The Broad Haven school kids who spotted a UFO

In 1977, aliens touched down in the seaside resort of Broad Haven, Wales, for a nose around. It led to the area being dubbed the Broad Haven Triangle. The most famous was a sighting by 14 schoolchildren…

It was a cold day in February when the children of Broad Haven Primary School saw a UFO land in the playing field next to their school during lunchtime. It was torpedo-shaped, shiny grey, and had an upper dome with a blinking red light. Some of the kids saw a silver-clad spaceman emerge from the craft.

Convinced they were telling porkies, headmaster Ralph Llewellyn asked the 14 children to draw what they’d seen under exam conditions so there could be no conferring. He was astonished by how similar their drawings were.

The children proceeded to sign a petition demanding a police investigation into what they saw.

The children, now in their 50s, have not wavered from their original accounts in all the years since. One of the kids, David Davies, aged 10 at the time, said a few years ago:

“The object was pearlescent silvery-grey, approximately 40ft long, torpedo/cigar-shaped with an upper domed section that covered the central third of the vehicle and which was topped with a red pulsating light. It popped up and then went back behind a tree. The sighting, despite only lasting a few seconds, is burned on my memory like a photograph. I’ve spent my entire life and countless thousands of pounds trying to find answers about what we saw.”

A spate of further local sightings followed. A few days later, a teacher and three dinner ladies saw the same UFO. One of them reported seeing a “creature” making its way into the craft.

Two months later, Rosa Granville, owner of the Haven Fort Hotel, was woken at 2.30am by a series of strange noises and lights. She reportedly saw an “upside-down saucer” next to the hotel, surrounded by multicoloured flames, and two “faceless humanoid” creatures with pointed heads emerging from the flames.

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I’m going to be on Spaced Out Radio! October 25th Pacific Time, October 26th London Time



Next week I’ll be on Canadian online radio station, Spaced Out Radio, talking to host Dave Scott about UFOs, conspiracies, time travel and general weirdness. Eeeek! I’m nervous and excited but I’m sure it’ll be great fun — for me and for listeners!

The interview, I’m told, will last two hours and Dave wants my take on some of the stranger conspiracies, mysteries and monsters  out there. I’ve certainly covered some utterly crackers theories of late! Expect talk about royal lizards and Flat Earth. Hopefully we’ll get into some time travel urban legends (my favourites) and things like the Loch Ness Monster and the suicidal munchkin in The Wizard of Oz. I’ll also make sure to talk a little bit about my conspiracy fiction writing, namely Million Eyes and the Million Eyes Short Stories, which are ultimately the reason why this blog exists.

I understand I’ll also be answering questions from the audience in Spaced Out Radio’s chat rooms.

The show broadcasts from British Columbia and will start at 9pm Pacific Time, midnight Eastern Time, and 5am London Time.

And yes, as I’m a Brit on London Time, it’s going to be an early start for me! Hopefully I’ll be coherent. Thank you Flying Spaghetti Monster for inventing coffee.

The show will broadcast live on Spaced Out Radio’s website at all the times I’ve just mentioned, and you can also listen to it on Tune In. If you’re in the UK and, like most people, your bed is more important at that time in the morning, you’ll be able to listen to the show on the station’s YouTube page afterwards. I’ll post a link on the blog when I have it. I’m also told you’ll be able to download the show from iTunes.


The Black Knight satellite — are aliens watching us?

One of the famous 1998 images of the Black Knight Satellite

One of the famous 1998 images of the Black Knight Satellite

A persistent UFO conspiracy theory is that there is an alien satellite in orbit around Earth and it’s been there for 13,000 years. So what is it? What is its purpose? And is it really there?

The Black Knight satellite rose to fame in 1998, when an object was photographed from the International Space Station (ISS) during the STS-88 shuttle mission. This object—a black, oddly shaped ‘thing’—was floating in orbit around Earth. Here are two more of the 1998 images…

maxresdefault Black-Knight-336475

Could it be an alien spy satellite? A weapon? A mind-control device? An actual alien, lying dormant in orbit?

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The CIA have confessed to assassinating Marilyn Monroe


Just over a month ago, retired CIA agent Normand Hodges made an astonishing confession: he was part of an assassination taskforce for the US government and murdered 37 people, including Marilyn Monroe…

An article by World News Daily Report reported on 25th March that 78-year-old retired CIA agent Normand Hodges had admitted to committing 37 assassinations between 1959 and 1972. He was immediately arrested in hospital by the FBI, who opened an investigation. He said he carried out these hits on the orders of Major James Hayworth, his commanding officer, as part of a secret CIA cell. This cell was assigned to assassinate individuals who represented a threat to the interests and national security of the US.

Hodges claimed to have killed a few scientists and artists who threatened US interests (artists?!), but unique among his victims was the only woman he ever killed – Marilyn Monroe.

He said that the CIA had evidence that Marilyn Monroe was having an affair with President John F. Kennedy. Worse, she was also sleeping with Fidel Castro, the Prime Minister of Cuba. Castro had overthrown Cuba’s previous leader and dictator, severed links with the US and formed an alliance with the Soviet Union. This ultimately led to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 just months after Marilyn’s death. Suffice it to say, Castro was a problem for the US, and the CIA was concerned about Marilyn passing strategic information to him – particularly as she was sleeping with JFK as well.

