Aug 12, 2022 I Nick Redfern

How Many of Today's "UFOs" Are From Other Worlds? How Many Are From Right Here?

There is no doubt that as our technology advances in quick fashion, it gets harder and harder to determine what might be a real UFO and something that just might be from...elsewhere. So, with that said, today I'll share with you the strange and fantastic crafts in our skies that I believe are terrestrial and not extraterrestrial. Perhaps, you'll agree with me. Maybe, you won't agree in the slightest. But, I think we are all looking for the answers. I'll begin with the near-legendary "Black Triangles."  Beginning in 1989 and continuing through 1990, Belgium was the focus of intense UFO activity. There was not a single flying saucer in sight, however. Rather, people were reporting encounters with what became known as black-colored “Flying Triangles.” Superficially, they resembled the U.S. Stealth bomber and fighter. There were, however, significant differences: the FTs flew silently, could hover, and were able to fly at speeds as slow as 20 miles per hour and in excess of 1,000 miles per hour. While, in some quarters, there was a nagging suspicion that the Flying Triangles were aircraft still on the secret list, most observers dismissed such a theory. After all, why not test-fly them above the deserts of Area 51, where they would not be seen?

(Nick Redfern) Area 51: Where high-tech aircraft are hidden. Alien craft probably aren't.

It wasn’t just the general public, UFO investigators, and the Belgian military that were deeply concerned by all of this. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency was worried, too. As a perfect example, a 1990 DIA report, titled “Belgium and the UFO Issue,” reveals the facts concerning a wealth of Flying Triangle encounters, including the following, which occurred on March 18, 1990. According to the DIA: “Source A cited Mr. Leon Brenig, a 43-year-old professor at the Free University of Brussels in the field of statistics and physics…Mr. Brenig was driving on the Ardennes autoroute in the Beaufays region east of Liege, Sunday, 18 March 1990 at 2030 hours when he observed an airborne object approaching in his direction from the North. It was in the form of a triangle…and had a yellow light surrounding it with a reddish center varying in intensity. Altitude appeared to be 500-1000 meters, moving at a slow speed with no sound. It did not move or behave like an aircraft." My firm view is that we are looking at ongoing next-gerenation Stealth planes and not the work of ETs. Onto another aspect of this controversy.

In the early 1990s, rumors began to circulate among the aviation world that a highly secret, futuristic aircraft was being flown out of Area 51 – and under distinctly covert circumstances - to say the very least. The reportedly large, black-colored, triangular-shaped aircraft which could fly at incredible speeds, could outmaneuver just about anything else on the planet. It was rumored to be known as the Aurora. Officially, at least, and according to the U.S. Government, the Aurora does not exist and has never existed - at all. But, we should remember that was once said about Area 51, too. So, with that in our collective minds, we need to tread cautiously when it comes to official proclamations of the controversial type. And that includes the aviation industry.

The story began – publicly, at least , I should stress – in the early part of March 1990. That was when the well-respected magazine Aviation Week & Space Technology covered the story. They revealed that the term “Aurora” had appeared in the 1985 U.S. budget – and had possibly appeared by mistake, which makes sense if the program was so highly sensitive that its existence had to be denied at all costs. And talking of costs, it was rumored that around $455 million had been provided to those working out at Area 51 on secret, futuristic aircraft. AW&ST suspected that Aurora was a codename for multiple kinds of aircraft that were both radical in design and technology. Other investigators, though, concluded that Aurora referred to just one type of aircraft. AW&ST learned that by 1987 the budget had soared to in excess of two billion dollars. Impressive!

Now, to another aircraft of the secret type; one that went wrong. Some might say this is a case of a "UFO crash." I say "Wrong." In March 1997, the U.K.’s Independent newspaper ran an article titled “Secret US spyplane crash may be kept under wraps.” In part, it stated: “A top-secret United States spyplane which flies on the edge of space at five times the speed of sound crashed at the British experimental airbase at Boscombe Down, Hampshire, in September 1994, according to a report in a leading military aviation journal. The SAS [Special Air Service], the report said, was scrambled to throw a cordon round the wreckage, which was flown back to the US two days later. The hypersonic reconnaissance aircraft, called Astra or Aurora, is believed to have been developed in the 1980s as a secret US government ‘black program.’” The explanation, from British officials, that the mysterious craft was nothing stranger than a Tornado aircraft has been met with rolling eyes and shaking heads. Particularly since the Tornado in question actually came down in August 1994 and not late one night in September of that year. National Archives papers on the affair state the following:

“…the only flying that took place that night was the launch of two Royal Navy Sea King helicopters in support of an exercise. Claims that members of the public were turned away by police roadblocks may have arisen from some confusion over dates. On August 12, 1994 a Tornado participating in a trial made an emergency landing there after the decoy target under trial failed to jettison. The Tornado landed with a trailing 375ft steel cable and, for safety reasons, roads close to Boscombe Down were closed while the aircraft passed overhead. We are aware of press reports regarding an aircraft known as ‘Aurora’. The Ministry of Defense has no knowledge of any U.S. aircraft with this designation operating in UK airspace. The existence of such a program would, in any case, be a matter for the US Government to confirm.”

