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Tom Slemen's Investigation


One of the most unusual aspects of the UFO phenomenon is the apparent existence of specific geographical areas where sightings of UFOs and paranormal activity seem to be unusually regular. These so-called 'window areas' as the ufologists call then, are thought to be in the vicinity of dimensional gateways or portals through which UFOs pass from their home planets. Some think that the UFOs do not travel through normal interstellar space on their journeys, but take an instantaneous short cut by traversing a region of higher-dimensional space that science-fiction writers have termed 'hyperspace'. The term was invented in 1934 by sci-fi pioneer John W. Campbell, who needed a convenient solution to the awkward problem of long-distance travel between the stars. Like most science-fiction concepts, hyperspace was later adopted by physicists and mathematicians as a theoretical possibility. Hyperspace is currently defined in scientific text books as 'any space of more than three dimensions'. To envisage travelling through hyperspace is virtually impossible, as it entails moving at right angles to every possible direction in our familiar space, but here's a good analogy to aid visualisation. Imagine a map of the stars. We have to travel from, let us say, our own planet to a planet circling the nearest star to us - Proxima Centauri, which is about 4.2 light years away. To cross such a vast distance through normal space would take hundreds of years by today's technological standards, and even if we moved at a velocity close to the speed of light, the journey would still take years. But imagine if we could somehow 'fold' space to bring the points of departure and arrival together. This would be like folding our star map so that the solar systems of Sol (our Sun) and Proxima Centauri are so close, we can simply 'hop' a few hundred thousand miles instead of millions of millions of miles by the conventional route.

Until fairly recently, the idea of a hyperspatial region was not taken too seriously, but in 1962, Professor John A. Wheeler (the co-inventor of the hydrogen bomb) and Robert Fuller published a controversial scientific paper entitled 'Causality and Multiply Connected Space Time'. This paper introduced the concept of 'superspace' - which was described as an immense but separate version of space that permeated every part of the universe. Journeys taken through superspace would, due to its nature, be much more rapid than the usual route, because the ordinary laws of physics would be considerably altered there.

The exciting possibility of this spatial region akin to hyperspace is strengthened by the fact that Wheeler and Fuller were not just surmising the existence of superspace in their paper; there were actually logically extrapolating from Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. Furthermore, there have been many inspiring discoveries about the space we assume to be nothing but emptiness. Quantum physicists have ascertained that on the scale of the sub-microscopic is not the nice smooth nothingness it seems. Even the highest vacuum contained within a one centimetre cube of space contains fluctuations and ripples of energy equivalent to a mass of 10 to the power of 91 kilograms. Considering that the devastating blast of a 20-megaton H-bomb results by just one kilogram of mass being converted into energy, there is a frightening amount of energy in just a cubic centimetre of space - if only we knew how to tap it. Within the subatomic turmoil of empty space, there are also subatomic-sized tunnels, just centimetres long that connect different parts of space. Physicist who have studied these tunnels, which they have nicknamed 'wormholes' are baffled by their complex geometry, because some of these minute corridors seem to run 'outside' of space and back again. The latest theory is that the wormholes connect every part of space to every other part, even across light years, and if we were small enough to travel down these subways of superspace, we would have instantaneous travel to any point in the universe. Strangely enough, Einstein was incredibly far-sighted enough to make allowances in his theories of Relativity for the wormholes, and their existence would not violate Einsteinian laws or the laws of causality. At the moment, no one can even send a radio message down the wormholes, because their apertures are too small. Even an electron is about 100 billion times to large to enter a wormhole. However, if some physicist finds a way to stretch the openings of wormholes to allow a spacecraft to enter them, the road to the stars would be ours and the true Space Age of interstellar exploration would commence.

It has been suggested that the only thing in nature which could widen the entrances to wormholes would be a black hole, and there are controversial plans to create mini-black holes here on Earth. Scientists at New York's Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) have spent over seven hundred million dollars creating the world's most powerful particle accelerator. The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider was tested on July 16, 1999, but was promptly shut down by the BNL director John Marburger, pending an enquiry into fears that it might cause 'perturbations of the universe'. In other words, the superaccelerator was closed down in case the experiment accidentally created a small black hole on Long Island. The black hole could be formed because the gigantic machine has the power to create 'strangelets' - a new type of recently-discovered matter made up of quarks. Once strangelets form, they start an uncontrollable chain reaction, converting anything they touch into more quarks. The resulting mass could reach such a density as to form a small black hole. The black hole would be drawn by gravitational forces to the centre of the Earth, where it would devour the entire planet within minutes.

