Approaching the moon during America’s historic 1969 space mission, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin could hardly believe their eyes. As they squinted through the windows of the Apollo 11 spacecraft, each of them spotted two unidentified flying objects and what appeared to be a long cylinder hovering above the lunar surface.
Several minutes later, when the space vehicle touched down inside a moon crater, the two UFOs again appeared—this time on the crater's rim. Aldrin grabbed his motorized Nikon camera and snapped off a burst of photographs before the UFOs took flight. These pictures have never been released to the public by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The following exchange between Aldrin and NASA Mission Control—only recently revealed by an “inside” NASA source—has also been officially suppressed:
Aldrin: “What was it? What the hell was it? That’s all I want to know.”
Mission Control: “What's there?"
Aldrin: “These babies were huge, sir, enormous... Oh, God, you wouldn’t believe it! ...I’m telling you, there are other spacecraft out here... lined up on the far side of the crater edge... They’re on the moon watching us...”
This was neither the first nor the last time that American astronauts have shared outer space with UFOs. Maurice Chatelain, former chief of NASA Communications Systems and the author of Our Ancestors Came From Outer Space, is convinced that over the years, a number of US astronauts have encountered UFOs in space.
Sightings by Astronauts
But these events have been kept mostly top-secret and have been censored, changed, debunked, or simply ignored as part of a series of government UFO cover ups. Basing his information on reliable inside sources at NASA, Chatelain has developed the following list of UFO sightings by American astronauts:
Mercury 9-May 16, 1963: Over Hawaii, listening on a special frequency, astronaut L. Gordon Cooper Jr. picked up voices speaking in a language later examined on tape and found to belong to no known Earth language. Passing over Australia, he saw a large UFO that was also spotted by tracking stations.
Gemini 4–June 3, 1964: A spacecraft manned by James A. McDivitt and Edward H. White II almost collided with a silvery cylinder over Hawaii. They photographed this object, which left a luminous trail in its wake.
Gemini 7–December 4, 1965: Astronauts Frank Borman and James A. Lovell Jr. took pictures of an enormous UFO that was following their capsule.
Gemini 9–June 3, 1966: Astronauts Thomas P. Stafford and Eugene A. Cernan noticed that their spacecraft was being followed after blastoff by many UFOs, which were also monitored by ground personnel.
Gemini 10–July 18, 1966: John W. Young and Michael Collins reported seeing two UFOs. The objects disappeared when the astronauts asked a ground station for radar observation. Later, a huge object described as "not a planet or planetoid" was observed.
Apollo 8–December 21, 1968: Astronauts Borman, Lovell, and William A. Anders sighted disk-shaped UFOs as their capsule circled the moon. “We have been informed that Santa Claus does exist,” joked one of them to Mission Control. They also picked up a strange voice communication.
Apollo 10–May 18-26, 1969: Astronauts Stafford, Young, and Cernan sighted two UFOs during their lunar mission.
Apollo 17–December 7-9, 1972: During their flight to the moon, astronauts Cernan, Ronald E. Evans, and Harrison H. Schmitt spotted UFOs.
Presumably still following orders as per various government UFO cover ups, several of these astronauts have flatly denied sighting UFOs while in space. But Maurice Chatelain insists: “Apollo and Gemini flights were followed, both at a distance and sometimes... quite closely by space vehicles of extraterrestrial origin. Every time it occurred, the astronauts informed Mission Control, who then ordered absolute silence.”
Why the order for silence? Government UFO cover ups could ensure the secrecy of important extraterrestrial information.
Hynek Seeks the Truth
Chatelain is not the only scientist frustrated by US government UFO cover ups. Many years ago, a pipe-smoking college professor admitted to a Congressional committee that he had been duped by the US Air Force into downplaying UFO sightings. What made this testimony so remarkable was the man's credentials. He was Dr. J. Allen Hynek, then chairman of the astronomy department at Northwestern University and director of "Project Blue Book"—the Air Force's official investigation into UFOs.
