Leviathans of Space: Massive Unknown Craft
By Scott Corrales © 2014
We were assured by space writers and science fiction authors that the vastness of interstellar space could only be crossed by mammoth space vehicles – “generation ships”, in the parlance of some spinners of space yarns – crewed by generations of space travelers hoping to reach their destination centuries hence. The concept was ripe for speculation. What if the children of the children of the first crew became a series of stratified societies aboard their vehicle, and had forgotten the purpose of their mission? (Harlan Ellison’s Phoenix in Ashes
, the novelized version of The Starlost
), or the fate of the mission was entrusted to a single pilot while passengers endured dreamlike sleep until their destination was within reach (James White’s The Dream Millennium
). This science fiction did not allow for super-passing gear of hyperdrive like space opera: crossing the blackness of space was a dangerous, laborious process whose ultimate payoff was never in sight.
“These children,” wrote Arthur C. Clarke in his landmark Report on Planet Three and Other Speculations
, “knowing no parents, or indeed anyone of a different age, would grow up in the strange artificial world of their speeding ship, reaching maturity in time to explore the planets ahead of them – perhaps to be the ambassadors of humanity among alien races, or perhaps to find, too late, that there were no home for them there. If their mission succeded, it would be their duty, or that of their descendants, if the first generation could not complete the task, to see that the knowledge they had gained was someday carried back to Earth. Would any society be morally justified in planning so onerous and uncertain a future for its unborn – indeed unconceived – children?”
Speculative aliens may face a similar situation. Around this same time, Clarke also wrote about “worldlets” filled with extraterrestrials who might venture through our solar system, and perhaps this line of thought led him to write Rendezvous with Rama
(1973), a work desperately calling for elevation to the silver screen for four decades. The British scientist’s Childhood’s End also introduced us to the concept of giant alien saucers hovering over our planet’s major cities as the mysterious Overlords changed the direction of human civilization.
Size matters, and many of us - this writer included - sat in wonderment at a movie theater as Darth Vader’s star destroyer dominated the entire screen in its pursuit of Princess Leia’s Tantive IV
in the crucial opening minutes of Star Wars: A New Hope
(just plain Star Wars
in 1977). An even bigger surprise awaited viewers as Han Solo’s Corellian freighter was absorbed into the moon-sized Death Star. Here was a Clarkian “worldlet” capable not only of traveling from one planet to another, but also destroying it.
Using science-fiction as our springboard, we move on to the subject of gigantic vehicles – seemingly real – that are often reported in UFO chronicles. The presence of such behemoths has fuelled speculation about alien efforts at colonizing our own star system, although – referring back to pulp as a touchstone – such massive craft could be needed to pierce the barrier that separates one dimension from another, as suggested in Fritz Leiber’s The Wanderer
A Forgotten Case: The Janos People
The story of The Janos People occupied the narrow middle ground between the UMMO hoax and contactee experiences of the 1950s and 1960s. In 1978, a family traveling down a lonely road somewhere in England found their routine journey intercepted by an unidentified flying object. During the course of this CE-3 experience, the humans were taken aboard the alleged craft. In the abduction-riddled '90s, they would have been subjected to series of gruesome experiments; but things were different in the '70s, even in matters involving extraterrestrial captors, who limited themselves to showing their unwilling guests a movie.
The projection - for want of a better term - told the story of the destruction of the planet Janos as one of its satellites - Saton - crumbled to bits and rained mountain-sized fragments on the planet below, destroying atomic power plants and enveloping the world in fallout.
The Janosians set themselves to work on a gargantuan spaceship constructed in the stricken planet's orbit (somewhere free from the meteoroids left over from the destruction of Saton, one supposes) and this too was displayed to the captives. This unimaginably large, ring-shaped worldlet held ten million people, and waited at the edges of our solar system for permission to embark on a colonization mission: whether on Earth proper or perhaps terraforming another planet like Mars or Venus.
