Jun 13, 2022 I Nick Redfern

Manipulation of the UFO Phenomenon: Are We Being Duped?

There's no doubt that there is a real UFO phenomenon, but there is another aspect to the mystery, too: namely, how the subject has been carefully manipulated by those who may want to keep the real secrets hidden. You'll see what I mean. Welcome to a world of  bizarre uncertainties. We'll begin with Bob Lazar and Area 51. One of the most intriguing aspects of the Lazar affair is that, by his own admittance, Lazar had his mind messed with while out a place called S-4, a portion of Area 51. Jacques Vallee noted something that was almost certainly connected to the drugs / hypnosis / mind-control issue. Vallee, speaking on KLAS-TV’s show, UFOs: The Best Evidence, said he asked Lazar “if he felt that his memory might have been tampered with.” There was a good reason for that question to have been asked. Lazar has admitted that on a couple of occasions, all he could remember was being flown out to S-4…and flying back. And that’s all. His mind had been wiped clean of around two days’ worth of memories. And he never, ever got those missing days back. In light of that, we have to seriously wonder if Lazar genuinely recalled his experiences as he remembered them, but that what he remembered wasn’t real. It may well have been part of an ingenious plan to have Lazar become the ultimate patsy in a plot to convince someone that the U.S. Government has UFOs and alien technology in its secret facilities. In that sense, the entirety of Lazar’s story needs to be addressed very carefully. Not because he is a liar. He isn't. But, because his memories cannot be fully understood. Of course, though, that’s not down to Lazar. It’s all down to whoever it was who messed with his mind.

How about agencies fabricating tales of crashed UFOs? For decades, tales have circulated suggesting that in 1952 a flying saucer crashed on the island of Spitsbergen, Norway. And, that the unearthly craft was supposedly recovered, along with its deceased, alien crew. It transpires that a reference to this case can be found in a UFO-themed document that has surfaced under the terms of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act from the National Security Agency, Edward Snowden’s old employers. It’s a reference that adds yet further weight to the idea that government operatives have carefully and clandestinely used the UFO subject for manipulative, mind-warping purposes. 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 our potential enemies 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 those enemies themselves, trying to achieve something almost identical, but aimed squarely at the heart of the White House and the Pentagon. Now, we come to an even more weird saga.

(Nick Redfern) UFOs and aliens: what's real and what isn't?

Back in 1998, the late Karl Pflock - ufologist and CIA employee - was approached by a still-anonymous source who had something very interesting to say about the alleged Aztec, New Mexico UFO crash of March 1948. It was a decidedly weird series of revelations that Pflock surely never anticipated receiving. To his dying day, Pflock refused to reveal the name of his informant in the shadows – rumors, however, were that the person may have been a nephew of Silas Newton, a key figure in the story – but, Pflock did say that all of the lunchtime meetings with his source occurred between July 11 and September 24, 1998 and took place in a restaurant in Bernalillo, New Mexico. So the story goes, Pflock’s informant had in their hands twenty-seven pages taken, or rather torn, from an old and faded, lined journal. No prizes for guessing who that journal had belonged to. That’s right, sly, old Silas Newton. Pflock was told that Newton had kept journals and diaries not just for years, but for decades. They were jammed with entertaining tales of sexual conquests, of Hollywood starlets, of the fleecing of the rich and the gullible, and of wild adventures across the United States. The outcome of all this? Newton decided, around the turn of the 1970s, that it was right about time for him to write-up his version of the Aztec controversy. It would surely have been a definitive page-turner. Death, however, inconveniently intervened in 1972, when Newton passed away in his mid-eighties. What happened to all of those journals is anyone’s guess. 

(Nick Redfern) The late Karl Pflock, a key figure in the controversy surrounding the "Aztec UFO Crash"

As for those few pages that Pflock was allowed to see – and to transcribe word for word – they tell a tale of undeniable weirdness. By his own admittance, and a couple of years after the Aztec story surfaced in Frank Scully’s book, Behind the Flying Saucers, Newton was clandestinely visited by two representatives of “a highly secret U.S. Government entity,” as Pflock carefully and tactfully described it. Those same representatives of the government told Newton, in no uncertain terms, that they knew his Aztec story was a complete and bald-faced lie. Utter bullshit, in fact. Incredibly, though, they wanted Newton to keep telling the tale to just about anyone and everyone who would listen. This caused Pflock to ponder on an amazing possibility: “Did the U.S. Government or someone associated with it use Newton to discredit the idea of crashed flying saucers so a real captured saucer or saucers could be more easily kept under wraps?”    

