring his thoughts, however, the spacemen have taken to ringing him up on the telephone. They are human and more evolved than us and they are concerned about us. They wear balaclava helmets and they are getting into the habit of hurling themselves in front of motor cars on lonely roads near Warminster. When the shaken drivers get out they vanish. This alarming procedure is apparently intended to convey a message; it means: “Don’t you commit mass slaughter.”
To convert people they sometimes use unconventional electrical methods. However, they are not “extrovert” unless they want to convert you.
They are “the greatest levellers of society”. They are also sincere. Shuttlewood, too, is sincere. “I am as sincere as you are”, he told us.
There was much more – he spoke for two hours. The foregoing is just a brief summary. Some will say we are being unfair to Shuttlewood with our sceptical, tongue-in-cheek approach. But never mind, some other UFO magazine will quite likely print an account describing the lecture as “thrilling and inspiring”. If we may say one thing in favour of the lecture – numbers of members of the audience found it very amusing, but were too polite to laugh out loud.
As a result of the activities of Arthur Shuttlewood, confusion about what really goes on at Warminster has increased. For example, there is the Cradle Hill incident of August 17th. Present were Arthur Shuttlewood, Eileen Buckle, Chairman of BUFORA’s Contact Section, and Philip Rodgers. Mr Shuttlewood alleged that a UFO was seen and landed in a field for a few moments. There are at least two published accounts to date. They give rather different impressions of the incident. One account gives the impression that the UFO was brought down by Shuttlewood flashing signals from a torch and the other suggests that the witnesses were probably mistaken. Other, verbal accounts that we have heard allege that it was cooked up by Shuttlewood, who, with Miss Buckle, was watching a satellite, then suddenly pointed in the opposite direction and chased after the alleged UFO. It seems that only Shuttlewood actually claimed to have seen it land and then only for a few seconds.
From other accounts it seems that Shuttlewood’s usual technique is to point out a satellite, calling it a UFO. Then, when the satellite disappears in the earth’s shadow he directs the observer’s attention to a nearby star and says that the UFO is now hovering. It also seems that he manages to generate a great deal of excitement on these skywatches and impresses people with his charm and apparent sincerity to such an extent that stars and satellites become magically transformed into flying saucers.
There are, of course, a number of unexplained sightings and other incidents in the Warminster area, but to suggest that genuine UFOs are to be seen night after night there is a gross exaggeration. If this were so, the mystery would be practically solved by now. More sophisticated instruments than simple cameras and telescopes would have been brought to bear on the objects. The light from them would have been analysed and full details of their flight characteristics, etc., would be known. There would be a mass of useful data for the scientists to work on. So far there is nothing of the sort.
Whether Mr Shuttlewood has made up the more fantastic details of his story, either to make money, or to enjoy the resulting notoriety, or whether he has got himself into the state in which he honestly believes that all the fantastic things he describes are really happening, readers must judge for themselves. However, anyone who believed every word of his Bradford lecture must indeed be a credulous person. We look forward to reviewing his forthcoming book, The Warminster Sighting, to be published by Neville Spearman Ltd.
TYPE I UFO REPORTS
Colorado, USA Daniels Park, Denver – April 8th, 1966
Six 17-year-olds, three boys and three girls, having an evening picnic in Daniels Park, south of Denver, reported to police that they had seen apparently hovering red, blue and white lights, accompanied by a series of pulsating buzzing sounds which began about 21.30 CST.
The witnesses were eating in a park shelter when the girls reported hearing “footsteps” on the roof. The three boys went to investigate and while they were gone the girls said they saw ” . . . a man, about 6′ 3″ or 4″ in front of the shelter and wearing what looked like a long black or brown raincoat”. When the boys returned the footsteps were heard again and the group decided to leave.
As they approached their car they heard a buzzing sound which seemed to be all around them. It was then that they saw the lights. They got into their car and started to leave. While leaving the park they saw “a black, football-shaped object with lights on both ends, and a large red light on the bottom” following them. (This can be compared with the famous Michigan UFO which was explained away as marsh gas.) Their car engine started to die and the radio, which was on at the time, produced nothing but static. While leaving the park they observed two more identical UFOs about a block away from them. As soon as the witnesses left the park area, the UFO that had been trailing them stopped and slowly floated back into the park. Then the car resumed its normal operation and the radio was normal. They then drove to police headquarters to report what they had seen. The police were reported to have been impressed by their story.
