Feb 15, 2011 I Nick Redfern

Archives of the Weird Kind

That government agencies around the world - including the United States' Air Force and National Security Agency, Britain's Ministry of Defense, and the former Soviet Union's KGB - have clandestinely investigated UFO sightings is a matter of record. And, it's much the same with the mysteries of the human mind: throughout the 1970s, the Defense Intelligence Agency, CIA, and U.S. Army secretly studied the strange realms of ESP and psychic phenomena. Less well known, however, is the large body of files that official organizations have collated on a wide range of additional paranormal topics.

Who would have guessed that Britain's Admiralty had a "Sea-serpent File"? One fascinating report of a sighting of such a beast is held at the National Archives, Kew, England. The documentation describes the astounding encounter with a monster of the sea on May 9, 1830, by the crew of the Rob Roy, a British Royal Navy ship that was homeward-bound after a journey across the Atlantic. As the ship passed the island of St. Helena, something bizarre occurred, as the captain, James Stockdale, recorded in his log:

“About five p.m. all at once while I was walking on the poop my attention was drawn to the water on the port bow by a scuffling noise. Likewise all the watch on deck were drawn to it. Judge my amazement when what should stare us all in the face as if not knowing whether to come over the deck or to go around the stern – but the great big sea snake! Now I have heard of the fellow before – and I have killed snakes twenty-four feet long in the straits of Malaca, but they would go in his mouth!"

Moving on, Britain's intelligence agency, MI5, has released into the public-domain files from the Second World War describing sightings, by military pilots, of what today we would call Crop Circles. The formations were found across war-ravaged Europe, and convinced certain elements of British Intelligence they were ingenious, coded messages made by German agents for Luftwaffe pilots, instructing them on how, when and where to attack Allied forces.

Then, there's a significant batch of U.S. Army files, dating from the 1950s, describing the way in which the military spent significant sums of money trying to determine if dogs possessed extra-sensory perception. The reason: to have the animals use psychic powers to locate landmines on battlefields. The results were mixed, and the project was quietly shelved.

In the same decade, the FBI was secretly keeping a close watch on the Contactees - those people who claimed face-to-face contact with human-looking, long-haired aliens in remote desert locations. Known as the Space-Brothers, the extraterrestrial hippies demanded we lay down our nukes and live in peace. Fat chance of that happening!

Of the many Contactees the FBI spied on, one was George Van Tassel, who, from the 1950s to the 1970s, held yearly UFO conferences at Giant Rock, California, and who went on to construct the famous Integratron - a building designed to enrich the human body, extend lifespans, and rejuvenate cells. Astonishingly, the FBI had Van Tassel in its sights from 1953 to 1965, compiling a file that ran into hundreds of pages. All because he claimed to have met peace-loving entities from other worlds.

Even stranger, the CIA has opened its archives on what has become known within the murky world of Intelligence as the "Ararat Anomaly." Or, to the rest of us: Noah's Ark. That's right: the CIA has a file of biblical proportions. So, the story goes, the remains of the mighty Ark were photographed on Mt. Ararat, Turkey, back in the late 1940s by the crew of a U.S. Air Force spy-plane that was engaged in an espionage mission against the Soviet Union, which prompted the CIA to open a dossier on the affair. The CIA's paperwork, dating from the early-1970s to the late-1990s, doesn't, unfortunately, reveal any smoking-guns. But that the CIA should even have a file on Noah's Ark is notable.

And the list goes on: dowsing, ritual-magic, cattle-mutilations,  and even the controversy surrounding life-after-death have attracted the covert attention of officialdom. This surely begs the question: what else of a paranormal nature have government agencies investigated that we don't know about?

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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