Notice that I didn't say "The" Aurora spyplane. This is because by omitting the definite article the whole thing acquires an ominous mystique. Also the head on artists impression above also seeks to acomplish the same effect. If it were the latest concept car from Mercedes Benz then the definite article would then be appropriate with a glamourous model reclining on a wing. But this was a piece of top secret government hardware that was not going to be appearing as a grand prize on The Price Is Right game show anytime soon.
Aurora was the alleged code-name for a hypersonic spyplane that was supposedly being developed by Lockheed Martin " Skunk Works " for the United States Air Force or one of it's intelligence agencies in the 1980s. The first sighting of this isoceles triangle shaped aircraft took place over the North Sea in August of 1989 by an oil rig crew refueling from a KC-135 tanker along with a couple of F-111 fighter-bombers. According to unofficial sources the aircraft can fly at speeds of up to 6 times the speed of sound at altitudes of up to 250,000 feet by means of pulse detonation wave engines that generate strange " doughnut on a rope " contrails accompanied by a loud roaring sound. Of course the existence of " Aurora" has been consistently denied by the United States government despite consistent reports of the segmented contrails and associated noise around the Groom Lake test facility in the Nevada desert which is more popularily known as area 51 wher they have all the UFO shit. This top secret and heavily guarded base is where other top secret projects such as the F-117 Nighthawk and B-2 Spirit were tested by Lockheed Martin before their existence was released to the public. It is known that a six mile long lake bed runway exists within the confines of this facility which would theoretically be more than capable of accomodating an aircraft such as "Aurora".
Also consistent with the claims of it's existence is the triangular shape. If a hypersonic aircraft is to remain intact at such high speeds then thermal management would be critical. A triangle shape would be ideal for speading the heat generated by air friction evenly over the surface of an aircraft traveling at these extreme speeds. We kow from past experience that the United States government likes to keep it's new toys cloaked in secrecy particularily if they incorporate new technology. The existence of theLockheed F-117 and B-2 Spirit were kept under wraps for 10 years before being revealed to the public. It is also interesting to note that when an F-117 was shot down over Kosovo in March 1999 that an American General showed little concern when querried by a reporter about the technology falling into Russian hands who were permitted to inspect the wreckage. He simply responded by saying that they had projects underway that were far more advanced than the stealth technology possessed by the F-117.
The only conclusion that I can arrive at is that it is possible but not probable that such an aircraft exists or existed. I would question it's practicability from both a technological and economical standpoint. Furthermore, in a 1994 book co-authored by a former head of the Lockheed "Skunkworks", Ben L Rich categorically denies that such an aircraft never existed and Aurora was simply a funding code word for the B-2 stealth bomber. Besides the Americans have lots more sinister shit such as The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program keep the conspiracy theorists busy with without worrying about a piddly little aeroplane that can fly at over 4000 MPH. So, until some retired test pilot writes a book enntitled Feel The Pulse : Flying Aurora then I think that joe public can safely assume that this thing never existed.
If you want to know more about the real planes and technology that eminated from Lockheed's Skunkworks I suggest the fascinating book By Ben L. Rich and Leo Janos rpublished in 1994.
Nobody likes a mystery more than I do, regardless of how far fetched, exaggerated or however preposterous ! You just can`t beat stories about aliens conducting sexual experiments on abducted human specimens, large aquatic creatures residing in a Scottish loch or spectral entities inhabiting old English castles for their entertainment qualities. So, allow me to entertain you with my encounter with the unknown. ( insert Twighlight Zone theme music here ).
When I was serving in the Canadian Forces a friend of mine who was a military policeman invited me to come and see something that seemed to him to be " a little strange ". He warned me that we could get into heeps of trouble because we had to enter a restricted area on the base. Sounded like great fun to me. I was in. He took me out to a location that was used for training purposes that was fenced off with barbed wire with warning signs all over the place which basically said " don`t come in here ". He told me the temptation to check it out was too much for him, ignoring the fact that he could have been blown to kingdom come by any unexploded ordanance that may be laying around. It`s been known to happen !
What he had to show me I immediately identified as an old Avro CF-100 " Canuck " interceptor which was Canada`s front-line defender against the Russian bomber threat in the 1950s an 60s. At the time, in the early 80s, the CF-100 had been regulated to ECM training roles and was in the process of being completely phased out of service with only a few examples still flying out of North Bay, Ont. At first, I thought nothing of it as old aircraft are often used as targets and training aids and pop up all over the place, from shooting ranges to technical schools once retired from operational service.
