Interview with Russel Callaghan, former editor of UFO Magazine
and co-founder of www.ufodata.co.uk
|Hi Russel and thanks
for meeting with us, albeit electronically - heh heh. Off we go. I'll try
and cover a wide range of related topics, so I apologise if my questions
seem all over the place...
Mercury Rapids (MR): You've worked in the UFO field for many years now, most notably on the late Graham Birdsall's excellent and greatly-missed UFO Magazine. How did you get started in UFO investigation and have you ever seen what you would call a UFO?
Russel Callaghan (RC): I have had an interest in this subject from been a small child. I was five or six years old and I remember staring at the old electric alarm clock in my parentsí bedroom, it was about 04:10 and the clock was illuminated by an orange neon lamp behind the face. I had wandered into my parentsí room for whatever reason but as clear as day I recall looking at three little people dancing around the clock. I have often pondered on the experience and wonder if the fact that the neon lamp was oscillating very quickly Ďlike a neon tubeí was somehow allowing me to see into a different dimension? And to answer the second part of your question: It was Oct time 1980 when I had a daylight sighting with a work colleague. At the time I worked on the buses as a conductor. My driver and I were taking a quick break as we were a little early, leaning on a wall and looking out over the heavy woollen area of West Yorkshire we were both literally Ďgob smackedí to see this silver disc shaped object hovering less than a thousand feet above our heads. There was no real detail to it but it was reflecting the late afternoon sunlight when after about seven seconds it was gone, upwards so fast that within a second it was out of sight.
Let nobody tell me these things arenít real.
MR: Your speciality is analysing images of UFOs. Which in your view is the best footage or photograph that you have seen of an Unidentified Flying Object?
RC: Some of the most controversial stuff came from The Secret NASA Transmissions. The Tether is still an amazing event and one that has never been challenged by NASA, The lights at Spitzburgen another classic video sequence but one that was never really researched. David Spoor filmed some interesting stuff in Lowestoft back in the mid 90ís and some of Christopher Martinís videos are extremely interesting but there are two sequences that still do it for me.
First is the 1991 Mexican eclipse - if thatís Venus, itís a lot nearer to us than they are letting on, and secondly, the big red object filmed by Anthony Woods and featured on The Journey only one word describes the two - UFOÖ.
MR: And which is your favourite UFO case from the many thousands, if not millions, that have been reported over the years?
RC: Again I will propose two cases:
It has all the classic content, witnesses etc and I believe in our lifetime we will get to see the evidence that was taken at the time, film was shot, both movie and stills and it is somewhere for safe keeping. All the witnesses reported that the event was documented.
Secondly. The Belgium events of the late 1980ís Giant Triangles in the sky, air force radar tapes and high ranking officials going Ďon the recordí. What more evidence do you want other than the landing on the White House Lawn?
MR: There are many theories regarding the nature of UFOs. The most widely-held theory is that they are spacecraft from an extra-terrestrial race (or races), but there are equally-valid suggestions of time travellers, dimensional voyagers or even subterranean civilisations from right here on/in the Earth. Which theory holds the most water with you?
RC: Whoever or Whatever they are come from somewhere. I think we have grown to this planetís capacity and I think we are fully aware of what resides here. So if these Ďvisitorsí are extra dimensional or extraterrestrial they will have come from a time and place that is far ahead of us, so perhaps playing devilís advocate, time travelling ETís is a pretty good bet.
MR: The abduction phenomenon plays a large part in UFO lore, with many proponents (Bud Hopkins to name but one). What are your thoughts on this subject and its impact and consequences on our society if it became widely acknowledged?
RC: I have endeavoured to study this subject at the nuts and bolts level, looking for evidence that you can see, feel and hopefully touch. The abduction scenario to those who claim abduction is very real indeed. There are cases where no intervention with hypnosis or self proclaimed councillors has ever occurred, yet the individuals talk of their experience with conviction. To them something happened.
We must remember though there is even less evidence to back up abduction claims than there is to confirm the reality of UFOs. There have been several Ďimplant retrievalsí carried out and Dr Roger Leir is recognised as the leader in this field. He claims that universities have published test results suggesting an ET component in the removed implants, but until these are presented to the world as peer reviewed papers by recognised scientists or institutions, it is still just speculation. I applaud the work of Dr Leir and hope it bears fruit for this subject.
MR: It is often suggested that 'the-powers-that-be' know all about alien interventions on Earth and are slowly drip-feeding us information, in the forms of movies and TV series, about what these ETs are up to, readying us for when they become public knowledge. How do you feel about this kind of thing? Are the movies and TV programmes we see about alien invasions, abductions etc. more than just flights of fancy?
RC: If one single world power has ET technology or indeed evidence of the reality then to stop the rest of the world trying to take it from you it has to be kept so secret it will survive in its own world (black budgets) etc.
If the same is using ET back engineering, then again any equipment using it canít go on public display unless you are prepared to tell all.
Unless you are saving it to save the planetÖ
Letís face it, if the USA has such elaborate equipment in its arsenal and has used it recently then its not very good. It took it two years to find Saddam Hussein and it is still searching for Bin Laden.
I do believe all countries have secrets, but just what those secrets are we may never know.
MR: Despite my last question, the subject of UFOs is often reported with derision in the mainstream news media. Journalists and newsreaders deliver their reports of 'lights in the sky' or 'flying saucers' openly smirking at the subject. This annoys the hell out of me and I wish the regular news outlets would handle the UFO subject much more seriously. Do you share this concern?
RC: What is news worthy footage or information?
I wholeheartedly believe the mainstream media have an agenda when it comes to this and other radical subjects.