If there are technologically advanced races out in the universe who have long ago discovered how to manipulate wormholes with home-made black holes, they would have a long established interstellar and intergalactic space subway system linking various world they are exploring or possibly colonising. Wordsworth was probably right when he remarked that 'the starry heavens have goings on'; space may be criss-crossed with a network of passages created by the superior civilizations of the cosmos.

Could the UFOs we see in our skies travel via the wormholes? It would certainly explain the way they seem to appear and disappear. Perhaps visiting extraterrestrials use a network of hyperspatial routes that are rather similar to our extensive motorway systems. Could there be dimensional highways and relativistic roundabouts out there? If there are, then surely there must be junctions from which there are routes to Earth. Perhaps the spaceships which take these routes emerge from superspace into the normal space in the skies of Earth. Such spacecraft would no doubt have a device onboard that enables the pilot to open and close the wormhole so that terrestrial aircraft cannot accidentally enter it. But perhaps from time to time, planes have strayed into these sky portals. Maybe this was the fate of Flying Officer Brian Holding. On March 7, 1922, Holding took off from the airfield at Chester, England on what was intended to be a short flight over the border to an airstrip in Wales. On the return journey from Wales, Holding's plane was spotted by scores of witnesses droning through the skies back towards Chester. That plane and its experienced pilot never reached the airfield and was never seen again. A massive search for the wreckage of the missing plane was launched but not a trace of the craft was ever found. Stranger still, weeks before Holding flew into limbo, peculiar lights were seen flying in formation over North Wales. The region where Holding's plane vanished has been the backdrop to many unexplained occurrences over the years, and is now regarded as a major window area. The epicentre of this window area is said to be the Welsh coastal town of Barmouth, where geologists have detected zones of complex magnetic anomalies which are of unknown origin. The first reports of unearthly goings-on in this region date back to 1692, when a fiery object landed near Harwich and proceeded to terrorise the town's inhabitants for several months until it finally zoomed back into the skies. There were also reports of strange blue and white lights descending to Earth in the same locality in the years 1869, 1875, and 1877, but the most remarkable incidents occurred in 1905, when there was an outbreak of concentrated UFO activity. At the time of the sightings, a Welsh Methodist revival was happening in the area, and the strange aerial lights seen in the skies by many of the converted were naturally interpreted as religious signs.

One of the first reports of a UFO in the area of North Wales that year came in January from a train driver who saw ten bright lights hurtling across the early evening sky above a chapel at Egryn, which is a hamlet that lies between Barmouth and Harlech in Gwynedd. A plethora of other sightings of nocturnal lights followed, and one night, an enormous glowing arch which resembled the northern lights, appeared in the sky. One end of the arch was in the sea and the other end touched a local hilltop. Shortly afterwards, over one hundred witnesses sighed in awe as they watched a brilliant star-shaped object fly out of the arch and swoop down over the rooftops of Egryn. The brilliant light hovered over several houses then flew off at a phenomenal speed. The luminous arch gradually faded away into the night.

News of the nightly light displays soon spread, and a journalist and photographer from the Daily Mirror newspaper turned up to investigate the mystery. They too saw the lights. The reporter from the Daily Mirror wrote in his article:

It was close to midnight and we were nearing Barmouth when suddenly, without the faintest warning, a soft shimmering radiance flooded the road at our feet. Immediately it spread around us, and every stick and stone within twenty yards was visible, as if under the influence of the softest limelight. It seemed as though some large body between earth and sky had suddenly opened up and emitted a flood of light from within itself. It was a little suggestive of the bursting of a firework bomb and yet wonderfully different. Quickly as I looked up, the light was even then fading away from the sky overhead. I seemed to see an oval mass of grey, half-open, disclosing within a kernel of white light. As I looked it closed, and everything was once again in darkness.

