YESTERDAY I was speaking to an elderly chap for whom I have the greatest respect, and he told me something he’d never related to anyone before.
Back in 1976, or thereabouts, he and a colleague had seen what he described as a “flying saucer” over South Shields.
He said: “It was dark, but the sky was perfectly clear. I looked up, and I saw two lights in the sky, one slightly bigger than the other.
“I said to my colleague, “Look! What on Earth is that?” We stared at them as they just hung there, and then ... whoosh!
“They shot up in the sky together until they were as small as the stars. Then they just disappeared ... blinked out.
“Everybody in the coalyard saw them, too, because they were talking about it the next day.”
To be honest, there is nothing remarkable in this story at all, for what this chap and others saw back in 1976 is no different to the hundreds of thousands of similar experiences that other people have had throughout the ages.
Lights in the sky, saucer-shaped craft, bug-eyed aliens – there’s nothing new under the sun, as the saying goes.
Over the last five decades, there has been a growing clamour for the governments of this world to release what they know about the UFO phenomenon.
Collectively known as the Disclosure Movement, a body of astronauts, military personnel, scientists, philosophers, journalists, politicians, pilots, police officers and others has become ever more strident in expressing their view that its time the people were told the truth.
One of the most interesting things about the supporters of Disclosure is that they represent the very calibre of witness that the sceptics so often claim is lacking; physicists, biologists, metallurgists, engineers and others who have essentially put their hands up and said, “Yup, the evidence is there, we’ve seen it and we aren’t going to keep quiet any longer.”
When faced with cases like the one I introduced this column with, many Disclosure witnesses were originally sceptical and said, “Lights in the sky? They could be anything.”
But when confronted with evidence of a much higher order, common sense just had to win out.
“You just can’t go on denying the undeniable”, as one former USAF pilot said, “particularly when its only half a mile in front of your cockpit.”
Or, as a high-ranking intelligence officer with inside knowledge put it: “Those who still deny that our planet is being visited by extraterrestrials are either woefully ignorant of the facts, in a state of denial or, I’m sorry to say, just plain stupid.”
Take the infamous Roswell incident of July 1947, when a UFO containing several non-human occupants crashed into the New Mexico desert, for example.
Even lunar astronaut Dr Edgar Mitchell has admitted that some of the witnesses had apparently been, “hushed up by government authorities ... military authority ... almost on pain of death at the time.”
Mitchell then added, “Subsequent sightings – subsequent evidences – reaffirmed all of that; that we are being visited, and have been visited, by alien spacecraft and alien beings and our governments around the world are covering it up.”
The testimony of all-American heroes like Mitchell is embarrassing to the sceptics – he’s not the only astronaut to make such claims – for it forces them to either call the man an out-and-out liar or admit he’s telling the truth – there just isn’t any middle ground.
Just why would people who had everything to lose and very little to gain make such claims if they weren’t true? And we aren’t talking about one or two here – we’re talking about hundreds.
Next week I’ll take a look at some of the high-profile witnesses who are now admitting that UFOs are real – and ask whether we are any nearer to seeing our governments finally telling the truth about the UFO phenomenon.
* Had a close encounter? Let Mike know at firstname.lastname@example.org