‘What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to?’
‘What can it mean? What is the truth? ’
Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, asked those questions back in 1952, and many decades later we still do not have any satisfactory or conclusive answers to the UFO enigma.
Sceptics think they were the product of the Cold War and have evolved into a modern-day mythology. Believers think that extraterrestrials are in secret league with the US Government and it is a matter of time before the true facts are disclosed to the public.
David Hogan provides a very useful guide to how UFOs have been seen throughout history and the prominent themes that have latched onto them, from the possibility that they are alien visitors to the conspiracies, cover-ups, cultural influences and investigations that ‘they’ have inspired.
The most prominent UFO cases are reviewed, which include Kenneth Arnold’s 1947 sighting that brought about the catch-all phrase ‘flying saucers’, the infamous Roswell flying saucer crash, the British Rendlesham UFO encounter incident and a sprinkling of other less familiar cases.
Hogan takes a detailed look at the different aspects of the alien abduction enigma, contactees, UFO cults, ancient astronauts and the many ‘Hoaxes and Other Mischief’ that has plagued ufology.
For the newcomer or seasoned Ufologist this is a handy guide to the subject, enhanced by lists of prominent ufologists, UFO organisations, UFO publications and UFO websites. And, if you want to investigate UFOs yourself a ‘UFO Spotter’s Checklist’ and details of UFO Hotspots are provided.
A minor quibble with the book is that it is mainly centred on the USA, and Hogan’s timeline for the early part of the 20th Century doesn’t include the major ‘airship’ scares in Britain and the USA in 1909 or the British scare of 1912-1913, or the many sightings and scares during the First World War.
Overall, this is an intelligent and even-handed review of a fascinating and frustrating subject. In answer to Churchill’s questions, Hogan notes that the subject now wallows in nostalgia for old cases like Roswell, and concludes:
‘Ufology’s real adversary...is ufology itself. By tolerating scattershot research and speculation, by indulging the fringe, by seeking legitimacy in crumbs thrown by cable television, and by failing to function as a unified force...’
The ETs must be laughing their socks off.
UFO FAQ: ALL THAT’S LEFT TO KNOW ABOUT ROSWELL, ALIENS, WHIRLING DISCS AND FLYING SAUCERS / AUTHOR: DAVID J. HOGAN / PUBLISHER: BACKBEAT BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW