Two UFO books by Nico Sgarlato

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The aeronautical journalist Nico Sgarlato succeeded in a odd record:  two UFO books by him were published within just over a month, the first ones in an already long career as a writer on technical issues.

At the end of September, Delta Publishing  announced the release of a volume titled “UFO Fighters” (80 pages, hardcover), which consists of a collection of articles he Sgarlato wrote about UFO cases hisotires having pilots in flight as witnesses , especially in the magazine “Aerei” (Airplanes) . Among these are Kenneth Arnold, Thomas Mantell, George Gorman, Frederick Valentich and Giancarlo Cecconi (Italy) testimonies, Washington, Lakenheath, Teheran, Belgium aerial encounters etc., each with a wide range of illustrations and references to the aerotechnical aspects.

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In early November, the book entitled “Roswell, New Mexico” (and subtitled “Flying disks, airplanes and secret military projects: stories and facts”, 93 pages + xvi of pictures) has been published  by UPIAR Publications about the famous story of a flying saucer crashed in southwestern USA, in those very early days when the “flying saucers” saga began. Here, too, author’s attention is mostly centered on aeronautical and military history, with an eye to the role played by intelligence in this and in some other historical cases (Mantell, Kinross, Fu-Go Ballooons, Kecksburg).

 

Nico Sgarlato (born in 1944 in Albenga,sgarlatonico where he has always lived) is mostly known as editor or editor-in-chief of several specialized periodicals (eg. Aviation & Navy, Airplanes, Aerospace-month, Airplanes in History, Aeronautics & Defense), but only a few people know he also has a ufologist curriculum dating back to his younger years and the collaboration with “Clypeus” magazine  (1967). Since 1990 he’s been  a full member of the Italian Center for UFO Studies (CISU), writing articles in its journal “UFO”.

1978 UFO invasion on show in Alessandria

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Exactly forty years ago, in the autumn of 1978, the whole Italy was overwhelmed by a real “UFO psychosis”: thousands of lights sighted in the sky and hundreds of close encounters (often with traces and humanoid beings) spread all along the peninsula in a crescendo culminated at the end of December.

But that’snot all: daily newspapers, magazines and general mass media were overflown with articles on the UFO subject, movie theaters projected Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (and “Eyes from Behind the Stars”, too), “Atlas UFO Robot” cartoon conquered the young kids from TV screens.

In order to celebrate the forty years from ’78 and the continuing presence of UFOs and extraterrestrial spacecraft in our everyday life, the Italian Center for UFO Studies (CISU) presents the thematic exhibition “The famous invasion of Flying Saucers at Bassavilla”, at the Ethnographic Museum ” Once upon a time”  in Alessandria, with free admission every day from 9 to 12 and from 15.30 to 19 (closed Sunday morning), from September 7th to 30th.

Inauguration will be held at 6 pm on Friday,  September 7th. On Sunday, September 23, at 5 pm, there will be a conference by Danilo Arona and Paolo Toselli about “Alessandria and the UFOs: 45 years of investigations”.

For information: tel.+39.0131.400.30, e-mail museogambarina6@gmail.com, www.museodellagambarina.it

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In the above picture: exhibition poster by Franco Brambilla (artist of many “Urania” cover pages) showing Dome Square in Alessandria (the “Bassavilla” born from the mind of Danilo Arona)  “invaded” by spaceships and aliens, who look like intrigued by a classic Borsalino hat.

A book by GEIPAN Chairman, Xavier Passot

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Xavier Passot‘s book has now been  published, about his five years direction of GEIPAN (Groupe d’études et d’information sur les phénomènes aérospatiaux non identifiés), the UFO sightings collection and analysis office within French “Center National d’Etudes Spatiales” (CNES), the only non-military government UFO office active for over 40 years all over the world.

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We have often written about GEIPAN, and Mr. Passot himself was a guest and speaker at CISU national conference in Torino, in October 2017, where he presented us his experience in such unique position as an “official ufologist”.

The book is titled “J’ai vu un OVNI: Perceptions et réalités” (“I saw a UFO: Perceptions and Realities”, Cherche Midi Pub., 142 pages), with a foreword by sociologist Pierre Lagrange.

 

It is not the first book written by a former GEIPAN director: he was preceded by Jean-Jacques Velasco (“Ovnis: La science avance”, 1993; “Ovnis: L’évidence”, 2004 ) and Jacques Patenet (in the collective book “Phénomènes aérospatiaux non identifiés, un défi à la Science”, 2007). In fact each director of the GEPAN (later renamed SEPRA, finally GEIPAN) has given his own mark to that office, and it is therefore interesting to know each one’s perception “from within”.

