21 August 2022


Jason Gleaves. UFO Encounters: Up Close & Personal. Flying Disk Press, 2022.

A huge variety of strange UFO encounters have been reported throughout the years and even for the most well-read there are always new ones you have never heard of, and for newcomers the subject is just downright bewildering. This volume, edited by Jason Gleaves, is a helpful guide to the subject as it features the favourite cases of ufologists and experiencers. The contributors are as wide ranging as the subject itself and just as controversial.
Not surprisingly, as he is the author of the ‘Dechmont Encounter’, Malcolm Robinson picks this case, involving Robert Taylor who got his trousers ripped by spiky balls that trundled out of a landed flying saucer. Philip Mantle chooses the Normanton case, that he details in his UFO Landings UK book, that involved a family seeing a craft land and its occupants step out of it.

Kathleen Marden made a similarly obvious choice of the Betty and Barney Hill case. It is also a favourite of Philip Kinsella who was influenced by John Fuller’s The Interrupted Journey. The incident is given a more critical examination by Clas Svahn, who interviewed Betty Hill in 1987 and was shown many of her unconvincing photographs of UFOs. He was more shocked by her revelation that she had seen a UFO crash in the late 1950s, and had chucked the debris from it under her home and covered it with a truckload of sand. This confirmed she had a strong interest in UFOs before the 1961 abduction, although it is odd she buried it in such a cavalier manner! Svahn is equally sceptical of the famous Star Map and other niggling details about the Hill abduction.

Another classic is the Antonio Villas Boas case favoured by Alex Mistretta, and Annalis Arnold goes for the Ariel school mass sighting in Zimbabwe. Mike Rogers chooses the Travis Walton abduction, and as a member of the logging team that witnessed it, he still remembers that something ‘sinister’ happened that evening of 5 November 1975. Rebecca Lomas picks the Alan Godfrey abduction story and is impressed that the sighting location of Todmorden, West Yorkshire, is still a UFO hotspot.

My own chapter is about George Adamski, not so much that I believe he had real encounters but more that he was the kingpin of contactees and his first book with Desmond Leslie had a strong and lasting influence on the perception of the UFO subject beyond the USA.

Other contributors have selected important aspects of the subject, rather than specific cases. E.T. contact experiencer, Peter Maxwell Slattery, for example picks Steven Greer’s 'Disclosure Project' as it brought to light UFO accounts made by military people and astronauts. Likewise, Dan Willis lifts the lid on a sighting report of a huge glowing object by a USNS ship. Donald Schmitt highlights the spread of conspiracy theories and his subsequent interest in the Roswell case.

Bruce Maccabee focuses on the scientific aspects of UFO research, but many of the chapters cover more personal anecdotal accounts of sightings and even abduction. Brian Allan gives us a long account by Tom McGregor (pseudonym) who from childhood saw dancing lights, and on one occasion a voice in his head saved him from a potentially nasty traffic accident.

Phillip and Ronald Kinsella in separate chapters recount seeing a silver sphere with their grandmother when they were children. She said: ‘The fairies have come to take a closer look at us!’ Ronald also describes a terrifying abduction where he is operated on by three alien doctors.

Mary Rodwell, who has a long-standing interest in ‘star children’ and ET encounters chooses the 'Chinese Roswell' incident as her favourite. This alleges a flying saucer crashed near a Beijing military barracks in 1997. A male and a female grey alien, with rat-like faces were observed with the craft. They were injured but it is not known what happened to them. This sounds more like a friend-of-a-friend rumour common to saucer crash stories, much like the Pentyrch incident chosen by Gari Jones. Jane Kyle selected the Aurora crash of 1897, which we know is certainly a hoax.

Tony Topping confesses to seeing numerous UFOs that have sucked him into a Flying Saucer Circus involving spies, fraudsters and triangular craft that are intelligent beings in their own right.

Certainly as other contributors assert, telepathy, meditation, out-of-body-experiences and remote viewing can put you in contact with the aliens. John Vivanco, states that from childhood he had  frightening mental and physical experiences with alien things with large, horrible eyes. As an adult he is able to fend them off and they no longer frighten him. Through remote viewing he has discovered that
you can trigger physical and mental visits from aliens.

Plenty of useful illustrations and photographs of UFOs are provided, and overall the book brilliantly shows how ufology has penetrated and changed the lives of experiencers and researchers alike. Whether we are being visited by ETs, angelic beings, demons, metaphysical entities or being duped by government psych ops or due to psychological factors, this book highlights the importance of our own
experiences and viewpoint.

Confronted by the multi-faceted nature of ufology Gleaves concludes that ‘...the subject is a taker and rarely gives anything in return and that’s why it will always be an Enigma.’
  • Nigel Watson

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