Out of

this world

With UFO sightings over Bonnybridge in the news and The X Files turning into a fully-fledged TV cult, American UFO researcher Stanton T. Friedman visits Scotland to prove that flying saucers are real the Government just doesn’t want you to know about it. Eddie Gibb listens in.

as Special Agent Dana Scully abducted by aliens? That’s the question exercising the minds of dedicated watchers of The X Files, who number millions on this planet alone. The possibility of extra-terrestrials tuning in for their weekly fix of this cult sci-f1 show from a couple of galaxies away cannot be ruled out. though given the distances involved. it’s likely they’re only now picking up the first series. If so, the dramatic abduction episode, shown on terrestrial telly (that’s the BBC to you, earthlings) last month. is still to come.

So was Scully plucked from the face of the earth by an alien spaceship? Or was it. as the episode hinted, part of a government-backed kidnap plan executed to prevent her and partner Fox ‘Spooky’ Mulder getting too close to the truth about The X Files, 2; drawerful of weirdo, unsolved cases stashed in a dusty basement at FBI headquarters? For goodness sake, who cares, you might say; it’s just a schlocky sci-f1 series that updates The Twilight Zone formula. And anyway, everyone knows the real reason for Scully’s disappearance is that actress Gillian Anderson has taken time off to have a baby. But The X Files is more than a parade of low- budget special effects it actually says something about mankind’s anxieties as we approach the unknown future of the 2lst century. While The Twilight Zone frequently used sci-ft as a Cold War metaphor, at its best The X Files confronts our uncertainty about whether we are alone in the universe. Remove God from the equation and it starts to look rather implausible that earth is unique as a life- supporting planet.

The X Files’ winning formula mixes the kind of weird science beloved of UFOlogists with the increasingly accepted view that governments don’t always tell us the whole truth. By inviting the viewer to believe that even if a flying saucer crash did kick up the mid- western dust, the US government probably wouldn’t let us hear about it, The X Files taps into our love of conspiracy theories. To dismiss the possibility of UFOs, it suggests, is to buy into a government cover-up. Where’s a sceptic to turn?

‘lt’s important for man’s future to recognise

tune List 20 Oct-2 Nov 1995

Stanton 1'. Friedman: exposing the cosmic Watergate in the real X Files that we’re not alone,’ agrees Stanton T. Friedman, a real-life American rocket scientist- turned-UFO researcher who has devoted nearly 40 years to investigating flying saucer activity. ‘Space is the place, for our grandchildren at least.’ Friedman has coined the term ‘cosmic Watergate’ to describe what he is convinced is orchestrated government suppression of scientifically credible evidence that extra- terrestrial lifeforms are visiting our planet. His forthcoming lecture tour in Britain is unequivocally titled ‘Flying Saucers Are Real!’ and Friedman could talk the hindleg off a little green man on the subject.

‘The evidence is overwhelming,’ he says. ‘Earth is visited by intelligently controlled extra-terrestrial space craft. In other words, some UFOs are alien space craft. Most are not, but I don’t care about them any more than a basketball coach cares about the midgets in the world they’re irrelevant.’

Friedman visits Scotland at a time when UFO

interest is at an all-time high with a cluster of reported sitings (2000 in three years) over Bonnybridge, a town near Falkirk previously famous for very little at all. A gathering of UFOlogists and baffled Bonnybridgers last week was addressed by a woman claiming to be a ‘transceiver’ for the Council of Nine, a bunch of extra-terrestrials who apparently take a special interest in earthly affairs. Friedman was unaware of Bonnybridge’s contribution to flying saucer lore, but no doubt plenty of amateur UFOlogists will be anxious to bring

him up to speed when he arrives in Scotland.

Friedman is used to the crank factor, but believes by concentrating on a few well- documented cases he can deal effectively with both the nuts who see spinning discs behind every cloud and the cynics who refuse to consider the evidence. One of the cases Friedman deals with is the 1947 ‘Roswell incident’, when bodies were reportedly recovered from an unidentified flying object which crashed in New Mexico near the site of the first nuclear tests at Trinity.

Though a big question mark still hangs over the authenticity of a film, shown for the first time earlier this year on Channel 4, which purports to be of the autopsy ofone of the aliens (a strange, rubbery-looking creature), many experts including Freidman are convinced that there was a saucer crash. After Friedman’s persistent requests, US government documents relating to the crash were eventually released but with virtually every word blanked out.

‘1 am convinced that there were two crashed flying saucers recovered by the government with alien bodies,’ he says, ‘and that there was a very successful cover-up until I became involved and started investigating. l have spent a lot of time examining the [autopsy] footage and I can’t find any reason to relate it to Roswell or any other crash site. It doesn’t mean it’s a fraud it’s just in my grey basket. But one thing’s for sure, it’s stirred up a lot of interest, which is why I’m doing this tour.’

Stanton T Friedman's lecture Flying Saucers Are Real is at George Square Lecture Theatre on Monday 23 October at 7.30pm.