US intelligence documents address the biological effects of UFO encounters, but recycle existing ufological sources
Following the US Department of Defense’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) being made public in 2017 ( FT362:2, 363:28), the US version of The Sun website filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to find out more about the programme. Four years after their initial filing, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) finally released 1,574 pages of information to the paper in early April, with some parts redacted for “privacy and confidentiality concerns”. Much of this was the result of work contracted out by Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BLASS) to study “advanced aerospace weapon threats from the present out to 40 years in the future”. Reports of the release made it seem sensational, talking about documents concerning the biological effects of UFO sightings on humans, studies on advanced technologies such as invisibility cloaks, and plans for deep space exploration and colonisation. The reality was less impressive. Much of the documentation was derived from trawls through publicly available materials, summarised for the intelligence community, not the results of actual investigations by a government body. Some of it even included stories from publications such as National Enquirer and others were things published by the UFO community now being given spurious authority by having been recycled through the intelligence system.
One document that caught a lot of attention was an “Acquisition Threat Support” report that sets out how to categorise “anomalous behaviour”; in it, encounters with “ghosts, yetis, spirits, elves and other mythical/legendary entities” are classed as “AN3”, while seeing a UFO with aliens on board would be “CE3”. The document also goes on to give categories for poltergeists, “corn” circles, spontaneous human combustion, alien abductions and other fortean phenomena. While some reports implied this indicated an acceptance of such phenomena in intelligence circles, it is clear that this was more a paper exercise intended to come up with a way of analysing reports of anomalies made by witnesses, presumably to enable their veracity to be appraised, with the use of the term “mythical/ legendary” suggesting that reports of these would be likely to undermine an experiencer’s credibility. The terminology used likewise suggested only a very superficial understanding of the field. Almost all the reported studies into communicating with alien civilisations, plans for deep space exploration and colonisation, and antigravity, invisibility and teleportation technologies seem to be summaries of the published literature evaluating how feasible the development of such technologies might be in the future, rather than providing any revelations about secret technologies now in existence or development, or in use by extraterrestrials.
One document that does stand out as more than just recycled information from public sources or openended speculation is a report entitled “Anomalous Acute and Subacute Field Effects on Human and Biological Tissues”, which investigates injuries to “human observers by anomalous advanced aerospace systems”.
It assessed 42 cases from medical files and 300 similar “unpublished” cases where humans had been reported as injured after “anomalous” encounters. It notes that humans have been injured by “exposure to anomalous vehicles”, particularly when they have been in close proximity to airborne ones, and that the injuries are consistent with exposure to electromagnetic radiation, suggesting “energy related propulsion systems” were involved. It reports symptoms including radiation burns, brain damage, headaches, fevers and nose bleeds, and concludes that: “Sufficient incidents/accidents have been accurately reported, and medical data acquired, as to support a hypothesis that some advanced systems are already deployed, and opaque to full US understandings.”
Along with the report was a “useful database” listing the biological effects of UFO sightings on humans and their frequency, compiled by MUFON, which included “apparent abduction”, “unaccounted for pregnancy”, sexual encounters, experience of telepathy and perceived teleportation. While the core report potentially tells us something new, this doesn’t, despite the headlines it generated, as it merely reports what experiencers have said in various publicly available sources without any further analysis. What is interesting,
though, is that the report explicitly links the symptoms experienced by those having “anomalous” encounters to those experienced by Havana Syndrome victims ( FT359:22, 360:14, 363:4, 370:26- 27, 382:1011, 389:26-27, 401:9, 407:21, 411:26, 417:28), which opens the intriguing possibility that the two might have the same origin.
While moderately interesting, this release is hardly the Great Disclosure UFO believers fervently await. Its primary value is in showing how much government agencies appear to be relying on published sources from the UFO community, including significant quantities of material from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), and how little value they seem to have got from the $12 million contract with Bigelow. The overwhelming picture is of people sitting at desks reading UFO and scientific literature and producing summaries along the lines of “this is what people believe” and “this is what might be possible one day” rather than doing much active research themselves. The main conclusion seems to be “there’s probably something out there; we don’t know what it is; it probably uses electromagnetic propulsion” – which is pretty much what we knew before. For more, see Nigel Watson’s ‘Damned Saucers’ column, p28. the-sun.com/news; livescience.com, 5 Apr 2022.
Meanwhile, researchers from Zaragoza University in Spain have discovered that people who believe they have been abducted by aliens are more likely to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder than people who have been kidnapped by humans. Writing in the journal Explore they concluded that “regardless of whether their recollections are true or false, their fear is real”. D.Mail, 15 Dec 2021.