UFOs: What Does Government Know?

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February 26, 2007

Well, here's what I know: I've never seen an unidentified flying object in my life. Yet I still believe they exist . . . whatever they may be. Certainly the number of sightings and reports -- going back centuries, and at the time of this writing we are witness to a global rash of them -- indicate some substance to the overall phenomenon. In truth, however, to myself, none of that really matters. Here's why:

In 1966, John G. Fowler published a book titled Incident At Exeter: Unidentified Flying Objects Over America Now (G.P. Putnam & Sons). It details events which occurred between September and October of 1965 in and around southeastern New Hampshire (yeah, it's the same Exeter which today is host to what must unequivocally be Amerika's most corrupt pig force). During this period, police departments and the Air Force were bombarded with literally thousands of phone calls reporting strange aerial lights, unidentified aircraft, and even being pursued by illuminated orbs while motoring at night on Route 101.

One afternoon during this period, my father, an Air Force captain at that time, was headed east with my mother and her youngest sister after leaving duty at Pease AFB in Portsmouth just a short while earlier. As they headed towards Hampton Beach and the ocean, they saw a large crowd of people pulled over to the side of the road, including a NH state trooper. Pulling over his '64 Corvette Stingray, my father got out, along with my mother and aunt. What they saw astonishes them to this day.

There were two of them, cigar-shaped, ringed with a series of oscillating purple lights. Each was roughly the size of a Navy battleship of the day. Each held an altitude of perhaps no more than 1,000 feet. With no sound whatever, they inched along the shoreline, headed in a rough north/north-easterly direction, edging out over the water. Someone in the crowd asked the trooper, "What are they?" The trooper replied, "Awww, they're just some experimental aircraft from Pease." My father, still in his uniform and hearing this, approached the trooper and said: "Pardon me, sir, but I've piloted just about every aircraft there is on that base, and I've been everywhere on it as well. I can tell you right now we don't have anything like that," he finished, pointing. The trooper, looking around briefly, said in a hushed tone, "Sir, I don't know what they are either. That's just what my commanding officer told me to tell everyone so there's no panic."

Everyone continued watching these unidentified objects for several more minutes as they crawled a bit further out over the Atlantic , still staying close to shore. Then, shooting directly up from their existing horizontal position in a silent blur of color and speed, they were gone -- possibly out of the atmosphere, possibly out of this world and into another.

You may be quite skeptical of this story. I am not. The fact that both of my parents -- conservative, no-nonsense types who are in no way fans of science-fiction (quite unlike their son) -- can over 40 years later look me square in the eyes and insist upon what took place, is all the proof of the existence of UFO's I'll ever need. An interesting footnote to this overall saga is that during my blessedly short and most unenjoyable foray to Exeter in 2000, I was in the next apartment over from the now late Norman Muscarello, the first person mentioned in Fuller's aforementioned book, and who made the first report of high strangeness which began the numerous string of sightings and encounters in 1965. He subsequently was drafted into the Navy, and reputedly his mother was visited by a couple of goons in black suits who told her that if she ever repeated what her son Norman had told her about what he saw, that she'd never see her son again. This story she eventually revealed to both Norman and her younger son (who was 12 at the time, and told by the visiting G-men, who gave him two dollars, to go down to the store, buy some candy, and wait an hour before coming home) while on her deathbed some 25 years later. That part's not in Fuller's book, so for the rest of the story, I highly recommend you give it a read -- in particular if you live in or anywhere near Rockingham County , New Hampshire . It's utterly fascinating stuff. For the rest of his life, after returning from Vietnam , Norman became something of a legend within the UFO research community (he was even interviewed at the scene of the original sighting once by the Sci-Fi Channel). Norman and I never talked about UFOs much during my brief stay there. In fact, we never talked about much of anything. He was, I'd take it, a very changed person from the 19 year old kid who saw a flying saucer hovering over a Kensington farm field. I won't go into sordid details, but suffice it to say I preferred to avoid him. No surprise, really. Such was and is Exeter .

But this all brings us back to the question: What does government know? Obviously something. They are extremely reticent, at best, to discuss the matter with anyone -- including congressmen, senators, and even presidents. FOIA requests -- when and where eventually answered -- often consist of 30 or 40 page documents in which all but perhaps half a dozen words are blacked out for "National Security Reasons," that classic, catch-all government excuse. Originally, the infamous alleged UFO "crash" at Roswell , New Mexico , in 1947 was purported by the government to have been a Soviet weather balloon which went off course. Some 50 years later, after being pushed about numerous inconsistencies in their long-held story, the military has now taken this ruse off the table. What is stunning is that they've attempted to replace it with precisely nothing. Why?

I cannot and thus will not speculate on what those behind closed governmental curtains know or don't know about the UFO phenomenon. Enough books have been written, magazines published, websites and blogs posted to the Internet, and enough Coast to Coast AM programs have covered this topic to satisfy the thirst and hunger of even the most fanatical devotees. However, I can think of several reasons why government would want to suppress anything it might have knowledge of in this arena. Let's break it down.

