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Although human beings have been seeing strange things in the skies since the dawn of history, the idea that some of them are actually technological devices (called by some 'X Devices', although that term is now obsolete) is relatively recent.
Charles Fort 
The first person to suggest that mysterious objects and lights in the sky might be machines from another planet was probably the great American anomalist Charles Fort (1874-1932)

Charles Fort devoted 26 years of his life to compiling documented reports of scientific anomalies from journals and newspapers from all around the world. He lived in dire poverty so that truth could prevail.

Kenneth Arnold
It was not until the late 1940s that the idea began to gain a wider currency, following the famous sighting by pilot Kenneth Arnold over the Cascade Mountains in Washington State on 24 June 1947.
The UFO mystery has never gone away, and has certainly never been explained to universal satisfaction: indeed, it is now more deeply ingrained in the public consciousness than ever before, and the 'flying saucer' can truthfully be described as one of the great cultural icons of the twentieth century.
While sceptics would argue that the reason for this is a mixture of wishful thinking, the misidentification of mundane phenomena and out-and-out hoaxes, the truth of the matter is more subtle and complex.
It is certainly true that approximately 95 per cent of sightings can be attributed to stars, planets, meteorites, satellites, aircraft and so on; yet there remains the tantalising five per cent that cannot be explained so easily.
In order to illustrate this fact, we can look very briefly at one of the classic UFO sightings from the early days of modern ufology. (Although there are many impressive sightings from the 1990s, they are still the subject of intense debate and I believe it is more prudent to choose a sighting that has stood the test of time and is still regarded as almost certainly genuine.)
McMinnville UFO Photos
At about 7.45 on the evening of 11 May 1950, Mr and Mrs Paul Trent watched a large object fly over their farm near McMinnville, Oregon, USA.
Mrs Trent had been out feeding their rabbits when she noticed the UFO.
She called her husband, who was able to take two black-and-white photographs of it.
The photographs show a circular object with a flat under-surface and a bevelled edge; extending from the upper surface of the object is a curious structure reminiscent of a submarine conning tower, which is offset slightly from the vertical axis.
The bright, silvery object was tilted slightly as it moved across the sky in absolute silence, and presently was lost to view.
The Trents later said that they had felt a slight breeze from the underside of the UFO.
The Trents sought no publicity following their sighting (in fact, they waited until they had used up the remainder of the camera's film before having the UFO photographs developed!); they mentioned the incident to only a few friends, however, news of the sighting quickly spread to a reporter from the local McMinnville Telephone Register who visited the Trents and found the photographic negatives under a writing desk where the Trent children had been playing with them.
A week later, the photographs appeared in Life magazine and became world-famous.
Seventeen years later, the McMinnville UFO sighting was investigated by William K. Hartmann and was included in the famous (and, in the UFO community, widely despised) Condon Report produced by the US Air Force-sponsored Colorado University Commission of Enquiry.

