|Nick Popes Weird World|
|Posted by Georgina Bruni
Editor in Chief Hot Gossip UK
Check out Bruni's Column
Happy new Millennium. Yes, I know that technically speaking the new Millennium doesn't
begin until 2001, because there was no "Year Zero". But popular culture will always win out
over a dry, academic viewpoint, so party on! I hope you all had a good one, and that in the
words of the artist formerly known as Prince, you partied like it was . well, 1999. Good also to
see that all the scare stories over Y2K turned out to be just that, and that civilisation as we
know it didn't end (although my New Year hangover suggested otherwise). Anyway, Y2K
hasn't affected computers or corrupted any of my data, so dh*e78okŁus%rk+kui77i5. Only
OK, here's the latest batch of stories from the weird world of ufology and the paranormal:
Electro-Magnetic Fields And Abductions
Over recent years ufologist Albert Budden has championed the theory that electro -magnetic fields may be a factor in making some people believe that they've been abducted by aliens. His work builds on the work of researchers such as Paul Devereux and Michael Persinger, and suggests that these EM fields can not only cause "earthlights" which are seen as UFOs, but trigger hallucinations in people or induce altered states of consciousness. These in turn are given an outlet by means of the popular culture, when somebody's belief system leads them to interpret the experience in terms of aliens (or angels, or ghosts, depending upon the individual). He's tried to correlate abductee reports with sources of EM pollution such as transmission masts or pylons. Budden's theories were given a boost recently when a study carried out by scientists based at Bristol University suggested that people living near to power lines were receiving radiation doses up to eleven times the recognised safety limit. The study, led by Professor Denis Henshaw, suggests that airborne pollutants are drawn to the power cables and subsequently intensified by the EM fields around the wires. This in turn is something which many believe makes it more likely that people will develop leukaemia or other cancers. Other scientists have already attacked the report and questioned the data. The Department of Health are currently studying the report, so this is a story to watch.
The Unopened Files
Issue 14 of The Unopened Files goes on sale on 27 February, and will thereafter be available on a bi-monthly basis. It's an excellent magazine packed with information on cover-ups, conspiracies and information that some people would rather you didn't know. It's the sister publication of UFO Magazine, and produced to the same high standard. Why not take out a subscription?
The Sci-Fi Files
A book that landed on my doormat for review the other day is the newly updated tome The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. And when it landed on my doormat, there was a resounding crash, because it's a heavy book, even in its paperback form. It has over 4300 entries, and is helpfully cross-referenced where appropriate. It' s an absolute must for all sci-fi fans, and I've already had fun dipping into this wide -ranging and very well-researched book. It's edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls, and is published by Orbit at Ł25.
At War With Ufology
As the last Millennium ended and the new one began, ufology reverted to type and found itself embroiled in more unpleasantness. Larry O'Hara and Steve Booth have co-authored a 136 page pamphlet about Tim Matthews. Entitled At War With The Universe it charts Tim's involvement with ufology and with various well-known ufologists. I've sent off for this publication, not least because I get a mention or two, as do the likes of Jenny Randles, Nick Redfern and Max Burns. But I've done this with a sense of regret at having to spend money on what's bound to be a fundamentally negative (and quite possibly libellous) book. Don't get me wrong: I'm no great fan of Tim and we've had our differences in the past. But with the dawn of the new Millennium I'd hoped that everybody (myself included) might like to make a fresh start, set aside differences of opinion and strive to make ufology a friendlier place where different views are not just tolerated but actively welcomed and encouraged. Tim has already responded with a lengthy open letter to the two authors, widely posted on all the usual Internet sites. I post this story here not to take sides or promote the book, but simply because it's news.
Twentieth Century Fox have released a special X-Files video that should be of particular interest to ufologists. Entitled Dreamland, it incorporates various popular ufological themes such as Area 51, back-engineered alien technology and Men in Black. It's not available in the shops, and I had to order it through a telephone line which involved having to key in my credit card details at great length. A few days later I received a standard letter telling me that I'd supplied insufficient details for my order to be processed. I re-ordered and was told that my bank had rejected the application. When I checked, this turned out to be nonsense. After several more telephone calls my video finally arrived, amusingly followed several days later by two more standard letters saying my order had been rejected. So come on, Twentieth Century Fox: sort this mess out. I dread to think how many other people's orders were messed up and how many kids didn't get their videos in time for Christmas, just because Fox didn't use a distribution system that used people to take credit card bookings, and relied instead on an automated telephone system that was time-consuming and resulted in legitimate orders being rejected. The video is excellent, by the way. Check out www.thex-files.com for the official website, and do a search on "X-Files" for a whole host of other sites.
Open Skies, Closed Minds It's traditionally very hard for British authors of UFO books to break into the American market. Timothy Good is one of the few British authors to have made any impression in the US. So I'm pleased to say that my first book, Open Skies, Closed Minds, is about to be released in the US as a mass-market paperback, published by Dell Publishing at $5.99. Dell published my second book, The Uninvited, last year, reversing the order in which they were published in the UK. Both titles were already available in the US in hardback, published by The Overlook Press, but it's the release of a book in paperback, with a large print-run, that really gets the message across. I hope this will help promote British ufology in America, where there can be a very US-centric view of ufology (That's not to say that the same applies in reverse). I also hope this will make it easier for other UK authors to break into the US market. Ufology is a global subject, and the more we see of what goes on in other countries, the better.
UFO Files To Be Released?
The debate continues over whether or not there's to be an imminent mass-release of MOD UFO files. I've already commented extensively on this, so won't repeat any of this. There's an excellent article on the controversy in the current (January /February) issue of UFO Magazine, who posted my statement on their website at www.ufomag.co.uk. I also gave my views on this to Peter Robbins. His article and an earlier one of mine can be found at the excellent www.ufocity.com.
Nick Pope. London 2000
Nick Pope's three books, Open Skies, Closed Minds, The Uninvited and Operation Thunder Child are available from all good bookshops. His UK publishers are Simon & Schuster. In America, The Overlook Press publish his books in hardback while Dell Publishing produce paperback editions.