Since June 24, 1947, when pilot Kenneth Arnold sighted nine disk-shaped objects over Washington's Mt. Rainier and added the term flying saucer to our vocabulary, the military and government have continually assured the public that UFOs are explainable. They are sunspots, stars, weather balloons, airplanes, meteorites—anything but unidentified flying objects.
For 17 long years Hynek went along with this line, as did many other members of the scientific community. But his role as an Air Force mouthpiece ended with the infamous “swamp gas affair” in March 1966, when he joined Air Force personnel in investigating a Michigan UFO sighting. Reading from a prepared official statement (no doubt used to help further orchestrate government UFO cover ups), the professor later told a Detroit press conference that the witnesses had seen not a UFO, but the strange effects of swamp gas.
To a public already skeptical of weak explanations for UFO sightings, the “swamp gas” theory became a national joke. Feeling like a puppet and tired of the military’s constant and unobjective effort of making “rational” explanations for every UFO sighting, Hynek went before the Congressional committee with a statement that he insisted was certainly not dictated by the Air Force. He would no longer aid in the perpetuity of government UFO cover ups.
According to one historian, his attack of Project Blue Book as being prejudiced and thoroughly inadequate was “the turning point in the UFO controversy.” Left without Hynek's reputation and support, the Air Force closed down Project Blue Book, and there has not been an official US government investigation into UFOs since.
“When I first started with the Air Force, I firmly believed that UFOs were a fad that would disappear like any other fad,” Hynek admitted. “But of course, they didn’t. The reports continued, however desperately the military attempted to banish, bury, or belittle them. The Air Force was puzzled by UFOs, and when the military is puzzled, its tactic is always to classify. It’s not good for the Air Force's image to have to admit that there are things flying in the atmosphere that it can’t explain or do anything about. So it was easier for the Air Force to say that UFOs were a lot of malarkey.”
In 1973 Hynek established the Center for UFO Studies in Evanston, Illinois, to receive and investigate—with an open mind—UFO-sighting reports from around the world.
Of the some 1,000 UFO sightings reported to the center each year, surprisingly few are prank calls. Using local police officials as primary sources, 90 percent of the reports turn out to be IFOs (identified flying objects), such as balloons, blimps, birds, or that old standby—Venus. Approximately 100 sightings a year remain unsolved. And some of them, Hynek believes, may be the real thing.
Additional indications of government UFO cover ups are recounted in the Roswell Incident, a chilling report of the long-rumored but often-denied crash of an extraterrestrial spacecraft in New Mexico. Using documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, authors Charles Berlitz and William L. Moore contend the government possesses actual physical evidence that would prove once and for all that we have had visitors from outer space.
To piece together what really happened, Berlitz and Moore interviewed dozens of people with firsthand knowledge of the incident. On July 2, 1947, at approximately 9:50 PM, what appeared to be a flying saucer passed over Roswell, New Mexico, heading northwest at a high rate of speed.
Just north of Roswell the saucer ran into a lightning storm, made a course correction to the south-southwest, was struck by a lightning bolt, and suffered severe damage. A great quantity of wreckage fell to the ground. The saucer itself, although stricken, managed to remain airborne long enough to get over a mountain range before crashing west of Socorro, New Mexico.
Rancher W. W. “Mac” Brazel (now deceased) found some unusual debris on his pastureland the next day. When he reported his discovery to the authorities, military personnel quickly came to inspect the mysterious chunks of material. The following statement was released on July 8, 1947, by the Roswell Army Air Base public-information officer:
The many rumors regarding the flying disk 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 disk 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 last week. Not having phone facilities, the rancher stored the disk until such time as he was able to contact the sheriff's office, who in turn notified Major Jesse A. Marcel of the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence Office.
Action was immediately taken, and the disk 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.
