Dec 20, 2022 I Nick Redfern

Black Helicopters: They're Not What They Seem To Be - They're Much Weirder

A helicopter is just a helicopter, right? Nope. Some helicopters are really weird. I have in my files more than twenty reports from people who claim to have seen black helicopters flying in complete silence, no less. If that was not weird enough, in most of those same cases the helicopters did something astounding and almost unbelievable. What that might have been? Well, I'll tell you. Those same 'copters morphed into (A) the shapes of classic 1950s-era flying saucers, (B) small balls of light, and (C) large, blinding balls of light. Such reports stretch credulity to the absolute max; even I have to admit that much. But, such reports are surprisingly widespread within the field of Ufology. You just need to know where to look for them. So, what on Earth is going on? I certainly don’t have the answer to that question, but, here is one such case, from my files, which dates from February 1982. It absolutely typifies the angle of the silent, shape-shifting helicopters:

The town of Dulce, New Mexico has become infamous in UFO circles, chiefly because it is said to be the home of a massive underground base. It is alleged to be manned by hostile, dangerous aliens who engage in nightmarish genetic experiments on human abductees. So the sensational and highly unlikely story continues, the U.S. Government knows all too well what goes on under Dulce, but lacks the sufficient power or ability to eject or destroy the alien hordes. That there has been an undeniable mass of so-called cattle-mutilations in the area is an issue which cannot be denied. Certainly, the FBI has declassified a sizeable number of reports of such mutilations from the very same area. There is good evidence to suggest that the Dulce tales were created by disinformation experts in the military. That doesn't take away the fact, though, that high-strangeness and Dulce go together, hand in glove. They certainly do. All of this brings us to that February 1982 story of a man named Bruno. On the day in question, he saw a squadron of black helicopters hovering over Dulce’s Archuleta Mesa – below which, so the story goes, the extraterrestrial installation is carefully hidden. As Bruno watched with amazement, the helicopters - yes, each and every one of them - inexplicably morphed into bright balls of light. It was a jaw-dropping situation which led Bruno to conclude that the E.T.s of Dulce can camouflage their craft to resemble our aircraft; thus ensuring that, for the most part, they are never seen by us for what they really are.

(Nick Redfern) Black helicopters: Silent and unmarked

Another answer, of a very strange sort, has also surfaced. Back in 2007, I interviewed Ray Boeche, a priest and a former Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) State-Director for Nebraska. In 1993, Ray met with a pair of U.S. Department of Defense physicists who, at the time,  were working on a classified program to contact what many of us would call aliens. The program, however, referred to them as something very different: as Non-Human Entities, or as NHEs. As the project continued at a steady pace, and as runs of bad luck, ill health and even death blighted the research, the members of the secret group came to believe that the NHEs were not E.T.s, after all. Rather, they concluded they were dealing with literal demons from an equally literal Hell. In 1994,  one year after Boeche's meeting, those same two DoD physicists stated the following: “Regarding the phantom helicopters, while many are direct NHE ‘productions’ (craft is not an appropriate term as they do not need to travel via a propulsion device) many are related to our program, especially regarding running checks and surveillance on mutilation sites and so-called abduction victims.” Real helicopters or something of a paranormal nature? Who knows? Now, let's have a look at some other, strange helicopters. 

Tales of what have infamously become known as “black helicopters” abound in the field of conspiracy-theorizing. Two of the biggest questions surrounding the phenomenon are: (a) who has the technology and power to fly such craft; and (b) from where do they operate? There are good reasons to believe that the phenomenon had its origins at none other than Area 51. It should be noted that accounts of black-, and even silent-, helicopters abound. That sensitivity was almost certainly driven by the fact that the program had its origins in the heart of Area 51. One of those who had uncovered certain, classified data on this particular Nevada-based program was a conspiracy-theorist named Jim Keith. As we’ll see later, Keith died in 1999 under controversial and mysterious circumstances. But, for now, let’s continue with the story. The issue of the silent helicopters was one which particularly intrigued Keith. After all, helicopters are known for their deep, thump-thump sound. So, to encounter a helicopter that is near-silent – or, perhaps, even completely silent – would be amazing, indeed. In pursuing the tales of the silent ‘copters, Keith found himself repeatedly pointed in the direction of Nevada. By now, you know the specific stretch of Nevada. In February of 1995, the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper ran an article titled “Ex-Worker Describes Stealth Copter.” It was written by a journalist named Susan Greene. Commenting on all of this, Keith said: “According to statements of a former worker at Groom Lake Air Force Base, a black budget stealth helicopter was being tested at this facility as early as 1990. The code name for the helicopter was ‘T.E.K,’ which stood for ‘Test and Evaluation Project K.’”

(Nick Redfern) Very low over my home

Keith continued as follows: “The former worker at Groom Lake reported that the chopper was olive drab, riveted, and angular, with gull wing doors. An account in the Vegas paper quotes experts as saying, ‘Light, quiet and stealthy helicopters could be used for clandestine ‘Rambo-type missions,’ quick-in, quick-out assignments without being noticed.” Of course, the mysterious helicopters were seen long before the 1990s; something which suggests the programs operating out of Groom Lake had been going on for decades. In other words, the secrecy surrounding the project suggests that these strange, futuristic aircraft were taking to the skies years before the secrecy was compromised in the nineties. Unfortunately, Keith did not live to pursue this story to its ultimate point. Death stepped in and put paid to that. 