Throughout the rest of that summer until late July, the same almond shaped mass was seen to open in the skies of North Wales to admit several lights and circular-shaped craft into the airspace over Barmouth. On one occasion, during a thunderstorm, forked lightning struck a lenticular mass in the sky, and the flash lit up three saucer-like objects which emerged from the mysteriously recurring lens-shaped cloud. A farmer who observed the cloud over an entire week may have been near to the truth when he remarked that it was 'A gateway for something from somewhere else.'

The Barmouth window area, like other UFO zones all over Britain, Europe and the Americas, is dotted with ancient mounds and landmarks. Curiously, in that area of northern Wales there are many megalithic monuments. Some ufologists see a link here, and some have hypothesized that men living in the Barmouth area during the Neolithic period were also aware that the region was unusual and had probably erected their mighty stone markers to indicate the fact. If that were true, then these UFO windows must be thousands of years old, and possibly even older. Strangely enough, Stonehenge, the most famous megalithic construction in the world is situated right next to the Wiltshire town of Warminster, where a major UFO window exists. Etymological analysis of place-names often reveals that a high percentage of window areas coincide with names beginning with 'Devil', such as Devil's Elbow Warwickshire, where many strange lights have been seen in the sky for years. On Lord Bath's estate at Longleat in Warminster, there is an area known as 'Heavens Gate'. These names seem to echo the uncanniness and unearthly history of the places they name.

Another UFO 'hot spot' that has been featured in the media in recent years is the picturesque town of Bonnybridge in Scotland. Bonnybridge has a population of just 9000, one hotel, two pubs and a dozen shops, but since 1995 a steady stream of documentary-makers from the United States, Japan and Europe have invaded the town to film the strange aerial spectacles which the UFOs put on, almost on a daily basis. Some 5000 Bonnybridge inhabitants - more than half of the town's population - have witnessed bizarre and often terrifying UFO activity in the skies above their homes. At first, sceptics cited Bonnybridge's proximity to the flight paths of both Glasgow and Edinburgh airports as the reason behind the mass sightings, but independent qualified UFO investigators with high-magnification video cameras and telephoto cameras have recorded lights and objects which not only look nothing like terrestrial aircraft; they also perform aerobatic manoeuvres (like right-angled turns) which cannot be executed by any aircraft made on this planet. As I write, the UFO activity over Bonnybridge is continuing, but scientists down here continue to turn a blind eye to the phenomenon.

The bermuda triangle
The basic extent of the Bermuda Triangle


Without a doubt, the most infamous window area on the planet is the so-called Bermuda Triangle, also known as the 'Limbo of the Lost', the 'Hoodoo Sea', the 'Devil's Playground' and the 'Graveyard of the Atlantic'. Inside this vast triangular area which stretches from Puerto Rico to Florida, and has its apex near the Azores, thousands of unexplained disappearances and incidents have taken place, dating back to the time of Columbus, who actually witnessed strange red globular lights which buzzed his ships on the historic approach to San Salvador in 1492.

The term 'Bermuda Triangle' was coined by the writer Vincent Gaddis in 1964, and in recent years the Triangle has been dismissed by sceptics as an imaginary region of purely random sea and air disasters; a purely mythical zone, the result of exaggerations and sensational media reports. Yet no one can explain why so many uncanny aeronautical and maritime mysteries have taken place in the 'imaginary' triangle. For example, in 1872, the Mary Celeste was found drifting near the apex of the Triangle.

Most unsolved mystery buffs know the basic story of the Mary Celeste. She left New York in November 1872 under the command of Captain Briggs with 1,700 barrels of crude alcohol in her hold, bound for Genoa in Italy. On board were Briggs' wife and two year-old daughter, and a crew of eight.

Almost a month later, Captain David Moorhouse of a ship called Dei Gratia saw a speck on the horizon 500 miles east of the Azores. When he looked through his telescope, he saw it was a ship that was sailing erratically. He sent a boarding party over to investigate, and they saw that the deserted ship was the Mary Celeste. The only lifeboat was missing, but the ship was completely seaworthy. There were six months worth of food and water on the ship, and the crew's oilskins, boots, pipes and tobacco had been left behind. It was obvious that everybody had left in a hurry. Only navigation instruments had been taken. Someone had struck the ship's rail with an axe, and in the cargo hold, one of the barrels had been opened. The captain's sword was found on his bed in his cabin. On a slate, someone had chalked "Fanny my dear wife, Frances M R". Captain Moorhouse took the derelict ship to Gibraltar and after a lengthy court of enquiry, Captain Moorhouse was awarded a salvage cheque for œ2,000.