Normand Hodges - Marilyn's killer?

Normand Hodges – Marilyn’s killer?

Now, as soon as I read all this, I was sceptical, mostly because I often hear about deathbed confessions being unreliable and unverifiable. Most of the time they come to nothing. What I perhaps should’ve checked first was where this news was actually coming from…

Normand Hodges = Michael Tyrrell

When you go to the disclaimer page on the World News Daily Report site, you find this:

WNDR assumes all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website – even those based on real people – are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle.

Ah. It’s a hoax.

The Normand Hodges pictured in the article is actually Michael Tyrrell, a prisoner in the UK dying of throat cancer after serving a 29-year sentence for drug smuggling. Tyrrell’s photograph was nicked from a 2013 article for The Guardian about the mistreatment of ill prisoners in the UK – probably because of the handy handcuff.

A few sites got hold of the article and re-reported it, not realising it was fictional. Loads of people have also commented on the article on the World News Daily Report site, not realising that the whole site is full of bogus news stories written for entertainment purposes.

But several websites like FACTually, Truth or Fiction and Snopes have revealed the truth about the story before it’s had time to embed itself in pop culture as an urban legend. It’s a similar state of affairs to what happened with Andrew Carlssin, an alleged time traveller from the future who appeared in an article by Weekly World News, another satirical, fictional news site. In that case a number of reputable news sites like Yahoo! re-reported the story as fact, inadvertently creating the Andrew Carlssin urban legend.

So that’s that.

So the CIA didn’t kill Marilyn Monroe?

I never said that, of course. Normand Hodges and his story of a CIA assassination cell may be fictional, but stories about the CIA bumping off Marilyn Monroe have been swimming around for years. Many people believe that the official story – namely that Marilyn committed suicide – is nonsense. The murder of Marilyn Monroe has become one of the most popular conspiracy theories of all time.


There are a lot of unanswered questions that surround Marilyn’s death. For starters, an actual time of death has never been established. The housekeeper who found Marilyn and the doctors who attended to her body suspiciously changed their stories. And even though she was a key witness, the housekeeper was allowed to travel to Europe and never be questioned again.

The medical evidence suggested that Marilyn had died from a drug overdose, but not from swallowing the drugs and not from an injection. So how did they get in her system? An enema, it’s assumed, but surely no one would commit suicide with an enema?!

While her death was marked a “probable suicide” – hardly conclusive – the results from the autopsy were never made public. Many detectives, including Jack Clemmons, the first LAPD officer to arrive at the death scene, believe she was murdered.

As to whether the CIA killed her, they certainly had a motive. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence of Marilyn having a relationship with Fidel Castro, but JFK is another matter. There is evidence of some kind of relationship between them, including calls made by Marilyn to the White House and evidence from actor Ralph Roberts that Marilyn and JFK shared a room at Bing Crosby’s house. It was reported that JFK was the last person Marilyn called before she died. There were also rumours that Marilyn was having an affair with Robert Kennedy, JFK’s brother.

If Marilyn really was having affairs with two members of the most powerful family in the US at the time, the CIA might’ve been concerned about government secrets being leaked.

Documents were then made public in the 1990s suggesting that the CIA had secretly recorded a conversation between Marilyn and JFK in which they discussed the recovery of UFOs. Conspiracy theorists claimed that Marilyn was killed either by the CIA or by Majestic-12 – the secret government agency charged with covering up UFO cases – because they feared she would reveal what JFK told her. Others have suggested that JFK himself was assassinated a year later for threatening to reveal what he knew about aliens.

Marilyn Monroe in her final completed movie "The Misfits"

Marilyn Monroe in her final completed movie “The Misfits”

While most people consider the above mentioned documents to be fabricated (largely because Majestic-12 is widely considered a hoax), the questions that surround Marilyn’s death are listless. In future articles I will look into these questions in more depth. And while I personally don’t think Marilyn and JFK were assassinated for talking about UFOs and aliens, I do think a conspiracy may be behind both of their deaths.

Certainly in Marilyn’s case, if the best conclusion made by doctors is “probable suicide” and the first police officer on the scene believes she was murdered, that’s good enough for me.

Next week: Is Yosemite National Park swallowing people?

Roswell – so it was a cover-up all along

Aliens? Or progeria sufferers?

Aliens? Or progeria sufferers?

When something crashed at Roswell in 1947, the US military told the media that it was a “harmless, high-altitude weather balloon.” It was revealed decades later that in fact this was a lie, and that the government did engineer a cover-up at Roswell after all…

Project Mogul – the truth?

In 1947 rancher William ‘Mac’ Brazel told the media, “I am sure that what I saw was not any weather observation balloon.”

Turns out he was right.

In 1994, the US Air Force began an internal investigation into just what happened at Roswell in 1947, and its report drew on military data that was classified secret during the Cold War. Its initial 1994 report revealed that it was likely that the crash debris – the sticks, tinfoil, rubber and scotch tape found on Mac Brazel’s ranch – was from a Project Mogul balloon.

Project Mogul was a top-secret espionage operation that used high-altitude balloons with spy sensors to listen for sound waves generated by Soviet atomic bomb tests. This explains why Mac Brazel said the debris didn’t match up with previous weather balloon wreckage he’d found on his ranch. It was a very different balloon.

