Remember the Malaysian Airlines plane MH370 which disappeared but left behind a mystery that has still not been solved?  In a 2014 poll on the MH370 disappearance, five per cent of American respondents said they believed it had been affected by “alien activities”’. For many people, MH370’s inexplicable disappearance brought to mind one of the most famous and perhaps saddest mystery cases which grabbed worldwide media attention—that of Frederick Valentich, a young Australian pilot. Significantly, it was this case in particular which is credited with starting off a whole series of visual, radar, and filmed recordings of unidentified, unexplained flying objects or UFOs.

Fifty minutes after he had taken off on a solo flight across Bass Strait to King Island in a Cessna 182 aircraft, Frederick Valentich radioed, “It’s approaching from due east of me… It seems to be playing some sort of game. Flying at speed I cannot estimate…It is flying past. It has a long shape… coming for me right now… It has a green light and sort of metallic light on the outside…” Frederick was reporting to the Melbourne air flight service controller after he radioed a request for confirmation of a large craft with “four bright lights” and was informed that there were no reported aircraft in the area. “…. The thing is orbiting on top of me… Proceeding King Island…Unknown aircraft now hovering on top of me…” and Frederick signed off. A loud metallic sound was heard at ground reception for 17 seconds and then communications went dead. No sign of either Frederick Valentich or his plane was ever found, and the mystery, like that of MH370, remains unsolved to this day.

More recently, just a few weeks ago, the International Business Times carried a report with an intriguing headline: “Mountain collapses in Russia: Conspiracy theorists put forward UFO crash possibilities”. Russian president Vladimir Putin, said the report, has apparently asked soldiers to investigate a creepy incident where a mountain in Siberia collapsed completely due to unknown reasons… popular conspiracy theory YouTube channel ‘Secureteam10’ run by UFO researcher Tyler Glockner has suggested that the unexpected collapse of the mountain might be due to a UFO crash.

The video uploaded by Secureteam10 soon went viral, and quickly racked up more than 4,00,000 views, according to the IBT report. After watching the videos, most of the people claimed that the mountain collapse could be the result of an alien space ship crash. Some other people claimed that these events could be the aftermath of earth’s magnetic pole shift. However, Express.co.uk  reported that Alexey Maslov, head of Verkhnebureinsky district where the incident happened said: “We are trying to find the explanation for this incident. I insist that it was a meteorite.” This incident stirred yet again the age old, undying debate between known, explainable physical phenomena and the phenomena of unexplained strange happenings. Such extraordinary occurrences often tend to fall between the supernatural and extraterrestrial theories as a possible key to the mystery.  

The extraterrestrial “explanation” category is exceptionally fascinating. While the earliest “strange” sightings, believed to be more than 47,000 years old, seem to be carved on a granite mountain and rocks on an island in Hunan Province in China, one of the first written accounts of a strange sighting in the sky is part of an Egyptian papyrus—more than 3,400 years old—belonging to the period of Pharaoh Thutmose III, who ruled around 1504 to 1450 B.C.! Just like the references in the Mahabharata, excerpts from the ancient Egyptian account are worth reading. As I’ve written earlier, such sightings “with no single rational explanation” and often made by people of unimpeachable integrity in different parts of the world—Nicholas Roerich, the famous Russian painter with such close connections with India, Sir Francis Chichester, the well known flier, sailor and navigator, Jimmy Carter, former President of the USA—to name a few personalities of recent times—have continued down the centuries, right up to our present times.                                      

Significantly, the majority of sightings has not come from illiterate, gullible people or people of unsound mind or prone to hallucinations. Experienced Air Force and private airline pilots, air traffic controllers, Captains of ships on the sea, professors, policemen, and other highly qualified, highly respected personages are amongst the witnesses. There have been single sightings but more of sightings by several people at the same time and sometimes even hundreds or thousands of people watched.

UFOs have been photographed quite extensively and the photographs subjected to thorough scrutiny for “fraud” but were almost always found to be genuine.  Jimmy Carter, the former U.S. President sighted a UFO on January 6, 1969, when he was Governor of Georgia. The former President was quoted by the “National Enquirer” as saying, “I am convinced that UFOs exist because I’ve seen one…It was a very peculiar aberration but about 20 people saw it… It was big; it was very bright; it changed colours; and it was about the size of the moon. We watched it for 10 minutes, but none of us could figure out what it was…”

Some UFO witnesses have described personal contact with ‘occupants’ of strange crafts and even reported being detained.  The book Real Aliens, Space Beings, and Creatures from Other Worlds by Brad and Sherry Steiger provides very informative reading. But as author and paranormal researcher Stephen Wagner rightly questions, “To account for the sheer number and variety of aliens and craft reported over the decades, the Earth would have to be visited by dozens of races from dozens of planets outside our solar system. Is this likely? What are these creatures and where do they really come from? Other dimensions? Our own imaginations and subconscious? …science has so far brought us knowledge of only the thinnest surface of our true reality. I suspect that the answers and explanations are, for the present, beyond our understanding…”

And whether they are physical, psychological, interdimensional, or something else in nature, emphasises Wagner, they cannot and should not be ignored… they should be reported, explored, and examined—objectively—to the fullest extent possible. How else, he asks, are we going to get to the bottom of it all? And that should include the numerous documented but not often reported UFO sightings in India as well.

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