- It seems that at one time, basically
between 1955 and somewhere around 1979, the skies were filled with large,
tangible, low flying "saucers," of which quite a number of people
-- not normally equipped with cameras most of the time -- managed to snap
some pretty impressive photos. UFO magazines flourished. The pictures were
everywhere. Everyone knew them. Big, gaudy, gorgeous black and white space
ships from other planets, with portholes and strange construction and sometimes
enigmatic markings. From the McMinnville photos (see fig A) to George Adamski's
"chicken brooder" (aka, a dozen other suspected devices) Flying
Saucer from Venus (see fig B) to those wonderfully peculiar "foreign"
shots that always seemed to shock with clarity and realism (see fig C),
many of which were in FULL color; there seemed to be no shortage of alien
visitors in their hotrods. Those were the days when Flying Saucers posed
for pin-ups and posters, it seemed. Or were they all very clever (or not
so clever) fakes? UFOs abound... but what has happened to the Flying Saucers?
- Many of the famous Flying Saucer photos
of the era have been carefully analyzed and determined to be frauds. And
of course of these there remains continual debate, no single analysis seems
accepted. Others remain a mystery. At one time, Billy Meier could be counted
on for some real meat-n-potatoes 'beam-ships'... vivid 35mm color shots
of marvelously crafted, reflective hubcaps and pie pans and chromium lamp
tops with pinballs glued to them. The very BMW of Flying Saucers. Almost
everyone felt they were phony, eventually, but most everyone enjoyed them.
Billy had a real artists edge when it came to making his UFO photos; I'll
give credit where credit is due. Calendar quality. Not a one of them, however,
is real (in my opinion). Oh, I know. Die-hard Meier followers will want
to burn my house down. Sorry. I think Billy was a lively source of UFO
entertainment in an otherwise dull period, and were it not for his fetish
for a lovely blonde popstar on TV who just 'happened' to look just like
the photos he took of his famed Venusian woman (or, uh, visa versa?), well,
he might have eventually impacted real UFOlogy at some point, his pictures
were that convincing. But alas, like Adamski, he's suspected by most to
be just someone looking for money and attention. The mad, cult like following
that developed around Billy and subsequent informers and revelations have
all but gutted any possibility of lending veracity to Meier. I do miss
his photos, though. And especially the 8mm movies with the beam ships swinging
on wires and banging into tiny model trees. Oops.
- Now the jury is still out on what is perhaps the most
controversial and recent "vivid" UFO photographs, those of Gulf
Breeze, Florida resident Ed Walters, from 1987 onward. Ed's shots are a
throwback to the height of the Flying Saucer mania of the 60's and 70's
(see fig. D). They begin as more ghostly than the firm machines of the
60s, and gradually get more and more solid as Ed and time goes along. In
Ed's book about the sightings one is treated to a somewhat funny photograph
of Ed stiffly standing on his patio in nothing but a towel shaking his
fist at the Flying Saucer as it looms over his back yard in the night.
Someone else took that picture.
Some believe Ed, some don't.
Many have replicated Ed's photos down to the last detail, but it doesn't
prove him a fraud. Ed even has videotape which UFO investigator Bruce Maccabee
endorses as authentic. Is it ok that Bruce and Ed collaborated on a book
and since then Bruce has validated all of Eds material? You decide. But
hoax or no, Ed's is the closest thing to the Flying Saucers which once
roamed the skies low enough and clear enough for a few good snap shots
to keep everyone intrigued.
- Generally, any witnessing or photographing of 'occupants'
of these mechanical wonders back in the good ole days were as large, tin-foil
clad or elephant skinned robot-like intruders, even as late as the famous
Pascagoula, Mississippi abduction of Calvin Parker and Charles Hickson
- "... But they had feet shape...
it was more or less a round like thing on a leg, if you'd call it a leg....
Calvin done went hysterical on me," Hickson reported.
- Many shiny suited, tall statured aliens were reported
in the era, and many that looked like Nordic gods of some sort. Russia
seemed to flourish with such viking elder gods, landing in full view of
spectators at sporting events in translucent, glowing egg shaped craft
with greetings of "peace" and "fear not." No anal probes.
No little buggers with big black eyes and a penchant for...er... buggery.
It seemed to take time for the 'official' Roswell alien motif to fully
seed itself into the culture of descriptions, boosted of course by the
Betty and Barney Hill abduction of 1961. And by the mid-seventies, the
idea of many races and types of aliens became common language and general
assumption. Now a days we hear from Betty Hill that she deliberately altered
the original description of the UFO occupants, kind of an old police-trick
when one wants to hunt down the real killer: add some false information,
withhold several true specifics and any clown that shows up with the false
items isn't your man. Smart Betty. Those details are still undisclosed
and she'll likely go to the grave with them. Other less convincing, albeit
equally famous, abductees and "experiencers" have attempted to
make similar claims about holding back key information, but I notice it
wasn't until after Betty said such that they all clamored around the same
brilliant claim. Lots of 'borrowed brilliance' in this business.
