April 2012 GHMB community interview

Nick Pope, author, journalist and TV personality, who used to run the British Government’s UFO Project and is now recognised as one of the world’s leading experts on UFOs, the unexplained and conspiracy theories, will be available to answer your questions on the GrahamHancock.com messageboards

For more information about Nick Pope, see his website: http://www.nickpope.net/ and his Wikipedia page.

Enjoy! And if you would like to request anyone in particular to be a GHMB Community Interview subject, please put your name suggestion in the Name Suggestions thread.

Join the discussion here

Books by Nick Pope

Operation Thunder Child



The Uninvited



Open Skies, Closed Minds



Questions and Answers below

1) I am an O. R. nurse now for over 30 years, and recently encountered a boy with vertical slits for pupils. Doctors and research suggest this is impossible. Has anyone else reported anything like this? My take is that perhaps ET’s are tinkering with human DNA. What do you think?

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From: richarddullum

What a fascinating encounter this sounds! I really don’t know what to make of it. At the skeptical end of the spectrum, I guess I’d say there’s the possibility of this being some sort of optical illusion – a trick of the light maybe; you said that the sun was bright. There’s also the possibility (however slight) that you experienced some temporary hallucination. Genetic mutation might be another potential explanation. But I know a lot of readers will be thinking to themselves: “Reptilian”. And without wanting to stray too far into David Icke territory, there are certainly a lot of people who believe that Reptilian entities walk among us, in human form. There’s a crossover too with alien abductions, where reptilian entities have been reported and where there’s also been the suggestion of a hybridisation program going on – and some will doubtless suggest that the child you saw was a product of such a program. To answer your specific questions, yes I’ve come across cases like this before, mainly in the abduction/conspiracy theory literature, but I don’t have a definitive view on this. Google any combination of terms such as hybrids/aliens/slits/eyes for more information on this. Thank you for sharing this interesting encounter.

2) Mr Pope,
By some accounts, there is a race of ‘Tall White Aliens’, allegedly living in the Nevada desert. An air force officer named Charles Hall, stationed at Nellis Air Force Base from 1965 to 1967, wrote about his supposed encounters with them in his Millennial Hospitality series of books.
Are you aware of Mr Hall, his books and his accounts of these aliens? What is your opinion of the case? Here’s a link.
From: carolb

I’m aware of these claims, but I haven’t investigated them personally. I’m going to fall back on a favourite quote of mine, which I suspect I’ll end up using again in the course of this interview: “interesting, if true”. It’s a phrase that’s used widely in the intelligence analysis community and while it’s not as dismissive as it sounds to some, it’s really saying that without some more tangible corroborative evidence, it’s not possible to verify such stories.

3) Hello Mr Pope. I was excited to see a television program coming up on the science channel purported to show and discuss the NASA footage showing possible alien footage, such as the “tether incident”. My question is do you really think we’ll ever see anything truthful on network TV?

From: gaylenb

Yes. We see things on TV that are true all the time. It sounds from your question as if you think the program-makers were lying (or complicit in a cover-up), on the basis that their view of the so-called tether incident doesn’t accord with yours. Whatever the truth of the tether incident, I suspect the program-makers’ views were honestly held. More generally, I should say that there’s a great deal of misunderstanding in the alternative belief/conspiracy theory community about the way in which the media works – and I make that statement as a freelance journalist and broadcaster myself. To cut a long story short, these programs are designed to entertain and inform, and to make money for the networks and the production companies. They’re not part of some sinister government disinformation campaign. Some TV shows take an even-handed view of a particular mystery, while others come down more on one side or another. But for anyone who thinks it’s all about debunking, I once fronted a UFO documentary on a major UK network that drew formal complaints from skeptics who thought it was too ‘pro-UFO’!

4) Mr Pope, despite the numerous claims of alien visitations and abductions that we read about, and are sometimes posted here on these boards, I have yet to see a convincing photo of an alien visitor. Do you know, from your experience, if there really are any photos of aliens in existence, that have been proven to be 100% genuine?

From: carolb

No alien photo has been proven to be genuine – though there’s obviously a debate to be had over how high you set the ‘evidence bar’ in terms of it constituting proof (I tend to set it very high). Modern computer programs and movie-making techniques make it possible to produce very good fakes, where only experts can tell the difference. When I was on MoD’s UFO project we got sent quite a few UFO photos and videos, and we had various people who could undertake sophisticated imagery analysis. That’s the only real way to get to the truth of the matter when it comes to films and photographs.