Dr Edward U. Condon
The Condon Report (named after the enquiry's leader, the respected physicist Dr Edward U. Condon) was dismissive of the UFO phenomenon, which it considered to be of no interest to science, however, the report contained a number of cases that it conceded were not amenable to any conventional explanation.
One of these cases was the McMinnville sighting.
The photographs were submitted to extremely rigorous scientific analysis, after which Hartmann concluded: 'This is one of the few UFO reports in which all factors investigated, geometric, psychological, and physical, appear to be consistent with the assertion that an extraordinary flying object, silvery, metallic, disk-shaped, tens of meters in diameter, and evidently artificial, flew within sight of two witnesses.'
It cannot be said that the evidence positively rules out a fabrication, although there are some physical factors such as the accuracy of certain photometric measures of the original negatives which argue against a fabrication.
In the 50 or so years since the Trents had their strange encounter, the photographs have been repeatedly subjected to more and more sophisticated analyses, and have passed every test.
This case is just one of a large number of sightings of highly unusual, apparently intelligently guided objects, seen both in the skies and on the ground, that have been occurring for decades.
There are, of course, various theories to account for these sightings, aside from the sceptical notion that all are, without exception, hoaxes, illusions or misidentifications of ordinary phenomena.
The most widely accepted theory is, of course, the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH), which holds that genuine UFOs are spacecraft piloted by explorers from another planet.
This theory has the greatest currency in the United States.
In Europe, more credence is given to an alternative theory known as the Psycho-social Hypothesis, which suggests that encounters with UFOs and 'aliens' may be due to subtle and ill-understood processes occurring within the mind of the percipient.
Carl G. Jung
Inspired by the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl G. Jung, who examined UFOs in his book 'Flying Saucers A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky' (1959), the psycho-sociologists see such encounters as similar to waking dreams that fulfil an undefined psychic need. (To Jung, the circular shape of the UFO suggested a psychic need for wholeness and unity, represented by the mandala, a circular symbol identified by Jung as one of the archetypes residing in humanity's collective unconscious.)
There are a number of secondary theories for UFOs, including the idea that they are time machines from the future, that they are actually living beings indigenous to interplanetary space, that they originate in other dimensions of existence and so on.
The idea that UFOs are man-made, and based on plans captured by the Allies in the ruins of Nazi Germany at the end of the Second World War, has been put forward by a number of writers and researchers.

The Problem of the UFO Occupants

Any theory of the origin of UFOs must, of course, take into account all the available evidence, and this includes reported encounters with and descriptions of UFO occupants.
Having looked at the idea that UFOs are man-made aircraft inspired by designs developed by German scientists in the Second World War, we now find ourselves confronting material that would, at first sight, be sufficient to make the National-Socialist-UFO theory completely untenable.
For as soon as the UFO lands and opens its hatches, we meet a variety of creatures that are anything but human. (To be sure, some UFO occupants are described as being completely human-looking, (Nordic Aliens), but they seem to be very much in the minority.)
This has naturally led the majority of UFO researchers and investigators to conclude that UFOs are extraterrestrial devices.
Before dealing with this problem, let us illustrate it by examining briefly some of these alleged contacts with UFO occupants.
Over the decades since the modern era of ufology began with the Arnold sighting in 1947, people all over the world have claimed to have encountered an astonishing variety of creatures linked with UFOs on the ground.
In the 1950s and 1960s these people were known as 'contactees' and, according to their testimony, humanity had nothing whatsoever to fear from the ufonauts.
They were almost invariably described as being tall and strikingly attractive, with long, sandy-coloured hair and blue eyes, a description which resulted in their being classified as 'Nordic' aliens.

Nordic Alien - or Nord
Nordic aliens, or Nords, are one of several types of extraterrestrial featured in the UFO mythos.
Nords are described as resembling beautiful, taller than average humans with Nordic or Scandinavian features: pale skin, blue or green eyes and blonde hair. Nordic contacts, often from Venus, were frequently reported in the 1950s and 1960s, but declined after that.
Purported contactees claim to have witnessed the Nords beaming down from gold or silver coloured crescent-shaped UFOs or from gigantic bright cigar-shaped UFOs.
Many people believe the cigar-shape UFOs serve as a mother ship because there have been reports of smaller ships flying around it
Their spacecrafts are often said to be very fast-moving and can come in large numbers.
Several reports claim that these UFOs were encountered near mountains or forests and are rarely thought to hover over more urban settings.
Contactees' reports of Nordic aliens describe them as benevolent observers who are not allowed to interfere with Earth culture. They are rarely reported to have abducted or performed experiments on humans. Many people theorize they are humankind's long lost relatives that have travelled to other planets. Most Nordics aliens who are encountered on earth are males.
They mostly communicate telepathically.
They have reportedly been seen, however, to talk in a language of their own.
People claim the Nordics aliens live on the planet Telosia. Another group of Nordics aliens are said to be living on another star-system called Hyades.
They are sometimes known as Telosians, Hydeans and Pleiadeans.
They are also referred to as Venusians and Wingmakers.
One example of Nordic aliens in popular science fiction was the Space 1999 episode "Earthbound", which featured tall, blonde-haired humanoid aliens.
Some speculate that many UFOs are secret aircraft made by humans. If so, the "Nordic aliens" are the aircraft's human white  crew.
Description Extra-terrestrial Species: Nordics, Alpine, Aryans Aliases: Swedes, Telosians, Hydeans ,Pleiadeans, Venusians,Wingmakers, Space Brothers/Sisters aka Space People, Martians, Ancients,Masters, Ancient Astronauts, Atlantians, Earthlings, Neptuneons, Pluteons, Jupiterians, Mercuryians, Uranusians, Saturnians, Das Herrenvolk, Ubermensch( Overman/ Superman), Hyperboreans. 

