Monday, April 09, 2007

the french files


In exchange for using the Perhapablog to further my own comic book, After School Agent I told Todd I would write an entry for the Perhapablog. So, today's entry is about the UFO files that the French government published last week.

France, AKA those "Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys," became the first country in the world to make public their files on all of their UFO reports. Now, most major countries in the world, including the US and Great Britain, have similar files. But, they're kept classified. Or dismissed as "weather balloons." Supposedly these files can be obtained on a case-by-case basis through the Freedom of Information Act. (Try telling that to Mulder)

Since 1954, France's space agency, the Centre National d'√Čtudes Spatiales , has registered over 1600 cases of UFOs. Or as they call them OVNIs, or Objet Volant Non Identifi√©. (Which is French for "non-identified aerospatial phenomena.") The French UFO offices, which were initially created by President Charles de Gaulle, have documented more than 6000 reports from various witnesses. In it's heyday in the 1970s, the SERPA office, then known as GEIPAN (Groupe d'Etude des Phenomenes Aerospatiaux Non-ldentifies,) investigated over 100 sightings a year. That's more than 100,000 pages of documents that you can peruse. Nearly a quarter of these cases are classified "Category D," meaning that in spite of witnesses and good data, the sightings remains inexplicable.

However, as Scully will be happy to point out, some of these can be explained away. For example, in 1990, when over 1000 people reported seeing a flashing light in the sky one November night. Researchers determined it was actually rocket fragments falling back into the atmosphere. In fact, only 9 percent of the cases have ever been fully explained.

But, this blog isn't about the explained. One of the more famous cases is the Trans-en Provence Case. In 1981 a farmer heard a strange whistling sound while working on his property. He then saw a saucer land about 50 yards away from him.

Here is how he describes it:
"The device had the shape of two saucers, one inverted on top of the other. It must have measured about 1.5 meters in height. It was the color of lead. This device had a ridge all the way around its circumference. Under the machine I saw two kinds of pieces as it was lifting off. They could be reactors or feet. There were also two other circles which looked like trapdoors. The two reactors, or feet, extended about 20 cm below the body of the machine."

The mysterious object then immediately took of, leaving burn marks on the ground where it had been. The farmer called the police, who turned the case over to GEIPAN. They investigated for over 2 years, looking for an atmospheric reason. In the end they found no plausible explanation.

All of this leads to the larger question of whether we have been visited by aliens or not. I'm going to start off our Perhapablog discussion with my own stance. Are we alone in the universe? I say no. With billions upon trillions of stars in the galaxy, it’s the height of hubris to say that Earth is the only planet that has developed life. We're not even alone in our own solar system. There is possibly bacteria on Mars. Jupiter's moon Io may have single celled organisms also. We are probably the only intelligent life in our solar system. But, the idea that other life forms could exist so close to us indicates strongly that it could happen elsewhere in the universe.

Now, have these other life forms visited us. I say no. Any intelligent species that has the ability to travel the millions of light years to Earth, is not going to get here, and go visit a farm in France, then leave. Sure, that's what they'd do on Star Trek. But, what would be the point. We'd know if they've been here. I mean, us primitive Earthlings can barely get out of Earth's atmosphere, and we tried contacting other life forms with Voyager.

What do you think? Have any of you seen a UFO? Know any abductees? Are an abductee? Are any of you aliens?

If you happen to be able to read French, you can check out the GEIPAN records yourself.

Catch you later,



Brian said...

I would tend to agree that there may be other intelligent life out there in the universe, but I dont't think they have visited us because the idea that they (1) find us in the vast expanse of the universe, (2) travel across the galaxy to visit us and (3) then just burn circles in our crops and take off just doesn't make sense to me, unless it's just some inter-galatic fraternity initiation ritual.

Bill Nolan said...

I've never seen a UFO personally, but one of our neighbors claimed to have seen something land in one of our fields 30-40 years ago. And for about 30 years after that there was a discolored cirlce in the field at that spot that you could see very clearly every year. That was kinda cool. Just a ring about 3-4 thick and about 25-30 feet in diameter. Perfect circle.