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The Crashed UFOs That Probably Weren’t at All

Just about everyone has heard of the Roswell, New Mexico “crashed UFO” affair of early July 1947. However, what about the fabricated crashed UFO stories designed  – in the early years of the Cold War – to try and make the Russians believe the West had its hands on extraterrestrial technology? Maybe, even highly advanced alien weaponry. There’s no doubt at all that many of the 1950s-1960s-era stories of crashed UFOs were nothing but creations of skillful figures in the Pentagon and the CIA. Today, I’ll share with you two such examples. One of the most controversial UFO events occurred (or didn’t) in Hart Canyon, Aztec, New Mexico in March 1948. In many respects, the case can be seen as Roswell’s “little brother.” An alien spacecraft was said to have crashed in the canyon, killing the diminutive creatures inside, who were whisked away by the military. See what I mean about the Roswell parallels? Writer Frank Scully was so enamored by the story he wrote his very own, full-length book on the subject in 1950 titled Behind the Flying Saucers. It became a smash-hit. Working along with Scully was a man named Silas Newton. He was a conman, millionaire, oil entrepreneur, and someone who had crossed paths with both the cops and the FBI on a few occasions, mainly because of his intricate plots to swindle just about anyone he could. Newton knew the UFO subject was taking off, so he thought of ways to earn money from it – which is why he got chummy with Scully.

By his own admittance, and a couple of years after the Aztec story surfaced in Frank Scully’s book, Newton was clandestinely visited by two representatives of “a highly secret U.S. Government entity,” as it was worded. Those same agents of the military told Newton, in no uncertain terms, they knew his Aztec story was nonsense. Amazingly, however, they wanted Newton to keep telling the tale to just about anyone and everyone who would listen. This caused CIA guy, Karl Pflock, to ponder on an amazing possibility: “Was this actually nothing to do with real saucers but instead some sort of psychological warfare operation [italics mine]?”  There’s no doubt that Pflock was right on target: Newton was used to help spread the word that, yes, UFOs had fallen to Earth and the U.S. military had the technology. But, it was all a big, successful ruse. There were no crashed UFOs and no alien technology – but, the plot worked and had the Russians deeply concerned. Now, let’s take a look at another case – and another hoax.

For years, stories have surfaced to the effect that in 1952 – the same year Silas Newton got that strange visit from the U.S. military – a UFO slammed to the ground on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. Particularly interesting is a National Security Agency document that tells the story of the fatal crash and the recovery of a craft from another planet. The NSA’s copy of this previously-classified document is very slightly different to copies of the same document that have been declassified by the U.S. Air Force, the Department of State, and the U.S. Army. Someone in the NSA – unfortunately, we don’t know who – identified the Spitsbergen story in the document as being a “plant.” As for who secretly seeded the story, and why, well, that’s another matter entirely. Maybe, U.S. intelligent agents planted the story to try and further have the Russians believe that the U.S. government was back-engineering extraterrestrial spacecraft, when it really wasn’t. On the other hand, the “planters” may have been the Soviets themselves, trying to achieve something almost identical, but aimed squarely at the White House, the CIA, and the Pentagon. Jack Brewer, who runs The UFO Trail blog, says of all this amazing chicanery concerning the Spitsbergen saucer saga of 1952: “It should be a forgone conclusion at this point that the UFO topic was exploited by the global intelligence community for a variety of purposes from one operation and era to the next. The consequences might indeed be significant and far-reaching.”

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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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