5) Do you sense or believe there is a specific reason why the ETs are seemingly determined to not present themselves in an unambiguous manner, to not “land on the White House lawn” as it were? What, in your opinion, is the meaning or cause of the consistenly elusive “greyness” of the ET phenomenon?

From: ray wakila

The question is based on the assumption that we’re being visited by extraterrestrials. While there’s some intriguing evidence and while I certainly don’t rule out the possibility, there’s no definitive proof of this. Furthermore, as with most questions and theories about extraterrestrials, it’s almost impossible to get away from an anthropocentric viewpoint. About the only prediction I’ll make about ‘first contact’ is that it’ll take a different form to that predicted by sci-fi writers or ufologists.

6) Do you believe whatever it is that’s behind the UFOs have an agenda? If so, what is it?

From: lukehancock

I think my response here would be broadly in line
with my response to the previous question. We don’t really know what
UFOs are, so I’m not sure we can speculate much on the agenda (if
any). That said, the 2011 paper by Baum et al, entitled “Would Contact with Extraterrestrials
Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis
” is worth reading
in relation to questions like yours and like the previous one.

7) Mr, Pope.
As an individual well versed in the UFO phenomenon, the one thing I find absent from the research is a concerted effort to correlate individual experiences with captured images -both still and video.
In other words, I’m curious if someone like Travis Walton (or other abductee) or any one of the many pilots who have merely had visual sightings of inexplicable objects has been subjected to a sort of “police photo lineup” wherein the craft they reported has been identified in an attempt to enhance understanding of not only their personal experience, but also the validity of the particular photo/video selected.
Is there anyone you are aware of who is pursuing this field of research, or any correlations of which you are knowledgeable?
Thank you for your time.
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From: Toltechnical

Very little work like this has been attempted. It’s indicative of a wider problem in ufology, which is the tendency to view cases individually, as opposed to taking a more holistic approach. What’s known as trend analysis is seldom undertaken. One of the few examples of where something meaningful was attempted was work undertaken by the late Budd Hopkins, in relation to symbols that abductees reported during their experiences. I hope that the Intruders Foundation will be able to take this forward, given that Budd is no longer with us. The sort of work you envisage should certainly be carried out more. Groups like MUFON, with large databases of cases, are best-placed here, but lack of time and resources is often the stumbling block.

8) The practical application of three-dimensional holographic technology has been available since at least the 1960’s, while its use in the private sector has been virtually non-existent. My question is what information -if any- have you come across which may indicate the utilization of holographic/influence technologies in relation to the UFO and/or abduction phenomenon? And what are your feelings on the possibility holographic/influence technologies were employed in the Rendlesham Forest incident?

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From: Toltechnical

Holographic technology is probably running ahead of what’s publicly declared and rumours surrounding what’s been dubbed the ‘ghost gun’ suggest that there are some classified programs here. Whether the technology is really capable of creating the sort of fake alien invasion or Second Coming that proponents of Project Blue Beam believe in, I don’t know. Whatever the truth of the matter, I’m skeptical that any such technology was used in relation to Rendlesham. There are certainly exercises to test the reaction of the guard force at military bases, but theories that this happened at Rendlesham are based on a misunderstanding of a document that touches on no-notice exercises to test guard force response. In any case, if such as exercise had happened, you’d simply say it had been an exercise, that it’s classified and not to be discussed.

9) Do you have any information or opinions on “Chemtrails”?
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From: MancoCapac

I’m a chemtrail skeptic. If you think of how low crop-spraying aircraft have to fly to be effective, it’s clear that spraying from 35,000 feet will have no discernible effect on the ground. I know there are other theories that say chemtrails have to do with weather modification, but the various theories are mutually-contradictory and unscientific. Chemtrails don’t exist. They’re vapour trails, the science of which is well understood.

10) Do you think there may be alien ruins on the moon, or other places within the solar system? And do you believe there is more than one alien race visiting Earth ?

From: brucenyc1

I don’t know, on both counts. Perhaps the most likely
scenario (not least because it doesn’t run counter to the laws of
physics) is that the cosmos is littered with probes like Pioneer 10
and 11, or Voyager 1 and 2. One day, in thousands of years’ time,
our probes will approach other star systems. If other civilisations
have done the same thing and started just a few million years earlier
than our efforts (virtually nothing given the age of the Universe, such
probes might have reached our solar system. This possibility was discussed
at one of two Royal Society discussion meetings that I attended in 2010,
looking at the search for alien life and the consequences if we find
it. The possibility is also discussed in the 2011 paper “On the likelihood of non-terrestrial
artefacts in the Solar System
“, by Jacob Haqq-Misra and Ravi
Kumar Kopparapu.

