In "Mirage Men", the British author makes the case that the U.S. government promotes belief in UFOs
Here is a great new book by Mark Pilkington.
It is a fascinating, thought-provoking new look at UFO belief, conspiracies, paranoia and disinformation:
Mirage Men, An adventure into Disinformation, Paranoia and UFOs
More detailed description:
BBC recently had a news story on this:
Here is the author's recent interview (October 2, 2010) with BOSTON GLOBE's Steve Greenlee:
Q. Your book supports my long-held theory that people reporting UFOs are usually seeing military aircraft being tested.
A. Absolutely, [except] in the very small number of cases that are misperceptions of stars and conventional aircraft and that sort of thing.
Q. But the thrust of your book is that the US government, rather than covering up UFO crashes, has actually been promoting UFO conspiracies — for 60 years. Why?
A. The reasons changed at different times. The number-one [reason] is covering up flights of experimental or otherwise secret aircraft, and this goes back at least as far as the U-2 [spy plane]. It’s now quite well known that Project Blue Book, the first public face of UFO investigations — they were actually tracing the visibility of the U-2 as it flew over America. This was so they’d know how visible it would be as it flew over the Soviet Union.
Q. But then there’s all this evidence in your book that the federal government actually staged a UFO invasion in Washington, D.C., in 1952. Why would they do that?
A. I don’t know. I can speculate. It could have just been a demonstration to show people what this [supposedly alien] technology was capable of. I can’t say exactly why they might have done it. But it was a really critical point of ratcheting up tensions in the Cold War. It could have been a test to see how pilots and radar operators would respond to an invasion.
Q. You yourself saw two very different UFOs in flight.
A. I open and close the book with my own sightings. The second one is easy. There was no question that was some sort of military aircraft. The first one is a genuine puzzle. I still don’t know what it was.
Q. What was the craziest thing that happened during the reporting of this book?
A. Spending a week at the Laughlin [Nev.] UFO Conference was really interesting. It was very intense. You start losing your moorings after several days embedded among belief in UFOs and extraterrestrial visitors.
Q. In a way, the book chronicles your own journey. You start out as a skeptic who can’t believe that there are people out there who believe aliens have visited Earth. Then you gather all this evidence that supports that opinion. Yet by the end I sense that you aren’t so sure anymore.
A. When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I was probably closer to being a believer. I was a skeptic, but I was more inclined that there was something going on. I would say now I maintain a true skeptical line and try to walk it as carefully as possible. Nobody can say that we’ve never been visited by extraterrestrials. You can’t prove a negative.
Q. OK, so, do you believe aliens have visited Earth?
A. “I don’t know’’ is the honest answer. What I will say is that there are still some very, very strange stories out there.
Interview was edited and condensed.
-from Norio Hayakawa