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Nick Pope – Twenty Five Years Taking the UAPee?

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posted on Oct, 18 2020 @ 09:00 AM

Above: Nick Pope with added paraphernalia at his UFO Desk circa 1994

Nick Pope is a popular go to talking head on the subject of UFOs. He has been for nearly a quarter of a century .Particularly in the USA. Where the population is larger and more culturally predisposed to believing in paranormal potentialities than in his native Britain.

When not mouthing scripted sound bites for mainstream media, he can occasionally be heard in longer form interviews. Where he often relays fascinating and captivating anecdotes from his time as the 20 something year old, “Head of the UK Government’s UFO Desk”.

Listeners are often spellbound by tales of the mysterious UFO poster on his wall, the gigantic triangular UFO traversing UK airspace in 1993 and his cold case review into the Rendlesham Forest UFO of 1980. The X-Files was not broadcast in the UK until January 1994. Just six months before Pope moved out of the “UFO Desk”. But that didn't stop him acquiring the affectionate nickname "Spooky", from his many admirers- Also somewhat “spooky” is how he cultivated a departmental reputation as a maverick.

Nick has authored a number of books. Some fiction and others with not quite so much fiction in them. He has also written both broadsheet and tabloid columns ,having held a long term association with The Sun newspaper in the UK. A paper that has a reputation for being extremely low brow and sensationalist amongst its better qualities. Most of its reader base is content to look at the pictures anyway.

A Beginning

Nick’s father Geoffrey Pope [1934 -2004] was an aeronautical engineering graduate, who worked in the aviation and weapons research industry. He moved to the UK Ministry of Defence [MoD] in 1981 as Assistant Chief Scientific Adviser and from 1984 was Director of the Royal Aircraft Establishment. So perhaps it was no surprise that Nick followed in his footsteps to some extent.

By skipping out of any aeronautical degree and weapons research, Nick, also found himself working for government in 1985. At 19 years of age with the UK MoD.

In Sept. 1990 he joined the Secretariat (Air Staff) division and within a year (July 1991) he found him self as a junior executive officer with Secretariat (Air Staff) 2a as part of an internal “re-shuffle”.

We’ll let Nick take up the story from his own book “Open Skies, Closed Minds” with two contrasting statements.

….At first, I must admit, my new job was rather disappointing. There were no flying saucers, no aliens, and there was no dark and mysterious government involvement. Try as I might, I couldn’t see a Man in Black anywhere ……

A cursory reading of the files that were now at my disposal revealed nothing more than a handful of reports of vague lights or shapes in the sky which were likely to have been terrestrial aircraft. It was easy to ridicule, easy to dismiss. I became, I suppose, caught up in it all as I thoroughly immersed myself in the background. I was, after all, in a unique and oddly lonely position; the only official in the country specifically tasked with studying the UFO phenomenon….

It should be pointed out that there was no officially designated "UK UFO Desk or Project".

That is a figure of speech that Nick invented to paint an impressive sounding picture of his role to the public. His official job description at the MoD is a matter of record in MoD File DEFE 24-2000. It was primarily a desk job at Secretariat(Air Staff)2a. A small part of that involved dealing with queries from the public and media concerning unexplained aerial sightings. No field investigations into UFOs were conducted.

“…concerning Mr Pope, I should point out that he was a junior desk officer in the Secretariat(Air Staff)2a section from 1991-1994 and was not in charge of, or the head of any part of Secretariat (Air Staff)2.

Mr Pope was an executive officer and shared the support of one administrative officer. Although Sec(AS)2a was, and still is, the focal point for handling queries directed at the MOD in connection with “unexplained” aerial sightings, during Mr Pope’s time such work represented a small part of his overall duties. There were no staff working on this subject on a full-time basis and this remains the case.”

– MoD File DEFE24/2000 page 43.

There is also a 29th September 1999 response from Sec(AS)2a to an enquiry made by researcher James Easton specifically concerning Pope's role. The MoD responded:

…The main duties of the post concern non-operational RAF activities overseas and diplomatic clearance policy for military flights abroad.

A small percentage of time is spent dealing with reports from the public about alleged 'UFO' sightings and associated public correspondence. The Ministry of Defence has not investigated a case of alien abduction, crop circle formations, or animal mutilation.

