CISU on Mars (15 years before InSight)

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Millions of TV viewers in front of the TV screens and on the Internet on November 26, 2018 to watch  InSight space probe landing on  planet Mars.

As usual, conspirators claimed that it was a NASA staging, that not only we never arrived on either Mars or the Moon, but even that the red planet is inhabited, with cities, seas and forests.

cisu-vt-su-marteOnly a few, however, knew that, without much clamor, the Italian Center for UFO Studies has already landed on Mars fifteen years ago, with an expedition started in 2003.

The initiative was by CISU Viterbo Section, which decided to join a NASA offer to include your name on a microchip meant to travel in space and land on that planet within the Rover module.

In June and July 2003, the Mars Exploration Rover mission launched two twin expeditions with Spirit and Opportunity rovers on board, both arrived onto the Martian ground in January 2004. From that moment on, CISU Viterbo Section has formally set foot on the planet from which, starting from 1893, millions of people all over the world have expected (and someone still expects) to see the Martians arrive on Earth.

In the meantime, the Italian Center for UFO Studies has been and remains the first (and only) Italian UFO organization to have landed on Mars  😉

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In the top photo: the Opportunity rover.
At the center: NASA certification that “CISU sez. Viterbo” was included among the names of people and associations joining the “Send Your Name to Mars” initiative.
Below:  Viterbo section of CISU (from left: Mauro Garberoli, Angelo Ferlicca, Andrea Bovo) at work.

UFOs above Parma: a new catalog

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On time for the 33rd National UFO Conference, held by CISU in Bologna on November 10th, the second edition of Cristian Vitali‘s “UFO su Parma” was published by UPIAR Publications.

The book, subtitled “Collection of UFO Reports in Parma province from 1947 to 2017″ is the updated and enlarged version of the 2015 result of Vitali’s three years work at collecting, filing and cataloguing all UFO case histories from his province.

vitali2015Compared to the first edition, this one brings from 445 to 502 sightings in and around Parma, with 34 new cases from the 2015-2017 periods and other 23 cases from previous years but not in the old catalog. Revisions and updates of 37 events were also added, in the typical “CISU style” for which the publication does not mark a project arrival but also the starting point for further investigations, in a continuing work in progress.

In addition to detailed description of each sighting, the volume contains statistical analysis and some in-depth investigations by the author, for a total of 220 pages. It can be ordered from Upiar Store website.

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In the below photo: Cristian Vitali presenting his provincial catalogue at CISU 30th National UFO Congress (Torino, 2015)

The 1978 Wave Becomes History – 33rd CISU conference in Bologna

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The 33rd edition of the annual National UFO Congress, organized by CISU, was held in Bologna on Saturday, November 10th, 2018.

As announced, the conference them was “The 1978 Wave Becomes History – Documents, Reflections and Research 40 Years Later than that Exceptional Year”. The congress was not open to the public but a closed-shop workshop for members of the Italian Center for UFO Studies and interested scholars, so to allow free and in-depth discussion.

33marzoGian Paolo Grassino opened the proceedings with an introduction entitled “Chronicle of an Unusual, Difficult, Unique Year” which consisted of a month-by-month overview of the main events (more relevant sightings, more clamorous UFO news, ufological activities, facts or society events) in Italy during 1978.

33tosellicoverA deliberately provocative paper by Paolo Toselli followed: “1978: Italy calls UFO – mass disinformation techniques?”. By cleverly  correlating the ambiguous role of some individuals (contactees, scientists, intellectuals, officials) in different moments, it raised the tongue-in-cheek question whether the wave was at least partly planned and built, for not admitted purposes. A lively discussion ensued.

33casiritagliThird speech was Edoardo Russo‘s “1978: the Invasion?”, closely centered on the figures & data of what was then and still remains the record year in Italy (as of number of sightings, landings, encounters of the third kind, articles and news in newspapers, TV services, published books). In view of the forty-year anniversary,  the Italian Center for UFO Studies completed an extensive work of updating the case histories archive and catalog in recent months, bringing from 1,800 to over 2,300 Italian sightings collected and filed for that year alone (equal to 28% of all reports up to that time). In parallel, the complete digitalization of the newsclipping archive was completed, which for that year has got to over 2,200 articles or cuttings. In addition to some monthly and weekly statistics from those two files, the trend of their time distributions was also compared, and the uniqueness of the Italian “1978 phenomenon” as compared to the rest of the world was highlighted.