The story appeared in a book - aptly called The Janos People - by Frank Johnson in 1980. The description of the Janosian homeworld is straight out of the UMMO playbook and – if real – suggests some dark psychological operation, whether by the military or another shadowy organization. Taken at face value, the humanoid Janosians are politely awaiting permission to settle in our system, and may still be waiting out there (could all those blurry photographs of “rogue planets” and comets circulating on the Internet really be snapshots of the Janosian worldlet? Throw that into the pot of speculation for good measure).
“If they were desperate,” suggests the ever-quotable Arthur C. Clarke in his essay When The Aliens Come
, “if, for example, they were the last survivors of an ancient race whose mobile worldlet had almost exhausted its supplies after aeons of voyaging, they might be tempted to make a fresh home in the solar system. The barren Moon and the drifting slag heaps of the asteroid belt would provide all the raw materials they needed, and the Sun, all the energy.” This seems like a more acceptable solution than the one proposed by author Frank Johnson, who proposed vacating New Zealand to turn it over to the Janosians.
Desperation must not be a factor for the ten million alien souls aboard the Janosian ring-ship.
The Worlds of Oahspe
Now we venture into an even more uncomfortable no-mans-land: border regions where spiritualism has points of contact with drug-induced visions, such as those produced by the consumption of ayahuasca and other substances. The Oahspe Bible, a work of automatic writing produced by John Ballou Newbrough in the late 19th century, occupies a respected place among new age and general esoteric writings. John A. Keel noted in his works that some of the terminology employed in contacteeism hails from this mysterious volume, but that most contactees had never heard of Dr. Newbrough’s nine hundred page long received work. It is not our intention here to delve into the theology of Oahspe or the reality of the spirits that dictated the huge document, but rather to only touch on a particular aspect – the fact that the world “star ship” makes its first appearance in written English (according to
“13. Onward moved the float, the fire-ship, with its ten million joyous souls, now nearing the borders of Horub, the boundary of Fragapatti's honored regions, known for hundreds of thousands of years, and for his work on many worlds. Here, reaching C'vork'um, the roadway of the solar phalanx, near the post of dan, where were quartered five hundred million ethereans, on a voyage of exploration of more than four millions of years, rich stored with the glories of Great Jehovih's universe. Their koa'loo, their ship, was almost like a world, so vast, and stored with all appurtenances. They talked of going home! Their pilots had coursed the firmament since long before the earth was made, and knew more than a million of roadways in the etherean worlds, and where best to travel to witness the grandest contrasting scenes.”
(Book of Fragapatti, Son of Jehovih, Oahspe
“Some of the giant starships are described in Oahspe as being from ethereal worlds,” observed Brinsley LePoer Trench – Lord Clancarty – in an article for SAGA UFO Report
in 1976, “and others as from corporeal worlds such as our own. So almost 100 years ago Oahspe supported both the extra-dimensional theory and the extraterrestrial hypothesis. Indeed, Oahspe gives a history of both the etherean heavens and the corporeal worlds.” He concludes by saying: ‘In short, there may be a vast, galactic civilization in deep space, living not so much on physical planets but on giant spaceships the size of planets, as described in Oahspe.
The koa’loo certainly fits the bill for a Clarkian worldlet, - with room to spare – but it is a predecessor to other colossal conveyances described in the contactee tradition, such as the Ashtar Command’s flagship, the Shan Chea
, depicted in contactee illustrations at a multi-leveled, football-shaped craft with a dozen separate decks ranging from a motor pool for flying saucers to the dome-shaped command deck from which Ashtarian officers survey the universe. Level Ten of this brobdingnagian craft contains "lodgings for visiting dignitaries from all dimensions" while Level Three contains a "zoo with animals of many worlds." Level Eight contains housing for the evacuees from the impending destruction of planet Earth.
"Rest assured that the Mansions of Space are ready and awaiting their guests," states the text accompanying the sketch of the giant spacecraft. "There will be no crowding of persons or things in these incredibly spacious, self-contained and extraordinarily organized floating aetheric ships. Seven of these pearly-white Space Cities are ready, and their sizes range from 10 miles in diameter (16 km) to the greatest of all, the one containing the headquarters of Lord Jesus Sananda, Lord Ashtar and the Ashtar Command, which is over one hundred miles in diameter." An unwise tongue may be moved to quip that Tarkin's Death Star was two hundred miles across, but did not contain such august characters.
