One of the things that has fascinated me for many a year is the way in which military, defense, intelligence, and government personnel have – after their retirement from the Machiavellian world of officialdom – elected to write novels on UFOs that may well be based far more upon secret science-fact, rather than presumed science-fiction. A classic example is the case of a now-deceased man named Ralph Noyes. According to the biographical note on the dust jacket of Ralph Noyes’ 1985 UFO novel, A Secret Property…
“Ralph Noyes was born in the tropics and spent most of his childhood in the West Indies. He served in the RAF from 1940 to 1946 and was commissioned as aircrew, engaging in active service in North Africa and the Far East. He entered the civil service in 1949 and served in the Air Ministry and subsequently the unified Ministry of Defense. In 1977 he retired early from the civil service to take up a writing career, leaving in the grade of under Secretary of State. He has since published several pieces of shorter fiction, most of them on speculative themes.”
The book-jacket continues: “For nearly four years, until late 1972, Ralph Noyes headed a division in the central staffs of the Ministry of Defense which brought him in touch with the UFO problem. Since his retirement he has become increasingly interested in this subject, among others which lie on the fringes of present understanding. He sees speculative fiction as the ideal mode for grappling with these unusual areas of experience. But A Secret Property is not only fiction but also ‘faction’–at least to the extent of drawing on Ralph Noyes’s lengthy background in the Royal Air Force and the Ministry of Defense.”
The description of Noyes that his publisher presented is made all the more provocative by virtue of the fact that, in its sci-fi format, A Secret Property specifically dealt with what is perhaps the most well-known UFO incident in the British Isles: the alleged landing, on December 26, 1980, of an alien spacecraft at Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk. The event involved numerous United States Air Force personnel from the nearby Royal Air Force Bentwaters military base–including Colonel Charles Halt, who prepared an official memorandum on the affair–who were witness to a small, triangular-shaped UFO that touched down in the forest, and, according to some witnesses, disgorged a number of small alien beings. The incident was reportedly the subject of a high-level, U.S. Government-orchestrated cover-up and conspiracy.
As with the real story, Noyes’ novel focuses its attention upon classified government experiments, official secrecy, obfuscation, and denial at the highest level, and a very real–but ultimately unexplained–UFO presence in our midst. When A Secret Property was published, rumors churned wildly that Noyes (using insider knowledge) was writing the literal truth about Rendlesham, albeit under the guise of sci-fi. Certainly, Noyes’s career with the Ministry of Defense brought him into direct contact with the complexities of the UFO subject, as he admitted to investigative writers Andy Roberts and David Clarke (the authors of Out of the Shadows):
“In the several capacities which brought me into touch with UFO reports during my 28 years in the MoD, I encountered several reports, particularly those from military establishments, which indicated ‘high strangeness.’ I, and military colleagues, had little doubt something had taken place for which we had no explanation.”
More intriguingly, Noyes advised Roberts and Clarke that: “There is no doubt at all that the MoD played a thoroughly dishonest game over the Rendlesham affair…The case itself is complex. I have given my own views about it–essentially that Halt and several others came face to face with a striking manifestation of the ‘UFO phenomenon’ whatever that may be, in the December of 1980.”
In view of the above, it may be wise to keep in mind the following: the next time a retired or former employee of officialdom elects to write a fictional book about UFOs, it may not be quite so fictional, after all…