Now, we get to the matter of the incredible "UFOs" that Bob Lazar said he saw out at Area 51's S-4. For the record, I believe Lazar was at Area 51. But, there was a great deal of disinformation, too. So the story went, the staff at Area 51 had no less than nine alien craft in their possession. Most of them were allegedly in good condition – in fact, some were said to be in excellent condition. One was superficially damaged, but not overly so. It’s hardly surprising that Lazar was threatened – with his life, no less – to never talk about any of this with anyone outside of the program. That included Lazar’s wife, family and friends. On this issue, Lazar was told that to ensure he towed the line, his home phone would be tapped. He had to sign a document that starkly detailed the result of any violations of the agreement – which included lengthy jail sentences and even a visit from the Grim Reaper. Or, from a government agent with a flair for snuffing out lives. He was even told that if he did ever speak out of line, hypnosis and chemicals could be used to wipe out his memories of what he saw out at S-4. For Lazar this was all very ominous, but the stakes were so high – the ability to work on alien spaceships – that it was too great a lure to say "no" to. Lazar eagerly signed away his life in an instant. Maybe all of us would.

(Nick Redfern) Ours or Theirs?

There's something else, too: Lazar didn't just see a bunch of Flying Saucer-style craft at S-4; he was also drugged.  We’re talking about ways and means to blur reality, to have the targeted individual – in this case Lazar – see and experience something that may not actually be part of what passes for reality. UFO writer Timothy Good made a notable statement on this issue. Good stated that Lazar told him, “Security was formidable, and various methods of intimidation (including the possible use of drugs and hypnosis [italics mine]) were used to ensure that those who worked at the base kept their mouths shut.” Renowned ufologist, Dr. Jacques Vallee, noted something that was almost certainly connected to the drugs / hypnosis 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 – maybe the Russians – that the U.S. Government has UFOs and alien technology in its secret arsenals. In that sense, the entirety of Lazar’s story needs to be addressed very carefully. Not because he was a liar. But, because his memories cannot be trusted. A strong case can be made that the hypnosis - tied to mock-ups of high-tech-type craft - would easily empasize what Lazar was seeing. Or, what he wasn't seeing or remebering.

There can be no doubt that the alien angle of the history of Area 51 excites many. Maybe that’s what the U.S. Government is counting on. After all, not even the power of all the military, defense, and intelligence-based agencies in the United States can prevent a few leaks of classified information. So, perhaps to keep eager Ufologists away from stumbling on covert programs concerned with new aircraft designs, next-generation weapons-systems, mind-control techniques and more of a down to earth nature, they swamp those same Ufologists with enticing tales of extraterrestrial conspiracies, the Roswell affair, and interviews with a sickly creature from another world. For the people at Area 51, it may be a case of this: if you can’t plug the genuine leaks, then swamp them with far more tantalizing and enticing tales of E.T. And, tales of strange craft in the skies that are really ours. A good argument could be made that this is exactly what has happened. At times, the targeted people might have been patriotic American citizens who overstepped the mark in their quests to find out if alien life really does hang out at Area 51. On other occasions, and particularly during the Cold War, the targets may have been Soviet spies, seeking the very same answers. Dangling an alien carrot – so to speak – would be Aurorathe perfect way to reel in and arrest eager Russian agents. And if that carrot never really existed – except in the minds of those running the disinformation programs – then all the better. 

It is, perhaps, highly appropriate to end this article with the words of David Duchovny’s character of FBI Special-Agent Fox Mulder in The X-Files. Episode seventeen of the first season is titled “E.B.E.,” (which is said to be an abbreviated term used by staff at Area 51 to describe aliens: “Extraterrestrial Biological Entities”). As the episode comes to an end, Mulder says to one of his well-informed sources on the inside, dubbed Deep Throat, “I’m wondering which lie to believe.” We can all surely relate to that. Is it possible that many of our UFOs really are high-tech aircraft of the U.S. military and that the government is quite happy to go along with the UFO/extraterrestrial angle and camouflage things? I say that is precisely what's going on. You may not be happy with my words, but we need facts and hard data on the "secret aircraft," phenomenon and not on staged UFOs.

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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