(Credit: IIOUFO – Release R2)
Minnesota, USA Bagley – between 20th-25th April, 1966
A UFO is reported to have flown down the main street of Bagley about the time that the schools were being dismissed for the day. The UFO moved down the street at a very low altitude until it encountered a school bus coming straight towards it. It rose to avoid the bus and continued to the outskirts of the town where it landed. Four beings of small stature got out of the UFO and seemed to do some work on the device. Then they went back into the craft, which took off.
The incident is said to have caused panic in the town among the women and school children in the main street.
(Credit: Het Interplanetair Nieuwsbulletin, September 1966, quoting Saucers, Space & Science (Canada))
Other Reports Some other landing reports have come to our notice since last issue, but most of them either give very few details, or will have already been seen by most of our readers in other publications.
TYPE I UFO REPORTS – INVESTIGATION, RESEARCH AND HYPOTHESES
The response to our appeal, in the August issue of the Bulletin, for information on investigation and research into “Type I” UFO reports was disappointing. This seems to indicate that very few ufologists are interested in serious research of this kind.
However, interest in carrying out a determined attack on these reports, in the belief that they are the most significant, is gradually increasing. Also, psychology is being brought in more and more as an aid in evaluating these reports.
A letter from Jacques Bonabot of GESAG (Belgium) raised some interesting points. One of these was the effect of the presence of UFOs on dogs. Several landing reports mention the reactions of dogs. M. Bonabot also mentions some reports from South America which refer to observations of UFOs which seem to give light which does not cause shadows. In this connection it is interesting to note that in an account of the Denver incident (see above) published in the May-June 1966 issue of Probe – the Controversial Phenomena Magazine, one of the witnesses is quoted as saying of the UFO: “The funny thing is, the light did not reflect in my rear-view mirror.”
Does anyone have any ideas on the significance – physical or psychological – of such observations?
THE LEAD MASKS DEATHS MYSTERY
The mystery began on August 21st, when the bodies of two men were found in a hilltop clearing near Niteroi, Brazil. (Niteroi is across the bay from Rio de Janeiro.) Two lead half-masks, for covering the upper half of the face, and strange, partially coded notes were found beside the bodies.
The two men were identified as Manuel Pereira di Cruz, aged 32, and Miguel Jose Viana, aged 34. They were both radio and television technicians. According to an autopsy report they died from stoppage of the heart. There was no apparent cause of this. The men had been dead for about four days when they were found.
A mathematician reported that part of the notes contained only the ohm equation (dealing with the strength of electric current) and the rest was unintelligible.
A number of people came forward during the investigation with reports of an oval, orange coloured object hovering over the top of the hill. One woman reported seeing the object at the time the men went up the hillside. The affair was investigated by local detectives and experts from Rio de Janeiro with the help of troops and the Brazilian Information Service. A weird array of theories was considered including murder, suicide, smuggling, sorcery, spiritualism, attempts to contact the Martians, atmospheric electricity and radio waves. A man who reported that the men had been trying to contact the planet Mars was held by police for questioning. This man was said to have exercised a powerful influence over the dead men and to have owed them money. According to one report, a man and a woman were arrested in connection with the case. The men were said to have had a great deal of money with them when they went up the hillside. The notes found on their bodies indicated that they had “taken orange capsules” and were “waiting for the promised sign”.
When detectives searched Manuel Viana’s workshop they found lead from which the masks were apparently made, and a book on scientific spiritualism, with marked passages referring to masks and intense rays of light.
The police eventually called off their investigations, having failed to solve the mystery. Detective Idovan Ferreira, who led the investigations said: “I have no doubt they died of an experiment with psychic forces, for which they were ill-prepared and which turned out to be fatal.”
(Credit: Liverpool Daily Post, 29/8/66; Liverpool Echo, 15/9/66; BUFORA Newsletter No. 2; Groupement pour l’Étude des Sciences d’Avant-Garde (Belgium))
TRENCH AND THE SKY SCOUTS – JIMMY GODDARD WRITES
I feel I must take you up on a point mentioned in your review of Brinsley le Poer Trench’s latest book. I cannot speak for the other committee members of course, but I would never accuse anyone of “idle curiosity” if they asked me any question on UFOs, either in connection with membership of I.S.S. or otherwise. I would be very surprised if any of the others would either. If they asked for convincing proof of the existence and friendly intentions of the UFO intelligences, I would say quite simply that as yet there isn’t any concrete proof, and quite possibly the intelligences want it that way for some reason. But I think the weight of evidence points unswervingly to the fact of their existence as controlled vehicles, as I’m sure you would agree. The friendliness is another matter of course, and even Brinsley himself has admitted that there are cases which show that some at least of the intelligences are not all that friendly disposed towards us. But we in Sky Scouts are of the general opinion that most are friendly, though it is not an “article of faith” of course. A good number of contact stories have as good a “ring of truth” about them as the hostile cases (perhaps the ones which have not had books written about them have a slightly greater chance of being genuine). I believe the recent “Yamski” case to be true, though this is only a personal opinion, of course.
