Conspiracy theorists unite!
Last week the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released 13 million previously classified Top Secret documents, including detailed investigations of UFO activity.
Available now via the CIA online library, the declassified documents include reports on: investigations into UFOs; top secret cables from government executives; the agency’s behaviour control program, MK-ULTRA; and reports from experiments carried out with renowned TV psychic and ‘spoon bender’, Uri Geller.
While many of the reports have sensitive information blacked out, there is still a surprising amount of detail that outlines events, locations and people.
Little grey men
UFO conspiracy theorists have long held that governments around the world are covering up evidence of the existence of aliens and UFOs, and even collaborating in secret with beings from another planet.
Ideas such as this entered the public mind decades ago, with the supposed crash landing of a UFO at Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947.
Legend has it the US Air Force moved the crashed flying saucer and its occupants to a testing facility near Groom Lake, called Area 51 – a site the US government has denied existed until 2013.
Stories like this were then popularised in the 1990s, in television series like The X-Files – a science-fiction drama where FBI Special Agents Fox ‘Spooky’ Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigate unsolved cases of a paranormal nature, with UFOs, aliens and government conspiracies playing the central role in the series.
While the declassified CIA documents don’t provide any definitive evidence of alien encounters or alliances, they do show the very real acknowledgement that UFOs were a source of concern.
One document, dated January 2000, declared that:
Since 1947, approximately 1500 official reports of sightings have been received and, of these about 20% remain unexplained.
Ignoring the 17 years since that report, that’s 300 events a government agency with an annual budget of around $US15 billion is unable to explain.
Many of the declassified reports explore the security issues posed by UFOs to the United States, with a number concluding that secret scientific advisory panels, committees and ad hoc research groups be convened to draw up proposals for yet more secret scientific advisory panels, committees and ad hoc research groups.
Ultimately, there were a number of scientific advisory groups who determined that UFO phenomena posed “no direct threat to national security”, and that they “did not find any evidence that related the objects sighted to space travel”. Sorry to disappoint you, Spooky.
Incidentally, there are a number of documents on Area 51, but, sadly, these are nothing more than attendance records and staffing reports. Apparently, it was hard to get good help at super-secret airforce bases in 1963.
There is no spoon
It appears the CIA also enjoyed a brief period of fascination with Uri Geller – a television illusionist and self-proclaimed psychic who came to public attention in the 1970s.
Despite being the focus of numerous lawsuits, accusations of fraud and very public debunkings, Geller volunteered his psychic services to the CIA, who performed various interviews and practical experiments to determine his authenticity.
The newly-declassified experiments show Geller demonstrated inconsistent psychic abilities. In one experiment, the psychic was asked to determine the result of a six-sided dice roll – Geller guessed correctly roughly half the time.
In another report, Geller successfully copied various line drawings contained within sealed envelopes, despite some of his productions being mirror images of the original.
Ultimately, it was stated: “There is serious doubt that Geller’s accomplishment transcends the range of activities of a skillful magician can perform …”
Geller was passed off as a very talented magician and mentalist, and sent back to a life of luxury and lawsuits.
Browse the CIA online library here – let us know in the comments below what you find.