Over the next several weeks, I’ll be conducting interviews with leading UFO researchers from countries around the world in an effort to paint a picture of global UFOlogy today.
Piotr Cielebiaś was born in 1986 in Czestochowa, Poland. he holds an MA in history and a BA in political sciences. He is a well known Polish writer and journalist specializing in fringe science and paranormal phenomena. He is co-founder of the infra.org.pl website, which collects UFO reports. He is a ufological publisher and contributor to English-language UFO magazines and websites. He writes regularly for Onet.pl--the most popular Polish web portal--and for "Nieznany Świat,"the oldest Polish monthly publication devoted to fringe science and paranormal phenomena. He is the author of "The True UFOs," a book in Polish summarizing the UFO phenomenon as a whole, and UFOs Over Poland (2016, Flying Disk Press).
RG: Who have been the defining figures in Polish UFOlogy over the past 70 years (for better or for worse), and why?
PC: UFO studies in Poland emerged in the 1950s, but the most influential researchers began their work in 1970-80s in a time of heightened UFO activity. Krzysztof Piechota and Bronisław Rzepecki are worthy of mention. The former was one of the most prolific UFO writers in Poland; the latter partnered him and co-authored one of best Polish books in the field: “UFOs over Poland” (1996). Originally, Piechota and Rzepecki leaned toward the ET hypothesis, as did Kazimierz Bzowski, another well-known ufologist from Warsaw who assumed that UFOs are “energetical” and informational in nature and that they use “channels” or portals which could be detected by means of radiesthesia (in other words, aliens would be sending their crafts as galactic e-mails). The late Zbigniew Blania-Bolnar, another prominent ufologist, criticised Bzowski’s views and applied more scientific methods.
Among present day researchers I would include Arek Miazga, Damian Trela and Robert Leśniakiewicz. They differ considerably in their opinions about UFOs but they remains the most experienced and prolific ufologists.
RG: What do you consider to be the most compelling Polish UFO incident on record, and why?
PC: It’s hard to choose one particular case. Many UFO enthusiasts in Poland would surely say that the most compelling close encounter is the famous Emilcin case of 1978 when a farmer from Eastern Poland met olive-skinned aliens who took him onboard their strange craft. Others think that the most compelling cases are those witnessed by military pilots. Bronisław Rzepecki wrote a book about such encounters in Poland that were quite frequent, and former pilots often speak about their experiences publicly. The openness ended after Poland joined NATO in 1999. Another case that is worthy of special attention is a close encounter from Bedzienica-Nockowa (described by Arek Miazga) when a family from a small village in South-Eastern Poland observed a strange “screen” with huge, greenish aliens peering from inside. Also quite unique is the 1979 case from the Tropy Sztumskie area when an ambulance was stopped by spherical UFO blocking the road.
RG: What is the Polish government’s official stance on UFOs? When was the last time it issued a statement on the subject?
PC: To be honest, I have no idea what Polish special services or military agencies know about UFOs. Politicians have never touched the problem, though I’m sure they’re interested. It’s hard to believe that they don’t bother about cases involving unauthorised intrusions in Polish aerospace. The government remains silent about UFOs and that’s a continuation of Eastern, post-Soviet mentality assuming that society shouldn’t be interested what’s going on behind the official curtain. I think that something really unusual must happen for the Polish government to issue a statement about UFOs. But years of research has shown that even the most concerning cases were swept under the carpet. For example, in 2013 flying saucers appeared several times in vicinity of civilian and military airport in Cracow. In 2013-2015 many sightings of flying triangles/boomerangs took place in Poland and there was a suggestion that they were connected with US Army or USAF activity. No one from the government or from the mainstream media seemed interested.
RG: Does the Polish Ministry of National Defence have an official UFO investigations unit?
