Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Day the Aliens Landed in Voronezh, Russia

''Scientists have confirmed that an unidentified flying object recently landed in a park in the Russian city of Voronezh...They have also identified the landing site and found traces of aliens who made a short promenade around the park.''---The Soviet Press Agency TASS, as reported by the NYT (10-10-89) [See also the follow-up story in the NYT (10-11-89)]

Today I am taking a brief respite from the modern mysteries of anthropogenic global warming (AGW), Climategate, Phil Jones, Sergei Kirpotin ("Сергей Кирпотин"), Tomsk hackers, FSB-inspired "hacker patriots," and politically-manipulated science, so that I can recount my favorite tall-tale from the Soviet press.

This story happened long, long ago in far away Voronezh, Russia, when Colorado's Balloon-Boy was only a meretricious twinkle in his father's eye.

Once upon a time, or zhili byli, as the Russians say, during the bygone Soviet era, TASS (The Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union) reported the comings and goings of Soviet leaders; but in the final days of the Soviet Union, the normally staid and sober Soviet Press agency reported that Russian school children had witnessed aliens coming and going from a city park in Voronezh, Russia. The aliens reportedly landed on 9-27-89, according to the NYT (10-11-89). Here is a Discovery Channel account on Youtube.

I actually read translations of these Russian articles, and wondered what was going on. TASS had not always reported the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; but it had never written anything so patently absurd.

After a while, I decided that perhaps the Soviet government had run out of money. The boring scriveners who toiled away at TASS were not getting paid, so they had morphed into capitalists and were penning fantastic skazki in order to make money.

A local scientist "quoted" in the TASS articles, Genrikh Silanov, the head of the Voronezh Geophysical Laboratory, reportedly claimed that TASS had greatly embellished his account of the events in Voronezh.

"Don't believe all you hear from Tass," [Silanov] stated. "We never gave them part of what they published."

The NYT (10-10-89) reports:

...The official press agency Tass says towering extraterrestrial creatures with little knobby heads have landed in the Russian city of Voronezh, joining the flood of foreigners who have invaded the Soviet Union in these days of glasnost and perestroika.

''Scientists have confirmed that an unidentified flying object recently landed in a park in the Russian city of Voronezh,'' Tass said in a straight-faced news report. ''They have also identified the landing site and found traces of aliens who made a short promenade around the park.''

...Tass reported that the people in Voronezh who saw the aliens ''were overwhelmed with a fear which lasted for several days.''

The authorities in Voronezh, some 300 miles southeast of Moscow, could not be reached tonight for comment. A spokesman for Tass, reached by telephone tonight, said the report was neither a hoax nor a joke. ''It is a serious dispatch,'' the night duty officer at the agency said.

The press agency has seemed to undergo a bizarre metamorphosis in the last year or so. In addition to its traditional role of dutifully reporting the comings and goings of Soviet leaders, and often condemning those of American officials, Tass has taken to writing supermarket-tabloid sensationalism with all the seriousness due a superpower summit meeting.

Along with a steady flow of U.F.O. sightings, Tass in recent months has carried reports on a man who, while sitting in a bathtub, can create a huge soap bubble, get inside it and remain there for 10 seconds; a ''flamboyant'' six-legged bull whose two extra appendages grow upward off its back (coincidentally, also from the Voronezh region); the elusive, mysterious creature called the yeti, and a Tibetan doctor's sex tips, advising that winter is the best time for amorous activity and summer is the worst.

People in the Soviet Union have long been attracted by the mysterious and the occult, and lately the authorities seem to be feeding this interest. Two of the hottest programs on state-run television these days are psychic healers who promise to cure everything from obesity to leukemia, in person or via the airwaves.

There seems to be a particular fascination here with outer space--quite apart from the Soviet obsession with the American ''Star Wars'' program--and in February 1984 the authorities here set up a Commission Into Abnormal Phenomena after a ''flying cigar'' was spotted near the city of Gorky, east of Moscow.

A much talked about report last summer in the newspaper Sotsialisticheskaya Industriya told of a milkmaid's encounter with a stubby-legged alien in the Perm region of Central Russia.

One Report Is Debunked

This summer Tass reported on a U.F.O. hovering over a hill in the Soviet Far East, showering the area with over 30 pounds of debris that included mysterious, tiny golden hairs.

The agency also debunked a report in Sotsialisticheskaya Industriya this summer that asserted that a spaceship landed near southern Moscow, leaving behind a huge scorched patch. Tass reported that firefighters believe that a haystack caught fire and singed the ground.

All of the sightings, and even the ''re-evaluations,'' are earnestly reported.

Indeed, tonight's report was presented with a straight face and with technical descriptions worthy of a major scientific discovery. Genrikh Silanov, head of the Voronezh Geophysical Laboratory, said in an interview with Tass that the landing site was identified ''by means of bilocation.''

According to Soviet reference books, bilocation is an extrasensory method of tracking objects or people invisible to the human eye.

'Mysterious Pieces of Rock'

Mr. Silanov described the landing spot as being about 20 yards in diameter, with four small prominent dents ''situated in the four points of a rhomb.'' He said scientists also found ''two mysterious pieces of rock'' that resembled deep-red sandstone, but ''mineralogical analysis'' determined that the substance ''cannot be found on earth.''