The most attractive feature of this contactee vessel is the Grand Rotunda (on Level 11) where human visitors shall be summoned from their staterooms for a meeting with the space brothers. “Its impressive circular walls contain giant displays through which guests may enjoy the cosmic landscape, their own world, and events from the past and those yet to come.”
The foregoing may be ludicrous to some or charming fantasy to others. However, plans for a human-built worldlet were put forth a long time ago: Project Hyperion posited the creation of an "asteroid starship" to follow the discovery of possible inhabitable worlds by the Daedalus probe (conceived by the British Interplanetary Society decades ago). The guidelines for hollowing out an asteroid use science fiction as a blueprint - a concept employed by science fiction writer Larry Niven - which involves drilling into an asteroid with powerful laser beams of a kind we have yet to develop. Water tanks would be inserted into the cavity, which would be sutured, and the asteroid would be made to spin "like a pig on a spit" using ion-drive engines mounted on the structure's equator (http://www.icarusinterstellar.org/project-hyperion-the-hollow-asteroid-starship-dissemination-of-an-idea/
Arrival of the Motherships
It could have been a scene out of a motion picture: the citizens of a small South American city, enjoying the warm summer night at open-air cafés and entertainment areas. The heat, according to the local press, was the reason for so many people being awake as two o’clock in the morning, looking for cool drinks and ice cream to make the situation more bearable.
This then, was the situation in the city of Joaquin V. Gonzalez – named after the Argentinean senator and chancellor of the University of La Plata – when a “strange, gigantic luminous creature, elongated and weightless” appeared in the dark skies, lighting everything around it and under it. The apparition was described in the media as a “UFO mothership” or “cigar-shaped UFO with intermittent flashing lights and a fixed red beacon”. The bemused onlookers saw the majestic and terrifying structure make its way south toward the community of El Tunal before their community was plunged into a blackout.
An article in the November 26 2009 edition of Diario Popular
added that a two hundred square mile area had been affected by the power outage as a result of the unusual phenomenon. UFO researcher Luis Burgos stated the object was “what we call a mothership, a sort of space aircraft carrier measuring no less than 200-300 meters (roughly 600 -900 feet) long, and which usually issues smaller UFOs measuring between 8 and 10 meters in size, which later return to the [mothership].” Burgos found corroboration for the event in a sequence of photographs taken two days earlier, showing a spindle-shaped object. “Our correspondent in the town of the town of Comandante Luis Piedrabuena, in the province of Santa Cruz, has sent us an exceptional document showing a mothership that flew over the outskirts of that southern locality of our country. This "phantom UFO" was picked up by resident Jose Acosta as he took photos of his property, located 15 kilometers west of Piedrabuena and in the vicinity of the Santa Cruz River, at 1600 hours on November 24, 2009. According to calculations made by our analyst, Jorge Luis Figueiras, the object is at a distance of 7 kilometers and is among the typical cloud formations of the country, having an approximate altitude of 4000 meters. This gives the alleged airship a length of between 80- 100 meters (250-330 feet).”
The mysterious “mothership” reappeared over the city of Joaquin V. Gonzalez on December 19, 2009 during the day, interrupting cell phone and internet service around five o’clock in the evening.
Other “motherships” had been reported in Argentinean cases, such as the 1990 event in Necochea on the Atlantic Ocean. On Sunday, 29 April of that year, a spindle-shaped object was seen by dozens who described it as a “flying cigar”. The object flew silently over the coastline and vanished into the sea after heading south. Curiously enough, the sighting also occurred at five o’clock in the evening.
“Please God, don’t let this fall down, or it’ll destroy the world!”
This was the thought that crossed the mind of Antolín Medina in the wee hours of March 20, 1980. Medina was a part-time cab driver who had just completed a fare in the vicinity of Lugo in Spain’s northwestern corner. His story, featured in Marcelino Requejo’s OVNIS: Alto Secreto recounts a man’s chilling encounter with a gigantic spaceship.