Jimmy Goddard is a local organiser of the International Sky Scouts. He is to give a progress report on the Sky Scouts at the BUFORA Annual General Meeting on November 26th. He edits a UFO magazine called Saucer Forum which consists largely of letters from readers, discussing every aspect of the subject. Mr Goddard is well known for his work on “leys”, or alignments of prehistoric points, and his theory of a connection between them and the pattern of UFO activity.
OTHER WORLDS THAN OURS by C. Maxwell Cade – Museum Press, London – 30/-
This, one of the latest books to draw attention to the increasing amount of scientific experimentation and speculation on the possibility of life on other planets, adopts a less conventional approach to the subject than most other, similar works.
Those who recognise the author’s name as that of the scientific consultant to Flying Saucer Review will not be disappointed if they hope to see some serious remarks about UFOs. Even so, while professing a proper degree of scepticism and scientific caution, he prefers to regard the sighting of an object over London on August 1st, 1963, as quite inexplicable, even though the photograph and description published indicate that it was a balloon with scientific instruments attached. Certainly there is nothing inconsistent with the sighting of a research balloon in the description given. On the other hand, he writes off the famous Papua sightings as “just too unreliable to qualify as evidence”.
In his introduction the author makes a plea for less bigotry in science and religion, and the following chapters maintain an open-minded approach which makes a welcome change from some of the more strait-laced treatises on the subject of extraterrestrial life. Doubtless, though, this will cause the book to be regarded as beyond the Pale by most of the scientific pundits.
There is an interesting chapter on the history of speculation about life on other worlds, followed by a review of various theories of the origin of life on earth. This leads on to a discussion on the evolution of intelligence and the controversial subject of psychical research.
Most of the other topics are dealt with in other books on the subject, but this does not lessen their interest, as these are fields in which important facts are continually being discovered and theories and opinions constantly changing.
In the last chapter the author expresses some pessimism over the eventual future of the human race if we should ever be taken over by extraterrestrial beings. It may turn out, he suggests, that such beings may be mechanical rather than biological in nature – a race of intelligent robots which gradually took over from their biological precursors. In support of this notion he points out how computers are becoming more efficient and capable of performing ever more complex tasks and he envisages the possibility of this process having been carried to its logical conclusion, somewhere in the galaxy.
This book provides useful background material for ufologists and plenty of food for thought.
STRANGERS FROM THE SKIES by Brad Steiger – Award Books, New York
This very readable paperback gives a number of detailed accounts of some of the more spectacular UFO incidents. The narrative begins with a dramatised reconstruction of an incident which is alleged to have occurred in Argentina in 1963, when a family claimed to have been besieged in their ranch-house for over forty minutes by several UFOs which shone weird beams of “tingling” light at them, while their occupants busied themselves at some mysterious task on a nearby railway track.
Enthusiasts will read of several familiar incidents, including the Papua sightings, the Warminster “Thing”, and the UFO that fell into a river at Iguape, Brazil. Other stories may be less familiar to many – for example the horrifying account of two young Swedes who claimed that the occupants of a UFO tried to kidnap them as they made their way home one foggy night in 1958. The UFO occupants were described as being “like globs of animated jelly”.
Readers are brought up to date in the final chapters with accounts of the Exeter, New Hampshire, sightings of 1965 and this year’s Michigan flap. The book ends by discussing the attitudes of the US Air Force to the UFOs.
This book is especially to be recommended for people who are just beginning to take an interest in UFOs and want an interesting, up-to-date résumé of the subject, illustrated by several good examples of the sort of problems we are up against.
UFOs AROUND THE WORLD – This is the title of a new UFO book, published by the New Jersey Association on Aerial Phenomena. The book includes contribution from Paul Norman, Luis Schonherr, H.C. Petersen, Prof. Hermann Oberth, Edgar Simons and others.