Nick Pope attempted to address this on UFO Updates in 1999 claiming that a “considerable" percentage of his time was spent investigating UFOs. Although the definition of “considerable” is left open to interpretation.

This statement describes the current situation in Sec(AS)2a, and I couldn't possibly comment on that. What I can say is that during my tour of duty the situation was somewhat different. A considerable percentage of my time was spent investigating UFO sightings from both public and military sources. I also prepared
material for media enquiries, and drafted replies for defence ministers….

While we can’t say the quantity of UFO reports coming into the MoD desk is wholly indicative of the workload Nick Pope was under during his tenure, there is surely some correlation?

The graphic below is taken directly from the MoD files [courtesy of Dr. David Clarke] to illustrate this. Nick’s tenure [1991-94] appears to have been one of the quieter periods of the last quarter of the twentieth century.

edit on 18/10/2020 by mirageman because: tidy up

posted on Oct, 18 2020 @ 09:01 AM

Nick’s Signature Topics

Nick tends to stay on script when on news shows and UFO documentaries [he has a fee to earn after all]. But when given the freedom of a longer interview often falls back on three or four specific stories to fill airtime.


Discussing the whole case itself is way out of scope here. But Nick wrote a book, with two of the witnesses, “Encounter in Rendlesham Forest” in which he concluded;

■ We know that a UFO landed next to one of the most sensitive military installations in the NATO alliance......

■ We know that light beams from the UFO struck the ground just feet in front of the Deputy Base Commander and ....onto the base in particular, into the Weapons Storage Area....

■ We know that the UFO was tracked on radar...."

While something definitely happened in 1980 in Rendlesham Forest, the evidence for a UFO actually landing is rather weak. Only one witness claims to have seen 'a landed craft'. Jim Penniston. A man who’s witness statement claimed he never got closer than 50m to whatever he saw. The two Air Force officers accompanying him only saw lights in the distance. The landing marks found next day are unimpressive.

Original 1980 photo of UFO landing marks in Rendlesham Forest

The light beam reported shining onto the ground from above is based on the infamous 'Halt Tape' . It has been difficult to corroborate this event even with those present at the time.

The radar tracks are elusive. There are people who've said they saw brief blips on radar. But there isn't any hard proof in the way of military or civilian records of these occurrences. The failure to raise an alert by the Americans or British (including those involved in the incident) also tends to signify that the incident wasn’t anywhere near as thrilling as main proponents of the story have led people to believe.

Pope also made a big deal about the radiation readings. Both on video and his own website…

…A subsequent analysis of the landing site showed indentations in the ground forming the shape of a triangle, scorch marks on the sides of the trees, and radiation levels which scientific staff at the UK’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) assessed as being “significantly higher than the average background”…

Nick Pope's Website

However the Halt Tape never mentions more than “seven tenths”or 0.07 mR/h. Which was a small spike in the reading. Later on in 1998 Giles Cowling, the MoD scientist that originally responded to Pope confirmed;

"In my original discussions with Mr Pope I did indeed state that the readings were around 10 times normal background levels, provided that the instrument was appropriate for measuring background radiation (at the time of our discussions he could not state what the instrument was), calibrated and being used/interpreted correctly.

I share the NRPB view that the use of a high-range survey instruments to measure (accurately) environmental levels of radiation is somewhat questionable and this must throw some doubt on the validity of the data reported.”


This doesn’t negate all Nick’s work on the case of course. But it’s these common misinterpretations and omissions that give his analysis an air of incompetence and/or bias.

Cosford UFO 1993

Nick's other signature UFO story is the 1993 'Cosford' case. He often describes it as a huge and triangular shaped object that traversed across British airspace in 1993. It was sighted by multiple independent witnesses, including RAF personnel at two separate bases. He still describes it as an unsolved mystery. Even though it was solved beyond reasonable doubt before he left his role at Sec[AS]in 1994.

There are two MoD documents referring to the case : DEFE 24-2086 and DEFE 24-1967.