Another ship which met a mysterious fate in the triangle eight years after the Mary Celeste was the British frigate Atlanta, which left Bermuda or England in January 1880 with a crew of 290 on board. The Atlanta never reached England and was never seen again. The British Navy seemed baffled by the frigate's disappearance, and conducted an exhaustive search of the Atlantic with six ships of the Channel Fleet. The ships combed the waters in a line over the entire area in which the Atlanta had been lost, yet not one stick of wreckage from the missing vessel was ever found. By May, the Navy were forced to call off the search, and to this day, the Atlanta's vanishing act has never been explained.

In the August of the following year Captain Baker of the Ellen Austin was halfway between the Bahamas and Bermuda, bound for Boston, when he sighted an unidentified schooner. The vessel remained in sight for two days, and on August 20, 1881, the ships drifted within hailing distance. Receiving no reply to his signals, Captain Baker and four of his crew rowed over to the seemingly uninhabited schooner. Baker climbed onboard the deserted ship first, the took out his loaded Colt revolver and motioned his men to follow him with it. Baker cried out, 'Halloo thar? Anybody aboard?' and received no reply. The vessel was entirely seaworthy and in a well-maintained condition. 'My, she will make a fine prize this one will.' remarked Baker gleefully, thinking about the salvage award for such a decent ship. Two of the crewmen inspected the "ghost ship's" hold and saw that it contained a well-packed cargo of mahogany. From this find, Captain Baker speculated that the schooner had probably been en route from Honduras, bound for England or possibly a Mediterranean port. He searched for the ship's log but it was missing, and so were the trail boards which would have informed him of the vessel's name. The fate of the ship's captain and crew was a real baffler, as there was no evidence of any violence on board the schooner, and she was well stocked with provisions and supplies. Captain Baker returned to the Ellen Austin and hand-picked a prize crew to man the schooner he had found. Baker instructed them to bring the ship to Boston with the Ellen Austin. The men were put on the salvaged derelict ship and soon had her on her way to Boston. For two days the ships were so close they were within earshot, but later became separated by a fierce Atlantic storm which was being generated by a hurricane which was tearing through Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. Two days later, the storms died and an unusual calm descended. The sea was almost as flat as a mirror, but there was no sign of the prize ship. Then a sharp sighted lookout pointed to a spot on the horizon. Through his spyglass, Captain Baker could just make out the sails of the prize schooner. He barked orders to change his ship's course, and the Ellen Austin was soon converging on the schooner. Everyone on board Baker's ship knew something was wrong, because the schooner was sailing so erratically, it took hours to catch her up. When the Captain and crewmen from the Ellen Austin finally did board the schooner, they were confronted with yet another mystery. There was no one on board her. None of the prize crewmen were there, and what's more, for some strange reason, the bunks had not been slept in, none of the food and drink had been consumed, and the new logbook was nowhere to be found.

After hours of careful negotiation, Captain Baker convinced his superstitious seamen that there was a rational explanation for the disappearance of his prize crew, and he persuaded another group of his men to become the new prize crew. They expressed their fears that something evil was at work on the ship, so Baker allowed them to carry firearms. Once again, the two ships set sail for Boston, and once again, the weather was against them. This time, a watery haze enshrouded the prize schooner, which was travelling behind the Ellen Austin at a close distance of just ten ship-lengths. But hours into the voyage, a lookout screamed frantically, 'She's gone!'

Captain Baker came on deck and asked him what he was talking about. Then he too saw that the prize schooner was nowhere to be seen. She had been there one moment, but was now gone. And that schooner and the crewmen who had been persuaded to pilot her to Boston were never seen again.