The first observation I made of the old bird, still wearing it`s RCAF markings and bearing the serial # 18469 on the tail fin , was that it had been there for some time considering the underbrush and canopy the trees had formed above it. I thought the only way that it could have got there was by being slung underneath a helicopter and lowered in. But why? I jotted the serial down in my notebook. I also noticed that the aircraft, with it`s flying surfaces in the flight configuration and it`s undercarriage partially deployed, was remarkably intact until I approached the nose section.Then it dawned on me as to why my friend wanted someone who knew something of airplanes to have gander at this curious relic. The section which accomodated the two man crew was completely sheared off !
Now, before I go any further I`d like to point out that it is not at all unusual for components of retired aircraft to be removed for use as training aids or for display in museums that don`t have enough space to display a complete aircraft. The most frequently used aircraft components for this purpose are the cockpit sections, power plants and sometimes the wings. And these are removed carefully by qualified technicians. What I saw looked like Godzilla had taken a swipe at it with one of his powerful clawed biceps ! Although weathered, the electrics were dangling out all over the place and the nose section was just a mangled twisted mess and not consistent with any damage that might have been caused by an explosion or an accident as there wasn`t ant eveidence of a fire. I just shook my head in wonderment as we got our asses out of the restricted area.
I never really thought about this event any further because of all the other bizarre crap that I encountered while serving in the military. Some years later long after having left the military I became engaged in a conversation with an older gentleman in a branch of the Royal Canadian Legion who had worked as a technician on the CF-100 back in the 50s and 60s when the aircraft was still the teeth of the Royal Canadian Air Force. During the course of story swapping he related the following story to me and by the time he was finished shivers were travelling up and down my spine ! Here`s the gist of his story as best as I can remember. I added a bit of artistic licence without taking away any of it`s essence.
"In September 1960", he explained, " two CF-100s were on a routine training mission on the north shore of Lake Ontario and passed through some clouds and while in the clouds one of them vanished ! The second crew could not get a visual and the radar blip of the aircraft also vanished from the ground controllers screens. A search was conducted by the second jet but nothing was found. It was followed by a concentrated air, water and land search. No wreckage was found nor had anyone witnessed the aircraft go down". I
I found out that In Lake Ontario there are no currents to carry wreckage of downed aircraft and they tend to remain where they come down. A test scale model of the Avro Arrow was recently recovered from Lake Ontario exactly where it hit during a 1958 test that went awry. Shortly after the search was called off for the CF-100 and it`s crew the Royal Canadian Air Force closed the file and classified it as top secret ! Fate of the crew unknown. It's mentioned in Larry Millberry's book The Avro CF-100 in the appendix which lists the fate of the crew as unknown. I called the CF-101 Voodoo/CF-100 desk officer in Ottawa and he told me that what I was enquiring about was filed as TOP SECRET!!"
At first I hesitated but brought myself to ask my fellow veteran if he could remember the serial number on the aircraft that went down. He immediately recalled it as he had worked on that particular plane many times. Well, you guessed it, the serial numbers matched those of my mystery relic 18469! Once I recounted my story to him he added that he knew of two other CF-100s which had disappeared under the same mysterious circumstances over the same area during the mid 1950s ( insert X-files music here ).
I still ask myself, what was a bloody airplane that supposedly vanished without a trace along with it`s crew over Lake Ontario in 1960 doing sitting in a restricted area on a military base years later with it`s nose section torn off like a wet paper bag? Aliens ? A gateway to oblivion ? An invisible wall in the sky ? Beats the shit out of me.
Remember, you never heard this story here !
( A note: I created this page without the knowledge that a new Hollywood blockbuster was in the wings. Personally I feel it rather disappointing when compared to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories set back in the days of Victorian England. Here's my little appreciation).
Had Sherlock Holmes not been a fictional character I`m sure that the crime solving methods depicted on the crime show CSI would have been anathema to him.Employing his extraordinary intuitive powers, Holmes possessed an uncanny facilty to solve baffling mysteries and drawing amazing conclusions. For many, including myself, the charming yet complex intellect of Sherlock Holmes has not lost any of it`s allure since his first adventure, A Study In Scarlet, appeared in Breton`s Christmas annual of 1887. However, it was not until July 1891 when A Scanadal In Bohemia was published in The Strand magazine that the mystique of the world`s first and only detective consultant caught the immagination of the public at large, eventually rising to cultist stature. His intriguing adventures have since been translated into 50 languages as well as being adapted for the stage, screen and television.
