Are UFOs Real Or Are We Seeing Military Prototypes?
By Kerri Cooke
Halloween is approaching, so now is the best time to ask, “Are you a believer in aliens?” While you might see a kid wandering the neighborhood in an alien mask, zombies and werewolves have taken away some of the hubbub around aliens. Do they exist? What about UFO sightings?
Local UFO Sightings
Miley Cyrus claimed she made eye contact with aliens, but she had also just purchased some gas station weed. Other people claim they see a UFO and end up with unexplained scars on their body. Other common themes include people saying their watches or clocks stopped and would never work again.
The U.S. government has a website where you can log UFO sightings. Surprisingly, Louisiana has one of the lowest number of UFO sightings in the country. I went to nuforc.org to scan through the Louisiana results. Sightings have been reported in Sulphur, Westlake, Lake Charles, Iowa, DeRidder and in cities across the state. However, most accounts had very minimal information, and therefore were not very convincing. Here are a few of the more interesting stories.
One local sighting is said to have occurred during Lake Charles’ air show in May 2019, with the person reporting the UFO was in a picture they took of an F-22.
A report indicating a sighting on April 25, 1973, in Grand Chenier says, that the person reporting the sighting had originally thought what they saw was a meteorite. The next day, stranger events continued.
“The next day on the bus to school we were telling the story, when we noticed a group of kids began to crowd around the back of the bus. I went to see what could be more interesting than my story. Two friends were out in a boat (the Mermentau River runs just behind my parents’ house) running fish or crab lines, when the ball of fire fell from the sky hitting so close to their boat that it actually splashed water on them. The object is still on the bottom of the Mermentau River. All witnesses are still alive. And with the right metal detectors [the object] could most likely still be recovered.”
So, there’s a long shot there’s a UFO at the bottom of the Mermantau River. But if there is, it would’ve had to survive multiple hurricanes by now.
Other claims include locals seeing formations or strange lights around the I-10 bridge. And a resident of Terrytown, La., claims to have seen a hot dog-shaped UFO over New Orleans in 1974.
“There it was, in plain daylight, and it was longer than any building in New Orleans. It floated there above the Crescent City, and we watch[ed] it make skipping movements northward towards the Lake Pontchartrain… This happened around the time that three small gray creatures adducted Charlie Hickson. We are just about 100 miles east of Pascagoula, Mississippi. [A] local newsman even chased a UFO with a helicopter and shows footage.
“There was a wave of sightings going on around the area. I was 17 at the time and my brother was eight. Just a few years earlier when I attended the Military Academy in Gainesville, Ga., I felt compell[ed] to go off to the parade field at night. Looking up at the stars, I pour[ed] out my heart, and asked God to let me communicate with the aliens. I asked the aliens to please come and make a landing near my hometown, within a 100 miles. I told others at school that a UFO was going to land near my hometown, and they would then know that I could communicate with space beings. To my surprise, sky people landed in Pascagoula, Miss., but I was disappointed to know that they did not look like us. Perhaps they are the ancient keepers of the Garden of Eden; perhaps they are the working police force that God uses.”
Many sightings include a fireball, which seems pretty much like a description of a meteorite to me. Others claim to have seen cigar-shaped objects emerging in the sky.
The thing about these first-hand accounts is that a person can claim to have seen a UFO with no evidence. And the average person can confuse drones, space junk, blimps, planes, stars and natural weather phenomena as UFOs. Therefore, I would take the stories on nuforc.gov with a grain of salt. However, there are more compelling accounts made by Air Force pilots and such.
Beginning Of Area 51
We can’t talk about aliens without going into detail about Area 51, the military base where some believe the U.S. government conducts tests on aliens and hides their aircraft. The military base holds information that is highly classified. Even the air space around Area 51, also called Paradise Ranch or Dreamland, is highly restricted.
Area 51 started to take shape after WWII over fears of the Soviet Union and nuclear weapons. The U.S. government picked a place in the desert of Nevada that was already under federal jurisdiction in order to produce and test never-before-seen military aircraft. The nearby area had already been used to test nuclear weapons.
The U-2 was produced and tested at Area 51, as were future military jets. Testing of the U-2 began in 1955, and that’s when UFO sightings skyrocketed.
Commercial pilots, along with the civilian population, were, of course, not informed of what was going on at Area 51. They naturally reported seeing objects that flew higher and faster than anything they had ever seen. In other words, these military aircraft didn’t officially exist, so speculation was all over the map. The CIA liked the UFO theories because the noise helped cover up what the military was actually doing.