- Now we live in a culture where the camera is king. Practically
everyone owns a camera, even disposable ones, millions have video cameras
and digital cameras... but where are the striking pics? Where are the looming
Flying Saucers of yesteryear? Shouldn't we be seeing some really awesome,
full-frontal flying saucer pornography by now?? Something isn't right.
Today we have lights in the night sky, varied in array, zipping to a fro,
little or no frame of reference, not much to look at. Not like the old
days. We get the occasional white blip in the high atmosphere (as the recent
Bolivian UFO sighting turned out to be a weather balloon), or the all too
often macro-focused light in the sky that turns into the shape of the video
cam or digi-cam's diamond shaped internal shutter. The best day time UFOs
photographed in many years are from Mexico. My goodness, it seems if you
want a good daylight photo of a Flying Saucer, you'd better be south of
the border. They not only regularly have overflights but hundreds of people
shoot the same object from hundreds of different vantages, including videotape...
but you'll only see it covered on the 6 o'clock news as hysterical Mexicans
photographing Venus (I can't recall ever seeing Venus in the daytime as
anything but a star, much less as a moving silver disc with a deep black
band around its bottom, tracked across the sky by hundreds even thousands
of witnesses, can you?).. Oh well, Viva Mexico! They seem to be the center
of the activity now. There have been some wonderful high-tech attempts
at fakery since the 80s mass-market video dawn, even from south of the
border (see fig E), but not as much as one would expect... not if the majority
of those ripping photos from the 60s and 70s were all fakes. Human nature
just doesn't change that much.
- Elsewhere, there's a lot of what appears to be government
experimental craft gone berserk. I say gone berserk with the assumption
that the military doesn't intend on overflying seven towns just outside
Chicago in one of those big black budget triangles, assuming they just
got off course and couldn't get the darned thing to do what they wanted.
I mean, this is supposed to be top secret stuff here, right? One doesn't
drift over several state troopers and townships and then say, "What
giant ship?" No, something isn't working right. And one has to wonder,
is the general public in danger? Reports of these megalithic monstrosities
almost landing in large commercial parking lots have popped up. In England,
there appears to be an on going lack of concern that the public sees the
hulking black thing silently cruising the nights sky. What in the world
is going on with that?
Maybe the many alien races, from the bulky robotic to the dwarfish grey
bugs, have decided we've seen enough. Maybe they think those pics from
the 60s and 70s were damned decent shots and we should be grateful. I dunno.
Or maybe that era was a time of teen-alien drunken road trips. Who knows.
Alas, I miss the big, gaudy, strikingly vivid daylight photos, fake or
not. Even the fakes today are so terribly bad as to be completely unentertaining.
Meanwhile, I'll keep flipping through these great old UFO mags from back
when and enjoy the glory days.... "Aliens Ate My Mother" and
"Flying Saucers Are Living Creatures, Not Machines"... too much
fun. I'll keep my window shades open, camera loaded and ... I'm waiting.
Dear Mr. Neff,
- Well, actually, there have been a series of videos shown
on the old Sightings TV show which appeared to be quite genuine, wherein
large numbers of people were all pointing and shouting about quite large
objects in the hazy distance which were clearly (despite the haze) anomalous
in nature. Also, the Mexico sightings, while they don't get a lot of press
coverage here (if it didn't happen here and didn't involve US or Israeli
troops, who cares?), get a great deal of coverage elsewhere in the world,
as did the recent Peruvian sighting. You will also recall the rather vivid
press reportage in 1990 of the Belgian giant black, lighted triangle which
was pursued by F-16s, which story made the front page, above the fold,
of the Wall St. Journal - not bad. Since then, the base commander, a Belgian
Air Force colonel, stands by his story and those of his pilots and radar
operators. The beauty of that story is that it has lots of eyewitnesses
from all sorts of backgrounds, along with military/technical confirmation.
The colonel assured the press that it could not have been a US or USSR
(there still was one, then) craft, as its departure speed once it was painted
with the fighter's tactical Westinghouse radars would have (under normal
aircraft conditions) made the occupants into hamburger on the rear bulkheads,
as in WHOOSH! . . . gone. So, while our flying hubcap days may be behind
us, there are still plenty of vivid sightings in the neighborhood. The
Illinois thing and the Phoenix bits weren't bad. And there's been doings
in Canada of late that leave us scratching our heads as per normal. Jacques
Vallee once wrote in The Invisible College that he thought that all of
the sightings were an effort to change our cultural paradigm to accept
and consider the existence of these way cool devices and their sometimes
less than attractive occupants as a way of expanding our horizons.