The flight 19
Reconstruction of the doomed Flight 19


If there is some unearthly force at work in the Bermuda Triangle that is responsible for these disappearances, then it seems it can extend it's eerie influence into the skies above the Atlantic as well. On the afternoon of December 5, 1945, five Grumman Avenger torpedo bombers took off from the US Naval Air Station at Fort Lauderdale in Florida on a training flight. The five planes were Flight 19, and there mission was to fly due east from the coastline of Florida for 160 miles to the Chicken Soals in the Bahamas, where the bombers were to fly north for 40 miles before heading back to Fort Lauderdale. The mission was very straightforward and should have gone smoothly, but something sinister happened that day which has never been resolved. At 3:45 pm, Lieutenant Charles C. Taylor, leader of the flight radioed a bizarre distress call to the Fort Lauderdale base. His frantic voice stated: 'Calling tower, this is an emergency. We seem to be off course. We cannot see land. Repeat: we cannot see land.'

The astounded staff in the tower radioed back: 'What is your position?'

The strange reply that came back made no sense at all: 'We are not sure of our position. We can't be sure just where we are. We seem to be lost.'

The concerned staff at the tower consulted their charts and attempted to guide Lieutenant Taylor back to the base. 'Assume bearing due west.' was the simple order broadcast to the bombers from the senior flight instructor at Lauderdale.

However, Taylor replied, 'We don't know which way is west. Everything is wrong wrong...strange. We can't be sure of any direction. Even the ocean doesn't look as it should.' Word of the weird predicament of Flight 19 spread like wildfire around the base at Fort Lauderdale. At 4.25 pm, the last transmissions were heard from the doomed flight. The mystifying last comments were: 'It looks like we are entering white water. We're completely lost.'

That was followed by silence and crackles of static. Tension mounted in the crowded tower at Fort Lauderdale. The radio transceivers were retuned and the volume turned up, but the men of Flight 19 never radioed back.

There were claims by some of the staff at the tower that the last transmission from one ill-fated pilot of Flight 19 was the chilling statement: 'Oh my God. They look like they're from outer space...don't come after us.'

A Lieutenant Crone flew out to the last estimated position of Flight 19 in his Mariner flying boat with a crew of thirteen. This plane, with its 124-foot wing span was larger than a flying fortress, and carried enough fuel to remain aloft for over a day. But within twenty minutes, radio contact with the Mariner flying boat was lost. No traces of the flying boat was ever found, nor was a single piece of wreckage from any of the five Avenger bombers ever found. On that fateful December day, six US Navy planes and 27 men had vanished without a trace. There was a Naval Board of Inquiry, but the members were unable to reach an official verdict. One member of the board later commented that Flight 19 and the Mariner flying boat had, 'vanished completely as if they'd flown to Mars.'

Scores of other planes, both military and civil aircraft vanished and malfunctioned while flying over the Triangle, and even satellites passing over the accursed region have been known to suffer technical glitches. In November 1969, Apollo 12 was in Earth orbit, its crew making preparations that would rocket their ship to the Ocean of Storms landing site on the Moon. Before they embarked on that historic trajectory, the astronauts took several snapshots of the Earth, and captured photographic evidence of a phenomenon which has only deepened the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. The astronauts had photographed streaks of apparently white or luminous water in the area of the Bermuda Triangle, chiefly near to the Bahamas. These unusual streaks of luminosity were one of the last terrestrial things that the astronauts could discern from interplanetary space, but no one has ever explained the white waters phenomenon. Could this meteorological anomaly throw some light on the puzzling comments of the doomed Flight 19 crewmen, who spoke of entering 'white waters' shortly before their transmissions ceased?

Even today, the Bermuda Triangle area still has an unusually high incidence of disappearances, but there has been talk of tackling the problem by conducting a study of the region, but as usual, the problem is scientists who are afraid to stick their necks out to admit that the Triangle exists. Japanese scientists have recently proposed leaving buoy-like probes in the Triangle. These weatherproof probes would have robust video cameras and an array of scientific measuring instruments to relay information back to a ship or land-based data-gathering centre. Of course, electronic and mechanical instruments have a tendency to malfunction in the Triangle, so it would be a risky venture, but at least the Japanese are making a noble attempt at understanding the phenomenon instead of uneasily dismissing it.




This story reproduced with permission from Tom Slemen

© Copyright 2004 by Tom Slemen. All Rights Reserved.

Last modification: November 10, 2007


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