PC: No, but reports about encounters with UFOs circulated amongst Air Force officials. Under the socialist regime, any information about unexplained activity in airspace above Poland was shared with Moscow. One man called Ryszard Grundman—who was once a chief of staff in Air Force—gathered reports about unexplained events on his own. It wasn’t an official unit but rather a “private X files.” He collected reports from pilots and military counterintelligence. For example, in the 80s, two counterintelligence agents received reports from concerned locals of Kobyłka (Warsaw region) of strange lights coming out of the forest. Two agents entered the trees encountering a huge flying saucer over a clearing that soon shot up and disappeared.
RG: Has the Polish government shown more or less transparency on the UFO subject than the US government?
PC: The Polish political system and culture is closely related with political parties and their members are mostly interested with holding power and sponging from the state budget. They don’t bother with such things as UFOs, or even the future of the country. Crucial for them is to look after their own private interests. Sad but true.
RG: Does Poland have a national UFO investigations organisation today, and how many smaller Polish UFO groups are you aware of?
PC: We have currently a few organizations, but I don’t think they are comparable to professional groups from the past (or to those from abroad, like MUFON, for example). Most Polish ufologists work independently and they get on. Also, our magazine “Nieznany Swiat,” has been gathering reports about anomalous phenomena (involving UFOs) for nearly 30 years.
RG: What are the most active regions of Poland for UFO sighting reports (hotspots)?
We tend to call them “anomalous zones.” They can be both local and regional. For example, regions of two big cities in southern Poland—Wrocław and Rzeszów—abound with reports about UFOs, while there are also areas with virtually no sightings. The Rzeszów area is especially interesting because lot of high strangeness events have occurred there which were researched by Arek Miazga—author of very interesting book, “UFOs over Subcarpathia.” Inside the Rzeszow anomalous zone there is a smaller zone in Glinik village where very unusual sightings have taken place (people reported small, atypical UFOs and strange flying beings). I’m also living in some kind of “UFO hotspot” because Częstochowa and the Jura region are known from various incidents, including high strangeness events. A long history of encounters with balls of light and other strange phenomena is connected with Osson’s Hill (Częstochowa). For many years also Warsaw was a prominent UFO hot spot with very interesting cases involving the landing of a saucer in Czerniaków district (1982) witnessed by police officer.
RG: Have you personally had any UFO sightings?
PC: Of course, and so therefore I’m sure that the phenomenon exists. I was 6 years old. I woke up (probably to get something to drink) and soon noticed a funny flying saucer amongst the clouds. It wasn’t big and was probably quite close. I still remember its colourful lights and distinct shape. It just hovered in mid-air and then flew away. I saw it very clearly but at that time I wasn’t a UFO expert and I just took it for a funny aircraft. As an adult I also saw several interesting things as well as some phenomena that can be easily mistaken for UFOs. But the earliest sighting was the trigger for my interest in paranormal.
RG: How long have you been involved in the UFO subject; roughly how many cases have you personally investigated; and what conclusions, if any, have you drawn about the underlying nature of UFO phenomena?
PC: I entered the UFO field in 2005, but it must be said that I’m more a journalist than ufologist, focussing on other “fringe phenomena” too. Since then I’ve interviewed many UFO witnesses. Some were interesting but the best part of it involved just lights/things in the sky. For me, the most interesting aspect of the phenomenon is the high strangeness. I think that cold analysis of those bizarre, grotesque and sometimes funny cases could tell us much more about the nature of real, paranormal UFOs than any military-funded projects. The biggest mystery of the phenomenon is the connection between those objects and human consciousness. But in my opinion there’s no simple answer to the question about nature of the phenomenon which is also probably evolving with us. UFO is just like a huge river consisting of various tributaries.
RG: How can Polish UFOlogy better itself?
PC: Very hard to say. UFOs are elusive and, in fact, all we can do is to describe and analyse their appearances the best we can. Polish ufology would be better if refrained from disinformation and bullshit, but the fact is that for decades we’ve dealt with the same theories and approaches. Ufology is in stagnation and it’s hard to say anything about the future.