British UFO Studies Centre
Annual Report
By Tim Matthews
Year in Focus UFO Publications The State of Ufology in the UK Local Initiatives The Media Discs and Triangles 'Truthtellers' Award 1998 Magazine of the Year 1998 Idiots of the Year 1998 And finally..........
This has been a fascinating year for all of us. It started off with a pathetic, though vicious, hate campaign against us organised by one researcher in Northern England and supported by a handful of losers in the Midlands. One of the things that emerged from this was a "ban" on both myself and Eric Morris speaking on stage with certain UFO "researchers".
This has made absolutely no difference whatever and despite the illegal and libelous nature of the hate material sent to dozens of UFO researchers I have been asked to speak at many local group and national conference events. Both Eric and myself have spoken to non-UFO audiences in order to spread the good news about our work to as many people as possible.
The highlight of the year for both of us was the UFOKENT event and you will have received our report on that Conference. For the first time I felt that the UFO community was beginning to realize that UFO research is not just a search for 'aliens' or some sort of 'alien' pseudo-religion. The message that flying discs were built and developed in Germany and the USA during the Second World War has been spread far and wide and as I write this there are some tremendous developments taking place which will become public early next year - probably at our "Countdown to the Millennium" event on Saturday February 27th.
The Lancashire UFO Society and British UFO Studies Centre have worked well together this year and put on numerous well-supported events in and around the North West. These have included regular monthly meetings in Southport, Northwich and Warrington with several other meetings in Blackburn, Chorley, Lancaster and Preston. The average attendance at LUFOS events has been 42 (I am told by our hard-working Secretary Brenda Wilkinson!).
BUFOSC events in Warrington have been particularly successful and we hope to build these up next year.
We have ensured that the information presented at our meetings is balanced and to that end we not only allowed more skeptical researchers to have an input this year but showed the "Alien Interview" video, the Russian UFO crash film fake, allowed members to speak openly about their 'contact' experiences and to invite members to show videos relating to the "Ancient Astronauts" theories.
The year ended off on December 9th with Wiltshire-based researcher Matthew Williams presenting a varied talk for us on crop circles, human circle-making, the evils of freemasonry (!) and also the latest and quite interesting video footage of anomalous lights over crop fields in Wiltshire.
Our joint magazine 'UFO News' has been a success although sales figures per quarter are no more, at this stage, than a few hundred. This is quite usual for in-house magazines although it has always been our contention that if people are really interested in accurate, detailed and credible information on the many subjects associated with Ufology then they should be prepared to dispense with the gloss. On this note the death of "Sightings" and "Alien Encounters" magazines were very welcome and although we initially wrote for these mags it soon became clear that their interest was simply to do with money-making and sensationalism.
'UFO Magazine' is now the only newsstand magazine left in the UK although 'Quest' magazine is rumoured to be interested in a wider approach to the subject. Having said that the "Face on Mars" theories were dealt a rather serious blow this year and may have acted to kill off peoples' interest in this kind of publication.
Sales of 'UFO Magazine' are fairly stable at between 60-70,000 and it is to be hoped that the snotty and patronizing attitude of the Birdsall brothers will be replaced by a greater objectivity. I don't think you have to exaggerate and sensationalize to make money - but perhaps I'm wrong.....Tony Dodd left the Birdsall team this year and it is unclear whether this was to do with his increasingly extreme claims about "alien abductions", the UFO cover-up and the controversial use of hypnosis or because he fell out with other members of the "Quest Publications" team. I understand that Tony is now engaged in private research. Having met Tony on several occasions I found him to be a friendly and sincere individual although I lost any remaining faith in his objectivity when Omar Fowler printed the infamous "alien backing tapes" article in a recent edition of "OVNI" magazine.
BUFORA - a year of change.
BUFORA, the British UFO Research Association, staggered on gasping for breath, and life, this year with a dramatic fall in membership to under 500 after various revelations, claims and counter-claims about the organizations' finances and structure. The main problems, information on which I was supplied by several members, seemed to be the result of the failure to produce "UFO Times" magazine for 10 months and the attitude of a rump of BUFORA Council members. These few appeared to believe that they had a right to stay in control of the organization despite their collective failure over recent years. Philip Mantle was gone, hence no strong character to do much hard work, and the glossy "UFO Times", supposedly guaranteed quarterly to members, failed to appear and was replaced by the lesser though improving "BUFORA Bulletin" under Robert Moore.
This has all been a great shame because with BUFORA it is a case of great promises never being fulfilled. Of course I should point out that over the years it has tried to counter the increasing hysteria and paranoia of the UFO community but failed to realize that it is no good having a good product unless you sell it. Within the organization some excellent researchers continue to beaver away regardless of the shenanigans of the incompetent council. These are Director of Investigations Gloria Dixon, the hardest working researcher in the country, Robert Moore, the Editor and producer of the BUFORA Bulletin, Dave Pointon of Staffordshire Paranormal Investigations, George Niedwiecz in the Borders region, and Judith Jaafar in London.
I have no doubt that they will carry on talking sense about this subject long after the X-Files hangers-on have left the scene.
