Happy birthday to us!
April 2013 marks the 10th anniversary of the Flying Saucery gossip column I co-write with sidekick Andy Roberts for our favourite monthly ‘zine, Fortean Times, that celebrates its 300th issue this month.
Since 2003 we have provided FT readers with an eclectic round-up of news and gossip from the bizarre world of UFOlogy. During that time we have penned a total of 92 regular columns and spawned a number of special features such as ‘Britain’s X-Files’ which has so far run to 20 instalments.
But our personal highlights include the discovery of the British government’s secret Condign report in 2006 as a result of our Freedom of Information campaign and the release of the MoD’s entire UFO archive. It’s been a long, strange trip.
During the noughties fads and fashions from alien abductions to exopolitics came and went. And we watched with amusement as attempts were made to breathe life back into UFO legends such as Rendlesham, Berwyn and the great grand-daddy of them all, Roswell.
Along the way we noted the passing of some of UFOlogy’s key movers and shakers such as John Mack, Graham Birdsall and Gordon Creighton.
And as UFO communities decamped to the web, the UFO magazines that once acted as the subject’s talking shops have faded away, replaced by badly researched web sites and the often inane information-lite chatter on Facebook.
In the UK the last significant flap, in 2007-8, was created by the media obsession with UFOs that followed the release of the MoD files by The National Archives. And that fire was fanned by one tabloid’s determination to turn the new craze for liberating ‘Sky Lanterns’ into alien invasion fleets that menaced our towns and windfarms.
But the lack of good quality recent reports has obliged leaders of the UFO industry to delve deeper into the subject’s back catalogue in search of that elusive ‘evidence’ for extraterrestrial visitations.
Perhaps Magonia’s indefatigable John Rimmer was right when he said that UFOlogy had “deteriorated into an endless scrutiny of issues that that were once considered settled.” His solution was to “make UFOlogy history.” In our view, that’s what it largely is today: a modern myth that should one day take its rightful place in the social history of our demon-haunted world.
To catch up on the latest UFOlogical fads and gossip get your monthly dose of Flying Saucery and subscribe to Fortean Times, Britain’s oldest tried and tested journal of strange phenomena.