Posts Tagged ‘UFOs’

Video on the History of and Evidence for the Aurora Steal Plane

January 24, 2023

Here’s a very short video on the American SR-92 Aurora stealth plane from the Future Machine Tech channel on YouTube. This suggests that Aurora was developed as a black project by the American air force in the 1980s as a replacement for the SR-91 Blackbird spy plane. During the ’90s there were sightings of mysterious UFOs dubbed ‘black triangles’ because of their shape and colour. The Aurora fits this description exactly, and many of the sightings of such UAPs may be of this mysterious, but definitely not extraterrestrial, aircraft. The video mentions a tracking image of it flying across the Pacific on its way to America, probably to touch down at the very top secret research base at Groom Lake, Area 51. The aircraft leaves a very distinctive contrail, which has ben described as ‘doughnuts on a rope’ and may have been tracked flying over Belgium according to an article back in the 90s in the defunct UFO Magazine. I’m putting this video up because I and some of the great commenters on this blog have an interest in UFOs, although we differ in our views of the phenomenon. Some UFO sightings are almost certainly of top secret military aircraft. Others are hoaxes, some of which may be perpetrated by the intelligence agencies for their own purposes, one of which may be the deliberate destabilisation and discrediting of UFO research groups and investigators. Some, as suggested by French-American astronomer and computer scientist Jacques Vallee and the late journalist of the paranormal, John Keel, may be paranormal in origin, beings from other dimensions. Others may be real alien spacecraft. People over here have also had sightings of the Black Triangles, and so it’s quite possible that they’ve quite a glimpse of this classified plane.

Did H.G. Wells Predict or Invent the Grays?

December 26, 2022

I’ve been reading various SF books over the past few days. These have been the collections of classic SF stories edited by the British Library’s Mike Ashley. One of these is a history of British SF in 100 stories. This doesn’t collect the stories themselves, but consists of precis of what he judges to be the 100 best British SF stories. It begins with H.G. Wells, as you’d expect and includes a number of other well-known SF authors from the period, like Aldous Huxley and Brave New World. But there are many others that are now obscure, but seem to be really interesting and sometimes chillingly prescient. For example, the 1918 novel, Journey to Meccania, is a terrible warning of what will happen if Germany wins the War and dominates Europe. It’s the account of visit to Meccania, a Nazi-style totalitarian superstate in 1970 by a Chinese traveller, Mr Ming. Another story, written by Charlotte Haldane, the wife of the scientist J.B.S. Haldane, written in 1932, describes another racist, eugenicist dystopia. This is a state in which the government rigidly controls who may be allowed to marry and breed. The scientist, who has founded this totalitarian society, has also created a poison designed to only kill Blacks. At the moment, this is the only such toxin of its kind, though the story states that there are others working on a similar poison to destroy east Asians. In the ’60s or ’70s the South African secret service, BOSS, was really working on a racist poison like it. The book also uses the term ‘holocaust’, though not in connection with the Jews. Charlotte Haldane was Jewish. Her maiden name was Franken, and so I wonder if she was just looking at the direction the contemporary craze for eugenics and racial ‘science’ was going and showing just how horrific this would be in reality. And it did become horrific reality in Nazi Germany.

Back to H.G. Wells, the book obviously discusses The Time Machine, possibly the first serious book about time travel. Wells based the future races in the book, the Eloi and the Morlocks, on what would happen if present social trend continued. The Eloi are the descendants of the aristocracy and the artists, living above ground but farmed like cattle by the Morlocks, the descendants of the working class, who have been forced underground to tend the machines. Wells set that part of the story 800,000 years in the future because that was when he predicted, using then current theories of speciation, that the two post-human species would have diverged. Apparently the book originally included a section on racial degeneration, which was later cut from the book and published as The Gray Man.

Years ago, Martin Kottmeyer, one of the contributors to the small press, sceptical UFO magazine, Magonia, ran a series of articles ‘Varicose Brains’ on how the Grays of UFO lore conform to the aliens in much SF literature. These were based on contemporary theories of evolution, which predicted that as humanity advanced the brain would develop and become larger while the body would consequently become smaller. As humanity became more intelligent and intellectual, so it would become less sensual and food become increasingly simpler. The result would be small people with large heads and atrophied digestive systems. This sounds exactly like the Grays. And some UFO theories state that these are the degenerate remnants of an alien race following mutation and racial decline due to nuclear war. But it’s also the name Wells’ gave his future, racially degenerate humans that also fascinates me: the Gray Man. Did Wells invent the Gray as a cultural motif, which then became incorporate into the UFO experience in the late 1960s and ’70s following the abduction of Betty and Barney Hill? Or did he just predict the figure’s appearance based on nothing more than his literary imagination and scientific insight?

And there are other connections between UFO encounters and early SF. One female SF writer in the ’20s and ’30s wrote a story about Martians coming to Earth to take water back to their own world. UFOs have often been seen over water, including instances like the Joe Simonton encounter, where they appear to be siphoning it into their craft. And then there’s the film The Man Who Fell To Earth, directed by Nicholas Roeg and starring David Bowie, in which an alien travels from his desert world to bring back some of Earth’s water. Is it a case of the human imagination taking these images and narratives and turning them into accounts of encounters with aliens during extreme psychological experiences? Or is the phenomenon behind the UFO encounters taking these images and stories and manipulating them? Or is it just coincidence?