Tass said Voronezh residents reported that the aliens visited the place after dark at least three times. They arrived in a large shining ball, or disk, and emerged through a hatch, accompanied by ''a small robot,'' and went for a ''short promenade about the park.''

Tass also reported that witnesses claimed to have seen ''a banana-shaped object in the sky and a characteristic illuminated sign.'' It said such descriptions had been reported in the American magazine Saga, a regular in barbershops and bowling alleys.

And to dispel any notion that the Voronezh witnesses had been influenced by reports in Saga, Tass said ''it is unlikely residents of Voronezh could have read the magazine.''

The Tass report does not indicate what brought the alien visitors here. Perhaps they had seen advertisements, which are now displayed on the outside of Soviet spaceships. [See full text.]

The next day, the NYT (10-11-89) reported:

It is not a joke, nor a hoax, nor a sign of mental instability, nor an attempt to drum up local tourism by drawing the curious, the Soviet press agency Tass insisted today in discussions of what it called an extraterrestrial visit to southern Russia.

Residents of the city of Voronezh insisted today that lanky, three-eyed extraterrestrial creatures had indeed landed in a local park and gone for a stroll and that a seemingly fantastic report about the event carried Monday by the official press agency Tass was absolutely true.

''It was not an optical illusion,'' said Lieut. Sergei A. Matveyev of the Voronezh district police station, who said in a telephone interview that he saw the landing of the U.F.O. on Sept. 27.

Lieutenant Matveyev confessed that he had not actually seen the aliens, but said he saw the spaceship and ''it was certainly a body flying in the sky,'' moving noiselessly at a very high speed and very low altitude.

'Anything Is Possible'

To be honest, Lieutenant Matveyev said, he was a little skeptical himself when he first saw the object. ''I thought I must be really tired,'' he said. ''but I rubbed my eyes and it didn't go away. Then I figured, in this day and age, anything is possible.''

Using the sensationalist tone that has lately infected the once-staid Tass, the press agency today provided more details of the U.F.O. landing in Voronezh, a city some 300 miles southeast of Moscow.

According to Tass, and a report today in the newspaper Sovetskaya Kultura, two boys and a girl from a local school - Vasya Surin, Zhenya Blinov and Yuliya Sholokhova - were playing in a park on the warm evening of Sept. 27 when suddenly, at half past six, ''they saw a pink shining in the sky and then spotted a ball of deep red color'' about 10 yards in diameter. A crowd gathered, ''and they could clearly see a hatch opening in the lower part of the ball and a humanoid in the opening.''

A Stare Silences Boy

The three-eyed creature, about nine feet tall and fashionably dressed in silvery overalls and bronze boots and with a disk on its chest, disappeared, then landed and came out for a promenade with a companion and a robot.

The aliens seemed to communicate with each other, producing the mysterious appearance of a shining triangle, and activated the robot with a touch.

Terrified, a boy began to scream, but with a stare of the alien's shining eyes, Tass said, the boy was silenced and paralyzed.

After a brief disappearance, the three returned, but this time one of the ''humanoids'' had ''what looked like a gun'' by his side - a tube about two feet long that it directed at a 16-year-old boy. The boy, whose name was not given in the report, promptly vanished, but reappeared after the alien embarked in the ball.

Vladimir A. Moiseyev, director of the regional health department, said in a telephone interview that despite reports of widespread fear in the city, none of the witnesses had applied for medical help. But he said that ''certainly we are planning to examine the children.'' There was no explanation why, with the passing of two weeks, such an examination had not yet taken place.

Report Treated Seriously

Mr. Moiseyev, like other authorities in Voronezh, the editors of Tass, and indeed many of its readers, treated the report as a serious scientific phenomenon. No extra men are assigned to patrol the area because the department is short-handed, said the duty officer at the local Interior Ministry department, who identified himself only by his last name, Larin, but he said troops would be dispatched ''if they appear again.''

The Tass correspondent covering the case of the mysterious visitors to Voronezh, Vladimir V. Lebedev, seemed insulted that anyone would treat the story with anything but the full seriousness that it was given by the agency.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Lebedev described conversations with dozens of witnesses and with experts who had examined the evidence and spoken to the children. He said there were about three landings of the U.F.O between Sept. 23 and Sept. 29.

In the latest development, not yet reported by Tass, Mr. Lebedev said that Genrikh M. Silanov, head of the Voronezh Geophysical Laboratory, today asked the children to draw what they had seen.

Drawings Said to Be Similar

Though isolated from one another, he said, the children all drew a banana-shaped object that left behind in the sky the sign of the letter X. Such descriptions, Mr. Silanov said, were reported as typical of U.F.O.'s in a 1976 article in the now defunct American magazine Saga. Mr. Silanov said today that a rock that was reportedly found at the site and described as being not something found on earth was actually a form of hematite, which is found in various parts of the Soviet Union.

While not a witness himself, Mr. Lebedev said he had visited the site. ''The traces were still seen,'' he said. ''I could see holes of a clear shape that resembled the footprints of an elephant.''

He said his reports from Voronezh would continue. [See full text.]

1 Comments:

Anonymous mare said...

I remember these headlines in all Eastern-block newspapers. Coincidentally it was also the day of the 40th anniversary of the DDR and it was a perfect distraction for the riots that happened that day and marked the beginning of the end of communism in Eastern-Germany and the eventual collapse of the USSR.

4:37 PM  

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