The first one contains various documents and correspondence dealing with the investigation into the Cosford case including eye witness statements. An excerpt from that In Nick Pope's own words

...It seems that an unidentified object of unknown origin was operating in the UK Air Defence Region without being detected on radar; this would appear to be of considerable defence significance, and I recommend that we investigate further, within MOD or with the US authorities…

Spanish ufologist Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos investigated the case independently and passed his information to the UK MoD. It gives comprehensive explanations for the sightings and the data is contained within the DEFE 1967/1 file. During the night of 30th March 1993, the Russians launched a radio satellite into orbit. The rocket booster of Cosmos 2238 re-entered the earth’s atmosphere and broke into pieces in the early hours of the 31st March 1993.

Astronomer Gary Anthony obtained a NASA data computer simulation of the trajectory of the decaying booster. Its path shows it would be easily visible whilst crossing the British Isles around the same time as the reports of a large triangular UFO. The booster burned up as it passed over the South West of Britain around 1.10-1.15 am. Correspondence also confirms that Nick Pope spoke to RAF Fylingdales who also confirmed a Russian rocket had re-entered the atmosphere around the relevant time with a margin of error of about an hour.

The lower altitude sightings seen at RAF Shawbury that occurred about an hour after the decay of the booster rockets were identified as a Welsh police helicopter following a stolen car down the A5 highway. The RAF meteorological officer concerned, Wayne Elliot, wasn’t aware at the time that it was a police helicopter.

..meteorological officer Wayne Elliott, whose evidence at Shawbury was central, has pointed out that his sighting was an hour after the one at Cosford – and he now believes what he saw was a police helicopter…

Source : Shropshire Star - Mar 13 2013

posted on Oct, 18 2020 @ 09:02 AM
In 2013 Nick denied this on ATS.

..In relation to the Cosford incident, the MoD was well aware of the re-entry into the atmosphere that night of a Russian rocket, and we duly took account of that in the official investigation. In relation to a police helicopter, we checked all aerial activity (civil and military) at the times in question. We were actually in touch with the local police force and no police helicopter was flying….

One of the key witnesses that night did subsequently agree with a leading question that he might have misidentified a police helicopter. But this is because he became a press officer, and there's an old saying that a press officer - like a journalist - must never become the story! But whatever he might have suggested to ufologists, in order to kill the story, I was the one who interviewed him the morning after his sighting.
To cut a long story short, personnel with 8 years service in the air force tend not to misreport police helicopters as vast, triangular-shaped craft capable of accelerating from a slow speed to a speed many times faster than a military jet aircraft in a matter of seconds!

Nick Pope – Aug 26th 2013 on ATS

Snr. Ballester Olmos also contacted Nick Pope with an explanation for the sightings a year later in March 1994 [enclosing copies of a NORAD statement and computer simulation showing the UFO as the booster rockets from the Russian Cosmos 2238 satellite] Again all information is contained in the MoD File DEFE 1967/1.

In his reply (dated 6th April 1994) Nick Pope stated:

“I think it is clear that most of the UFO sightings that occurred on the night in question can be attributed to this event”

Source : MoD - DEFE 24/1967/1

Despite those words, Nick tends to leave his “on the record” conclusion out of interviews, books, websites and on various TV and radio shows to this day.

The Calvine/Pitlochry UFO Picture

Nick’s favourite anecdote. I’ve covered this in more depth in this thread.

Government bans release of secret UFO dossier for another 50 years leaving experts furious!

The story is that On August 4th 1990, a large wide diamond object was tailed by an RAF Harrier some 20 miles north of Pitlochry in a remote part of Scotland. It appeared to hover for 10 minutes above the A9 highway, near Calvine, in Scotland. Then rapidly accelerated up into the sky. A still unnamed photographer took a series of six photographs and sent them to the Daily Record newspaper.

The newspaper editors, in turn sent them to the UK Ministry of Defence [MoD], for comment, before running a report on the subject. The Daily Record, for whatever reasons, never ran the story.

The MoD, on the other hand, treated this fairly seriously. Even going as far as to circulate a memo to government ministers for the expected questions from the mainstream media that never came. The MoD could never identify where the Harrier jets in the photo were launched from. The Daily Record never published the story. The hikers who allegedly snapped the photo never came forward.