Created by Arthur Conan Doyle, an MD by profession, who turned to writing in order to fill time during lulls in his less-than-successful medical prctice. The acute deductive and reasoning powers commanded by Holmes can be attributed to Doyle's medical education under proffesor DR. Joseph Bell at the Edinburgh Medical School whose diagnostic acumen got Doyle used to making careful observations and deductions. So, in a sense, the captivating intellect of the remarkable detective did indeed exist.
Added to Holmes`ability for making acute analysises beyond the comprehension of most, were a number of idiosynchrasies that gave his persona even more depth. As charming as he was he was a brooding figure who avoided women and in order to alleviate bouts of depression which were brought on by periods of inactivity he turned to pipe smoking, violin playing, and cocaine the latter of which he outgrew if one refers to the later adventures.Assisted by the faithful Dr. John Watson, his friend, associate, sounding board and often hapless footman the world of Sherlock Holmes was coloured by other recurring characters such Inspector Lestrade of The Yard, his houskeeper Mrs. Hudson and his brother Mycroft.. Mycroft, while only appearing in two adventures, actually solves one ! ( The adventure Of The Greek Interpreter ) proving that once in a while Holmes is not infallible.
Ironically two of the attributes that personify the sly detective, the deerstalker hat and the Mersharm pipe never found their way into Doyle`s writings. Niether did the oft-quoted phrase, " elementary my dear Watson! ". The deerstalker was actually an invention of artist Sydney Paget who created the images of Holmes for the strand magazine and whose portrait is recreated bove. I`ll leave you with a quote which admirably exemplifies the detective`s eye for detail. "You will remember Watson, how the dreadful business of the abernethy family was first brought to my notice by the depth which the parsley had sunk into the butter upon that hot day..." .
Here`s a couple of books that I highly recommend that delve further into the complexities of the Sherlockian world :
ELEMENTARY MY DEAR WATSON By Graham Nown
THE ANNOTATED SHERLOCK HOLMES ( VOL I & II )
In clebration of the 40th anniversary of the first moonwalk I thought I would include a few anecdotes on the monumental event. Apart from all the wack-jobs that claim we never went to the moon ( it would have cost more to fake it than actually go there ! ) there`s another faction of wack-jobs who actually believe we made it there, but that accomplishment alone was not fantastic enough for them. They had to drag the aliens into it. What the fuck would aliens be doing on the moon anyway, farming? Vacationing ? Shooting a porno movie ?Sigh.
" That`s one small step for a man. One giant leap for mankind." were the words heard by millions of us Earthlings at 9:56 PM Houston time on August 20, 1969 whenwe were all glued to our TV sets and radios. Spoken by Neil Armstrong upon setting foot on the moon for the first time on behalf of mankind and followed about 20 minutes later by " Buzz " Aldrin this has to be one of the most signifigant events to occur in my lifetime and although I was only 7 years old at the time I vividly remember all the neighbours crowding around our Zenith colour TV watching Armstrong and Aldrin walking around on another world. However, what we didn`t hear was transmissions on other channels which contained reports of encounters with alien spacecraft. Huge, menacing alien spacecraft according to transmissions picked up by HAM radio operators. Despite these rumours that were perpetuated by by UFO fanatics, and which persist to this day in books such as Above Top Secret by Timothy Good, Neil Armstrong has consistently maintained that nothing unusual was encountered during Apollo 11s 21½ hour stay on the lunar surface. They conducted some experiments, collected some rocks, took some photos, left a plaque, planted a flag and then high-tailed it back to Mother Earth.
I`ve read some excellent books about the Apollo moon missions including First On The Moon by Armstrong himself along with Aldrin and and Michael Collins and never once did any of them mention space aliens in spaceships on the friggin`moon. They did encounter a UFO on the way to the moon but there was nothing conclusive about the event and it was more or less brushed off. Meaning it could have been anything! Now, unless there are some deathbed confessions I think I`ll take their word for it NO ALIENS ON THE BLOODY MOON! Another story which persists to this day about Apollo 11 which is more of an urban legend myth than a conspiracy theory is that Neil Armstrong uttered the words " Good Luck Mr. Gorsky " prior to the famous pre-prepared legendary monologue. Something about oral sex. I dunno check out the links and go nuts.And then go nuts with Buzz Aldrin`s latest book.