Area 51 is officially called the Nevada Test and Training Range, which is a portion of Edwards Air Force Base.
Let’s back up a bit. While Area 51 was instrumental in increasing the number of UFO sightings reported, UFO mania got a huge boost in 1947, due to the Roswell incident. This incident is also closely tied with a U.S. Military Air Force base, Roswell Army Air Field.
Reports of UFO sightings, especially reports about “flying saucers” or “disks,” began circulating on the news in New Mexico days before W.W. “Mac” Brazel found debris, consisting of rubber, tin foil and wood, on his ranch near Roswell. After Brazel found out that sightings had been reported, he contacted the local sheriff about what he had found. The Roswell Army Air Field was contacted. Major Jesse Marcel, from Houma, La., was put in charge of collecting the debris with Brazel from the ranch.
People really began to go wild once the public information officer for RAAF released this statement.
“The many rumors regarding the flying disc became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc through the cooperation of one of the local ranchers and the sheriff’s office of Chaves County.
The flying object landed on a ranch near Roswell sometime last week. Not having phone facilities, the rancher stored the disc until such time as he was able to contact the sheriff’s office, which in turn notified Maj. Jesse A. Marcel of the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence Office.
“Action was immediately taken and the disc was picked up at the rancher’s home. It was inspected at the Roswell Army Air Field and subsequently loaned by Major Marcel to higher headquarters.”
The usage of the word “disc” fired the public up, but seemed to be a misstep by the Army. The statement was quickly retracted. The new explanation was that the debris was the remains of a weather observation balloon.
Conspiracies theories abounded, including some that said the “balloon” was actually an alien spaceship that had been observing the United States’ nuclear weapons activity. The UFO was then thought to have been hit by lightning during a storm before crashing on Brazel’s ranch. Aliens were onboard. Some believed they survived and others believed they perished. But both groups could agree that they thought the government was involved in a cover-up. Among these groups it is widely believed that the aliens and the debris were taken to Area 51 and remain there to this day.
Other theories involved Nazi Germany and the infamous Doctor Mengele. Some claimed that Mengele purposely deformed the heads of children, making them resemble aliens. That tactic was then adopted by the Soviets, with the Soviets sending an aircraft with them to New Mexico to create panic in America.
The Roswell incident furor was reignited when Marcel started giving interviews in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, saying he believed the wreckage was extraterrestrial. Then “witnesses” began to come out of the woodwork, claiming to have firsthand or secondhand knowledge of the event.
Then, in 1994, the Army changed its explanation of the debris. The new information stated that the debris was part of a nuclear test surveillance balloon, part of Project Mogul, meant to monitor sound waves inside the Soviet Union that would indicate nuclear weapons usage.
However, Donald Schmitt, a man who has spent decades researching the Roswell incident and who co-founded the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, has said, “two hours west of Roswell the first atomic bomb was detonated. You had ongoing atomic research at Los Alamos. You had all this testing of captured German V-2 rockets at White Sands. And at Roswell, you had the first atomic bomb squadron headquartered.”
“The thought that they would have intentionally set up any type of publicity as a distraction? If anything, they needed less attention.”
The First Reported Alien Abduction
Barney and Betty Hill were driving home in New Hampshire in 1961, when, they claimed, they were abducted by aliens and had their memories erased. When they came to, the couple was in their car 35 miles south of where they had been when the “abduction” happened and had no recollection of anything happening during the 35-mile stretch.
While they said they knew they had been abducted by aliens, they couldn’t remember any details. Then Betty began having tormenting dreams about what supposedly happened. The couple were taken onto the spaceship and underwent an examination in which the aliens gathered skin samples and such.
Eventually both Barney and Betty went through hypnosis. Key parts of their stories seemed to align with only minor differences. Betty even began to cry during one session. While Betty was adamant she was abducted by aliens for the rest of her life, doctors came to a different conclusion. One theory was that the couple experienced hallucinations due to the stress of being an interracial couple (Betty was white and Barney was Black). The Supreme Court didn’t strike down state laws that banned interracial marriage until 1967, six years after this event.
Another theory is that Betty dreamed up the whole thing, told Barney about it and the line between reality and fantasy blurred.