A Seasonal Bad Film: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

December 24, 2022

This for fans of films that are so bad that a kind of fascination and enjoyment creeps into them, like the kind of movies shown and lampooned in the American series Mystery Science Theatre 3000. The audience for this kind of film – so bad that they were, in their way, great – was growing when I was a schoolboy. I think it started as a mass movement with the publication of the Medved Brother’s book The Golden Turkey Awards, in which they reviewed a series of truly awful movies. This was followed up in the UK with interviews in Starburst magazine, where they talked about their fascination with truly dreadful SF B movies, such as the dire works of Ed Wood and other masters of the horrendously bad. These films included Robot Monster, which was made on the lavish budget of $30 a day. The robot monster of the title was a man in gorilla suit wearing a diving helmet. To make it suitably futuristic, they stuck a pair of TV aerials on it. The guy playing the monster got the job because he owned the gorilla suit. And then in 1983 Channel 4 gave us The Worst of Hollywood. Introduced by Michael Medved, this brought to the British viewing public such masterpieces as Plan 9 from Outer Space, another of Wood’s grandiose, cheap epics, They Saved Hitler’s Brain, Eegah!, The Wild Women of Wonga, one of the lesser known Godzilla films and a raunchy space epic in which sex-starved aliens land on Earth in a spaceship shaped like a giant breast. The season ended on Christmas Eve with the 1964 film Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. This was intended as a seasonal children’s favourite and the story seems to involve Martian adults trying to take over the world by producing a counterfeit Santa. But the real Santa manages to unite both Terran and Martian children against the adults and the invasion plan is thwarted. I can’t say I watched much of it when it was on. I’d come back from a party at a school friend’s and so caught just the ending. This was of Santa and the children singing ‘Hooray for Santy Claus’, and is pretty much as dire as it sounds. Medved added in his afterword to the film that its composer then went on to do the music for the Gong Show. So in memory of that glorious Christmas Eve 39 years ago, I’ve decided to inflict the trailer for this classic of terrible cinema and its theme song, both of which are on YouTube.

Here’s the trailer from Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers channel.

And here’s ‘Hooray for Santy Claus’ from PoppiCiullo’s channel.

Of the directors of terrible movies, Wood has particularly become a cult figure. Before release of The Room, and the career of German-born director Uwe Boll, he was generally considered Hollywood’s worst director and Plan 9 from Outer Space the worst film of all time. This flick is about evil UFO aliens invading Earth and resurrecting zombies from Earth’s graveyards. It’s extremely low budget and is known for its spectacularly cheap special effects and duff dialogue. The UFOs were paper plates doused in petrol and thrown into the air. One scene, set in the cabin of an aircraft, is very obviously shot in someone’s front room with the house door standing in for the cabin’s. The leaders of the zombies was played by Bela Lugosi, but this master of horror died half-way through filming. His place was taken by Wood’s wife’s homeopathic healer, who was something like a foot taller than Lugosi. It began with a weird, rambling introduction by Creswell, one of the celebrity astrologers of the period, who dispensed this pearl of wisdom: ‘We are all interested in the future because we will spend the rest of our lives there.’ Well, quite. You can’t argue with that. And it also boasted such immortal lines as ‘Dead! Murdered! And someone’s to blame.’ ‘Gee, I guess that’s why you’re a sergeant and I’m only a patrolman.’

In addition to Plan 9, Wood is also celebrated, or notorious, for the movie Glenn/Glenda or I Changed My Sex. Wood was a transvestite as well as decorated war hero. He was awarded a Purple Heart for his heroism in taking an enemy machine gun nest during World War II. He did so while wearing women’s satin underwear. He also liked to dress as cowboy, and would go out to restaurants either in drag or dress in a sequined cowboy costume, giving out photos of himself to the waitresses. Glenn/Glenda was intended as a sensitive portrayal of the plight of male crossdressers in contemporary America. In the hands of any other director, this would have been possible. But Wood’s direction was clunky and the dialogue predictably bad. It also has a bizarre dream sequence in which chairs and other furniture move about on their own. Bela Lugosi is also in it as God, speaking lines like ‘Dance to this. Dance to that. But beware the little green dragon sleeping on your doorstep’.

I first became aware of this piece of Wood’s oeuvre from a programme earlier in the 70s on daytime TV presented by Dennis Norden, which looked back on some of the lesser known and cheesier films of the past. It’s also a favourite of rock meister Alice Cooper. Cooper was interviewed by Muriel Grey on The Tube, the Channel 4 pop programme also in the 1980s. She asked Cooper what his favourite film was. He replied that it was Glenn/Glenda. She naturally asked him why. He replied that when he first saw it, it completely bemused him and he wondered what on Earth he was watching. This brought forth her classic reply, ‘You’re a strange boy, Alice’. Well, yes, and at one point he was outraged parents and responsible adults all over America for his antics on stage.

Wood has become such a cult figure that in the 1990s there was a biopic about him with the slogan ‘Films were his passion. Women were his inspiration. Cashmere sweaters were his weakness’. I’ve never seen it, but it does fascinate me. Just like his, and those of the other terrible directors continue to find new audiences despite, or because, of their lack of talent.