George Adamski
The most famous of the 1950s contactees was George Adamski who, on 20 November 1952, encountered a man claiming to come from Venus. Adamski, a self-styled philosopher and mystic, was running a hamburger stand a few miles from the Mount Palomar Observatory in California when he had his encounter.
He was having lunch with several friends near Desert Center when they allegedly saw a gigantic cigar-shaped object in the sky.
Telling his friends to remain behind, Adamski drove into the desert, where he witnessed the landing of a disc-shaped 'scout craft'.

Adamski Scout Craft
When the ship's single occupant appeared, Adamski was able to communicate with him through a combination of hand signals and telepathy and learned that the Venusians (together with other intelligent races throughout the Solar System) were deeply concerned at humanity's misuse of nuclear energy (a theme that would be repeated again and again by the contactees).
In common with the other contactees, Adamski's claims suffered from scientific inaccuracies, not least of which was the utter inability of all the other planets in the Solar System to support intelligent humanoid life.
The contactee claims of the 1950s are rightly regarded as extremely dubious by most ufologists; however, in the decades since there have been a number of contact claims that demand more serious attention.
When we examine reports of encounters with UFO occupants (particularly since the early 1960s), we see that the defining characteristic reveals itself to be what has come to be known as 'abduction', in which witnesses are taken from their normal environment against their will and are forced to interact in various ways with apparently non-human entities.

Charlie Hickson and Calvin Parke
One of the most famous abduction cases occurred on 11 October 1973 on the shores of the Pascagoula River in Mississippi, USA. Charlie Hickson, 45, and Calvin Parker, 18, were fishing in the river when they witnessed the approach of a UFO.
The following day, the United Press International news service carried the following report:
Two shipyard workers who claimed they were hauled aboard a UFO and examined by silver-skinned creatures with big eyes and pointed ears were checked today at a military hospital and found to be free of radiation. ... Jackson County chief deputy Barney Mathis said the men told him they were fishing from an old pier on the west bank of the Pascagoula River about 7 p.m. Thursday when they noticed a strange craft about two miles away emitting a bluish haze.
They said it moved closer and then appeared to hover about three or four feet above the water, then
'three whatever-they-weres came out, either floating or walking, and carried us into the ship,' officers quoted Hickson as saying.
'The things had big eyes. They kept us about twenty minutes, photographed us, and then took us back to the pier. The only sound they made was a buzzing-humming sound. They left in a flash.'
'These are reliable people,' Sheriff Diamond said. 'They had no reason to say this if it had not been true. I know something did happen to them.'
The sheriff said the 'spacecraft' was described as fish-shaped, about ten feet long with an eight-foot ceiling.
The occupants were said to have pale silvery skin, no hair, long pointed ears and noses, with an opening for a mouth and hands 'like crab claws.'
Inside the UFO, the two men were placed on a table and examined with a device that resembled a huge eye.

