A 53-year-old UFO mystery, sometimes called “Britain’s Roswell,” has been solved — maybe. But if so, the explanation is in some ways as strange as the original story of a crashed alien spacecraft, reaching back into the deepest secrets of the Cold War.
The mystery began in 1962 when a Scottish shepherd named Donald McKenzie was tending to his flock on a rural hillside. He came across a strange, box-like object just lying on the ground — an object that clearly came from somewhere very far away.
McKenzie reported his finding to the authorities, but the Royal Air Force was in no hurry to check it out. But check it out they did, about three months later.
The RAF investigators were stunned and baffled by the finding — a vessel that appeared large enough to hold a grown man. Strange containers of a clear liquid littered the ground around the object, which had an opening that seemed to be just big enough for a camera.
But there was no camera inside. In fact, the investigators had the strong impression that someone had beaten them to the discovery and tampered with it. But who?
For more than a half a century, the questions surrounding the mysterious discovery had no apparent answer. A legend grew around the find — the object, perhaps, was the remnant of crashed UFO, much like whatever had crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, 15 years earlier.
Even weirder, when the RAF squadron leader in charge of the investigation, James Sims, called the British Air Ministry to report his findings, he got back the message that the whole thing was none of his business.
Whatever the object was, it was on a need-to-know basis — and Sims had no need to know. Then the Ministry went a step further. The officials in London told him to leave out all mention of the weird finding in his report.
What in the world — or any world — was going on?
Now, a researcher and author of a new book, How UFOs Conquered the World: The History of a Modern Myth, believes he’s solved the puzzle.
David Clarke says that he combed through previously secret British government documents and found out exactly what crashed in the Scottish hills. The object, he says, was created by the United States Central Intelligence Agency.
The CIA, in the midst of the Cold War, came up with a program code-named Moby Dick. The idea was to send high-flying balloons, floating at about 60,000 feet, to spy on the Soviet Union, taking pictures of military and nuclear facilities.
The program was ended in the mid-1950s, but the strange UFO found in Scotland had been lying there for at least six years after it broke from its balloon, which had floated thousands of miles off course.
[Image: Plan 9 From Outer Space Screen Capture]