Well done, ATS ... sensible alternatives arose, were tested, and became convincing to open, curious minds. Closed minds jumped to the 'true UFO'
pseudo-explanation and got stuck there. Illuminating, all around.
Imagine how much worse it was in the old Soviet days when news of the rocket and missile activity was top secret -- when, in fact, the government
preferred witnesses to be deflected from understanding what they were seeing, and imagine 'flying saucers' instead!
You don't have to imagine -- it was real -- I describe many features of that era, and the festering infection it has left in worldwide UFO studies,
in reports such as these:
The Great Soviet UFO Coverup, By James E. Oberg
(First published in the MUFON UFO Journal, OCTOBER 1982)
Russia has its UFOs, too - but with a difference. It has government coverups, too, and that is a central part of the difference. Cossacks in the
Ukrainian countryside and sophisticated Muscovites on big city streets have stared in awe at UFO formations passing overhead. Russian astronomers at
mountaintop observatories have gazed in wonder at half-mile-wide crescent UFOs which silently glide across the sky. Flying along the Volga River, a
commercial airliner was buzzed and circled by a UFO; the plane's engines stalled and it glided downwards, until the UFO departed and the engines
restarted. Thousands of people in western port cities have run in panic as a "jellyfish UFO" swept over the docks, sending down shafts of light
which broke windows and paving stones. Over the Arctic Ocean, the crew of an llyushin airliner watched a blindingly bright UFO emit beams of light and
drop cone-shaped projectiles.
Giant UFO Over Two Continents, by James Oberg
First published in FATE Magazine, January, 1983
Aerial apparition sparks panic in the streets, fears of nuclear attack and reports of extraterrestrial landings
ONE of the most spectacular and widely witnessed UFO apparitions of recent years occurred on the evening of Saturday, June 14, 1980. In its first
phase it was widely seen in central Russia; Soviet ufologist Feliks Zigel was subsequently able to prepare a report based on detailed interviews with
40 eyewitnesses. In its second phase the UFO appeared one hour later over South America (at about 7:00 P.M. Argentine time) where it was seen in five
countries and photographed in the western sky near the moon; this event was widely reported in the United States and was featured in a two-page
International UFO Reporter analysis a few months later, A third unconfirmed phase occurred near Morocco.
Soviet Saucers, By James Oberg
(First published in OMNI Magazine, April 1994.)
Day after day, the waves of UFOs returned to southern Russia. Cossacks on horseback saw them high in the evening sky. Pilots aboard commercial
airliners and military interceptors chased and dodged them. Astronomers at observatories in the Caucasus Mountains noted their crescent shape and
their fiery companions.
It was the fall of 1967, and the Soviet Union was in the grip of its first major UFO flap. The extraordinary tales, described on Soviet television,
reported in Soviet newspapers, and analyzed in a private nationwide UFO study group soon took on a life of their own.
Lecture program: "Soviet Saucers and Space Secrets"
In the opening years of the Space Age (the 1960s), the Soviet public was gripped by two big enthusiasms -- their country's pioneering feats in
space exploration, and their country as host to visitations by space aliens aboard UFOs (only natural, since everybody knew that advanced societies
anywhere would be communistic). This talk reveals for the first time how these two themes were secretly interwoven, as Soviet military missile and
space activities accidentally sparked most of the most famous 'UFO flaps' in Russia -- and then how Moscow officials opportunistically adapted the
'UFO identity' as camouflage to divert and suppress public reports of strange lights in the sky (reports that could provide Western military
intelligence services with key insights into features of the top-secret aerospace systems, some of them treaty-breaking, being witnessed in action by
ordinary people all across the Soviet Union). Meanwhile, Western UFO experts enthusiastically embraced these faux-UFO reports as more evidence that
"UFOs are real and Soviet cases prove it", with the delicious irony that while they railed against "government cover-ups" of UFO data in their own
countries, they became unwitting dupes of a genuine Moscow military cover-up campaign (and many of them remain so long after the collapse of the
Soviet Union). This talk presents decades of original research integrated into a narrative both fascinating and amusing, and after half a century of
secrecy and deception, satisfyingly eye-opening.
In detail, the talk addresses the 'crescent-UFO' flap of 1967 (that revealed detailed maneuvers of the illegal space-to-ground nuclear weapons
platform called FOBS), the 'jellyfish UFOs' that revealed the existence of the Plesetsk cosmodrome, the role that Russian space junk reentries had
in sparking worldwide pilot reports, and the radar-visual and medical effects of the "Minsk UFO" of 1984 that traces (almost certainly) to a
still-undocumented SLBM launch from the Barents Sea.