Following on the footprints of his predecessor Jacques Patenet, Passot’s  years marked the phase of GEIPAN’s maximum openness both to the public (with the gradual publication of its whole archive of UFO reports) and to private ufologists (at least to those of scientific orientation), culminating with the Paris congress CAIPAN (Collecte et l’Analyze des Informations sur les Phénomènes Aérospatiaux Non-identifiés) in July 2014.

The book is not addressed to ufologists but to a general public, it is written in simple language, with a pedagogical intent, and is divided into three parts.
The first section (“GEIPAN Files”) reports a dozen significant case histories investigated, also reporting the conclusions where it was possible to reach one.
In the second part (“Investigation Complements”) the author delves into the complexity of UFO investigation, by quickly reviewing conceptual components of the problem: what is (and can be seen) in the sky, the weight of cultural factors, the role of the witness at the heart of the investigation, the concept of evidence and the role of photographs, the role of the investigator.
The third section (“The UFO Challenge”) examines the most widespread interpretative hypotheses, the interaction with the tools of science, the relationship with the mass media, the aspects related to defense, the role of beliefs.
The book ends with a chapter of conclusions, a critical analysis of the “COMETA Report” and an annotated essential bibliography.

If Passot’s purpose was to resume his five years in chair of GEIPAN and report his personal experience in the UFO world, even if brief his text makes an effective synthesis of the UFO problem and of its study today.

Ignacio Darnaude Rojas-Marcos (1931-2018)

entrevistadarnaude5Veteran Spanish ufology Ignacio Darnaude Rojas-Marcos  died in Sevilla on June 26, 2018.

He was born on January 18, 1931 and had been actively interested in the UFO subject since  the second half of the ’50s,  collecting a huge documentation and writing hundreds of articles and papers, most of them unpublished and only circulated by letter.

Since the 1960s, in order to overcome difficulties in duplication, he created an original way of exchanging documents (clippings, letters, reports, comments) by photographic reproductions he sent copy of to a worldwide network of correspondents. He was among the first Spanish collaborators of UFO organizations and magazines such as APRO, NICAP, Flying Saucer Review, Lumiéres dans la nuit.

Son of his time, he was certainly not an exponent of the scientific branch of ufology. By his own admission, he was rather interested in the philosophical aspects of the extraterrestrial contact” concept (which he himself called “transufology”).

Since the ’70s, Darnaude was also an avid collector of all that concerned the “Ummo affair” (the letters a so-called group of extraterrestrials would send to numerous UFO students, especially Spanish ones, describing their world, science and technical know-how), creating a monumental 1,500-page catalog, the UmmoCat.

In the new millennium, he became fond of the Internet he published on his own website a large part of the documentation he had collected on the UFO topic (about 13,000 pages), between 2006 and 2015.

In the same period, he began to write books to organically collect his reflections of over 60 years (“El principle de elusividad cósmica”, “Libros revelados y síndrome contacto ET”, “El desafío extraterrestre en el siglo XXI”), books that constitute his spiritual testament, well summarized in the interview given to ufologists José Juan Montejo and David Cuevas in 2014.

Parliamentary Question about Aerial Pursuit Above Corio (Italy)

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francesca_bonomoThe parliamentary question announced last week by Hon. Francesca Bonomo [left picture] was presented to the Chamber of Deputies on Monday 18 June, about the aerial roar and the testimonies concerning two low-altitude military aircrafts in the Corio area (province of Turin) seemingly pursuing a light in the sky on June 6, as we already reported.

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That is a question to answer, also signed by Hon. Davide Gariglio [right picture], and addressed to the Minister of Defense, as follows:

 

“Given that:
– on June 6, 2018, around 21 hours, in the area of ​​the municipality of Corio, in the province of Turin, the passage of n. 2 aircraft, most likely military fighters at very low altitude, was
heard and seen by most of the population of the aforementioned town and neighboring municipalities;
– this event has greatly alarmed the population due to the loud noise and the shock wave
which spread to the territory, but above all because of the fear that the two aircrafts were headed to intercept a third potentially dangerous aircraft, which some testimonies say they have seen;
– because of the fear generated in the area inhabitants for their safety, the police has been called by many and institutions urged to better understand what happened;
– after the event the Air Force was called, whose answer was evasive and incomplete in the opinion of the questioners, which has further fueled doubts and concerns;
to know
if the heard noise as above is to be attributed to the performance of military flights and, if so, what the reason was for this flight, if there was any danger to the area inhabitants, and what initiatives military authorities intend to adopt in order to inform the local population before carrying out any exercises, thus avoiding to create fear and worry among the inhabitants.”