Nick Pope likes to tell everyone a story of how a blown up picture of the photo was displayed on his office wall. Initially placed there by his predecessor in 1990. It stayed on the wall until 1994. When Pope’s superior allegedly removed it. Nick never acquired a copy of the photo in all of his 3 years in the job.

Recently a story appeared saying the UK MoD have sealed the files on this case and would not release the photo until the 2070s. However the photo is not owned by the UK MoD and would not be applicable under the thirty year release rules anyway. This was actually confirmed by Nick Pope in relation to a different case on record.

posted on Oct, 18 2020 @ 09:03 AM

Pope's Leap of Faith

When Pope left his post at Sec(AS) 2A he published a book “Open Skies, Close Minds” warning that extra-terrestrial spacecraft were visiting Earth.

He also conducted a lot of promotional work for the book.

Hidden away in a UK National Archive File DEFE/24/1985 are some interesting interviews with [in his own words], former head of the United Kingdom’s UFO Project’, Nick ‘Spooky’ Pope.

The first taken from “For Him Magazine – February 1996” Edition. The second featured in “The Independent newspaper – 3rd June 1996".

Here’s a mere handful of his quotes….

From 1991 to 1994 my job was to investigate UFO sightings for the British government I work at the Ministry of Defence, I'm the equivalent of an Army major.

In his newly promoted role as a Snr. Executive Officer this was accurate. However as regards pay scales then Nick’s original grade as the desk officer at S[AS]2a was below that of an Army Major ,who has responsibility for up to 120 men and earns roughly twice the salary. However he may have been afforded the privileges of an Army Major to access certain resources to fulfil his role. So the comparison is a “considerable” one.

In 1991 1 was asked to do the 'UFO job'. Officially it's called Secretariat Air Staff, Department 2A - but more commonly referred to as 'the UFO desk". The brief was to look at the reports as they came in and decide whether they constituted a threat to the UK's defences. I think it's a fair assumption that the intruding technology is more advanced than the defences we have…

This intruding technology? More advanced than defences we have?

Hmm..of all the small things! This was 1996 but that rhetoric maybe sounds familiar in 2020?

After The X-Files was first aired on British TV, I acquired the nickname 'Spooky Pope'.

Sure you did Nick. It said so on your desk nameplate. In 1994 and you left your role in June of that year. Not in 1991, 92 or 93 as the X-Files wasn’t on TV in the UK then. A rather spooky fact that is.

I had no real interest before I took the job. I reasoned that if I was being paid I should do it to the best of my ability, but I didn't join with any preconceived knowledge or enthusiasm. I went in a sceptic and came out a believer.

Believer in what though? Wait for it!

There are craft operating in our atmosphere. Extra-terrestrials are visiting this planet for purposes unknown. It's difficult to guess alien motives by applying simply human logic. But the evidence is utterly convincing - they are definitely here.....

I think there is a hybridisation programme between aliens and humans being conducted. It may be that they are trying to construct a new race with a little bit from ourselves and a bit from them…

But people do change their minds and by 2013 Nick had. By 2013 in his AMA on Above Top Secret Nick had abandoned that line of thinking.

…In relation to the UFO phenomenon, I classify myself neither as a believer nor as a skeptic.

Nick Pope ATS AMA - 2013

But back to his interview with “For Him Magazine”. Here’s Nick commenting on Roswell.

…. I'm convinced that the 'Roswell incident' did occur. The US army base there gave out a press release, saying that they'd recovered a flying saucer, then later the same day they changed their story and said it was a weather balloon. Hmm. It would have been the occasion when certain elements of the American government and military knew for sure that we were not alone in the universe. It would also have been the time when a deal was done between our- selves and the visitors.

…..Perhaps trading 'freedom to operate' against technology. Maybe it was put to the Americans, "Yes, we're here, we’re visiting you, but mean you no harm. We'd like to do certain things. .." Cattle mutilations and abductions, possibly; and perhaps they said, "In return well give you some technology." What general would refuse?...

What kind of aliens would make a deal like that with the most militarised nation on Earth? When they could surely do what they wanted with impunity anyway?