A further report, unveiled in 1997, aimed to explain all the reports of recovered alien bodies. It concluded that the reports were probably a combination of the following:

  1. Innocently transformed memories of military accidents, accidents which had resulted in the deaths of military personnel and possible sightings of burned or mangled bodies. One accident caused an officer’s head to swell and his eyes to become tiny slits.
  2. Innocently transformed memories of the recovery of lifelike dummies, probably damaged, mangled and deformed, used by the Air Force in parachute tests.
  3. Hoaxes perpetrated by UFO proponents and witnesses with ulterior motives.
A confessed 'Mirage Man'

A confessed ‘Mirage Man’

In 2010, Mark Pilkington published a book, Mirage Men: A Journey in Disinformation, Paranoia and UFOs, which shone a light on the government’s use of UFO mythology to cover up their advanced technology – exactly as they did with Project Mogul. For those who remember reading my Men in Black article, these are the guys who infiltrated UFO circles and spun lies about aliens to keep the focus off what the government was really doing. Pilkington believes that Walter Haut, who put out the first Roswell ‘flying saucer’ and ‘weather balloon’ press releases, is the first Mirage Man we can identify.

These revelations about the Project Mogul balloon and the presence of Mirage Men to perpetuate UFO fallacies demonstrate the power and readiness of the government to lie to us and execute cover-ups. Of course, many UFO researchers believe the government are lying about lying. That this Project Mogul story is deliberate disinformation to try and put the Roswell UFO Incident to bed.

There are also some alternative theories that have cropped up…

Military aircraft tests using Japanese prisoners of war

Credible or not, we know that multiple people, including Glenn Dennis, Jim Ragsdale, Miriam Bush, Gerald Anderson and Barney Barnett, claim to have seen alien bodies being recovered by the military. And one man claimed to have filmed an alien autopsy. Consistent features of these sightings seem to be small bodies with oversized heads and eyes.

The infamous Alien Autopsy

The infamous Alien Autopsy

We also know that not one but several crash sites have been alleged. There’s the most famous, most legitimate crash site at Mac Brazel’s ranch. Gerald Anderson and Barney Barnett apparently came upon a crashed spacecraft and alien bodies in the Plains of San Agustin – a wholly different site. Jim Ragsdale said he saw a spaceship sticking out of a cliff face in the New Mexico desert at yet another site. It is also alleged that he made a deathbed confession to his daughter, Judy, about a further crash site in a forest location near the Boy Scout Mountain.

UFO researcher Andrew Oien says that perhaps two UFOs collided over Mac Brazel’s ranch, leaving debris at that site, before going their separate ways and crashing at some of the other locations.

But ufologist Nick Redfern has another idea. He doesn’t buy the alien spaceship stories, but he also doesn’t buy the idea of the Project Mogul balloon and transformed memories of military accidents and human dummies put out by the US Air Force.

He believes that the Roswell legend is the product of two crashes in the region – crashes of experimental aircraft being test-flown by the US military with Japanese crew on board.

The first contained a number of physically deformed and handicapped Japanese prisoners of war, recovered from Japan’s Unit 731 laboratories, who were suffering from conditions like progeria and radiation poisoning. The crashing of this aircraft is said to explain some of the sightings of ‘aliens’, and in particular the Alien Autopsy video supplied to Ray Santilli in the 1990s. Nick Redfern argues that the body being operated on in the video is not an alien, but a human suffering from progeria.

The second crash was the one that caused debris to end up on Mac Brazel’s ranch. This was of an aircraft affixed to a huge balloon, inspired by a Japanese design and piloted by a crew of trained Japanese personnel. The reason it crashed was that it was apparently struck by lightning.

But Gildas Bourdais argues that it was not possible for US forces to have recovered any Japanese subjects of Unit 731. This is because all historical studies and sources support that the Japanese killed them all and destroyed the buildings to cover up all traces of the horrific bio-warfare experiments taking place there. Bourdais also points out that the scientists at Unit 731 preferred to work on subjects in good health, and wouldn’t have used people suffering from progeria and other conditions.

There’s also the problem of Nick Redfern relying on the authenticity of the Alien Autopsy footage to support his theory. A year after Redfern’s book setting out his theory was published, Ray Santilli admitted that the Alien Autopsy footage was fabricated, filmed by him and a fellow producer with an alien dummy.

And finally – where did Nick Redfern get his evidence about all this? Anonymous whistle-blowers inside the government and the military. Anonymous. How convenient.

A Soviet plot with deformed human children?

Journalist Annie Jacobsen presented a new theory on the Roswell Incident in 2011. Based on apparent interviews with scientists who worked at Area 51, the top secret Air Force base in the Nevada desert, she claims that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin orchestrated a plot to cause hysteria on American soil. It was to be similar in manner to the radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds in 1938, when fictionalised announcements about Martians invading were taken as fact by radio listeners and mass panic ensued.


Annie Jacobsen’s theory is that Stalin recruited Nazi paramilitary officer and Auschwitz physician Josef Mengele to produce “grotesque, child-size aviators” to be remotely piloted and landed in America. Unfortunately the aircraft crashed and, to avoid panic, the Americans covered up the incident.

