CHENNAI: My plans for meeting Dr Raghavan proved futile. The professor had passed away in 1979. But his daughter was kind enough to give me a copy of his paper, which dealt with the idea that Indians had built powerful machines or yantras in ancient times. But I was looking for a UFO researcher who would enlighten me about modern day UFO sightings.
What does Englishman Tim Berners-Lee have to do with my quest for a UFO researcher? Nothing and everything. Tim Berners is not connected to UFO research in any way, but in 1991, he connected every UFO researcher in the world with each other when he invented the world wide web.
When you look at the words ‘UFOs’ or ‘aliens’ on the net, you will find a deluge of information available on this subject, most of which are contradictory, exaggerated and sensationalised lies, whose only aim is to confuse and mislead the reader. Once when I was conducting a kickboxing session in the beach, a six-year-old student declared, “Master there are no fishes in the ocean.” When I enquired how he arrived at that conclusion, he said he has been observing the ocean and he could only see water and no fishes. I replied, standing on the shores, he won’t see any fishes, but if he can get to the bottom of the ocean he will see millions.
Search engines are like oceans — merely surfing them for ten minutes is not going to take you to the truth. Google and Wikipedia have only been endorsing the official stance of the US government, which is: There is no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race. In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public eye.
The Condon Committee report of 1969, one of the six major scientific studies conducted on UFOs from 1948 to 1999, is the basis for this statement. After 1969, the US government has refused to do any kind of open official, scientific investigation about this phenomenon. Why? There are political, economic and strategic reasons behind this refusal. What I find fascinating is small totally unconnected events taking place in different parts of the world and when collated together, bring about extraordinary change in society.
So here I was in Chennai, looking for any book that could give me information about UFOs. Meanwhile half-way across the world in America another UFO researcher, who later became my mentor, was grappling with one question. If UFOs are real, why hasn’t one ever crashed?
Nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman found it hard to believe that any constructed devices could be so flawless that they never failed and crashed somewhere. In spite of thousands of UFO sightings by top personnel like military and civilian pilots, there is still no solid evidence or cross verifiable testimony about an UFO crash.
In 1977, a retired US military intelligence officer Leonard Stringfield published Situation Red: The UFO Siege, where he claimed that since the 1940s the US government had retrieved many crashed UFO discs, some of them with dead aliens.
Much earlier UFO researcher Frank Scully had also claimed two UFOs have crashed in Arizona and New Mexico in his 1950 book Behind the Flying Saucer. Both these authors could not provide indisputable evidence with testimony from the officers who handled the crash. All this changed one day.
In 1978, Friedman was in Louisiana to give a lecture on UFOs at the Louisiana State University. As a promotion for the lecture he gave an interview to the local TV station. During a coffee break, the station director told him something that would change the subject of UFOs forever: “The person you really ought to talk to is Major Jesse Marcel. He handled pieces of one of those crashed UFOs.”
To be continued...
(The writer is director of INSETS-Indian Society for Extraterrestrial Studies and author of Accidental