From the Independent interview - 3rd June 1996. Nick was still in denial…

…The turning point - when he actually started to believe in the existence of intelligent life "out there' -came in 1993. "There" he says, a glint appearing in his eyes, "we were besieged with calls & detailed investigation….. After weeks of exhaustive research, Pope, in his capacity as the Government's UFO expert, reached his carefully considered conclusion.

"We checked for aircraft movements, but there was absolutely nothing up at the time. I think it was an extra-terrestrial craft," he declares…

MoD File - DEFE 24/1985/1

Not this Cosford incident again? Did he forget those reports from a couple of years before?

edit on 18/10/2020 by mirageman because: tidy up

posted on Oct, 18 2020 @ 09:04 AM

Abducting the Pope

Finally before the century was out came a story that Nick had been abducted by aliens…

Sunday Times [UK] - February 7, 1999

THE Ministry of Defence official who once headed investigations into unidentified flying objects believes he was abducted by aliens. Nick Pope, who ran the ministry's top secret Airstaff Secretariat office during the early 1990s, believes that he, his girlfriend and their car were abducted from a deserted toll road in Florida.

He has described how he was lifted aboard an alien spacecraft and then wandered around its corridors - without, however, meeting any aliens.

It was following this incident that he applied for the job heading the defence ministry department which collects all reported sightings of UFOs and related phenomena. He did not, however, enter details of his experience on the files since he was uncertain exactly what had happened to him and because he was worried he would be labelled a crank.

He has alluded to the incident in his bestselling book The Uninvited, which claimed to expose the phenomenon of alien abductions. But only now has it emerged that one of the detailed descriptions of the several abductions was based on his own experience rather than on that of someone called Peter…

Archived Sunday Times Text

He has since claimed it was all a joke despite making comments to other ufologists and authors about “his abduction experience”.

I haven’t covered the spats with other British ufologists, his attempts to prevent release of further MoD files containing information about himself and publication of his book …Nor his "Coming to America"…as part of US UFOtainment’s need to outsource.

I'll let Nick Pope explain that on his own website.

Nick Pope now lives in America….available to present (or contribute to) shows on UFOs, the unexplained, conspiracy theories, sci-fi, space, fringe science and defense/military/intelligence issues. Nick Pope is also available as a paid spokesperson for PR campaigns/movie launches on these themes….

Nick Pope Website

Twenty years later and Nick is still managing to feed off that part time job at the MoD ‘UFO Desk’ with fond recollections of being called “Spooky” for a “considerable” amount of time.

It's been a considerably "considerable" career for him.

In part two we’ll be asking is Nick Pope a Catholic?

edit on 18/10/2020 by mirageman because: tidy up

posted on Oct, 18 2020 @ 09:41 AM
Excellent presentation. Can't wait for part 2.


posted on Oct, 18 2020 @ 10:03 AM
a reply to: mirageman

But but Nick's not a shill - he says so in this video.

Some great research - look forward to part 2.

posted on Oct, 18 2020 @ 11:36 AM
Argh yes Tricky Nicky, they should call him Mary

Great thread MM, Im just absorbing it.

posted on Oct, 18 2020 @ 11:46 AM
How to become a top "UFO Researcher" or..."How to make a living off of unexplained phenomena"

1 - Have a job title that lends credence to the "I know what I'm talking about" credibility paradigm
- Nuclear Physicist
- MOD Analyst
- Military Officer RET
- Investigative Reporter for local news channel

2 - Be the "inside man" on a particular story aka a Whale
- Area 51
- Secret Government Memo/Document
- Crashed Saucer story
- Mass Sighting by military personel

3 - Write books, do interviews, make videos, attend conferences about #2
4 - Sell #3
5 - Repeat #3-#4

edit on 18-10-2020 by TXRabbit because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 18 2020 @ 06:11 PM
Good Stuff MM...,,

Looking forward to the catholic segment


posted on Oct, 18 2020 @ 09:11 PM
Great post, proper ATS stuff!

A complete fraudster, makes you wonder about the veracity of other so called experts and the topic itself.

posted on Oct, 19 2020 @ 03:06 AM
Awesome thread MM!

I wasnt aware of the "abduction experience" he noted either. In regards to other thing, people are of course allowed to change their mind about these topics. However, you have pointed out the many inconsistencies here that just cannot be ignored.