Jacobsen’s source told her they found that the aircraft was filled with “alien-like” children around the age of 12. She writes in her 2011 book:

“These were not aliens. Nor were they consenting airmen. They were human guinea pigs. Unusually petite for pilots, they appeared to be children. Each was under five feet tall. They were grotesquely deformed, but each in the same manner as the others. They had unusually large heads and abnormally shaped, oversized eyes.”

However, Jacobsen’s work has been heavily criticised for being full of errors by the Federation of American Scientists, for being sensationalist, and for defying common sense. And her story – once again – comes from one anonymous source who can’t be tested.

Where does this leave us today?

Everything I’ve read over the course of my investigation of the Roswell UFO Incident has left me highly dubious about the presence of aliens in New Mexico in 1947.

Having looked at some of the popular evidence for the recovery of alien bodies and hush-hush alien autopsies, all I’ve found is highly untrustworthy eyewitness evidence and hoaxes. Whatever crashed at Mac Brazel’s ranch cannot have been an alien spaceship if it was made of tinfoil, rubber and scotch tape – that’s just silly. And the evidence for witness intimidation by the government is largely based on hearsay, which makes it impossible to know what’s been exaggerated, misunderstood or straight-up fabricated.

And Jacobsen and Redfern’s non-alien Roswell theories don’t seem to have much corroborative evidence to support them either. Nobody can put much faith in an unnamed whistleblower who hasn’t been subjected to rigorous personal scrutiny, particularly when some of the quite-happy-to-be-named witnesses have told bare-faced lies about Roswell.

What we do know is that the government has admitted to lying about Roswell for more than 40 years. Given that all the alleged alien sightings don’t stand up to much scrutiny, the Project Mogul explanation does sound sensible to me – and probably the explanation I will subscribe to until some earth-shattering new evidence comes to light. At the same time, I do admit that there is scope for arguing that if the government can lie about something for 40 years, who’s to say they’re not still lying?

And in terms of earth-shattering new evidence, this might just happen in a couple of months’ time. Earlier this month, it was reported that a number of reportedly authenticated slides featuring a Roswell alien are set to be unveiled this May at the National Auditorium in Mexico City.

Another hoax? Or could this be the real thing?

Next week: Ata – the world’s most mysterious human


Roswell, and the book of Nick Redfern: New explanation, or new disinformation?

The Telegraph – Roswell was ‘Soviet plot to create US panic’

Fortean Times Forum – Interview with Mark Pilkington

Andrew Oien – Southwest UFO Triangle Theory

Chron – ‘Roswell Slides’ found in an attic to be unveiled in Mexico City


Did time travellers land in Rendlesham Forest in 1980?

Colonel Halt's account of the Rendlesham Forest Incident

Colonel Halt’s account of the Rendlesham Forest Incident

In December 1980, aliens allegedly landed in Rendlesham Forest, England in a triangular spacecraft. Where did these aliens come from? One of the witnesses, Sergeant Jim Penniston, has the answer. Earth. Because they weren’t aliens at all. They were us.

Two famous alleged encounters with UFOs in Britain have been dubbed the ‘British Roswell’. The first is the Berwyn Mountain UFO crash of 1974, which I talked about briefly in my Men in Black article. The second is the more extensively documented Rendlesham Forest UFO Incident of 1980.

Rendlesham Forest is a large pine forest near Ipswich in Suffolk, England. At the time of the incident, two former military bases in the vicinity, RAF Woodbridge and RAF Bentwaters, were being used by the United States Air Force (USAF). On Boxing Day 1980, a security patrol near RAF Woodbridge reported strange lights descending on the forest. Three patrolmen entered the forest to investigate. According to a memorandum drawn up by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt, the object was:

metallic in appearance and triangular in shape, approximately two to three meters across the base… It illuminated the entire forest with a white light. The object itself had a pulsing red light on top and a bank of blue lights underneath. The object was hovering or on legs. As the patrolmen approached the object it maneuvered through the trees and disappeared.”

In the days that followed, Halt and others observed further strange lights and discovered depressions in the ground where the spacecraft was alleged to have landed.

Jim Penniston has a close encounter

Sergeant Jim Penniston was one of the three USAF patrolmen who entered the forest and encountered the UFO. In 2003, for a Sci Fi Channel documentary, he unveiled a notebook in which he alleges to have made a real-time account of the experience.

In this notebook, Penniston reported that a “craft of unknown origin” had landed in the forest. He claims to have examined it for 45 minutes, touched its “warm surface”, sketched the craft in his notebook and recorded the hieroglyphics that were apparently engraved on the side. Penniston revealed later that he also recorded in his notebook a sequence of binary digits which were telepathically transmitted to him.

The clearing in Rendlesham Forest where the UFO is alleged to have landed

The clearing in Rendlesham Forest where the UFO is alleged to have landed

However, base commander Colonel Ted Conrad said he interviewed Penniston shortly after the incident. He said Penniston mentioned nothing about touching the spacecraft. In fact he said he never got close enough for a detailed look. No 45 minute examination, no notebook, no telepathic transmission of a binary code. Indeed, Penniston’s original (but undated and unsigned) witness statement also says that he only got within 50 metres of the object. He refers to spending 45 minutes pursuing the lights and the object on foot. And furthermore, the other two patrolmen only mentioned strange lights. They didn’t claim to have seen a spacecraft.