What If Santa Upgraded His Sleigh for a State of the Art Stealth Plane?

December 24, 2022

As it’s the Christmas season I’m planning to leaven the serious stuff on this channel with more fun material just to spread a bit more cheer around in this new Winter of Discontent. And here’s a jolly bit of fun I found on the ‘Found and Explained’ YouTube channel. It discusses what would possibly result if Santa Claus upgraded his sleigh, which is more fitted to a time before modern technology when horse-drawn carriages and sleighs were the only or main vehicles available. This was all right until the story went global and its credibility was challenged by the problem of travelling around the world, including crossing the Atlantic to North America. Hence the need to upgrade to something more modern.

The video notes the apparent similarities between the supernatural qualities of Santa’s sleigh and UFOs. However, it doesn’t actually talk about using UFO technology, which in the UFO legend is available through back engineering crashed alien space craft. No, the video instead discusses how Santa would swap his sleigh for a state of the art stealth aircraft manufactured by Lockheed at their skunkworks, but incorporating other features from autonomous drones.

Santa’s new ‘sleigh’ would be a high-performance White Star aircraft, utilising pulse jet powered by nuclear energy to achieve speeds of Mach 10 to Mach 15. There would be no windows, and instead the crew would see out using technology that turned much of the cabin into viewscreens. Santa would not be able to deliver the presents personally, except in some circumstances where the consumption of mince pies is concerned, and so would deliver his presents using drones. When he was required to make a personal appearance, the craft would use the autopilot system from another, autonomous drone. Rudolf would not be able to survive the stresses he’d experience at the front of such a high velocity vehicle, and so on the nose of the aircraft himself would be a navigation system using information from satellite position systems.

The video acknowledges that there are problems with this design. Extra space would be needed for all the presents, drones, nuclear fuel and so on. This would be solved using the technology of Santa’s bag, which like the Bag of Holding in D & D games, has ample space to contain everything required.

Expense is also a problem, even given the vast wealth Santa must have to employ his army of elves on holiday pay, plus writing it all off as charity expenses. The video suggests that this could be solved by donating one or two White Stars to the American air force, where they could be reconverted to military aircraft complete with nuclear-tipped warheads. These could also be used against naughty children. And here the video shows the Grinch being fought with explosions.

It’s a bit of seasonal fun from the channel and obviously not meant to be taken seriously. I hope you enjoy it.

Saturn as the Abode of the Dead in Victorian Science Fiction

December 22, 2022

I put up a post the other day about an early 20th century SF story from 1901, in which Jesus Christ is raised on Mars and sent to Earth by the Martians to enlighten us. They rescue Him from the crucifixion, and bring Him back to Mars. It struck me that the story may have been an influence or at least prefigured the idea that later arose among UFO contactees and researcher that Christ was an alien. The best-known of the various UFO religions that believe this is the Aetherius Society, founded in the 1950s by former taxi driver George King. King was into eastern mysticism, and became aware of his mission as spokesman for the Space Brothers when he heard a voice in his kitchen one day telling him to prepare to be the voice of interplanetary parliament. The Aetherius Society believes that King was the recipient of spiritual messages from Aetherius, an alien on Venus, and that Jesus is also there on the planet. Louis Farrakhan, the head of the Nation of Israel, also claimed that he’d been taken aboard a UFO and shown how Jesus and his predecessor as head of the religion, W.D. Fard, were also on Venus. Both Christ and Fard were Black, and Fard was directing and preparing for the coming apocalyptic war against the Whites that would free Black America.

Looking through the SF collection Born of the Sun again today, I found another early SF story with a religious or supernatural dimension. This was John Jacob Astor’s 1894 A Journey in Other Worlds, in which Saturn is inhabited by the spirits of the dead. I think this was influenced by contemporary spiritualism and trends in psychic research. The followers of the 18th century Swedish scientist and mystic, Immanuel Swedenborg, believed that he had travelled in spirit across the Solar System and that the various planets were inhabited, including by the spirits of the departed. This was also the same time, I think, that mediums like Helene Smith believed that they were receiving telepathic messages from Mars. The Surrealists were fascinated by these mediumistic accounts, and one collection of Surrealist writings contains a drawing, done automatically, of Mozart’s house on either Jupiter or Saturn. There’s definitely a religious element in much Spiritualist speculation about space and early Science Fiction, and I’m very sure that this has had an influence on the UFO phenomenon and its accounts of contacts with spiritually advanced, benevolent alien beings.

Poul Anderson and Ideas about Terraforming Venus Before Carl Sagan

December 21, 2022

This might appeal to readers of this blog, who aren’t fans of the late astronomer, Sceptic and presenter of the blockbusting TV science series, Cosmos. I put up a drawing I’d done of Sagan a week or so ago along with a piece explaining why I thought he was a great TV personality. While Sagan was a brilliant astronomer and space scientist, some of the readers of this blog were less impressed by his attitude towards the UFO crowd. Sagan was a fervent rationalist, who saw it as his mission to attack ideas he thought were irrational, and particularly the paranormal. He was one of the founders of the Sceptical organisation, CSICOP, or the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, along with the stage magician James Randi and the mathematician Martin Gardner. One of Sagan’s last works was The Demon-Haunted World in which he worried about the tide of irrationality creeping over America and the world and foresaw a time in which the New Age would have taken over completely, leading to a new Dark Age and people earnestly consulting their horoscopes each morning.