Far more intriguing, though, and highly relevant to the theme of this article, is the next question that Pflock posed: “Was this actually nothing to do with real saucers but instead some sort of psychological warfare operation [italics mine]?” With the Newton revelations in hand, Pflock, no later than 1999, came to believe that back in the early fifties someone in the government, the intelligence community, or the military of the United States – and maybe even a swirling combination of all three – wanted the Aztec story further circulated. The purpose: as a means to try and convince the Russians that the U.S. military had acquired, or captured, alien technology. When, in reality, it had no such thing in its possession at all. 

How about dead aliens that weren't dead aliens, at all? Yes, I know it sounds weird, but stay with me. A well-known collector of crashed UFO tales, the late Leonard Stringfield, was the recipient of numerous such claims. One such tale told to Stringfield came from the unsurprisingly anonymous ‘Mr. T.E.’, who, said Stringfield in 1980, “holds a technical position in today’s life.” T.E. told Stringfield that in 1953, at the age of just twenty, and while stationed at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, he was summoned to watch a startling piece of film-footage at the base theater. Reported Stringfield: “Without any briefing, the 16mm movie projector was flicked on and the film began to roll on the screen…the film showed a desert scene dominated by a silver disc-shaped object embedded in the sand…” Stringfield continued that: “Then…there was a change of scenes. Now in view were two tables, probably taken inside a tent, on which, to his surprise, were dead bodies. T.E. said the bodies appeared little by human standards and most notable were the heads, all looking alike, and all being large compared to their body sizes…They looked Mongoloid.” Interestingly, T.E. and his colleagues were told immediately after the screening to ‘think about the movie’; but were later advised that: “It was a hoax [italics mine].” And, eerily paralleling the Ray Santilli / "Alien Autopsy" film, T.E. told Stringfield that: “The 5-minute long movie certainly was not a Walt Disney production. It was probably shot by an inexperienced cameraman because it was full of scratches, and had poor colouring and texture.”

We started with Bob Lazar, so let's end with him, too. One of the lesser known aspects of the Bob Lazar controversy is that which suggests he just might have seen an alien entity at Area 51 – a live one, no less. The story gets very little publicity, but it’s fascinating in the extreme. The issue of aliens – alive, dead or both at Area 51 - first surfaced from Lazar in early 1989. When asked about that specific matter by George Knapp, Lazar quickly shot down the question in an awkward fashion and changed the subject. Later, though, in what was a private, rather than public, interview, Lazar opened up a bit more. What he had to say was brief but amazing – if true, of course. According to Lazar, “I walked down the hallway at one time I was working down there, and there were these doors – the doors that go to the hangar are smaller than the doors in the corridors and have a 9-inch or 12-inch square window with little wires running through it, just about head level. And as I was walking by, I just glanced in and I noticed – at a quick glance – there were two guys in white lab coats, facing me towards the door.”

Lazar then got to the heart of the matter: the two men were looking down at a small, humanoid figure with long arms, seemingly talking to it. Although Lazar only saw the entity for a second or so, he was in no doubt about what it appeared to be. I say “appeared” because Lazar himself wondered if this was some kind of set-up. He said of this possibility: “Maybe they stuck a doll in front of these guys and made me walk by it and look at it, just to see what my reaction would be.” Such a thing is not at all impossible, as the following brief, but notable, comment from Lazar makes clear: “They play so many mind games there [italics mine].” While enthusiastic UFO researchers may dearly want to believe that living aliens are at Area 51, Lazar’s carefully worded statement suggests we should exercise restraint on this issue – at least until, or if, further vindication comes along. It’s important too to note that there is an intriguing precedent to this – a very similar tale of fabricated aliens, as we will imminently see. George Knapp made a thought-provoking statement in 1993 that may have a bearing on the issue of how the government might be using the UFO issue as a cover for something else, such as a dummy for an alien, we might suggest.

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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