Both at the end of the speech and on the following day (before CISU members annual general meeting) several suggestions were proposed for further research on/from these data. And that was precisely the intention and purpose of the conference: not a point of arrival but of departure.

In order to relieve the discussion, it was again Grassino’s turn to talk about “Close Encounters of the Third Kind: the Film”, with little known UFO background about the genesis and production of Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster, the role played by astronomer-ufologist Joseph Allen Hynek and the Italian side of both items (the film and Hynek’s  Italian journey in that spring of ’78, with its queue of public conferences, interviews in newspapers and TV, publication of his book).

Four intense hours, but a strong stimulus for all the participants. The presentation slides of the papers and the whole recording of the speeches are available to CISU members, so to share the conference with those who were not able to attend.

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Pre-UFOs over Italy: 3,400 Apparitions in Past Centuries

preufocat-2018PreUfoCat is the catalog of unusual aerial phenomena over the Italian peninsula all along the centuries before 1900, coordinated by Pietro Torre. Its third edition has just been published by Upiar Publications under the title “Strange Lights in Italian History”.

torrepietroThe first edition (November 2011) presented about a thousand case histories in 260 large-format pages. The second edition (exactly three years later) had doubled the total of cases collected and reported in full, with bibliographic sources and illustrations, coming to 684 pages for a  limited edition (for collectors only) on paper, while the catalogue went out in a digital DVD edition (with a 12-page introductory paper booklet).

This third edition, arriving almost four years after the second, has risen to over 3,400 case histories, so that the 1,010 paper pages have been broken into two volumes for the limited edition (once again for collectors only, in full color), paralleling the DVD edition.

Both versions (as well as previous editions) can be purchased as usual from the Upiar Store website.

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In the central picture: Pietro Torre presenting PreUfoCat first edition at the 26th CISU conference (Turin, 2011)
Below: comparing the three editions of PreUfoCat.

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”.

Italian MoD’s Answer to the Parliamentary Question: (only) one Tornado above Corio…

by Gian Paolo Grassino

commissione-difesa

On August 2, during the question time at the Italian  Chamber of Deputies Defense Commission,  the answer arrived to the parliamentary question presented to the Minister of Defense  by Francesca Bonomo and Davide Gariglio on June 18th and later re-submitted (by Alberto Pagani and Francesca Bonomo) on August 1st, in the most cogent form of “immediate response question”.

raffaelevolpiUndersecretary of Defense Raffaele Volpi read the following text:

“Air Force General Staff, after due investigations, excluded the presence of airplanes at the time and in the indicated area; however, they areported that on June 6th, around 23 o’clock, a Tornado aircraft passed in Corio area, on a regularly planned night training mission  approaching Turin-Caselle airport. The glow and the roar perceived by the population might be due to the normal approach manoeuver to the runway performed by the aircraft and, more particularly, to the “re-starting” which, in order to allow climbing in total safety, means the use of engine maximum power, including the afterburner.

It should be noted that these maneuvers were carried out in full compliance with current laws and restrictions, as well as all training and exercise activities are fully regulated by specific directives of the Armed Forces, aimed at minimizing the inconvenience to the inhabitants . The use of airspace is planned by the Italian Air Force daily and any planning is also communicated to the competent civil aviation authorities who must know the extent of the military air traffic and the details of the flight plan, both for organizational and safety reasons .

As for the preventive information by military authorities  to the population on the occasion of carrying out training activities with aircrafts, it is already the practice of Armed Force to give public notice of each relevant exercise, as well as of any event with the contemporary participation of more than one aircraft. In the case in question, it was a training mission of a single aircraft that used the normal flight trajectories, thus not falling in the cases described above. On the legal aspects of safety and compliance withregulations, maximum attention is paid to ensure that the essential training requirement minimizes the impact on residents in areas affected by flight drills. Precisely for this reason, as well as to avoid interference with civil traffic, strict procedural, temporal, geographical and altitute limits are foreseen for all training activities “.