Some commenters remembered how Sagan had been wheeled on TV in the 1960s to debunk UFO encounters. They didn’t like his superior and condescending attitude towards the experiencers. Now I’ll admit that I don’t regard UFOs as nuts and bolts alien spacecraft. Much of the imagery and the basic plot of UFO encounters seems to come from science fiction and supernatural encounters with gods, demons and fairies before then. One of the alternative views of the UFO phenomenon is the psycho-social hypothesis, which sees it as an internal psychological experience which uses the imagery of contemporary culture. In previous centuries this was of fairies. Now, as belief in the supernatural has declined in the West, the imagery is from science fiction. But both the imagery of fairies and alien spacecraft represent the same theme of encounter with a cosmic other. Some UFO writers and researchers like John Keel and Jacques Vallee believe that there is a genuine paranormal phenomenon at work, and that the force that was previously responsible for encounters with fairies and so on has simply now changed to using that of space craft as society has changed. See Keel’s Operation Trojan Horse, for example. Many UFO encounters can be explained as misidentification, hoaxes, and sightings of top secret military aircraft. I’m also convinced that some are due to the intelligence community deliberately messing with people for their own purposes. In one of his books, Vallee suggests that the Cergy-Pontoise abduction in France may have been faked by French intelligence as an experiment to see how people would react to a real alien encounter. And then there’s the case of Paul Bennewitz, a defence contractor in the US who was driven out of his mind by a pair of intelligence agents at a nearby USAF base. Bennewitz thought he had got in touch with an alien held captive at the base. The pair claimed to be whistleblowers and fed Bennewitz a whole load of spurious documents apparently confirming it, and then told him that it was all fake. It’s a tactic apparently known as the ‘double-bubble’ used by the intelligence services to destabilise their enemies. It worked on Bennewitz, who I think was driven to a nervous breakdown.

Even with the hoaxers, the top secret aircraft and the misidentified objects, there are still some UFO encounters that are very difficult to explain. I think the best explanations are probably the paranormal and psycho-social rather than the Extra-Terrestrial Hypothesis. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re any the less puzzling nor that genuine people, who have had a truly inexplicable experience, should be sneered or condescended to.

But back to Sagan. One of Sagan’s achievements was to suggest a way Venus could be terraformed. This involved planting genetically-engineered bacteria in the Venusian atmosphere. These would consume the carbon dioxide and exhale breathable oxygen. But Sagan wasn’t the first person to suggest ways of terraforming the planet, and he didn’t invent the concept of terraforming. You can find the idea, but not the name, in the Martian books of Edgar Rice Burroughs, in which the Martians have built giant machines to replenish the atmosphere on their dying world. The great SF writer Poul Anderson wrote a story in which a similar technology is used to terraform the Venusian atmosphere.

This is mentioned by Mike Ashley, the editor of the anthology of classic SF stories about the worlds of the solar system, Born of the Sun, published by the British Library. In the introduction to the story about Venus, Ashley writes

‘The 1950s saw some authors taking note of recent research which suggested Venus was far from a watery world. Leading the way was Poul Anderson. In ‘The Big Rain’ (1954) he describes a harsh, sweltering Venus that, when it does rain, rains formaldehyde. The story considers how Venus might be terraformed, using the formaldehyde locked in Venus’ clouds. Airmaker machines, spread all over Venus, accelerate a reaction with the formaldehyde, ammonia and methane to produce hydrocarbons and oxygen, whilst bombs reinvigorate volcanos so that in time it starts to rain – and rains for over a hundred years, by which time Venus starts to be more Earth–like’. (p. 93).

To me, this is an example of one the instances where informed Science Fiction, even if wrong in the details, has advanced scientific thinking. And there are plenty of other examples in some of the other stories Ashley discusses in some of the other books in the same series.

Sagan, for all his faults, was a brilliant scientist and he did much to make people aware of the environmental crisis and opposed the threat of nuclear war and the New Cold War Reagan and Thatcher started ramping up in the 1980s. But in this case, while his ideas about terraforming Venus are most likely to be correct, he wasn’t the first to invent the idea.

Sometimes SF writers get there first.

Charles Cole and the Origin of the Belief that Jesus was an Extraterrestrial

December 21, 2022

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting much over the last few days. Our boiler here packed in last Friday, and we’ve spent the past few days trying to get it fixed. Part of the problem has been trying to get through to the gas company that installed it. We were on the phone for three hours the other day trying to get through to someone. But we’ve managed to sort things out and hopefully it’ll all be fixed before too long.

I’ve started reading a few Science Fiction books I ordered a few months ago, but have only just got around to reading. They’re collections of early, classic SF short stories edited by Mike Ashley and published by the British Library. Each collection is devoted to a different theme. There’s one on the Menace of the Machine, which traces the idea of robots rebelling and taking over from the 19th century to 60s predictions of the rise of the internet. Born of the Sun is an anthology of SF stories set on the various worlds of our solar system, from Mercury out to Pluto, including the false planet Vulcan.. This was a planet a 19th century astronomer believed he had seen inside the orbit of Venus. It’s existence has since been disproved, but as the book says, it lives on in the name for Mr. Spock’s home planet in Star Trek. Each of the stories is prefaced by a brief history of these worlds in Science Fiction. And these are often fascinating.