Like many in the UFOLand - many change what they say depending on the audience in front of them; that very much seems to be the case with Nick Pope a lot of the time.

posted on Oct, 19 2020 @ 05:10 AM
a reply to: pigsy2400

I would suggest a really close look re Nick.

posted on Oct, 19 2020 @ 05:46 AM
Nick Pope whether a bit of a story teller or maybe the real thing within the MOD and his stories, has at least been something of interest to 'normal' people out there and if he has caused more of the general public to start looking up at the sky surely that's a good thing right?

posted on Oct, 19 2020 @ 08:07 AM
a reply to: ufoorbhunter

I used to think like that once upon a time. Or at least that Pope had done a lot to soften attitudes. Perhaps it would encourage science to at least take a more sober look at the ufo topic. But it's actually more of a problem and not a solution.

Because if you go through Nick's declarations past and present you can see that he's either a liar or an incredible inept analyst. Check the files youself.

The way Nick presents these stories show a lack of integrity

If you want ufology to remain in a state of perpetual entertainment and everything must remain a mystery then by all means sit back, enjoy the stories and never do any fact checking. If we want science to take ufos seriously and resolve the mystery then you must reject the charlatans, grifters and storytellers like Nick Pope.

Otherwise ufology will remain nothing more than an entertainment business and a fun LARP. A situation that suits people like Nick Pope.

posted on Oct, 19 2020 @ 08:12 AM
a reply to: mirageman

Do see where you are coming from there and will be checking Nick's files to check them thoroughly. What you listed above does make on think about his reasons for going public. He's quite an enlightening figure to listen to, maybe Nick is doing things for money, maybe for fame, maybe for other interests even the MOD. Maybe he's just plain crazy

posted on Oct, 19 2020 @ 10:32 AM
Here's an example of the sort of pontification that goes on...

The Calvine UFO Photo has recently made the news claiming that the UK govt has locked the files and photo away until the 2070s.

Pope pops up on Twitter to stir things a bit...but not too much,

But hey better not let anything else out about that photo. Preserving his story is more important. So he keeps the lid on it there.

However the underlying problem is that no one has actually managed to source a statement that confirms these files and the photo have really had their public release put back for 50 years by the British government. [I remain willing to be convinced if someone shows the proof].

The original case files were released by the MoD around a decade ago. Which anyone can read.

DEFE 24/1940/1 - page 116

DEFE 31/179 on pages 157-8

DEFE 31/180 on pages 37-38 & 55-57

Which is interesting because within those MoD UFO files (in reply to a different matter) Nick actually confirms that anyone who submits photos to the MoD retains the copyright and the thirty year rule does not apply to photographs and videos.

But by carefully tiptoeing around the topic he can perpetuate mystery and keep himself in a cushy job talking on TV.

Did Nick Pope ever solve a UFO case in all his time at the MoD?

The Cosford Case was handed on a plate to him. Others, including NORAD, did the hard work for him. But Nick decided an RAF meteorolgist was lying to him and so the case was still one of a mysterious triangular UFO. Obviously seen at the same time as a Russian rocket booster burning up.

edit on 19/10/2020 by mirageman because: link

posted on Oct, 19 2020 @ 11:28 AM
a reply to: mirageman

But by carefully tiptoeing around the topic he can perpetuate mystery and keep himself in a cushy job talking on TV.

I think that could apply to several in the UFO game. I'm sure he won't stop any time soon either?

Tricky Nicky is always busy so it seems.

posted on Oct, 19 2020 @ 12:07 PM
Good work, MM. I share you sentiment, and DO so hope Mr Pope reads that

posted on Oct, 20 2020 @ 02:14 PM
It's about time that our man Pope (well, he used to be our man before the seduction of US UFOtainment) was given a thorough analysis. And a good erm bashing.

Another superb, well-presented read.

I suspected you had something like this up your sleeve, MM, before ATS hits the skids.

PS: Thanks for clarifying the timing of Pope's 'Spooky' nickname; I saw a source that dated the UK's first transmission of 'The X-Files' as late 1994, which would of course have caused problems. I forgot that an actual photo of Pope's 'UFO HQ' from 1994 exists!

edit on 20-10-2020 by ConfusedBrit because: (no reason given)

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