Dr James A. Harder
Dr J. Allen Hynek
They were later interviewed by Dr J. Allen Hynek, the astronomer whose work as a consultant for the US Air Force's UFO investigation project, Blue Book, turned him from sceptic to cautious advocate of UFO reality.
Hynek concluded that Hickson and Parker were in a state of genuine fright.
Dr James A. Harder, a consultant for the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) who also investigated the case, described the UFO occupants as 'automata', or 'advanced robots', judging from the witnesses' descriptions.
Many people who are sceptical of UFO and alien abductions state, quite reasonably, that an advanced space-faring civilisation would not need to conduct the highly intrusive and traumatic experiments on human beings that their representatives are reported to conduct.

The repeated taking of samples of blood, flesh, sperm and ova from unwilling subjects implies a curiously primitive medical technology for beings allegedly capable of building interstellar spacecraft, however, there is an intriguing correlation between the atrocities committed by 'aliens' on their human victims and those committed by SS doctors during the Second World War.
W. A. Harbinson
As we shall see later in this chapter, proponents of the Nazi-UFO Theory, such as W. A. Harbinson, have suggested that this may be due to an ongoing (and for the moment highly secret) Nazi plot to create a master-race from the raw material of humanity in its present form.
One of the most impressive and carefully investigated abduction cases occurred on 26 August 1976.
Four art students, Charlie Foltz, Chuck Rak and brothers Jack and Jim Weiner were on a camping trip on the Allagash River in Maine, USA.
While fishing in a boat on East Lake, they watched the approach of a large spherical light that frightened them considerably.
The next thing they knew, they were standing on the shore of the lake, watching the object shoot up into the sky.
There was nothing left of their blazing camp fire but a few glowing embers, implying that they had been away for several hours although they only remembered being on the lake for about twenty minutes.
Several years later, the case came to the attention of the respected UFO researcher Raymond E. Fowler, who investigated on behalf of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), the largest civilian UFO organisation in the world.
Fowler arranged for the four witnesses to undergo hypnotic regression to recover their lost memories of the evening.
Each of the men (who had promised not to discuss with each other their individual hypnosis sessions) recalled being taken into the UFO through a beam of light.
Once inside, they encountered several humanoid entities who forced them (apparently through some form of mind control) to undress and sit in a mist-filled room.
Their bodies were examined and probed with various instruments, and samples of saliva, blood, skin, sperm, urine and faeces were taken.
When the examination had been completed, the men were forced to walk through a circular doorway, whereupon they found themselves floating back down to their boat through the light beam.
Fowler later discovered that Jack Weiner had had an 'anomalous lump' surgically removed several years earlier.
The pathologist who examined it had been somewhat mystified and had sent it on for analysis to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia.
At Fowler's request, Jack Weiner asked for his medical records and discovered that the lump had been sent to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) in Washington, D.C., instead of the Center for Disease Control.
When Fowler telephoned the AFIP for an explanation, he was told by the public information officer that the AFIP occasionally assisted civilian doctors.
'When Jack asked why the lump was sent to the AFIP rather than the Center for Disease Control, he was told by his surgeon's secretary that it was less costly even though Jack was covered by insurance!'
The Pascagoula and Allagash encounters display many of the hallmarks of the typical UFO abduction, the principal elements of which can be listed as follows:

(1) the initial appearance of the entities and the taking of the percipient;
(2) medical probing with various instruments;
(3) machine examinations and mental testing;
(4) sexual activity, in which the percipient is sometimes forced to 'mate' with other humans or even with the entities themselves;
(5) the returning of the percipient to his or her normal environment.