The introduction to the short story about Mars in Born of the Sun notes the way the planet has also been used to explore theological and religious issues, such as in C.S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet. This was one of a trilogy of books, the others being Perelandra, or Voyage to Venus and That Hideous Strength, all with a very strong theological dimension. The other planets of the solar system, in Lewis’ SF, are unfallen and ruled by angels, and there is a war going on with the demonic forces on Earth. In Out of the Silent Planet a philologist, Ransom, is kidnapped by an evil scientist and his commercial partner, and taken to Mars. Ransom manages to escape and at last makes contact with the indigenous Martians. Meeting the Oyarsa, the angel ruling the planet, he is told of its Edenic state and that neither he nor his captors can remain there, and they are sent back to Earth.

But SF stories about Mars with Christian theological dimension predate Lewis’ by some years. The book states that in 1901 Charles Cole published a story, Visitors from Mars, in which Jesus is raised on the Red Planet. He is sent to Earth to help us, and rescued by the Martians at the Crucifixion, who return Him to Mars. This is very similar to some of the beliefs among the UFO fraternity about Christ. The Aetherius Society, set up in the 1950s by ‘Sir’ George King, knight of the Byzantine Empire (self-awarded) teaches that Christ is alive and well and on Venus, along with Aetherius, an ascended being who sends messages of spiritual improvement to us via King. It also reminds me of Robert Heinlein’s novel, Stranger in a Strange Land, about a human raised by Martians who has great spiritual and psychic powers, and who founds a religion back on Earth. This was one of the influences on the emerging New Age movement back in the 1960s. One of the first neo-pagan religions was the Church of All Worlds, which was an attempt to put the religion founded by the book’s hero into practice. Heinlein himself wasn’t impressed with it, not least because he didn’t believe psychic powers existed. It might be that Cole’s book and other SF stories of the period in which the peoples of Venus and Mars were depicted as angels started that line of mystical speculation which eventually produced the New Age idea that Jesus was an alien. Or it could just be that it prefigured them when they arose later in the century with the emergence of the UFO phenomenon.

Sketch of Legendary Astronomy Author and Presenter Patrick Moore

December 3, 2022

Moore was for many years the face of astronomy on television in the UK, thanks to him presenting The Sky at Night from the 1950s almost to his death. He was known as much for his eccentric appearance as his subject, so there were plenty of jokes about him wearing the same rumpled suit down the decades. He was sent up on programmes from The Two Ronnies to Dead Ringers, who spoofed him as ‘Old Moore’, a fairground fortune teller. But he remained dedicated to his subject, publishing a plethora of popular books on the subject. This included a series of Sky at Night books, one of which I found in the school library when I was a lad, as well as editing the annual Yearbooks of Astronomy. He also collaborated with the amazing British space and science fiction artist David A. Hardy on books such as The Challenge of the Stars. He also wrote at least two books on Mars. I found one in the central library in Bristol in the 1980s. A decade later, during the excitement about the series of probes NASA and other countries were sending to the Red Planet, he published Patrick Moore on Mars. Its title invites all manner of jokes along the lines of ‘best place for him.’ He also wrote a series of children’s science fiction books about a boy space explorer, Scott Summers. These were hard SF based on the science of the time and what was expected to develop later. They’re now obviously very dated. In one of these, Wanderer in Space, Summers flew to intercept an antimatter asteroid that was threatening Earth aboard an ion driven rocket, clearly anticipating developments in such propulsion that haven’t materialised. Ion drives exist, but they aren’t being used for manned space missions. Another of these was about a human colony on Mars, living in a glass dome. This ends with the colonists looking forward to one day emerging and living free on its surface. This one has been superseded by Kim Stanley Robinson’s trilogy of books about the settlement and terraforming of Mars. As well as these books, he also contributed to a string of popular science and astronomy magazines like Astronomy Now, New Voyager and Focus.

I think he was one of those scientists, with Arthur C. Clarke, who worked on radar during the War but I’m not sure. He never had a formal qualification in astronomy but was always strictly amateur. He was, however, granted an amateur doctorate by one of the universities. I’m sure, however, that at the level he was active in astronomy he would have probably easily passed a university degree in the subject. His maps of the Moon were so good that they were used by NASA in selecting landing sites for the Apollo missions. He never married because his sweetheart was killed during the War in an air raid. In his personal politics he was extremely right-wing, founding the One Country party, which was later merged with another small, extreme right-wing group. I can also remember him appearing on one of the chat shows and remarking that we’d be ‘in the cart’ without Maggie Thatcher. Like many people who have genuinely been through a war, he was deeply critical of it. In one of the chapters in The New Challenge of the Stars, about a possible hostile encounter between an asteroid ark and the inhabitants of an alien planet in whose system it has appeared, Moore makes a sharp comment about man’s folly of war entering a new battleground in space. He was also a staunch opponent of fox hunting. Back in the 90s he was a guest on the comedy programme Room 101, in which guests compete to have various useless and irritating objects or people consigned to the room made famous by Orwell’s 1984. In the vast majority cases, this is just light-hearted fun. But Moore was absolutely serious about sending fox hunting there and talked about how he’d written to various authorities to get it banned. Away from astronomy he also taught himself to play the xylophone and composed numerous pieces for the instrument. One of these was published in a classical music magazine. This did not translate into a career in music, however. He got very annoyed when his planned concert at the Hippodrome was cancelled due to lack of interest.

