Now and again, and usually when I’m at a conference, I get asked something along the lines of: “How can we get the media to take the UFO subject seriously?” Granted, for those of us that study the UFO puzzle, it’s an important and relevant question. It is, however, very misleading to suggest that the specifically mainstream media (whether newspapers, television, talk-radio, online news outlets, and magazines) never takes the topic seriously. Indeed, we have definitely seen a drop off – in the last decade or so – in the level of skepticism and jokey attitudes that existed years earlier.
But, even in those early years of UFO reporting by the media, it wasn’t all about denying the phenomenon or offering the reader/viewer carefully couched comments concerning the sanity level of the witness(es). In fact, quite the opposite. Saying the press doesn’t take UFOs seriously is not unlike someone in Ufology saying “95 percent of all UFO cases are explainable, but the other 5 percent are not.”
What they actually mean, when they state that, is that most UFO sightings can be resolved, but a small percentage remain unexplained. The specific “95 percent” comment is simply parroted from others who have used that very same, precise figure before them. And from those who came before them. And so on, etc. It’s much the same with the proclamation that “UFOs aren’t taken seriously by the media.” It’s something parroted but which is most assuredly not fully accurate.
True, on many occasions the media hasn’t taken the subject, or specific cases, seriously. On other occasions, however, it has treated the subject very seriously and without any kind of agenda at all. With that in mind, I figured that today I would bring to your attention one, perfect, example of what I’m talking about. It’s an old (March 1952) report that has a highly-credible witness at its heart, fascinating and detailed information on the UFOs the witness observed, and which attracted the attention of the CIA.
Indeed, one might argue that the CIA’s attention was provoked by the fact that there was not even a smidgen of character assassination in sight, and the press’ coverage strongly suggested something truly amazing had occurred. The story, translated into English by the CIA, was titled: “FLYING SAUCERS OVER BELGIAN CONGO URANIUM MINES.” The Vienna, Austria-based journalist who covered it: Fritz Sitte. And the media source, the long-running newspaper Die Presse.
Sitte began: “Recently, two fiery disks were sighted over the uranium mines located in the southern part of the Belgian Congo in the Elizabethville district, east of the Luapula River which connects the Meru and Bangweolo lakes. The disks glided in elegant curves and changed their position many times, so that from below they sometimes appeared as plates, ovals, and simply lines.”
He continued that: “Suddenly, both disks hovered in one spot and then took off in a unique zigzag flight to the northeast. A penetrating hissing and buzzing sound was audible to the on-lookers below. The whole performance lasted from 10 to 12 minutes.”
It was, however, 10 to 12 minutes of amazing activity, as the article makes abundantly clear: “Commander Pierre of the small Elizabethville airfield immediately set out in pursuit with a fighter plane. On his first approach be came within about 120 meters of one of the disks. According to his estimates, the ‘saucer’ had a diameter of from 12 to 15 meters and was discus-shaped.
“The inner core remained absolutely still, and a knob coming out from the center and several small openings could plainly be seen. The outer rim was completely veiled in fire and must have had an enormous speed of rotation. The color of the metal was similar to that of aluminum.”
As Sitte also noted, the UFOs performed some extraordinary maneuvers: “The disks traveled in a precise and light manner, both vertically and horizontally. Changes in elevation from 800 to 1,000 meters could be accomplished in a few seconds; the disks often shot down to within 20 meters of the tree tops. Pierre did not regard it possible that the disk could be manned.
“Since the irregular speed as well as the heat would make it impossible for a person to stay inside the stable core. Pierre had to give up pursuit after 15 minutes since both disks, with a loud whistling sound which he heard despite the noise of his own plane, disappeared in a straight line toward Lake Tanganyika. He estimated their speed at about 1,500 kilometers per hour.”
Sitte concluded: “Pierre is regarded as a dependable officer and a zealous flyer. He gave a detailed report to his superiors which, strangely enough, in many respects agreed with various results of research.”
What we have here is a well-known, widely read newspaper – Die Presse – covering a significant UFO case in a “just the facts” fashion. It’s a case with a witness who is described as a “dependable officer,” and whose words are not derided or questioned. And the affair is also supported by an astonishing body of data – described by Sitte – that suggests the presence of genuine, high-performance vehicles of unknown origin operating in the skies over the Belgian Congo more than 60 years ago.
So, yes, the media does take the UFO subject seriously. But, just not all of the time. It’s up to us to do something about that. And how might we begin? Well, how about stop promoting ridiculous claims that a mummified child is a dead alien from the Roswell crash? That would sure as hell be a good place to start! In other words, when it comes to how the media treats Ufology, the fault is not always with them. Sometimes, the problem comes from within Ufology itself.