The ability of local groups to work together in relative harmony was demonstrated by the UFOKENT event where several Kent-based groups put on a marvellous Conference. Astrasearch, North Kent UFO Group and UFO Monitors of East Kent (UFOMEK) worked hard to push their message and the Conference resulted in good publicity for all. What is more, the hard work was rewarded by the emergence of an intriguing security camera film showing what appears to be a dark, hovering "UFO". This will be shown at our February Conference.
In the South West Dave Dunworth continues to do excellent work with his "Skywatch" group and I understand that he holds regular meetings in Cornwall. There have been some fascinating reports from the area and some information relating to high speed UFOs out to sea.....
In Yorkshire David Bakers' Yorkshire UFO Society (YUFOS) continues to meet in Sheffield and to produce an interesting regular magazine. Both Eric and I have spoken at YUFOS meetings and I hope to be able to help YUFOS in their work next year and to ensure greater publicity for them. We may even arrange a UFO Conference in South Yorkshire.
Over in Lincolnshire, County of a hundred airfields and still home to vital parts of UK Air Defence (RAF Waddington and RAF Coningsby), Vic Metcalf has informed us that he has started a new group known as the Lincoln UFO Investigations Network (LIUFON). He is an especially hard-working local investigator and we fully support his work. We travelled over to the Lincoln Observatory this year and spoke to 20 members of the local UFO group.
Matthew Williams Truthseekers International has seen some growth this year despite his revelations about crop circle-making and the temporary non-appearance of the "Truthseekers" magazine. Matthew informs me that this will be out in the new year with a wider focus on conspiracies and secret societies as well as UFOs and the paranormal. A Truthseekers Conference was held in Dundee, Scotland, and this led to some local interest.
Up in Scotland there is a variety of local groups although the focal point appears still to be Bonnybridge where I am still to be convinced that anything more significant than military activity has taken place. Having said that Ron Halliday continues to investigate sightings in the country and recently his book on Scottish sightings was published. I bought a copy in picturesque Perth on my recent trip to the area. I understand from several locals that the A9 road to Inverness has been the focal point for many strange happenings. More on this next year!
Malcolm Robinson of Strange Phenomena Investigations and perhaps the best-known Scottish researcher is now headquartered in London. He continues to spread a message of UFO Reality and we met him at the recent Carlton TV event. Despite initial (on-screen) disagreements I found Malcolm to be a very honest and sincere advocate, not to mention a dedicated researcher. Good luck in the big city!
In the North West the plethora of local groups continue to operate with varying success. The NLUFOIG group don't appear to be doing much, not that they ever did, and indeed Cath Calvo of the Morecambe based group told us earlier this year that only her and Simon Lewis still did anything and that they were in with LAPIS. Roger Hill is tied up with David Icke these days.....LAPIS held their one year event in November.
On the much more positive side Merseyside Anomalies Research Association (MARA) continues to undertake objective research and it is to be hoped that we can develop an understanding and work together. We are also cooperating with the newly-formed Wirral UFO Study Group and I recently spoke at their December meeting in Leasowe.
In terms of press interest both the British UFO Studies Centre and Lancashire UFO Society continue to hound the media into sensible reporting of the UFO subject and to this end we have appeared on dozens of different radio programmes and spoken to many local talk radio shows. Television companies continue to show an interest. In November, when we held our big meeting in Southport to release new information on earthly flying disc technologies Independent Radio News carried the story Nationally and we received some great feedback.
I have been working with Union Pictures in the production of yet another UFO documentary although in this case one of the three programmes is on the subject of secret military aircraft. I am still not certain what conclusions Producer John Purdie will reach although you will have a chance to hear from Thomas C. Smith, formerly of Chance-Vought, Jack Pickett, formerly with the USAF, Bill Sweetman and others.
Should be fun........
More and more information has emerged this year to support my contention that flying disc aircraft were/are entirely of terrestrial origin and my feeling is that we have won many battles here, if not the war. Too many Ufologists are alien cultists and refuse to listen to anything else. Having said that the reception at my many lectures on the subject this year at UFO-related events has been very positive. In fact, many emails have come in from researchers claiming that they have been waiting for somebody to present this case for years. One wonders why they couldn't have been more forthcoming in the past - but no matter.
The same goes for triangle although I notice the usual nonsense about flying triangles appearing in the latest CAUS bulletins. I have to say that I have never read worse rubbish on the subject than the fiction presented by Mr. Robert A. M Stephens on the subject and to be quite honest I am surprised that Peter Gersten should allow this obvious loony any exposure at all. THERE IS SIMPLY NO EVIDENCE to support what Stephens says.
CAUS continues to campaign for the release of US Government UFO files. We fully support this effort.
A number of meaningless awards of great value to the following stalwarts and bringers of much-needed truths;
Jeff Rense
His "Sightings" radio show is a great success and presents the broadest material to an increasingly large audience - now over 2 million! He had the guts to allow me to present the facts about my research into flying triangles and discplanes.