It should be noted that these strange helicopters are seen in the U.K., too: In mid-January 1974, the British media was tipped off by government insiders that there was deep concern on the part of officialdom that someone – someone unknown and maybe of hostile intent – was flying unmarked helicopters around the skies of the United Kingdom, and in the dead of night, no less. All across the north of England the curious craft were seen, as is evidenced by the following, official statement put out by Cheshire Police when the story reached the media: “We don’t know of any reason why the helicopter should make these trips at night. Obviously we are anxious to find out. Apart from anything else, the helicopter crosses one of the main flight paths to Manchester Airport. There is an obvious danger to the aircraft going into the airport. We are very interested to know what is happening. We hope to be able to trace the pilot and put some suggestions to him. It would appear the pilot is in breach of civil aviation laws. A special license is needed to fly a helicopter at night.” 

Police from Derbyshire, England acknowledged they had received such reports, too: “All sorts of things spring to mind but we have pretty much ruled out that it is anything to do with illegal immigrants, and nothing appears to have been stolen in the areas where the aircraft has been sighted.” As the encounters with the black and unmarked helicopters continued, an elite arm of the British Police Force known as Special Branch - whose work primarily revolves around combating terrorism within the U.K. - got involved in the investigation. This is made clear via a now-declassified Special Branch file on the affair titled Alleged Unauthorized Helicopter Flights in Derbyshire and Cheshire. The Special Branch files record that: “The machine was observed on a number of occasions over a period of two weeks to be apparently practicing landings in the vicinity of the sites of quarries and explosive stores in the Derbyshire countryside. Special Branch Constable [Deleted] has made numerous enquiries to discover the ownership and reasons for the flights from various sources but has yet to establish any positive facts. 

“He has contacted an experienced Royal Air Force helicopter pilot with night flying experience who explained that night flying in the Derbyshire areas would be extremely dangerous due to the nature of the terrain and to the number of overhead pylons in the area.” Two months after the British press first got wind of what was afoot, the sightings were still going on, something that led the British Ministry of Defense, Special Branch, and a whole variety of regional police forces to pool their thoughts and recommendations at Horseferry House, London, on March 21. Rather oddly – some might say suspiciously – when a decision was taken to increase the investigation, possibly using Royal Air Force aircraft to pursue the helicopters, the curious wave came to a sudden end. That the country was also experiencing one of its biggest waves of UFO activity at the very same time that the helicopter sightings were rife surely cannot be a coincidence. One has to wonder if a secret, helicopter-based detachment from the United States was taking careful note of what was happening in the U.K., in terms of the growing UFO presence across the U.K. in that period from late 1973 to early 1974.

(Nick Redfern) The photo was taken on the balcony of my apartment

Now, back to the United States: It was late on the evening September 26, 1974 when the Richley family of Lynchburg, Ohio saw a strange object high in the sky above their home. That it was stationary and appeared to be circular in shape prompted Walter Richley to hit the UFO with the beam of a large searchlight that was affixed to his truck. The UFO responded by doing likewise: the truck was bathed with an eerie, red glow. Not surprisingly, the Richley’s raced for their home and locked the doors. Things were not quite over, however. A little more than twenty-four hours later, Walter’s son, Dan, was reading in bed when he heard the unmistakable sound of rotor-blades – seemingly almost outside the window. He flung open the curtains. Sure enough, a large helicopter was in view. Not only that, it was sitting on the ground, just a short distance from the family home. Dan quickly roused his father, who later told UFO researcher Leonard Stringfield: “I think I put my light beam on something that was a military secret. That ‘copter came here to warn me. I’m not about to press it; I’d rather forget it.”

One of the most famous of all alien abductees is Betty Andreasson, whose encounters with large-eyed, diminutive extraterrestrials have been chronicled in a number of books, most notably The Andreasson Affair. For years, Andreasson and her family have been plagued by unwanted visits from black helicopters. Lawrence Fawcett and Barry Greenwood, who, in the early 1980s, spent a great deal of time addressing the many and varied intricacies of the Andreasson case, said of Betty and her husband, Bob Luca: “They reported that their home was over flown numerous times by black, unmarked helicopters of the Huey UH-1H type and that these helicopters would fly over their homes at altitudes as low as 100 feet. The Luca’s described these helicopters as being black in color, with no identifiable marking on them. They noticed that the windows were tinted black also, so that no one could see inside. During many of the over flights, Bob was able to take close to 200 photos of the helicopters.” Angered and frustrated as to what was going on – and, more importantly, why – Luca fired off a communication to the U.S. Army’s Office of the Adjutant General. Luca demanded answers. All he got was a brief, and hardly satisfying, reply: “It is difficult to determine what particular aircraft is involved or the owning unit.” 

Debbie Jordan, whose alien encounters are detailed in her book, Abducted!, said of her very own run-ins with the black helicopters: “These could be seen almost daily around our houses. They are so obvious about their flights it’s almost comical. On occasions too numerous to even remember, they have hovered around my house, above my house, and above me for several minutes at a time, not trying to hide themselves or the fact that they are watching us. Even when I am outside and obviously watching back, it doesn’t seem to bother them. They just sit there in midair, about sixty to ninety feet above the ground, whirling and watching. They are completely without identification and are always low enough so that I could easily see the pilot, if the windshield were clear glass. But the windshield is smoky black, with a finish that makes it impossible to see who’s inside.” Real helicopters? Something bizarre? Something supernatural? Whatever the answers are, there's no doubt that there's something really weird about the Black Helicopters.

NOTE from Nick Redfern: All the photos were taken above my homes at very low levels.

The small ones didn't have any identifying markings on them.

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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