The most plausible explanation to me is the possibility that the couple misidentified a nearby aircraft warning beacon. The explanation of how the UFO operated closely matched how and when the beacon operated.
More tales of alien abductions followed. And sci-fi movies and books enjoyed popularity. And this popularity is still increasing in the 21st century.
Robert ‘Bob’ Lazar
Bob Lazar gave in an interview in Las Vegas in 1989 in which he claimed that he was a physicist and had worked in Area 51. His job, he said, was to reverse-engineer alien aircraft. This took place at a site called S-4. He also said that he had read government documents that detailed alien interference in life on Earth for the last 10,000 years. He also made claims about highly radioactive elements that had yet to be used, even in 2022. He has since become one of the biggest conspiracy theorists regarding Area 51 and alien life.
However, if you do a little digging into Lazar’s background, you will find that the man barely graduated from high school. How does that qualify him to have earned the master’s degrees he said he earned in physics and electronics? Both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the California Institute of Technology, where Lazar says he obtained his degrees, deny there’s any record of him there. Of course, Lazar claims a cover-up.
Lazar also has a criminal record, having been arrested for aiding and abetting a prostitution ring. He also was charged with violating the Federal Hazardous Substance Act by sending controlled chemicals across state lines. All of these things take hits at his credibility. But despite these red flags, he made quite a splash among the public, who were hungry for alien stories.
Storm Area 51
In June, 2019, Joe Rogan interviewed Bob Lazar. This was on Matty Roberts’ mind when he jokingly created a Facebook event called, “Storm Area 51. They Can’t Stop All of Us.” The event went viral.
About 2 million people RSVP’d, but only a few dozen to a few hundred people showed up on Sept. 20, the day of the “raid.” It’s not a good idea to try to trespass onto Area 51. If you are charged with a crime, it is a federal offense. Area 51 is still a highly classified military base.
Pentagon Press Briefing
This year, on May 17, Ronald Moultir, a top intelligence official at the Pentagon, joined Scott Bray, the deputy director of Naval Intelligence, to speak to Congress on the issue of UFOs. This was the first time such an event was made public in over 50 years.
This intelligence briefing indicates that the U.S. government is taking the UFO situation seriously. However, some of the comments contradict each other.
First, it was admitted that there have been hundreds of UFO sightings since the early aughts. (These wouldn’t be sightings by your average Joe. Instead, these sightings would be able to be proven as they have shown up on military instruments). These UFOs, which they are now calling UAPs (unexplained aerial phenomena), supposedly have displayed technological capabilities that are far beyond what the U.S. boasts of, and, for certain, other countries around the world don’t have. One such technological advancement is the objects flying at a rate of speed never seen before. Another noted difference is that these objects seem to lack any means of visible propulsion, such as exterior engines.
Bray said, “we have no material, we have detected no emanations, within the USP task force that would suggest it is anything non-terrestrial in origin.” (So these UAPs are beyond anything known to man, but then Bray says nothing indicates they’re extraterrestrial. Something sounds fishy here.)
The hearing implied that the U.S. government’s biggest concern is national security in regards to foreign countries’ interference. But, at the same time, the U.S. says no country has this technology.
A new task force, the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group, has been created to study UAPs. There hasn’t been such a thing since Project Blue Book ended many years ago.
Aliens Or Espionage?
The problem with the alien theory is that there’s no actual civilian data that they exist; aliens haven’t taken over cities or towns; no alien bodies have been found, etc., etc. Civilian sightings can be easily debunked if there is no proof of them. And often the public is overeager for a light in the sky to be a UFO. Also, cameras don’t take high-quality photos at night due to the absence of adequate lighting, so documentation is hard.
On the other hand, the U.S. government claims to have no knowledge as to what UFOs are, yet has a history of encouraging myths to hide military projects. It’s not hard to imagine that the government is just bluffing us and is working on aircraft or weapons still unknown to most men.
However, I will emphasize that when I visited Stonehenge in England, guides told tourists that the area was home to the most UFO sightings in England. It makes sense. The sight was an ancient gathering ground for pagan rituals and burial mounds in the hills surround Stonehenge. I wouldn’t want to be there at night.
So, what UFOs are is up to each individual’s perceptions and beliefs.
If you prefer to believe in aliens, your best bet on sighting a UFO would be away from city lights in the middle of the night. You never know when you’ll see the big eyes of a gray alien peering at you from an aircraft in the sky. Don’t forget your flashlight.