Saturday, November 12, 2005

"UFOs: The Hidden History"

UFO lecturer brings subject 'down to earth"

By Andrew Griffin
The Town Talk

Robert Hastings Cropped
     NATCHITOCHES -- When it comes to the subject of unidentified flying objects, also popularly known as "flying saucers," independent researcher and lecturer Robert Hastings of Myrtle Beach, S.C., says "we're all in for a real interesting future" when the truth about UFOs is revealed.

     Hastings shared his views and research during a talk called "UFOs: The Hidden History" recently with a crowd of 200 in the Magale Recital Hall at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches,

     Having lectured at hundreds of colleges and universities on the subject since the early 1980s, Hastings spoke before an audience made up mostly of students, although some visitors traveled from as far away as Baton Rouge to hear him speak.

     Hastings discussed the modern era of the phenomenon, beginning in 1947, when reports of flying saucers began capturing the public's imagination.

     A disinformation campaign, Hastings said, was used by the military, particularly the Air Force, to throw off the public. This was done, he said, by investigators saying a UFO sighting had been misidentified as "temperature inversions" or "marsh gas."

     Hastings, who said he saw a UFO himself at a Montana Air Force base in 1967, said that formerly classified documents, since released to the public through the Freedom of Information Act, show that the military was aware of the "UFO reality." He said the military was concerned about these objects but knew that revealing these concerns would alarm the public.

     "They decided to keep the public in the dark about this" subject, Hastings said, noting that the Air Force investigated UFO sightings until 1969. To this day, he said, the Air Force, the CIA and other U.S. agencies will tell the public their findings show these objects "do not pose a threat to national security."

     However, Hastings pointed to the relationship between UFOs and their appearances at nuclear test sites and nuclear missile silos, particularly during the Cold War years, an issue he linked to national security.

     He briefly discussed alien abductions, including the case of New Hampshire couple Betty and Barney Hill, who claimed they were abducted by aliens in the fall of 1961.

     FOIA documents, copies of which Hastings displayed on an overhead projector, showed that a New Hampshire Air Force base had noted an "unknown target" in the vicinity of where the Hills claim they were abducted that night.

     Hastings said that in 32 years of investigating UFOs, he has interviewed more than 50 retired Air Force personnel, many of whom believe that Earth is being visited by extraterrestrial craft.

     "The majority believe that these events were a demonstration of some sort," Hastings said. "It was as if someone was telling them they were playing with fire."

     Hastings closed by saying it is only a matter of time until the government discloses the truth about UFOs.

     "This is not science fiction; this is not Hollywood," Hastings said. "This is real."

     At least one audience member left convinced.

     "I'm a believer," New Orleans resident and NSU student Lino Castigliola said.

* Special Thanks To Christian Macé

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