Voronezh UFO incident

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The Voronezh UFO incident was an alleged UFO sighting reported in Voronezh, Soviet Union, on September 27, 1989.[1] The incident was allegedly witnessed by a group of children, with other members of the local community, including civil servants, claiming to have seen the craft only.[2] The area has been popular with UFO-hunting tourists.[3]

Allegations

The story reported by the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) claimed that a group of children had spotted a small ball in the park whilst playing (now Yuzhny Park), which quickly morphed into a disc, which landed near them. Witnesses then reported a "three-eyed alien" and a robot exiting the craft. The alien stared at a horrified onlooker, freezing them in their tracks, before departing and returning five minutes later to abduct a 16-year-old boy, using what was described as a 50 cm-long "pistol tube".[4]

Though the children were the only ones claiming to have witnessed the aliens, Lieut. Sergei A. Matveyev of the Voronezh district police station claimed to have seen the craft.[5] The Interior Ministry said they would dispatch troops to the area should the craft reappear.[5]

Reports

On 17 September 1989 TASS reported that a correspondent had spoken to "10 or 12 youths" who claimed to have seen a flying saucer. The original article quoted Dr. Silanov, of the Voronezh Geophysical Laboratory, as confirming the location of the landing using biolocation.[6] Silanov denied that he had ever made such a remark, or carried out such an experiment.[4] The report was the most publicized of a series of UFO claims made by official government media, and were promoted as part of the government's new "openness".[7][8] It was noted that, unlike in America, the reported beings were completely apolitical and did not even speak during their 'visit'.[9] In the immediate aftermath of the alleged incident, hundreds of UFO reports began appearing, with a reporter from Komsomolskaya Pravda even claiming to have an exclusive interview with alien beings from Red Star.[10]

To this end, the Soviet Scientific Commission ordered an official inquiry into the alleged incident. Though the area was found to have an above-average presence of the radioactive isotope cesium, the vice-rector of the University of Voronezh quickly dispensed with the idea that this was significant.[11]

In the immediate aftermath of the supposed event, only Sovietskaya Kultura and TASS attempted to pass the story off as non-fiction, with the official Communist newspaper defending its decision, saying: "[I]ts coverage was motivated by 'the golden rule of journalism: the reader must know everything."[4] The newspaper was repeatedly asked whether the report was in jest and were repeatedly assured it was not.[5][12]

The description of the incident was very similar to stories that appeared in the American magazine Saga, but TASS reporters stated that the witnesses "probably haven't read it."[12] Outside of print media, the U.S. show A Current Affair also sent a crew to report on the alleged event.[13]

In a work published by Socialist Industry slightly after the alleged incident, a self-proclaimed UFO specialist asserted the marks left by the supposed landing were simply scorch marks from a burnt hay-bale.[7]

References

  1. НЛО в Воронеже / Ф. Киселёв, Ю. Лозовцев, В. Мартынов и др. - Воронеж: Редакционно-издательский отдел, 1990. - 176 с.
  2. Dahlberg, John-Thor (October 11, 1989). "Voronzeh Scientist Quoted by Tass Casts Doubt on UFO Landing Story". Associated Press. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  3. "Russia's Ren TV shows report on paranormal areas and UFO sightings". BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union. BBC. September 25, 2009. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Dahlburg, John-thor (October 11, 1989). "Misquoted on aliens, Soviet says". The Globe and Mail. Canada. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Fein, Esther B.; Times, Special To The New York (11 October 1989). "U.F.O. Landing Is Fact, Not Fantasy, the Russians Insist". The New York Times. p. 6. 
  6. "UFO lands in Russia? Writer now waffles". United Press International. October 10, 1989. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Iams, John (October 9, 1989). "Tass Says UFO Landing in Soviet Union Confirmed". The Associated Press. 
  8. Goldberg, Carey (October 9, 1989). "Tass, in Soviet Media's Latest Weird Tale, Says UFO Landed". The Associated Press. 
  9. "The Voronezh Visitors". The New York Times. October 14, 1989. pp. Section 1, Page 24, Column 1. 
  10. Bogert, Carroll (October 23, 1989). "They Came From Outer Space". Newsweek. pp. NATIONAL AFFAIRS; Pg. 42. 
  11. The Globe and Mail. Canada. October 30, 1989.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Fein, Esther B. (October 10, 1989). "A Tass Bulletin: Knobby Aliens Were Here". The New York Times. pp. Section A, Page 1, Column 2. 
  13. Blau, Eleanor (October 12, 1989). "Rare Thrill for Tass: Joshing Over Its U.F.O. Report". The New York Times. pp. Section A; Page 18, Column 1.