Nick Popes Weird World
July 2000
  Posted by Georgina Bruni
Editor in Chief Hot Gossip UK
Check out Bruni's Column

It's hot, it's sunny, but I'm inside writing this July column, slaving over a hot PC to bring you the very latest breaking news from the weird and wonderful world of UFOs, alien abductions and the paranormal. I just hope you appreciate it! Italian Air Force Attend San Marino UFO Conference Last month I attended a fascinating UFO conference in San Marino, organised by Dr Roberto Pinotti. There was an absolutely massive line-up of speakers appearing over the two days of the event, including American researchers Linda Moulton Howe and Derrel Sims, Italian experts like Roberto Doz and Paola Harris, and other ufologists from a wide range of countries including France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, Norway, Romania and Brazil. There was even a rare public appearance by Desmond Leslie, who wrote Flying Saucers Have Landed with contactee George Adamski. The most significant event from a ufological point of view was the attendance of a delegation from the Italian Air Force, on Saturday 3 June. They arrived in uniform, and Colonel Aldo Olivero gave a presentation in which he gave details and analysis of some of the UFO sightings reported to the Italian military. It' s highly unusual for there to be any official government/military participation in a UFO conference, and it's to be hoped that more initiatives of this kind are forthcoming in other countries. Italian speakers should check out for details of Dr Pinotti's group and its activities.

New Age Controversy

Almost as soon as I finish writing this column I'm leaving for Turkey, where I'll be attending the International UFO and New Age Symposium in Istanbul, being held on 23 - 25 June. There's been controversy about this, starting when someone expressed surprise that Stanton Friedman would associate himself with a New Age conference. This all seems rather bizarre: some of the most successful conferences are those where there's a wide cross-section of views. Budd Hopkins and John Mack have some very different ideas about the alien abduction phenomenon, but both agree it's real. So who's to say who's interpretation is correct, and who's to say that New Agers aren't right about some of what's going on? I'll write up a report of this conference in next month's column.

UFO Magazine

The July/August edition of UFO Magazine is out now. I've written a full report on the Intruders Foundation conference held in New York on 6 May and have included some wider comments about the state of abduction research in the UK. It's bound to be controversial. Meanwhile, check out their website at for details of how to order the remarkable new video UFOs: Hard Evidence V. Among a fascinating wealth of amazing UFO films there are interviews with witnesses and experts, and an exclusive report on the Phenomena exhibition. One of those featured is Chris Martin, whose book Intruders in the Night is also being marketed through UFO Magazine. I worked with Chris and his ex-partner and have to say it's one of the most extraordinary series of UFO sighting and alien contact cases I've investigated. I wrote the foreword, and would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the abduction phenomenon. Chris will be speaking at UFO Magazine's conference in Leeds on 15, 16 and 17 September. Check the magazine for details of what promises to be a fascinating conference.

More Mars Images

Those interested in Mars can now access an extraordinary database of over 20,000 images of the Red Planet. So for a window on another world, go to and browse away. Project Hessdalen A little closer to home but no less interesting are the many UFO sightings that have for many years being taking place around Hessdalen in Norway. The sheer volume of sightings makes this one of the most important UFO hotspots (or so-called window areas) in the world, yet the fact that ufology can sometimes be too US or UK-centric means that this doesn't get the publicity it should. This is particularly true given the scientific methodology used to log and analyse the sightings. For those not familiar with this remarkable story, check out for details. Incidentally, there's much, much more to Norwegian ufology than just Project Hessdalen, (e.g. some fascinating abduction cases, such as that of Kate Thorvaldsen). See for details.

Moon Madness

Conspiracy theorists of various kinds will doubtless have read much into the report that appeared in The Observer on 14 May, claiming that in 1958, at the height of the Cold War, the United States Air Force developed a top secret plan - codenamed Project A119 - to detonate a nuclear device on the moon. The claims have been made by Dr Leonard Reiffel, who says that the aim of the project was to demonstrate US military superiority at a time when they were lagging behind in the space race. An ICBM was to be fired at the dark side of the moon, just beyond the visible edge, ensuring that the mushroom cloud would be visible from Earth. When contacted about these claims a Pentagon spokesman would neither confirm nor deny them.

Danger In The Skies

The Observer on 4 June carried details of how researcher Colin Ridyard lobbied the Ministry of Defence and the Civil Aviation Authority, and managed to obtain comprehensive details of recent UFO sightings where objects had either been tracked on radar, or had near-misses with aircraft. Colin kindly sent me copies of his letters to and from the MOD and the CAA, together with his analysis of the way in which the data has been handled by these respective organisations. UFO Magazine will be running a detailed feature on this data, but to give you a taster, the incidents include a report from 15 February 1999, when an air traffic controller in Scotland reported an unidentified object which was tracked on radar, moving at speeds estimated as being around 3000 miles per hour. Sceptics might be wondering whether this could have been an experimental prototype aircraft. There's only one problem with that: the object was estimated to be ten miles wide and two miles long! Oh, by the way, the Ministry of Defence's official position on this incident is that it was of no defence significance.

The Uninvited and Open Skies, Closed Minds Ed's Note:

Nick Pope's three books, Open Skies, Closed Minds, The Uninvited and Operation Thunder Child are available from all good bookshops. His UK publishers are Simon & Schuster. In America, The Overlook Press publish his books in hardback while Dell Publishing produce paperback editions.


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