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Nick Redfern on 'Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind'

Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind

New Q&A with Nick Redfern on "Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind: Suspicious Deaths, Mysterious Murders, and Bizarre Disappearances in UFO History" due out June 23rd from New Page Books.

1. Can you tell us about the suspicious deaths that surround the Roswell UFO crash of July 1947?

ANSWER: In the book I talk about the suicides and early deaths of a number of people involved in the Roswell case. They were deaths that extended from 1947 to the 1980s, and included one of the sons of rancher Mack Brazel (who found the strange debris in Lincoln County, New Mexico), and a woman named Miriam Bush, who was found dead in a hotel room in 1989. She was the executive secretary at the Roswell base hospital back in 1947 and confided in her family that she saw small, strange bodies brought into the hospital in the summer of 1947.

2. What is the truth behind the deaths of two military personnel involved in the recovery of alleged UFO debris at Maury Island, Washington State in 1947?

ANSWER: The Maury Island case is a very weird one. It focuses on the alleged mid-air explosion of a flying saucer over Maury Island in June 1947. Harold Dahl, the man who recovered some of the debris that rained down, was threatened by a Man in Black. Two military investigators, 1st Lt. Frank Mercer Brown and Capt. William Lee Davidson, were killed when their aircraft - carrying the debris to Wright Field for analysis - crashed. Two local media men died in the wake of the affair too: Ted Morello and Paul Lance. Extensive files on the case have surfaced from the FBI, via the Freedom of Information Act.

3. Were aliens responsible for the death of National Guard Captain Thomas Mantell in 1948?

ANSWER: This is an incident that has very much polarized the UFO research community, in terms of what actually happened, to the point where it still remains unresolved in the minds of many. It’s the strange saga of pilot Capt. Thomas P. Mantell, who lost his life in 1948 while chasing a UFO high in the skies of Kentucky. Or while pursuing a balloon or Venus. Take your pick. The theories are several. The answers, however, are still debated and disputed. But, for many people in Ufology, the Mantell death is perceived as an early example of death by UFO.

4. Will you discuss the theories that the reported suicide of Secretary of Defense James Forrestal in 1949 was actually a case of murder presumably to prevent him revealing the truth about UFOs?

ANSWER: It was at 1.50 a.m. on May 22, 1949 that the life of one of the most significant figures in the history of the U.S. Government came to a crashing end. The battered body of James Forrestal, who had the honor of being the first United States Secretary of Defense, was found lying on a third-floor canopy of the Maryland-based Bethesda Naval Hospital. Forrestal had reportedly flung himself out of a window on the 16th floor. Forrestal’s death, some UFO researchers have said, might have been nothing less than a case of cold-hearted murder, something prompted by fears that the Secretary of Defense was on the verge of revealing to the world what he secretly knew about the UFO phenomenon.

5. Please tell us about the spate of mysterious UFO-connected deaths involving pilots in 1953.

ANSWER: Around 9.30 a.m. on November 10, 1953, Karl Hunrath and Wilbur Wilkinson – both UFO investigators - hired a small airplane and took to the skies of Los Angeles, supposedly to meet with extraterrestrials at a prearranged site. It was the last time either man was seen alive. It was the last time the aircraft was seen, too. Less than two weeks after Hunrath and Wilkinson went missing, two baffling and deadly events occurred in Wisconsin. They both involving military jets, one of which crashed and the other vanished, never to be seen again - and both on the same day. Both events have been linked to the alleged deadly actions of UFOs.

6. Was author/researcher Morris Jessup murdered in 1959 as a result of his UFO investigations?

ANSWER: In 1959, one of the most controversial of all UFO-related deaths occurred: that of flying saucer investigator and author Morris K. Jessup. While the official story is that Jessup’s death was suicide (he was found dead in his car in a Florida park), ufologists have said there are solid grounds for believing that it was far more than that – nothing less than a case of full-blown murder. The reason: to keep Jessup away from certain UFO secrets that powerful players wanted kept hidden.

7. What are the connections between the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the UFO controversy?

ANSWER: Without doubt the most sensational story in the book that suggests a link between a suspicious death and flying saucers is that of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated on November 22, 1963 at Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas. As incredible as it may sound, the JFK killing is absolutely littered with spies, spooks and secret agents who were deeply linked to the UFO phenomenon, one of them being a man named Fred Crisman, a mysterious character who was also involved in the Maury Island controversy. Was the president shot to prevent him from going public about what he knew of alien visitations? Don’t bet against it, as incredible as such a possibility may admittedly sound.

8. How and why did a British man named Edward Bryant die in 1967 after encountering a UFO and its crew?

ANSWER: In April 1965, Edward Bryant claimed to have encountered a flying saucer hovering, at very low level, over a field near his home in Devon, England. He was reportedly confronted by a trio of humanoid beings, dressed in head-gear and silver outfits somewhat akin to those worn by deep-sea divers, and that were standing around the significantly-sized saucer. There are strong indications that Bryant’s experience was actually the result of a military psy-op, involving microwave technology that led Bryant to develop a brain tumor that ultimately killed him.

9. Is it true that people have been mutilated and killed by aliens in similar fashion to the so-called cattle mutilations?

ANSWER: One of the most graphically nightmarish accounts that falls into the human mutilation category came from the late Leonard Stringfield. Stringfield’s source for the story was a high-ranking military officer who described a shocking event that reportedly occurred in Cambodia during the Vietnam War. It was in April 1972 when a violent and grisly confrontation with a group of extraterrestrials that can best, and accurately, be called cosmic butchers took place. They were confronted loading human body-parts into huge bins. There are many more such reports on file.

10. What really happened to missing Australian pilot Frederick Valentich in 1978?

ANSWER: Eerily paralleling the November 1953 affair of Karl Hunrath and Wilbur Wilkinson, in October 1978 a young Australian pilot named Frederick Valentich disappeared over Australia’s Bass Strait. That Valentich vanished shortly after seeing a UFO at extremely close quarters has given rise to the theory that he was the victim of nothing less than a cosmic kidnapping. A fascinating, official file, now in the public domain, tells the story of this still-unsolved case.

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