11) Re-phrasing a question that is asked (but not answered) on your FAQ page: What is your personal conclusion (or belief) regardings the 5% of “sightings that seem to defy conventional explanation”? Do you personally believe they are or are not extra-terrestial vehicles of alien origin? If not alien and extra-terrestial, what other explanation, conventional or otherwise, would you suggest?

From: ray wakila

As I said on my website, I certainly don’t rule out an extraterrestrial explanation for those UFO sightings that appear to defy conventional explanation. But I have no direct, personal knowledge that such an explanation is correct and neither do I regard the evidence as being so strong as to constitute definitive proof. So my response to your first question is “I don’t know”, which is a perfectly acceptable position – are arguably the only one possible to take in the absence of a definitive resolution to the UFO mystery.

12) Given the inconceivable vastness of space, what method do you believe extra terrestrial beings would have employed from their own vantage point to confirm whether or not life was present in this specific area of the galaxy (Earth)?

From: Olver X

Again, it’s really difficult to answer such a question without slipping into an anthropocentric viewpoint, but given the laws of physics and chemistry seem to be constant in the Universe, a reasonable assumption would be that extraterrestrial civilisations engaged in the search for life would use the same techniques that we’re using or planning. These include SETI and spectral analysis of extrasolar planetary atmospheres, looking for the chemical signatures of life. And as pointed out in a previous answer, they might also send probes.

13) There’s a recent phenomenon of “strange sounds heard around the world.” Do you have any theories on what this could be, and do you think it is connected to the ET/UFO phenomenon?

From: lukehancock

I suspect that as is the case with the UFO phenomenon, there are a range of explanations for these strange sounds, as opposed to a single explanation. Some cases are hoaxes, and among the genuine ones, explanations probably include thunder, other atmospheric/meteorological explanations, power lines, train lines, etc. I’ve seen no evidence to suggest a UFO connection, aside from the basic point that these sounds seem to be coming from the sky.

14) Many people report unmarked and black helicopters around crop circles. I’ve seen them myself, and they do not appear to be simply rich tourists. Do you know what they are doing and why, and were they something you were involved in during your MoD tenure?

From: lukehancock

I think these are military helicopters and that the pilots are just as interested in crop circles as anyone else. I say a little bit about this in the crop circles section of my www.nickpope.net website. Wiltshire and Hampshire see a lot of military flying training and I know from my time at MoD that pilots liked taking a look at crop circles and getting a few photos for the crew room wall. And if they generate a few conspiracy theories along the way, this wouldn’t be incompatible with the military mind-set and love of practical jokes.

15) What is your take on alternative 3?

From: michael seabrook

There’s no doubt in my mind that the program was a hoax. Had it been broadcast on April Fools’ Day – as originally intended – I don’t think the various conspiracy theories would have started. There’s a rich tradition of April Fools’ stories in the UK media with serious TV shows often being the main culprits.

16) Hi Nick. On your FAQ (http://www.nickpope.net/faq.htm) you state
you are bound by the Official Secrets Act. Your final comment on this
aspect prompts me to ask you, if there is any classified information
that you are aware of that relates to UFO’s you would not be able to
tell us because you have been sworn to secrecy? Or does this very
question come under part of your classified agreement that binds you
to silence? If in reality you cannot answer without breaking your oath
then you will answer with NO, leaving us to hold the thought that
there may be. So for someone who has been sworn to keeping governments
secrets, why should we believe what you say?

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From: DUNE

The Official Secrets act binds me for life and the fact that I no longer work for MoD is irrelevant. I take my secrecy oath very seriously and think loyalty is very important. I’m not a whistleblower and would never reveal classified information unless I had proper authorisation to do so. That said, I don’t think there’s a problem with my answering your question with a “yes”, but declining to go into the specifics, other than to assure people that such knowledge doesn’t involve a ‘spaceship in a hangar’ smoking gun.

17) Eisenhower and the infamous meeting with the military industrial
complex and alien representatives. Was a deal struck for large
numbers of abductees in return for advanced technology? Are there
ongoing secret programs with humans working alongside with aliens?

From: brucenyc1

This whole story falls into the “interesting, if true” area. I’m aware of the rumors, but have no direct personal knowledge about the Eisenhower meeting or any ongoing programs of the kind you mention.

18) There must be ways they can travel vast distances in little time.
Could this involve naturally occurring stargates, can they leave our
dimension and re-enter at will? Are the ships controlled by mind?

