Interesting talk but no flying "cigar" at Las Vegas UFO event

By Ted Bonnitt on September 27th, 2012
Interesting talk but no flying "cigar" at Las Vegas UFO event

Big hopes were raised among followers of UFO news ahead of last Saturday's, "Military UFOs: Secrets Revealed," panel discussion at the Smithsonian-affiliated National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas.

While no "smoking gun" revelations were presented, compelling information was shared with the standing room only audience in attendance.

Four retired U.S. military officials and a former official with with British Ministry of Defence who either experienced vivid encounters with UFOs or studied the phenomenon in high government circles recounted their experiences, and their stories are fascinating.  

In one bit of news, Former Air Force Col. Charles Halt, who was deputy base commander of the RAF Bentwaters military base in England in 1980, when he personally experienced several UFO close encounters at Rendlesham Forest, declared that the U.S. government is actively investigating UFOs.  Halt made audio recordings as he and his men watched and even touched a UFO that was hovering in the woods just outside of the base perimeter.   He believes the UFOs that they encountered were either extraterrestrial or extra dimensional in origin. 

Halt described U.S. government interest in UFOs. "Folks, there is an agency, a very close-held, compartmentalized agency that's been investigating this for years, and there's a very active role played by many of our intelligence agencies that probably don't even know the details of what happens once they collect the data and forward it," Halt said, according to the Huffington Post. "It's kind of scary, isn't it?"

Another panelist, retired Army Col. John Alexander, disputed Halt's claim of a secret U.S. government effort to study UFOs.  In the 1980s, Alexander organized the Advanced Theoretical Physics Group, whose members were from the aerospace and intelligence community.  The group accepted that there was credible evidence of UFO activity, but did not find any solid evidence of a government coverup.

Allan Palmer, Executive Director of the National Atomic Testing Museum, and host of the event told UFOGrid that Halt's claims of a secret government agency would carry more weight if he had provided substantiation, like names of people involved.

All eyes were on another panelist, retired Air Force Col. Bill Coleman, a chief spokesman for Project Blue Book between 1961 and 1963.  Project Blue Book was the "official" U.S Air Force study of UFOs that concluded in 1969 that there was nothing beyond prosaic explanations for UFO sightings, a finding that remains highly controversial.  

Coleman had hinted that he would disclose dramatic, new UFO information at the event. He didn't. Instead, Coleman retold his riveting story of an encounter that he and his flight crew had with a UFO while piloting a B-25 bomber one afternoon in 1955, over Alabama. 

While promoting his "Project UFO" television series than ran for two seasons on NBC in the late 1970s, Coleman told interviewer Merv Griffin on national TV about his UFO experience:

"We were cruising at 10,000 feet when we spotted a target somewhere around 20,000 to 25,000 feet. It was about seven miles in front of us to our right, and we were overtaking it. It then started descending across our flight path, and I decided to check it out. So I advanced power and began closing a little faster and descending. We kept getting closer and closer and pretty soon we were within a mile of the object, flying over trees at 345 MPH."

(The plane closed to within an eighth of a mile of the disc-shaped object.) "It was about 60 feet in diameter and 10 or 11 feet thick through the center," he said. "It had what looked like a titanium-type finish (silver gray). I pulled up and made a hard turn that put it out of sight for roughly four seconds. We whipped back to pull up alongside of it and it wasn’t there. I zoomed up to 1500 feet. `There it is!' I said. It was about 2 miles in front of us going across a field leaving a dusty trail behind it. I guessed its speed at about 170 MPH." After another dive, the crew lost sight of the object. "We never saw it again."

According to multiple sources familiar with the Las Vegas event held Saturday, Coleman decided to withhold his secret at the last minute.  Allan Palmer, himself a distinguished former military pilot, suggested that Coleman wrestled and ultimately decided against further disclosure, telling reporter Billy Cox, “He seems to be slightly troubled with that. There seems to be an inner tension with a duty not to violate a government trust. It’s a source of conflict with all of us.”

Cox reported in today's Sarasota, Florida, Herald-Tribune, that he spoke with the 89 year-old Coleman after the event, and that he admitted having, "pulled my punch."  Another reason he gave Cox was in part because of the audience that was facing him that night.  

“I was not challenged by the audience. It was the usual crowd — people wanting to talk to me about what they experienced, about how they found little pieces of metal in their chest and nose and crap like that," he told Cox.

“Rest assured, I met a lot of fine people there, particularly the ones who organized it. I just wanted to talk to people who would be able to comprehend what I was saying. But it was more like the people in the audience wanted me to listen to them,” Coleman told Cox.  "So I just said to hell with it, maybe I’ll take it to the grave.”

Palmer told UFOGrid that Coleman might, "write it in his book."   

If so, Mr. Coleman, please do it soon.

The fifth panelist and only civilian speaker, Nick Pope, apologized to the audience for the panel not revealing big secrets but suggested that the presence of distinguished military officers discussing their personal experiences provided plenty of substantiation that UFOs are real.

Pope, a civilian who investigated UFOs for the British Ministry of Defence, discussed how the British military concluded as early as 1951 that UFOs were nothing more than the result of mistaken identity and mass delusions, despite many credible accounts by military pilots and radar operators.  Meanwhile, Pope said, the government anonymously subscribed to UFO publications and that he covertly attended UFO conferences.  The British government was concerned that, "in all of these hundreds of thousands of sightings, the believers only had to be right once, and everything changes."

Palmer told UFOGrid that despite the absence disclosing big UFO news, the panel discussion was a success in terms of legitimizing the subject.  The museum intends to host more events and exhibits to bring light to the UFO phenomenon in a respectful forum.  By doing so, he hopes to serve public interest in the topic and stimulate interest in math and science studies among curious school children.

blog comments powered by Disqus