cover image UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities

UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities

John B. Alexander, foreword by Jacques F. Vallee, intro. by Burt Rutan, St. Martin’s/ Dunne, $25.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-312-64834-3

A former Green Beret commander and developer of weapons at Los Alamos, N.Mex., Alexander reviews major events in UFO history, finding both facts and flaws: “The gulf between the public’s opinion of UFOs and what most scientists believe regarding them is cavernous.” During the 1980s, Alexander organized an interagency group to explore the evidence, with participants from the military, CIA, and aerospace industry examining classic cases, including Roswell; the Gulf Breeze, Fla., photos; and unexplained incidents occurring within the U.S. strategic defense systems (such as sightings by NORAD installations), plus claims of reverse engineering on captured crafts; the Phoenix Lights, which Arizona’s governor at the time admitted witnessing; and the documented radiation poisoning suffered by Betty Cash and Vicky Landrum after their reported 1980 encounter near Houston. Alexander succeeds in separating solid facts and credible witnesses from the myths and conspiracy theorists. Determining that UFOs, while real, are “beyond current comprehension,” he sees the extraterrestrial hypothesis as too narrow. UFOs remain an enigma, he concludes, since “every time we think we have an answer, new observations make the problem more complex.” 8 pages of b&w photos. (Feb.)