My Review of Russian UFO Conspiracy Book Now Up At Magonia Blog

My review of Nick Redfern’s Flying Saucers from the Kremlin (Lisa Hagen Books 2019) is now up at Magonia Review of Books. Magonia was a small press UFO magazine, which ran from the 1980s to the early part of this century. It took the psycho-social view of the UFO phenomenon. This is a sceptical view which sees the UFO phenomenon as an internal experience generated by poorly understood psychological mechanism, whose imagery was drawn from folklore and Science Fiction. It took the name ‘Magonia’ from Jacques Vallee’s groundbreaking UFO book, Passport to Magonia. Vallee, a French-American astronomer and computer scientist, along with the American journalist and writer on the weird and Fortean, John Keel, took the view that UFOs weren’t real, mechanical spacecraft piloted by beings from other worlds, but were created by the same paranormal phenomenon behind encounters with fairies and other paranormal entities. The name ‘Magonia’ itself comes from a statement by a sceptical 7th-8th century Frankish bishop, that the peasants believed that storms were caused by men in flying ships, who came from a country called Magonia.

The magazine didn’t just discuss UFOs. It also covered other paranormal phenomena and subjects, such as witchcraft. It provided a very necessary sceptical corrective to the Satanism scare of the ’80s and ’90s. This was a moral panic generated by conspiracy theories, largely from the Christian right but also from some feminists, that Satanic groups were sexually abusing and ritually sacrificing children. The Fontaine Report, published by the British government over 20 years ago now, concluded that there was no organised Satanic conspiracy. This effectively ended a real witch-hunt, which had seen innocent men and women accused of terrible crimes through warped, uncorroborated testimony. It needs to be said, however, that sociologists, social workers and law enforcement authorities do recognise that there are evil or disturbed individuals responsible for horrific crimes, including the molestation of children, who are or consider themselves Satanists. But the idea of a multigenerational Satanic conspiracy is absolutely false. See Jeffrey S. Victor’s excellent Satanic Panic.

Nick Redfern is a British paranormal investigator now resident in Texas. In this book, subtitled ‘UFOs, Russian Meddling, Soviet Spies & Cold War Secrets’, he proposes that while the UFO phenomenon is real, the terrible Russkies have been manipulating it to destabilise America and her allies. This comes from the Russians attempting to interfere in the American presidential elections a few years ago. In fact, the book doesn’t actually show that the Russians have. Rather it shows that the FBI, Airforce Intelligence and CIA believed they were. Prominent figures in the UFO milieu were suspected of Russian sympathies, and investigated and question. George Adamski, the old fraud who claimed he’d met space people from Venus and Mars, was investigated because he was recorded making pro-Soviet statements. Apparently he believed that the space people were so much more advanced than us that they were Communists, and that in a coming conflict Russia would defeat the West. Over here, the founder and leader of the Aetherius Society, George King, who also channeled messages from benevolent space people on Venus and Mars, was also investigation by special branch. This is because one of the messages from Aetherius called on Britain to respond to peace overtures from the Russians. This was seized on by the Empire News, which, as its name suggests, was a right-wing British rag, that denounced King for having subversive, pro-Commie ideas and reported him to the rozzers. King willingly cooperated with the cops, and pointed out that his was a religious and occult, not political organisation. But he and his followers were still kept under surveillance because they, like many concerned people, joined the CND marches.

It’s at this point that Redfern repeats the Sunset Times slur about the late Labour leader, Michael Foot. Foot also joined these marches, and the former Soviet spy chief, Oleg Gordievsky, had declared that Foot was a KGB spy with the codename ‘Comrade Boot’. It’s malign rubbish. Redfern notes that Foot sued the Sunset Times for libel and won. But he prefers to believe Gordievsky, because Gordievsky was right about everything else. So say. Actually, Gordievsky himself was a self-confessed liar, and there’s absolutely no corroborating evidence at all. And rather than being pro-Soviet, Foot was so critical of the lack of freedom of conscience in the USSR that he alarmed many of his Labour colleagues, who were afraid he would harm diplomatic relations. The accusation just looks like more Tory/ IRD black propaganda against Labour.

Other people in the UFO milieu also had their collar felt. One investigator, who told the authorities that he had met a group of four men, who were very determined that he should give his talks a pro-Russian, pro-Communist slant, was interrogated by a strange in a bar on his own patriotism. The man claimed to be a fellow investigator with important information, and persuaded him to take a pill that left his drugged and disorientated. Redfern connects this the MK Ultra mind control projects under CIA direction at the time, which also used LSD and other drugs.

