UFO FILES: Deep Sea UFOs
The History Channel, Sunday, 16th July, 2006
After a break of several months, The History Channel’s excellent series, UFO Files, returned to the airwaves with a show about Unidentified Submerged Objects (USOs). This is an aspect of the UFO phenomenon that is rarely reported, yet is more common than one may realise. Only recently, an object was spotted entering the ocean off the South African coast, reinforcing the views of many that UFOs are at home flying either in the sky or under the sea.
As the Earth is 75% covered with water, it makes sense that unexplained objects are seen either on or beneath the sea and this programme explores the possibilities not only of alien activity under the surf, but also of what submersibles we may be able to create that might match the characteristics of the reported sightings.
The Santa Catalina Channel separates mainland California from the island of Catalina. This stretch of water is as deep as Mount Everest is high and objects have been seen both entering the water and emerging.
Preston Dennett is a California UFO researcher who has written several books on the subject (one of which, Extraterrestrial Visitations, will be reviewed in a future issue of UFOData Magazine). He explained that in 1992, hundreds of unexplained objects were sighted near the Santa Monica Mountains. Many of these objects were seen, not descending from the sky, but rising up, as though emerging from the water nearby.
Over two hundred craft were seen emerging silently from the ocean on June 14th, 1992. They hovered for several seconds before shooting off into the sky. Witnesses filed reports with the police as far away as Malibu. The programme then played an actual recording of a phone call by a witness to the police. The caller almost sounded ashamed to be reporting what he had seen. Unfortunately, we did not hear the police officer’s response. The wealth of reports filtered up to the US Coast Guard, but they refused a request to search the area of the sightings.
In 1989, a large object was seen by multiple witnesses (and picked up on sonar) resting on the surface of the water in the Pacific Ocean. It released several, smaller objects before submerging. It was tracked on sonar heading south towards the Santa Catalina Channel before disappearing.
It seems that one thing that USOs do more regularly than UFOs is to ‘split apart’ or release large numbers of smaller craft. UFOs have been known to do this also, but with the underwater variety, it seems more common.
In 1960, the Argentinean Navy tracked two unidentified submerged objects in the Golfo Nuevo, 650 miles south of Buenos Aires. At first it was thought that they were US submarines, but then they appeared to break apart and fly out of the water. Paul Stonehill, co-author with Philip Mantle of UFO-USSR, explained how the objects simply emerged from the water and vanished. Paul went on to tell us that the Soviet leader at the time, Nikita Khrushchev, was so impressed with the report that he ordered his representative in Buenos Aires to find out more about the event.
Sceptics suggest that what was seen were submarines firing torpedoes, but it has been noted that in 1960, the firing of six or more torpedoes simultaneously was not possible.
In March, 1963, American submarines were involved in exercises, with a fleet of surface ships, a hundred miles off the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. One of the subs broke off from its assigned course and began pursuing an unidentified object that their scopes told them was travelling in excess of 150 knots at a depth of 20,000 feet!
Bruce Maccabee told us that such speeds and depths were, and still are, impossible for today’s submersibles, with the crush depth for submarines being about 7,000 feet. The USO was tracked for four days by the carrier group, with the object moving at impossible speeds before stopping. Reports were sent to CINCLANT (Commander-in-Chief Atlantic Command), but no determination was made as to the nature of the unidentified craft.
Stanton Friedman pointed out that when UFOs are spotted in the sky, people see them and report them, but when a deep sea object is sighted, it is usually only the navy that makes out a report and we never learn anything beyond that.
We are then shown a clip from a newsreel, informing us that US Navy experimental balloons are the sole cause of ‘flying saucer’ sightings. Nice try, chaps!
November 11th, 1972, and the Norwegian Navy began tracking a USO for two weeks in the Sognefjord, one of the longest and deepest fjords in the world. A fleet of ships and submarine-hunting helicopters were tasked with locating the object. On November 20th, the object was seen exiting the water. It was described as ‘a massive, silent, cigar-shaped object’.
One of the ships opened fire on the object, but it simply sank back down beneath the waves. Depth charges were dropped to no avail. Then a plan was drawn up to blockade the fjord and trap the USO, but the object disappeared.
On 11th October, 1492, the ship carrying Christopher Columbus, the Santa Maria, passed over what we now know is one of the deepest parts of the Atlantic Ocean. It is also inside the infamous Bermuda Triangle. Strange lights were seen flashing deep under the water. Then a large, disc-shaped object rose out of the water and sped off into the night sky. A few, short hours later, Columbus would discover the New World.
USO researcher, Carl Feindt, explained how Columbus’ log described the object as being like ‘the flickering of a wax candle’, rising and falling. Camp fires on the shore could not be used as an explanation, as land was far beyond the horizon. Indeed, Columbus’ log books describe many bizarre occurrences witnessed during their long voyage to new lands. These included seeing birds that should not have been far from land, yet they were far out to sea, a heavy mast, weighing 120 tons, floating in the ocean (they were the first European ships out there, remember) and stars that danced around the sky.
In 329BC, the army of Alexander the Great encountered two, silver discs that emerged from the Jaxartes River in India. It is said that he was so impressed by this sight that he spent six years exploring the river in the world’s first diving bell! Some suggest, though, that Alexander was not searching for USOs, but for the fabled land of Atlantis.
Over the years, the legend of Atlantis has diversified from being a philosophical tale about the dangers of man’s vanities to becoming a myth of a lost civilisation that utilises advanced technology to survive beneath the ocean. Some even suggest that the Atlanteans themselves were extraterrestrials.