As he drove along Route N-540 on a crystal clear spring night, Medina had just driven past the As Lamelas power substation when he felt a growing feeling of pressure in his chest, coupled with a sensation of static electricity in the air. Distressed, he pulled the vehicle over and got out, suddenly unable to breathe. Insensibly, his eyes drifted upward to look at the night sky, and were rewarded by a shocking scene: A huge, dark triangular object hung silently some two hundred feet overhead.
“I was stunned as I looked at it, and I remember thinking: Please God, don’t let this fall down, or it’ll destroy the world! It was so large, and since it made no noise, one couldn’t imagine how it kept itself aloft. I thought about what would happen if it suddenly crashed. It was solid, metallic, dark grey in color and truly impressive, beyond being merely large. It had some sort of nozzles on each of its corners, dark yellow in color. I watched it for nearly a minute and suddenly, the nozzles lit up three at a time, issuing a bluish-white light, very intense, but making no noise at all.”
According to the bewildered onlooker, the massive object tilted to the right, allowing him to make out its configuration: an equilateral triangle measuring 1800 meters (5900 feet) per side. “I’m not exaggerating,” Medina insisted. “It was right above me and one of the vertexes covered the town of Piedrafita, which is two kilometers distant in a straight line from where I stood.”
A science fiction filmmaker would have had the mountainous object rev up its engines to a deafening degree, bathe the protagonist in actinic light, and take off toward uncharted regions. What actually happened in Medina’s case was the object leaped skyward silently, turning into a distant point of light before vanishing altogether.
A triangular UFO measuring nearly six thousand feet should be considered among the largest unidentified objects ever reported, but Marcelino Requejo’s archives held one more surprise: a 1989 report involving a spherical mothership. Two guards assigned to the security detail of the Endesa power station outside A Coruña had been told to keep an eye on Monte de Muras – a hill whose high voltage towers were possible targets for terrorist activity.
The security officers positioned their vehicles in such a way that they could command the view of three hundred thousand volt lines that provided energy for the Alcoa plant in San Cibrao. Around five o’clock in the morning, one of the guards pointed out the presence of a group of yellow lights traveling in a row beyond the power grid. They then noticed a similar formation coming up on the other side of the hill, at some two hundred feet over the transmission towers.
“That’s when we realized that the sky was being covered by something very large, as it hid the stars as it moved,” said the main witness, who gave his name only as Carlos. “We got out of our cars and it was then that we could clearly see what was going on. It was truly incredible, inconceivable! The dark mass passing over our heads and the rows of lights flying over the high voltage lines were part of the same object. It was gigantic, hard to describe in mere words. The rows of yellow lights were the edges of that object!”
There was a distance of more than half a mile between each power line, which helped the onlookers get a better idea of the massive proportions of the craft. “It reminded me of outer space movies, where the giant ships have many compartments and protuberances underneath them. We looked behind it to get an idea of what it looked like, but the shape became lost in the distance. It looked like a giant rugby ball. It was over half a mile wide, so you can imagine how long it was. It was in excess of one mile long.”
The witness was very specific about the details: the object made no sound whatsoever, the only noise that evening being the strong prevailing winds. It did not change course and flew slowly, an estimated sixty kilometers an hour (short of 40 mph), taking a full twenty minutes to cover “the twenty two kilometer distance in a straight line to Ría de Viveiro.” Once the object reached the sea, it disgorged two white spheres down a column of light that projected into the water. One of these objects flew inland at dizzying speed, flying over the security guards. The colossal mothership eventually began to sway from one side to another, shooting skyward at a prodigious rate of speed.
One is reminded of the timeless illustration of the smaller fish being eaten by progressively larger fishes. Here we have it in reverse – the relatively small flying objects reported by tens of thousands of witnesses worldwide over the past sixty years, those which have been seen on the ground, the motherships that carry them (unless they are simply “traveling dimensional doorways” capable of delivering a payload to a specific location), perhaps even larger motherships that carry the motherships, and ultimately the planet-sized objects they hail from.