More on the UFO phenomenon in
Marina Popovich, a former Soviet test
pilot and retired Air Force
colonel, is speaking widely about UFO sightings in Russia and the
former Soviet republics. What follows is a portion of a
gave recently in California on the UFO phenomenon.
The intelligent behaviour of UFOs brought me to
the study of the
phenomenon after more than 30 years testing aircraft. My first
experience in studying UFOs was an expedition in 1980 to the
mountains of Pamir. The expedition of 30 people was designed to
do research on the yeti (the abominable snowman). We did not
see the yeti, but the expedition did find footprints. The whole
expedition did see a big round object which was flying in a zig zag
motion right above our camp in the mountains. Then it stopped
and hung in the air, and let a light out. It was a directed light that
had an end to it. The object did this twice. It stopped in such a
way, and had such sharp movements, that it couldn’t have been a
helicopter or aircraft. Afterwards, it went straight up at a speed
which no aircraft could have done. The whole expedition was in
shock. That night I experienced a strong feeling of fear. I was in
the tent with my daughter who woke up and started to cry. After
that, she developed a fever and had to be evacuated down the
mountain. Newspapers later criticized me for taking my daughter
along with me.
Before I could resume my job as a test pilot I had to undergo
special tests to check my physical and psychological state. The
tests turned out fine, and I was was able to return to my
profession. When I was being tested, however, I saw six other
pilots who were being tested in this same rehabilitation
programme. I asked them why they were there, and they told me
While they were piloting an aircraft at night, suddenly all their
equipment went down. Because they had very little fuel left, they
had to land very quickly at the landing site with almost no light.
When they were making this forced landing at night, suddenly
they saw a beam of light behind them. Because of this beam of
light, they were able to land safely. But afterwards, when they
told of what they had seen, they were immediately taken to this
rehabilitation centre because they were supposed to have been
hurt psychologically and physically from this incident. That was
the beginning of my interest in UFOs.
At that time I was elected president of SACUFON, an association
of scientists conducting research on UFO, paranormal and other
anomalous phenomena. After I became the head of this
organization, I began to receive all kinds of information from pilots
and flight crews. During 25 years of UFO research, Professional
Ziegal and many others have gathered information on 14,000 UFO
sightings. Although Professor Ziegal was persecuted continually in
the Soviet Union, he continued to gather information, writing 13
books on the subject. Three of these books are now being
published in Russia.
Professor Barlomoff and others began to study the circles left on
the ground where UFOs had landed. There was a lot of research
done on these UFO landing sites, such as chemical and other
analyses of the ground. One researcher conducted an experiment
where she took grain and planted it at the UFO site. She compared
the growth of this grain to regular grain located outside the site,
and found that the grain on the site grew 20 per cent faster than
the normal plants. Her conclusion was that the energy left by the
UFO must have had a positive effect on plant growth.
Researchers also did analyses with human blood. They would
take the blood and place it at the site. To their amazement, they
found that certain components of the blood would decrease and
others would increase. Hemoglobin, for example, would decrease.
Other elements such as magnesium would increase. These
discoveries led to the thought that the UFO sites could have
One other interesting fact we have noted over the years is that in
areas where mining of metals and gas takes place, we find a
higher percentage of UFO occurrences.
Now I would like to talk about the research being done at present
in the Soviet Union on UFOs. In the past, this subject was
forbidden, to the point where people who tried to do research on
UFOs and other anomalous phenomena would be taken to mental
institutions. But the situation has changed. The government is
now giving some financial support to institutes, such as the
Anomalous Phenomena Division of the Academy of Sciences, who
are studying these phenomena.
In 1977 a very special kind of UFO appeared in the city of
Petrosbirsk. It looked like a big medusae (jellyfish). People saw it
hanging above the city at approximately eight o’clock in the
morning. Residents heard their glass windows trembling. Some of
the windows were burnt through and specimens were sent to the
Academy of Sciences for research on these burnt holes. That day
was hailed as the first official day of UFO study in Russia.
A second case occurred near Petrosbirsk. There was a large train
travelling from Petrosbirsk to another location. Suddenly, a big
round object, approximately 15 metres in diameter, appeared
nearby. The train suddenly increased in speed on its own. The
driver tried to stop the train because it was accelerating so fast.
The crew was terrified, and in fact one of the crew members
wanted to jump out. But this high speed continued for an hour and
a half. The round object eventually moved toward the front of the
train, and finally the crew was able to use the brakes to stop the
locomotive. A person who was standing nearby saw the
approaching train, and the round object in front of it, and was able
to take a photo of the train and the object. This picture became
the second official photo of a UFO, and was published in all the
There were three pieces of solid evidence in this case. One was
the photo. The second was the fact that the train used 300
kilograms of gasoline less than would have normally been
consumed during this one and one-half hour trip. The third piece of
evidence was a tape recording made of the train crew
unsuccessfully trying to stop the train with all types of emergency
and regular brakes.
These two incidents took place in 1977, and marked the beginning
of official UFO research in my country.
More recent examples occurred in 1989, in the city of Perm,
where many UFOs were observed by children. UFOs were seen to
actually land in an area near a children’s scout camp. The children
took many pictures but the photos did not come out. Many other
people saw unusual phenomena occurring in this area as well. In
fact, this zone of the city was called the Perm Triangle because
there were so many UFO occurrences there. Numerous expeditions
went to this district to study these phenomena. Some people who
went there to research UFO sightings found luminescent patterns
on the walls of their tents which resembled the crop circle
formations in England. The patterns would appear and later
disappear. People tried to take photos of these patterns but they
never came out. Instead, drawings were made of these patterns.
In the (former) Soviet Union there is now a special commission
organized to study different phenomena that occur in space and
air. One direction of the commission’s study is research on UFOs.
As you know, our country is undergoing considerable economic
and other difficulties. Nevertheless, there was money given to the
research of UFOs.
Thank goodness Mr Gorbachev instituted glasnost so that we are
now able to do research in this area. I understand now that my 30
years as a test pilot was not the most important work of my life.
From the March 1992 issue of