As well as serious, professional and amateur astronomers Moore talked to during his long career, he also met and talked to various eccentrics, including UFO contactees. One of those he interviewed on the Sky at Night was a man who believed he was in contact with peaceful aliens, and could speak four of their languages, including Venusian and Plutonian. This gentleman demonstrated it by saying the greeting, ‘Hello, space brothers’, in one of them. And although Moore persistently denied it, it seems he was one of the hands behind a hoax book by ‘Cedric Allingham’ about how he encountered an alien spacecraft and its inhabitants during a walking tour of the Scottish Highlands. This was during the first wave of UFO encounters in the late 40s and 50s. When people wrote to the publisher hoping to contact Allingham, he could not be traced. One excuse was that he was off walking in Switzerland. Computer analysis of the text reveals that it was probably written by Moore and revised by someone else in order to disguise his authorship. Moore remained very willing to meet ordinary members of the public and talk to them about his subject even in his retirement. He publicly gave out the address of his home in Herstmonceux, Sussex and said if people had questions or wanted to talk to him, they could drop in, shrugging off the obvious dangers of theft, burglary and so on.

Moore belonged to an age when popular science broadcasters could be real characters, often with eccentric mannerism. There was Magnus Pike, who was famous for waving his arms around while speaking, and the bearded dynamo of Botanic Man himself, David Bellamy, sent up in impressions by Lenny Henry. Since then, popular science programmes have been presented by people who are younger and/or a bit more hip. One BBC programme on astronomy a few years ago was presented by Queen guitarist Brian May, who had studied astrophysics at university before getting caught up in his career as an awesome global rock star. May had just handed in his astrophysics thesis after decades of touring the world with Mercury, Deacon et al. His co-presenter was the comedian Dara O’Brien, who had tried to study maths at university but had dropped out because of its difficulty. The Sky at Night is now presented by about three different hosts, including Black woman Maggie Aderin-Pocock. And I think the face of astronomy and cosmology now is probably Brian Cox after all his series on the subject. But for all this, I prefer the science presenters of a previous generation with all their quirks and foibles. These people were enthusiastic about their subject and were able to communicate their enthusiasm without trying to be too slick to connect with a mass audience. And they succeeded.

The 1984 Yearbook of Astronomy and What’s New in Space, just two of the books edited and written by Moore.

Labour Party Invite Me to Anti-Semitic Awareness Event Run by Sectarian, Fanatically Zionist Witch-Hunters Jewish Labour Movement

July 2, 2022

I got this email yesterday from Southwest Labour

‘Dear David James,

We are pleased to be inviting members in the South West to attend anti-semitism awareness training from the Jewish Labour Movement. It will take place over Zoom on Wednesday 6th July at 7pm. 

Please email’ ————–‘to register and the meeting link will be sent closer to the date.

Best wishes,

Labour South West’

I should cocoa! The very cheek! Just in case you need reminding, the Jewish Labour Movement was one of the Jewish organisations deeply involved in the witch-hunt against Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in the Labour party for alleged ‘anti-Semitism’. I put ‘anti-Semitism’ inverted commas because these organisations, including those outside the party like the Chief Rabbinate and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism were not, in my opinion, genuinely concerned with anti-Semitism in its true and original sense. This is a hatred of Jews, simply for being Jews, regardless of political or religious opinions on their part. I have made this point again and again on this blog, citing some of the 19th century founders and leaders of modern organised anti-Semitism in Wilhelm Marr’s Bund Antisemiten or League of Anti-Semites. The Jewish Labour Movement used to be Paole Zion, Workers of Zion, and was virtually moribund until a decade or so ago when in received an injection of cash from person or persons unknown. The Labour Party has always had Jewish members and the parliamentary party has, or used to have, slightly more than the Tories. There are a number of other Jewish organisations in the Labour party and on the left, such as Jewish Voice for Labour and the Jewish Socialist Group, not to mention Jewdas, with whom Jeremy Corbyn spent a Passover Seder. Corbyn also received strong backing from the Haredi Jews, who believe it is their duty to stay in galut, exile, until they are called back to Israel by the Messiah. In the meantime, they are to cooperate with the peoples in whose lands they reside to build better societies and to ‘pray for the health of the city’ as commanded by the Prophet in the Hebrew Bible. And I’ve no doubt there are many other Jews in the Labour party, who are not party of any Jewish organisation, because, like Dr. Jonathan Miller, they consider themselves Brits, who happen to be Jewish, and don’t want to be part of a minority.

But these Jews and their organisations are not recognised as properly Jewish and are actively opposed and maligned by the Jewish Labour Movement. The JLM’s focus, like the other organisations behind the witch-hunt, is to combat anti-Zionism and silence any criticism of Israel’s barbarous treatment of the Palestinians. And they do this by smearing their enemies as anti-Semites. And very many of their victims are Jews, which make their claims to be tackling anti-Semitism risible.