Although an extremely wide variety of 'alien' types has been encountered by people all over the world, one type in particular has become more and more commonly reported (particularly in the United States).
The so-called 'Grey' is now regarded as the quintessential alien being and is one of the most immediately recognisable images in today's world.
In the unlikely event that the reader is unfamiliar with this image, we can briefly describe the Greys' physical characteristics as follows: they are usually described as approximately four feet tall (although some are as tall as eight feet), with extremely large craniums and enormous jet-black, almond-shaped eyes.
They have no nose or ears to speak of, merely small holes where these should be; likewise, their mouths are usually described as no more than lipless slits.
The torso and limbs are described as being very thin, almost stick-like  and more than one abductee has reported the impression that they seem to be made of an undifferentiated material, with no bone or muscular structure.
Their hands are long and thin, sometimes with three fingers, sometimes with four.
In addition, the Greys are frequently reported to be rather uncaring in their attitude towards humans, treating us much as we treat laboratory animals.
Indeed, they have been described by some as militaristic and by others as hive-like in their demeanour, as if they had no individual consciousness of their own but were carrying out commands from some higher source.
It is clear that any claims of a Nazi origin of modern UFO encounters must take account of the bizarre creatures associated with the discs.
This problem might seem insurmountable in view of the fact that, while we may not expect the UFO pilots to be strutting around in black leather trench coats and jackboots, they would surely nevertheless be recognisable as human beings, however, the research undertaken by W. A. Harbinson may offer a way around this apparent impasse, as well as providing us with some extremely unsettling food for thought.
Harbinson's thesis, that UFO occupants may well be cyborgs - bio-medically engineered amalgamations of human and machine - is supported to a certain extent by medical research conducted since the 1960s.
Although this research was at the time highly secret, the gruesome details have since come to light in the form of books and articles that describe not only the nature of the experiments conducted, but also the frightening attitude of some members of the medical profession. 
According to David Fishlock:
'Even today there are people who believe that convicts, especially the criminal lunatic, and even conscientious objectors, should be compelled to lend themselves to science.'
Referring to 'The People Shapers' (1978) by Vance Packard, Harbinson reminds us of the direction in which medical research was heading more than 30 years ago.
In the Cleveland Clinic's Department of Artificial Organs, not only medical specialists, but 'mechanical, electrical, chemical, and biomedical engineers, as well as biochemists and polymer chemists', were, in their busy operating theatres, enthusiastically engaged in 'surgery connected to the development of artificial substitutes for ... vital organs such as the liver, lungs, pancreas, and kidneys'.
Conveniently within walking distance of the Cleveland Clinic's Department of Artificial Organs are the Neurosurgical Research Laboratories of the Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital, where great interest was being expressed, as far back as 1967, in the possibility of transferring the entire head of one human being to another.
Switching human brains from one head to another would be complicated and costly, but, as Packard explains:
'By simply switching heads, on the other hand, only a few connections need to be severed and then re-established in the neck of the recipient body.'
This procedure was successfully carried out on monkeys at the Cleveland Clinic, with each head apparently retaining its original mental characteristics when attached to its new body.
In other words, if a monkey had been aggressive before the operation, it would remain so when its head was transplanted to another body.
The eyes of the monkeys followed people as they walked past, implying that the heads retained some level of awareness.
The unfortunate subjects of these procedures only lived for about one week.
Of course, the main problem in a procedure of this kind would be the regeneration of the severed spinal cord so that the brain could send nerve impulses to its new body; and yet even this feat seems not to be outside the bounds of possibility.
In June 1976, a Soviet scientist named Levon A. Matinian 'reported from the fourth biennial conference on Regeneration of the Central Nervous System that he had succeeded in regrowing the spinal cords of rats'.
Harbinson suggests, almost certainly with some justification, that this area of research must have been continued 'behind closed doors' at military and scientific establishments since then.
It is surely reasonable to suppose that, if this is the case, scientists have progressed well beyond the level of rats.
One can be forgiven for wondering what conceivable use such barbaric experiments could possibly have for humanity.