The question gives a wrong time of the phenomenon (which actually took place shortly before 11 p.m., not 9 p.m.), from which we can assume the text was not based on the testimonies reported on social networks and local mass media, but on the press release itself (released by ANSA news agency on  June 10 evening) announcing the intention to present a parliamentary question by Hon. Bonomo and Senator Mauro Marino (both elected in Piedmont for the Democratic Party).

[collaboration by Antonio Rampulla]

[top image: photo by Matteo Aldo Peracchione, from the Facebook group “Sei di Corio se …”]

Mini-flap of sightings in Piedmont, Italy

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When mass media publish sensational sightings, other witnesses often come forward to report more. That’s now happening in Piedmont region (Italy) in the wake of what happened in Corio on June 6, where dozens of people saw a light in the sky seemingly pursued by two military planes: in addition to the usual trail of rumors, hypotheses and denials, a series of sighting reports followed in the previous or following days from different areas in that region.

The first testimony dates back to the evening of Saturday, June 2, around 21.30, when a woman at Torino Olympic Stadium for Vasco Rossi’s concert watched a round not well defined object with white-blue reflections moving slowly northward in the clear sky for a couple of minutes.

On the following day, June 3, an employee driving back home for lunch in Nole (province of Turin) noticed a bright lens-shaped object in the partly cloudy sky. It was inclined at 45°, oscillated for a few seconds, then sped up disappearing into a cloud [see drawing by the witness in the above photo].

2018-06-09_no_dormelletto_fotoTwo reports came from Saturday, June 9: what was described as “a flying man” was reportedly photographed by a tourist in Dormelletto (Novara) [picture here on the left], while five black dots moving slowly in the sky were filmed in Banchette d’Ivrea (Torino) shortly after 9 p.m.

A few hours later, at 2.20 a.m. on Sunday, June 10, a motorist traveling along the state road near San Germano Vercellese (Vercelli) found himself passing under a bright yellow and blue disc hovering above the road.

In UFO jargon, we speak of flaps to indicate these concentrations of sightings in a certain area and in a limited period of time. In the past it was thought that they indicated a real increased presence of UFO phenomena, while now the prevalent opinion is instead that otìs the emergence of a greater percentage of “hidden sightings”: on the basis of Doxa poll data, indeed, there should be over 3 million Italians who think they have seen a UFO, compared to about 30 thousand reports collected and cataloged by ufologists, meaning just the 1% of the total.

American UFO historian visits CISU headquarters

greg1Greg Eghigian is a historian of human sciences and a professor of Modern History at Pennsylvania State University, with a known interest in ufology.

For over a year he has been working on a research project on a  global history of the UFO subject with particular regard to the evolution of UFO sightings phenomenon and of its study.

gregrichieHis usual summer tour in the old continent was therefore an opportunity for a visit to Italy, with his colleague Richard Sherman (who’s teaching video making at the same university and is collaborating on the historiographical project with a documentary).

On June 11, Eghigian and Sherman arrived in Torino, specifically to meet and interview some CISU members and to visit Italian Center for UFO Studies  headquarters and archives (the second largest in Europe).

gregpter American researchers’ Italian day has been articulated in three different moments.
In a first part, the stories and personal evolution of a few CISU members (Paolo Toselli, Paolo Fiorino, Edoardo Russo) were collected as video interviews,  with an exchange of opinions on the past and future of ufology – which highlighted strong philosophical affinities.

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A second part  consisted of a general overview of the history of Italian ufology, followed by a guided tour of the CISU Archives, which amazed our visitors from overseas for the quantity and quality of the collected and organized documentation.

The meeting was also the starting point for identifying specific areas of collaboration, with particular regard to the historiographical aspects, which our association is particularly and actively interested in.

[In the pictures taken during the meeting at CISU registered office, from top to bottom: Richard Shermand  and Greg Eghigian preparing interviews; Eghigian talking with Edoardo Russo and Paolo Toselli; Eghigian interviewing Paolo Fiorino.]

UFO chased by Italian Air Force near Torino?