Mike was told by the Labour party that he would be allowed to remain in it after he was smeared as an anti-Semite if he attended anti-Semitism training by the JLM. Mike’s only crime was to point out that Ken Livingstone was entirely correct when he said that Adolf Hitler initially supported Zionism. He did. It was the Ha’avara Agreement, a shameful pact with the German Zionists to smuggle German Jews into British mandate Palestine. It was done as a way to cleanse Germany of Jews. The pact was short-lived, but it happened. Mike refused, as he is not and has never been and never will be an anti-Semite and attendance would have been taken as a tacit admission of guilt.

Jackie Walker is another of their victims. They secretly recorded her at workshop to discuss the best ways to commemorate the Holocaust. Holocaust Memorial Day not only commemorates the Jewish Holocaust, but also the many other genocides that have disfigured human history. Walker is a Jew by faith and blood. Her father was a Russian Jews, and so she knows from family experience more than most about real anti-Semitic persecution. Her mother was a Black American civil rights activist, and so was deeply concerned about another form of racial persecution against her people. Walker’s crime was to ask what the event would do about commemorating other holocausts, such as those against Black people. Since the great Black activist and scholar W.E.B. DuBois, many Blacks and White sympathisers have regarded the slave trade and slavery as a Black holocaust. Walker asked a decent question. But for some reason this was regarded as ‘anti-Semitic’ and she was smeared and purged.

I think most severely normal Brits are aware of the dangers of anti-Semitism. The documentaries about the Second World War and the Nazis shown on television necessarily include the Nazi persecution of the Jews and the Shoah. There have been a number of award-winning Hollywood films about the Holocaust and the heroes who rescued Jews, like Schindler’s List, which came out in the ’90s. I also remember the outrage and campaigning on the left in the 70s and 80s against the NF and BNP when they were marching about trying to get votes, and similar fears and disgust when the BNP briefly revived and its noxious leader, Nick Griffin, was invited onto Question Time. There are very many excellent books about the Holocaust, and some of the late Clive James’ best TV criticism is from the 70s when Fascist and Nazi scumbags like Oswald Mosley, Albert Speer and Baldur von Schirach were interviewed on British TV. James expertly took apart their lies and false protestations of innocence to reveal the real malignity underneath.

Part of my undergraduate course in history was on the rise of Fascist and Communist regimes in Europe, and I still have the books I bought during then. I’ve also done some reading on Fascism since then, including on its post-War varieties. I’m also interested in conspiracy theories, the most infamous of which are those about some secret Jewish conspiracy which controls both capitalism, socialism and communism to enslave the White race. These theories became prominent again in the ’90s when they were incorporated into the UFO mythology and the right-wing conspiracy theories about the Illuminati, another group who are supposed to be controlling world events, the economy and politics from behind the scenes. David Icke believed that the world is secretly run by Reptoid aliens. He caused alarm and outrage because he used quotations from the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Tsarist anti-Semitic forgery, to support his crank ideas. Icke isn’t an anti-Semite, and genuinely seemed to believe that the world was run by extraterrestrials rather than Jews. Other UFO researchers, like the late Bill English, did the same, though when they cited the Protocols they claimed they should be read as talking about the Illuminati, rather than the Jews. Nevertheless these quotations were in danger of making the Protocols seem respectable to the point where a branch of Waterstones in one of the northern towns stocked them.

I totally accept that respectable scholars and lay people have to be very careful when it comes to some of the material on topics like the Nazis and Holocaust. Real anti-Semites and Nazis try to disguise their awful views and attempts to deny or minimise the Holocaust by setting up respectable-sounding magazines. Often they use coded language. For example, a very respectable folklorist wrote a piece in one of the urban folklore magazines back in the ’90s to tell how he’d been taken in by such tactics and to warn other to be on the guard. He had been researching tales of atrocities committed by the Germans during the First World War. He came to the conclusion that one of these, the story that the Kaiser’s troops had crucified a Canadian soldier, was bogus and may have been just allied propaganda. He was then approached by a history magazine with a respectable-sounding title, who asked him if they could reprint his article. He innocently agreed, only to find out later it was a Nazi rag. Its editors were using stories of allied propaganda to suggest that the Holocaust was also nothing but fiction. But as an American judge has ruled, the Holocaust is so well documented that its existence cannot be sanely denied. The scholar was shocked and disgusted, and so wrote the article to let others know about the deception and to be on their guard about similar tactics and approaches.

As for coded language, the believers in a world-wide conspiracy to enslave humanity talk about the globalists, the Illuminati, or the global elite. Sometimes this is innocent of anti-Semitism, and they really are talking about a secretive group of leading politicos, capitalists and so on, which isn’t some Jewish conspiracy. But sometimes it isn’t, and is code for ‘Jews’. I’ve also noticed that while Simon Webb of History Debunked isn’t an anti-Semite or anti-Zionist by any stretch of the imagination, some of his commenters do seem to be. There’s a lot of talk by them about the Great Replacement, the idea that the Jews are trying to destroy the White race with non-White immigrate. There’s also comments about ‘small hatted people’, or ‘people with small hats’, which sounds very much like its about the Jews, referring to the kippa skullcaps many observant Jews wear.

Sometimes you really do need to be careful and be informed so you’re not taken in by such language and deceit. But the Jewish Labour Movement won’t help you.