Jenny Randles
Much-criticized and much-loved author/researcher who has consistently supported the work of the Lancashire UFO Society. Her latest book "Something in the Air" (Hale, 1998) is a must and covers the NW flying triangle flap.
Gloria Dixon
For her sterling efforts to improve the standards of UFO research within British Ufology.
Kevin McClure
For taking on the many lunatics within Ufology and more particularly the 'abduction' lobby.
James Easton
Scottish-based researcher who fully exposed the nonsense of the Rendlesham Forest case and also the excesses of Ufology throughout the year.
Fortean Times
For so much interesting and weird information.....
Yes, this is the moment you've all been waiting for. It is incumbent upon us to bestow several lump of the finest Northern dog turd upon the researchers who have done the most to encourage ridicule of the UFO community.
And this years winners are...........
Linda Moulton-Howe !!!!
She deserves it with the greatest use of anonymous sources with silly names (this years crop included "Kewper") having recently started waffling on about a UFO crash retrieval in 1943 for which there is no evidence whatsoever as well as the usual MJ-12 fantasies.
Nick Pope
For his continued efforts to mislead us about his personal abduction experience - expunged from his first book - and to claim that flying triangles are alien in origin. Money well spent by the MOD.....?
Omar Fowler
For talking crap on the recent Carlton TV show and his constant support for the wildest UFO fantasies.
Barry King
Walthamstow taxi driver who still claims to be the victim of a government-alien plot and implant. No evidence but much paranoia.......
Please don't take this entirely seriously!
1999 will be an exciting year for British and world Ufology because there is no doubt that every kind of lunatic prediction will emerge. The aliens didn't land on December 7th, more's the pity, and do not appear to have done so today either. It is perhaps the case that the highest echelons of the US military and intelligence communities do have certain evidence that we are not alone. I very much doubt that this is going to publicly emerge, if it exists. Our preconceptions about life out there and our fantasies about grey aliens/sexual encounters with ET and suchlike do nothing to advance the cause. Perhaps the soothsayer who suggested that Ufology would become the 'Religion for the 21st Century' was right but as Lemmy of Motorhead (recently inducted into the BUFOSC 'Files of Fame') states;
"I don't need religion".
If you want religion there is plenty on offer on TV.
Leave Ufology out of it......
The answers may be along the lines that Professor Stephen Hawking suggests whereby the constant sending of messages into space may not be entirely sensible - and may elicit a hostile response. In addition, we should not attack the many excellent SETI scientists and we must trust that they will continue their search for the needle in the haystack....
BUFOSC and LUFOS have many plans for 1999 but you can rest assured that nothing will deflect us from our efforts to get at the truth of the matter and to fully expose the reality of disc and triangular aircraft technologies. We will continue to allow the widest range of topics at our meetings and we are happy to print your many responses to our work both to these email messages and to our UFO NEWS magazine.
Our big Conference, featuring Jenny Randles, Dave Clarke, James Diss, Andy Roberts and Jerry Anderson is gaining momentum. This is our chance to choose a path for British Ufology for the 21st Century and to try and encourage sensible researchers to work together as far as possible. At just £7 this is a bargain Conference and sure to be controversial. If you or your group want a free stall or space at the event please let us know ASAP. Those attending from outside the UK will, of course, be let in for FREE!
The event takes place in Southport and will feature an interesting short debate between Andy Roberts and Jenny Randles on the nature of the evidence for a Berwyn Mountain UFO crash retrieval incident.
There will also be discussion about the UK Abductions Symposium - a behind-closed-doors private event hopefully to be organised for the benefit of concerned researchers and professionals in the relevant fields of study.
I am tempted to allow a one hour discussion to take place on the subject of "The Future of UK Ufology" in order to clarify our various positions and to move us forward. With BUFORA in a mess and many local groups experiencing difficulties NOW IS THE TIME for us to get together, just once, to plan ahead.
We shall also allow local group organizers to the platform for a few minutes each to present their views and perhaps a brief report on interesting sightings and experiences reported to them during 1998.
This not just our Conference. IT IS YOUR CONFERENCE......and if you are at all interested in Ufology then you should be nowhere other than Southport on the day!
Many stallholders have agreed to attend.
It will indeed be a day to remember!
Be there!
Yesterday we held our XMAS XFILES event in Stoke at the Cobridge Community Centre to launch a BUFOSC (Staffordshire) group under the guidance of Roy Bennett. The event attracted major publicity including hourly bulletins on the news, other radio coverage and press interest. 30 people managed to break away from their Christmas shopping ritual to make this a successful day. There was much enthusiasm and a local group has now been formed.
We will be holding en event in Stoke within the next few months beyond the usual get-togethers.
Whatever you believe in we at the British UFO Studies Centre and Lancashire UFO Society wish you a very happy Christmas and New Year. Remember NOT to drink and drive and to think of less fortunate neighbours. If you have a local homeless shelter please donate food, money or assistance! Remember also to watch out for those unfortunate stray cats and dogs and to buy your pets at least one treat!
We'll be back with a bang in the New Year.
Keep your eyes on the skies - and your local military base!
Tim Matthews, The Bunker, Southport, Merseyside.