Shortly after newspapers picked up the story, the military put out a correction, stating that the material was nothing more than a downed weather balloon. News photographers were quickly called into the office of Brigadier General Roger M. Ramey, commander of the Eighth Air Force, and allowed to photograph what was obviously balloon material. Rancher Brazel, according to his son Bill, was warned by military officers that it would have been “unpatriotic” for him to talk about what he had found. Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) Marcel, located by authors Berlitz and Moore, admitted that the debris collected on the ranch was in a cargo plane on its way to another military base when the photographers were taking pictures of the substituted material.
“It was [the later General Ramey who put up the cover story about the balloon just to get the press off our backs... The [real] material I saw [from the crash site] was from no weather balloon... The pieces of metal were so thin, just like the tinfoil in a pack of cigarettes... but you couldn't bend it. I even tried it with a sledgehammer.
“[Some of it] had symbols that we had to call hieroglyphics because I could not understand them. They could not be read. They were just like symbols, something that meant something, and they were not all the same; but the same general pattern. They were pink and purple. They looked like they were painted on. These little numbers could not be broken, could not be burned. I even took my cigarette lighter and tried to burn the material we found that resembled balsa wood], but it would not burn—wouldn’t even smoke.”
At the crash site near Socorro an even stranger discovery was later made by Grady L. “Barney” Barnett, an engineer for the US Soil Conservation Service and a World War I veteran. Barnett told his good friends Mr. and Mrs. L. W. “Vern” Maltais what he had found there on the morning of July 3, 1947.
“Light reflecting off some sort of large metallic object caught my eye. Thinking that a plane may have crashed during the night, I went over to where it was. By the time I got there, I realized it wasn’t a plane at all, but some sort of metallic, disk-shaped object about 30 feet across. While I was looking at it and trying to decide what it was, some other people came up from the other direction and began looking at it too...
“I noticed that they were standing around looking at some dead bodies that had fallen to the ground. I tried to get close to see what the bodies were like. They were all dead as far as I could see, and there were bodies inside and outside the vehicle...
“They were like humans, but they were not humans. The heads were round, the eyes were small, and they had no hair. The eyes were oddly spaced. They were quite small by our standards, and their heads were larger in proportion to their bodies than ours.
“Their clothing seemed to be one piece and gray in color. You couldn't see any zippers, belts or buttons. They seemed to me to be all males, and there were a number of them. I was close enough to touch them, but I didn't. I was escorted away before I could look at them anymore.
“While we were looking at them, a military officer drove up in a truck with a driver and took control. He told everybody that the Army was taking over and to get out of the way. Other military personnel came up and cordoned off the area. We were told to leave the area and not to talk to anyone whatsoever about what we had seen... that it was our patriotic duty to remain silent.”
And what happened to the debris and bodies? Berlitz and Moore, quoting various military sources, reported that a portion was shipped to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and the remainder to Edwards Air Force Base in California, where—some reports insist—President Dwight D. Eisenhower made a secret visit to view “the evidence” on February 20, 1954.
In early 1978 the Air Force—reacting to increasing public pressure for disclosures about secret UFO information—allegedly moved the wreckage and chemically preserved bodies to a specially constructed and heavily guarded warehouse located at the Central Intelligence Agency compound in Langley, Virginia, where it remains.
Debate over Information
Despite the apparent efforts by US officials to keep potentially explosive information about UFOs a secret, not everyone in government service believes this is the correct approach. In 1979 the National Security Agency (NSA)— whose budget and degrees of security exceed those of the CIA—released a 1968 draft document titled “UFO Hypothesis and Survival Questions.” The NSA report considered some serious “human survival implications” suggested by the increased incidence of UFO sightings, and made several conclusions. Keeping an open mind, the NSA said that if the global number of UFO sightings is imaginary, then a human mental aberration of alarming proportions would appear to be sweeping the world. If the sightings are hallucinations, then man's ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy has been brought into question. If UFOs are secret projects of other countries, then the US early warning systems designed to diagnose and warn of enemy air attack are in doubt.
The agency concluded that if UFOs are extraterrestrial, their source is probably technologically superior to us, and our planet is subject to conquest.