There are two possible explanations for this. Penniston was part of a hoax and his notebook is a complete fabrication. This is what Colonel Conrad believes.

The other explanation is that Penniston and the other patrolmen somehow had their memories blocked or manipulated shortly after the encounter. This is why Penniston had no recollection of his 45 minute examination of the craft by the time he wrote his statement and was interviewed by Conrad, and why the other patrolmen had no recollection either.

New revelations… “They are time travellers. They are us.”

In September 1994, Penniston underwent regression hypnosis. He described having an encounter with the occupants of the craft that landed in Rendlesham Forest. It turns out they weren’t extraterrestrials at all…

Jim Penniston: “They are asking me if I see binary code? I see the binary code. They are time travellers. They are us.”

Hypnotherapist: “How far in the future?”

Jim Penniston: “A long time. Very long time.”

Hypnotherapist: “What do they need?”

Jim Penniston: “Not sure, but it has to do with chromosomes. Or something like that.”

Hypnotherapist: “How do they get that?”

Jim Penniston: “They take it.”

Hypnotherapist: “From where?”

Jim Penniston: “From the other people’s bodies. They were interrupted. They are having problems. The odds are against them.”

Hypnotherapist: “How far into the past can they go?”

Jim Penniston: “These ships can go forty or fifty thousand years. They can’t go back much further. They might not get back.”

Hypnotherapist: “Why do they come back so far?”

Jim Penniston: “So it doesn’t affect the time line. The farther it is, the better, the least effect it has on changing the future…”

So basically, Penniston’s hypnosis session revealed that the craft contained our distant descendants, travelling back in time to retrieve genetic material in order to keep their ailing species going. This means perhaps these time travellers could be responsible for altering Penniston’s memories…

But time travel doesn’t work like that…


As soon as I read the Penniston hypnosis transcript, or at least the short extract that’s available to read online, I saw a flaw.

Notwithstanding the arguments about temporal paradoxes and the laws of physics, time travel – even in fiction – doesn’t work this way. These time travellers are telling Penniston that they have come back 40 or 50,000 years in order to have the least effect on the timeline. Nonsense. The further back you go, the greater the effect could be. One person could have spawned millions of descendants in 50,000 years, which means if you interfere with the life of that one person, you alter the course of the lives of all those descendants as well. It’s called the ‘butterfly effect’.

If these time travellers are real, I doubt they would adhere to such obviously faulty logic.

False memories drawn from a TV movie?

If Penniston’s hypnosis revelations sound like the plot of a movie, it could be that that’s exactly where they came from. Less than a year before Penniston’s hypnosis, a TV movie called Official Denial was broadcast on the Sci Fi Channel. The plot featured an alien craft landing in a forest, occupied by creatures who had come to Earth to obtain genetic material to help save their dying race. The twist ending was that these creatures were not aliens at all. They were evolved humans who had travelled back in time.

The similarities between Official Denial and Penniston’s account of the Rendlesham Forest Incident under hypnosis were not limited to the plot details. Penniston’s words almost mimicked lines of dialogue from the film. At one point near the end of the film, a character says, “They’re not aliens. They’re us. From the future. Our future.”

A coincidence?

The similarities are striking and it would not be the first time someone has relayed memories inadvertently drawn from a TV show rather than real-life. Having said that, some people still argue that the Penniston/Official Denial similarities are a mere coincidence – including, would you believe, the writer of the movie!

Bryce Zabel is author of the screenplay for Official Denial and co-creator of conspiracy theory TV series Dark Skies. Having seen interviews with Zabel (notably on the Dark Skies DVD box set), I know that this man does subscribe to a number of UFO conspiracy theories. He doesn’t rule out that UFO encounters are actually encounters with our technologically advanced and biologically evolved descendants. Grey aliens are us in the future. And he posits this in Official Denial.

But Zabel believes that Penniston’s memories of the Rendlesham Forest Incident are nothing to do with his film. He says he asked Penniston whether he had ever seen Official Denial and Penniston said no, that he had not seen or even heard of it.

Zabel therefore rules out Official Denial being the cause of Penniston’s memories. Unfortunately – and I say this with the utmost respect to Zabel as a writer – a common problem amongst conspiracy theorists is to just believe what people tell you. UFO debunker Ian Ridpath is much more sceptical of Penniston. He cites the various inconsistencies that plague Penniston’s accounts – including putting the wrong date and time in his allegedly real-time notebook and changing his explanation for the error – as evidence of his unreliability.

Ridpath believes that nothing landed in Rendlesham Forest in December 1980. The triangle of indentations from where the craft landed was nothing more than rabbit diggings. And the patrolmen either misinterpreted several lights, including a flashing lighthouse and a meteor that fell that night, or conspired with Penniston to concoct an elaborate hoax.

What do you think of Penniston’s story? Do you think his account is the product of fictional memories drawn from a TV show? Do you think he was part of a hoax – possibly involving Halt and the other patrolmen?

Or do you think time travellers – or aliens – actually paid a visit to Rendlesham Forest in 1980?