They’re concerned to discredit criticism of Israel using literary criticism and citing entirely bogus conspiracy theories about the Jews from the past. Remember when Shai Masot was caught plotting with a senior British civil servant to decide who should or shouldn’t be in the cabinet? This could rightly be called a conspiracy. But if you called it that, or described the two as plotting, you were the using an anti-Semitic trope because of all the genuinely stupid, poisonous and entirely mythical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in the past. The same if you report the atrocities committed by the Israeli state and IDF against Palestinians, especially if they can get in a reference to the Blood Libel, that Jews sacrificed Christian children to use their blood in the matzoh bread at Passover. This vile medieval smear has been responsible for numerous anti-Semitic pogroms. However, the Israeli state now is manipulating its memory to close down reasonable criticism. When the IDF shot a Palestinian woman a few years ago, one of the respectable newspaper cartoonists produced picture of her burning in the fireplace while Netanyahu, the-then president of Israel, hobnobbed with the US president. This was promptly denounced by the Israelis as anti-Semitic, because the fire recalled the gas ovens of the Holocaust. Similarly, when Gerald Scarfe drew a cartoon of the Israelis building their wretched wall to keep the Palestinians out using Arab blood, the Israelis again demanded a retraction and an apology because the blood supposedly referred to the infamous Blood Libel. And so another piece of entirely reasoned, reasonable and absolutely not anti-Semitic criticism and comment was again silenced. And this is what the Jewish Labour Movement also does in its events about anti-Semitism. They have nothing to do with making people genuinely aware of the threat of anti-Semitism and the way it is coded. They are all about discrediting justifiable criticism of Israel through using literary devices to make them apparently connected to past anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and innuendo.

I have absolutely no intention of going to this monstrous charade. If I want information and guidance on genuine anti-Semitism, I’d try to consult the JLM’s Jewish victims – Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Martin Odoni and others, self-respecting decent people, who have been smeared by the anti-Semitism witch-hunters as self-hating. Even though these people are Jewish and have fought against anti-Semitism and other forms of racism. Or I would contact Marc Wadsworth, the Black anti-racism activist. He was smeared as an anti-Semite, again using literary tropes, because he caught a Jewish Labour MP passing on a party brochure to a Torygraph hack. Oh, it was the trope of the disloyal Jew, they claimed. This was despite the fact that Wadsworth didn’t know the politico was Jewish, and had in the 1980s worked with the Board of Deputies about passing legislation to protect Jews against genuine anti-Semitic violence by the NF or BNP. Or I’d go to someone like Mike, who can tell fact from fiction, well-researches his stories and who was asked by a Jewish friend at College to be one of the readers in her performance commemorating the Holocaust’s victims.

All of the above have a far better understanding of anti-Semitism, or a more honest one than the Jewish Labour Movement and its highly ideological, distorted view of what counts as Jew hatred.

I’ve said it before: Judaism is a religion. The Jews are a people. Zionism is an ideology. Israel is a state. Judaism and its people are not synonymous with the modern state of Israel. Under a free society, all ideologies should be able to be examined and criticised, including Zionism. States can and do commit horrible atrocities, for which they should criticised. Israel should not be an exception merely because its people are Jews. Only hatred of Jews, simply for being Jews, should count as anti-Semitism.

Fight racism! Fight anti-Semitism! And don’t be taken in by bogus propaganda like that of the Jewish Labour Movement.

The Silent Drone That Flies Using Ionic Thrust

March 11, 2022

This is awesome. I found this fascinating little video on the YouTube channel of the Roswell Flight Test Crew, whose name seems to suggest that they’re a group into weird aviation technology, just like whatever it was that came down on Mac Brazel’s ranch in Roswell in 1947. In this video they’re at the UAV expo in Florida, talking to Tomas Pribanec, the CEO of a new start-up company, Undefined Technology. Pribanic and his team have created a drone that flies without any propellers, or indeed, it seems, wings or any conventional aircraft parts. It looks a bit like a Borg cube that’s been made out of wire. The machine flies using electricity to attract and repel the ions, the charged particles already present in the atmosphere. At the moment it can only fly for 15 minutes carrying a 2 pound payload, but it has the advantage of being silent. This has made it attractive to a number of other companies, according to Pribanic. Ion engines, which create thrust by generating charged particles, are already used in spacecraft, but it’s unusual to see the principle used on Earth. The blurb for the video on the Roswell Crew’s YouTube page runs

’22 Sept 2021 • In this episode, the Roswell Flight Test Crew speaks with Tomas Pribanic, the founder and CEO of Undefined Technology, based in south Florida. The company has built a prototype drone of approximately the same dimensions and configuration as a conventional multirotor – but without propellers. Instead, it uses charged ions that exist in the atmosphere and attracts or repels those ions as needed to develop thrust and maneuver. The prototype is five-foot square, capable of flying up to 15 minutes while carrying a two-pound payload. Owing to the lack of propellers, the aircraft is virtually silent in flight, making it a good candidate for cargo delivery and other missions in the urban environment where noise can be an issue.’

I think the technology has been around for a little while as there are a number of videos also on YouTube showing people, who’ve built their own. There was also a piece of news a year or so ago about a research group, who had incorporated it into a plane to demonstrate that it could be used to create more fuel efficient aircraft. They took their inspiration from Star Trek’s shuttlecraft and the way they flew without any moving parts.

This is next level technology very much like something out of science fiction, and I look forward to it being developed further.