But if Redfern doesn’t quite show that the Russians are manipulating the phenomena through fake testimony and hoax encounters, he presents a very strong case that the Americans were doing so. During the Second World War, Neville Maskelyn, a British stage magician, worked with the armed forces on creating illusions to deceive the Axis forces. One of these was a tall, walking automaton to impersonate the Devil, which was used to terrify the Fascists in Sicily. Redfern notes the similarity between this robot, and the Flatwoods monster that later appeared in America. The Project Serpo documents, which supposedly show how a group of American squaddies had gone back to the Alien homeworld, were cooked up by one of the classic SF writers, who was also a CIA agent. And the scientist Paul Bennewitz was deliberately given fake testimony and disinformation about captured aliens and crashed saucers by members of the agency, which eventually sent the poor bloke mad. He was targeted because he was convinced the saucers and the aliens were kept on a nearby airforce base. The American military was worried that, although he wouldn’t find any evidence of aliens, he might dig up military secrets which would be useful to the Russians. And so they set about destroying him by telling him fake stories, which he wanted to hear. And obviously, there’s more.

It’s extremely interesting reading, but Redfern does follow the conventional attitude to Russian. The country was a threat under Communism, and is now, despite the fact that Communism has fallen. He is silent about the plentiful evidence for American destabilisation of foreign regimes right around the world during the Cold War. This included interference in elections and outright coups. The most notorious of these in South America were the overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile by General Pinochet, and Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala. He also doesn’t mention recent allegations, backed up with very strong evidence, that the US under Hillary Clinton manufactured the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine in 2012 to overthrow the ruling pro-Russian president and install another, who favoured America and the West.

If you want to read my review, it’s at



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7 Responses to “My Review of Russian UFO Conspiracy Book Now Up At Magonia Blog”

  1. trev Says:

    This is an interesting post and I’m still working my way through it. One thing that puzzles me is that if UFO sightings are personal internal psychological experiences as Keel and others have postulated then how does that explain multiple witness sightings?

    • beastrabban Says:

      Good question, and I’m not sure what the answer is. I suspect that in some cases what has been witnessed is anomalous lights, and the entity encounters have been experienced by a single individual. Or that the witness statements have been contaminated as some of them may have talked to each other, or been asked leading questions by the investigator. But I realise that this isn’t a terribly satisfying answer.

  2. trev Says:

    I would say it is highly probable (and to be expected) that there has been a great deal of manipulation, lies and hoaxes surrounding the UFO phenomenon by both the Russians and the Americans, along with at least some cover-ups by the British government (e.g. Rendlesham) but that doesn’t mean to say that it isn’t a real phenomenon though. In fact I have seen three UFOs myself!

    • beastrabban Says:

      My guess is that there isn’t a single answer to the UFO phenomenon, and I don’t doubt you’ve seen three UFOs, Trev. I know quite a number of trustworthy people who have. i think some are anomalous aerial lights, which are probably an unknown meteorological phenomenon. Others, I’m sure, are misidentifications of known natural phenomena or objects. For example, one UFO was put down to sightings of a discarded rocket stage tumbling in orbit. Some may well be top secret space- and aircraft, such as various drones and spyplanes. And for all I know, some of them may well be genuine encounters with a paranormal entities.

      • trev Says:

        I don’t have any real concrete answers either, other than what I have gleaned from some other esoteric subject matter about the existence of a 4th Dimension mentioned in various writings of a Spiritual nature, an unseen world of other Beings including everything from Elementals to Discarnate Spirits to noncarnate entities, all occupying different Densities or ‘Spheres’ of Reality extraneous to the Physical, which is entirely possible. A Spiritualist Medium described the otherworldly visitors to me as higher frequency Beings.
        The UFOs that I saw were not just vague lights in the sky but actual objects at low altitude, two within 15 mins. of each other on the same bright sunny day in broad daylight, one enormous and in the distance some miles away,the other much smaller and directly overhead at a height of about 100ft. The first UFO I saw was either one or two years prior to that and was something completely different in appearance, a typical metallic disc or ‘flying saucer’ approximately 2000 ft high at a rough guess, maybe 40 ft diameter, looked roughly the size of an helicopter, and was totally silent, seen at 10.30pm. All three sightings were made from the same location, the patio of the back garden where I used to live in Bradford, West Yorkshire. There were no other reports in the local press of anyone else seeing these things , but I didn’t report it either so I have no idea if anyone else saw them.

      • beastrabban Says:

        That’s really interesting, Trev. I haven’t seen any at all, though as I said, I know people who have.

  3. trev Says:

    Now, I’m not defending the Brexit Party but I have just learned that one of their candidates has allegedly been forced to stand down due to her controversial beliefs in ETs, fairies and Elementals. Whilst her claim to be a Spiritual adviser from Sirius is perhaps derisory, erm..not to mention highly suspect, holding beliefs in the Paranormal should not in my view have any bearing on a candidate’s Political views or potential abilities.

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