Many people believe that the last two points in the NSA report provide the major reasons for government UFO cover ups. Most experts feel that the government has several powerful reasons for keeping information about UFOs from the general public—besides the old alibi that admitting their existence might lead to mass hysteria.
Revealing the truth, it is said, would not be in the best interest of national security. If we conceded that UFOs may have been sent up by, say, China or the Soviet Union, it would be an embarrassing acknowledgment that those Communist nations were substantially ahead of us in space. Amid the escalating debate over America's ability to defend itself against potential aggressors, it might be foolish to indicate our vulnerability. “Although officially the government is not interested in investigating UFOs, many scientists believe there is a lot going on in the government concerning UFOs that isn’t being talked about,” says John Schuessler of the McDonnell Douglas Corporation. He is also president of Project VISIT (Vehicle Internal Systems Investigative Team), a group of 12 scientists studying incidents in which people report “encounters of the third kind” with occupants of UFOs. “I agree that our national security may prevent the government from releasing information about some UFO incidents.”
Vehicle Internal Systems Investigative Team
VISIT’s impressive team of volunteers, about half of whom are associated with NASA, represents a variety of specialties. A case submitted to VISIT is first screened for validity, individuals involved are interviewed, and their medical records examined. So far the group has looked into 70 “abduction” cases. Not all of them have been “solved” by earthly explanations.
“Skeptic has become a dirty word, but let me say I’m a scientist, and as such I’m interested only in facts,” says Schuessler. Without making any generalizations about the possibility of UFOs’ having picked up human beings for study, he admits: “All I can say is that something is going on. There's a mystery here.”
The case of Betty Cash is typical of the encounters being studied by VISIT. Standing alongside a road northeast of Houston, Texas, on December 29, 1980, Cash got a close-up view of an enormous, diamond-shaped UFO that spewed flames from its underside. She was burned and suffered injuries that still plague her.
VISIT verified that the morning after Cash had seen the UFO, she developed large, knot-like boils on her neck, head, and face. Soon after, she began to lose her hair. Four days later—unable to eat and suffering from vomiting, diarrhea, and swollen eyes (further symptoms of possible radiation poisoning)—she entered a hospital, where she spent nearly a month undergoing tests.
Some of VISIT's cases get even more interesting. Like the three Kentucky women—all of them friends from conservative, stable backgrounds—who claimed they were abducted by a UFO and subjected to painful physical examinations by humanoid creatures.
“These women didn't just start telling their story,” says Schuessler. “They knew something had happened because there were three hours missing in their lives. Only after prolonged hypnosis were they able to recall what happened." The memories were obviously terrifying too. All three women thereafter showed personality changes and suffered severe medical and psychological problems. One died of a stroke; another has had three heart attacks and expects to die soon. The third is in a deeply depressed state in which all her normal functions and systems seem to be shutting down.
“I feel that a number of people genuinely feel they’ve been abducted. A number are not kooks—they are normal, hardworking Americans. If these people are hallucinating, that's one thing. But how do three people hallucinate the same dream at the exact same time?”
Famed astronomer Robert Jastrow has a theory on why there have been so many UFO reports over the course of American history. “Television stations scattered across Earth have been spraying their signals into space at a million-watt level,” explains Jastrow. “That expanding shell of television signals, moving away from Earth at the speed of light, has traveled 240 trillion miles. It has now swept past more than 40 stars in the neighborhood of the sun. Old ITV1 programs, moving away from Earth at the speed of light, have carried the message to these stars that intelligent life exists on this planet. For the first time in 4.6 billion years of Earth's estimated age, our planet is a notable object in the heavens.”
To many experts there is something much more frightening than the thought of other forms of life homing in on our television signals and seeking out our “young” planet. And that is, visitors from outer space have already made some type of contact, which our government won’t admit.
“We have truth-in-lending laws,” says one UFO expert. “Why can’t we have truth-in-UFO-reporting laws?”