Thousands of UFO sightings are reported every year but not many countries are willing to spend money investigating them – there is just one dedicated state-run team left in Europe. Is France onto something?
You don’t need a time machine when you visit the French Space Centre headquarters in Toulouse – it’s already a throwback to the 1970s. Green lawns sweep on to wide boulevards with stout long rectangular office blocks on either side.
It’s almost Soviet-style in the heart of southern France. There are few signs of life even though 1,500 people, most of them civil servants, work in boxy offices along narrow unappealing corridors.
France has the biggest space agency in Europe – the result of the 1960s space race and President Charles de Gaulle’s grand determination to keep France independent of the US by building its own satellites, rocket launchers and providing elite space research.
An offshoot of all that – France is the only country in Europe to maintain a full-time state-run UFO (unidentified flying objects) department. There used to be one in the UK and another in Denmark but they closed down years ago due to budget cuts.
France’s UFO unit consists of four staff, and about a dozen volunteers who get their expenses paid to go on site and look into reports of strange sightings in the skies.
The team is called Geipan. That’s a French acronym for Study Group and Information on Non-Identified Aerospace Phenomenon.
Its boss is Xavier Passot. Surrounded by dozens of books on UFOs, and stacks of documents, he tells me his mission is to be as transparent as possible about strange sightings and to follow up on each one that his team receives.
They publish their results on their website which gets 30,000 hits a month. The team receives, on average, two UFO sightings a day. The department insists an 11-page form is filled out for each one. The idea is to provide details including photographs where possible but also weed out jokers and time-wasters.
If someone claims to have seen strange lights in the skies, the UFO team might go online to see whether the observation took place on a flight path – it can trace commercial air traffic going back more than a week.
The team also has access to military flight paths and is in touch with the air force and air traffic controllers.
Sometimes if its staff are really intrigued by photos they have seen or if there have been several witnesses to the same sighting, they will call the local police to ask whether they can be considered credible.
They might even check with neighbours to see whether they were out drinking that night or perhaps smoking something other than cigarettes.
Passot says many of the people who get in touch are smokers, puffing away outside bars or their own homes at night, gazing at the stars.
For what it’s worth and for those who suspect there’s conspiracy afoot, Passot tells me he has never covered up a UFO sighting.
I take a look at some amazing photos of strange lights and circular forms caught on camera. One, taken by a motorist, of a white ring shape above Marseille is particularly grabbing. But the team figured that one out – it wasn’t invaders from Mars, just the reflection of a small interior overhead light in the car.
In fact, the department can explain away nearly all these phenomena and, believe it or not, the most common culprits are Chinese lanterns sent up at night during parties. The investigators often telephone the local town hall to ask if, perhaps, there had been a wedding going on at the time.
Balloons and kites floating in the skies also get mistaken for alien craft, and space debris and falling meteorites giving off strange lights are more common than one might think.
But there are around 400 UFO sightings going back to the 1970s that the French team cannot explain. One, an alleged flying saucer landing near Aix-en-Provence in 1981, they take very seriously – there were landing marks and multiple witnesses.
So are there really little green men? Well, the jury’s out on the colour but there are many working here, as well as others around the world, who are convinced there is some life out there.
And does the use of French taxpayers’ money on UFO research make sense, particularly in these times of budgetary constraint?
Meanwhile in another part of the world, in another continent, there seem to be reports suggesting extraterrestrial contact with human civilization. The story involves the Mexican government who has released documents and images of objects found on the site of Calakmul, Mexico which attempt to prove the reality of ET contact.
Thanks for this release can be given to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) who found these disks in Mexico. The disks are of Mayan creation and were found about 80 years ago according to the INAH. These archaeological pieces have been presented before and is subject of a documentary produced by Raul Julia-Levy and directed by Juan Carlos Rulfo , the winner of the 2006 Sundance festival with his film ” In The Pit.” The documentary is currently titled”Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and beyond.”
The Mexican government released these state-held secrets that have been protected for about 80 years. Although photographs of the disks were first presented by Klaus Dona and Dr. Nassim Haramein during a conference held in Saarbrücken, Germany in June 2011.
Luis Augusto García Rosado is the highest ranking government official in Mexico that has gone on record about extraterrestrials. Rosado has spoken of contact “between the Mayans and extraterrestrials, supported by translations of certain codices, which the government has kept secure in underground vaults for some time.” He has also mentioned “landing pads in the jungle that are 3,000 years old.”
Source Credits: Chris Bockman for BBC News Magazine, Rakesh Khanna, The Mind Unleased.