Strange Secrets, by Nick Redfern, Andy Roberts

strange-secrets-by-nick-redfern-andy-roberts coverGenre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: 2003
Reviewer Rating: three stars
Book Review by Steven Sawicki

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Strange Secrets presents a collection of paranormal phenomena; UFO’s, Telepathy, Crop Circles, Cattle Mutilation, Noah’s Ark, Witchcraft, etc., and links them to government documents. Initially I thought this was one more book by a bunch of oddballs who were going to use esoteric information to try to push the idea that all this stuff is real. Instead, Redfern and Roberts present government documentation that, while referencing said phenomena, do not particularly encourage any sense that the government was covering things up.

What is perhaps the most illuminating revelation that you come away from the book with is that the government was interested in, and investigated, so many of these phenomena in a serious fashion. In some cases you can argue that national defense was involved while in others you have to chalk it up to simple curiosity.

No where is this more evident than in the section on Noah’s Ark, or, as it is called in the documentation, the Ararat Anomaly. For those unfamiliar with it, the Ararat Anomaly refers to something which was photographed near the top of Mount Ararat in Turkey. It happened in 1949 when an Air Force plane, on a classified mission, took photographs of the 17,000 foot high Mount Ararat. Some of the photographs showed what appeared to be the image of a large structure protruding from an ice cap. Other photos, taken on a different side of the mountain, showed what appeared to be other, unidentified structures sticking out of the ice.

As the years passed other flights took other pictures and the objects were seen, on and off, with the naked eye. What makes all this even more unusual is the CIA involvement. Evidently, for reasons unstated and unknown, the CIA took an interest in this anomaly and opened a file. The DIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, also got involved. In documents the DIA makes a request of the CIA for information about Noah’s Ark to which the CIA replies that they have studied the anomaly and that no evidence of an ark can be discerned from the photos.

From 1974 through 1994 the CIA is questioned by various members of Congress and other agencies and repeatedly states that no evidence of an ark is visible. The documents that Redfern and Roberts quote from were secured under the Freedom of Information Act as well as the British Government’s Thirty Year Ruling and are real documents. Redfern and Roberts take care to present sections of the documents that relate to the phenomena in question and don’t try to draw conclusions from partial phrases or interpret what they think was meant. Everything is pretty straightforward.

This treatment is given to every phenomena whether it be the Loch Ness Monster, dowsing detectives or Soviet Psychics. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the workings of government intelligence agencies, which must, by definition, be curious about many things. Still, you have to wonder why the CIA is interested in Noah’s Ark and why British Intelligence wants to know more about Nessie. The book is a bit dry, what with Redfern and Roberts pretty much sticking to the facts and not getting involved in a lot of commentary other than to give facts as to specific documents backgrounds or to lay the factual basis behind the creation of said documents.

Anyone hoping for an expose of government cover-up or the final proof, in document form, of the existence of paranormal and other phenomena will need to look elsewhere. Most of the evidence that Redfern and Roberts presents works in the other direction. While it would certainly be foolish to state that none of these things every existed or don’t exist it becomes much more plausible when you understand two things: The documentation does more to lay these things to rest as either man-made or natural phenomena and the sheer scope of individuals involved, as based on the documents, puts the kibosh on any sense that there’re huge secrets being kept. There are simply too many people involved in these things for them to remain unknown.

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