If you can make the cases presented look weak and have a credible name, put up another answer to what is been claimed, then you have a show.
If you canít find the answers or nobody can debunk what is being presented, then donít go there.
Simple as that.
One TV company had put up the money for a channel 4 documentary based on The Secret NASA Transmissions. They were booked into a hotel in Laughlin to meet up with Graham and I only to inform us by fax the morning they were due to arrive that they had dropped the show.
Again you might be familiar with the two live shows I did in 1999 and 2000 when pre-programmed, auto-cued film segments failed to appear on the live show.
Work it out for yourself.
MR: Departing from UFOs briefly, I was reading this morning about Richard Hoagland's assertion that the Saturnian moon, Iapetus, might be a huge, 900-mile wide spaceship or space station. He offered some compelling evidence on his website. This is only the latest example of what might be termed exo-archaeology, where images from space probes turn up extraordinary evidence of possibly intelligently-designed artefacts beyond our planet (the Face on Mars being the most famous example). What are your thoughts on this area of research?
RC: I believe Mars has some very old secrets and that it would warrant serious exploration, but again the areas of interest to all the exo-scientists and archaeologists seem to have been avoided by NASA like the plague.
It was told to me by someone who works in Hollywood in the film industry that when NASA were shown the final edit of Mission to Mars (a movie that they were involved in) NASA insisted that some very costly alterations were made to the end sequence of the film before it was put on general release. The movie makers allegedly complied with NASAís request. Why?
MR: Staying with the ancient relic theme, there have been countless books written about ancient man being visited by aliens. We all know what Erich Von Daniken's thoughts on this are. Do you think that it's possible that we may owe our present state to the ancient intervention of ET 'gods'?
RC: It would not surprise me if we discovered that there was some sort of intervention 7,500 Ė 10,000 years ago.
The Human race evolved suddenly or so it seems and over the last 150 years or so it seems that a higher level of understanding might well have been also switched on.
MR: Back to more current UFO-related topics. There are a wide range of paranormal phenomena that may or may not be connected with UFOs. I'm thinking of Chupacabras sightings, crop patterns, animal mutilations, even Bigfoot has been associated with UFOs. Do you think these are all related phenomena?
RC: They are all mysteries and everyone on this planet Iím sure loves a mystery.
I donít think crop circles are created by bigfoot chasing el chuppa through fields of crop while chewing on an unsuspecting cow. But I could accept that they are all part of the same enigma
MR: Graham Birdsall's sudden and tragic passing and the subsequent closure of UFO Magazine has left a large hole in many UFO enthusiast's lives. Gary Heseltine and yourself created UFOMonthly.com to fill that gap. You left for personal reasons, but Gary is doing an excellent job bringing the e-zine to many readers every month. Now you and your partners (Philip Mantle, Tony Barker and Michael Buckley) have created UFOData.co.uk, announcing that on October 1st 2005, Leeds will host an exciting conference entitled The Great British UFO Show. It's good to see the British UFO scene picking itself back up finally. What can you tell us about UFOData.co.uk and the conference especially?
RC: UFO Data was developed to give something back to the UFO community.
Graham was a gifted writer and charismatic person who wasnít just known around the global UFO community, he was loved by many and respected by many. Why? Because he worked for others. The magazine was a conduit for researchers and enthusiast alike. Graham had time for everyone.
UFO Magazine wasnít about Graham W Birdsall it was about the UFO subject. UFO Data is based on that premise. We will give people a voice.
Graham taught me well in the way people are handled and you have to be prepared to listen.
The Great British UFO Show is based on the concept of the fantastic International UFO Conferences held in Leeds for over 20 years. Graham developed the format and I worked on the engineering of the event.
Alas we donít have the old venue, it is now two smaller lecture theatres. It was also hard on the backside. Our chosen venue for this first show is Leeds Rugby Supporters Club. Itís designed for entertainment and itís comfy.
So if any of your readers would like more info on the event drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
And we will send you out the details.
MR: Under the banner of Quest Publications International, UFO Magazine released dozens of videos and DVDs about the UFO subject and footage from the many conferences that Graham Birdsall organised. Are these still available for purchase anywhere?
RC: When Quest Publications closed 27th February 2004, the business was officially wound up and any products associated with the company went also.
However www.ufotv.com is the website run by a friend of mine in the States Tim Crawford. He has the full catalogue available on DVD and a lot more titles readers wonít have seen too. So itís well worth a look.
MR: With UFOMonthly.com doing well and UFOData.co.uk up and running, along with the conference in October, do you think British ufology has a brighter future than might have appeared a couple of years ago?
RC: The subject has always ridden on waves and it is fair to say since 2001 and 9/11 the interest in the subject was on a downer. However the magazine was closed by Christine even though it was showing signs of growth and that the interest was beginning to grow again.
She closed the magazine for personal reasons, nothing else. Her husband had died suddenly and she was empty. I respect that choice, her world had just gone and her life was never going to be the same again.
People must remember this was a family affair we were all close to each other and not only did Christine lose a husband but daughters lost their father and grand daughter her grandfather.
So itís wrong for others to judge.
I would have continued with the magazine but it was not what Christine wanted.
Is the subject on a crest? Well Hollywood has its latest offering, War of the Worlds, out in a few days and the hype is starting.
There is an interest in the subject that is growing, [but] for how long? Who knows?
I and my colleagues will do our best to keep those interested informed and whatís more itís all free.
MR: Thanks for your time and all the best with The Great British UFO Show on October 1st. Perhaps I'll see you there!
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Updated 16th August, 2012