Thursday, April 21, 2011

The French UFO Report, COMETA Resurfaces, Congressional Hearing Requested

UFOs and Alien Encounters? COMETA Report

Do you think the House or Senate will have any extra time to discuss UFOs? While it sometimes might seem as though our lawmakers are from outer space, this hasn't stopped one college professor from urging Congress to take a serious look at unidentified flying objects.

Citing findings from a 12-year-old groundbreaking French UFO study, University of Missouri-Columbia psychologist and adjunct professor of peace studies Bill Wickersham has issued a call for congressional leaders to boldly go where their predecessors wouldn't.

Images taken in France associated with the COMETA Report
11 photos

Strange objects over France. While descending an Austrian mountain in 1954, photographer Erich Kaiser captured an image of what he called mysterious silvery-white flying objects.

In 1999, a special 13-member committee in France, made up of retired generals, scientists and space experts, created the COMETA Report, a study of 500 worldwide UFO sightings. The investigation narrowed down the reports to those that included radar and visual cases and previously undisclosed accounts from commercial and military pilots.

In a letter written in the Columbia Missourian, a news organization staffed by the Missouri School of Journalism, Wickersham cited the fact that the COMETA Report considered some UFO cases as possibly having an otherworldly source.

Even 12 years after that report, Wickersham, co-author of "Confronting Nuclear War: The Role of Education, Religion and the Community" (CreateSpace), feels it's important enough to warrant Congress' opening new, secrecy-free hearings into UFOs.

The name COMETA, in English, means Committee for In-Depth Studies, and the title of the 1999 French report was "UFOs and Defense: What Should We Prepare For?" The three-year study concluded that approximately 5 percent of the UFO cases examined "could be the work of craft of extraterrestrial origin."

The first part of the report described the various sections of the study, including:

  • Radar detection in France
  • Astronomers' sightings
  • Life in the universe
  • The long history of the UFO phenomenon
  • Reflections on various psychological, sociological and political aspects of the UFO phenomenon
This is actually not the first time that Congress has been called upon to consider a discussion of UFOs. In 1966, House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford, R-Mich., instigated an official UFO investigation after UFO reports in his home state.

"I believe Congress should thoroughly investigate the rash of reported sightings of unidentified flying objects in Southern Michigan and other parts of the country," Ford said in a radio broadcast.

"I feel a congressional inquiry would be most worthwhile because the American people are intensely interested in the UFO stories, and some people are alarmed by them.

"I think the American people would feel better if there was a full-blown investigation of these mysterious flying objects," Ford added.

The future president got his hearings, but the result, in 1969, was the government's proclamation -- amid severe criticism and internal debates -- that no evidence existed to warrant any further scientific study of UFOs. Case closed.

So does Wickersham think there's a real chance that a new congressional hearing on UFOs might actually come to pass in the current political climate?

"Not right now," he said. "And what's more, look at what happened to [2008 Ohio Democratic presidential candidate] Dennis Kucinich. The giggle factor, the ridicule, the ignorance, the apathy, denial -- all these things that surround this issue. It takes a lot of guts for a politician [to speak out on UFOs]. Most politicians run from it."

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