From: brucenyc1

It’s another “I don’t know” response from me here. That said, when I hear people say that something isn’t possible because it contradicts the laws of physics, my response is that we should add the caveat “as currently understood”. In fact, our understanding of the laws of physics changes and expands all the time, as new discoveries are being made. Look, for example, at the work being done at the Large Hadron Collider. Is it possible that some discovery (relating perhaps to wormholes or to warping space-time) will be made that fundamentally changes space travel, turning science fiction into science fact? Absolutely!

19) Is there a hybrid program, and if so has an end product been
produced, could it be amongst us now? Are the greys the ground workers
for a reptilian race? Could some reside on Earth, either physically
or in an alternate dimension? Also, do you believe they are
multi-dimensional in nature, with an ability to weave between worlds?

From: brucenyc1

More “I don’t know” answers here, I’m afraid. There’s a lot of testimony here, but no ‘you can take that to the bank’ proof.

20) How old do you think is the ET/UFO phenomeon? In your opinion, does it predate Homo Sapiens? And what do you make of ‘ancient alien’ theories of ET technology and intervention through history, perhaps with things like the Ark of the Covenant, or the Giza Pyramids?

From: Olver X & lukehancock

I think it’s indisputable that people have always seen strange things in the skies, but whether it predates Homo Sapiens, I don’t know. I’m similarly unsure about the ‘ancient alien’ theories. People like Erich von Daniken and Graham Hancock have done a lot of very good research into this and I like the TV series “Ancient Aliens”. However, I don’t think it’s necessary to automatically attribute some of the things featured here to aliens, not least because many early human civilisations were far more advanced in certain respects (e.g. knowledge of mathematics, and engineering skills) than many people realize. Some people say that certain cave paintings and artefacts resemble UFOs and aliens, but we don’t really understand the psychology of our early ancestors. For example, some people say certain figures could be extraterrestrials in space suits, but they could just as easily represent some archetypical demon from a dream or a shamanic trance. And there’s something a little depressing about these sorts of theories. They can be disparaging to human ingenuity and spirit. Why do we think we were too stupid to have built the pyramids and that aliens must have done it for us, or helped us? Why do certain people think stealth fighters must be back-engineered from alien spacecraft, as opposed to believing we designed and built them ourselves? When it comes down to it, human beings are pretty amazing!

21) I understand you’re unsure, but if you had to bet: are UFOs physical nuts-and-bolts ships flown by ET’s, or are they multi-dimensional in nature, perhaps like the faeries of old?

From: lukehancock and brucenyc1

I don’t like to bet. And here’s a thought: maybe the answer to the UFO mystery isn’t aliens, or time travellers, or some form of interdimensional/multidimensional phenomenon. Maybe it’s something else altogether; something beyond our conception, for which no words exist. If the answer to the mystery ever comes, that answer may surprise us and be nothing like the answers we currently envisage.

22) Have you ever seen any undeniable proof of the existence of extraterrestrials on this planet?

From: OCaptain

No, but I keep an open mind.

23) Mr. Pope,
Supposing you were given a mandate to resolve the UFO phenomenon, and adaquate funding to do so, but not access to classified government intelligence, how would you go about accomplishing that mandate? If the stated goal of the project was to obtain irrefutatble “hard evidence”, what would “Project UFO” look like and consist of under your direction?

From: ray wakila

Given my previous MoD experience, I’d probably decline, on the basis that I wasn’t being given the proper tools to do the job. But if I had to, I think I’d pull together a multi-disciplinary group, consisting of ex-military personnel with specialist knowledge in areas such as radar and imagery analysis. I’d also look to include an atmospheric physicist and maybe a psychologist. You’d need someone with good computer skills, plus somebody with knowledge of project management techniques, to ensure we had focused terms of reference, a steering group and a way of ensuring proper identification and engagement with stakeholders and other experts. Resources would also be a key issue, but I go back to the point that it would be very difficult to do this job without access to the sorts of resources I had at MoD’s UFO project. It’s not a popular answer, but I don’t think you can have a meaningful UFO project that doesn’t involve the military at some level, or at least enjoy a degree of co-operation with the military.

24) If you could pick someone to do a GrahamHancock.com Community Interview who would it be?

From: ferdelance

If he hasn’t done one already, John Alexander would be an interesting choice. His experience of looking at things like UFOs and remote viewing from within the US Government mirrors my UK experience. I don’t think our conclusions are too different either: that in relation to UFOs, there are sightings that defy explanation, but that we don’t know what they are and that there isn’t a cover-up on the issue. I regard John as a kindred spirit and I think we manage to upset believers and skeptics alike. We don’t tell skeptics what they want to hear: that the UFO phenomenon is all misidentifications and hoaxes. But neither do we go far enough for the believers, who want to be told aliens are here and that the government knows all about it.