Sources: The Rendlesham Forest Incident – Official Website, Ian Ridpath – Official Website, After Disclosure, Wikipedia

Next week: I’m looking at the disturbing history of the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, and the bizarre case of Elisa Lam…

Note: Due to other writing commitments, I will now be posting blogs every Thursday instead of Wednesday.


Roswell – witness intimidation, suspicious deaths and Majestic-12

Majestic-12 as depicted in the TV series 'Dark Skies'

Majestic-12 as depicted in the TV series ‘Dark Skies’

The last article I wrote about the Roswell UFO Incident assessed the claims that alien bodies were recovered from the crash sites. Now I’m looking closer at why people believe there was a government cover-up…

The Ragsdale burglary and the death of Trudy Truelove

Remember Jim Ragsdale? He’s the one who said that he and his girlfriend, the wonderfully named Trudy Truelove, discovered a crashed spaceship in the desert in the Roswell region in 1947, together with alien bodies. They gathered up some of the wreckage and tossed it into their truck, before speeding out of the vicinity when a huge military recovery team turned up.

The debris didn’t spend long in Jim and Trudy’s hands. Apparently Trudy had some of the debris in her car and months later, her car hit a bridge and she was killed. When the car was brought into town, the debris from the spaceship was gone. Did someone bump her off? Jim also alleged that his truck, which still contained some of the debris, was stolen, and his house, where he kept the rest of it, was broken into and ransacked. The burglars stole the debris and a gun.

Did the government get wind of Jim and Trudy having possession of pieces of the spaceship and decide they needed to get it back?

Or did Jim – who has since been widely discredited by researchers – make up this story to explain why he had no debris that could be tested? That there never was any debris, any crash, any alien bodies or any Trudy Truelove?

Glenn Dennis’ mysterious nurse

Let’s not forget Glenn Dennis’ mysterious nurse, identified by him as Naomi Self. Self told Dennis she had taken part in an alien autopsy and then, according to him, she was killed in a military plane crash.

The problem with Glenn Dennis is that research proved that Ms Self didn’t exist. No records of this plane crash were found. Dennis proceeded to change his story multiple times. Faith in his story evaporated.

But is it quite as clear-cut as that? Apparently David Wagnon, a Roswell base medical technician in 1947, signed an affidavit saying that he remembered the nurse that Dennis described…

So did the government go to elaborate lengths to erase her existence?

The suicide of Miriam Bush

At the time of the Roswell incident in 1947, Miriam Bush was employed as a medical secretary in the hospital wing of the RAAF base. One day in the summer of 1947, her relatives recalled her returning home in a terrible state. She said she had witnessed a number of “little bodies” on gurneys in a base hospital room. Bodies that were childlike but had massive heads and eyes and did not look normal at all.

After the incident, Miriam left New Mexico, cut off contact with her family, became an alcoholic and committed suicide in 1989.

The intimidation and coercion of William ‘Mac’ Brazel

Mac Brazel is the one who first discovered the wreckage of what the military said was a weather balloon on his ranch. He did an interview with the Roswell Daily Record, published on July 9th 1947, describing what he’d found and expressing regret at receiving so much attention.

Mac Brazel

Mac Brazel

However, there is evidence that Mac Brazel was actually detained by the military at the RAAF base for a week during this period, and that his testimony to the Roswell Daily Record may have been coerced.

Brazel’s son Bill Junior said his father had expressed bitterness and upset about being “put in jail” for a week for doing a “good deed”. Other family members said he was particularly angry that the military had forced him to undergo a head to toe physical examination before they would release him. Some family members said he’d been sworn to secrecy about what he really saw at his ranch, and that his family had been threatened.

Neighbours and friends also attested to Brazel’s incarceration. Marian Strickland said he had moaned to her about being detained by the military, and that he wasn’t supposed to talk about what he’d found.

His nearest neighbour Floyd Proctor also confirmed that he had been detained for a week, and that Brazel was cagey about talking about it afterwards. He preferred just to repeat what he’d said to the Roswell Daily Record. Proctor actually said he had seen Brazel in Roswell during the period of his detention, walking down the street accompanied by half a dozen military escorts.

The problem is, all of this is hearsay, which means it’s very difficult to know what’s true and what’s embellished to make the whole thing look like a government cover-up. Plus, if the military dictated what Brazel said to the Roswell Daily Record, why would they let him make the following statement in his interview?

“I am sure that what I saw was not any weather observation balloon.”

Was a cover-up orchestrated by Majestic-12?

The real Majestic-12?

The real Majestic-12?

Controversial documents that came to light in the 80s detailed that President Harry Truman had authorised the creation of Majestic-12 for the purposes of investigating and concealing alien activity. The documents listed its members and mentioned that a UFO had crashed in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. I wrote about this group a few months ago, in my article about the ‘real’ Men in Black, suggesting Majestic-12 as a possible source of some of the Men in Black sightings.

The Majestic papers spoke of how the Roswell UFO crash had been concealed (see below). They also talked of how the government could exploit the alien technology that was recovered, and discussed future US engagements with extraterrestrials.


Fascinating stuff, but the consensus amongst virtually everyone – including ufologists – is that the Majestic-12 documents are part of an elaborate hoax (well, apart from the website, Majestic Documents, which continues to stand by their authenticity).

