Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Haunted Skies: Vol. 1
As someone who has written extensively about the issue of UFO encounters in the British Isles, I know how incredibly difficult and time-consuming it can be to research - and write about - such an infinitely complex topic. And when that same research and writing also encompasses cases that date back decades, then the whole process becomes even more of a challenge.
And, this is one of the reasons why I take my hat off (metaphorically speaking!) to John Hanson and Dawn Holloway, who have done a superb job in chronicling the early years of British Ufology in their new book, Haunted Skies: The Encyclopedia of British UFOs, Volume 1, 1940-1959 (CFZ Press).
To say this is one of the most important of all books that address the history and nature of the UFO puzzle in Great Britain, is not an exaggeration. Not only have the authors uncovered an incredible amount of new data and hitherto unknown incidents, but they have also been able to shed a great deal of very welcome new light on old cases - cases that many researchers, I am sure, assumed had reached a point beyond which they could be taken no further. Well, those same researchers are dead wrong.
John and Dawn have done not just a great service to British Ufology, but to worldwide Ufology, too. With a foreword from Timothy Good, Haunted Skies is a book that will astonish you with the sheer wealth of fascinating and - in many cases - never-before-seen data on truly startling UFO encounters.
Given the fact that this volume covers the period from 1940 to 1959, we are, of course, treated to an amazing body of reports from the Second World War. Needless to say, many students of Ufology will be aware of the fact that the 1940s saw the emergence of the Foo Fighter puzzle - and many have concluded that, as far as UFOs are concerned, the Foo Fighters were a solitary ufological phenomenon of that era. Not so.
I was very intrigued to learn that John and Dawn had uncovered copious amounts of data, cases and testimony relative to close encounters with structured, classic, flying saucer-style craft, other-worldly entities, and much more in this very same, war-torn period. That this section of Haunted Skies alone now requires us to majorly revise what we thought we knew about the UFO puzzle during the Second World War is not a matter of any doubt whatsoever.
And with the 1947 commencement of the era of the Flying Saucer, we get to learn a great deal about how the mystery impacted on, and manifested within, ye olde Blighty. Again, it's clear that Britain played a truly significant role in that legendary year of our lord, Kenneth Arnold.
Haunted Skies also treats us to an absolute treasure-trove of material relative to 1950s UFO sightings, landings, police reports, Adamski-style Contactee cases, British military and governmental interest in the phenomenon, and remarkable firsthand witness testimony concerning encounters with all-things incredible, saucer-shaped, and other-worldly.
And let's not forget Cynthia Appleton and her Venusian baby! This is one of those definitively weird tales of yesteryear that John and Dawn tackle in fine fashion, and which I found particularly intriguing. And you will, too!
For anyone and everyone interested in the UFO issue - and particularly so from a historical perspective - Volume 1 of Haunted Skies is a book that I cannot champion enough. Without doubt, it's one of the most significant UFO-related books of the last few decades - and that's not stretching things. It's an undeniable fact.
If Ufological history is your thing, Haunted Skies is indispensable.
And, as there are two more volumes to come from John and Dawn in this series, we're all in for further treats of the Ufological kind!
Big congratulations to John and Dawn for writing the book, and to Jon Downes and CFZ Press for publishing one of the finest UFO books I've read in a long, long time.