Sticking with the ancient world, Paul Stonehill returned to tell us about inscriptions at Abydos in Egypt that resemble a submarine and a helicopter (he missed out the fighter jet!). Sorry to burst Paul’s bubble here, but those glyphs are what is known as a palimpsest, where hieroglyphics are carved over the top of old ones (after the previous ones were plastered over). Years later, the plaster has fallen off to reveal the mixed-up carvings. Nothing to do with ancient technology, I'm afraid…
In 1067AD, a ‘flaming object’ was seen to enter the sea off the English coast, then it remerged before sinking below the waves once more.
On August 1st, 1904, the cargo ship, Mohican, on its way to Philadelphia, was ‘enshrouded in a strange, metallic vapour that glowed like phosphorous’. Carl Feindt has researched this case and said that the ‘cloud’ approached the ship from across the ocean. As it enveloped his vessel, the captain tried to busy his crew, but nothing could be moved while the vapour surrounded them. The ship’s compass spun wildly and the decks became magnetised.
On October 4th, 1967, at about 11:20pm, one of the most famous USO cases in history occurred in the Nova Scotia town of Shag Harbour. This small community has become known as the Canadian Roswell in recent years and the case is interesting because not only were there multiple eyewitnesses, but there are government documents verifying that something fell into the ocean that night.
Chris Styles, co-author of the book, Dark Object, took up the story. At the time of the incident, nobody thought that what entered the water was a UFO. It was generally assumed that an aircraft had gone down and a search began for possible survivors.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) searched the ‘crash site’ in boats until 3am, finding nothing. Later, Canadian Navy divers arrived and they, too, began searching beneath the water. Eventually, an official report was filed, labelling what had crashed into the sea as a ‘UFO’. The report stated that the object had travelled from south to north along the coastline before entering the water off Shag Harbour.
RCMP officers on the shoreline watched the object travelling under the surface, leaving a trail of foam in the water.
Later, reports emerged that a second craft had entered the water to rendezvous with the first object. Styles claimed that the authorities knew exactly where the objects were and that the second craft assisted the first in moving towards the Gulf of Maine, where they both broke the surface and flew away. In fact, a photograph exists of two objects leaving the water of Shag Harbour and flying off.
The official report clearly states that what crashed into Shag Harbour was ‘no known object’.
The island of Puerto Rico is generally considered to be the Americas’ greatest hotspot for USO sightings. Local group, Project Argus, took us to the Laguna Cartagena, a wildlife reserve in the south-west of the island. It is also a major hotspot for USO activity.
On October 8th, 2002, at about 9:30pm, local police officer and Argus member, Carlos Torres saw a red, glowing USO flash out of the Laguna Cartagena. It then hovered just above the surface for several minutes before crashing back into the lake.
November 20th, 2004, produced what may be a video of the object emerging from the lagoon and flying away. Another Argus member shot the night vision footage of what appears to be a rotating, disc-shaped craft.
Route 303 has officially become Puerto Rico’s ‘Extraterrestrial Highway’. This happened after a 1997 incident in which a UFO was said to crash nearby, leaving scorched ground and many bemused witnesses.
Researchers on the island are suspicious of US Navy research balloons that are launched regularly over the Lajas region. They claim that their real function is to observe UFO and USO activity. Project Argus claim that government documents exist that secret investigations took place into UFO and USO activity in the region, but the conclusions were that the objects posed no threat.
Some researchers believe that a major USO base exists in the deep waters off Cabo Rojo, west of Lajas, with submerged caverns that might reach all the way to the Laguna Cartagena.
In 1969, sailors aboard the USS Calcaterra witnessed a USO that displayed remarkable properties in the frozen waters of Antarctica. They reported a huge, submarine-shaped object burst from beneath the thick ice and rocket into the sky.
Revered Russian researcher, Vladimir Ajaja, told of an incident that happened near Leningrad in the winter of 1976. A USO crashed down through the ice, manoeuvred underwater before breaking back through. Carl Feindt reported that USOs appear to melt the ice they break through, leaving a clean hole, rather than smashing their way, sending chunks flying in all directions, as a meteorite would (plus meteorites don’t generally re-emerge and fly away!).
In 1988, famous (or infamous, depending upon one’s viewpoint) UFO photographer, Ed Walters snapped an image of a USO in Gulf Breeze atop what appears to be a waterspout. This has caused some researchers to suggest that UFOs/USOs use water as a fuel source. There have been other reports of unidentified craft sucking up water from lakes and reservoirs.
Theoretically, electromagnetic propulsion could allow submersibles to travel at great speeds underwater. An EM field around a craft would reduce drag, thus allowing it to perform manoeuvres impossible for traditional submarines. The US Navy actually experimented with an EM sub in the 1960s, with a degree of success.
Marko Princevac, of the University of California Riverside, has created an experiment, devised to prove that supersonic propulsion underwater is possible. He found that a streamlined object would move underwater better than, say, a cube… duh! Princevac’s data shows that, while an aircraft travelling at Mach 1 requires 15,000 horsepower of energy, a submersible travelling at the same speed would require over 1 million horsepower. At the moment we do not have the technology to build such an engine that would work beneath the sea.
Deep Sea UFOs was another great episode from UFO Files, with some excellent graphics and informative interviews. So now, we not only have to watch the skies, we must keep our other eye on the seas!
The images used are the property of the copyright holders and are only used here for review purposes.
© Steve Johnson - 2006
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Updated 16th August, 2012