Then again, if Majestic is nothing more than a hoax, who are the hoaxers? To this day, no one knows who wrote the Majestic documents…

The only thing that seems clear to me from all this is that the witness intimidation stories and cover-up allegations are steeped in lies and hearsay.

But that doesn’t mean to say there isn’t some truth in there somewhere… After all, a lot of Mac Brazel’s family and friends contend that he was incarcerated by the military and coerced. There is still some support for the story of Glenn Dennis’ mysterious nurse. And what of Miriam Bush, who was, according to her family, deeply disturbed when she saw bodies with oversized heads and eyes at the RAAF base?

My final article next month will look at the most recent Roswell revelations…

Sources: The Roswell Files, ‘Mack Brazel Reconsidered’ by Thomas J. Carey and Donald R. Schmitt, UFO Casebook

Next week: a Valentines special…

The ‘Real’ Men In Black – Aliens, Majestic-12 or Mirage Men?

For many people, the Men in Black are Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, zapping people’s memories in the popular 1997 comedy and its sequels. For others, Men in Black are a very real threat…

For decades, men in black suits, sunglasses and hats have been making house calls to unsuspecting victims, normally those who have had extraterrestrial encounters. In most of the stories, they threaten and/or terrorise their victims into silence. They tend to drive black cars, but are also known to fly in mysterious black helicopters.

In some cases, these men identify themselves as government agents. But there are two main theories about who they are. One is that they really are from the government, partaking in a government conspiracy to keep the existence of alien life and their presence on Earth a secret. The other is that they are aliens themselves, acting alone or at the behest of Earth governments. Some have described Men in Black as looking foreign, being bizarrely tall and having no fingernails. Others have described them as having bald heads and strange hairless skin.

How it all began

One of the first major sightings of the Men in Black happened in 1947, shortly after the Maury Island UFO Incident. Harold Dahl claimed he was visited by a man in a dark suit, who warned him not to speak to anyone about the strange objects he had seen in the sky over Maury Island.

A few years later, Albert K. Bender, UFO researcher and founder of a group called the International Flying Saucer Bureau (IFSB), claimed that he had made several important discoveries about UFOs. He was about to publish them in a magazine he ran called Space Review. Instead he made a statement that he could no longer publish the information, that it was being withheld by “order from a higher force”. Then he unexpectedly ceased publication of the magazine and dissolved the IFSB.

Bender revealed in an interview that he’d been visited by three Men in Black, who’d warned him not to publish his findings, that no one could know what he’d discovered. In 1956, the book They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers was published. It was written by Gray Barker, who used to write for Space Review. He recounted both Dahl and Bender’s Men in Black encounters, and his book was the first to describe the Men in Black in detail.

Men in Black caught on camera

Men in black

In 2012, a video was published on YouTube of two Men in Black seen entering a hotel near Niagara Falls in Canada on the hotel’s CCTV. They were asking about one of the hotel’s employees, who’d recently had an encounter with a triangular UFO. The employee wasn’t on duty that day and the Men in Black eventually departed.

As is evident from the video, these men were in black suits and trench coats and black hats. Freaked-out witnesses claimed they looked exactly the same, like twins, their hair didn’t look real, they had no eyebrows or eyelashes, and their huge, blue eyes were hypnotic. They also didn’t blink once.

The Berwyn Mountain UFO

Following an event that has been dubbed the ‘British Roswell’, there were reports of Men in Black interrogations. In January 1974, the residents of two villages in Wales – Llandrillo and Llandderfel – were jolted by what they thought was a huge explosion. They reported seeing lights streaking across the sky over the highest peak in the Berwyn Mountains. One lady, Pat Evans, ventured out to investigate and reported seeing a huge, glowing sphere of light on the mountainside, pulsating and changing colour. She was eventually ordered to leave the area by armed soldiers and police.

Then, in the days following the incident, strangers who looked like government officials turned up in the villages and questioned residents, anxious to know what people had seen.

The Solway Firth Spaceman

In 1964, Jim Templeton developed a photo that he took of his daughter on a day trip to Burgh Marsh, near the Solway Firth in Cumbria, England. This photo, which I talked about in a previous blog, inexplicably showed a figure in the background resembling an astronaut – even though no one else was around. In my previous blog, I talked about who this spaceman might’ve been, but the other big question hanging over this story concerns what happened to Mr Templeton afterwards.

He alleged that shortly after publishing the photo, he was visited by two men in dark suits who claimed to be from the government. However, they wouldn’t identify themselves, their badges didn’t specify any particular government agency that Templeton had heard of, and they referred to themselves only as ‘Code 9’ and ‘Code 10’. They asked Templeton to drive them to where he took the photo, which he did. They also asked him bizarre questions about the weather conditions and the behaviour of the animals in the area. Templeton told them that the animals appeared to be scared and huddled together.

At that point, the two men became angry, started questioning Templeton’s story and eventually drove away, leaving him stranded on Burgh Marsh.

Lev the Friendly Man in Black

Apparently not all Men in Black are menacing and intimidating. One woman claims that when she was a child, her engineer father was regularly visited by a Man in Black. He wore a black suit, sunglasses and a hat, his skin was strangely hairless and he went by the name ‘Lev’. This woman claims that the Man in Black visited other engineers in the area, too. She also says she never found out what her father’s clandestine meetings with him were about, but she remains convinced of one thing: Lev the Friendly Man in Black was an alien.


