Nick Popes Weird World
- August '99
  Posted by Georgina Bruni
Editor in Chief Hot Gossip UK
Check out Bruni's Column

We made it to August, so Nostradamus was wrong, and I'll get to see the total eclipse, after all. Hurrah! Now all we've got to worry about is the Y2K Bug, doomsday cults and another Spice Girls Xmas single. It'll be touch and go, but we may yet make it to the next Millennium.

Total Eclipse

On Wednesday 11 August, I'll be travelling down to south Devon for the most awesome show on Earth - a total eclipse of the sun. Most of the TV networks will be running „eclipse specialsš, and I've already pre-recorded an interview for Channel 5 about the likelihood of UFOs being seen during the eclipse. This has come up because of what happened in Mexico during the total eclipse on 11 July 1991, when numerous people saw UFOs, and a number of sightings were captured on film. I think ufologists need to be careful here. Many of those people travelling down to see totality will be predisposed towards the ETH, and people often see what they expect to see, or want to see. Furthermore, many people are planning to see the eclipse from aircraft, helicopters and hot air balloons. So when darkness falls, the sky will be filled with all sorts of light sources that were invisible a few moments before. Imagine somebody on the ground, with a camcorder, who suddenly catches sight of a bright light. People get quite emotional during eclipses, so we may get all sorts of UFO sighting reports and shaky videos. Sorry to be a party pooper, but I think ufologists should retain a healthy scepticism about any UFOs seen during this or any other eclipse. Anyway, watch the usual Internet sites for details of any sightings, and I'll write a full, eye-witness report in my next column.

Finally, on this subject, an important warning. Never, ever look directly at the sun, unless you're using an approved eclipse viewer that complies to approved safety standards. Do not look through a piece of film. Do not look through sunglasses. Do not look through a bit of glass you've held in front of some smoke for a few moments. If you do any of these things, you run the risk of serious eye damage, including permanent blindness. The eclipse will be a truly awesome spectacle, but if you don't follow the safety advice that will be published in the media, it may be the last thing you ever see. Please pass this warning onto everyone you know who's planning to watch, and ensure that children are properly supervised.

New JFK Documents

One of the most interesting things to emerge from the recent G8 summit of the world's leading powers was that the Russian delegation handed the American delegation copies of KGB documents on the JFK assassination. Lee Harvey Oswald had lived in the USSR for a time, and after Kennedy's murder, the Soviets were petrified that the US would think they had something to do with the killing. So the KGB launched its own investigation. JFK researchers have known about these documents for some time, and some have been given access to the papers, but this latest development is bound to rekindle interest, not least on the part of my Editor in Chief!

UFO Magazine Website

Check out the new UFO Magazine website at for a wide range of interesting articles, features and photographs. There's advance news about conferences, and details of how to order a huge variety of UFO-related books, videos, audio tapes and documents. This is an important new site, and the plan is that it will be constantly updated, to bring you breaking news stories.

The Uninvited

I hope you saw The Uninvited on Sky One on Wednesday 7 July at 10pm. This was the most comprehensive programme on alien abductions ever made, and was part of a series of UFO-related programmes made by Transmedia Productions. Watch out for that 10pm slot on Wednesdays, on Sky One, as they seem to be showing all the programmes in the series. If you missed it, you can probably order the video from UFO Magazine, via the website listed above.

Alien Big Cats

My brother still hasn't sent me his report of his sighting of a large cat in South Devon, so cryptozoologists will have to wait until my next column, when I hope to be able to feature his account in its entirety.


Conspiracy theorists who believe that the Strategic Defence Initiative (nicknamed the „Star Warsš programme) was designed to deal with an alien threat may be interested to learn that the first successful test of the Theater High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) Missile took place in America on 10 June. Ostensibly a ballistic missile defence system, this involves a missile intercepting and destroying another missile. The test took place at the White Sands missile range in New Mexico.


Star Trek fans will be familiar with the concept of warp speed, in which the various incarnations of the USS Enterprise have traversed the galaxy at speeds way in excess of light speed. Now comes yet more serious scientific research which suggests that such concepts aren't so way out, after all. The 12 June edition of New Scientist carried an article highlighting recent research carried out by Chris Van Den Broeck at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. At this stage these are just ideas, but the important thing is that they are being debated by scientists. Check out the New Scientist website at for details of how to access this and other fascinating information.

Uh-Oh, Here Comes Trouble

OK, so Nostradamus goofed, and his „great king of terrorš didn't come from the sky last month, after all (Actually, that was a mistranslation, but it was a good story while it lasted, so what the hell!). But maybe he just got the date wrong by a month or so. What makes me say this? Well, the Cassini spaceprobe is on its way to Saturn, but on 18 August it flies very close to the Earth as part of the strategy to gain extra speed by use of the so-called slingshot effect. The spacecraft weighs over six tons, and carries a plutonium power source which aroused the wrath of environmental protesters when it was launched in 1997. Watch the skies, and hope NASA got their sums right.

Early Chupacabras Incident?

Here's an item of interest for those people who've followed the mystery of the so-called Chupacabras - a strange creature most frequently seen in Puerto Rico, and associated with various attacks on animals. The other day I was re-reading Frank Drake's excellent book, Is Anyone Out There? It's an interesting account of the history of radio astronomy, and SETI. Suddenly, in chapter 4, I came across a little anecdote I must have missed previously. Drake describes his period as director of the observatory at Arecibo on Puerto Rico (home to the largest radio telescope in the world) and mentions an occasion where a local employee saw a strange man in a black cloak loitering around the installation. The man said he thought he was a vampire, and two days later, a cow was found dead on a nearby farm, with all the blood drained from its body. There was a local panic, and to placate his employees, Drake laced the food with garlic, and put the word out that this was part of a strategy to deal with the situation. There were no further incidents. The date isn't entirely clear from the book, but seems to be 1966 or 1967.

And Finally

Is it true what people are saying? I've heard a rumour, and maybe it is just that. But, well ∑ is there really a new Star Wars movie out? They kept that quiet, didn't they?!


On 15 June the issue of the threat to the Earth from comets and asteroids was debated in the House of Lords. This followed a debate in the Commons on 3 March. The Government is considering what action to take. Further details are at

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.

The Uninvited and Open Skies,
                         Closed Minds Ed's Note: Nick Pope's books, The Uninvited and Open Skies, Closed Minds, are available from all good bookshops, in paperback. His publishers in Britain are Simon & Schuster. The Uninvited is available in the US, published by The Overlook Press, who plan to publish Open Skies, Closed Minds later this year.


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