There would be at least two aspects, I would think, of such tangible evidence as government may have in its possession. These would be the existence of advanced technologies, and the existence of extraterrestrial life (we might argue the existence of extradimensional life, but since both are not of our world, extraterrestrial will suffice for our purposes). So, how might public disclosure of such information adversely affect a State? Let's start with advanced technologies:

* Military applications: Of course, any kinds of propulsion/transport systems, navigational aids, weapons, energy sources, "cloaking" or invisibility devices, et al, would surely be of paramount import to any State -- both in terms of keeping such advanced technological know-how out of the hands of rival or "enemy" States, and "back-engineering" such technology in order to discover the underlying scientific principles permitting it to function, so as to reproduce it using whatever current terrestrial means at hand -- even if to only produce a slightly more primitive version, which still allows said State advantages over other ones.

* Economics: Imagine the impact of, say, a manufacturer of aircraft (or automobiles, or home computers, or kitchen appliances for that matter) suddenly patenting and producing on its assembly lines technologies centuries in advance of anything currently available. The economic imbalance thus produced would have the potential of literally swamping entire national economies, putting all competitors in virtually any industry into bankruptcy almost overnight, and would likely vault such a patent holder to a position where Wal-Mart would again look like the five-and-dime it was in Little Rock back in 1953. Indeed, there is much to suggest that government -- often with the assistance of oil companies and other corporate collusioners -- has moved to suppress much "home-grown" technology, such as internal combustion gasoline engines which average 200 miles per gallon, and even more esoteric gradients of scientific endeavor, such as the "free-energy" research of Nikola Tesla.

As to any disclosure of evidence appertaining to (especially intelligent) extraterrestrial life:

* Panic: Governments, ever wary of anything which breaks the domestic calm necessary to maintain their power monopoly, would not want to chance such candidness. Recall, if you will, the public's reaction when, in the 1930's, Orson Welles gave a radio-aired reading of H.G. Wells War of the Worlds. Today's audiences may be somewhat more sophisticated, one might argue, but the net effect of a State admission of this kind remains dubious. Enough so, that I'd think we need not hold our breath.

* Religion: While some States are wary of it ( China ), others partially rely upon it for the support of their oligarchies ( Philippines ), while still others directly utilize it as the very basis for their existence ( Vatican ). It stands to reason that any undeniable proof of intelligent non-human life elsewhere in the cosmos immediately poses a major challenge to every major theology on our planet. Given the potential for this revelation to undermine existing theocracies (both literal and de facto), the potential that new, previously unknown faiths will arise in their wake, and the possible corresponding unrest associated with this, it's clear no State wants the global spiritual apple cart tipped.

* Monopoly of rule: Where will terrestrial loyalties then lie? With the more advanced -- hopefully more enlightened -- newcomers (or at least, new to the terrestrial public at large) from the stars, or with tired old violent, thieving earthly bureaucracies? This depends on many factors: Are the aliens benign or malevolent, on measure? Will most humans cling to other humans dogmatically, or embrace the visitors as possible saviors? Do the aliens seek to liberate humans from themselves, or merely to arrogate their own rule over us less technologically-equipped earthlings? This is, of course, all the stuff of which science-fiction is made, though naturally, existing Earth States would have to weigh these conditions with extreme caution in order to even possess a shot at survival. The answers to these questions would be crucial to the human powermongers. And, if they are indeed cognizant of any such evidence of visitors from beyond Earth, then no doubt these questions have and are receiving profound attention from them and their minions.

Given all of this, short of a wholly open Day the Earth Stood Still public display by any non-terrestrial visitors, I don't believe any State in our world will voluntarily reveal what it knows or does not know regarding the subject (though bureaucrats in places such as Belgium, Canada, and Chile have been marginally more open than most). Certainly not the good old lone-superpower United State (singularity intentional). If we are to learn the truth, it will come from independent researchers, scientists, eyewitnesses and others who are generally far more honest and open than their government counterparts -- bureaucrats swayed by institutional inertia who covet the knowledge they garner like misers, interested only in how it might invest them and those who sign their paychecks (at our expense, of course) with yet more power over others. If there is anything substantial behind the UFO phenomenon, this attitude is at best very dangerous.

And that I also know, regardless of what government does or doesn't.

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Alex R. Knight III's picture
Columns on STR: 113

Alex R. Knight III is the author of numerous horror, science-fiction, and fantasy tales, including Tales from Dark 7.  He has also written and published poetry; non-fiction articles, reviews, and essays for a variety of venues; and is former Communications Director for the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire.  In 1998, he was awarded Activist of the Year for that organization.  He now lives and writes in rural southern Vermont where he holds a B.A. in Literature & Writing from Union Institute & University, and looks forward to living in a governmentless society of liberty.