- Of course, history teaches us that this sort of thing
has been going on for as long as there have been records, and not much
has been gained so far in the paradigm department. Then again, with mass
communications and the Web, the pace of sharing is somewhat increased.
Still, it seems that there is as much darkness around the subject now as
when Pharaoh's generals assembled his armies about his palace when the
circular UFOs hovered for five days over the Nile Valley, belching out
noxious fumes and generally upsetting the world view of the locals. It's
in the Pharaoh's Chronicles, but I don't recall that being covered in my
Egyptian Archeology class. The two Plinys and Livy wrote about flying shields
over Rome and other venues. While they get cited as the source for a lot
of more conventional goings on, I don't recall anyone mentioning the flying
shields passages in my high school and college courses on Latin literature
and ancient Rome.
- What's the lyric? "Everything old is new again."
- So, take heart, man; maybe there's still a flying hubcap
in your future.
- Jeff Griffith
Newport Beach, CA
This is true. It appears the nature of sightings is changing dramatically.
As I said, there's plenty of UFOS, probably more than ever. But the 'type'
is very different, especially on film.
FROM: St. George
- I am dissapointed James in your article "Where Have
all The Ufo's Gone?" You ressurect, as usual, all the silliest contactee
cases you could find, particulatly from the 50's. You expect the classic,"tangible"
saucer shape when in fact it isn't neccessarilly so. The craft I saw was
a large sphere and I had several witnesses, at high noon, at work. I have
seen it myself before but this was deliberate. I also mailed a tiny implant
to Marilyn's site, the AAER. No batteries or antennas you will say but
odd nevertheless. I study the PEOPLE in those things not the craft. Why
you are facinated with devices when you are meeting a new race of people
is beyond me. I wish you would stop making fun of these dim witted contactees
and experiencers, if in fact they are. Start making fun of me and see what
you are in for. For your government cannot order me to be silent, I am
a Canadian. I was survellanced though. Many friendly experiencers from
your country abruptly shut up after a few conversations with me. I did
send them some files. I am visited frequently but do not claim outer space
rides with Nordics or Venusians. The Greys are hidious if you must know.
I think you misunderstood the entire spirit of my piece, just as you re-wrote
the title itself! Not UFOs... but "Flying Saucers" -- and specifically,
those photographed. Nothing in what I wrote casts aspersions upon those
who witness UFOs, be they spheres, cubes, balls of light, triangles or
anything else. My own UFO experinces are catalogued at this site. Nor does
my article attempt to ridicule those who claim contact. This isn't the
issue of my article.
Lighten up just a bit George, life will be more pleasant.
- From JimmyMixThis
- Hey Neff!
- I've been waiting for someone to write this for a long
time...a subject that nobody wants to admit, confront or talk about in
any forum. It certainly seems that there were so many 'drive by'
saucer runs in the 50's, 60's and 70's that there must have been a continuous
unbroken stream of something coming from somewhere! But, where have
they gone? And who decided that they are now Flying Triangles instead
of Flying Saucers? Today everyone has a video cam, digital video,
digital or 35mm-auto-wind-super-camera...and ask them to take a picture
or video of an airplane and you would instantly get the most amazing shot
of a plane crash...a face in a window...aircraft identification numbers
up close...anything, anytime, day or night! But, where is the convincing
video or picture of a UFO? If anyone can get a shot of rivets on
an airline's wing flying at 30,000 feet, where is the nice, clear, close
shot of a UFO from 30k feet? The one that would stop us all in our
tracks and say "See, it's true! They're here!". I
don't get it. It doesn't make sense. I'm sure someone or something
has visited us once...that drive-by could have happened thousands of years
ago or maybe last week. Maybe in 1947. But, if it's happening
now I'm sure we could get that pic...just once... and when it does I'm
sure it won't look like those flying saucers of old. Nice one, Neff!
- just my two-cents
los angeles, ca
- For what it's worth, my one and only clear craft sighting
was virtually identical to the McMinnville photo. It occured in Jacksonville,
Fl. about 1954. I obviously can't say the photo was real, but I can say
there ther was indeed something that looked like it capable of hovering
about that time period. There is also a very similar craft in a photo from
Rouen, France about 1952. I have seen noticed over the years that UFO's
do seem to change models to appear close to or just ahead of what we think
they should look like. That suggests to me a close psychological connection.
Having seen one quite clearly, I am convinced they are objectively real.
I am not convinced they are nuts and bolts spacecraft. I believe that Jacque
Vallee was as close to an answer as anyone. I would pretty much be willing
to bet several paychecks that things are far from what they seem.
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