We won’t now discuss this new answer and its compatibility with what reported by eye witnesses about flight path (from the valley toward the mountain), altitute (very low), not just sound effects, and we’d rather concentrate our attention on the different, partly contradictory releases and explanations so far provided by the Italian Air Force.

It would seem that the author of the response presented yesterday by the Government to the parliamentary question roughly aligned himself  to the very first version provided to newspapers  by A.F. spokesmen as early as June 7th: only one Tornado (at the time told to have passed  “at very high altitude”, now instead “approaching Caselle airport”). A version later  denied by what the Air Force itself reportedly answered on July 20th to the General Attorney, Giuseppe Ferrando, that is there were actually two aircraft at low altitude above Corio on that night, which had a technical trouble (now no longer mentioned in the “normal approach maneuver”) causing the anomalous roar, as we have already reported.

No mention, however, for the third light, the one that had preceded the arrival of the fighters, which seemed to be his pursuit, according to several witnesses. At least on this point, the various statements of the military are consistent: absolute silence. Waiting for the next installment of this soap opera…

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In the above picture: Chamber of Deputies Defense Commission meeting on August 1st, 2018.
In the smaller photos: Undersecretary of Defense, Raffaele Volpi (above) and two Tornados in flight (below).

A UFO landed on the Dolomites?

lavaredo-by-night
In recent years, the percentage of close encounters on the total number of Italian UFO sightings has dropped significantly, even below 5%, i.e. more or less to 10 case histories per year. The rare cases of “UFO landing” reported by witnesses are therefore of particular interest.

The latest one took place on  July 7th, when an American tourist allegedly had an experience quite out of the ordinary on the Dolomite mountain path connecting two cabins near Auronzo di Cadore (in the province of Belluno).

The report was sent to the MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) Case Management System and we report its contents by summarizing what written by the witness, a professional photographer who was taking an evening excursion in the  Tre Cime di Lavaredo natural park, in order to take pictures of the sunset and later of the Milky Way.

sentiero-lavaredoOn the evening of Friday, July 6, the man had left his car in the parking of Rifugio Auronzo and had walked along the path climbing to Forcella Lavaredo for an hour’s walk to Rifugio Locatelli, on the opposite side of Mount Paterno.

Around midnight he decided to get back along the path in total darkness, lit only by his torchlight.

rifugio_auronzo_forcella-longeresShortly before one o’clock A.M., after having passed Cappella degli Alpini (when he was now in sight of Rifugio Auronzo parking area) he turned back and was astonished to see “a large bright orb-like structure, consisting of many many bright lights, sitting stationary and silently” on the cliff edge about 170 meters away, where he had passed a few minutes before. He could not see a real structure but only the multicolored lights, which covered an area as large as a two-story cabin.

lavaredo-cut-drawingAfter a brief look at what did not look like anything known to him, literally terrified at the idea of having ​​been noticed because of his torchlight, the witness decided to run to his car. In doing so he turned back a few times, but renounced to take his camera out of the backpack to photograph the thing.

In hindsight, the man tried to make some hypotheses: a large tree with Christmas lights on, fifty+ drones hovering at that point, another cabin not listed on the map suddenly turning all lights on. None of these, however, persuaded or reassured him, and that’s why he thought it might be a UFO.

The next day he sent his report to the American UFO organization, which opened an investigation file on the case, assigning it to  MUFON Italian branch.

In the pictures from above to below:
the three Cime di Lavarone at night (source: TripAdvisor);
– the path from Rifugio Auronzo to Forcella Longeres (photo by Marco P. from Tripadvisor);
Rifugio Auronzo and its parking area, seen from the above path (source: it.wikipedia.org);
– witness’ drawing illustrating his sighting (source: MUFON)]

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.]