One of the original Majestic-12 documents

One of the original Majestic-12 documents

Now here we have a possible explanation for the Men in Black. Men in Black are real, they are from the government and they are trying to cover up UFO activity. It’s because they are agents of Majestic-12, a secret committee of twelve scientists, government officials and military leaders founded by President Harry Truman in 1947.

Majestic-12 first came to light in 1987, when Jamie Shandera and William Moore released a set of top-secret documents to the press. These documents detailed the creation of Majestic-12 by Harry Truman, stated that an alien spaceship crashed at Roswell in 1947, and discussed how the alien technology recovered from Roswell could be utilised. Apparently, Shandera received these documents as part of an anonymous package mailed to his address.

Years later, new Majestic-12 documents were allegedly received by Timothy Cooper, who released them throughout the 1990s. These documents spilled the beans on a link between UFOs, President John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. Memos detailed that JFK had asked for UFO files ten days before his death, implying that he was assassinated because of the things he knew about aliens. The infamous ‘Marilyn Monroe Document’ suggested that the government assassinated her, too, because she was planning to go public with UFO secrets she’d learned from trysts with JFK.

Hoaxes, lies and misunderstandings?

The fact is, the evidence for most of these Men in Black encounters is less than conclusive…

Harold Dahl admitted to a reporter that the Maury Island UFO Incident and his subsequent encounter with a Man in Black was a hoax.

Albert K. Bender made no such confession, but when you take a closer look at his story, the pungent smell of boloney starts to pervade. Bender revealed that one of the Men in Black came to him while he was sat in an empty cinema, appearing as a giant monster who then shape-shifted into a Man in Black. He was then given a tour of a secret UFO base in the Arctic. He met the ‘Exalted One’, a being he described as a 9-foot tall bisexual (?), who revealed lots of juicy alien secrets to him.

Most of these fantastical claims were made in Flying Saucers and the Three Men, a 1962 book written by Bender and Gray Barker. Apparently the fear that had caused Bender to shut down his magazine and dissolve his UFO group was gone by 1962 and he was quite happy to reveal all. Furthermore, it came to light that Barker, Bender’s collaborator and author of the first Men in Black book, didn’t really believe any of the UFO claims he propagated. He did it for money. It was also revealed that he participated in a number of UFO hoaxes.

Sceptics argue that the Berwyn Mountain UFO Incident can be explained as a meteor sighting and an earthquake. That the ‘Men in Black’ were just researchers from the British Geological Survey, investigating the earthquake. Jim Templeton said himself that he thought the Men in Black he encountered shortly after the Solway Firth Spaceman incident were frauds. And the original article about ‘Lev’ the friendly Man in Black doesn’t name the woman making the claims, which makes me doubt the whole story.

And despite some websites continuing to propagate a cover-up, the Majestic-12 documents are widely regarded as being bogus and part of an elaborate hoax.

But what about the Men in Black caught on tape? No one has confessed to fabricating this story, but it did pop up on YouTube a month before the release of Men in Black 3. A great piece of viral marketing?

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in 'Men in Black'

Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in ‘Men in Black’

Whatever the truth is, Men in Black are a pop culture staple. In addition to having their own blockbuster movie trilogy, Men in Black have appeared in Doctor Who, The X Files and Fringe. They also appeared in a movie called The Brother From Another Planet in 1984 and are clearly the inspiration for the ‘Adjusters’ in 2011’s The Adjustment Bureau. Majestic-12 took centre stage in conspiracy theory-based TV series and cult favourite Dark Skies (which I reviewed a few weeks ago). In fact, the original pilot for Dark Skies had Majestic agents in black suits and hats in several scenes. Some of these were reshot because of similarities between them and the first Men in Black film, which was about to be released.

So for an organisation trying to remain a secret and keep alien and UFO encounters under wraps, the Men in Black are doing an absolutely awful job.

The real Men in Black… Mirage Men

Here’s another take on the Men in Black conspiracy. So-called ‘Mirage Men’ are the real Men in Black, infiltrating UFO circles and spinning lies and colourful falsities about aliens, fanning the flames of UFO mythology in order to keep UFO conspiracy nuts under control. Former ‘Man in Black’ – an Air Force special investigations officer called Richard Doty – has actually admitted to such deceptions. He said he was ordered to feed lies and faked documents about government treaties with aliens to UFO researcher Paul Bennewitz. He even dumped props for him to discover. This is because Bennewitz had been inadvertently eavesdropping on the Air Force with his equipment and they needed to keep an eye on him.

The Mirage Men revelations prove that there was indeed a government conspiracy, just not the one we thought. They haven’t been covering up the existence of UFOs and aliens; they’ve been manipulating us into believing in them.

Of course, a determined Men in Black conspiracy theorist will make a different argument: that all these hoaxes, lies and alternative explanations are a deliberate smokescreen.

In other words, the hoaxers are hoaxing the hoaxes. Or something.

Next week: A time-travelling fraudster?

Web Sources:

The Iron Skeptic, UFO Digest, Listverse, The Guardian, Majestic Documents, UFO Encounters and Wikipedia