While it is mercifully unlikely that head transplants will ever be in vogue, such research undoubtedly holds much potential for the enhancement of human beings who will eventually conduct routine work in hostile environments, such as the ocean floor and outer space.
Fusion of a sort between human and machine has already been achieved, in the form of the so-called Cybernetic Anthropomorphous Machine System (CAMS), 'slave' machinery that mimics the movement of its human operators.
According to Harbinson: In an aerospace conference given in Boston in 1966, engineer William E. Bradley, who developed the idea of cable-less man-machine manipulator systems for the US Defense Department's Institute for Defense Analysis, stated his belief that man and machine would eventually be linked in such a way that by performing the manoeuvres himself, the man would cause them to take place, through the machine, at a distance of thousands of miles.
This concept soon led to the weapon-aiming system devised by the Philco Corporation for the US Air Force, in which the pilot's helmet is coupled with a servo-system that enables him to aim and fire his weapons automatically by merely swivelling his head until a camera located in his helmet shows the target.
In addition, as early as 1967 US Air Force scientists had succeeded in transmitting thought impulses to a computer using a variation on Morse code composed of long and short bursts of alpha waves (alpha waves are produced by the brain when it is at rest).
This technology has developed to the point where today we have the potential for amputees to control their prosthetic limbs by means of nerve impulses directly from the brain.
In the field of organ transplantation, we have seen astonishing progress over the last 30 years and it is surely not rash to suggest that we will soon see artificial hearts and other organs routinely replacing those damaged through illness or accident.
Likewise, in spite of concerns regarding the ethical implications of human cloning, we may also see the day when human organs are produced in the laboratory, ready for transplanting when the need arises.
In view of the fact that research conducted under the aegis of national security is between ten and twenty years ahead of what is made public at any particular time (work on the Stealth fighter began in the mid-1970s, although the public were not made aware of its existence until the late 1980s), it is possible - perhaps likely - that advances in the field of medical and bioengineering research have already extended into the realm of what the public would consider science fiction.
Harbinson believes that what the public knows is merely the tip of the iceberg, and reminds us that 'the US Navy, Air Force, Army and government agencies such as NASA - all with top-secret research establishments in the White Sands Proving Ground and similar areas - have a particular need for advanced man-machine manipulations or cyborgs'.
He adds that the creatures seen in and around landed UFOs could be such cyborgs: human beings radically augmented by sophisticated mechanical prosthetics.
Theoretically, the lungs of such creatures would be partially collapsed and the blood in them artificially cooled.
The cyborgs' respiration and other bodily functions would then be controlled cybernetically with artificial lungs and sensors which maintain constant temperature, metabolism and pressure, irrespective of external environmental fluctuations - thus, even if not protected by an antigravity (or gravitic) propulsion system, they would not be affected by the extraordinary accelerations and direction changes of their craft.
The cyborgs would have no independent will, but could be remote-controlled, both physically and mentally, even across great distances, by computer-linked brain implants.
Since this operation would render the mouth and nose superfluous, these would be sealed ... and completely non-functioning.
If we remember the basic description of the Greys noted earlier, with their slit-like and apparently useless mouths, vestigial noses and thin torsos, we can begin to see a frightening correspondence with the theoretical cyborg, a nightmarish combination of genetically engineered biology, and highly sophisticated machine.
To a startled, disorientated and terrified UFO witness, such a creature would surely look like nothing on earth ... would look, in fact, like an extraterrestrial alien.
Interestingly, many people claiming to have encountered UFO crews mention the presence of normal-looking humans, (usually Nordics) alongside the bizarre entities.
Some ufologists suggest that these human types are the Nordic aliens mentioned earlier, working alongside the Greys, and perhaps forming part of some interplanetary federation; other, more conspiracy-minded researchers believe that the human types are just that: human beings who are in league with a hostile alien occupation force.
There is, however, another possibility, based on the information we have just considered.
It is conceivable that the humans seen on board UFOs are actually the controllers of the Greys/clone/cyborgs.
It is also conceivable that these humans are members of an ultra-secret group, existing completely independently of any nation on Earth, and perhaps hostile to all nations and all other humans.
Conceivable, yes - but true ?