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In just three days, news of a light in the Canavese skies passed from local news to a state question.
The facts: on Wednesday night, June 6, just before 11 p.m., dozens of residents in the municipalities of Corio, Rocca and Levone (province of Torino) were alarmed by a strong and long roar making windows shake. Most people thought an airplane was about to fall on the houses. Many, who left home or were already outdoors, watched and later described the low-altitude passage of two military planes, seemingly chasing a white light moving in the sky, according to some of the witnesses.
As it is now frequent, testimonies have begun flooding social networks on the following morning, and for the first few days they were reported  only by local newspapers (Sentinella del Canavese, Cronaca Qui Torino), while both ENAV (civilian Aviation Administration) and Italian Air Force denied the presence of low-flying aircrafts in the valley at that time.
When one of the witnesses went to submit a complaint to the Carabinieri police and two local politicians announced they were to present a Parliamentary question to the Ministry of Defense, however, the news rose to national level, with a national wire ANSA press release on Sunday evening, which got to most newspapers and mass media on the following day.
Meanwhile, the Italian Center for UFO Studies (CISU) had opened an investigation,  launched a public appeal to witnesses and has so far tracked down and made contact with a dozen eyewitnesses who, in addition to the roar and the planes, have seen the luminous object in the sky.
Investigations are still ongoing and it is too early to reach conclusions about the observed phenomenon and the dynamics of the events, before data collection is completed, matching the testimonies and making on place surveys.
The CISU is interested in any evidence of unusual objects or aerial phenomena, and always invites witnesses to tell their experiences, granting privacy to them.
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Top: photo of a flying object taken at Corio Canavese (Pian Audi) on August 29, 1962

Francine Fouéré (1927-2018)

The doyen of French ufology, Francine Fouéré, died in Paris on May 26, 2018. She had just turned 91 years old.

foueresA high school teacher, interested in ufology since 1954, in 1962 she and her husband Réné Fouéré were among the founders of the Groupement d’Etude de Phénomènes Aériens (GEPA), an association of technicians, scientists, military representing for 15 years the main attempt in France to make ufology a scientific study, clearly separating from “flying saucers” sensationalism. For their joined involvement as a married couple in that UFO organization, they were considered “the French Lorenzens“.

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After her husband’s death in 1990, Francine had remained actively engaged in studies on the subject, attending meetings and conferences, editing the re-publication in five volumes of the complete collection (and supplemented by various unpublished articles) of GEPA magazine “Phénomènes spatiaux”, in 2008.

 

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In 1982 I had the opportunity to meet her at GEPA headquarters in Paris, and in 2005 we had the surprise to find her at the Chalons-en-Champagne UFO Congress, where she ran a stand with the old publications of her association [photo SPICA].
An autobiographical interview of her was collected by Gilles Thomas in 2009 and can be heard here.

[Communication by Pierre Lagrange]

The 1978 Great UFO Wave, 40 years later

2018 is marking the fortieth anniversary of the great wave of UFO sightings over Italy in 1978, the year with the greatest numer of reports and case histories collected throughout the twentieth century.

Twenty years ago, the Italian Center for UFO Studies (Centro Italiano Studi Ufologici, CISU) already devoted its 13th national congress to re-examining that extraordinary year, with analysis and comparison of the international scene.

A few months ago, 40 years after the events, the CISU launched a new “Project ’78” based on the center impressive archives, a project with two different sections, whose first results are coming in these days.

ritagli1978A first part of the project consisted in the digitalization and full indexing of all press sources of that year. The Italian UFO wave of 1978 was in fact mostly a media wave, overwhelming newspapers and other mass media all around the nation, in a very pervasive way, unprecedented in the past (and in the future as well), as it is also apparent from the annual totals of newsclipping in CISU Press Archive: never before that time (*) more than two thousand press cuttings had been collected in just one year, as in 1978, and never that happened again in the following years. The ufomania in Italian newspapers was already remarked at the time, sort of a “UFO psychosis”.

All collected newscuttings had long been ordered and set up on A4 paper sheets at CISU headquarters, where the 1978 section occupies seven archive boxes of (mostly original) clippings taken from dailies and local information newspapers, plus an eighth folder containing extracts from the illustrated magazines (which published extensive services on the UFO topic, in that year). In the last few weeks, some CISU volunteers have worked on the full scanning of this collection, which was completed in early May, 2018: 2,400 articles from newspapers, which will soon be joined by those from illustrated magazines. Upon this work, other volunteers are currently “renaming” the individual files so that they directly indicate the newspaper and the date of publication, to allow an automatic indexing and an easier recovery.

controllias78By the end of May a second part of the project will start, concerning UFO sighting case histories. The national catalog of Italian UFO sightings currently includes 1,800 reports for 1978, each one corresponding to an archive folder containing all sources relating to it. In recent years a meticulous work of cross-checking has been done between the already existing files and the sources subsequently collected or not recorded at that time, with the following reproduction and filing of several hundred “new” cases. At the end of this work we will now move to the indexing of these new cases, entgering coordinates (date, time, location, type) in the general database. This second phase of the project should be completed before the summer.

That’s a concrete way of commemorating the 40th anniversary of the greatest UFO wave of all time in our country.

(*) with the incredible exception of 1954: more than 4,000 articles, but only recovered in recent years through the systematic and targeted research of the “Operation Origins”.